Minor Hiccup on New Intel SSDs

It seems like everyone has been excited about the recent release of Intel’s second-generation solid state drives (SSDs) this week. I am the proud owner of one of the first-gen models, and the idea that more affordable models will help more people to adopt this technology is just cause for celebration.

It came as quite a shock to me, then, when we were told to hold delivery of the drives to end-users this morning – just before our first shipment came in to the Puget warehouse. There was a lot of confusion, but it was clear that something was wrong with these first units – enough so that Newegg and other online vendors had also pulled them entirely from their sites. We too stopped listing them, and began contacting our customers who were expecting us to ship them out this afternoon. We couldn’t say much, though, since the details were still sketchy, and nothing was posted publicly online.

After several hours of waiting on Intel’s tech folks I am now pleased to be able to relay to our customers the status of the Intel drives. There is a defect in the units which causes data corruption if – and only if – a password is set on the drive in the system BIOS… and then changed or disabled later. Initially we were told this might require a complete reworking of the drives, and that those we had gotten in were effectively unusable, but Intel was able to work out a firmware fix for the problem. That won’t be available immediately, but should be showing up in about two weeks.

In light of this set of circumstances, we are contacting all of our customers who already purchased to let them decide if they want the drives now, with full understanding of the situation, or if they want to wait till we get units with the updated firmware from Intel. Since few people seem to put BIOS passwords on their hard drives the overwhelming response so far has been to ship them out, but we want to make sure that we work with each of our customers to get them the results that are best suited to their needs.

One other interesting tidbit is that Intel is not going to be shipping more of these until they have the firmware fix, so there will likely be a shortage of the drives for the next couple weeks (especially depending on how other vendors handle their existing orders). We will continue to sell the stock that we have, though – and any others we can get through suppliers – so that we can meet customer demand and get these high-performance SSDs to the masses!