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Intel Pulls SSD Firmware Day After Release

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the early-bird-gets-the-ream dept.

Bug 125

CWmike writes "Intel has pulled a firmware upgrade it released on Monday for its X25-M consumer solid-state drives after users complained that the software caused crashes. The company on Monday made available a software package called SSD Toolbox to monitor and manage the performance and health of X25-M SSDs on systems running Windows 7. The package included a firmware upgrade and software called SSD Optimizer that included diagnostic tools to help keep the Intel SSD running at high performance. 'We have been contacted by users with issues with the 34-nanometer Intel SSD firmware upgrade and are investigating. We take all sightings and issues seriously and are working toward resolution. We have temporarily taken down the firmware link while we investigate,' an Intel spokesman said in an e-mail. The spokesman declined to comment on when the company would issue updated firmware."

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That was fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901307)

It was clearly run from an SSD.

that's why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901311)

And that's why I bought a Saturn.

Re:that's why (1)

jschmitz (607083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901535)

A Saturn car??? they still make those?? = )

Re:that's why (1, Funny)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902435)

A Saturn car??? they still make those?? = )

No, a Saturn V. They haven't got all the bugs out of the Ares yet.

Development process is flawed (5, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901321)

I'm starting to think that the whole SSD market is a prime example of the modern corporate development mentality of pawning off beta testing to the general public. It's clear that SSDs are not ready for general release, but companies do not want to spend the time or money to validate them against specifications or ensure that they work properly for their particular purpose. Let the public pay for your beta test program. It's a lot cheaper.

Re:Development process is flawed (4, Informative)

adisakp (705706) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901357)

I don't know any major problems with the Intel G1 SSD firmware but this is the second big issue with the G2 firmware. When the G2 drives first shipped, a bug in the firmware made it so if you changed the password, you could lose all your data.

Re:Development process is flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901447)

I don't know any major problems with the Intel G1 SSD firmware but this is the second big issue with the G2 firmware. When the G2 drives first shipped, a bug in the firmware made it so if you changed the password, you could lose all your data.

That was just a "feature"...

Re:Development process is flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901591)

That is what happens when you encrypt with the password, you do it right you don't get that problem.

Right way:
generate random key, encrypt drive with key
ask for password, encrypt key with password
save off encrypted key and hash of password

Now you can change the password without losing data, and erase data without changing the password.

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901811)

Sounds familiar [google.com] .

Re:Development process is flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901923)

My G1 died after 5 months. They wont honour my warranty because i bought the SSD from a company which sells liquidated stock.

Pretty annoyed they wont honour it.

Re:Development process is flawed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901975)

So what you're saying is you bought a used product from a company that did not offer you a warranty, and expected the manufacturer to offer you, someone who they did not sell a product to, a warranty on a product that you did not buy from them?

Re:Development process is flawed (2, Insightful)

bberens (965711) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902253)

The answer to "Where did you purchase the device" is always "It was a present from my aunt."

Re:Development process is flawed (3, Informative)

chizu (669687) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902629)

There was an issue with early Intel X25-M G1 SSDs. They were non-bootable with Apple MacBooks [pcper.com] . I have one and it was hell figuring out why it didn't work [spicious.com] in a MacBook. It's been great in a ThinkPad.

Moral of the story... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906503)

Don't go all googly-eyed and install an update two minutes after it's released. Wait a few days until the idiots have tested it. ...but you knew that, right?

Re:Development process is flawed (1, Funny)

heffrey (229704) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901427)

I'm planning on getting an SSD drive in around 10 years time once the technology is mature!

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29907705)

Anyone remember how long it took before PC CDROM drives had buffer underrun protection?

I considered CD writers before that point not fit for general use. I'm actually amazed people bought those drives. No other choice I guess.

Interestingly my old LiteOn with BURNProof (one of the first drives with that tech) is still working after all these years. But the amount I paid for it can buy me 10 or more DVD writers today (but these modern DVD burners so far only seem to last 1.5 to 2 years ;) ).

Re:Development process is flawed (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901509)

When there isn't enough competition around, companies don't have to worry about Quality - the people will buy whats available, and if no one is offering a higher quality product, the low quality product will still sell.

If this market is to mature they need a company to step in with the emphasis on quality.

Re:Development process is flawed (4, Interesting)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901725)

"If this market is to mature they need a company to step in with the emphasis on quality."

