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Intel resumes shipping consumer SSDs after fixing bug

Intel Corp. said it had resumed shipping its latest consumer solid-state drives (SSDs) after resolving a password bug that made the drives inoperable, making it impossible to access or retrieve data.

The company said it had issued updated firmware for the Intel X25-M consumer SSDs that resolves the password bug. The firmware is available on Intel's Web site.

Shipments of the drives to retailers also resumed with the bug now fixed, said Daniel Snyder, an Intel spokesman. Intel halted shipments of the drives after discovering the bug.

Intel had earlier said it had found a bug affecting users who set a BIOS drive password on the newly released SSDs made using the 34-nanometer process. The SSDs would be inoperable after a user sets a BIOS drive password, disables or changes the password, and then reboots the computer. The updated firmware is available as an ISO file that needs to be burned on a CD or DVD.

This bug was specific to SSDs and did not apply to computer, network or operating system passwords, Snyder said in a July 24 e-mail.

Intel introduced new X25-M and X18-M SSDs on July 21, targeted at laptop and desktop PCs. The drives are being offered in sizes of 1.8 inches and 2.5 inches, with capacities of 80GB and 160GB. At the time of release, Intel said the drives delivered close to double the random write performance compared to their predecessors.

However, in internal testing, IDG News Service's sister publication Computerworld found the read and write rates of the X25-M with 160GB of storage subpar compared to its predecessors.

There are known installation issues for SSD's new firmware, according to an instruction manual on Intel's Web site. Some systems, including Apple Inc.'s Macintosh systems with Nvidia chipsets, do not instantly recognize an Intel SSD. A user needs to complete the SSD firmware upgrade on a system without an Nvidia chipset, and then reinstall the drive in the system with an Nvidia chipset.

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