Intel just released a firmware update for their X25-M Solid State Drives. The update offers two important changes:
- First, the drives gain support for the TRIM command. This command allows the operating system to communicate information about used and free blocks to the drive, enabling better wear levelling and decreasing the risk of write amplification.
- Second, the 160GB version of the drives gains an amazing increase in its sequential write rate. According to Hot Hardware, the increase is noticeable in various benchmarks, and can be up to 30% in some cases:
After being flashed to the new firmware update, which enables TRIM support and faster sequential write speeds, the Intel 34nm Gen 2 X25-M 160GB drive offered increased performance in every benchmark we ran. Read performance with the new firmware update installed was roughly on-par with the previous version, although the numbers slightly favor the update, by a few MB/s at least. Write performance, however, was increased by over 30% in some cases.
The TRIM command has been supported by Linux kernels since version 2.6.28 (released last year); Windows users can benefit from this when they are running Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2. Like others such as OCZ have done, Intel also includes an optimization tool for users of older Windows versions that can be used to periodically “clean” the drive. The firmware update can be obtained via Intel’s website.