Intel Says It Has a Fix for Faulty NAND Flash Firmware

When users try to change or remove a previously set BIOS password for the 34-nm X25-M drive, the drive locks up and the data is erased. Intel said that the data in that situation is not recoverable. However, the firmware fix should be ready by end of the week, Intel said.

Intel, which on July 21 launched the world's first 34-nanometer solid-state NAND flash drives for desktop and laptop computers, acknowledged Aug. 4 that there are problems with the X25-M processor firmware that comes with them but said that a fix already has been found.
When users try to change or remove a previously set BIOS password for the 34nm X25-M drive, the drive locks up and the data is erased. Intel said that the data in that situation is not recoverable.
If the user has not set a BIOS drive password, then there is no issue. This problem does not apply to a computer, network or operating system password, Intel said.
"Corporate users are mainly the ones who might have needed to go into the BIOS," Dan Snyder, an Intel spokesperson, told eWEEK. "If you have enabled your BIOS drive password, do not disable or change your BIOS drive password. If you have not enabled your BIOS drive password, do.
"The good news is that we've already found the fix. We're in the process of validating now, and it should be ready to distribute by the end of the week."
Snyder also said the company has stopped shipments of the drives until the firmware can be fixed. A number of retailers also have stopped shipping the drives until the fix is distributed.
Intel Director of SSD Marketing Troy Winslow told eWEEK that the Intel X25-M on 34nm flash memory is drop-in compatible with the current 50-nm version and will continue to be drop-in compatible to replace existing hard disk drives.
Same or Better Performance Than 50-nm Predecessor?
Winslow said the new Intel X25-M features the same or faster random write IOPS (input/output operations per second) at 35K per read than the older 50-nm drive.
Solid-state flash drives use enterprise-class flash memory to store and retrieve data, enabling read/write response times that are about 30 times faster than the current highest-quality hard disk drives. Because they have no moving parts, SSDs require much less power to run, and mechanical breakdowns are rare.
SSDs have been playing a key role in the emergence of ultra-thin and light notebook PCs that are becoming popular due to their design, size and longer battery life.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...