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Apple’s Latest 2011 MacBook Pro Refresh & Using SATA Revision 3.0 6Gb/s Drives

As we mentioned last Monday, Apple has released new “speed bumped” MacBook Pro 13″, 15″, and 17″ model laptops. These units all show 6Gb/s link capability for both the main drive bay and the optical bay. Right out of the gate all of these models are proving 100% reliable for use of a SATA Revision 3.0 hard drive or OWC 6G SSD installed into the main drive bay.

Just like the Early 2011 models, while we continue to see reliability with 6Gb/s in the optical bay of the 13″ model – the optical bays of the 15″ and 17″ models remain too unstable for 6Gb/s drive use. Although still unstable in the 15″ and 17″, the optical bay SATA signal has improved considerably and we are looking into possibilities that might make 6Gb/s in this bay reliable.

This is the same as drive setup/configuration we saw in the the Early 2011 MacBook Pros. While it had been a long road with various frustrations in terms of using a 6Gb/s SSD in even the main bay of the previous 15” and 17” models – Apple’s EFI 2.2 update resolved most of those issues. Future updates may resolve some fringe issues for those models, but, unfortunately, testing across a significant number of both Early and Late 2011 MacBook Pro models indicate that 6Gb/s is only stable in the main bay of 15” and 17” models, while optical bay 6Gb/s is reliable for 13” models only at this time.

To keep it simple:

  • MacBook Pro 13” October/2011 models (2.4GHz and 2.8GHz)
    Main Drive Bay = 6Gb/s Good
    Optical Bay with Data Doubler = 6Gb/s Good
  • MacBook Pro 15” October/2011 models (2.2GHz, 2.4GHz and 2.5GHz)
    Main Drive Bay = 6Gb/s Good
    Optical Bay with Data Doubler = 3Gb/s Drives only, not stable for 6Gb/s capable drives
  • MacBook Pro 17” October/2011 models (2.4GHz and 2.5GHz)
    Main Drive Bay = 6Gb/s Good
    Optical Bay with Data Doubler = 3Gb/s Drives only, not stable for 6Gb/s capable drives
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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  • ok thanks!
    if I would put a mercury 6GB pro anyway would it work at at a slower speed ‘(3GB/s) or not work at all compared to the mercury 3G as you recommended??

    is my idea to to setup a raid 0/stiped thing dead since the data doubler do not work as I thought?
    should I go for a mercury 6GB pro as a main drive and another ssd (3g) in the data doubler bay as a file disk. or is there any other solution that give more speed??

  • Is there any “keep it simple” for the MBP 13″ mid 2012 2,9GHz?
    can I use the following setup in the MBP 2012 2,9 GHz version??
    “”Main Drive Bay = 6Gb/s Good
    Optical Bay with Data Doubler = 6Gb/s Good””

    • Hi, Lars. Your model does not support a 6G drive in the optical bay.

      Main Drive Bay = 6Gb/s Good
      Optical Bay with Data Doubler = 3Gb/s Drives only, not stable for 6Gb/s capable drives

      • thanks, I just ordered a data doubler+mercury ssd 6G PRO, I had I idea to set up a raid 0 striped solution for max speed, what is your idea for max speed on this machine (including the mercury 6G Pro ssd I ordered)
        can I still do a raid 0 setup if I order the mercury 3g disk? do I get more speed in the raid mode or should I stick to the mercury 6G pro as amain disk and order a mercury 3g as a file disk in the data doubler bay? really need some good advise here.. THX

      • sorry, my English is not so god, I need to understand .. if I would order another 6GB Pro to put in the optical/datadubler bay would it not work at all or just work at a slower speed?
        is there any use to try the raid 0 setup with a mercury 6G Pro as a main drive and a mercury 3G in the data doubler? or should I just use them as separate drives?? this is the the thing that make me sleepless..

  • I’ll be following this with interest too, got a Spinpoint 2tb sitting here unused…

  • Any updates? I have a late 2011 17″ MBp with El Capitan, is the optical drive bay stable enough for a SATA III now?

  • Is there any updates whether MBP 17 Late 2011 optical bay can support sata III consistently stable?

    I wished to upgrade my MBP for both bays with sata III ssd

    • Hello Daus,

      If you have a 6Gb/s optical drive bay connnection and are using a product like our Data Doubler, we still recommend only using a SATA 2.0 3Gb/s drive in that bay. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact OWC!

  • how did you guys check the link speed and the negotiated speed? … I have my data doubler with my 750 samsung in the optical bay and the stock harddrive in the original place. Should I switch them?

    • Under System Information > Hardware > SATA it lists he Link Speed (of the bay itself) and the Negotiated Link Speed (the lower of drive capability / bay speed). As a general rule, you’ll want to use your fastest drive as your boot drive.

  • Hey everybody,
    After a month of researching to find out where the issue with my drive was, this article and the one I came from (
    MacBook Pro 2011 Models and SATA 3.0 (6.0Gb/s) – Update – 5/27/2011), finally gave light to what happened.

    I bought a HGST 1TB 7200, 6Gb drive 10 months ago from Amazon (the exact same, as recommended by OWC). I installed it on the Optical Bay with the Data Doubler. In my main drive I put OWC SSD 6Gb 240GB, which works flawlessly.

    Back then my optical bay drive connection was SATA II – 3Gb/s. Great stuff, because everything worked fine – both drives. Very happy, right?

    Well… I have Apple Care. And as a profession of Video Colorist I hated one thing that Logic Board was doing: when switching Graphic Cards Internally, a slight blue tint adds to the color. So… I decided one a month agoto go and finally tell them to replace the Logic Board. And so they did… with a board that has 2 SATA III connections. Since then the drive doesn’t work internally, even though I tried every single thing I can think of, including reinstalling the OS X.

    Funnily though, the drive works internally in target mode connected via Thunderbolt or Firewire to another computer. Yet, if connected to a server via Ethernet, it doesn’t. It does work in an external enclosure… So, I am left with the option of buying a new 3Gb drive from HGST, or try making Apple to put back my old Logic Board and live with it. Any thoughts everybody?

  • Hello,

    I was wondering if there has been any updates or progress with regards to this issue? I have a late 2011 15″ mbp.


      • I managed to make 6GB/s SSD Samsung Evo 1TB work in the optibay in MBP late 2011 2.5GHz. It’s been working flawlessly for more than 10 months. I have a raid setup with two stripped 1TB Samsung Evos. Transfers exceed 1GB/s in the read and write black magic disk speed tests.

        • Could yo provide more details on what you did? Where there any modifications you had to do? Are you using a 17″ or 15″ or 13″

          • I am using 15″, late 2011, i7 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. No extra modifications were necessary. The key to success was the proper frame for SSD. I had to insulate BT module with silver tape due to some interferences, but that’s all.

            • Thanks peter for the reply.

              I’m curious to what frame you used? Could you give a make/model/link to the proper adapter/frame. And about the bluetooth/airport module, how much did you insulate and did it afftect bluetooth/wifi signals? could you please send me or share a picture with the community of what your setup looks like i.e. the insulation of the BT/Airport board, and the frame used?
              I really appreciate you sharing as there is not much solutions shared on the net to getting a proper RAID 0 working in SATA III 6.0Gb/Sec speed in both bays. And i think OWC gave up on it.

  • Hey I just got my New OWC Mercury Electra 3G SSD 44Gb and have Installed it in my Optical bay. Now when I attempt to format the drive I receive an error saying “Unable to write to the last block of the device.”. I am using a Late 2011 MBP 13″.

    • Hello Damien,

      Sorry to hear you are experiencing an issue with your SSD. We have someone from OWC’s Technical Support team reaching out to you shortly.


  • Greetings.

