Good news, users of Intel X25-M and X18-M solid-state drives. Intel has released a firmware update that addresses (and apparently resolves) a performance problem caused by internal fragmentation. Here's the skinny, in Intel's words:
This update implements several continuous improvements and optimizations to the drive algorithms including a resolution for a performance issue first reported by the PC Perspective review website. Keep in mind that the risk of a typical PC user experiencing this issue is very low. We are offering this firmware download to our OEM customers and any consumers who have purchased the drives. Consumers with questions can contact their PC maker or visit Intel support at http://www.intel.com/support/9089.htm for more information.
Back in February, PC Perspective reported that the write combining feature in Intel SSDs caused internal fragmentation that could hurt performance significantly—dropping write speeds to 25-30MB/s in some cases. The article noted, "We found that a 'used' X25-M will always perform worse than a 'new' one, regardless of any adaptive algorithms that may be at play."
Does the new firmware really work? PC Perspective published another article this afternoon with positive results. Reportedly, installing the firmware after two months of use more than doubled write speeds from 30MB/s to 76MB/s. The drive shrugged off repeated torture testing, as well.