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MacBook Pro 2011 Models and SATA 3.0 (6.0Gb/s) – Update – 5/27/2011

Since we first looked at a potential fix for problems with SATA 3.0 operation in the main bay of the 2011 MacBook Pros on April 15, we’ve learned much more.

It’s not so sweet at this point, but I will at least try to keep it as short as possible.

Before going any further, I do want to be clear that, while I believe the issues noted should be and will be resolved, Apple makes no advertisement—in specification or otherwise—that creates any obligation for them to fix the issues noted. Again, I do believe they will… I also believe it is in everyone’s best interest that they do fix it, with respect to the incredible performance that our SSDs unleash in these fantastic MacBook Pro 2011 models. If we’re lucky, it will be a fix handled via some software update; it would seem more likely to require a hardware adjustment, but we’ll see. FWIW, our shielding kit does make a difference for some, but not all, as there is just significant enough variability in the issue which means it ultimately needs to be resolved by Apple themselves.

Ok… To the details…

SATA 3.0 6Gb/s in the Optical Bay?

All of the 13-, 15-, and 17-inch 2011 MacBook Pros we purchased right at release shipped with SATA 3.0 6Gb/s connectivity in the main drive bay and SATA 2.0 3Gb/s connectivity in the optical bay. (Note: For the remainder of this piece – I will refer to the two connections as 6Gb/s and 3Gb/s)

Units we’ve purchased over the past month indicate that Apple seems to be changing over to having 6Gb/s connectivity in both the main drive bay and in the optical bay. That’s good news. I say “seems to,” as we’ve received multiple units with the ‘dual 6Gb/s’ setup, but after getting 17″ MacBook Pros with the dual 6Gb/s setup in multiple deliveries this month, the 17” we received earlier in this week was back to 6Gb/s in the main bay and 3Gb/s in the optical.

Bottom line, it is not a spec Apple includes (what SATA connection will be in each bay) and currently is no correlation we have found to explain why a new unit this week was different than the units received over the past couple. There is no guarantee of a new unit purchased having the 6Gb/s in the optical bay – but I can say that the odds seem fairly favorable based on units we’ve been getting and reports in the field. Also, this is only really important to you if you hope to use a 6Gb/s drive in your optical bay as enabled with our Data Doubler.

Results with SATA 3.0 6Gb/s SSD in the Main Drive Bay

Based on field reports and new units we purchased in May, use of 6Gb/s SSDs in the 17” MacBook Pro is hit or miss. It’s not our SSD (which actually fares better than some others…); it has to do with the ‘luck of the draw’ in terms of the 17” you get. All the recent 17” models we acquired were flops and we’re now waiting for replacements. The first 17” we received in February also had issues, but were resolvable with our shielding kit. Another 17” we purchased in April works as expected with no issues. Field reports also continue to vary. Apple needs to fix this; based on the issue being present in the units we received this week and last, it is not resolved in units shipping today beyond ‘hit or miss’ luck.

There are no issues at all with any of the MacBook Pro 15” and 13” 2011 Models and 6Gb/s SSD use in the main bay—rock solid reliable.

Results with SATA 3.0 6Gb/s in optical bay with an OWC Data Doubler

Apple System Profiler will show you what Link Speed capability are supported up to.

This shot is from a system with 6Gb/s in both bays

For anyone who has 3Gb/s max supported in the optical bay, the Data Doubler is still a great solution to use any 3Gb/s or 6Gb/s SSD or Hard Drive. The maximum speed will simply be limited to about 300 MB per second, but reliability is 100% in all 13”, 15”, and 17” models for using even the highest performance drive on that 3Gb/s link connection.

For MacBook Pro 13” 2011 model owners who have the dual 6Gb/s connections—score! This model works great with a 6Gb/s SSD in the optical bay. Put two of our 6G SSDs in and set up RAID 0; you can get over 1000MBs per second data rates…sustained! Freaking awesome!

The news is not so good for 15” and 17” models. While the 15” has no problem at all with 6Gb/s in the main drive bay – both the 15” and the 17” are a no-go with all the units we’ve tested here when using 6Gb/s drives in the optical bay. So if you have 6Gb/s link available in your 15” or 17” optical bay, unless this problem is fixed – those with the reliable 3Gb/s optical connectivity are actually better off.

Until/unless Apple corrects this bay issue for 6Gb/s, you are best off using a 3Gbp/s SSDs in that bay. While it’s ok to use a 6Gb/s SSD in a 3Gb/s enabled optical bay (it will work at the 3Gb/s speed just fine); the same drive will want to connect at the 6Gb/s link speed when 6Gb/s is available, and in 15” and 17” models we’ve tested so far, that’s been a no-go.

To this point, we’ve only consistently seen 13” MacBook Pros that, in addition to having the 6Gb/s in the optical bay, have been reliable using 6Gb/s SSD with that port connection.

And since will likely be asked; yes, we did direct-connection testing, Which rules out any possible effect of the Data Doubler with the 15/17” issues. It isn’t the Data Doubler product, which is fully 6Gb/s rated and A-Ok for.

In short – it’s a mixed bag.

  • 13” – 100% no issues with 6Gbp/s SSD in any bay that has 6Gbp/s available *
  • 15” – 100% no issues with 6Gbp/s SSD in main bay, no-go with 6Gbp/s SSD in optical bay.
  • 17” – Hit or Miss for main bay with 6Gbp/s SSD, no-go with 6Gbp/s SSD in optical bay.

Some are suggesting that 10.6.8 might fix these 6Gb/s issues. Maybe there will be an EFI update that will do it (note that the prior update did not). Otherwise, there may very well be a quiet hardware fix that is made. These MacBook Pro models all offer incredible performance capabilities and are further enabled with one of our top-performing OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSDs. We’re really looking forward to seeing the issues fully resolved so that 17” 2011 users can confidently move forward with performance boosting SSDs. Hopefully, too, both 15” and 17” 2011 MacBook Pro users can have the same performance opportunity that we’ve now seen out of the 13” MacBook Pro.

The ball is in Apple’s court. Again, they made no promises about 6Gb/s SSD options working at all in these new 2011 models… But it sure is disappointing to be choosing a 15” or 13” model instead of the flagship 17” over the lack of 6Gbp/s reliability. Here’s hoping our next update is coverage of Apple fixing this once and for all.

 

Resolution!

https://eshop.macsales.com/blog/11895-2011-macbook-pro-sata-problems-resolved


UPDATE 9/20/11

At this time the OWC Shielding Kit has been discontinued for sale. EFI Firmware Update 2.2 for 2011 MacBook Pro has resolved the issues and this kit is no longer necessary.

Update 5/28/13

MacBook Pro 13″ – 100% no issues with 6Gb/s SSD in main bay and in our testing observed a high rate of success using 6Gb/s SSD’s in the optical bay. Note: While it is likely a 6G SSD or HDD will run properly in the optical bay, it can not be guaranteed.

OWC Larry
the authorOWC Larry
OWC Founder & CEO
Larry O'Connor is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Illinois-based Other World Computing (OWC®). Starting as a one-man business in 1988, O'Connor has provided the leadership and vision to establish OWC as the leading provider of technology products and services today.
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217 Comments

  • im doing research and im getting mixed answers. I have a Macbook Pro 8,1 2.7GHz model with a 6g optic link speed. Can i or can i NOT use a 6g drive within my macbook pro 13 inch?

    • Your mixed answers are probably due to the screen size – the 13″ model never showed any problems while the more popular 15″ and 17″ models has had issues negotiating 6Gb/s in one or both bays.

      In short, for the 13-inch model, there are 100% no issues with 6Gb/s SSD in any bay that has 6Gb/s available. As long as System Profiler > Hardware > Serial-ATA shows the “Link Speed” as 6 Gigabit you can install a 6Gb/s drive in that bay.

        • I hadn’t seen that myself and apparently the Data Doubler page information is a bit more current than this two year old article.

          So apparently that line could be updated to
          * 13″ – 100% no issues with 6Gb/s SSD in main bay and in our testing observed a high rate of success using 6Gb/s SSD’s in the optical bay.

  • Is there still have problems with sata3 SSD at optibay on Macbook Pro 17″ Late 2011?Should I buy Data Doubler?
    I’m considering to buy a OWC SSD 6G.

    • SATA Revision 3.0 (6Gb/s) speeds are fully-attainable in the main drive bay. If you are using a product like our Data Doubler, we still recommend only using a SATA Revision 2.0 (3Gb/s) drive in that bay.

      • So, what is the option for a 1tb drive then? All of the new ones come with the 6gb/s by default.

        I’m already on 750gb from the stock config but I need more

  • I have a BTO 2011 15″ MBP with the upgraded Radeon 6750 and Anti-Glare HR screen. Both Serial ATA ports on my tree show a 6gb/s link available. My SSD is attached via the optical bay, negotiating at 6gb/s while my HDD is attached in the HD bay negotiating at 3g/s.

    I cannot format that SSD in this configuration to Mac OS Extended or Extended (journaled) but I can format it as a FAT32 volume. This is running off of Lion. There is either a software limitation or a hardware limitation on the optical bay tree that keeps the formatting from happening.

    I will try to format my drive externally before reinstalling in the optical bay. Hardware wise, everything specs out to work, there is just something else going on keeping the normal operation from occurring.

    • It is NOT a software limitation. The Apple OS does far more error checking/testing than Windows does when it comes to data handling. This is one of the reasons that the same Mac under Bootcamp has better data transfer rates with Windows benchmarks than Mac benchmarks. Since your HDD is 3Gb/s – you’re not losing anything moving it to the optical bay and having your 6Gb/s drive in the main drive bay where it can operate reliably. While you don’t have the Apple sudden motion spin down in the optical bay – modern 2.5″ drives all have this built into them and you can check this by the drive p/n. Either way – you’re far more likely to have a data loss event with a forced 6Gb/s drive operating in the optical than with a hdd even without sms in that same bay.

      Again – this is not s software limitation that has resulted in the bay not being reliable for 6Gb/s SATA drives.

  • i currently have a Macbook pro 2.7 Ghz early 2011 version and i was wondering how one can be absolutely sure that the optical drive can be used with a SATA 3? I have done some researching and found that my macbook’s optical bay can be linked at 6 gigabit, but could that be from the eri firmware update? Both my main bay and optical are shown with link speeds of 6 gigabits. could i be one of the few “lucky” ones that has the capabilities of using 6g in both bays?

    (here are the specs from my macbook early 2011)
    HDD

    Vendor: Intel
    Product: 6 Series Chipset
    Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
    Negotiated Link Speed: 3 Gigabit
    Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported

    OPTICAL

    Vendor: Intel
    Product: 6 Series Chipset
    Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
    Negotiated Link Speed: 1.5 Gigabit
    Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported

    • After April of 2011, pretty much all of the 2011 MacBook Pros were using 6Gb/s ports for both optical and HD Bay. And this is really the root of the problem. 6Gb/s port is backwards compatible with 3Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s – and thus fine for the standard SATA optical drive. This connection was not tested or certified by anyone to support 6Gb/s devices.

      In testing we find that most 13″ 2011 MBPs have optical bay 6Gb/s capability that is reliable for use with a 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 SSD or HD. We are aware of at least one report of a 13″ 2011 not being reliable with 6Gb/s Hard Drive or SSD in the optical bay and can not guarantee 6Gb/s capability although advise that is the exception in our experience for 2011 13″ to encounter a problem using SATA 3.0 6Gb/s drives in the optical bay.

      The opposite is the case with both 15″ and 17″ 2011 MacBook Pro Models. Both SATA 3.0 6Gb/s hard drives and SSDs encounter problems when attempted in the optical bay when the optical bay presents a 6Gb/s link capability. It is the exception to see consistently reliable 6Gb/s operation in the optical bay of these systems. We highly recommend against such use attempt at this time and suggest using a SATA 2.0 3Gb/s drive in the bay of these systems.

      just to add for 2012…
      now – with the 2012 MacBook Pro 13″ and 15″ units – out of the gate, all 15″ models tested reliably with 6Gb/s in the optical bay. 13″ units also now show reliability with the current/latest Apple EFI update installed. We are comfortably recommending 6Gb/s drives be used in the 15″ optical bay. We are also comfortable with the expectation that 6Gb/s is now reliable in 13″ 2012 optical bay as well. Like anything, can always be exceptions – but current testing and reporting indicates 6Gb/s is now good across both bays for all 2012 models.

