As much as the folks at Intel like to talk up the reliability of their solid-state drives, firmware bugs still crop up every once in a while. This time, Intel has acknowledged some user reports about problems with the freshly released 320 Series SSDs. Complaints have piled up in Intel's Support Community message board in a thread entitled, "Is 320 firmware buggy?"
Simply put, the users allege that 320 Series SSDs are wiping themselves clean in the event of a system power loss. One user complaint dated July 1 reads:
Had the 8MB issue happen to me as well with my 160 GB 320. On Monday, I cloned the drive using the Intel Data Migration Software and installed the SSD in my new laptop. Monday night there was a software problem and I had to hold down the power button to cause the system to reboot. On reboot, drive was not recognized. Went though various procedures to try to get it to work. Nothing. Restarted the computer about 30-40 times. Eventually, the computer booted from the SSD. It ran fine for a while, and then I hibernated the computer. Took computer out of hibernation, drive not recognized.
After that I put in the original drive (a HDD) that laptop shipped with, machine booted right up. Attached the SSD to the laptop over USB 3.0 with the adapter the drive came with (Retail Box). Drive didn't show in "Computer". Right clicked on Computer --> Manage --> Disk Management. Drive shows as unformatted, no partition table, with an 8MB capacity. The original vendor is replacing the SSD, because I bought it less than 30 days ago.
Intel quietly responded earlier this week with a Support Community message board thread of its own. Here's what the company's saying:
SSD power loss report updates
Intel is aware of the customer sightings on Intel SSD 320 Series. If you experience any issue with your Intel SSD, please contact your Intel representative or Intel customer support (via web: www.intel.com or phone: www.intel.com/p/en_US/support/contact/phone) . We will provide an update when we have more information.
Intel's NVM Solutions Group
This isn't the first Intel SSD users have had to contend with data-wiping firmware issues. Two years ago, Intel had to halt shipments of second-generation X25-M SSDs because of a similar bug. That bug caused data loss in systems whose BIOS passwords were either changed or disabled.