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PSA | Xiaomi issues BIOS fix for slow SSD performance in the Mi Notebook Pro

The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro.
The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro.
The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro suffered from less than ideal disk read and write speeds despite having a Samsung PM961 SSD onboard. A BIOS update is now available that enables full x4 bandwidth on the NVMe SSD PCIe lanes, leading to increased read/write speeds.

The Xiaomi Notebook Pro garnered a good review from us for its performance, battery life, and affordability. We also featured the notebook as one of our 10 best multimedia laptops to buy for the holidays. One of the most pertinent complaints with respect to the Mi Notebook Pro was the slow SSD speeds posted by the Samsung PM961 SSD. In our review of the Mi Notebook Pro, we found the read and write speeds of the SSD to be disappointing and definitely not of the PM961 class. Back then, Xiaomi seemed to have intentionally limited the SSD speeds to PCIe x2 instead of allowing the full PCIe x4 bandwidth leading to a lot of frustration among buyers. Now, the company seems to have heeded to the complaints and has released a BIOS fix to enable full PCIe x4 bandwidth on the NVMe SSD. 

The BIOS fix was posted by a user on Xiaomi's Chinese bulletin board and it seems to have fixed the SSD speed issue with multiple users reporting positive results. After flashing the firmware, the SSD scores have seen an increase from 1.8 GBps read/1.2 GBps write to 3.2 GBps read/1.5 GBps write — inline with what is expected from the PM961.

The issue originally affected Mi Notebook Pro users running 0200 version of the BIOS. Newer Mi Notebooks will come factory installed with the 0401 version that already includes the above enhancements. Users on Xiaomi's bulletin board report that flashing the 0300 BIOS will reset the Intel Management Engine to its old version, thereby, affecting fingerprint logon in the process (the Trusted Platform Module 2 is integrated into the Intel ME rather than being a dedicated chip in the Mi Notebook). However, it is possible to get the Intel ME reconfigured post flashing the BIOS to 0300.

In case you own a Mi Notebook Pro with 0200 firmware, be sure to read the source link first for detailed instructions, especially the comment section, before attempting to flash the new BIOS. As always, flashing the BIOS carries a little risk and it helps to have data backed up and a full battery (or AC power) before attempting it.

SSD speeds on BIOS version 0200. (Source: Techtablets)
SSD speeds on BIOS version 0200. (Source: Techtablets)
SSD speeds after flashing the BIOS to version 0300. (Source: Techtablets)
SSD speeds after flashing the BIOS to version 0300. (Source: Techtablets)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 12 > Xiaomi issues BIOS fix for slow SSD performance in the Mi Notebook Pro
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2017-12- 6 (Update: 2017-12- 6)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.