Intel Prepping SSD 320 Bug Fix


Intel is preparing a patch for its SSD 320 model solid state drives to fix an issue which causes some of those drives to be seen by a computer's BIOS as only having 8 MBs of capacity instead of the up to 600 GBs of promised capacity.

Intel in March introduced its SSD 320 line. The line includes 40-GB, 80-GB, 120-GB, 160-GB, 300-GB, and 600-GB models.

Reports about the issue, dubbed the "Bad Context 13x Error," have been circulating for about two months. The problem seems to appear on a random basis after the SSD is powered off and then on again. Intel on July 11 said it is aware of the problem.

Intel in a Sunday blog post acknowledged the Bad Context 13x Error issue, writing that in certain circumstances that a small number of the SSD 320 drives could experience the error during the next drive boot, at which time it would report to the system BIOS as an 8-MB drive.

Intel is currently validating a firmware update to fix the Bad Context 13x Error, but has not yet said when the update will be available.

In the meantime, Intel is continuing to ship the SSD 320 drives, and advises customers to back up their drives' data regularly, follow the PC's standard shutdown procedure, and minimize unplugging the SSD when the system is powered up.

Posters to the Intel blog were generally supportive of Intel's efforts to find, identify, and solve the Bad Context 13x Error issue.

One poster with the handle "Lloyd Powell" wrote, "This is exactly what everybody was asking for, thank you. I look forward to the schedule being posted."

Another poster, "Goose," wrote, "Thank you, intel engineers. It's relieving to hear that I may put my worries to rest."

However, others criticized Intel for taking up to two months to find the problem.

"John4200" wrote that it is "better late than never" that Intel solved the problem, to which "smr" responded, "Intel has reproduced a rare issue that affects a minority of users, has debugged it and isolated a problem, generated a fix, and is in the process of testing it. Not too shabby for a few weeks."

"John4200" then responded, "The first report of the bug was more than 2 months ago. . . . And it is easy to reproduce. Just power cycle the drive many times."