      In summary:
      2011 MacBook Pro 13″ = Main Bay 6Gb/s, Optical Bay 6Gb/s A-OK.
      2011 MacBook Pro 15″ & 17″ = Main Bay 6Gb/s A-OK. Optical Bay use only up to 3Gb/s for reliability, not 6Gb/s reliable/consistent.
      2012 MacBook pro 13″ & 15″ = Main Bay 6Gb/s, Optical Bay 6Gb/s A-OK.

      • Wow! Thank you very much for the fast reply Larry! Okay thank you very much for that much clarified information, my MacBook is now roaring for a new dual SSD drives. Hopefully a 240 and a 120 with raid configuration of the 6g. Thank you very much for that Larry! Cheers!

          • hi Larry et all,

            do we know what the limitation is for 2011 MBP optical drive SSD?

            i have a MacBookPro8,2 with apple SSD in HD bay and a DD with a sata 6g drive in optical bay. obviously optical bay is not working. problem is, these are the drives and mac i have.

            is it possible that a FW upgrade or new cable could fix this?

            real sad right now :(

            thanks.

            • The optical bay in that machine can support up to a SATA Revision 2.0 (3Gb/s) drive only (regardless of SSD or HDD).
              We’ve checked every firmware revision that Apple has released and they have made no difference.
              We have tested additional shielding and a variety of cable options to no avail.

              Bottom line is the main HDD bay can utilize a SATA Revision 3.0 (6Gb/s) drive while the optical drive is limited to a SATA Revision 2.0 (3Gb/s) drive.

              • :(

                ok, thanks for the definitive answer.

                I feel if somehow I could have the drive negotiate as sata 2, we’d be in business.

  • Will the Macbook Pro 13″ 2.7Ghz 2011 model work with the 6GB/s disk in both the bays ?

    Thanks…

  • I have purchased a OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD for use in a 2011 MacBookPro 8,3
    Intel Core i7 2.3 GHz. It doesn’t work. I keep getting the wheel of death and the laptop crashes.
    I have done the latest firmware update, so I have Boot ROM Version: MBP81.0047.B24
    Using 10.6.8
    SSD works fine in external case but not in the laptop.
    What is the fix?

    Cheers
    Andrew

    • Our tech support can probably best assist… but that would sound like a potentially bad cable or other issue at this point with the 17″ assuming this is a main bay location installation. installation of 6G into the optical bay is not an option with any reliability and so noted for 17″ as well as 15″ 2011 models.

  • What is the boot time with Dual SSD Sata III in new 2011 MacBook 13 inch at 1000 mb speeds? I interested in fastest boot up possible?

    • Hi Joe…haven’t done such…you would have to do a RAID 0 for this…and no guarantee there would be a speed gain with the boot…incremental at best.

      • Thanks, 4k reads are probably more critical besides boot up might be longer due to loading raid drivers? If anyone has tested this let me know? Thanks!!!

  • Macbook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.2 (http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1450) seems to have resolved this issue. My 2011 17″ MBP now runs rock solid on an Intel SATA III SSD. No more beach balling or occasional hangs. I even re-enabled TRIM and spotlight. Prior scenarios that would freeze the system now work very smoothly.

      • Hi All,
        With the firmware update, I can confirm success of the Data Doubler option in a MacBook Pro 8,3 (17in, 2.3Ghz, 8GB Ram). My MBP had a Link Speed: 3 Gigabit and Negotiated Link Speed: 3 Gigabit, so I purchased a 3Gb SSD and it working great, see below. Thanks OWC! When OWC offers a 750GB SSD at an affordable price, that will be the next upgrade. FYI, I have configured my SSD users to access the user accounts on the rotational HD, while also retaining a boot capability of same HD. This way I have a triple boot backup: a 96GB WinTech in the ExpressCard slot (about equal to rotational HD in speed), a OWC 240GB 3Gb DD in the optical drive and a 750GB rotational HD.
        rotational Disk Test 79.36
        Sequential 128.51
        Uncached Write 149.46 91.76 MB/sec [4K blocks]
        Uncached Write 147.34 83.37 MB/sec [256K blocks]
        Uncached Read 85.16 24.92 MB/sec [4K blocks]
        Uncached Read 169.33 85.10 MB/sec [256K blocks]
        Random 57.41
        Uncached Write 20.84 2.21 MB/sec [4K blocks]
        Uncached Write 188.21 60.25 MB/sec [256K blocks]
        Uncached Read 97.26 0.69 MB/sec [4K blocks]
        Uncached Read 163.90 30.41 MB/sec [256K blocks]
        SSD Disk Test 309.97
        Sequential 183.87
        Uncached Write 330.39 202.85 MB/sec [4K blocks]
        Uncached Write 279.30 158.03 MB/sec [256K blocks]
        Uncached Read 82.04 24.01 MB/sec [4K blocks]
        Uncached Read 338.09 169.92 MB/sec [256K blocks]
        Random 986.57
        Uncached Write 1494.20 158.18 MB/sec [4K blocks]
        Uncached Write 532.42 170.45 MB/sec [256K blocks]
        Uncached Read 2705.22 19.17 MB/sec [4K blocks]
        Uncached Read 879.24 163.15 MB/sec [256K blocks]

        • Throughout the course of testing pre and post EFI 2.2, have not experienced any issues in either bay with SATA 2.0 3Gb/s drives. Using the 3Gb/s drive in the optical bay has been a sure thing… it’s also no issue to use a SATA 3.0 6Gb/s drive in 2011 optical bays that have show support for only up to the 3 Gigabit Link speed. To this point, we have not seen any reliability with installation of SATA 3.0 6Gb/s drives into the optical bay of 15″ and 17″ models (A-OK in 13″ though) when the optical bay has had 6 Gigabit Link speed supported – which is aggravating as it is better off then to just have 3Gb/s optical bay connection in said models.

          Thank you for your info and feedback!

  • I bought a datadoubler and two 60gb SSD’s after reading this article
    I have a i5 13″ MBP, EFI frimware 2.2
    the main drive is at 6gb and link at 6gb but the optical is at 6gb link speed at 3gb
    this is after installing the raid
    I get about 495mb/s but I was REALLY hoping for the 1000mb/s ……

  • It’s a long shot, of course, but there’s a new MBP firmware update out today to support on-the-fly download and reinstall of Lion on a bland disk. Anybody tried their 6G drive on a 6G port after upgrading?

  • I have a 15″ pre- unibody Macbook Pro 3,1. I currently have replaced the original drive with the OWC 240GB 6G SSD drive. works fine

    Am looking to update the DVD bay with another SSD, however from the looks of this thread there are 2 issues:

    1. The data doubler kit does not support my model? (please confirm this is true – or can I actually do it)
    2. If I get through # 1, can I use the 3G SSD in the optical drive bay even though the main drive is the 240 GB 6G SSD? If so I’d like to go to the 480GB capacity 3G SSD drive to replace the DVD drive.

    Thanks,

    /kr

    • No, the MacBookPro3,1 models use an Ultra ATA Optical drive, not a SATA drive – so the Data Doubler will not work.

  • Good news.. My problem with Kernel Panics on my new MacBook 8,3 (MacBook Pro 17 with 2.2Ghz quad core) was NOT the 480GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD).

    I believe it to be some bad System RAM..
    First thing I bought with my new MacBook Pro 17 was a Corsair 8 GB DDR3 Laptop Memory Kit.
    Only $49 after rebate! Low price was too good to be true.

    I suffered through kernel panic’s once every fews days for several weeks.
    OS X 10.6.8 – Kernel panics
    OS X 10.7.1 – Kernel panics
    Disable third party kernel extensions – Kernel panics
    Stop using Chrome, then stop using FireFox – Kernel panics
    Stop using Parallels – Kernel panics
    Disable and disallow any Safari extensions – Kernel panics.
    3 different hard drives (including OWC 6G SSD) – Kernel panics.
    Remove Corsair 8GB 1333Mhz DDR3 “Laptop Memory Kit” RAM, then re-install original Apple RAM – NO MORE KERNEL PANICS.

    Now its too late to get a refund.
    Whoopie
    [Refund from Corsair I mean..]

  • Hi guys, thanks for this info..
    i have macbook pro 13″ 2011 i7 (with 500gb hitachi HDD, buyer on June 2011) and put 2 SSD 60GB OCZ VERTEX 3 into main bay and opti bay.. OS X Lion 10.7.1
    but on system information i see on main bay:
    Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
    Negotiated Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
    on opti bay:
    Link Speed: 3 Gigabit
    Negotiated Link Speed: 3 Gigabit

    When i run DiskSpeedTest from AppStore on first SSD i see speed 450 read 470 write..
    When i run on second SSD i see 230 read 270 write
    when i put both SSD to raid0 (strip, 120GB summary) – i have read speed 510 and write 570 – it is good, but i buy 2 SSD for 1000 speed :)
    Tell me please how to fix OptiBay slot speed to 6G. As i understand this can be done by EFI upgrade to 2.1 version, but when i try to upgrade i receive error that this upgrade not possible on my system.. Or maybe it is because my OptiBay device (DVDROM slot TO 2.5″ SSD/HDD SLOT) no support SATA high speed? I buy first on ebay.com with 15$ price.

    P.S. sorry for English – it is not my native language.
    Thanks for your help.

  • My experience with a brand new 2.3 ghz, quad core 15″ MBP:
    Bought from online Apple store, sent to OWC to have a Mercury Extreme 6g 240G SSD installed in main bay. Got it back…beach balled till unbootable….sent it back…as per OWC…”the SSD was faulty”…they put a new SSD in…same thing…sent it back…tried a 480 gig 6g Mercury Extreme….worked for an hour…..sent back…am waiting now for a downgraded 3g SSD….will keep this forum posted.
    Stewart

  • Having read extensively into the issues concerning sata 3 and the 2011 17” macbook pros i am very much in two minds as to risk ordering one or not, especially living in the UK.

    I am just wondering if there have there been any further developments on this matter at all? My stock 5400rpm is killing me..

  • Well done OWC! This blog is another reason to return here for Mac expertise. As an IT pro, I appreciate your dedication to quality. Please zoom the Apple System Profiler that indicates both bays in the 13-inch system has two 6Gb data 3.0, and please add a shot of the mixed version. I can zoom my screen easily, but some others may not.

    I’m leaning toward the Mercury Pro 6G 240GB, starting with one. I’ll move the factory HD to the CD bay and enclose the CD in an external enclosure. Next step is a second 240GB Mercury Pro 6GB to go to RAID 0, and a Promise thunderbolt array.

  • Unfortunately my 2011 17″ MBP would not even partition my aftermarket SSD drive. I shielded the SATA cable but it didn’t help.

    On a whim I cut 5 pieces of foil the size of the drive bay and isolated each cable running through the bay in separate layers with 2 sheets of foil in each layer. I then wrapped the SSD drive in a layer of foil. This allowed me to partition/format the drive and install Snow Leopard.

    Almost immediately I started getting frequent beach balls and slow startups (1-5 minutes), so I added an additional layer of foil around the drive and a layer between the drive bay and the battery. I can now startup in less than 10 seconds and have not had any issues for a week. Not happy that it requires this type of hack, but ecstatic that I now have a working 6G SSD!

    • Very interesting! Mind to post a photo of how your solution look like?
      Glad that it now work perfectly for you, cheers!