Funny, most people would think that company could be Intel. I would be very surprised if this issue was in any way expected by Intel. There were a few articles on the thorough testing performed on the G1 (firmware). With the G2 Intel seems to have lost some of that.

Re:Development process is flawed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29904143)

They probably switched to agile development techniques for G2 firmware.

Perhaps they missed a "customer story" and the engineers who saw the problem were probably rebuffed with "that's not one of the customer stories" or "the customer hasn't asked for that". Or, perhaps there were no design docs (because, "customers don't buy design docs") so nothing to review except code (which, in any project, is a horribly inefficient and ineffective way to catch architecture or design related problems).

/rant_really_heard_all_these_excuses

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29904465)

I bet if AMD made a good SSD drive, Intel would make a great one a little while after that.

Re:Development process is flawed (3, Informative)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902073)

How do you define "enough competition"? Maybe I'm just ignorant about the SSD market, but Newegg lists 8 manufacturers with more models of SSD drives than Intel, with Patriot, Kingston, and Corsair probably being the most well-known companies. That would seem to indicate that there's quite a bit of competition in the SSD market.

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902287)

There's quite a few wifi providers too until you look and there's basically 2-3 chipsets on the market. I'm not saying that's necessarily the case for SSDs, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902461)

I wouldn't be surprised either, but I don't know if that's true for SSD drives, which is why I put in the "maybe I'm ignorant about the market" part.

Re:Development process is flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29902495)

That is the case with SSD's. Samsung makes almost all the flash chips, and there's only 3-4 controller vendors(Intel, Indilix(sp?), Samsung, and I'm not sure about the other).

Re:Development process is flawed (2)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902549)

I think there are only about 4 kinds of controllers: Intel (used by themselves and a couple models from Kingston and one other... Corsair I think?); Indilinx (used by the rest of the decent drives, like the OCZ Vertex line); Samsung (supposedly what you typically get if you buy a computer with an SSD already installed, not particularly good); and JMicron (the really crappy early drives). I get the impression that only the Intel and Indilinx controllers are actually any good, because the others bog down under lots of small writes (slow wear leveling algorithms?).

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#29903689)

Lot of companies are making SSD's
http://www.storagesearch.com/ssd-2p5.html [storagesearch.com]
Just a few for your desktop.
At the consumer end its a cartel. Nobody is going to drop the $$$$ flow too fast.

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29904351)

If this market is to mature they need a company to step in with the emphasis on quality.

FusionIO?

Oh wait - look at the price!

Re:Development process is flawed (5, Funny)

LitelySalted (1348425) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901623)

I guess it's the "cheaper" "cheaper" alternative to shipping your whole QA department over to India.

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901627)

Is there a VAR that does good validation? Seems like a market opportunity - I'm not buying SSD's myself out of good old-fashioned distrust of new-fangled things I can't hear spinning. ;) My slow, archaic, RAID-1 disk sets are at least free from surprising bugs. That is, at least after a few rounds of Seagate fixing the drive firmware.

Re:Development process is flawed (5, Insightful)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901669)

Paranoid much? There may be companies out there that haven't got a lot to loose and can play that testing game. Intel is certainly not one of them. Anyway, SSD's have been on the market quite a while, although market penetration was always low. And do you think that OS support for TRIM would be there if we had to wait for another year?

Anyway, let's wait and see what causes the (alleged) problems and we'll know what to think of it. It's a bit early to put this to corporate greed. These are complex products.

Re:Development process is flawed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29902313)

Is there a certain reason why people love two "O"s in a row? Really, why do people always fucking spell "lose" as "loose"? Is english really that hard?

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902501)

'Boot' has two o's, so 'lose' must be the same! English is a kinda screwy language, but you'd think it wouldn't be THAT hard...

Re:Development process is flawed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29903467)

Is english really that hard?

You mean English, dipshit.

Re:Development process is flawed (5, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901781)

I think it's more that nobody is taking seriously the fundamental differences between hard drives and flash. Nobody has really stopped to do a comprehensive assessment of what existing assumptions embodied in our software and users will be broken by flash memory that is asymmetric in both access speed and access granularity. As a result, the pre-Intel flash SSD controllers made really stupid trade-offs, and they ended up with drives that were less suitable for the consumer market than ordinary hard drives. Once Intel made everybody realize that latency and IOPS mattered a lot more to consumers than throughput, people moved on to the next difference, and started complaining about the lower write performance of a nearly full SSD. Even today, I still see people referring to it as a "bug", when it is nothing more than an inherent difference from the spinning platters of hard drives. Smart garbage collection (which requires smart OS support) is a way of hiding the limitation, but the lack of it isn't a bug any more than a hard drive with a small cache is faulty. It just has obvious room for improvement.

