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Intel Pulls SSD Firmware Update

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Intel pulled a firmware update for its X25-M solid-state drive, following customer complaints of problems between the software and Windows 7.

Intel, which released the SSD Optimizer update on Monday, issued a statement Wednesday confirming that it was looking into the reports and "working toward resolution." Among the reported problems was the inability to reboot Windows 7 after the update is installed.

"We have been contacted by users with issues with the 34nm (nanometer) Intel SSD firmware upgrade and are investigating," the statement sent to InformationWeek said. "We take all sightings and issues seriously and are working toward resolution. We have temporarily taken down the firmware link while we investigate."

Reports of problems with the upgrade for Intel's 34-nm X25-M SATA drive surfaced soon after Intel released the firmware update.

"Initially the computer booted just fine, but once I was within Windows it installed some drivers and asked for a reboot," a user reported on Intel's support forum. "That's when the trouble started. Now the drive won't boot Windows 7 anymore."

Another person said, "Windows asked me to restart and after that it stopped working." He later added, "I am still hoping there is a way to fix this without loosing all the data, but that might be too much to hope for."

Intel offers the X25-M as a replacement for traditional hard-disk drives. While significantly more expensive than hard drives, SSDs in general are faster, have higher reliability and use less power.

The new firmware boosts the write speed of Intel's 160 GB X25-M to 100 MB per second, a 40% jump from the existing firmware version, according to Intel. The update uses the Windows 7 ATA Data Set Management Command, known as Trim, to improve performance of the mainstream SSD.

The X25-M is a 2.5-inch drive that's available with either 80 GB or 160 GB of storage. The drives cost $225 and $440, respectively, in quantities of 1,000.

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