Intel releases SSD Toolbox 3.0 to optimize drive performance

Toolbox 3.0 provides offers secure erase to ensure data is permanently deleted

Intel on Thursday released the third generation of its solid-state drive monitoring and management firmware SSD Toolbox 3.0, which offers many of the same tools as previous versions but with a simpler interface.

The SSD Toolbox, which is available on Intel's website, has a simpler graphical user interface (GUI) for Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) technology. SMART can perform diagnostic scans of SSDs, providing drive information such as the amount of free capacity and the estimated life remaining. It also has a health scale, illustrating whether the drive is functioning optimally.

In 2009, Intel's first SSD Toolbox release was focused on optimizing the performance of its X25-M consumer-class solid state disk (SSD) drive with the Windows 7 operating system.

Toolbox 3.0
Intel's SSD Toolbox 3.0 interface

Toolbox 3.0 allows firmware updates to SSDs under Microsoft Windows instead of using DOS with previous versions. The new firmware also uses a simpler GUI and offers a "System Information" icon to help guide users to tech-support troubleshooting.

Toolbox 3.0 can also perform secure erase of a secondary Intel SSD, ensuring all data is cleaned from the drive before it is installed in a secondary system. The utility also allows users to set up automatic TRIM function, which cleans up all data already marked for deletion, putting the capacity back into play.

As with previous versions of the Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox, the free utility provides a system tuner that makes system configuration recommendations for the user's PC for optimal SSD performance. It will detect whether SuperFetch/Prefetch should be disabled and whether ready/boost, defragmenter or Intel's Device Initiated Power Management (DIPM) should be turned off. Since SSDs do not behave like hard disk drives, some of these services, such as disk defragmentation, are designed to make an HDD faster but they aren't needed and can even impede the performance of an SSD.

The Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox also now comes in 11 languages besides English.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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