  • Currently going through my dance with Apple on this will Update when I get a response… Seeing 2min lad even with the shield kit tested – and 6g owc 480Gb SSD.
    Currently it seems they feel it is aOWC SSD issue or push-back as problem, but we are going through a customer resolution step as of current since I will not sit back and accept the pay more get less statement thus-far from Apple Incorporated.
    If anyone has any options other than the Shielding please do let me know since I have reverted everything and this 17″ is practically not capable of sustaining the needed functionality moving forward if 6G support is flaky. (why did i get rid of my stable 17″ [2009] for this lemon?)
    Questions at hand are
    1.) is it a known MB issue?
    2.) is it a known FW issue on HW?
    3.) is it a known Cable issue?
    Lastly,
    what is needed to make the 6G main drive port fucntion above 7200 RPM Sata II speeds without hanging every 2 minutes when SSD is introduced?

    • I purchased a 17″ MBP this past April and after dealing with Apple for weeks to try to get the problems with my SATA III OCZ Vertex 3 resolved (constant beach balls) they finally offered to take it back, which I accepted. Here’s how I would answer your questions based on that experience:
      1) (I assume by ‘MB’ you mean “MacBook Pro” not “motherboard”) Yes and no – it’s not known by everyone in Apple but it *is* known to some. Apple was “repairing” these machines when I purchased mine and people reported no problems after getting their machines back. When I finally reached a tier 2 tech, he said it was Apple engineering who had been collecting those machines for testing but they had all they needed so they were not accepting any more (they were apparently returning different, working laptops to people). No front line people seemed to be aware of the issue (I’m assuming they weren’t lying to me.)
      2) Doesn’t appear to be (the many helpful posts here at OWC’s website seem to confirm this).
      3) Probably the same answer as 2 (though as the helpful OWC people here will point out, cable changes/shielding have fixed the problem for some people – see e.g., David’s post above).

      At the risk of being pedantic about your final question, based on OWC’s info in these blogs and on Apple’s own options, if you get a SATA II SSD you’ll get much better performance than a 7200RPM drive in the “main drive port”, and it appears there are no problems with that. But if your question is how to get actual SATA III performance out of the main drive location, there doesn’t seem to be an answer yet. It’s hit and miss at the moment.

      Incidentally, when I returned the additional memory I had purchased from Crucial, the returns rep knew all about this issue. He said they’d had many perfectly fine SSD’s returned because Apple’s position is, “It’s works to spec with the original equipment so it must be the third party hardware you’ve installed.” I find this incredibly disappointing given all the other fantastic experiences I’ve had dealing with Apple.

      Not wishing to sound like a shill for OWC but I wish I’d found these blogs before purchasing my Vertex 3. Given their generous return policy I would have purchased one of their SSD’s so I’d have had the option to return it. (Thanks again to OWC for their work and information on this issue!) It feels wrong having this great SSD in an older desktop…

      Lastly, if you’re a registered developer (i.e., a member of one of the Apple developer programs) don’t forget that you have access to different support. You still may not get any satisfaction but it might be less frustrating than some of the obvious things you have to do when you call the general support people.

      • Oops – switching to anal-retentive mode:
        In my answer to question 3 I wasn’t implying David is an OWC employee – he was just a poster who’d had success with shielding the cable.

  • Update: aftrer an hour on the phone with apple,

    I was informed that the 2011 MBP that ship with a 750GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive are not capable of using SSD Drives. They lack a firmware to use SSD drives at all unless they ship with a SSD drive from the factory.

    This is outrageous!

    The technical specs clearly state :

    Storage

    750GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive; optional 500GB 7200-rpm hard drive or 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB solid-state drive,

    There is nothing about it only working if it comes that way from the factory.

    After walking through my options I discovered that if I was to buy an official apple upgrade SSD hard drive that the Factory Authorized Service Rep or Genius Bar could flash my firmware to allow my MBP to enjoy the benifits of SSD.

    This is the first I’ve heard of it.

    Macbook pro 17″ 2011 750gb 4 (now 8)gb ram 2.2ghz

    • What is far more outrageous is that an Apple rep would give this kind of bogus information in the first place. It is simply not true that any special firmware/efi needs to be loaded onto a MacBook Pro so that it can use an SSD. That is completely bogus. Without ANY issues or ‘special SSD firmware update’ to your MacBook Pro -you can use an SSD in your MacBook Pro from Apple or from OWC that is 2.5″ Serial ATA type. This is completely independent of the 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 issue that plagues these machines. I would be shocked if you got the same answer you just got from another Apple Customer support rep or from any Apple Genius.

      Just on this info noted and to be absolutely clear:
      ‘They lack a firmware to use SSD drives at all unless they ship with a SSD drive from the factory’
      OWC Response: That is absolutely untrue/false.

      There is no firmware difference between the same Macbook Pro model when it is factory or later equipped with an apple SSD vs. if equipped with a hard drive.

      • I also found it hard to believe, making her repeat it to me several times in different ways.

        I now think the poor misinformned rep was referring to an issue (fixed by MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7) that plauges 2009 macbook pro, but not my 17″ 2011.

        I see now that the problem is that my 17″ has problems negotiating 6g. I will continue to deal with apple on this issue, and in the meanwhile will return my 6g ssd for a 3g model.

        Thanks for your input.

      • Larry,

        I am having the same SSD drive recognition issues on my 15″ MacBook Pro 2011.

        The drive has already been sent back to OWC for “testing”, but I was wondering if this there has been any other reports on the 15″ models.

  • I am happy to report that I got lucky and ordered my custom 17inch on May 18. I took the plunge and ordered the 6g SSD 240gb version and the data doubler. I am running my 750gb 7200rpm in the doubler with the 6g running like a charm getting a solid 490 read and write speeds. the upgrade is worth every penny. I was even able to boot up lion off the external optical case with no problem. I have a 6g 6g model instead of the earlier 6g/3g model. Just wanted to give OWC a big thanks for quality upgrade options to really make my machine a quality performer for a long time to come. The new work flow is amazing with lion and the ssd upgrade. Maybe the mac gods shined down on me?

    Kind Regards
    floyd.

  • So I just thought I would add my two cents. I bought 8 GB of ram (which works great btw) and a 120 GB Mercury Electra Pro 6G SSD for a new 2011 MBP shipping with Lion preinstalled.

    Installed the data doubler and sad in the optical bay and it showed up fine. Noted that both optical bay and main HD bay show 6G sata ports. Then the problems started. Kernel panicked on both Super Duper and CCC. Tried to do clean install via self created recovery cd and USB sticks. Kept getting “Cannot install Max OS X” error. Even booting from Original HD recovery partition would cause instant boot to install error. Had to unplug battery and zap PRAM in order to get recovery partition to boot as it normally would. Also during an attempted recovery “clean” install of Lion to SSD. After failing the SSD would no longer show up in disk utility.

    After several hours I found this blog. I have swapped the 3G original HDD into the data doubler and put the SSD into the main HD bay. Super duper worked and it has successfully booted of the SSD in the main bay. So I will test it and see what happens. I will admit this is why I both love and hate Apple. They make such top dollar great products and then they pull BS like this.

    Also noting the fact that Lion seems to require an Internet connection to install no matter what seems kind of ridiculous unless I just missed something with all of this SSD troubleshooting.

    However as always thanks to the OWC team for good products and service.

    • Just tried putting a brand-new 2.11 firmware 120GB Vertex3 Max IOPS into the optical bay. Sometimes the drive is not recognized, doesn’t show up in Disk Utility. Same drive works great in the hard disk bay.

      This is on a 2 month old MacBook Pro 15″ with Lion, and both ports show up as 6 gbps.

      Very disappointing. Do we have any options for next steps, other than these less-than-ideal ones?

      1. Wait and hope that Apple fixes this someday
      2. Get a SATA-2 drive (works fine in optical)
      3. Wait until a new MacBook Pro is released, buy it, and hope that it fixes the problem

      • I got a little bit further with this, but still can’t use the disk in Optibay. It can’t be formatted by Disk Utility due to this error: “Unable to write to the last block of the device.” … which has nothing to do with the device ’cause it works fine in the main bay.

        See details in my post on the Apple forums: https://discussions.apple.com/message/16077661#16077661

  • Has there been any resolution to this with Lion updates? I imagine it would require an EFI update if it could be fixed with software but I get the impression this is a hardware problem. Any recommendations? Right now I’m leaning towards waiting until they fix the hardware issue in manufacturing and then getting my MBP17″ replaced.

  • Did you have any luck whatsoever with installing SATA3 SSD in a MBP 15″? Was there even one machine that worked?

    Is there any indication that — like it happened with 13″ MBP — a new hardware revision (or recently built model) will be able to run SATA3 RAID0? 1GB/s speed is rather enticing to me… I’m thinking about getting 15″ MBP and stuffing it with 2x240GB SSD, but only if I can get SATA3 RAID0.

    • The 2011 MacBook Pro 15″ had no issues with 6Gbp/s SSD (SATA Revision 3.0) in main bay – but the optical bay is another story. A 6Gbp/s SSD (SATA Revision 3.0) SSD does not work in the optical bay – so RAIDing together two would not be possible.

      • Hmm… I’ve seen some posts around that claimed that some 15″ MBPs will work with SATA3 SSD in optibay (newly built machines). I guess I could order one, give SSD a go and if it doesn’t work then send the MBP back.

        • I have 2011 MacBook Pro 13″ with both 6Gbp/s capabilities. However, my 2 OCZ Vertex 3 120G SSD only work fine in main bay. I don’t know if there’s something wrong with my optical bay. If I buy OWC Data Doubler, will it solve my problem?

  • Hi,

    I own a 2011 17″ MBP and am on the verge of purchasing an OWC SSD.

    I considered a 240GB 6Gbps drive and then moving the Apple SSD into the optical bay.

    But then I thought this:

    Purchasing two 115GB 3Gbps SSDs and putting them in RAID 0 in both drives might actually come close to (or even surpass?) the performance of a single 240GB 6Gbps SSD.

    Is my thinking good here?

    Price wise it’s preferable, and I don’t have to worry about the lucky dip of whether it will work or not.

    Is this a good idea? Will performance be comparable?

    • Yes, performance would be comparable. With two SATA Revision 2.0 (3Gb/s) SSDs in an internal RAID 0 configuration , you’d be looking at about 540MB/s read speeds and 525MB/s writes which is in the ballpark of OWC 6G SSD individual drive speeds of 556-559MB/s reads and 523-527MB/s writes.

      • Michael,

        I just purchased a new MacBook Pro 17, and I’d like to install OWC SSDs to replace the stock 750GD HD; after reading this thread, I understand why purchasing a Mercury 6G Pro and installing in the main bay is an iffy proposition.

        So, I’m thinking about buying a couple of OWC 3G 240GB and installing them (main bay + data doubler) in a RAID 0 configuration as another reader asked, to realize something comparable to 6G performance. I have a couple of follow-up questions:

        1. Would I install the 2 SSDs unformatted, internally and boot from the 750GB externally (after installing in the On-The-Go-pro), followed by using Disk Utility to format and configure the SSDs as RAID 0?

        2. Could I then use Carbon Copy Cloner to transfer a bootable copy from the external 750GB to the internal SSDs?

        Regards,

        Greg

        • Assuming you’ve not yet jumped to Lion, yes that’s the way to go. Though I’d generally recommend a fresh install and running Migration Assistant to bring your data over, having replaced your optical drive with an SSD would make that difficult. :-)

          With Lion, you’d need to boot to the restore partition on your (now external) drive, format new drives as RAID 0, then restore using Apple’s utlity. Similar concept, slightly different execution.

  • Installed the 480GB 6G disk 4 weeks ago in a brand new 17″ 2.2 (CTO with anti-glare, week 27). Installed it on arrival of the Macbook Pro and never even booted with the stock 500GB 7200 rpm disk.

    No problems with the tests I ran (fill volume). Over 500 MB/s. It’s super fast!
    Working with it all day for 4 weeks now and no problems what so ever.

    Cheers,

    Martijn

  • Hello,

    Is there a definite way of knowing that either the 6G SSD will work or not?