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29904373)

Remember kids - SSD garbage collection works the same way as Java. You ideally you want ~50% of the heap to be empty. ;)

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902063)

"I'm starting to think that the whole SSD market is a prime example of the modern corporate development mentality of pawning off beta testing to the general public. "

Whatever, i've never had a pro

Re:Development process is flawed (2, Interesting)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902257)

It's not flawed so much as inevitable. A portion of the market will jump at the first example of a promising technology that ships. Being the first mover in a particular space holds special significance and advantages for companies competing for market share. The thinking goes that quality can be worked on iteratively through generations of product and there will never be a time when you reach perfect quality anyway.

Moral of the story: If you don't want to beta test products for corporations, then don't buy first generation technology.

And before you argue that G2s *are* second generation drives, I would not categorize them as such. They're die-shrunk G1 drives with some bug fixes and performance tweaks. Corporations and the media are quick to claim that any improvement to a first generation technology *is* the next generation as it sells copies, clicks and product.

As a general rule, I wait at least 6 months after Anandtech and others review a product before making a new technology purchase. By then, you can usually figure out something about longer-term reliability from online discussions/reviews. As a result, I rarely have a whole lot of trouble with technology products I buy, beyond downloading the latest drivers/updates or whatnot. Sure, it means I don't have the latest bleeding edge stuff, but I also don't have to deal with the trouble that comes with paying for the opportunity to beta test.

Because SSD represents such a paradigm shift, I've chosen to hold off for at least another 6-12 months on SSDs partly to allow prices to drop and partly to account for the obvious growing pains that manufacturers have experienced over the past couple years.

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29907819)

Actually some first gen products can be pretty good quality. I suspect it's when the manufacturer can charge more and they don't know which corners they can safely cut, so they overbuild the product a bit. If they get lucky (no major flaws/bugs) you could end up with something quality that lasts.

Later on they figure out what corners they can cut, so the stuff doesn't last way past warranty :).

Truth is, there's not much point building some stuff to last that long. For example if most of your CD writers built in in 2001 last 15 years, they'd be way obsolete before they died - they won't be able to read DVDs or Bluray or whatever. They'd outlast the PCs they're used in but the motherboards in 2012 might not have PATA interfaces...

A "golden" first gen is rare though. So I thank all of you who buy bleeding edge stuff and bleed for the rest of us.

Here's hoping the good cheap 3rd/4th gen SSDs come soon ;).

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902477)

So do you think this is more likely a target release date being jammed down the dev team's throat? God I hate top-heavy companies.

Re:Development process is flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29903397)

Yeah right. I'm guessing you weren't around when hard-drives started getting popular. Same deal, different hardware.

Almost all new hardware has growing pains in the beginning. This is not to say that companies couldn't do better but for whatever reason there is always a mad rush to get stuff out as quick as possible in new markets.

Re:Development process is flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29904521)

Amen...

Anyone who remembers the early 80's fondly either didn't use "commodity" hard drives in quantity or is very forgetful.

However, it was kind of interesting working for a company that shipped drives from a variety of vendors. When something went wrong, we sometimes had to preemptively swap out hundreds of drives at customer sites and the vendor ended up (usually at least) paying for the parts/labor. Also, we were big enough to demand and get the details on just what went wrong and what the vendor had done in the new version to fix it. About half the new models we shipped ended up with such problems in their early releases "back in the day".

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

Josh Coalson (538042) | more than 4 years ago | (#29905413)

not only that but intel has pissed off a lot of the g1 owners by their incriminating silence [intel.com] about trim support in g1 drives.

Re:Development process is flawed (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29907163)

I tried raising this on the OCZ forums, it wasn't even specific to OCZ products - I merely stated that "SSD's are finicky" which they absoloutely are and have been, it's not close to a simple, plug, play, forget - technology.
They are getting better and overall OCZ have done a good job with support but the vehement fans of the products absolutely not only blindly defended SSD's overall but took it as some kind of a personal attack, it's ridiculous.