    I read the posts regarding the use of a 6GB/s Link Speed in a Late-Model 2011 MBP. And, though I do not want to unnecessarily revisit an old issue, I wonder whether the following new SSD drive would work given it is 3GB/s compatible:

    SATA 6Gb/s, compatible with SATA 3Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s

    As to my specific computer, I bought a custom build MBP in December 2011:

    Z0NM MBP 15.4/CTO

    PROCESSOR 065-C0FV 2.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
    MEMORY 065-C0DV 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM – 2x4GB
    HARD DRIVE 065-C0DY 512GB Solid State Drive
    OPTICAL DRIVE 065-C0F0 8x Double-Layer SuperDrive

    with an Intel 6 Series Chipset:

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

    Any thoughts?

    Thank you.

    • The backwards compatibility refers to being able to install the Samsung 840 into an enclosure or drive bay that is rated for SATA 6Gb/s, 3Gb/s or 1.5Gb/s speeds.
      The issue with the 15″ & 17″ Late model 2011 MacBook Pros is that while the Optical Bay may show that a 6Gb/s capable drive is compatible, we’ve found that it is unstable and recommend the use of a 3Gb/s drive only as referring to the maximum transfer rate of the drive itself. In fact, we sell a few 6Gb/s drives that have been firmware limited to 3Gb/s for just such use. If replacing the optical drive for a SSD in that machine, we recommend the use of our OWC Mercury Electra 3G Drives.

      • I have a 17″ Macbook Pro late model 2011
        and tried installing two 2TB solid state drives.

        The 2nd drive as reported here does not work

        Is there a 2 TB hard drive that be installed instead, that can fit the measurements of the machine?

    • Unfortunately it won’t, just checked it. I have two Evos installed but one is invisible to the system and cannot be written.

      • Update: it works. I ordered a brand new Data Doubler rack and everything works flawlessly. Average write and read speeds of 2 x Samsung Evo 1TB SSD are around 970 Mb/s.

  • Any Updates for 6Gb/s Error in the Optical Bay of 15” Late 2011 Macbooks?

    • The information in the article is still up to date:
      MacBook Pro 13” October/2011 models (2.4GHz and 2.8GHz)
      Main Drive Bay = 6Gb/s Good
      Optical Bay with Data Doubler = 6Gb/s Good
      MacBook Pro 15” October/2011 models (2.2GHz, 2.4GHz and 2.5GHz)
      Main Drive Bay = 6Gb/s Good
      Optical Bay with Data Doubler = 3Gb/s Drives only, not stable for 6Gb/s capable drives
      MacBook Pro 17” October/2011 models (2.4GHz and 2.5GHz)
      Main Drive Bay = 6Gb/s Good
      Optical Bay with Data Doubler = 3Gb/s Drives only, not stable for 6Gb/s capable drives

  • I’m planning to utilized 2 ssd’s in my Oct 2011 – 17″ Macbook Pro, 6G in the main bay, 3G in the optical.
    What is the best working setup? – System and apps on the 6G and working files on the 3G,
    or should I work everything off of the 6G, with the 3G for backup and storage?

    BTW – I work mostly in photoshop with high resolution files. There is no worry of filling up the drives since I back up
    and archive externally on a regular basis.

    Thanks for any and all suggestions…

    • Boot from main bay and use optical bay for storage. This way if you ever have to bring the laptop in to an Apple store you can pull your data drive from the optical bay and still have a working computer.

      • The poster needs to keep the original HD and optical drive around if the poster wants to bring it into an Apple Store, right? Otherwise, isn’t the warranty voided? I suggest just keeping your original drive and putting into optical drive while getting the biggest 6G drive you can and put it into the original drive bay. No extra work necessary to keep booting from the original drive.

        • For service you would only need the original SuperDrive installed. The hard drive and ram are considered user replaceable.

  • Support suggested I just put my original HD in the optical drive kit and put the SSD in the original HD space. Seems to work for me…

  • OWC: Did you eventually come up with a Data Doubler hardware modification that works with 6 Gb/s for Late 2011 15″ Macbook Pro?

    • We currently do not have a solution to overcomes the present 3Gb/s optical bay limit of various 15″ and 17″ 2011 MacBook Pros and continue to recommend use of only 3Gb/s HD and SS drives when utilizing the optical bay for a 2nd drive. Not given up – but won’t put something out that is borderline.

      • Im crossing my fingers and and holding my breath. I hope OWC works the magic and out with a 6Gb/s optical bay port solution.

  • A few days ago I put 2 Mercury Electra 3G SSD’s into my Late 2011 17″ MBP in a RAID 0 configuration.

    I chose to use a RAID stripe-unit size of 128kb, since I do a lot of video editing.

    I am getting sustained read speeds of 478MB/s and write speeds of 366MB/s! I can now edit 1080p video in real-time without having to render out the clips!

    I was also able to get Windows installed using Parallels. However, since you can’t create partitions on a RAID, you can’t install Bootcamp or create a Recovery Partition, but just use a USB thumb drive instead!

    I did have one thought, but I don’t want to re-format my machine to test this theory:
    If I created 2 partitions on each HDD BEFORE creating the RAID, could I then create 2 separate RAID’s from these partitions? That might be a way to get Bootcamp to run on a RAID SSD.

    Anyway, the speed improvements are amazing! I was disappointed that I couldn’t get the 6G’s working in RAID 0 in my machine, but I am no longer disappointed. This machine FLIES!

    • DJ: 478Mb read and 366Mb write this is single SATA 3 SSD speed without RAID 0, normal RAID 0 with fast SSD will give you 1040Mb read and about 980Mb write.

      • macalex – I think the naming convention of our SSDs is causing you some confusion.

        The Mercury Electra 3G SSDs are SATA Revision 2.0 drives (“3G” is short for 3Gb/s) while the Mercury 6G SSDs are SATA Revision 3.0 drive (as in up to 6Gb/s single drive speeds).

        Regardless, the optical drive bay in the 2011 17″ MacBook Pro does not reliably and consistently support SATA Revision 3.0 drives in order to setup a RAID 0 internally with the OWC Data Doubler or other bay conversion products. For more information, please read our blog post on the matter. There are exceptions, 15″ and 17″ where operation is 6Gb/s reliable, but these are few and far between. We don’t play the lottery with data integrity.

        • Correct, these are SATA 2 drives. Sorry for the confusion.
          Also, those speeds are for incompressible data (I do video editing). I’m using the “Black Magic Disk Speed Test”. So while those numbers might not look that high, it is truly revolutionary!

          Before my upgrade I had the factory 7200rpm HDD and I was getting 81MB/s Write and only 58MB/s Read!

          My boot time went from over 70 seconds to around 17 seconds. Premiere used to take well over a minute to load, and now it takes less than 10 seconds. I can use Preview to scan hours of footage without having to wait for it to load.

          Lets just hope these speed improvements don’t fade over time or as the drives fill up. I’ll keep you all posted.

  • I have a late 2011 17″ MBP (8,3)
    Boot ROM Version: MBP81.0047.B27
    SMC Version (system): 1.70f5

    I want to put in Two of your Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 480GB SDD’s using your Data Doubler and put them into RAID 0. I know there are serious issues whit the Optical Bay of my model of MBP.

    Is there any update on this issue? Is there any chance my specific model will run this drive in the Optical Bay without any problems?

    I do a lot of video editing, compositing and CGI, so I need all the speed I can get but I also need total reliability. I’d love to put in Two 6G drives, even if I have to wait a month or two. But if there is no fix that is going to be released in the foreseeable future I’d still like to go with 2 of your 3G drives.

    I’d appreciate any advice you could give me.

      • Thanks for the fast reply Larry!

        I guess I’ll go with two 3G SSD’s then. In a RAID 0 Configuration they should outperform a single 6G anyway.

