Intel promises firmware fix for 320 SSD 8MB bug

john4200

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http://communities.intel.com/message/133505#133505

Intel has been investigating the ‘Bad Context 13x Error’ as seen on select Intel® SSD 320 Series drives. This was previously noted in the Intel community post as “SSD Power Loss”. To summarize the error: In certain circumstances, after an unexpected power loss, a small percentage of SSDs may experience this error on the next attempt to boot the system. In this situation, the system’s BIOS reports an SSD as an 8MB capacity drive.

Intel has reproduced ‘Bad Context 13x Error’ utilizing strenuous testing methods. This ‘Bad Context 13x Error’ can be addressed via a firmware update and Intel is in the process of validating the firmware update. A future update will define the schedule to deliver the firmware fix.
 

Red Falcon

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Well awesome possum! Now we can finally let that other thread finally die!

Good find and thanks for the update. This is why Intel is trusted and OCZ is not so much, disclosure.
 

Cliff Couser

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the countdown begins. Got my 320, but not installing OS, until firware is released.
 

xDezor

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Suit yourself. I got my 320 a couple of weeks ago and have had no problems. Mainly because I'm not hot-plugging it a thousand times over like an idiot..
 

john4200

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Suit yourself. I got my 320 a couple of weeks ago and have had no problems. Mainly because I'm not hot-plugging it a thousand times over like an idiot..
No, you just got lucky (or did not get unlucky). As far as anyone seems to know about the issue, every time you have a power cycle you could get hit (possibly only "unsafe" shutdown, but it seems that can happen sometimes even in normal operation). It is just like rolling the dice every time there is a power cycle.
 

xDezor

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No, you just got lucky (or did not get unlucky). As far as anyone seems to know about the issue, every time you have a power cycle you could get hit (possibly only "unsafe" shutdown, but it seems that can happen sometimes even in normal operation). It is just like rolling the dice every time there is a power cycle.
Oh yeah? I don't believe you.
 

PC_User

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I think this only happens in very isolated incidents. Regardless, firmware update coming soon.
 

treadstone

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I've been using two 320 drives (80GB and 120GB) basically since they became available through distribution channels. I've unplugged and replugged and power cycled and even interrupted the OS boot process half way in the middle by switching the power supply off (with the AC switch at the back of the chassis) so many times I can't even count... I have never experienced any issues with these drives yet... I'm not saying that there is no issue with the firmware, there might very well be, but I think this issue is getting blown way out of proportion. Do a proper backup and go on with your life, there is no guarantee that anything will work forever or without problems...

That said, I do appreciate the fact that Intel will be releasing a firmware update to hopefully fix this issue that a few have encountered.
 

john4200

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I've been using two 320 drives (80GB and 120GB) basically since they became available through distribution channels. I've unplugged and replugged and power cycled and even interrupted the OS boot process half way in the middle by switching the power supply off (with the AC switch at the back of the chassis) so many times I can't even count...
Too bad you did not count. That would have been useful information. No one really knows what the probability is of experiencing the bug on a given power cycle. But I suspect it is non-zero for all Intel 320 SSDs.
 

xDezor

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Then go ahead and power cycle your drive frequently.
You said that the problem was random, and that I only got lucky so far. I never said the drives won't die if you power cycle them too many times - you have said this earlier and I agreed. What I didn't agree with was when you said it doesn't matter how many times you power cycle the drive or in what fashion, you are just as likely to receive the bug.

I feel for you xDezor, if you cycle that SSD the wrong way, be it intentionally or by accident, it won't end well for you.
Uh, okay? So... this has no bearing on how many times you power cycle the drive? You're just as likely to receive the bug on the first power cycle as the 1000th?
whatever, I'm not the only one in this thread who is saying that too many cycles may cause it to happen.
Uh, okay? So...This does have bearing on how many times you power cycle the drive, it takes a high number of power cycles to recieve the bug?

