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Intel Releases New SSD Firmware to Fix 8 MB Bug

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 23 comments

Just what the doctor ordered.

In July, we reported on a particularly nasty firmware bug that could reduce a new and shiny Intel 320 SSD, regardless of size, down to just 8MB.

Today, Intel posted a firmware fix that addresses the Bad Context 13x Error. Intel describes the error as:

For users unfamiliar with the issue, an Intel SSD 320 Series drive may exhibit a drive capacity of 8MB and an electronic serial # field containing a message of “BAD_CTX 0000013x” caused by an unexpected power loss under specific conditions.  Once this error occurs, no data on the SSD can be accessed and the user cannot write to or read from the SSD. 

For obvious reasons, Intel recommends that all users of the 320 Series of SSDs upgrade their firmware to the new version.

In order to provide the best user experience, Intel always recommends users download and install the latest firmware.  As with any storage device, Intel recommends users frequently back up their data and periodically check for firmware updates.  The Intel® SSD Toolbox provides a host of utilities to monitor your SSD, including displaying detailed information such as the currently installed firmware revision.

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  • 11 Hide
    jacobdrj , August 18, 2011 3:16 PM
    Meh, 8MB is plenty of space for an OS drive and a few documents too...

    For like DOS...


    This is the SECOND popular boo boo Intel has had with their SSDs. 1st was the BIOS 'Password' problem, and now the illustrious 8MB problem...

    Kind of reminds me of the Pentium that couldn't do math back in the day...
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    jacobdrj , August 18, 2011 3:16 PM
    Meh, 8MB is plenty of space for an OS drive and a few documents too...

    For like DOS...


    This is the SECOND popular boo boo Intel has had with their SSDs. 1st was the BIOS 'Password' problem, and now the illustrious 8MB problem...

    Kind of reminds me of the Pentium that couldn't do math back in the day...
  • 6 Hide
    scook9 , August 18, 2011 3:38 PM
    I have not had any issues yet with my 160GB 320 but this will definitely let me sleep better at night :D 
  • 7 Hide
    cadder , August 18, 2011 3:55 PM
    Compare this with the failure rates for OCZ drives and Intel products will seem to be perfect.

    But you also wonder why a bug like this didn't come up during their product testing.
  • -4 Hide
    DjEaZy , August 18, 2011 4:12 PM
    ... SF FTW!!!
  • 6 Hide
    HansVonOhain , August 18, 2011 4:18 PM
    I give kudos to intel for aknowledging, and fixing the problem!
  • 2 Hide
    bv90andy , August 18, 2011 4:18 PM
    cadderCompare this with the failure rates for OCZ drives and Intel products will seem to be perfect.But you also wonder why a bug like this didn't come up during their product testing.

    That's because in testing they test a lot less devices then the number sold on the market. Seems pretty obvious. That's why there exist updates on everything, from cars to pc hardware to software.
  • 1 Hide
    JamesSneed , August 18, 2011 4:18 PM
    That was a quick turn around. Nice job Intel.
  • 2 Hide
    tului , August 18, 2011 4:49 PM
    I applied it last night to my 120GB drive. It's a small < 5MB ISO. I don't have anything of note on the drive so didn't back up, but it was non-destructive in my case.
  • 2 Hide
    subasteve5800 , August 18, 2011 5:02 PM
    Didn't one of the editors (Crashman I think?) have this issue on one of their drives? I'd like to hear from them if this update fixed the problem.
  • 2 Hide
    lothdk , August 18, 2011 5:31 PM

    Just applied it to my 160 GB drive, went fast and without any issues.

    Have to say, compared to what else we have seen, Intel have been quick to develop this firmware fix.
  • 3 Hide
    legacy7955 , August 18, 2011 5:32 PM
    I'm always glad to see a company step up and correct problems and publicly communicate the fix to users.

    Honesty and forthright behavior, with a proper fix or repair WILL ALWAYS GET MY BUSINESS!
  • -2 Hide
    beenthere , August 18, 2011 5:50 PM
    The unfortunate situation with consumer SSDs is that they are being rushed to market for great profit - without proper validation. This applies to all vendors including Intel. Hopefully these issues will get sorted out by all SSD companies as it's unscrupulous to be selling SSDs with reliability and compatibility issues.
  • 0 Hide
    SlitelyOff , August 18, 2011 6:31 PM
    "I applied it last night to my 120GB drive. It's a small < 5MB ISO. I don't have anything of note on the drive so didn't back up, but it was non-destructive in my case.
    .."

    Am I the only that first saw the
  • 0 Hide
    SlitelyOff , August 18, 2011 6:33 PM
    "I applied it last night to my 120GB drive. It's a small < 5MB ISO. I don't have anything of note on the drive so didn't back up, but it was non-destructive in my case.
    .."

    Am I the only one that saw the "< 5MB" and thought "OMG, now his drive is 5MB rather than 8MB!"
  • -5 Hide
    Lutfij , August 18, 2011 6:33 PM
    intel is beginning to look like someone is sabotaging the company from within...
  • -2 Hide
    TelegrumpSam , August 18, 2011 6:47 PM
    intel is beginning to look like someone is sabotaging the company from within...


    You mean that AMD van parked out in the parking lot ?
  • -1 Hide
    AMD_pitbull , August 18, 2011 9:19 PM
    lutfijintel is beginning to look like someone is sabotaging the company from within...

    Because they're releasing things that have issues? They're trying to keep on top of a large number of markets. It's hard. I personally dislike Intel, but, I have respect for the diversity of the company. They have decent stuff, and are competitive in everything (except on-die graphics, which, we'll see what they can do with their next gen). I love competition. This next year will be interesting.
  • 3 Hide
    Botia , August 18, 2011 10:01 PM
    jacobdrjMeh, 8MB is plenty of space for an OS drive and a few documents too...


    You'll never need more than 8MB of space.
  • 1 Hide
    mavroxur , August 19, 2011 12:07 AM
    BotiaYou'll never need more than 8MB of space.



    Or more than 640kb of RAM

  • 0 Hide
    legacy7955 , August 19, 2011 1:21 AM
    beenthereThe unfortunate situation with consumer SSDs is that they are being rushed to market for great profit - without proper validation. This applies to all vendors including Intel. Hopefully these issues will get sorted out by all SSD companies as it's unscrupulous to be selling SSDs with reliability and compatibility issues.


    Competition is great but it seems increasingly that it is becoming so over the top that everything is being rushed to market and this isn't good for consumers in the end. Of course it isn't good for reputations either. A little slow down wouldn't hurt anyone if it greatly increases durability and reliability.

    RELIABILITY IS WORTH PLENTY TO MOST CONSUMERS EVEN WITH TECHNOLOGY PRODUCTS!

    I'm also not a fan of Intel, I think AMD is more consumer friendly in many ways, but I'm never unhappy to see a large company come forward, publicly admit a problem and come forward to repair the issue in a timely manner. This is good, OLD FASHIONED, CUSTOMER SERVICE, glad to see there is some honor left in ANY large business today.

    I know everyone is so anxious to see the Bulldozer come to market, BUT I think AMD is doing the right thing if there were any issues to that needed to be addressed with it delaying the launch. Smart move in the end because consumer will get the best product possible.

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