        I love OWC’s products and customer support! If this situation changes let us all know.

        • You are very welcome and absolutely on all fronts. You’ll be pretty impressed with the 3G x 2 RAID + absolute in that MacBook Pro that truly has hardware optimal for the 3G SATA as well. The heavy lifting is done in the data rate range you’ll see that raid handle nicely.

          Thanks again and will do – for sure!

          • Hey Larry, I have another question:

            In order to create the RAID 0 on my machine, I have to have OS X installed already. Do you know of a simple way to clone my existing hard drive (including Parallels and Win 7) onto this RAID? (I have an external Thunderbolt enclosure I can put my original HDD into for cloning)

            Is there a way to use my Time Machine backup to restore my system?

            Or should I just start from scratch and re-install everything?

            Also, do you recommend a RAID 0 configuration for a production (video editing) machine? I’m assuming that SSD’s (especially OWC brand) are extremely reliable. However, in RAID 0, a failure in either disk would be catastrophic to both disks.

            I know there is always risk involved (and I have multiple redundant backups), but has the reliability of the Mercury Electra 3G’s been high enough that you would recommend them in RAID 0 for a production machine?

            Thanks again!

            • assuming your install is all Mac OS X (Win 7 running via Parallels only, no bootcamp) – you can do a full migration. I’d recommend CLEAN installing the OS on the RAID set and then using Apple Data Migration to move over all the user data and apps… and you’ll be right where you left off, simple as that. i personally don’t like cloning vs. migration. just found migration to be more reliable.

              The reliability is extreme, but you still should always have backups and a solid backup strategy. I’ve used our SSDs personally since 2010 and never a problem – but I still use Time Machine to backup to a QX2 attached to a Mac mini at home + have a portable On-The-go i use the same…. never mind a hardware issue…. theft and other events also can result in data loss without the backup plan.

  • I have a late 2011 MacBook Pro 17″ 2.5Ghz i7 Bought in Febuary 2012.
    Both my Main HDD SATA port and the Optical Bay SATA port reports Link speed as 6 Gigabit.
    I plan to install two 480GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD into my Mac, RAID 0 if its possible given the problems. I am trying to find an end to the SATA III in the optical bay saga. I am willing to try the many different solutions, and my goal is maximum performance and maximum reliability.

    1. What is the status of possible solutions for the usage of SATA 6 Gbs in the optical bay port? What is the solutions being tested?

    2. Has the Mountain lion upgrade really resolve the SATA III in the optical bay problem? Does it offer what a normal operating SATA III port offer like compared to the late 2011 13″ Macbook Pro or the 2012 MacBook Pros?

    3. I know OWC can’t offer a solution unless its 100% reliable, but what is the most realiable solution thus far?

    4. What is the factors that affect the reliability of the SATA III optical bay port usage?

    5. What is the best way to test for complete reliability of the optical bay port using SATA III and a 6G SSD?

    • #1 – still working on solutions we hope can be field deployed.

      #2 – no.

      #3 – The bay is not reliable with standard SATA 3.0 6Gb/s hard drives or SSDs. There isn’t a ‘most reliable’ solution we can point to. This is data we’re talking about.

      #4 – the bay / signal path was never designed for true 6Gb/s operation. That is a primary flaw in terms of seeking such use. Apple never suggested this bay was for 6G – but it is frustrating they enabled 6Gb/s link and recognition instead of limiting to 3G which would have prevented this frustration in the first place.

      #5 – the majority of 13″ 2011 MacBook Pro models (as well as 15″ 2012/June USB3 models) are reliable. 15″ and 17″ 2011 (as well as 13″ 2012/June) are simply not. While 6G non-reliability is of of varying degrees with different units, it’s still unacceptable for user data and we simply can not currently recommend whether hard drive or SSD with SATA 3.0. Sorry.

      • Thanks for the reply Larry

        #3 – The bay is not reliable with standard SATA 3.0 6Gb/s hard drives or SSDs. There isn’t a ‘most reliable’ solution we can point to. This is data we’re talking about.

        Ok besides that, what are some ideas that OWC is exploring that could fix the problem.

        #4 – the bay / signal path was never designed for true 6Gb/s operation. That is a primary flaw in terms of seeking such use. Apple never suggested this bay was for 6G – but it is frustrating they enabled 6Gb/s link and recognition instead of limiting to 3G which would have prevented this frustration in the first place.

        It’s true what you say, but why does the 2012 models have the ability to use sata III, and even the 13″ 2011 model can as well but just not the 15 and 17 inch models?

        and what about this guy?
        the guy shielded the drive and made some custom fabrications to the drive enclosure and the connectors.
        he managed to rig it up to work 100% it seems. Can something be made of this production wise?

        #5 – the majority of 13″ 2011 MacBook Pro models (as well as 15″ 2012/June USB3 models) are reliable. 15″ and 17″ 2011 (as well as 13″ 2012/June) are simply not. While 6G non-reliability is of of varying degrees with different units, it’s still unacceptable for user data and we simply can not currently recommend whether hard drive or SSD with SATA 3.0. Sorry.

        Im not asking for a recommendation. I simply trying to narrow down the causes, and breaking down the incident case by case.
        I have a macbook pro 17″ 2.5 bought in february 2012,
        Motherboard: Apple Inc. Mac-942459F5819B171B MacBookPro8,3
        BIOS Apple Inc. MBP81.88Z.0047.B27.1201241646

        • We have a couple possible solutions and while it’s one thing to support in a controlled environment, it’s another for it to be a shipped solution. We have been looking at a solution that integrates the optical cable connection onto the SSD. Problem is that even among ‘model X’ – there is variability.

          Again, the optical bay of these models were not designed with SATA 3.0 6Gb/s support being a concern. What works and doesn’t work is related to the length and quality of the signal path which does differ in the different models. We have documented what is reliable without severe modification which is warranty voiding and still not a guarantee for success.

          We’re talking about user data here. It’s not something we take lightly. There are other ways to address and mitigate the problem with software signal boost/line power…. but those EFI doors are with access only by Apple.

          • I don’t understand what you really say. If motherboard has SATA 3 controller and it does has this controller what’s the problem to use SATA 3 drive in the super drive bay? The problem seems to me could be only in SATA cable that shipped with this models and your connector that you don’t want to redesign because of not a great demand.

            • It’s more than just the cable or we’d already be shipping with a solution. We actually still have work going on for a potential solution, but will not ship anything that isn’t solid, period. Some signal boosting is effectively needed to attain true stability and trustable reliability due the link portion even on the logic board not being 6Gb/s design capable. We’ve been living this frustration and worse, when the main bay was still hosed, since these machines came out. Been over this 20 times or more though.

              FWIW – the current 2012 MacBook Pro 13″ and 15″ – and with current EFI update – are reliable with 6Gb/s drives in both bays. If must have in a 15″, the 2012 is the right solution. Unfortunately no 17″ 2012 and the 2011 17″ is worse than the 15″.

  • Any comment on SATA III / 6.0 Gbps in the main and optical bays of the new Mid-2012 non-Retina15″? I’m ordering one next week, and hopefully a Data Doubler to go with it.

  • Hey OWC,

    I have a late 2011 15″ MacBook Pro with both ports showing SATA3 6Gb/s capability.

    I’m well aware of the issue at play affecting SATA3 in the optical bay, but i’m still keen to increase my drive speed with SSD technology.

    I have been looking for comparisons showing the performance for a RAID-0 SATA2 SSD rig vs. a single SATA3 SSD drive, but haven’t been able to find much info out there. Basically i’d like to know which of these is fastest. Can you shed any light?

    Also, since Mountain Lion appeared last week, have you had a chance to test SATA3 in the optical bay again using this new OS? I figure (hope) Apple might have snuck some SATA fixes in which may well make the optical bay more robust.


