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Erasing an Intel 320 series SSD properly

New Contributor

Hi All,

I've been redirected here with my inquiry by an Intel rep:

Could anyone please confirm if using standard ATA Enhanced Secure Erase function (e.g. available with hdparm or its equivalents) results in filling an Intel 320 series SSD like my SSDSA2CW120G3 with the maker-specified pattern indeed? Which particular pattern that is: 0xFF or some other value?

Many thanks in advance!




Dear dandreye,

Thank you for reaching out to Solidigm.

The Secure Erase option will revert your drive back to the default (out of the box) state. If you need more information regarding Secure Erase (ATA Secure erase), kindly refer to our Solidigm Storage Tool User Guide - CLI starting on #73.

If your experiencing any issues with your drive, please contact us via this link to create a case

Kind regards. 
Solidigm Customer Support 




Hi Nebiyu,

Thanks for your reply. Please note that it was Enhanced (and not standard) Secure Erase I was inquiring about. Could you please confirm the pattern to be written into my SSD when using that type of erase?

Thanks in advance!

Dear dandreye,

We would first need to clarify what you mean by "maker-specified pattern" and  "particular pattern that is: 0xFF or some other value" so we understand what you are trying to achieve.

We need this need this information because t
he Secure Erase command writes zeros to the user data portion of traditional hard drives or returns the cells to their original, and factory state in solid state drives. 

The procedure will clean all the cells but not change anything to the controller nor reset any readings, example such as temperature and hours records.

Besides we don't recommend third party tools nor make ourselves responsible for any data loss/damage that might occur by using the hdparm tool.

Looking forward to your reply.

Kind regards.  
Solidigm Customer Support 




Hi Nebiyu - sure:

E.g. section 7.43.2 Security Erase of  the ATA-8 spec tells us that (optional) enhanced SE mode writes some "predeterminted data patterns", which based on my search results seem to be set (at the controller level I suppose) by the manufacturer for a given SSD model. Here's the wording from the spec:

When Enhanced Erase mode is specified, the device shall write predetermined data patterns to all user data areas

Also the same spec is quite clear on the Normal (i.e. non-Enhanced) SE in that it writes 0x00 into any disk w/o mentioning its type (HDD/SSD):

When Normal Erase mode is specified, the SECURITY ERASE UNIT command shall write binary zeroes to all user data areas

Kingston say the predetermined data patterns are set by the manufacturer:

Secure erase overwrites all user data areas with binary zeroes. Enhanced secure erase writes predetermined data patterns (set by the manufacturer) to all user data areas.

If so that explains why enhanced rather than normal SE is recommended for SSDs, which do not consider 0x00 their original/factory cell state (some sources suggest it's 0xFF they do). Hence trying to understand what exactly will Enhanced SE write into my Intel 320 Series SSD (assuming Enhanced SE is supported/implemented at all): 0xFF or some other value/pattern? Or will normal and/or enhanced SE just change some internal encryption key on it, rendering all user data unusable and thereby avoiding the need in writing anything into it whatsoever?

Many thanks in advance!