Intel SSD overclocking code leaks ahead of IDF

Intel SSD overclocking code leaks ahead of IDF

Details of just what settings Intel plans to tweak in its IDF SSD overclocking demonstration have leaked, thanks to hidden code inside the latest Extreme Tuning Utility.

Details of Intel's plans to offer overclocking for its own-brand solid-state drives (SSDs) have leaked ahead of the company's formal unveiling at the Intel Developer Forum next month.

Announced as part of an overclocking demonstration to take place at the Intel Developer Forum San Francisco on the 10th of September, session AISO001 is set to demonstrate the first example of overclocking an SSD as Intel looks to raise its game with enthusiasts. Although not a direct focus of the session, the SSD overclocking has generated considerable interest - albeit with concerns about how it will affect the longevity of targeted storage devices.

The company has, however, been tight-lipped in exactly what it will be demonstrating and how it will be achieving the performance-boosting tweaks to its SSDs. Thankfully, eagle-eyed types at Myce have unravelled the secret and in doing so discovered that the functionality will be available to all as part of the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) software package.

Analysing the latest release of the XTU software, Myce discovered that code for adjusting SSD settings is already present. Although invisible to the end-user - with Intel likely to release an update that provides access to the SSD-specific settings following the demonstration at IDF - the settings reveal just what Intel is changing, and how it is likely to affect the drives.

The first, and potentially most important detail, is that Intel will only be allowing adjustments to its own-brand SSD devices and not those of third party companies - not even Asus, which is running the IDF overclocking event as Intel's hardware partner.

Those who have a compatible drive, however, will find settings in a future XTU release which allow for the on-board microcontroller to be overclocked, the NAND flash bus frequency to be toggled between 83MHz and 100MHz, and the power mode of the drive to be set to 'Limited,' 'Typical' or an energy-hungry 'Unconstrained.'

Thus far, it has not been discovered while Intel SSD models will be compatible with the XTU overclocking functionality - but it seems likely that it will be a feature Intel will restrict to its high-end devices only. How long it will take a rival company to bundle overclocking software with its own SSDs remains to be seen - but people are likely to watch Intel's experiment closely to see if any data loss occurs before plunging head-first into competition.


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Dave Lister 29th August 2013, 12:51 Quote
At the moment I really don't see the point in overclocking SSD's ,they are already almost instant in whatever they do and I don't think anyone would notice any tangible benefit in overclocking them. Just my 10c !
DC74 29th August 2013, 13:50 Quote
Given how easy it is to kill an SSD is it really going to be worth overclocking it if there's a good chance you'll end up bricking your pride and joy? I think not, I know I wouldn't want to.
damien c 29th August 2013, 15:02 Quote
Agree with you both.

I cannot see there being really any performance benefit and I also don't see the point in risking bricking the drive.
monkiboi 29th August 2013, 15:17 Quote
Yeah, while interesting I can't see it currently offering any real world benefits outside of benching.
Cheapskate 29th August 2013, 16:29 Quote
Finally! An excuse to watercool a SSD.
Deders 29th August 2013, 17:59 Quote
^Lol^ Seems a bit of a gimmick to me, why don't they just release SSD's that are already as fast as their competition?
Tattysnuc 29th August 2013, 20:10 Quote
Hmmm. This sounds more to me like Intel, who've not got any point of differentiation for their SSD product, trying to appeal to the high end demographics, and get them to pay for their "premium" product.

The drives aren't the best or fastest on the market, so they'll try and appeal to those with the deepest pockets.

Gradius 30th August 2013, 00:31 Quote
I still want 1GB/s on single SSD. I have more than 2GB/s now, but I use 3 of them for it.
Corky42 30th August 2013, 07:39 Quote
Isn't 1GB/s impossible on a SATA 3 connection ? i thought SATA 3 max was 0.6GB/s - overheads
phinix 30th August 2013, 13:52 Quote
Originally Posted by Cheapskate
Finally! An excuse to watercool a SSD.

+1 !!! :D
Gradius 31st August 2013, 00:24 Quote
SATA Express right now!

20% would means ~660MB/s max, but SATA 3 can't do it.
Pookeyhead 31st August 2013, 12:57 Quote
Originally Posted by Corky42
Isn't 1GB/s impossible on a SATA 3 connection ? i thought SATA 3 max was 0.6GB/s - overheads

I used to have 2x SSDs in RAID0... easily hit, or exceeded 1GB/sec

I'd be more concerned with data integrity though... overclocking a SSD... Hmmm... no thanks.
Corky42 31st August 2013, 13:16 Quote
Yea i know its possible to get higher speeds with RAID, its why i said SATA 3 connection
In theory a RAID0 on SATA 3 could get 1.2GB/s minus any overheads.

But for a single drive, i thought the max was 0.6GB/s minus any overheads.
For faster single drive speed, as Gradius said SATA Express right now
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