    • Depends on what you are doing – but most of the heavy lifting is done well below peak data rates. For work under Photoshop, and really – virtually any data handling intense activities – A RAID-0 of 2 or our Electra 3G drives will out perform realworld a single 6G drive.

      The optical bay is still unresolved in terms of fixing the 6G reliability issue where it has been noted. It’s highly unlikely any fix will be made. Still reviewing hardware fix possibilities. FWIW – when Apple fixed the HD bay, the optical bay was substantially improved (it was far far worse than the HD bay at start), but a HW fix still seems the best possibility if possible.

      • I just want to report that I’ve ran into two instances where Mountain Lion has fixed the problem. Larry, you mind testing? :)

          • We appreciate the heads up on a possible fix – however we’ve observed some inconsistencies and are still testing, we’ll update if/when we have more information.

            • Okay, great Michael. I’ll post back if I run into issues as well. It’s been less than a week so who knows. For now, it’s very solid. No stuttering, stalls or anything else which is baffling since it looked like a hardware problem. There was an individual who went through great pains by trying to shield everything on a 17” model.

              • Interesting… Under Lion I would get 30 second freezes with a 256GB SATA 3 in the optical bay. I may have to try it again with Mountain Lion. Even if it doesn’t freeze I wonder about the integrity of the data. I’m on an early 2011 2.3Ghz MBP 17″ and I’ve been running a 512GB SATA 3 in the main HD bay for months with no issues.

                • Nothing has changed since the first 2011 MacBook pro 17″ was tested with respect to SATA 3.0 6Gb/s in the optical bay. The 17″ 2011 models are not reliable or recommended for any 6Gb/s drive in the optical bay. 3Gb/s drives are fine in this bay, but 6Gb/s are not reliably stable.

                  All 2011 and 2012 as well are fine now and stable for 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 drives in the optical bay. Initial issues with the main bay of 2011 models was resolved primarily with firmware updates – both from Apple as well as accommodation in SSD firmware as well. The optical bay is more of a mixed bag and with the 17″ 2011 models – we have consistently recommended against any 6Gb/s drive use in that bay.

                  You are correct to be concerned with data integrity – although less so about this while operation continues vs. the kind of signal issue that causes this instability and data drop outs leading to a more terminal failure. Not the best analogy, but it’s kind of like driving on unstable ground and through puddles – you hop and hydroplane along with places and at some point you could lose it and be in the ditch if continue like that… The data continues to hop along and the SSD and OS/SATA controller continue to accommodate the poor signalling as best as possible – but the wrong hop and the drive itself could lock out with a non-recoverable error. I highly recommend ceasing use of the 6Gb/s drive in that bay and considering a 3Gb/s drive option instead or no drive at all there.

                  • Thanks Larry. Sounds like I won’t bother taking it apart to test it again if that’s the case. I had the 256GB in the main bay and a 1TB SATA 2 drive in the optical bay for a few months and I had no issues. I ended up putting the optical drive back in and upgrading to a 512GB SSD in the main bay. The data doubler is nice but I’m not sure about having the spinning hard drive in the optical bay with no SMS (Sudden Motion Sensor). Having 2 SSD would have been nice but if there hasn’t been a fix for the 17″ optical bay and SATA 3 as of yet then I’m guessing we’ll never see one. One SSD will have to suffice.

                  • While you was only talking here, guys in China was working and designed new enclosure that cost 10 bucks and works perfectly with late 2011 models that support SATA 3.

                    • There are plenty of knock off, unsupported, whatever brand data double like products that do not have the signal integrity/quality of our product. As for ‘working just fine’ with SATA 3.0 – really, do you have one? As always maintained – the 2011 13″ models tend to be very reliable for SATA 3.0 6Gb/s right stock. The 15″ and 17″, not so. Many of the 15″ especially are very close – but being borderline with a data storage product is a risk we will not endorse. There are also always exceptions, mainly with some 15″ 2011s that do seem ok. Any solution we offer though, has be without exception and work with all models. Taking risk with data storage is just not wise.

                • I can’t speak for the 17″ model but my late 2011 15″ MBP has been running flawlessly since I posted before. No hints for failure or performance hiccups. I do a lot of local development on it and everything is checked into git. If there was any hint of corruption with my work, it would be flagged immediately.

                  Keep in mind that I’m running a drive that doesn’t use the same controller as the ones used in OWC SSD’s. Can’t say it’s related since it could be some other factor.

                  • The problem is not specific or exclusive of any brand, etc – and includes hard drives with SATA 3.0 6Gb/s supported as well. Different updates have made improvements to the optical bay 6Gb/s link reliability, but in our testing, it’s still not there to where we’d come out and support or recommend/change our position on use in the systems noted. There are always exceptions and truly the problem is right near the line in terms of working vs. not working. It is not surprising that you may have a 15″ that is A-OK with the 6Gb/s at this point – but it’s something that is globally applicable to all 2011 15s unfortunately and 17s are worse to start with and farther from that stability line.

                    Thanks for sharing – we just can’t recommend the risk when the probabilities are so low and the consequences rather significant.

                    • I just tested out my 256GB again in the optical bay of my early 2011 17″ but this time under Mountain Lion. Based on our conversation I wasn’t expecting any miracles and as suspected it’s still not usable. Under Lion I could not even format the drive. WIth Mountain Lion I can now format the drive and copy files but the finder status will consistently freeze between files for up to 30 seconds at a time. No beach balls but you know there is something wrong when it takes that long to negotiate the copy. Once the copy starts it is full speed, no delay. I didn’t run any md5 checks but it’s not worth spending any more time on. I’m pulling it out now. Not much to discuss since we already know the cause but I figured I’d post this as a follow-up to dvessel’s success with the 15″. Lucky him. ;-)

  • Any update on the 3.0 fix for the optical? I need to add some space by getting a data doubler and was about to pull the trigger on the 750 Hybrid when I read all the way through your post. So it’s either grab the 500GB hybrid now or wait it out and hope you come up with a solution soon. Thanks

  • In the link below is a story of how one man made the optibay work at SATA 3 speed. I have been experimenting with the shielding on my MBP 15″ and almost had RAID 0 working with no IO errors. It was working, but slow, and only would sometimes produce errors when testing with any of the known speed testing tools. My experiment was with shielding only. My conclusion to date is that this issue can be fixed by OWC making an aftermarket optibay cable for the MBP 15 and 17 inch models. I would suggest that this cable have a SATA 3 connector (like the one used on the main HDD) on one end, and connect directly to the motherboard on the other end, properly shielded and grounded of course. in other words, similar to the cable used in the main drive bay, but without the power light attachment.

    OWC, your comments on this please.

    • Our project for this bay is still underway and with some fortune, we’re still hoping.

      That said – there is substantial inconsistency from machine to machine with regards to potential of reliable SATA 3.0 6Gb/s signaling from the optical bay port connection. If what we hope works does work – it’s only expected to do so for the late 2011 models. Compared to the Feb/2011 models – there are other improvements that substantially improve the optical bay signal capability for 6Gb/s use even before our own project to take it all the way to full reliability.

      that being said – unless we can guarantee 100% reliability with an optical bay solution, it will not be offered. If we can guarantee with specific models, A-OK… but whichever specific machine config/version – we must have 100%. This has been and remains an area of high frustration. I expect we’ll have new models next week which have no problems on any level with 6Gb/s drives. For where the real work is done, everyone I think would have been better off if the current models had all ports at 3Gb/s. Very few ongoing, repetitive functions that benefit from drive performance do so at levels where 6Gb/s makes a difference. Boot time, most file processing, caching, paging, etc – much of this is about the performance with the smaller file sizes and in data rates that don’t even approach the limits of SATA 2.0. In fact… we’re soon going to introduce a SATA 2.0 drive that beats SATA 3.0 SSDs for many real world operations, even though by the benchmarking figures you’d expect quite the opposite. Numbers don’t lie… but numbers can easily be misunderstood as to where translated. A sports car that can do 250MPH is nice, but a heavy hauler at 120MPh carrying the real load…

      Anyway – still working on 6Gb/s optical bay solution.