FWIW I'm an early adopter, I've got 2 OCZ drives and 2 Intel drives (coming soon) and yes, definitely a beta product but I am glad they are being worked on and figured out, in 12 to 18 months we will see some incredible disk performance finally, magnetic hard disks have been ruining computers for years (see my post history, I'm a big storagage nut)

Best bet, simply wait and don't buy one yet. I personally couldn't wait.

Poor, poor quality control (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901497)

I installed this firmware and I've never had more problems. My machine reboots 5-6 times a day and there is no end in si

Re:Poor, poor quality control (1)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901785)

I've installed the firmware too (unfortunately, just before the first few bad reports appeared).

But i haven't encountered any issues so far. Running Windows 7 x64 Professional.

I didn't reboot or powercycle my machine, though.

Luckily, i also have a backup :)

Ares I-X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901583)

Launch Manager: "AH SH*T".

This is off-topic and I appologize... (0, Offtopic)

allknowingfrog (1661721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901613)

I don't know where else to log this complaint. I've only been using Slashdot for a week or two. I've really been enjoying it and I've been commenting a lot. I've received a positive or at least neutral response to all of my comments, but I logged on today and discovered that my karma had gone from "positive" to "bad" over night. I started checking around, and it seems that four of my comments have suddenly been modded down as trolls. They clearly aren't. I think I'm the victim of either a glitch or a moderator's personal vendetta, but I can't find anywhere to voice a complaint. What do I do?

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (0, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901689)

You're a victim of the mental retards that are getting mod points these days.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901709)

Given your user id, it is obvious that you are a troll, and my suggestion would be that you should never, ever access /. again.

If this was a lame attempt at humour, then, again, please refrain from /.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (2, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901733)

Sometimes a-holes get mod points. Just keep posting insightful, informative, and interesting posts, and it will work out. It may take months to get up to Excellent.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (2, Informative)

allknowingfrog (1661721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901815)

I'm not approaching karma like a high-score or anything, I'm just offended that someone is allowed to label several of my comments "troll" simply because they don't like me.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (2, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902023)

It's a "feature" of the system. It means that there is no way to play favorites with official moderators. It does mean though that idiots occasionally get mod points and proceed to blow them all on modding someone down with whom they disagree.

But really, don't worry about it - idiots are still outnumbered by decent moderators without vendettas. Furthermore, this type of use is generally fixed by the metamod system: slashdot.org/metamod.pl.

I've been around for years, and this issue has always been around. After a while, you get used to it. Not to mention that your karma will get high enough to absorb drive-by moderation.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902115)

I'm just offended that someone is allowed to label several of my comments "troll" simply because they don't like me.

You must be n- oh, wait, never mind.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (1)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902315)

yea, I don't comment much on here, but you don't have to read the posts for long to understand the "unwritten" rules around here...thick skin is NOT optional :)

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (1)

theskipper (461997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29904333)

It's a right of passage. Once the 8-digit newbs sign up, all your posts will be modded +5 funny and virgins will suddenly find you desirable.

That's what happened to me when the 7-digit newbs started appearing around here.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906427)

That's "rite of passage".

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 4 years ago | (#29904493)

Mmm.... you're right, I think. And sometimes you can pin down exactly who it is, too.... like, for example, if you suddenly have 5 posts modded as "troll" (that clearly aren't trolls) the day after you call somebody out for being a self-important twat with no clue what he's actually talking about... (look at my posting history for an example, you get a cookie if you can guess who it is)....

It happens. Some people are idiots. Theoretically the meta-mod system is in place to mitigate that kind of asshattery. Practically, though, Karma really doesn't serve a purpose at this place at all, except that when it gets high enough you have the option of turning off ads on the site without buying a subscription (as if you couldn't do the same thing with AdBlock Plus :P)

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906613)

This is Slashdot. Most people here are a-holes, including you. We also have a nice collection of idiots, zealots, morons, and outcasts.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901737)

Say things that people like? I gave you my last mod point on an older comment, because somebody had obviously down-modded you inappropriately. Glad to help out.

Good afternoon. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901967)

First: prepare to be modded down again. This is simply the way of things.

I am a long-time visitor to Slashdot, who started by lurking, created an account, rose to the giddy heights and sank to the murky depths a number of times over an illustrious trolling history, only to return to lurking.

The one constant to this place is that nobody really gives a shit. It's not meant in a malicious way; no, it's more like the dispassionate indifference of nature towards its weakest strains, or corporate-provided tech support.