    Reading this thread I understood that it’s only a matter of luck. At some point I see that Larry mentions about the Links.

    On my Macbook Pro early 2011, I have Link Speed 6 Gigabit / Negotiated Link Speed 3 Gigabit for the HD and Link Speed 3 Gigabit / Negotiated Link Speed 1.5 Gigabit for the Optical Media (DVD-R).

    As far as the 3G in my understanding there is not problem with the 17″ Macbook Pro but how is the performance compared to the 6G? The cost difference is very small between the 2 and it seems you get a lot for a bit of extra cash.

    And last does this problem with the 6G link appear on other SSD makes. I see on your shop you sell Crucial and Intel SSD, do this ones as well have similar problems?

    It’s a lot of money not to consider all the above before purchasing.

    • The only way to see if it will work is to try it. It effects all brands of 6Gb/s SSD drives. It’s been hit or miss and very frustrating.

      That’s part of the reason we offer the 30 day money back guarantee on all of the OWC Mercury 6G SSDs.

          • Thank you for this clarification and the quick answer.

            I’m very satisfied so far with OWC and the products are the best.

            Cheers

            • I’m in a similar boat to Dimitrios (I live in Australia). Although the hit and miss point has been made consistently over the past few months, I don’t have a clear idea of what proportion of sata 6Gb/s SSD’s in the 17 inch main bay are having these troubles. 5%, 25%, 80%, 98%? I appreciate that this statistic isn’t something that can be determined accurately with ease, but some kind of ball park figure would be nice. If it’s very very likely to not work, I won’t waste OWC’s and my time by shipping something to Australia, only to have to ship it back!

              Secondly, my current 240GB OWC SSD (240 GB Mercury Extreme Pro 2010) in my Macbook Pro 4.1 (2008) has a Revision Number: 320A13F0 and a Serial Number: MXE24010E37A5619. Is this a Sata 2 drive (3Gb/s), or a Sata 1 drive (1.5Gb/s)? I have only recently realised my connection in my MBP 4.1 only has a Sata 1 connection (1.5Gb/s), so if this drive is Sata 2, then it’s kind of wasted currently, but it may be an option for a new 17 inch Macbook Pro. Following on, how can I test if this drive is still functioning well / hasn’t degraded in performance, before considering the hassle of putting it into a new MBP.

              Thanks heaps for your time; you guys provide such a great and unique service.

              George.

              • Hi George….our Extreme line has always been either 3G or 6G….the front side label should be very clear on the speed…and if 6G not part of the name…well then you have a 3G (3Gb/s) or SATA Revision 2.0 SSD. From your Rev. #….it’s a 3Gb/s drive.

                Not sure the drive is “wasted” on your current MBP….as it will certainly saturate the bus speed at 150MB/s…whereas an older/factory HD won’t approach such speeds…but true, the drive is capable of 285MB/s….so it would be an option for a new MBP.

                SandForce based drives do not suffer slowdowns/performance degradation….and in fact can get faster with age!

                http://blog.macsales.com/8924-not-all-ssds-are-created-equal-buyer-beware

                Also…no published specs on the % of 17″ MBPs that experience issues with aftermarket 6G SSDs…not even a ballpark figure to offer as won’t truly know until bulk of owners start considering adding a 6G SSD to their machines.

  • Hey,

    I tryed out my 120GB 6G OWC SSD last night in the main bay – no luck!
    I then tryed it out in the optical bay with the data doubler and again – no luck!

    I guess i’ll just habe to wait for a fix from apple.

    Hopefully sooner than later.

    Any advice?

  • Very disappointed! I installed the OWC Mercury Pro 6G 480 GB in my new MBP last night, built Lion onto it, ran Migration Assistant and everything worked like a champ. I used the machine into the evening and it was just fantastic. Today it has been terrible. I ran DiskSpeedTest for about three hours this afternoon with Activity Monitor running with the Disk Activity graph showing. It would run like crazy for a minute or so and then flatline. While it was flatlined the beachball would appear if I tried anything and nothing would happen. After anything from 5 seconds to a minute the graph would spring into life and the system would hum along like mad. For maybe a few seconds or up to a minute – then the same thing – flatline. It kept repeating this.

    Now I have activity monitor running on my iMac here and the disk graph is often on zero as there is not disk activity, but the system is responsive. So over on my new MBP, when the disk activity flatlines, it is as if the system is unable to do anything. The CPU activity remains unchanged whilst this is happening so it is not as if the CPU is being taken over. The system just stops during that period.

    Very disappointed with Apple.

    If I exchange the 6G for a 3G will I still have this problem, or does the 3G work okay in a 17″? The web site tells me I have a 30 money back guarantee for the 6G, can I do this, does it make sense? The 3G is still very much faster than the HHD so I think it would be better then weeping over the 6G.

    Thanks – Lawrence

    • The Mercury EXTREME 3G hasn’t shown the same issues and would work just fine in the 17″ – the issues here were only with the 6G drives on a 6GB/s enabled bus on the 2011 17″ MBP – and we agree, quite frustrating as it is completely hit or miss on whether it works or not. That’s part of the reason we offer that 30 day money back guarantee – to allow you to try it out without penalty. Going to the 3G is indeed much faster than the standard HDD still.

  • I started experiencing severe freezes with my OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD / 343A13F0 / MXE12010E48B0103 drive under Lion right after Apple replaced the Logic Board of my mid-’09 MBP. Freezes are reproduced by doing any prolonged drive activity like copying files, garage band guitar chords listening mode, watching an online video etc. I have disabled FileVault 2 and most stalls have stopped (before machine was completely unusable).
    – drive had the latest firmware
    – no problems with heat or anything
    – run Applejack and memtest in single user mode
    – no problems with the stock HDD (tested both: installed internally, and as an external drive, connected via USB).
    – The integrity test with quick bench fails after 1 second of running with a message that the program crashed and if it persists there is a problem with the drive.
    – Clean-ish installation of Lion from clean installed Snow Leopard specifically for the upgrade (transferred only user files via assistant)
    – Had no problems under Snow Leopard (FileVault was disabled)
    – Tried completely disabling spotlight, made no evident difference
    – Sometimes freezes at boot
    – Boot takes 15 seconds, then a further 35 seconds to load the apps under Lion (before the whole process took under 30 seconds). May be a Lion thing.

    I am in the UK and sending the drive in would be problematic – customs and shipping time. Any help would be greatly appreciated… Thank you.

    ~ Andrei.

    • The problem is with nvidia logic boards installed into mid-’09 are incompatible with SATA II. After downgrade to EFI 1.6 problem’s completely solved. Doing this also limits transfer speeds to 1.5Gbit/s. This seems as only solution. If this is something that could be address in SSDs firmware? People would buy OWC SSDs. There are a million people with these problems. All mid-’09 MBPs (15*, don’t know a out others) were affected.

  • I purchased a 480GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD on July 15 for my early 2011 17-inch macbook Pro before I saw this blog. I am one of the lucky ones and it is working fine and is blazing fast under OSX. Even under Lion, which I’ve now installed. I also have the OWC 12 GB RAM Upgrade installed in this machine.

    However I started to try and load Bootcamp yesterday in order to have the ability to give 100% of the machine resources to window as I need it. I had a difficult time getting it to load. Windows would install as normal but then after loading the bootcamp drivers and the initial windows update and restarting I would get an error that the Partition was corrupted and needed to reinstall.

    I think I have it finally installed and have rebooted several times. I’m now running all the windows updates. But sometimes when I reboot it comes up with Starting Windows but then the circling windows don’t show. I have to power down and reboot. I then select start windows normally and it starts up fine.

    Are these symptoms of the SSD problems you identify in this blog? Or are there Windows settings I need to change to work properly with this SSD?

    If I was to RMA back this 480GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD within the 30 day period and instead purchase a
    480GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 3G SSD are there any problems with that drive and my machine? Do you think that would resolve these windows problems?

    Again all works well with OSX. Knock on wood. Windows also seems to run fine in fusion.

    Any suggestion is appreciated.

    • Hi Jim:

      While we look into that a bit further…sounds like if you disable the Link Power Management (either by using Microsoft’s default AHCI driver or by searching for the required Registry modifications for the Intel driver), that may offer a solution.

    • Hi Jim, hope you don’t mind me stepping in here, but Grant is currently unavailable and I didn’t want you to have to wait longer for an answer.
      We ran your situation by our tech team and they’re thinking that this is more of an issue with Bootcamp than it is an issue with the drive itself. If you could contact them by phone, email or live chat at your convenience, they’d be happy to help troubleshoot with you.

  • Hello,

    I am wondering if I was to purchase the data doubler would I be able to put the original 750GB drive that came with my Macbook Pro into it and put the 6G ssd (assuming there are no problems with my machine and the ssd) in the original hard drive bay?

    Thanks.

    • Absolutely – yes. And… if for some reason there is an issue with your 6G connection, if you have 3G link in the optical bay – you can absolutely move the 6G SSD to the optical bay via Data Doubler and have no issues there at all.

      • Thanks so much for that Larry.

        I have purchased the data doubler and a 6G OWC SSD.

        Can’t wait to recieve it.

        I would just like to say how awesome OWC is, I will always buy my stuff from you guys.

        Your service is amazing.

        Thanks again so much.

      • Hey Larry,

        I tryed out my 120GB 6G OWC SSD last night in the main bay – no luck!
        I then tryed it out in the optical bay with the data doubler and again – no luck!

        I guess i’ll just habe to wait for a fix from apple.

        Hopefully sooner than later.

        Any advice?

  • So, does this issue still persist on the 17 inch macbook pros that are running os x lion? I really want to buy a 17 inch macbook pro with one of the OWC mercury electras, but may go with the 15 inch if this is still a problem.

  • I just spoke with an Apple rep and asked specifically about what I’d be getting when I buy a new MBP 17, 3G or 6G, specifically because of this potential issue.

    I was simply told they do not release that information.

    I repeatedly explained my position and, spending top dollar, I’d like to know what I’m getting before I get it, but she just kept repeating the same line.

    So as I explained to her, I just order it and see and return it if need be.

    Just dumb.

    • Hello.

      I am picking up my new 17″ Macbook Pro in a couple of days.

      I wanted to put an SSD in a data doubler and place in the optical drive bay but the above post says that isn’t possible. Is this still the case? I am talking about the 6G SSD.

      If not is it possible to put the ssd in the original hard drive bay and move the original hard drive into the optical bay using the data doubler?

      Thanks.

      • All MacBook Pros have 6G in the Main HD Bay. 6G link reliability has been very hit and miss in the 17″models.

        Without clear rhyme or reason, some MacBook Pros have 3G link in the Optical Bay and some have the 6G link port connected. In 15″ and 17″ models, we have not seen 6G link be reliable in the optical bay at all for 6G drive use. So – if you have 6G speed capability showing for the the optical bay connection, it would not be advisable to use a 6G drive via data doubler in that bay. Now – if it shows it’s the 3Gb/s max link, then you can use a 6G drive there without any issues at all.

  • Ok, so I just recieved my 17 inch macbook pro today and it does indeed contain sata 3.0 in both the main drive bay AND the optical drive bay. According to the serial number it was built this month (july). Think it would be safe to go ahead and purchase a data doubler and try throwing in a mercury 6g in the optical bay? Have you guys had the opprotunity to test any 17 inch macbooks with a sata 3.0 connection in the optical drive bay yet? P.S. you guys are great, I learned a lot from OWC over the years.

    • You do not want to put ANY 6Gb/s drive in the optical bay. SATA 3.0 6Gb/s link is not reliable in that bay. So – choosing a 3G SSD (or HD) is best for that bay. we have not seen ANY optical bay on 15″ or 17″, when 6G port connected, has been reliable/operated fully correct for 6Gb/s drive operation.

      As for the main bay, only way to know whether your 6Gb/s is reliable or not is to try a 6Gb/s drive in the bay. It’s hit or miss and when purchased doesn’t seem to make any impact one way or the other as any change Apple may make to correct the problem has not been implemented in what’s shipping that we’ve seen to date. Our 30 day money back comes in useful with respect to this – although really not for the right reason as should not even be this situation in first place IMHO.