      • Hi, I would like if possible to be informed about the availability of new optibay that solve the problem of managing a SATA3 6GB in Macbook Pro 2011 17 “early 2011. Believes that the possible evolution dell’optibay possarislvere the problem in my Macbook pro. System recognizes the hd mounted on optibai with these characteristics
        Intel 6 Series Chipset:

        Manufacturer: Intel
        Product: 6 Series Chipset
        Link Speed​​: 6 Gigabit
        Negotiated link speed: 6 Gigabit
        Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported

        But you can not use. Acknowledgements. Regards.

        • It is not a matter of the system recognizing 6G drives/link in the bay. As covered – the issue is that the bay is not reliable for such SATA 3.0 drives as documented.

  • Hello.
    I have installed an OWC Mercury Electra 6G SSD in my Macbook Pro late 2011.
    I get low disc speed test. Using blackmagic I only get 122MB/S write and 181 MB/S read.
    Have installed the SSD in the main bay and the old disk with datadoubler in the superdrive bay.

    What can be wrong???

    • BlackMagic uses incompressible data in its testing. On a SandForce-based drive, this would report lower speeds, since the Durawrite technology used in the Sandforce controller compresses data in part to achieve its speed. The BlackMagic test is good for a worst case scenario of write speeds. We’ve found that the QuickBench Speed Tools benchmark (which uses compressible data in its testing) shows more accurate speeds for the average user.
      BlackMagic does performance testing to help determine suitability/capability for various video-related functions. Raw video capture deals with compressible data… whereas conversion and editing of already compressed video file types is dealing with incompressible data. If the purpose of your benchmarking is for the optimization of a video production workstation, then BlackMagic would be the test to use – for most other purposes it isn’t going to give real-world results.

        • Probably memory testing time added to normal boot. Assuming you’ve already set the SSD as the actual startup disk. :)

  • Hi guys. I’m an owner of a MacBook Pro 15″ (MacBookPro8,2 / late 2011)

    I’ve been reading up on the issues regarding the optical bay in the 15″ model MacBook Pro’s, and from what I can tell, the hardware Apple uses for SATA 3 in the Optical Bay simply cannot handle 6 Gb/s even though it states that it is a 6 Gigabit Link Speed. From the System Information panel both SATA Chipsets are identical, but physically they are not?

    On the 13″ they do indeed use identical hardware though? Is this what your tests have found is the result of the difference in performance between the 13″ MacBook Pro’s and the 15″ ones?

    It gladdens me that you are close to finding a hardware solution for the late 2011 MacBook Pro’s which would fix the Optical Bay SATA 3 performance as I am looking into an SSD SATA 3 RAID 0 setup.

    By the way, I bet you have tried an SSD SATA 3 RAID 0 setup in a MacBook Pro 13″ (in which it should work?). Do you have any benchmarks of the performance it gave? Compared to a single SSD SATA 3 perhaps.

    Last and not least, I would like to ask you if you think you will be able to offer a hardware RAID 0 solution for the MacBook Pro in the future. I don’t know too much about RAID, but I figured all the RAID’s you’ve tested here are software RAID’s?

    Thanks in advance / W

    • The chipset and controllers absolutely are 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 ready. Problem is that the hardware design appears to have not been done with SATA 3.0 support/qualification in mind. Kind of like putting an 800HP engine into a car and then not having the right transmission to handle that power being transferred to the axles. You can put the tires on that can handle the hire speeds – but try to go to speed and things break in the middle so to speak.

      The logic board and cabling is different in the 13″ vs. 15″ vs. 17″ – same Intel Sandybridge base, but different physical designs inside. Just happens that the design and cabling on the 13″ happens to be much better for 6Gb/s in all bays (even before EFI 2.2) that that with the larger models.

      Due to issues inherent with the early 2011 models, we’re are unlikely to ever support RAID zero for those 15/17″ models although we may support 6G in the bay. We have another alternative as well. Apple made clear, testable improvements in the late 2011 ‘speed bump’ 15/17″ models when it comes to 6G signal in all bays. The late 2011 models hold the most promise for a RAID 0 possibility with 6Gb/s drives.

      The only way to RAID drives between multiple internal bays in the MacBook Pros is via software raid, yes. The RAID-0 performance is nearly double that of a single 6G SSD in the testing we’ve done… but the real world benefits are not equal as many functions can’t take advantage of that performance unless doing heavier duty video/audio, other processing work.

      • Thanks for a very thorough and quick reply Larry.

        Will this fix you’re working on for the MacBook Pro late 2011’s be some hardware you offer or will it be software/firmware based? If it’s hardware, will it come as a separate product for an existing Data Doubler or will it be an upgraded kind of Data Doubler product?

        Or is it a firmware update in the works of Apple?

        • You are welcome and np.

          The fix is a hardware solution and is designed to work with our existing Data Doubler. In theory, what were doing should do the job based on what we believe to be the case from observation and testing of the current hardware. We believe the solution will address the weakest link and make reliable SATA 3.0 in at least the late model 15/17″ models possible. I am not getting my hopes up to much though till we test the component. If it works – awesome.. if not, probably be the next MAcBook Pro models before such will be possible – and assuming they even still do 15/17″ full size in that next gen.

          As soon as we know something – it will be a new blog post and a comment referencing said will be made here as well. Thanks!

      • Larry,

        Any update on the hardware fix? I purchased a Data Doubler and two Momentus XT 750GB mechanisms – originally deployed them as RAID0 in a 2010 MBP 17″ with, of course, no problem. Went to move the solution into a late 2011 MBP 17″ and the optical bay simply would NOT work with the Momentus XT 750GB drive.

        If I cannot get these two Momentus XT 750GB mechanisms working, I guess I will have to revert to standard 750GB drives? The problem I’m trying to overcome is 750GB within a single partition without the performance hit of going from a 750GB drive to a 1TB (2.5″) drive.

        Ideas? Recommendations?


        • As it’s been six months since these machines were launched, I think if OWC were able to do something they would have managed it by now.

          Bear in mind that the 6g drive in the normal drive at SATA III bay will significantly increase performance. I’d say put a SATA II drive in the optical bay and you will get a decent level of performance.

          Or, do what I’m doing – I’m running a 512gb SSD in the main bay and a 750gb Sata II HD in the optical bay. The speed of the 512 with SATA III is pretty impressive and the 750 isn’t bad either.

          PS – I’d also suggest running with 16gb of ram – that’s been a really good upgrade in my view.

          Good luck

      • Hi Guys,

        Checking in to see if there is anything we as consumers and tech-geeks can do to ask apple to please consider resolving the SATA 3.0 6G issues… even if its the next generation of 17” MBP’s. The tech sites mention some great upgrades, retina displays, CPU/RAM/GPU/display/storage bumps… to the newest release of MBP’s (not just wish-list items) and the possible deletion of the MBP or 17” MBP anyway.

        Understanding that apple and every user wants stability of both hardware and software, and keeping the user experience as simple and painless as possible. That being said a lot of us users are more than just students looking for that cool looking computer made of aluminum/glass, and rely on our equipment to perform at top speed and are continually pushing the technology limits to accomplish this and spend ten to twenty times the amount of money on that equipment/software, as the average student or end-user, using Face-time, eMail, iChat, iPhoto, or maybe Pages, Keynote, and Numbers.