To survive -- indeed, to thrive! -- you must, too, not give a shit. Post facts that aren't true! Make courageous posts that start with "I know I'll get modded down for this, but..."! You'll have more karma than you know what to do with, and when you hit that tippity-top, start posting some real stinkers. I used to enjoy the occasional movie spoiler in the middle of a post regarding Java performance analysis, slightly misremembered Star Trek quotes, or letting people in on the real history of skyscrapers (the first was built in Japan to commemorate the southernmost part of the Great Wall.)

My favorite bit was watching my worst posts go up, go down, etc.; I think I got over thirty points spent on a post one time, and it wasn't long after that they would just show percentages spent in each moderation category. Boooo.

I don't know why it is, but the very worst thing you can do on here is try to hold an intellectual conversation. Though in my case, I suppose it would have helped if I was somewhat intellectual. Anyway, you can probably start getting the karma back up on your account by making smart-sounding comments to low-traffic stories. Just make stuff up if you don't happen to know anything, it works gangbusters.

Re:Good afternoon. (1)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902387)

Much wisdom from this one... I would agree that if you are looking to a web page for intellectual conversation you are likely to leave disappointed. It seems there are many people that use places like Slashdot to purge all the pent up frustrations from ALL other areas of their lives...and they aren't shy about it.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29902093)

Go check again. No more troll ratings. You were right. Those were undeserved, and I countered them.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (0, Offtopic)

allknowingfrog (1661721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902849)

I love vigilante justice! Thanks!

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (0, Troll)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902481)

Don't sweat it; like oodaloop said, just keep posting informative and interesting comments. As to the why, I suspect I know who the culprit is, as you only have one freak [slashdot.org] .

BTW, don't try for funny. Funny gains no karma, but attempted humor often gets modded troll or flamebait.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902707)

I don't know where else to log this complaint.

Have you tried directing it to /dev/null? They may be slow in offering up helpful suggestions, but boy are they great listeners!

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (1)

allknowingfrog (1661721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29903131)

I apologize for my ignorance, but I don't know what "/dev/null" means.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29903639)

He's just being a jerk. In Unix-like systems, /dev/null is a "null file" and disregards any data written to it.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (2, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29905733)

You do realize, he could have figured that out by typing it into google, and reading the first link? e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//dev/null [wikipedia.org]

This entity is a common inspiration for technical jargon expressions and metaphors by Unix programmers, e.g. "please send complaints to /dev/null," "my mail got archived in /dev/null," and "redirect to /dev/null" -- being jocular ways of saying, respectively: "don't bother sending complaints," "my mail was deleted," and "go away".

This is slashdot, not "ubuntuforums.org". They actually reference the sort of stuff he alludes to in the FAQ, which you can click from this very page. That's why there is no place to complain to about getting bad Karma, and why I made the (probably bad) joke about directing complaints to /dev/null - see http://slashdot.org/faq/com-mod.shtml [slashdot.org] Specifically -

Karma is used to remove risky users from the moderator pool, and to assign a bonus point to users who have contributed positively to Slashdot in the past. It is not your IQ, dick length/cup size, value as a human being, or a score in a video game. It does not determine your worth as a Slashdot reader. It does not cure cancer or grant you a seat on the secret spaceship that will be traveling to Mars when the Krulls return to destroy the planet in 2012. Karma fluctuates dramatically as users post, moderate, and meta-moderate. Don't let it bother you. It's just a number in the database.

If he can't do a simple task like read a FAQ or google random jargon, perhaps he should first contemplate why he is contributing posts to a site that bills itself as "news for nerds..."? Maybe he should consider reading http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html [catb.org] first (a great idea for any nerd in training), and perhaps participate in a more newb targeted web forum first?

And btw I do not have any issues with the OP, and as far as I know, I have not modded the OP's posts one way or another. I just saw the opportunity for the gag so I went for it. I'm fairly sure I have had people do the exact same targeted moderation towards myself as the OP, but they always lose interest if you don't acknowledge them. And who cares, really? A lot of people browse at -1, and will read your posts regardless.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (0, Offtopic)

allknowingfrog (1661721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29905865)

It's definitely funny now that I get the joke. I usually would have gone to Google, but I assumed /dev/null was just a Slashdot thing that I didn't know about. I've only recently started learning about Unix.

I'm not a hard-core nerd, but I have my areas.

Re:This is off-topic and I appologize... (0, Troll)

allknowingfrog (1661721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902945)

I want to thank everyone who took an interest. I do have thick skin, and I can take the abuse, but in this case I felt compelled to fight for the principle of the thing. Anyway, I apologize again for the off-topic post. Thanks!

