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Silent corruption issue in Intel 320 Series SSD on MacBook Pro (Lion)

Esteemed Contributor III

Hello, I purchased an Intel 320 Series 120gb SSD from for a brand-new 17" MacBook Pro on July 2, 2011. I installed it in my optical bay, and being wary of SSD write fatigue, I just used it for OS installation and applications. I used my hard drive to store data and media.

For a while some applications would crash, and I just assumed it was a bug in the newish Mac OS X Lion OS (10.7). It started with iCal, but then Mail started crashing too. I just took it in stride and started using WebMail instead. Then finally, I couldn't open a text document in any program with an OS-supported text view (NSTextView) without the program crashing. I could create a new document, modify it, and save it, but opening the same document crashes the application after loading the document showing the document's contents. That is probably too much information. On to the important part.

I spent many days trying to resolve this. Here is what happened:

A Disk Utility scan shows no problems with the SSD's metadata.

I re-installed OS X Lion over the SSD (no reformat, it kept all of my data and settings) with OS X 10.7.0 (initial Lion). The above-described problem disappeared. After OS update 10.7.2 the problem appeared again. Any program with an NSTextView crashed when opening a file.

I cloned all data from the SSD onto my hard drive in order to keep my settings and data, then re-installed Lion fresh over it. Problem disappeared. Then updated to 10.7.2. Problem reappeared even when using the hard drive with no SSD.

Then I clean-installed the Lion OS from a fresh format. No problems. And then updated to 10.7.2. No problems.

In effect, there are corrupted support files on the 320 SSD that I used for an OS Boot drive, so I hard to start from scratch for an OS install on the hard drive. It appears that the SSD has some silent corruption issue under OS X. It also appears that over time it became more corrupt and more programs began failing. Note that a disk scan from Disk Utility still shows no problems with the drive's metadata. I could probably reformat/reinstall on the SSD and most things would start working again, but I wouldn't be able to trust it enough to continue using it. It would continue to slowly corrupt again, and some important data goes on the OS drive of necessity.

So my question is: is this a known bug with a known workaround or fix? If not, I guess I have no choice but to ditch the 320 SSD?



Esteemed Contributor III

You need to do two things:

1) Hash some huge files to verify that the contents don't change. It's perfectly possible for files to become corrupt, but not metadata. Be aware that sometimes faulty memory can cause files to be written incorrectly, so the SSD may not be at fault even if this test fails.

2) Run a very long, i.e. overnight, full memory test utility. I don't use Macs so I can't suggest a memory test tool.

The symptoms you've desribed, unless I've not ready your post correctly (which is entirely possible...) can very easily point to faulty memory just as much, if not more so, as a dodgy storage device.