        I have been a Mac/Windows user since the late 80’s and some of the software I use, has to run on windows only, some are server addressed and we pay a very high monthly fees to access the software on our machine, Xactimate, Chief Architect, SolidWorks, Catia, RISA, AutoCAD, Rivet, Maya 3D, 3ds Max, Inventor, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Project, Visio, BDXL Disc burning, and… all run better on Windows.
        CS5/6 Master Collection/Design-Web-Production Creative Suites, Photoshop Extended, Lightroom, AfterEffects, PS Audition, Premier Pro, FCP7, Logic Studio, Ableton 8, and… all run better on Mac OSX. CAD rendering/raytracing, uncompressed video processing, lossless sound processing, extra large super-size files/super-heavy Excel usage, etc… All of these are CPU/GPU/RAM/SSD Super-Hogs.

        Not everyone wants to use just a windows based PC… of which we all know there is a plethora or myriad of hardware/software available. If I were a heavy gamer and want spend seven to twenty-five+ thousand dollars, I could have a very nice machine dual six-core Xeon processors wH2O cooling, 96GB+DDR3 RAM, four-way GPUs, with four to six huge super 4K-SHD monitors, SSD’s for each OS/App’s, as many storage drives in server racks as budget will allow, etc… and/or a Maxed-out MacPro to a similar config with OSX Server or XSAN w/fiber connection for mega storage. We have been waiting over two years for the new MP… (your new PCE SSD looks great!!!) Still waiting… for the New MP release soon maybe, (great for fixed location), the only problem with that it would not be very portable if need-be.

        That is why I use a pair of late 2011 17” MBP 2.5GHz 500GB SSD, 16GB RAM with an OWC DD/SATA2 3G 500/750GB HDD in the second bay for storage, Pioneer BDR-XD04 ext. BDXL/DVD/CD drive, the factory MBP superdrive in the OWC enclosure, Wintec 48GB SSD 3G ExpressCards (MS-DOS Format) and eSATA Drive ExpressCards in the ExpressCard 34 slot to enable fast FTR (SATA 3G) usage between OSX/Windows transferring of files or computers if need-be (also Flash Drives of all sizes, but not as fast FTR). When at the office or home I can use two Thunderbolt Displays and TB/FW/eSATA Storage, or if need-be I have a portable work station that I can take anywhere, to meet with customers or just outside to get fresh air.

        It would be really nice to see a MBP 17” with a retina display with 2560×1600+ res, Intel 2.7 GHz i7-3820QM or ++ Ivy bridge Quad Core CPU, 16/32GB 1600/2000 MHz DDR3 RAM, two 500-1TB 6G SSD’s (Like a lot of other PC Manufacturers already do, for RAID or OS/Separate Storage), TB/USB 3.0/FW/eSATA/ExpressCard 34/54 to run whatever, external BDXL/DVD/CD Drive for optical disc usage (Ext. slim Pioneer BDR-XD04 or Int. Pioneer BDR-206MBK desktop 5.25” in an enclosure), up to 100-125GB on one BRXL-SL/DL/TL/QL Optical Disc for back-up or an extra archive for the multiple back-up HDD’s.

        Dear Apple… please do not drop to the 17” MBP line, even if it only sells half as many units, there are tested professionals now making a living with it, and it is the best portable PC I have ever used or owned, it is a serious work station with many options, and an excellent portable work-horse all in one!

  • Did you guys see Apple release a new EFI for the Macbook Pros today?

    Does this EFI update fix the optical bay issue??

      • That’s unfortunate.

        Even with OWC’s new firmware update, the stability doesn’t improve?

        Here’s to hoping the next EFI update will fix the issue.

        Do you think an EFI update could fix these reliability issues?

        • The hardware shortcomings of the optical bay with respect to what’s required for SATA 3.0 6Gb/s signal is not something we can overcome on our side with software. Not even close. This is not a drive side issue by any means – all about the Apple factory hardware not being capable as provided to support 6Gb/s link operation in the optical bay. We are close to being able to test a possible solution which involves physical hardware – it has a decent chance of making the bay operable for 6Gb/s on the Late 2011 models 15/17″ – it’s honestly unlikely to be a solution for the earlier 2011 models which are FAR FAR FAR worse to begin with. Apple did improve things in the late 2011 update, but they still had no reason to qualify and enable 6Gb/s reliability in the optical bay and they don’t put 6Gb/s drives into that bay.

          It’s frustrating, but this is Apple.

          • “We are close to being able to test a possible solution which involves physical hardware – it has a decent chance of making the bay operable for 6Gb/s on the Late 2011 models 15/17”

            I hope you are successful. I have two spare SSD’s waiting to be configured for RAID 0. Is there any way to be updated about this specific issue?

          • From what I’ve gathered, there’s a zero chance of 6Gb connections working reliably in the optical bay. If OWC Larry or anyone else points out there there’s a slim chance of it working, I would test it myself.

            My Macbook Pro was custom configured and delivered on Feb 13th so it’s very new. Who knows what they could have changed without anyone knowing. And my extra SSD’s are the Samsung 830’s. Have you by any chance tested them even though they are a competing product. :)

            Hell, I might end up testing it myself anyway when I have less on my plate.

          • The hardware modification you said you were close to testing, did you stop working on that? Am I correct that you are no longer persuing a solution?

  • Hi OWC,
    Having problems installing new OWC SSD Pro 6G 120 GB in new 13″ MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz i5 (both purchased early 2012; MBP from amazon).
    Have successfully formatted SSD, and installed OSX on it with disc utility then OSX install using a SATA/USB adapter. Can boot from SSD while it is attached via USB/SATA adapter. Problem arises when SSD is installed into the original HDD bay, SSD is not recognized, get ?-mark folder when restarting MBP. Booting from recovery drive, SSD is not showing up in disc utility, it is like it is not there.
    Reinstalling the original HDD restores MBP to booting just fine off of the HDD, so I do not believe I have accidentally compromised the SATA cable connections.
    Furthermore, when SSD is installed in optical drive bay, SSD is recognized in disc utility, etc. but upon attempting to boot from it, no success, unable to erase and reformat SSD while in optical drive bay either.
    Attempting to update the firmware to MBP EFI 2.3 get allert pop-up stating software is not supported on your system.
    Any advice you can offer would be most welcome, have spent many hours trying to troubleshoot this so far.

  • Hi.
    first of all, sorry for my poor english.
    i bought MBP 2011 Late (i7 2.5 CTO / 8GB) & OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 240GB in last week.
    eject HDD 750GB and insert Mercury Extreme Pro 6G in MBP’s main bay.

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

    OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD:

    Capacity: 240.06 GB (240,057,409,536 bytes)
    Model: OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD
    Revision: 332ABBF0
    Serial Number: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    Native Command Queuing: Yes
    Queue Depth: 32
    Removable Media: No
    Detachable Drive: No
    BSD Name: disk0
    Medium Type: Solid State
    TRIM Support: No
    Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)
    S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified
    Capacity: 209.7 MB (209,715,200 bytes)
    BSD Name: disk0s1
    Content: EFI
    Capacity: 239.2 GB (239,197,650,944 bytes)
    Available: 97.64 GB (97,636,978,688 bytes)
    Writable: Yes
    File System: Journaled HFS+
    BSD Name: disk0s2
    Mount Point: /
    Content: Apple_HFS
    Recovery HD:
    Capacity: 650 MB (650,002,432 bytes)
    BSD Name: disk0s3
    Content: Apple_Boot

    everything is seems like normal.

    but… there’s something wrong. speed problem
    here’s my xbench results.