Moderation is awful here (-1, Offtopic)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29903563)

If it phases you or upsets you do yourself a favour and leave. I'd rather you stay of course, but leaving is a better choice than worrying about it.

Just yesterday I had two posts on the same discussion that were very similar modded very differently. One ended up at +5:Insightful. The other at -1:Troll.

I regularly find that my posts get modded up to plus 5 then 4 days later get eroded to -1:Troll by people who don't like them. The only way I can see this happening is people bookmarking and coming back to mod things down. If you don't believe me just say something legitimate but negative about Apple or Google. Watch the moderation yoyo! I've got no way to prove it but I don't think I'm just being paranoid when I say that these people don't just mod down the post you don't like but then look at ALL your comments and mod them down too.

The only solution I can think of is to weight negative feedback lower than positive or cut off negative feedback once a comment gets enough positive. The trouble is that this too could be abused by a group or person with multiple accounts. Personally, despite only reading at +4 I'd like to see moderation abolished. People keep saying that occassionally idiots get mod points but it all works out, but the truth is moderation here has gone to the dogs.

Hurray for the lack of testing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29901807)

So, they ever heard of a thing called beta testing?

I don't like the way how these days most things are just pushed out from the production as fast and cheap as possible, and then start fixing the bugs afterwards.

Re:Hurray for the lack of testing (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29903261)

Blame the bean counters and marketingdroids. Engineering will not have been behind the push to release anything they didn't consider fit for purpose (which I'd guess in the case of firmware means a minimum of not turning your device into a brick)....

Not just Intel (4, Informative)

MattRog (527508) | more than 4 years ago | (#29901831)

Crucial's M225 (I own the 128GB version) 1711 firmware had significant bugs and was quickly yanked. In order to upgrade to the latest 1819 you have to downgrade back to 1571.

http://www.crucial.com/support/firmware.aspx [crucial.com]

Seems as if most consumer SSD products are still a bit in the "beta" stage.

Re:Not just Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29902609)

1711 was a mistaken release from several SSD makers who use the Indilinix Barefoot controller (some rename their releases, some use the original Indilinix numbering). It appears that 1711 was released to manufactures prematurely my Indilinx, though you'd expect them to do some testing too. At least it was pulled fairly quickly.

It's still new techonology (1)

fluor2 (242824) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902131)

It's still new techonology. Compared to the evolution from the first hard-drives and the first 1x CD-ROMs on the market, the SSD technology is still somewhat more reliable. I myself find myself waiting for this technology to mature a bit more before introducing it on my company computers.

Re:It's still new techonology (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902599)

There are Winchester drives and 1x cdroms that still work fine today. I doubt that in 25 years ANY of the SSDs built today will work.

Re:It's still new techonology (1)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 4 years ago | (#29903299)

There are Winchester drives and 1x cdroms that still work fine today. I doubt that in 25 years ANY of the SSDs built today will work.

Last I heard, flash manufacturers were shooting for "5 9s at 10 years", which is to say that they were going to retain 99.999% of cell data after 10 years. Flash is made of very low leakage capacitors, and every capacitor leaks. If your device never refreshes a cell in 25 years, I'd expect more than one failure. I don't know what the distribution looks like, nor what their ECC / hamming distance look like, but after 25 years of off-time, my expectations would be fairly low. If you were using this device in a mostly read fashion, or writing with most of the drive empty (for wear levelling purposes), or if you powered it up every 5 years and re-imaged it (is there a tool to read every block and re-write it to force a cell refresh?), I would fully expect SSDs to fail at a lower rate than any spinning or mechanical device beyond 30 years.

If you care that the Winchester still works, you really should be looking at tape. I don't care if your 1x CDROM works, you could use a 52x for pretty cheap. SSDs are strong for a lot of reasons, but few customers could care less about long term storage.

