Intel released SSD Toolbox 3.0 yesterday, the third generation of its solid-state drive monitoring and management firmware  which offers many of the same tools as previous versions but with a simpler interface.

The SSD Toolbox, which is available on Intel's website, has a simpler graphical user interface (GUI) for Intel's Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) technology. SMART can perform diagnostic scans of SSDs, providing drive information such as the amount of free capacity and the estimated life remaining. It also has a health scale, illustrating whether the drive is functioning optimally.

In 2009, Intel's first SSD Toolbox release was focused on optimising the performance of its X25-M consumer-class solid state disk (SSD) drive with the Windows 7 operating system.

Like the first iteration, Toolbox 3.0 allows firmware updates to SSDs under Microsoft Windows instead of DOS. The new firmware also uses a simpler GUI and offers a "System Information" icon to help guide users to tech-support troubleshooting.

Toolbox 3.0 can also perform secure erase of a secondary Intel SSD, ensuring all data is cleaned from the drive before it is installed in a secondary system. The utility also allows users to set up automatic TRIM function, which cleans up all data already marked for deletion, putting the capacity back into play.

As with previous versions of the Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox, the free utility provides a system tuner that makes system configuration recommendations for the user's PC for optimal SSD performance. It will detect whether SuperFetch/Prefetch should be disabled and whether ready/boost, defragmenter or Intel's Device Initiated Power Management (DIPM) should be turned off. Since SSDs do not behave like hard disk drives, some of these services, such as disk defragmentation, are designed to make an HDD faster but they aren't needed and can even impede the performance of an SSD.

The Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox also now comes in 11 languages besides English.