      Anyway, sorry don’t have anything definitive.

      • Thanks for the quick reply. I’ll give it a shot. Probably be placing the order this weekend. Once all is said and done, I’ll be sure to give everyone on here a yay or nay on how it turns out. Hope I get lucky (fingers crossed).

  • This is so frustrating.

    Spent almost 3k on a 17″ machine.
    It has 6Gbps support which is not working and might be fixed. No guarantee.
    To spend another few hundreds on a 3Gbps when its almost the same price as 6Gbps.
    Even worse if the fix is done shortly after purchasing the 3Gbps.

    I dont know what should i do. Cant even test since im from Malaysia and 30 days will just be gone in the delivery time.

    • HI shahz, we’re on the same stranded boat here.

      I just bought OWC 240GB 6G SSD, I may let you test on your machine if we’re living in the same vicinity.
      Contact me on Twitter: WiseFreeman

      In Malaysia or other countries that have no “official” Apple Store, there’s no such thing as “30 Days Money Back Guarantee” offer to customers for any Apple products sold online or via authorized reseller, so we’re dead meat if we get 1 of those faulty logic board which doesn’t work at full 6G speed & requesting parts exchange will be a pain in the @ss given the poor mentality of general customer service in Malaysia…

  • Hello, I have bought 480GB Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD. In MBP 17″ it had beach-ball freezing, randomly disk not recognized at startup, Windows could not be installed at all in Boot Camp. Applying the shielding kit to the cable did not help.

    Apple Genius Bar did not investigate the problem, they only confirmed that it’s caused by 3rd party SSD and it’s not Apple’s fault.

    I returned the MBP 17″, now I’m considering buying the 15″. Is it confirmed that it works well with the SSD?

    • The 17″ is the worst by a wide margin. While we have seen both 15″ and 13″ units with 6G SATA issues, they are by far the exception vs. the vast majority which are A-OK with SATA 3.0 6Gb/s link in the main bay. You should be a-ok with a new 15″ in terms of 6G SSD operation in the main bay.

      This is probably one of the most disappointing situations have seen in a long time with Apple hardware. Not just that they shipped a new line with SATA 3.0 without really testing SATA 3.0 signal reliability (can only guess), but that while SATA 3.0 6Gb/s link continues to be shown and default link when a 6Gb/s drive is connected – it’s now 5 months since these systems have been shipping that the issue still remains.

      Simple solution…. issue an update to reduce the link speed from 6Gb/s to 3Gb/s on the ports. Bites to not have 6Gb/s on a modern, nearly $3000 system….. but bites worse to be hit or miss like this on the same. How come every other PC brand with the Sandybridge has no 6G issues… how come the Mac mini and iMac 2011 models are rock solid with 6Gb/s on their so enabled ports? Maybe the design flaw in terms of 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 signaling reliability in these MacBook Pros is more serious than initially thought. It just doesn’t seem like Apple to leave this issue open – despite their standard ‘we don’t support 3rd party drives’ bit. Frustrating.

  • I have a 480GB 6G SSD from OWC in my 17″ 2011 2.3GHz i7 MBP and its working almost perfectly. My only issue is a slow boot time. Everything else is perfect. My MBP was ordered on July 1, 2011. Both SATA interfaces say they support 6G, but I just have a 3g 240GB OWC SSD in the optical bay.

  • Just got my 17″ Macbook Pro and am still researching SSDs for it. Can someone explain to me what happens if you encounter “the problem”? Is it worth waiting? I am really interested in getting a 6.0Gb/s SSD and am now unsure what to do.

    BTW, my MBP came with 6.0Gb/s for both drive bays. Yippee, I guess.

      • We purchased ours at the Apple Store so we didn’t have to wait on delivery.

        Correction – The most recent 17″ I ordered from Apple store on 7/15…. Not local pickup. Been answering so many questions on the new Mac mini this morning that I missed you were asking about the MacBook Pro model. :-)

  • Hi, can anyone who just recently bought a MBP 17, may you please kindly advise whether there’s still any issue with the SATA 6G port in the main bay, and whether the Optical Bay is currently equipped with 6G port instead of 3G, thanks in advance.

    • Just got another unit in on 7/15. 6G on this system was very flawed, one of worst have seen… So – issue still exists in units currently being shipped.

      Also have had a couple custom install solution builds, where customers send their stock systems in, both drop shipped from Apple to us – and both actually had good 6G for the main drive bay – worked great with 6G SSDs (our SSDS of course in this install). So – very hit and miss. These units came in the earlier part of July prior to 7/10. No reason visible how to tell ‘good’ from ‘bad’ short of putting the drive in and testing.

      • Thanks Larry, I bought OWC MEPro 6G 240GB from you guys 2 weeks ago, guess I’ll have to wait loooooooonger for the permanent fix before I purchase MBP17……. Been waiting since MAY….

        By the way, is your 7/15 & the customers’ prior-7/10 built machines have 2x 6G ports?

        • I needed the high resolution screen & ExpressCard/32 slot, so getting a MBP 17″ is imminent, and I also intended to run 2x 240GB OWC 6G in RAID 0. 1000Mb/s is surely attractive!

          oh Apple, please fix the d@mn SATAIII 6G ports!!!

  • I was wondering if anyone had tried running the 6g ssd with the battery indicator light disconnected. I would assume this would remove the interference and tell us if the cable is indeed the true problem. I myself would have no problem running my laptop without the battery indicator since I never use it. If anyone still has a 6g ssd try this and let us know the outcome.

    • We did actually test this… and results are inconsistent. There is no magic bullet as multiple factors that come together with this Macbook pro 6g flaw.

    • I tested this as well, and disconnecting the battery indicator didn’t make any difference on the 6G issues with my system.

  • Just bought the OWC 6G as well, before going out and getting the 17″ Macbook Pro. Then ran across this issue and started to worry. OWC stuff came in…bought the macbook this weekend and installed everything (data doubler as well). I ran some heavy disktests for the weekend and had no problems…was happy. I did see one data point dip in the write (14 Mbs) but average was a little below what was documented on prior posts…404 but happy with (unless anyone has any idea why)…reads at 520. I had installed the drive after the initial boot/setup of the new macbook. First carbon clone to 6G then swap and worked fine. Then updated to 10.6.8 and still no problems. I have not updated since and all is still good. It is a beautiful thing when it is working like this. Now because of the recent post I am apprehensive to update anymore.

    Also…my build is from week 14 so no 6G on port 2.

  • Just reloaded my Early 2011 MBP 17″ today after installing an OWC Extreme Pro 480GB SSD with the additional shielding tape.
    Everything seemed to go fine for most of the day until all of my software and OS patches were in-place, then the beachballs arrived and stayed for the evening.
    AT noon today, I ran a couple of hours of tests with DriveGenius, XBench, and ZoneBench to see how the drive performed before committing to reloading my mac. The comments on this forum had me worried (and rightly so!) The drive impressed and gave consistently high results on all benchmarks. I proceeded with reinstalls.
    The 10.6.4 install was speedy and the system booted in approximately 15-20 seconds.
    I installed the 10.6.8 update combo and rebooted – still fast, no beachballs
    Software updates commenced… 10.6.4 apps, iLife 11 upgrade, Adobe CS5, FCP X (yea…), Lightroom, Painter, ConceptDraw, 250GB of photos and video, thunderbird, firefox, adium, etc…
    no problems… yet…
    Apple System Updates – long list, not sure where to get the logs to figure out what exactly
    Bang… beachballs ever since.

    How do I figure out what was in that last round of system updates (and remove them?)

    Cheers,
    -Fabrizio

    • We have not seen an OS update impact the MacBook Pro 6G issue pro or con. Please confirm you aren’t using that third party TRIM enabler hack that fools 10.6.8 to enable TRIM. This is not a benefit for our drives and also has resulted in the beachball issue you’ve reported on systems that were working fine without it… in such cases, simple solution is to turn it off/remove it.

      • I am not using any TRIM enablers. I loaded the system fresh, specifically to assure I did nothing to tip the balance when assessing this drive’s performance.

        I did find that turning off the Energy Saver “Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible” function and setting the “Computer sleep” timeout to “never” helps quite a bit.

        I still get lags and beachballs when apps are initializing after waking from sleep mode. After 5 minutes or so they go away and the system’s “fast as snot” as my young cousin likes to phrase it. :-)

        I also have particularly poor drive performance and lags, if not outright beachball syndrome when I run VMWare Fusion and a Win7 VM or Sophos AV is doing it’s duty.

        FYI, while operating with the SSD in the primary drive bay at 6gbps, most environments provide usability with beachballs only ~10-20% of the operating time (pretty bad IMO). When I was on a Canadair regional jet yesterday, the system became 100% unusable to the point where the SSD wouldn’t even POST and boot properly. Of the 5-6 times I tried cold-booting while on the plane, only once did it actually boot – and then only to the Lion recovery volume. I assume that boot image is a bit smaller than the full OSX primary image and therefore was able to, for some reason, get enough data past the interference to actually boot… I ran a disk repair on the primary SSD volume while on the plane to make sure I hadn’t corrupted something – the results came back without issues and without making any repairs. The volume would mount, just not boot… very strange.

        When I got off the plane and booted up in the terminal, the system came up “fine” with my usual performance/beachball issues. (thankfully!)

        This seems to be a very extreme example of the sensitivity of the 17″ early 2011 MBP’s SATA hardware when operating at 6 gbps.

        Today, I have shifted the SSD from the primary drive bay to the superdrive bay in an effort to avoid the 6gbps SATA channel.
        Fortunately, my MBP’s SATA chip only supports 3gbps connections in the superdrive bay, so moving the SSD to that position seems to have eliminated the beachball problem for me, albeit at a 50% theoretical max throughput penalty.

        Intel 6 Series Chipset:

        Vendor: Intel
        Product: 6 Series Chipset
        Link Speed: 3 Gigabit
        Negotiated Link Speed: 3 Gigabit
        Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported

        OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD:

        Capacity: 480.1 GB (480,103,981,056 bytes)
        Model: OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD
        Revision: 319ABBF0
        Serial Number: MX6G48011E*******
        Native Command Queuing: Yes
        Queue Depth: 32
        Removable Media: No
        Detachable Drive: No
        BSD Name: disk1
        Medium Type: Solid State
        TRIM Support: No
        Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)
        S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified
        Volumes:
        disk1s1:
        Capacity: 209.7 MB (209,715,200 bytes)
        BSD Name: disk1s1
        Content: EFI
        Macintosh SSD:
        Capacity: 479.24 GB (479,244,222,464 bytes)
        Available: 267.74 GB (267,740,094,464 bytes)
        Writable: Yes
        File System: Journaled HFS+
        BSD Name: disk1s2
        Mount Point: /
        Content: Apple_HFS
        Recovery HD:
        Capacity: 650 MB (650,002,432 bytes)
        BSD Name: disk1s3
        Content: Apple_Boot

  • sorry to jump in here late – but has anything changed?
    i’ve ordered a 17″ MBP and i am about to purchase and SSD and data doubler from OWC but wondering what the status of the 6G and 3G drives.

    • As can see in posts as recent as the last few days – nothing has changed. 6G link is still luck of the draw, very hit or miss with the 17″ MacBook Pros. There is not a solution that consistently resolves and Apple has not made a change that corrects this issue. 15″ and 13″ are fine for 6G link in the main drive bay. 13″ models with 6G in the optical bay are also working great with our 6G drives there as well. But regardless of SSD brand, I would not recommend a 6G SSD be placed in 15″ or 17″ optical bays if you have a 6G link there (no issue with 3G link or 3G drives) and, again, 6G SSD in the 17″ Main bay is luck of draw with no way to guarantee anything there. There are ZERO issues with 3G SSDs in the 17″ though.

      Apple needs to fix this.