    Model Name: MacBook Pro
    Model Identifier: MacBookPro8,3
    Processor Name: Intel Core i7
    Processor Speed: 2.5 GHz
    Number of Processors: 1
    Total Number of Cores: 4
    L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
    L3 Cache: 8 MB
    Memory: 8 GB
    Boot ROM Version: MBP81.0047.B26
    SMC Version (system): 1.70f5
    Serial Number (system):
    Hardware UUID:
    Sudden Motion Sensor:
    State: Enabled


    what’s the problem? plz help me.


    • Actually, from looking over your specifications and reviewing your BlackMagicDesign Disk Speed Test results, it doesn’t look like there is anything wrong. You’re within the acceptable range on Incompressible data read/writes speeds of up to 479MB/s and 282MB/s respectively as shown under the specifications tab on the product page.

        • The difference isn’t in your system, it’s in the data you’re transferring. Compressible data includes your operating system, applications, and many of your documents and files that can be stored on the drive in a smaller space without losing any integrity – but incompressible data has either already been compressed (or zipped) or by nature cannot be compressed further like with many types of videos, music and photos.

          • ok. i understood.

            well, how can i get same result (or right result – about 500MB / 500MB R/W)?
            tell me which tool is show me the same result.
            or if i’ll test blackmagic speed tool again, which condition is important?
            i have 4.7GB MKV file. where i placed this file.


        • To further add –

          Black Magic does performance testing to help determine suitability/capability for various video related functions. Raw video capture deals with compressible data… whereas conversion to MP4, etc and editing of already compressed video file types is dealing with incompressible data. The performance of the drive is different, as described in it’s listing, for these two different data types. The Black Magic test for incompressible provides a worst case performance of that data streaming performance assuming the least/totally incompressible data being handled. I hope this information helps the understanding.

  • Hello,

    Is there any more news on this topic? I know a few people waiting for an answer.

    Has there been any change in the very latest iteration of the late 2011 15 and 17 inch macbook pros?

    Did anything come of OWC’s investigations of a possible fix in November?


  • I just want to have said this again for those who are weary about buying OWC SSD’s, despite the fact that I remain angry at both Apple and OWC over the handling of ultimately only slightly related issues, although they both have to do with the 6Gb/s in the optical bay.

    This is NOT the fault of OWC’s superbly made Solid State Drives (SSDs). I own two 120GB Mercury EXTREME drives and they work perfectly in a 2011 Mac mini, for example. They also work great in RAID 0 mode, which is when you experience speeds that are quite a bit above Thunderbolt drives, unless you chain together half a dozen Thunderbolt drives and then you’re still only neck-and-neck with just two OWC drives in RAID 0.

  • I have not seen reports on the later EFI v2.3?

    The Apple summary suggests further improvement to the target disk mode, which if relating to access speed would seem report worthy?


    • EFI 2.3 does not resolve issues with 6G SATA 3.0 drives in the 15″ or 17″ optical bays.

  • The SATA 3.0-6Gb/s Optical Bay stability issue in 17”/15” MBP’s…

    Has anyone installed the new Seagate Momentus XT 750GB SSHD (ST750LX003) to see if the 6Gb/s stability issue is related only to SSD/HDD’s or All three types of drives with SATA III/6Gb/s interfaces (SSD/SSHD/HDD)? In the notes it is stated that it effects HDD’s also, but nothing is mentioned about SSHD’s.

    Just curious if it’s use of Hybrid Technology/Firmware, could possibly make a difference in stability.

    -FAST Factor™ Flash Management
    -FAST Factor Boot
    -Adaptive Memory™ Technology

    Also when are you going to be offering this Seagate Momentus XT 750GB SSHD (ST750LX003) as well as the Seagate Momentus XT 500GB SSHD (ST95005620AS) already on the OWC Website?

    • Hello David, the issues revolve around the SATA Revision 3.0 6Gb/s drives in general. Whether they’re SSD, traditional or hybrid makes no difference.

  • It’s true that free Blackmagic Disk Speed Test reports an only 260mb/s write speed. While I tried Quickbench and this time every thing goes right.. around 500/500 read and write on my mercury extreme 6g 240GB SSD, 17” late 2011 MBP.

    • This is actually something good to keep in mind; if you’re getting unusual readings from one benchmarking program, you may want to try a couple of others to see if they’re getting the same results. It’s when multiple apps are reporting the same unusual readings that you may have something to look into.

    • are you referring to mercury extreme pro 6g in optibay? it reads/writes at 500/500? i returned mine since my tests revealed completely unstable performance of the mercury extreme pro 6g when it put that in the optical bay. when did you purchase your 2011 17″ macbook pro?

  • Has there been any testing done by OWC to determine where the problem might be with having a SATA 3.0, 6Gbps-compatible drive in the optical drive bay, i.e. run a longer cable from the optical bay port to a drive that’s sitting away from the ‘board..?

    Is it perhaps an issue of shielding, the cable, port on the motherboard, or some combination of those? I’m curious to see if I can come up with a very clean DIY solution if it’s a problem of interference like it was in the main drive bay.

    • Using a different cable has not been tested, mostly because of the types of ribbon cable connector used on the logic board, which is where a “test” cable would need to be connected.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if Lion will include a firmware update in Spring of 2012 to accommodate a 6G optical bay. In fact I doubt there will be a true optical bay in 2012. Most likely it will be a standard 128 GB SSD in the main bay and then a 750 GB Sata III in the former optical bay. The Sata controller has been put into place now because the supplier was able to provide it and all Apple needs to do is adjust the hardware configuration as needed (for example Spring MBP updates) and there you will have it 6G in both the main may bay and the optical bay. The optical bay will be gone across all Mac platforms by 2013 including the Mac Pro’s.

  • Anyone success with 2 OWC SATA3 SSD (RAID 0) in 13″ MBP late or early 2011?

    Mine is 13″ MBP early 2011 with 6/6. However, I can’t get RAID 0 with 2 OCZ SATA3 SSD. If 2 OWC SATA3 SSD can do RAID 0, then I will consider to change mine. But I want to know who else success with 2 OWC SATA 3 SSD (RAID 0) in his/her 13″ MBP late or early 2011?


  • When is the Mac version of the firmware update for the 6g Extreme drive coming out. Isn’t this ‘’? I’ve had piss poor luck with my 6G drive. Two early 2011 15″ MBPs and now a late 15″ 2.5. I’ve determined that it is not Apple at all, but this drive.

    Someone recently contacted me about returning my drive and having OWC do the firmware update, but I simply cannot be without my computer for more than 12 hours.

  • Just reported this through the Apple Bug Reporter website (via Developer program):
    – 2011 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pros optical bay report wrong link speed of 6 Gigabit.
    – 6 Gigabit devices (SSD via OptiBay) connected to the optical bay are not recognized.
    – 3 Gigabit devices (SSD via OptiBay) connected to the optical bay are recognized.

    Requested enhancement:
    – Make the optical bay on the affected models advertise a correct maximum link speed of 3 Gigabit, so that 6 Gigabit devices will be recognized and run in 3 Gigabit mode. Better to run slower than not being recognized at all.

    Steps to Reproduce:
    – Take a 2011 15″ or 17″ MacBook Pro.
    – Verify in System Profiler that it reports “Link Speed: 6 Gigabit” on the optical bay SATA port.
    – Replace the optical drive with a 6 Gigabit SSD (via Optibay/DataDoubler)

    Expected Results:
    – 6 Gigabit (SATA 3) SSD recognized

    Actual Results:
    – 6 Gigabit (SATA 3) SSD not recognized at all



    – We are aware that using an OptiBay is not officially supported. That’s why we classified this issue as an “Enhancement” :) You would make a lot of users happy if we could at least get our 6G SSDs recognized and run at 3G in the optical bay.

    – Some 2011 15″ or 17″ MacBook Pros shipped in spring 2011 came with the optical bay reporting “Link Speed: 3 Gigabit”. The currently shipped models again report the non-working 6G. The correct setting from the spring 2011 batch(es) should be enabled on all 2011 MBPs.

