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Intel promises firmware fix for SSD 320 Series

Intel has promised its customers a firmware update to solve a nasty bug in the SSD 320 Series that can leave users with just 8MB of usable storage space instead of the gigabytes they had come to expect.

Known officially as the 'Bad Context 13x Error' and colloquially as the '8MB Bug,' the flaw rears its head should the drive experience an unexpected power loss. While not all drives are affected - and not every unexpected power loss results in the drive hitting the error - those that are end up being reported as being just 8MB in capacity to the system's BIOS.

It's a nasty problem, and one that only started to show up once Intel was shipping the drives in volume. While it has publicly indicated that it will continue to ship the drives with the faulty firmware for now, the company claims to have a fix waiting in the wings for the problem.

"Intel has reproduced [this] error utilising strenuous testing methods," a spokesman for the Non-Volatile Memory Group writes on the Intel Communities site by way of explaining the delay in addressing the issue which has been plaguing users since the devices launched at the end of March.

"This [...] error can be addressed via a firmware update," the spokesman confirms, "and Intel is in the processor of validating the firmware update. A future update will define the schedule to deliver the firmware fix. Intel takes these issues seriously."

To mitigate the effects of the flaw while waiting for the fix, Intel recommends regular backups - as any data stored on the drive when the error strikes will be lost - the use of a system's recommended shutdown procedure rather than yanking the power cable out of the socket, and that users try not to hot-swap the drives while the system is powered on.