As an aside, we seem to be stuck around 50-70x for optical drives, instead relying on lower wavelength lasers to drive up linear bit density. Has anybody considered a multi-armed read device? If you had a pair of laser arms parked at 1/3 and 2/3, random access should cut in half. A second device in a single arm fixed a single sector away would allow a track to be read and the next one speculatively buffered. Of course, such a business case seems to resemble failure [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It's still new techonology (1)

gwdoiron (1590237) | more than 4 years ago | (#29903753)

This has already been tried, and failed to gain traction in the marketplace. Zen TrueX technology [url]http://www.cdr-info.com/Sections/Reviews/Specific.aspx?ArticleId=6084[/url] was used in a handful of Kenwood CDROM drives in the late 90's. The drives were "relatively" expensive ($120 at a time when [loud, hot] 52X generic drives were going for $40), and had issues reading from CD-R and CD-RW discs. However, when used on regularly pressed CDROM discs, the drives were every bit is quick as the generic 52X drives, but virtually quiet (since they only spun the discs at 8x/10x speeds). They also suffered from a defect rate similar to the generic 52X cdrom drives. But, if you wanted a quiet system with a quick CDROM drive for those game installs, there was no other game in town.

Re:It's still new techonology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29904363)

I had a TrueX 72x CD-ROM when they first came out. It may have only spun at 10x since it had ~7 heads (iirc) but the dang thing scratched cd's left in the drive or used to install from to many times. I never bothered to RMA it, but I wish I had.
-Tynin (anon since I mod'd in this article)

Re:It's still new techonology (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29903359)

And then on the other hand, neither of those devices is particularly worth using anymore (a bottom end 3.5 inch hdd will have more recent interfaces, use less power, have more storage and be faster, a craptactular DVD drive won't take forever and a day to do everything).

Smart Machines (1)

STDOUBT (913577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902155)

I don't know about anyone else, but I am getting damn sick and tired of devices that NEED firmware. Why does every little peripheral need to contain LOGIC!!! I want DUMB machines, damn it! Why can't an SSD simply be a "mass storage device"?? Let the OS worry about wear leveling, etc.

Re:Smart Machines (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902203)

Well, at least I know you are ok with a tooth brush. Beyond that....

Re:Smart Machines (3, Interesting)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902299)

Doesn't that defeat the purpose of standards?

That's like saying that we should get rid of the x86 instruction set and just use the micro ops. A layer of abstraction helps and is required for a standard to work.

Re:Smart Machines (1)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 4 years ago | (#29903705)

the only reason they are using controller wear-leveling in the first place is that the popular operating systems of the time did not do so themselves

really the drive knows nothing about the filesystem and how it wants to store it's data, let the os decide how to wear level, it knows more and can make more informed decisions.. seriously the only reason I don't have an SSD drive already is this hardware wear-leveling crap which is a completely unsuitable way of fixing things.

Re:Smart Machines (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29903837)

They do it internally for a couple reasons:

- The file system does not handle it directly.
- The file should not handle it directly. If you do, a reformat destroys all of the wear-levelling data.

Re:Smart Machines (1)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 4 years ago | (#29905355)

The file should not handle it directly. If you do, a reformat destroys all of the wear-levelling data.

And something akin to SMART but with added retention of how many times each sector has been written to is an issue how? would stay persistent even with formats and would help the OS determine the best places to write also.

The file system does not handle it directly.

If you use windows then yes.. but more accurately what I should have said is that the drives should allow you to access them in raw mode, hell even default to wear leveling in the controller if you want.. but allow us to disable it when we are using something good enough to do better.

Re:Smart Machines (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 4 years ago | (#29904693)

It needs a firmware because the technology that controls read/write on the physical medium is not open source, and is probably not common across all drives. For SSD's, you have several different kinds of Flash that are in use, along with several different read/write controllers. The firmware is simply a low-level driver that translates between these read/write machine code and the standardised SATA interface. Some of the more intelligent firmware will also do some kinds of optimisation and load balancing on the flash chips.

You do realize that physical spinny platter-type drives also have firmware? As do optical devices? As does everything else you've got connected to your computer, even the keyboard/mouse and monitor? While some of those firmwares will probably never need to be updated (when was the list time performance on a keyboard was a major factor on a benchmark? The only time I've *ever* seen a problem with one of those, it was on an old iMac running System 9, and the issue was actually the os's input buffer which couldn't keep up with my typing rate that's in excess of 110wpm.), those devices still need and have a firmware.

But enthusiasts have had the ability to update the firmware on their CDROM drives and hard drives for a long time, as a code optimisation there can make a big difference to a benchmark that involves the device... on optical drives, it has even been done to upgrade a 32x drive to 40x or 48x with a firmware update, and there's also pirate firmwares available for DVD drives that reset the region change counter every time you power cycle the device.

