Intel fixes SSD data-loss bug

The chipmaker has resumed shipments of its 34nm solid-state drives after resolving a BIOS password flaw

Intel has resumed shipping the latest generation of its solid-state drives after fixing a password bug that made users' data permanently inaccessible.

The fix is also available from Intel's website, in the form of a tool for updating the drives' firmware, for those who already have the SSD. The new drives being sent out by Intel already have the fix in place, the company said on Tuesday.

The bug affected Intel's X25-M and X18-M SSDs built using the 34nm manufacturing process, which is meant to make the drives faster and cheaper. The drives began shipping in July but the chipmaker was forced to stop selling them after the problem surfaced.

The bug affected users who set a BIOS password for the drive, Intel said when the problem surfaced in July.

"If a user has set a BIOS drive password on the 34nm SSD, then upon disabling or changing the BIOS drive password, followed by powering off/on the computer, the SSD becomes inoperable," the company said.

SSDs are generally much faster and more robust than their mechanical, hard-disk counterparts. However, they are also more expensive, although prices have been falling.

Intel's 160GB SSDs initially cost as much as $945 (£640) each, depending on the quantity ordered by the laptop manufacturer. The price was cut to $765 in February 2009, once the company's SSD production was fully up and running. With the introduction of the 34nm process on 21 July, the drive's price dropped further to $440.


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