Not really sure if serious Red Falcon. What's your actual stance on this?
 

john4200

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I never said the drives won't die if you power cycle them too many times - you have said this earlier and I agreed. What I didn't agree with was when you said it doesn't matter how many times you power cycle the drive or in what fashion, you are just as likely to receive the bug.
No, I never said "it doesn't matter how many times you power cycle the drive". If a failure is a uniformly distributed, independent random variable for each power cycle event, then the chance of an SSD failing obviously does depend how many times the power is cycled. The probability is the same for each power cycle, but the more times you roll the dice, the higher the chance that you will roll snake eyes at least once. You've just been fortunate enough not to roll bad yet.
 

xDezor

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I suppose that's true. I guess I'm stuck awaiting intel's response.
 

Red Falcon

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My actual stance on the issue is this: the bug may be caused by a random amount of power cycles, and/or the way it is powered up or down. Yes, I'm serious.

Am I saying you made a bad choice? Not necessarily, but I am saying you are taking a chance by using the drives. That's it.

You've just been fortunate enough not to roll bad yet.
I also agree with this.
 

treadstone

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I would suspect that my power cycle count on the 80GB is somewhere between 200 and 300 and just below 200 cycles on the 120GB.

Sometimes the drive is barely on for a few seconds while I do changes and power things up and down (e.g. I power up the system to apply power to the motor assembly that moves the display up or down then power it off when I moved the display out of the way of what I am working on). I honestly haven't been very 'nice' to these drives... :)

@john4200: Do you actually own any 320 drives?

Also, the drives do keep track of how often they are power cycled. This info is available via SMART.

I'm going on another vacation tomorrow, so the drives will not be power cycled for another week :)
 

john4200

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@john4200: Do you actually own any 320 drives?

Also, the drives do keep track of how often they are power cycled. This info is available via SMART.
Yes, I do. And yes, I know, but I assumed you did not have access to the SMART attributes, or you would have given the counts. If you do have access, you should post both the power-cycle count (ID 12) and unsafe shutdown count (ID 192).

My best guess is that the probability of this specific failure is between 1% and 0.01% per unsafe shutdown.
 

Computurd

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My best guess is that the probability of this specific failure is between 1% and 0.01% per unsafe shutdown.
that is pure conjecture. i do like that you threw in the "unsafe shutdown" bit though, that does keep people from being too alarmist. thank you.

there have been what, seven individual users who have posted on this miniscule issue in that thread at intel? i believe the count is still at seven cases. at least now we can call them *confirmed* cases.
even if they have *only* sold 100,000 units, what does that put the failure rate at? a ridiculously low number.

glad they reproduced it. and it is easily fixable. if there was any merit for ANY panic of any form, they would have issued a "hot fix".
Which they did not.
they have agreed there is a issue, and they have a fix already. It is such a ridiculously absolutely low infinitesimal number of failures that they haven even bothered to release the fix until they roll it into their next firmware.


so, in related news: The sky isn't falling after all!



;)
 
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ASIA911

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Is this power cycle thing is the same as putting it into sleep/hibernate mode and waking it up? Is this the same as rebooting also?
 
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xDezor

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Computurd, just because you only counted 7 forum post, doesn't mean there aren't countless emails to Intel about the problem which go unheard.
 

PC_User

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Computurd, just because you only counted 7 forum post, doesn't mean there aren't countless emails to Intel about the problem which go unheard.
While that may be true, Computurd's argument holds true. If this were a major issue which plagued a statistically significant number of consumers, Intel would have (a) stopped shipping the drives (b) released an immediate hotfix.
 

treadstone

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@Computurd: Thank you! My thoughts exactly.

I think this 'minor' issue is getting blown way out of proportion!

@john4200: I do have access to the SMART data, however I do not sit in front of those two machines I have the 320 in all the time, so at the time I wrote my previous post, I did not have access to the data, When I get back from my vacation I might have the time to do so...
 