Re:Smart Machines (1)

alantus (882150) | more than 4 years ago | (#29905283)

I don't know about anyone else, but I am getting damn sick and tired of devices that NEED firmware. Why does every little peripheral need to contain LOGIC!!! I want DUMB machines, damn it! Why can't an SSD simply be a "mass storage device"?? Let the OS worry about wear leveling, etc.

A firmware upgrade makes it possible to make improvements or fix any bug discovered after a product was shipped.
It saves money to manufacturers (reducing RMA numbers), and time, and possibly downtime for clients.

I own a 32GB SLC Samsung SSD that as far as I know doesn't support firmware updating. That is terrible for me because I'm stuck with an expensive SSD that will never have TRIM support. If I had bought a different brand I could just get the firmware when they implement TRIM and I be happy.

I really don't know if TRIM is relevant with SLC drives, as everybody is talking about TRIM on MLC drives, anybody has the answer to this?

Re:Smart Machines (1)

geantvert (996616) | more than 4 years ago | (#29907335)

Humm... wear leveling in software ... wait until an OS misconfiguration, an OS bug or a virus ruins your SSD by writing thousand of times the same sector. I am not talking about losing your precious data which should be backuped but losing the whole disk. And don't even think about using the warranty. SSD makers are not suicidal. The first thing they would had to their product is a counter of writes per block in order to prove that the failure was not their fault.

       

vs Pricing (1)

dUN82 (1657647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29902303)

Sometimes, it makes sense to price of product so high at the beginning of its PLC, so the consumer who willing to pay for it is highly likely to be able to provide free in detail crash feedback...

Intel communities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29902537)

Why does the intel community forum use gray on white and gray on light blue text? Yuck!

Darn it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29902569)

Firmware on my desktop, 34nm X-25M 80GB in the mail. I hope they fix this quickly.

Re:Darn it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29903119)

Same here. Ordered my X25-M G2 80GB yesterday after reading the TRIM support article on /. and then further details on anandtech. I'm crossing my fingers. Posting anon since I mod'ed in this article already.
-Tynin

My intel ssd is fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29902919)

I upgraded to the new firmware on my intel 80 gig ssd on windows 7 home premium. I guess I am lucky it worked. I would really reccomend a SSD drive for laptops.

My X-25M had this problem (1)

fear025 (763732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29903043)

I had this problem with my X-25M yesterday. I updated the firmware, rebooted Windows 7 Ultimate, and everything was fine. Then I started playing around with AHCI mode on my motherboard (I had installed with Enhanced-IDE) in order to get instant-TRIM, and after that didn't work I switched back. Then the drive started getting SMART errors, so I switched around a few more times, and eventually SMART went away entirely, and the drive started showing up as a non-partitionable 7 MB drive. Intel gave me an RMA after getting my info (processor, motherboard, bios revision). I did make a backup beforehand though, because of the earlier intel bios snafu, so it really only cost me time and aggravation (and $11 shipping).

f!ailzo8s (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29903881)

words, don't get so there are people said. 'Screaming wwel-known [tux.org]? Are you arrogance was or chair, return Satan's Dick And to avoid so as to

I'm using the new firmware. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29904357)

I'm typing this article on my trusty ThinkPad now equipped with a X-25 MLC 34nm SSD upgraded to the latest firmware. No problems whatsoever with Ubuntu. I'm wondering if the problem is related to some crappy OS that some people use...

"Closed Source Filesystem" (4, Interesting)

Bronster (13157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29904623)

This post really needs a link to:

http://lwn.net/Articles/355149/ [lwn.net]

"Do you want to trust your data to a closed source file system implementation which you can't debug, can't improve and — most scarily — can't even fsck when it goes wrong, because you don't have direct access to the underlying medium?"

This is what you get with a flash drive at the moment unfortunately - a closed source filesystem that presents a single "file" as a block device over sata. And this firmware update is a filesystem driver change. Ouch.

Hey Intel, how about unlocking the read speed (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906463)

So the first X-25M were blazing fast reads and pretty amazing at small file writes but somehow ground to a halt at 75 MB/s - about the speed
of a really good hard disk 3 years ago.

I hear the G2 drives can do 100 MB/s with a firmware update. Now, I know that you want to save the really fast writes for your SLC version
cause that much more moo-lay but c'mon - 100 MB/s for a $400 drive, that's artificially limited.
No thanks, until you let the drive perform to its proper capability ( i'm guessing 160 MB/s sequential writes) it's OCZ or Patriot for me ( I already own at least
one from each of them )

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