      It’s just so odd too… the iMac 2011 models originally shipped with only 3G link enabled and then Apple released an EFI update a week after introduction that enabled 6G on the two 6G link capable ports… and the iMac SCREAMS RELIABLY with 6G SSDs on both ports. Then you have the MacBook Pros – all of which shipped with 6G link in at least the main bay, some (also hit or miss) with 6G in optical bays – and the 17s here have issues as well as the 15s with 6G in the optical bay.

      this horse is a pulp.

  • Went into the Genius Bar at Chadstone today to get my MBP 17″ Sandy Bridge looked at. Like all of you, I cannot get my new 6GB Extreme Pro to work quickly & reliably.

    I purchased the OWC sheilding kit, and it made absolutely no difference.

    After much discussion with the Genius, he has ordered a new SATA cable for me and will let me know when it is in so I can get it fitted.

    My question is to OWC. Although it doesn’t work at 6GB, I wonder if there is a way to create a small program that can change the 6GB SATA connection to a 3GB connection.

    Granted, we won’t get full performance until Apple issues an EFI upgrade or fix, but at least we will be able to use our drives.

    I know I will probably get howled down a bit, but until there is a real fix, a small utility that can change the speed of the SATA interface from 6GB to 3GB and back to 6GB would be a godsend.

    Is it an idea? Is it even possible??

    Let me know what you all think.

    Christopher

    • Hi Christopher…that’s a cool idea…but sadly not possible. SATA link speed is controlled by the EFI…so it’s not something we can change on our end.

      • We are also looking at (have been for a bit) other possibilities for forcing 3G link, but just not that simple unfortunately. And, the best place to do it – EFI as Grant notes – is locked down on Macs by Apple.

        • Changing link speed should be possible by the AHCI driver, at least it is on bootcamped Windows. So it’s not “locked” in EFI.

          Out of curiosity I put my Crucial M4 into a non OWC Optibay frame (aka DataDoubler) and noticed the following on bootcamped Windows:

          The M4 6G SSD is linked at 6G, but the link is very unstable. The Intel AHCI driver more or less instantly falls back to 3G once the drive is taxed (on the fly and stays there!) and the MSAHCI driver stalls several time until it falls back to PIO (can also be done manually and seems to still performs quite good with SSDs).

          Whether the bad 6G connection is caused by the Optibay frame (which is nothing more than a frame with 2 adapters + an internal cable anyway) or by the Macbook’s circuitry/cable I cannot say.

          • Unfortunately I forgot to check if turning of WIFI and Bluetooth have any effect on Optibay connection quality. Both of these have their antennas around the Optibay area. Maybe OWC can have a look at that!?

      • Oh Poop!

        Well, it was just a thought.

        Just for the record my MBP was built between 09/05/2011 & 15/05/2011.

        I don’t know what week that is.

        Hopefully, the SATA cable when it comes in might help. :)

        Christopher

      • looking at strings inside of IOAHCIFamily.kext I’d say that at least there are also control over SATA devices. Suddenly I just have no time for IOAHCIFamily.kext debugging, but may be your team can take a look at it? Almost sure that link speed can be re-negotiated from there.

        • such things as drive PM control, drive re-initialisation, NCQ enabling, initialisation errors handling are for sure inside IOAHCIFamily.kext

          • furthermore, briefly looking inside (opensourced by Apple) IOATAFamily I found very promising things like this:

            UInt8 getUltraMode( void );
            // The following cycle time accessors report cycle times in nanoseconds.
            // A device requesting a mode should also request a cycle time as reported in the device’s identification page.
            // A bus controller will configure the bus not to exceed (go faster than) the minimum time requested.
            // When a bus controller reports a mode configuration, the cycle time indicates the busses contract not to go
            // faster than. However an actual cycle time may be slower than the indicated time.
            /*!@function setPIOCycleTime
            @param inNS PIO cycle time in nanoseconds.
            */

            in IOATADevConfig

            Could you internally play a bit with that ”cycle time as reported in the device’s identification page’ (mean modify reported by drive values via firmware) and take a look – what’ll happen?
            Becoase it looks really like as ‘at the edge’ timing problem: longer lines – less stable work

            I’ll be glad to get in touch with your team, if you mind

            • any reaction? may be “we’re thinking on it” (mean live us for gods sake) or something just to know – should I wait for something here or not?

              • We are looking into this – we are also still exploring other solutions regardless of whether Apple fixes things right or not. I understand, appreciate, and further am frustrated myself with this entire circumstance. The core of the issue starts in the factory the way they are built. None the less we do continue to work on a fix. Right now – you will not find me recommending the 17″ to anyone that wants benefit of a 6Gb/s SSD until it’s fully fixed. The horse is pulp now… this continues to be hit and miss – some solutions seem to work in part or whole, but not consistent system to system.

                Concerning the KEXT hack and controlling link speed there – we are still exploring this. It’s not a real fix, but a solution to at least have full stability at 3Gb/s performance.

            • let your team take a look at IOStorageProtocolCharacteristics.h from IOStorageFamily-116.1.41, specifically at this part:

              @discussion This key defines the value of xxx Gigabit for the key
              kIOPropertyPortSpeedKey. If the speed of the port is xxx Gigabits
              per second and is not automatically determined (i.e. the user
              configured the port to be exactly this speed), this key should be used.

              #define kIOPropertyPortSpeed1GigabitKey “1 Gigabit”
              #define kIOPropertyPortSpeed1_5GigabitKey “1.5 Gigabit”
              #define kIOPropertyPortSpeed2GigabitKey “2 Gigabit”
              #define kIOPropertyPortSpeed3GigabitKey “3 Gigabit”
              #define kIOPropertyPortSpeed4GigabitKey “4 Gigabit”
              #define kIOPropertyPortSpeed6GigabitKey “6 Gigabit”
              etc etc

              Example:

              @textblock

              Controller Characteristics

              Port Speed
              4 Gigabit

              @/textblock

    • Well, guys. I went into the Apple Store on Monday and they replaced the SATA cable as they said they were going to do.

      Bought the machine home and finally got a bit of time to play. Installed the SSD and installed 10.6.7.

      Seemed to go OK, and I thought “you beauty”, the problem is solved.

      The SATA cable I now have seems to be darker & thicker than the original. I could see the traces in the original cable, but not in this one. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to check the part numbers to find out if it is actually different.

      Reboot, and the system powered up fine.

      Loaded Speed Tools Pro and tried the Data Integrity Test.

      Wouldn’t run for more than a few minutes before it crashed.

      Rebooted again, and started to get the “system not seeing the drive” and “beach balling” happening again.

      So it isn’t fixed. :(

      I think I will need to RMA this 6Gb 120GB for a 240GB 3Gb and at least get working and get some benefit from the SSD.

      Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’ll be able to RAM it. The time spent testing & getting the new parts installed & testing some more (and being in Australia) have all taken their toll on the 30 days I think. :(

      I can but try.

  • Hey everyone,

    I am on a second 2011 MBP 17″ (8,3) that I received as a replacement from Apple with hopes it would magically fix the 6.0 Gb/s Sata III issue that I had with the original and an Intel 510. I just upgraded to 10.6.8 and put the sata III drive back into the main bay. It does indeed boot and half the time it can negotiate 6Gb/s, but it was flaky, so I put in the cable I ordered from fixit that I applied the OWC shield kit to, for the first go around. No luck, same behavior but worse, now when I put the Sata II Mercury Extreme Pro 480Gb SSD back in the main bay, my system has crashed numerous times. I think Apple has managed to create the black and white screen of death, much to Microsoft’s delight.

    What ever you do I would strongly recommend those 17″ owners out there to NOT UPGRADE to 10.6.8. I think it was a real step backwards. The beachballing is reduced however, with the same unstable results, but now even the sata II spec isn’t met. After spending over 20 years as a software engineer, and developer on numerous platforms, I feel I am back in the late 80’s again with a “state of the art” machine.

  • Any new news?

    I’m on the fence about pulling the trigger with my week 14 (April) 17in.

    My gut tells me that I should just order the sata 2.0 drive and be happy, but as your research indicates that April was a month that had working 17’inchers reported, (note, built week 14, not purchased in April, as one poster had indicated having problems with – I suspect this users mac was likely built weeks previous in the March timeframe) I’d really kick myself to not have given sata 3 a chance…

    I guess it comes down to being a headache for you folks to ship a good drive, only to have it be returned to you soon after because of Apple’s failure to address a key deisgn/hardware flaw.

    Any recent revelations that might influence the matter? (I would be purchasing the sleeve kit as well…)

    Cheers,

    – G

    • Hi LeTiger….unfortunately nothing new to report on this frustrating issue. And hey, it’s OK to do the 30 day risk free trial to try the 6G to see if it works for you. If it doesn’t, just return it and go the 3G. Just remember, this Apple hardware issue affects all 6G brands equally…

      • Thanks for the Follow up! I will definitely be going with OWC because of the warranty on the “Pro” series drives (I know all brands are affected, but as usual, OWC carries the best warranty), Here’s to hoping that the shielding kit works!

        – G

  • Just to add another data point to the discussion, I have a new MBP 17″ (Early 2011), 2.3Ghz, built the week of June 13, with SATA III (6Gb) on both ports. I BTO’d it with a 500GB 7200 RPM rotational drive and 4GB RAM (since upgraded to 12GB). Also have a single port eSATA expressCard adapter on it.

    I purchased a Crucial M4 drive (M4-CT256M4SSD2) from OWC the week of June 13, and immediately started having the freezing and beachballing problems everyone else is having. After researching online, I’ve tried the LPM patch (didn’t help, so I removed it), enabled TRIM (didn’t help, so I turned it back off) and flashed the SSD to the 0002 firmware (also didn’t help). I’ve also removed and reinstalled the SSD, ensuring everything was seated well. The only thing I haven’t tried yet is wrapping the cable in tin foil (which seems to work for some and not for others).

    The stalling doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason to when it happens (or for how long – it can be a few seconds up to many minutes at a time). When the thing works properly, the machine is simply amazing. When it doesn’t, well, it’s a doorstop…

    I need to use the computer, so I’m sticking the rotational media back in the MBP for now and will use the SSD in an external enclosure (eSATA interface).

    I’m continuing to check this thread, so if anyone has other suggestions, please leave them in a reply to this post.

    Ed

    • yeah…this is just maddening Ed….as you perfectly said no “rhyme or reason”…and yet today we get a Tweet from a customer saying our Shielding Kit worked for him:

      @macsales since installing the shielding kit the pro 6G SSD is running perfect! so fast I can’t believe it. Thanks so much.

      And dang….if you bought our 3G or 6G OWC brand, you could have returned it per our money back offer of them….unfortunately we don’t offer our program for other brand SSDs.

      Thinking you could keep the one you have and use externally…but then get our 3G model so you can have a high performance and highly reliable internal SSD.

      • I may yet try the shielding kit… kind of waiting to see if the impending 10.6.8 update helps. I got an external eSATA enclosure today, and when connected through an eSATA expressCard adapter and booted up off same, the SSD works perfectly…

        • 10.6.8 is out… will run the Combo updater, then clone my HDD back out to the SSD, switch hardware (again!) and see if it’s any better. Might be tomorrow before I can report.

          • I’m also grateful for your testing and reporting on whether 10.6.8 makes any difference. My assumption would be no–if a software fix is possible, I assume it will require a firmware update–but one never knows until somebody tries. Your effort helps us optimists avoid yet another drive swap!

    • Well, 10.6.8 made no difference for me… I started getting stalls within 30 seconds of booting up off the SSD when I put it back inside the MBP.

      I also called Apple Support, and all they could offer as a suggestion was to take it to an Apple Store (3 hours away) or our local Apple Service provider (where I bought the machine). That’s not going to get anywhere (I’m pretty sure I know more about the problem at this point than they will).

      Next stop is to see if OWC will exchange the Crucial M4 for a comparably-sized SATA II SSD.