Red Falcon

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Computurd, just because you only counted 7 forum post, doesn't mean there aren't countless emails to Intel about the problem which go unheard.
Yes, I've personally read more than 7 posts. That was over a month ago, who knows how many there are now.
I'm not saying this is a serious problem, but it is not 'rare' by any means. It is happening to more and more people. Why do you think Intel acknowledged the problem? Because of only 7 people?
 

john4200

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Is this power cycle thing is the same as putting it into sleep/hibernate mode and waking it up? Is this the same as rebooting also?
Yes, sleep or hibernation does power cycle the SSD. In fact, in many cases it results in an unsafe shutdown on the SSD, since it seems it is common for the power to be removed from the SSD too quickly after the shutdown command is sent to it (if it is sent at all). A number of people have reported large unsafe shutdown counts (SMART attribute 192) even though they have the SSD in a laptop and have had nowhere near as many crashes as the unsafe shutdown count.
 

ASIA911

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Yes, sleep or hibernation does power cycle the SSD. In fact, in many cases it results in an unsafe shutdown on the SSD, since it seems it is common for the power to be removed from the SSD too quickly after the shutdown command is sent to it (if it is sent at all). A number of people have reported large unsafe shutdown counts (SMART attribute 192) even though they have the SSD in a laptop and have had nowhere near as many crashes as the unsafe shutdown count.
And I was plan on getting the Intel 320. Damn. So I tested my 30GB Kingston SSDNow. The Activesmart is indicating some critical error condtion and telling me to backup because a failure may be imminent while the Diskcheckup say it's fine. What the hell? Power cyle is value 100, worst is 100 and raw value is 288, power on time is 1017. Whatever that all mean. Anyone know what's the best SMART monitoring program? Thanks.
 

john4200

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So I tested my 30GB Kingston SSDNow. The Activesmart is indicating some critical error condtion and telling me to backup because a failure may be imminent while the Diskcheckup say it's fine. What the hell? Power cyle is value 100, worst is 100 and raw value is 288, power on time is 1017. Whatever that all mean. Anyone know what's the best SMART monitoring program? Thanks.
You should start a new thread for that question.
 

Computurd

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its a non-issue. it will be rolled into next firmware. they take their time with such things. I have not seen any other reported issues with these drives since the initial few reports. And, yes, i have been looking rather specifically. you probably have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than getting this bug (yes this is a figure of speech LOL, but im serious....)
 

Happy Hopping

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It doesn't sound like a non-issue to me. I was going to buy, but I read about these in a no. of places, and until there is a firmware fix, I won't use any 320 series even if you pay me to use 1
 

john4200

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It doesn't sound like a non-issue to me. I was going to buy, but I read about these in a no. of places, and until there is a firmware fix, I won't use any 320 series even if you pay me to use 1
I think that is a good approach. I will not be buying any more Intel 320 SSDs until they release a firmware fix (and probably for some time after that, to see if anyone has problems with the new firmware).
 

Computurd

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I was going to buy, but I read about these in a no. of places
I understand your opinion and respect it.
However, the issue was grossly over-reported and exaggerated. there have been no new reported incidents out side of one thread at intel with 7 users. considering if they have only sold 100,000 units that is a abysmally low failure rate (.00007).

interestingly enough, the odds of getting struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 10,000. the odds of you being one of the users who buys an intel that has this issue is roughly 1 in 14285. that is if they have sold only 100,000 units, and i am sure they have sold double that worldwide easily.
http://www.weather.gov/om/lightning/medical.htm

what IS amazing is the vast huge number of Vertex 3 BSOD and failures. i mean they are almost assured if you purchase one, yet there is no mention of it anywhere really. Only Anands latest review and the literally thousands of posts from users are there to point to this. i mean you can find thousands of vertex BSOD posts from users experiencing failure.

YET i have only seen one thread with 7 Intel users in one forum. That's it. i challenge someone to find more! there simply arent :)

EDIT: see post 38... there is one confirmed case outside of the intel forums!
 
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john4200

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Intel promises firmware fix "within the next two weeks" in message dated Sat 13 Aug.

http://communities.intel.com/message/135752

For users unfamiliar with the issue, an Intel SSD 320 Series drive may exhibit a drive capacity of 8MB and an electronic serial # field containing a message of “BAD_CTX 0000013x” due to an unexpected power loss under specific conditions. Once this error occurs, no data on the SSD can be accessed and the user cannot write to or read from the SSD.
 

Computurd

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this is the first user ive seen outside of intel forums, yes i do see that. reason for panic? i do not see that.
 
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