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Intel Hardware

Intel Responds To X25-M Fragmentation Issue 111

Vigile writes "In mid-February, news broke about a potential issue with Intel's X25-M mainstream solid state drives involving fragmentation and performance slow-downs. At that time, after having the news picked up by everyone from CNet to the Wall Street Journal, Intel stated that it had not seen any of these issues but was working with the source to replicate the problem and find a fix if at all possible. Today Intel has essentially admitted to the problem by releasing a new firmware for the X25-M line that not only fixes the flaws found in the drive initially, but also increases write performance across the board."
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Intel Responds To X25-M Fragmentation Issue

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 13, 2009 @08:32PM (#27565137)

    How much more do you guys need. Intel is the fastest of the bunch and you're getting free speedups at no cost!

    The new OCZ & Samsung drives are faster (and larger) than the X25-M.

    SuperTalent (i think) is also bringing out a PCIe based SSD (as the fastest SSDs are reaching SATA II speed limitations).

  • by AllynM ( 600515 ) * on Monday April 13, 2009 @08:46PM (#27565249) Journal


    You're welcome :).

    Kidding aside, it was great to have a manufacturer as large as Intel work with us and have something good come from it.

    Allyn Malventano
    Storage Editor, PC Perspective

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday April 13, 2009 @08:47PM (#27565259) Homepage Journal

    The SWIFT and other banking networks still use x.25. It's a rule of information technology that nothing is ever thrown away.

  • Re:Anandtech (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:26PM (#27565485)

    They have a large capacitor in the drive. The DRAM is on the ssd and behind the capacitor. If the drive detects a power failure the data in DRAM is written to the ssd memory before the capacitor loses it's charge. This is my understanding.

    Cheaper ssd drives may not have the on chip DRAM chip. Research it before you put these in servers. Use the write optimized MLC ssd drives are better geared for logging like Suns ZFS intent log and database logs.

  • by Chris Daniel ( 807289 ) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:36PM (#27565551) Homepage

    The new OCZ & Samsung drives are faster (and larger) than the X25-M.

    For sequential read/write -- yes, they are faster than Intel's offerings. Random read and write operations, on the other hand, are another story [anandtech.com]. That's one of the biggest issues that SSDs solve versus spinning platters, and no one has gotten it right so far, except Intel.

  • by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Monday April 13, 2009 @11:16PM (#27566099)

    As AllynM mentioned, this fix addresses a different problem. If you read in that anandtech article, you will see this:

    Intel's X25-M: Not So Adaptive Performance?

    The Intel drive is in a constant quest to return to peak performance, that's what its controller is designed to do. The drive is constantly cleaning as it goes along to ensure its performance is as high as possible, for as long as possible. A recent PC Perspective investigation unearthed a scenario where the X25-M is unable to recover and is stuck at a significantly lower level of performance until the drive is secure erased once more.

    There's not much I can say about the issue other than I've been working with Intel on it very closely and it's not something I'm overly concerned about at this point. I can replicate the PC Perspective data but not by using my machine normally. Through the right combination of benchmarks I can effectively put the drive in a poor performance state that it won't recover from without a secure erase. I should also mention that I can do the same to other drives as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:19AM (#27566439)

    They use plain standard IP technology, VPN tunnels, LDAP, Certificates, SSH etc on their own network in their own way that makes you wish they stuck with X25.

  • by edmudama ( 155475 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:33AM (#27566789)

    Actually, the the X25-M is for "mainstream" usage, including laptops and desktops. The X25-E is for extreme workloads, including some server usages.

    The X25-M is available both in 1.8" and 2.5" SATA form factors, which are the two most common laptop interfaces today.

    PCIe is a bit more limited in a laptop typically, and if you go that route (as a laptop manufacturer) you're generally locking yourself into a single device vendor, since you'll need custom drivers for whichever PCIe board you choose. SATA, on the other hand, allows you to pick any device on the market if you follow the form factor guidelines properly.

  • by bertok ( 226922 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:55AM (#27566881)

    I have an OCZ VERTEX 250GB SSD, and it blows mechanical drives out of the water for random IO.

    I noticed several reviews that indicated that the Samsung drives do have issues with random IO, but the OCZ drives appear to have no such problems. Yes, you lose performance with random IOs vs sequential IOs, but nowhere near as much as first-gen SSDs. I've seen 6000 random IOPS on a single drive, which is unattainable on anything short of a while tray of disks in a SAN.

    I'm not pulling the SSD vs SAN comparison out of my ass, I tested my laptop with the SSD drive head-to-head with the same ~60GB database against two production servers, one with a 20-something spindle SAN volume (shared), and the other with a 3-drive 15K RPM SCSI RAID (dedicated). It won against both for all cases where IO was a significant bottleneck in the query. Obviously, my laptop lost out against the 8-CPU server with 32GB of memory for 'small' queries, but for un-cached data sets, it was usually faster.

  • by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @08:04AM (#27568453)

    I think you misunderstood. Your experience vs. mechanical drives has nothing to do with the issue. The AC said that the OCZ was faster than the Intel. Chris Daniel was simply saying "yes the OCZ is a bit faster for sequential acces, but random access (which is what most users experience the most) is better on the Intel"

    If you look at Anand's article [anandtech.com] You will see that the OCZ beats the Intel slightly at sequential read (about 5%), and by a decent margin on sequential write (slightly less than 3x). However, these aren't things most users typically do...especially the writes. You are only likely to be doing that if you are working with editing large a/v files or something, and since large a/v files take up tons of space, a SSD probably isn't the best candidate for that anyway, given its current cost/storage metric. The OCZ might make sense working in a something like a professional AV editing environment, where you can copy the file off the server, work on it locally, and then copy it back to the server when done.

    On the other hand, random reads and writes are something that virtually 100% of users experience on a regular basis, and this is where Intel really shines. On reads, Intel wins by a decent margin (slightly less than 2x the speed, and nearly half the latency). But then look at sequential writes, and Intel really takes the decisive win in that category. While the OCZ is a healthy 4x faster than Velociraptor, the Intel is just shy of 10x the performance of the OCZ (and thus nearly 40x the Velociraptor).

    So, when you compare the Intel and the OCZ, the Intel loses slightly and decently on 2 operations that are less common, and it wins decently and decisively on 2 operations that are more common. Thus it's a pretty good stretch to try and say the OCZ is faster than the Intel.

Hold on to the root.