Other Changes
HDDErase

HDDErase 4.0 has a logic bug where if the user chooses “N” to erase HPA/DCO areas, the user is kicked back to the main menu (as opposed to proceeding without erasing those areas).  This imposed a complication with the X25, as firmware 8610 did not support removal of these areas, and HDDErase 4.0 aborts the process if you select ‘Y’ on a non-supporting drive.  The user would effectively get caught in a catch-22.  The workaround was to use the older HDDErase 3.2 that employed different (and less buggy) logic.

Intel Responds to Fragmentation with New X25-M Firmware - Storage 17
HDDErase 4.0 did not play nicely with the 8610 firmware.

The 8820 firmware allows the commands, meaning there is no longer an incompatibility with HDDErase 4.0.  Those wishing to ‘start fresh’ with their X25 after flashing can now freely download and use the most recent version.

Intel Responds to Fragmentation with New X25-M Firmware - Storage 18
HDDErase 4.0 successfully wipes an 8820 equipped X25-M.

SMART

While not new to 8820, our dealings with Intel have given us some further insight into ‘reading’ the state of your X25 via smart data.  The easiest, most freely available (for personal use) solution is with PassMark DiskCheckup.

Intel Responds to Fragmentation with New X25-M Firmware - Storage 19
PassMarks DiskCheckup tool reads SMART data from an X25-M.

Of the entries above, ID 5 is of interest.  This entry relates to the number of flash blocks considered defective by the X25.  A large spike in this value may indicate your X25 is nearing its end of useful life.  My own drive still replies with 1 here, indicating it has 4 possible defective blocks (it’s a 1:4 ratio for the 80GB X25-M).  This is remarkable considering how hard I’ve been on it.  Important note:  A value of 99 here indicates 0 defects.  It seems backwards, but that’s how SMART reporting works.

Combining both of the above, another piece of knowledge I gleaned is that flash blocks marked as bad survive HDDErase passes.  The drive will not have to rediscover these areas each time the drive is securely wiped.  Just don’t get too wipe happy, as the rated 10,000 erase cycles comes up pretty fast when you are zapping the entire span of flash in one (30 second) shot.


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