Let’s Flash This Thing!
I did not run any benchmarks prior to flashing.  Any significant testing would run the risk of altering two months of real usage.  I copied a smallish file to the drive (just large enough to effectively time), and the result suggested a write speed of 30 MB/sec.  From past experience, when an X25-M dropped lower than ~40 MB/sec, it was past the point of no return.  If I had to guess I would say my drive was again past the tipping point.  The only way to tell for sure would have been an HDTach pass, but that could have swung things either way, so I bit my curious lip and pressed on.

Intel provided the flasher in the form of a bootable CD image.  Simply burn the image to CD and boot from it.  One of the features of the shipping firmware (8610) was that future firmwares could be flashed in-place, without the requirement to wipe drive data after flashing.  While users should be able to flash their OS drive and boot right back into their OS, it is highly recommended that you backup your data beforehand.

Intel Responds to Fragmentation with New X25-M Firmware - Storage 17
The flasher gives a stern warning.

The flash utility supports automatic detection and simultaneous flashing of multiple X25’s.  Intel claims it should work in AHCI mode on many controllers, but I recommend playing it safe and switching to IDE / Compatible mode.  Odd configurations should also be minimized as to maximize your chances of success.  Your safest bet is to have the X25 on channel 1 and your CD reader on channel 2.  From my own testing, the flasher may not see X25’s on ports higher than that of the CD reader.  Other SSD’s on the SATA controller may also cause issues with the SATA bus reset that takes place after the flashing completes.  This may cause the flashing process to appear incomplete (but in my testing those flashes completed successfully).

Intel Responds to Fragmentation with New X25-M Firmware - Storage 18
Flashing takes approximately 3 seconds to complete (per drive).

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