      Ed

  • Build week 24 MacBookPro 8,3 (17″) here. Brand new replacement from Apple (CTO / Shanghai) to replace my week 12 machine w/ SATA III issues. Same problems, not good. In fact it might be worse!! Can’t even get Win7 to install, corrupts/crashes – even if I winclone it over, it blue screens on boot. It’s a real disaster, honestly :( I’m going to try my spare shield kit to see if it has ANY improvement, but I don’t have high hopes.

    APPLE FIX YOUR LEMON OR YELL AT INTEL TO FIX THEIRS!!!!!!

    • Just as a follow-up, Apple’s engineer said “go back to a 3Gb/s, we’re seeing a lot of these issues, just like when we went from SATA I to II and people had problems then” – he indicated that MAYBE a fix would be forthcoming via firmware, MAYBE related to 10.7, but unlikely that soon, and that since it’s an unsupported configuration, Apple wouldn’t be able to do much. I can’t blame them, but it makes me kind of sad :(

  • Just to add something to the discussion, I have a new 13″ Macbook Pro that arrived 3 days ago which has two 6Gbp/s controllers. When using a SATA III (in this case, Intel 510) drive. I can report all of the typically reported problems, system hangs, beach balling, slow startup, and also chronic application crashes. This began only after the second boot of the computer with the SATA III drive in and there were no problems on the first boot. It’s random and inconsistent, even varying from one boot to the next. A reboot sometimes clears it up, but always within 20 to 30 minutes the problems return if not sooner. They are very noticeable and render the computer unusable. This is very definitely the newest 13 inch model, not a 17. I’ve tried every kind of reformat, Carbon Copy Clone from a known-good drive in all directions, you name it. Nothing fixes it. Good luck Larry in figuring this out, but my experience tends to make me believe that the specific electrical environment around the computer may be a factor, perhaps the difference is with the environment at the place where your 13″ models were tested, and mine. This is the only logical explanation I can think of but I am baffled and disappointed. Good luck and please keep us posted with your further results.

    • We (users) are currently working on a software workaround for the issue. It’s still in testing and there are two different versions around. Here is the one with the easy to use installer:

      http://forum.crucial.com/t5/Solid-State-Drives-SSD/M4-512gb-Macbook-Pro-15-i7-2-3-2011/m-p/51534/message-uid/51534/highlight/true#U51534

      What it does is to repeatedly send an APM command to the drive that normally would set the level of power-saving (probably not even used by non-mechanical SSD). ATA specification says that when such an APM command is sent then Link Power Management (LPM) “Slumber” must be awoken. So by constantly sending the command you keep the drive/controller/AHCI driver from even going into LPM Slumber.

      Normally that would have to be every 10 ms (minimum idle time to allow Slumber), but currently we settled/test 39 ms, because I found out that I get no stalls/beach-balls with any setting below exactly 40 ms. It’s possible that the Apple AHCI driver uses that idle time value before sending LPM Slumber commands to the controller/drive.

      Drawback of the software solution is that (currently with 39 ms) you get minimal CPU load (0.3 – 1% depending on CPU) and the *maximum* throughput decreases by 3-5 mb/s (not the ongoing throughput, but only maximum as it seems). We are still gathering results on this, feel free to test it yourself.

      PS: You can try reproduce stalls/beach-balls yourself by rebuilding the Spotlight index. It won’t happen every time, but usually within a few tries and minutes. My theory is that the ongoing on/off nature of Spotlight’s drive access (with CPU loading number crunching in between) leads to LPM Slumber going on/off many times as well (=higher chances of error).

        • Well, that’s intriguing about the potential software fix. I’m going to wait a few days and watch that thread on the Crucial forums before I try doing this to my own machine, but if it does turn out to be a fix, that would imply that the issue could be resolved in the drive’s firmware by disabling the low power state (assuming that’s allowed by the spec).

          It would, presumably, still point to there being some sort of hardware issue related to said nap state (if it were just firmware on the computer end, I can’t imagine that some 17″ would be fine and others wouldn’t), but a fix is a fix. The question, of course, is whether Apple will implement a firmware (or just plain software) fix to disable this mode, decide that the hardware is bad and repair that, or ignore the problem or decide to kill 6G entirely on the problem machines.

          Is OWC going to investigate this and see if it at least points to a source?

          • The LPM issue is not an Apple only problem. Many PC users disable LPM on Windows to get rid of pauses and the same hacks also work on the bootcamped MBP (or just use the MSAHCI driver which by default turns it off).

            Crucial just released a new firmware for the M4 that addresses LPM. At least one Mac user posted that it didn’t help him, though. Have to check myself first (Firmware can only be flashed via a PC, not via Mac).

  • Hi all
    My 17″ Macbook Pro 2.3 Ghz i7 was built in the first Week of March. I’ve just received my Vertex 3 (Firmware 2.06). Cloned my HDD via Carbon Cloner to the SSD and put it in.
    Works perfectly at 6G. My Macbook initialized it at the first boot as a 6G SSD. I also have a datadoubler installed. My Optical Sata Port has a link speed of 3G.
    Regards Marius

      • Hi David
        I put the Vertex 3 into a external HDD Case. Then connected it via Firewire to the MBP. Cloning worked flawlessly.

        • Marius,

          I have an external enclosure from OWC which i used when i cloned my current Mercury Extreme Pro SSD.. will the same enclosure work on a SATA III drive? I think that enclosure is a SATA II with USB connection? will a SATA III drive work in a SATA II enclosure?

          I was planning on installing the new SATA III drive from OWC in the MBP, format it, and then place the HDD into my enclosure and then use carbon copy..

          • Yes – our enclosures work SATA 2.5″ drives standard 9.5mm (some 12.5mm also). No problem using a SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s drive in the same enclosure you have now.

          • Hi David
            Mine is a SATA 3G enclosure as well. It’ll work just fine. Physically there is no difference from SATA 3G to SATA 6G. A SATA 6G drive will run fine on a SATA 3G port.
            Regards

            • Thanks Larry and Marius.. now I’m just waiting to see if Lion will solve the 17″ problem.

  • To me it seems like a two-fold problem, one of hardware *and* of software.

    I am using a Mai built 17″ MBP i7 2.3 with Crucial 256 gb M4 here (the Optibay supports 6G, but the M4 is my primary drive). The MBR is patched to allow AHCI drivers (and thus Trim) on bootcamped Windows, the OS X AHCI kext is patched (and thus older version afaik) to allow Trim.

    For the last two days I have been using bootcamped Windows without even a single hitch! The few times I have been using OS X on this unit I already saw about 4 or 5 beach-ball stalls.

    The OS X beach-ball stalls were sporadic and far in between. I could not find any reproducible way of making them happen yet, neither by doing a whole series of full throughput reads (about 430 mb/s), nor by doing a series of small sized reads/writes (ls -R via Terminal)

    On bootcamped Windows I also experienced a few stalls, but only when Link Power Management (LPM) was *not* disabled in the AHCI driver. The Microsoft MSAHCI driver disables LPM by default (can be turned on via Registry), the Intel RST driver enabled LPM by default (can be turned off via Registry). Users of different

    Knowing that Apple squeezes every bit of power-management out of their Macbooks I would be very surprised if they did not enable LPM in their AHCI drivers (which likely are made in cooperation with Intel anyway). Crucial are not the only ones suffering from LPM, but so is OCZ and thus likely OWC (same controller, likely similar firmware).

    So for those Macs where the issue is *not* in hardware I strongly suggest that SSD vendors look into properly supporting LPM, it’s a specific standard!

    PS: If you are interested I can offer to test an OWC drive (and data-doubler) in my Mai based MBP with both OS X and bootcamped Windows (both IDE and AHCI). Just contact me via e-mail.

    • Hi Timur…looked around and couldn’t find…what exactly is a Mai built/Mai based MBP?

      Also….we discussed your hypothesis….problem is….doesn’t explain why some MPBs work just fine with a 6G SSD and others do not….

      • Sorry Larry, I meant “May” based, as in: it was build in May (even the DVD drive says May). So it’s as current as it gets.

        The explanation for “some work, others don’t” may be more simple than expected, its sporadic nature and dependency on specific electrical situations keep some people from experiencing it. Just remember the eSATA ExpressCard issues. I tried for over 2 years to make Apple recognize it as a “common” issue (as in epidemic failure) while other people claimed it to be working on their setups.

        We lack a means to make the issue reproducible for better testing. If LPM is the culprit then I also fear that SSDs only stall “sometimes”, likely when one comes to another. Another question would be if we suffer from software (likely), controller (hopefully not) or device based induction (possible).

        I’m trying to find some means to reproduce beach-balling now. On the Crucial forum someone claimed to have a reproducible situation when playing a video via VLC. Since I have not been able to make my setup beach-ball for several hours now (despite all trying) I also have a suspicion what may keep it from happening. Once I can verify that I will let you know.

        • I identified a method of reproducing stalls (often without even a beach-ball coming up). This will make it easier to diagnose and hopefully find a workaround.

    • I’d have to suggest checking premises. From what we have tested here on both Macs and PCs with issue being primarily isolated to the 17″ MAcBook Pro – software solutions have appears to improve the experience, but effectively so far mainly mask them without solving the underlying problem that points to hardware. The problems are uniforming experienced with all SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s SSDs – including the latest from Intel as well. Even where the appearance (with our without attempted software ‘solutions’) of proper operation exists in ‘troubled’ systems, and overall – it may still be a good experience, the actual sustained data performance still reflects substantially hindered operation. The problem follows affected systems vs. drive or even cable (although the cable and cable shielding can actually be a solution in less afflicted systems).

      This whole thing with the 17″ remains a crap shoot. In my opinion Apple needs to either fix it and/or kill 6Gbp/s on these afflicted systems until they do.

      • I’m not sure I understand right. You mean that software solutions might cure the symptoms, but affect performance negatively? What software solutions do you mean exactly (like to try them myself ;])?

        At least for LPM on Windows this is not the case. On the contrary some people report better performance afterwards.

        And on OS X I’m currently trying different rates for flooding the controller with APM Level commands. The original hack (found on the Crucial forum) uses 10 ms intervals which correspond to the interval of LPM slumbers. This seems to keep stalls away from my setup (at least the reproducible ones). This uses between 1 – 3% CPU (depending on clock-rate) and “only” caps off about 10 mb/s from maximum sequential read performance (no measurable difference with small random etc).

        Now I’m trying bigger intervals to reduce CPU load and increase maximum throughput. If the interval gets too big LPM will kick in too often, so it needs testing and some “time will tell” experience.

  • Thanks everyone for the info in this thread.

    I need fast performance in my computer for my work. Should I roll the dice and see if the 6G solution works? My last laptop got stolen, so I am without a machine and in a frustrating limbo. I have to get back to work NOW but wonder if I should wait till the next version of the MacBook Pro 17 comes out later this year…

    Either way, on a fiscal and functional level im stressed out. I need a fast laptop… and a wining lottery ticket.

    Any advice?

    Cheers – Simon.

    • This issue is a royal pain. Me personally? I’d either wait till the issue was rock solid fixed on the 17″ or purchase a 15″. I still believe this issue will be resolved… but I can’t recommend playing the lottery on a new purchase of a 17 today for those that want the full performance capability a properly working SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s bay provides with our SSD.

      • Larry,

        Curious what makes you think it will be resolved. I am an owner of the 2011 17″ MBP and sadden by this craziness. As Apple officially commented on this issue and stated a resolution is in the works. I hope so because the moment it is fixed I am buying the latest ssd from you.

  • I’m not sure if this will help anyone else, but here’s what worked for me — A clean install of OS X Lion Developer Preview 4. My beachballs and crashing seem to be gone, so far. It’s only been 1 day though.

    It took me several tries to even get Lion DP4 installed, as the system was so unstable, but eventually it completed and it’s been great so far. Lion DP4 itself is very stable.

    I have a 2011 17″ MBP with a OCZ Vertex III.

