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SSD firmware updating

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August 19, 2009 5:35:34 PM

I have learned just enough about the difficulties of updating firmware on SSDs to nearly be scared off...especially if I am planning on a pair of them in RAID-0. I keep reading messages about needing to update the firmware from DOS, and, worse, needing to update SSDs in a RAID pair individually on a different computer. :ouch: 

For a new high end Photoshop system, I am considering the Corsair Extreme Series, OCZ Vertex Turbo, or Inter X25-M G2...probably two 64GB or 80GB SSDs in RAID-0. I understand firmware updates are important on SSDs and can make a big difference in performance.

Do y'all have up to date info on updating firmware on these drives? If not, can you point me to a place where I can get answers?

Thanks.

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a b G Storage
August 20, 2009 3:24:30 AM

In the first place, do you really need to apply those firmware updates? And in the second, using a RAID array requires an even more stringent back-up routine, as the chance for data loss increases.
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August 20, 2009 4:36:28 AM

r_manic said:
In the first place, do you really need to apply those firmware updates? And in the second, using a RAID array requires an even more stringent back-up routine, as the chance for data loss increases.

The answer to whether the firmware updates are necessary seems to range from a good idea for increased performance to absolutely necessary for people like those who bought early Intel X25-M G2s only to find there was a fatal bug that required immediate firmware updating. An example of it's-a-good-idea would be people who own that drive when Win7 releases October 22 with TRIM to keep the drive running at top speed; without a firmware update, X25-M G2s apparently won't be able to use TRIM under Win7.

Less critically, several major SSD reviews discuss running tests on a drive and later updating firmware and finding significant improvements in performance. Who wouldn't want that improvement?

Not updating firmware if it becomes available would be like not bothering to service a car during its lifetime...sure, it might make it to 100,000 miles anyway, but who would do that?

Sadly, I'm no expert and would be happy for someone to jump in and tell me I have it wrong...or that installing firmware updates is effortless...but I'm having trouble getting reliable information so far.

As for backup, I have redundant onsite backup of everything as well as online backup for critical data and regularly create drive images of the boot disk for rapid resurrection if it dies. So RAID-0 poses no meaningful risk for me. Plus the fact that SSD reliability actually increases with RAID-0 because the prime reason for SSD failure is from blocked cells which will happen at half the normal rate under RAID-0 because each drive is being written two half as often. There is none of the rotational or mechanical failure risk that you have with standard hard drives. While it's to soon to know for sure, it looks as if MTBF for SSDs is many times greater than for HDDs (even without running them in RAID :sarcastic:  ).
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