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Noteworthy differences between the 3700 and 3500 series, and a nod to the 710:

Both the 3500 and 3700 have capacitor-backed write cache, so power events are unlikely to be cataclysmic, but the 3700 series has roughly 42x better write endurance than the 3500.

Intel publishes that the 80GB 3500 is good for 45 TB (same as the 3510). By contrast, they publish that the 100GB 3700 is good for 1874 TB. This is apparently due to a suite of technologies called HET, which includes differences in both silicon and the controller. The older 710 series share this HET technology (and share capacitor-backed write cache), but the 710 drive I/O is slower, ergo, so is the cost, possibly making the 710 a better value in terms of pursuing marginally higher reliability.

Neither the 3510, nor the 710 have what Intel calls End-to-End Data Protection, which just appears to be parity on steroids. Opinions welcome on this, but I would be surprised if the the susceptibility to bit rot on an datacenter-grade SSD did not already far exceed that of a CF card. As such, the 710 seems like it may be an affordable little corner in the realm of SSD drive overkill for a pfSense install.

Force Flashing Crucial RealSSD C300 2.5 64GB


I was having issues flashing SSD's with the latest firmwares via a E5520 or E5510 laptop. One, someone force flashed them to firmware version 002 because that is what was on them and right on the label it stated firmware version was supposed to be 006. Two, when I switched the drives over to ATA, when the BIOS started to interact with them they would freeze. AHCI mode worked fine.

To flash these, I had to let the BIOS initilize the drive, it would then freeze the drive, wait until it came up to the boot prompt (f12), and then selected the Crucial CD to boot. I let the CD boot into its preloader selection screen (blue) and right at that moment I unplugged the SSD and plugged it back in (I left the bottom of the laptop off). The system would then run faster (it was lagging before, putting the drive in ATA mode made the system go very slow, the system was waiting on it).

I would then follow through the steps and the firmware would flash fine (MAKE SURE TO WAIT).

If I did not do this, the FreeDOS boot sequence would freeze at InitDrive. I think even if I was able to get past InitDrive, it would not have helped, the hard disk looked frozen. I wonder if it is something with the Dells and what they send to the drive when in ATA mode, or if it is a larger issue.

Here is another thing too:

I had 4 drives that we purchased off eBay, the ones labeled lot number CBNEC44013 were the only ones that had the issues. I had one drive out of 3 that looked like it was force flashed back to version 002 firmware but it flashed fine and worked fine in ATA mode initially, it was of a different lot number and worked fine. It was this lot number that had the issue.