    • i can’t much comment on our competitor’s product – although I do watch the comments out there on them. All things being equal though – there is no indication that Lion does anything to correct the MacBook Pro 17″ SATA 3.0 issues. There are some data i/o improvements I have been made aware of and those may provide some benefit and impact on symptoms afflicting the 17″… but still same situation… There are 17″ units working perfectly out of the box…. then there are ones that work, but perfectly… and then there are ones that are total crap for 6gbp/s. Until Apple fixes what affects their Sandybridge implementation on the 17″ MacBook Pro (and 6G in 15″ optical bay too when enabled) – this problem remains, even if some of the symptoms reduced. Systems not at 100% do not offer the sustained throughput or consistent data rates, even at lower throughputs, when under real load.

      While Lion may very well have some overall improvements which benefit all system data i/o – it’s not the fix for the issues found on the majority of 17″ Macbook Pro 2011 models.

  • This absolutely blows!! Thanks for the heads up OWC. I was literraly about to buy a new 17″ Macbook Pro. Now I’m just gonna have to wait it out.

    Also, as far as quality control is concerned, I bought a late 2010 Mac Pro 12 Core 2.93Ghz in November. That was DOA.

    They sent me another. In two weeks in had all kinds of hardware-related problems.

    By early February I got my THIRD 7K+ Mac Pro. And it finally works.

    Pretty weird and a total waste of money on their part.

    O-Dub Scott

  • now on my third mbp 2011 17″ has 2x 6g vertex3 and it is the same as the other three sata is not working in these machines
    have tried win 7 lion dp3 and 10.6.8 b3 all the same so problem is hardware and un usable so after 10 years of macs
    its back to pc
    i think apple more interested in ios devices than macs now more money in it

    and intel has a great way of beta testing hardware before suppling pc market
    very disappointed.and would love to tell jobs what i think of apples response to this
    revised with 2x 6g still not working and no formal word
    if they dont want 6g drives to be put in then they should not have put sata3 it in the system
    but then it intel that make them anyway
    apple suck big time they should have recalled all units or at least offered to

    • ment to say but so frustrated last mac was built last week CTO 2.3ghz nice cpu shame about delivery speed of data

      • I could write a long bit here…but going to keep it short. For those with a MacBook Pro 2011 model that isn’t behaving with a SATA 3.0 SSD (issues primarily affecting the 17″ model):

        The latest ‘solution’ will improve the experience for some, but definitely not all. Further, while it does significantly reduce the incidence of beach balling – and this does improve the overall experience – it doesn’t resolve the actual primary problem nor restore the full performance that IS present on systems that don’t have these issues to begin with. The better the system is out of the gate with the SATA 3.0 sSD, the better the overall experience to begin with and the better the reduction in beachballing with the latest fix. Really bad units get nearly no benefit. And – regardless, the actual peaking and dipping of sustained data rates still occurs vs. the ‘perfect’ properly operating MacBook Pros that operate with a very clean sustained data rate graph.

        Apple needs to fix this. Period. We aren’t done tracing and attempting a practical solution for all from our side… but, IMHO, even if we found the magic bullet (and it would need to be a hardware implementation), these units should have ZERO issue right out of the box. Thankfully the 2011 iMacs don’t suffer any of this BS.

        • Hi Larry,

          Glad to see you are tracking this. I would put an OWC 6G in my 17″ MacBook Pro (May 2.3GHz/i7) tomorrow as long as I was confident it would work. If I was in the US I’d use your generous returns offer but in the UK transatlantic shipping and insurance would rather dent this.

          Please keep the info coming and let’s hope there’s a solution in the not too distant future.

  • This sounds like a replay of the SATA II problems in the mid-2009 MBPs, though maybe a little less random. In my 15” some drives will work perfectly at 3Gbps while others won’t. Truly maddening.

    Apple hasn’t done anything to fix that one, so I don’t hold out much hope for the 2011s.

    • This issue is a little different this time around. The issue is more severe, inconsistent, and allowed to persist would mark a step backwards in many respects for a new model line up that is a huge step forward.

      What I don’t get is why Apple, to this point, hasn’t released EFI to reduce the 17″ drive bay to 3 gigabit link/SATA 2.0. If nothing else, do this prior to having the solution that makes 6 Gigabit/SATA 3.0 consistently reliable for all. Even better – make it an optional setting so users that are having expected 6gbp/s operation can continue there with while enabling the peak benefit the 3Gbp/s link will still provide for the current gen SSDs.

      A good 95% of today’s SSD performance benefit is realized with higher performance in lower transfer sizes + substantial incompressible data rate improvements. 500MB/s+ sustained rates are awesome and provide benefit too.. But the heavy lifting typically is where these SSDs are sustaining now 150 to 280MB/s where a hard drive plummets as low as under 10MB/s.

      It’s interesting that the iMac 2011 models originally shipped with only SATA 2.0 3Gbp/s link capability enabled on all internal bays. Then.. About a week following intro, an EFI update enabled SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s on the two SATA channels that are SATA 3.0 Capable (which go to main HDD bay and SSD bay). No issues at all with SATA 3.0 in the iMacs… And, again, interesting that this ‘unsupported’ capability would be quietly enabled without explanation as part of an EFI update like that as well.

      All the signs suggest Apple does want to see the highest performance potential and capability provided for users that do upgrade with non-factory options. I do believe, as said before, Apple wants to see this working across the board as it is in all interests that it does. A small percentage may benefit, but it is a loud – pro-Apple – Apple evangelical percentage.

  • Thought I’d toss out my experience with this issue. I bought a 17″MBP 7200rpm 7 weeks ago (April 11) at a local Apple store and tried to put a Pro6G drive in the main bay. I did a clean install of the OS and got spinning beach balls after every click. I put the shielding on the sata cable and still got the beach balls.

    I spoke with OWC tech support and they thought a different drive might solve my problem. So I did an advance return and a new 6G drive is on its way – but I got to thinking that perhaps Apple might help me and lo and behold they did. I was instructed by 1-800-my-apple to speak with the manager at the store I bought my laptop at and see if he can do something for me. The manager allowed me to return my 7 week old laptop for full credit on a gift card and ordered a new 17″ MBP 250gb SSD. It is scheduled to arrive June 9-10.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can still use the OWC 6G with my new laptop.

    Both OWC and Apple have been nothing short of wonderful helping me through this process.

    • Good to hear…sounds like you got one of the recent shipping MBPs that SOME have reported to alleviate the issue while others report problems still remain. Still seems like same outcome for many since we first reported on this…comes down to luck of the draw for now.

      • I just received my CTO 17″ MBP with a 256GB SSD and confirmed it has 6G in both bays.

        Now, if they can just get them to work with 6G SSDs I’d be set!

  • On the raid 0 that is tested above, how was that setup? Is it hardware or software configured? That seems like an awesome upgrade next year to breathe some new life into the 2011 13″ MBP, that and the 16Gigs of ram should be sweet and affordable.

    Dave

  • Since many Windows users seem to fix these kind of issues by turning off Link Power Management (LPM) in the Intel AHCI drivers I wonder if this might be the cause on OS X as well?

    Symptoms really look very similar: Not everyone is affected (mainboard seems to play a role), but everyone affected is only suffering on Intel 6G controllers. Usually they suffer from long pauses, and according to Anand(tech) OS X doesn’t like unexpected (too long) waiting on SATA connections.

    • Interesting theory…. But it doesn’t explain the hit or miss issues primarily experienced just with the 17″ model in terms of SATA 3.0 operation in the main drive bay. Not to say that this may not help a root issue for the problem, but if that was the cause of the problem I think it would be fair to expect that this problem would not be so isolated to just the 17″ models…. and would be more consistent as well. That the same drives work A-OK in 13s, 15s, and even a different 17 vs. having problems in particular 17s – and if the 17 has a problem with one 6G SSD – it has them to varying degrees with all 6G SSDs – this would still seem to be some flaw in the 17″. Whatever the solution – I hope it is something so simple.

      • It doesn’t happen on every PC neither, but where it happens turning off LPM seems to be one of the things that helps many people. On the Crucial forum one user posted a “dirty fix” for his M4 where he keeps the drive permanently busy reading. Since that also keeps his CPU busy I am not sure the busy reading is really the solution.

        I still would not rule out simple electrical (especially grounding!) issues with the Macbooks in question. Any small difference between systems (current load, ram, cpu, connected external devices) can have a big impact here.

        Not to mention that I see very similar (!) stalls and complete connection breaks (sometimes recoverable, sometimes not) via ExpressCard eSATA with several different mechanical drives when I touch the USB/Displayport mass with external ground (like from a powered USB hub).

        Macbooks are an electrical mess! (and the noise coming from the power-connector area under load when the PSU is connected must be an engineers’ joke…)

  • Talk about problems…. 17″ 2.3, I had to exchange 2 laptops in 5 days:

    -First one had a dead core, died the first day
    -Second one, video card died on first reboot
    -Third one is the one I have right now, left it on for 2 days, ran intensive graphics and CPU tests. Running rock solid for almost two months with new memory (8 GB), 3G SSD from OWC and Data doubler with original 750 GB 5400 RPM drive (my second bay is 3G).

    • That is pretty bad luck! We’ve so far not had any units DOA or otherwise fail…. the 6Gbp/s SATA 3.0 issues are certainly enough of a headache without dealing with other issues on top of! Glad third unit/time the charm. They are great machines when full speed ahead.

  • I believe I am experiencing lower than expected read/write speeds on the Pro 6G SSD I put in my 17″ 2011 MacBook Pro. The 4K test results are consistently around 21 read/27 write. The 1024K test results are 375 read / 385 write. I cloned the existing drive to the SSD with CCC, repaired permissions, and then installed and rebooted. OSX immediately connected at 6G. There are no beachballs, or any other issues at this point, but I expected higher read/write speeds. . . Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • That corresponds with performance behavior we got in a borderline unit. You might try disconnecting, removing, and re-installing the drive as it may result in better… or worse than what you are seeing now from a shift in cable location, grounding, etc. I wish could be more helpful – but – that performance profile we did see. Unlike most quick tests, using those Digilloyd fill tests provides a longer run tracking that shows not just average performance – but the graph of all performance points. With units that are not up to snuff, the results vary all over the place in terms of what speeds sustain and what speeds are whether consistent or all over the place with drops.

      Frustrating has could possibly be.

  • Does anyone if the CTO 500GB HD @ 720rpm is 3Gpb/s or 6Gbp/s?
    I intend to place an OWC 6Gbp/s SSF in the main bay and the original HD in the optical bay using a data doubler.
    I hope Apple fixes the issue for 17″ MBP ASAP.

    • The 500GB Hitachi drive in my MacBook Pro i7 2.3 (May build) shows negotiated speed 3 Gigabit, Link speed 6Gigabit – so it’s a SATA 2 (3 Gigabit drive).

      The only thing stopping me putting the OWC in place of this is the uncertainty over whether the Mac will play ball at 6 Gig.

  • My new MBP 2011 17″ which was replaced with a new unit and shipped from factory mid last week, has both Intel 6 Series Chipset with 6GB link speed… Just sharing.

    I want to purchase 6G SSD but can’t afford the ‘make or break it’ gamble… If it does work and even if I can return it, I’ll have to miss the 2x shipping cost (from OWC and To OWC) and minus restocking fee. Seems to be lose-lose for customer who is early adopter in this specific case.

    • Good news Leonard…as part of our commitment to best practices and products, we’re now going to be offering the 30 Day Money Back Guarantee on our Pro 6G SSD line….and have to say we were the first to offer this in the SSD industry.

      Look for page updates for the full info on this…but will likely be similar to our existing 3G 30 Day offer:

      http://eshop.macsales.com/service/returnpolicy#s22

      • Dear OWC Grant:

        Crucial is giving 45 days money back. Sorry, you are not the first one.

        Best regards,
        Paco.

        • Actually the research into market on any of our “first” claims is quite extensive. While Crucial does indeed offer a money back compatibility guarantee now (although through a cursory search, I can only find 30 days on their SSD line), it was not the case when our line was first announced.