Firmware and Why it is Important
We all know how BIOS and drive updates are able to improve performance for products like motherboards and video cards. The same is true for solid state drives and then some. The updates for the Indilinx Barefoot line of products is equal to ATI coming up with a BIOS and driver update that will allow a DirectX 9 video card to be able to run DirectX 11 without a performance penalty. An achievement like this didn't happen overnight and when the controller was released no one really knew just how far it would come. Even as I write this Indilinx is looking at the firmware and planning even more changes while at the same time working on their next generation SATA 6G controller named Jet Stream.
Today we are looking at three major versions of Indilinx Barefoot firmware. The first was the firmware that came on our RunCore drive at the time of launch, 1571. The second version was released a few months ago and added support for Windows 7's TRIM command, 1819. Our final firmware tested in this article will be 1916, the Garbage Collection release. There have been other firmware releases for Indilinx Barefoot drives, but these are the major releases that added significant features that made them worthy of a full test in our Storage Product Testing Workstation.
When we first reviewed the RunCore Pro IV Series of drives the retail packaging was not completed, so let's go ahead and have a look at what is included in the final retail version. RunCore has manufactured several products based on the Indilinx Barefoot controller and they range from the 2.5" form factor drives like what we have been testing and spread all the way into products for use in specific netbook models where only a one off solution is adequate. Our sample RunCore Pro IV made its way to our test lab through My Digital Discount, the US distributer for RunCore. My Digital Discount is more than just a distributer, the company's owner Matt Dawson is also an investor in RunCore and their Public Relations Director. My Digital Discount also carries solid state drives for netbooks and even products from other manufacturers like OCZ Technology.
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