    Case ID is 10429854 if anyone needs to reference my report.

    • While having two stable 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 ports in the MacBook Pro 2011 15″ and 17″ would be nice… I agree and we have long been ‘suggesting’ that the optical bay link be reduced to the 3Gb/s link it is reliable for instead of even allowing a 6Gb/s link to attempt. That said – there may yet be a custom solution that allows advantage be taken, but it’s not simple. Regardless… I’d be very happy to have the full benefit of modern SSDs even with 3Gb/s limitation as most of the heavy lifting occurs with transfer types that operate below 300MB/s as it is. We looked at software options for controlling the SATA 2.0/3.0 enable, but Apple locks that down hard and simply isn’t a legal option via the means necessary to control this.

      Please let us know how they respond to your ‘enhancement’ request/suggestion. thanks!

  • There’s a bit of false advertising here. I just got off the phone with an OWC Tech Support Rep after experiencing constant beach balls on my Late 2011 13″ MBP i7 with the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G. This was actually my second attempt at using one of these drives (the first one arrived defective).

    The tech support rep on the phone said that OWC had indeed been hearing increasing reports of issues on the new 13″ MacBook Pros. The support calls he had been fielding are not as rosy as this blog post makes them out to be. He actually recommended that I downgrade to a SATA II drive instead of going with a SATA III. In fairness, he also said that he had one confirmed report that a replaced motherboard (through Apple) might help.

    Now, I feel stuck with a dilemma. Do I run the gamble with trying to get Apple to replace my motherboard — not knowing if it will actually fix my problems with the 6G SSD, or do I downgrade to a SATA II drive and give up the potential performance benefits? All in all, this situation seems to be a complete mess. Even if Apple’s fault, it seems like there’s lots of misinformation on the topic.

    • That kind of tech commentary will be reviewed as it is not supported by the facts. The new/current model 13/15/17″ have been rock solid for the Main bay.

      Before EFI 2.2, the early 2011 13″ models (models prior to Oct/2011 refresh), we’re rarely an issue while the 15″ had some incidence and then having a stable 17″ was the exception. EFI 2.2 (and 2.3 didn’t change this or anything related that was observable to the 6G issue) by in large corrected all outstanding issues that were not related to a hardware issue.

      The units we’ve seen with issue remaining following EFI 2.2, and also have specifically a 13″ report in the other blog thread to this end, have either benefited from the current SSD Firmware update (released about a month ago) or have had a separate hardware problem – most typically a bad/non-6G stable SATA cable. This cable issue has been a separate, but present issue with the 2011 MacBook Pros and 6G drives going back to the February release. Should add – signals issues of this nature are not good on drives either in terms of operational reliability and changes in the Sandforce firmware do more today to prevent bad SATA 6G bus/power stability from panicing the SSD.

      Bottom line is that any continued beach balling issue is very likely a bad cable in the system or other related hardware level problem – making the assumption that all firmware/EFI is current. Our tech lead will reach out to you and happy to work to see it fully resolved. We have no benefit in selling a product to customers of any specific platform if an issue is present and continue to call out such issues as it is a lose-lose scenario for such use attempts.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  • Just curious if you tried SATA 3 SSD that does not use Sandforce Controller? I know Windows crew have had nothing but trouble with SF-2200/2100 FirmWare. Just wondering if that could have some thing to do with it. Samsung 830 might be good one to test.

    • We don’t comment on internal testing results of competitive products unless there is something grossly inaccurate or misrepresented that we feel consumers have a right to know.

      And while we do test other brands, we mostly focus on making sure our Mercury SSDs run faster and longer than any other brand…and back it with the longest warranty and first 30 day Money Back Guarantee offered. ;-)

    • I will add to this… the issues have actually been worse with some other non-Sandforce 6G drives – which I believe has to do with the housing design and related signal impact from said. This is not a Sandforce issue. Not only that, even SATA 3.0 6Gb/s 2.5″ hard drives are impacted by the issue… not just SSD… SATA 3.0 Drives in general these comments/experiences/recommendations apply to.

  • hi, when i buy the OWC Mercury pro 6g in Belgia, will i still have 5 years warranty ?

  • Perhaps there should be a big warning banner on the site and in the further upstream buying forms about this incompatibility? I bought a 6g SSD and Doubler kit and installed it. I guess that’s why it won’t allow itself to be partitioned. Sigh. A wasted couple of hours and high hopes killed!

    • We will look at increasing the call out of the special notes that apply to 15″ and 17″ 2011 MacBook Pro models. When purchasing the DD bundles with 6G drive for these models, the ideal installation is putting the new 6G SSD into the main bay and moving the stock hard drive into the optical bay. Sorry for any inconvenience. Thank you for the feedback!

    • I hear you. Went through the exact same thing. I am also not getting the advertised speeds (especially Write speeds) in the Main HDD bay of my Late-2011 17″ MBP. While it remains true that Apple did not advertise the existence of SATA III in the optical bay, or the “main” HDD bay, for that matter. However, there may be an implied warranty by virtue of the fact that the logic board that Apple decided to go with for the 2011 MacBook Pro’s – which incorporates the Z68 chipset from Intel – happens to support it.

      I would really like to receive this specially shielded SATA cable for the optical bay and try this again. I’m about to order the 1-port OWC-branded eSATA card, along with another ExpressCard/34 from Sonnet. Can that little bitty SATA cable make its way into that package?

      At any rate, I’ll post again when I know more.

      • This SATA cable you make reference to doesn’t currently exist and nothing yet to confirm that will be the solution. In the case of the Main Bay, was more than just a cable issue – although cable differences and shielding did significantly affect the issue and even resolve depending on the degree of problem from the other aspects. Apple made firmware adjustments to overcome these things in the main drive bay – the optical bay was not improved. I’d love to see the optical bay be a SATA 3.0 6Gb/s winner for 15″ and 17″ models and we’re looking into it. As Apple only expects to support an optical drive in that bay, they have little to no interest or reason to work on fixing 6G optical bay issues… especially since the optical drives they install at the factory are SATA 1.5Gb/s. Frustrating that 6Gb/s is even enabled to that bay in 15/17 when it’s not supported/working as implemented.

      • I would like to ask Desmond which hard drive testing application he is using when he reports that he is “not getting the advertised speeds (especially Write speeds) in the Main HDD bay of my Late-2011 17″ MBP.”

        I wasn’t either using the Lion compatible, free Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. However, I downloaded Intech’s SpeedTools Utilities to test the drive. That test produced read/write speeds of 509/495 MB/s maximums.

        I suggest he do the same, because the BM test is not accurate.

        • Thanks, for reply. I got answer i was looking for. I was just wondering if BSOD bug they finally reproduce might have some thing to do with optical bay 6G performence. I own early 17 ” and it sits and collects dust for most part. I keep hopping issue gets work out with firmware update. I still have issue with main bay RUNNING SATA 3 6Gbps with current EFI 2.3. It runs good for a week with fresh clone or re-install. Then beach balls & lock ups start, alignment way off track, and drive is fragmented to hell & back, Couple of time EFI partitions has move add it’s starting block at back of drive. Apple already replace mobo. Im over research and trying different hacks to make it work right, I guess it’s time to sell it and wait on 2012 re-design MBP.

          • There are multiple things that have been going on – including outside of Apple – to best accommodate the Early 2011 MacBook Pro Main Bay 6Gb/s link reliability woes. This SSD you are referring to – is it an OWC SSD or brand X? I ask as more than one customer, including one who did post in our other thread on the 6G issues, switched from a ‘brand X’ 6G SSD to the OWC SSD and have had success – this after the EFI 2.2 update. This with respect to the Main Bay.

            As for the optical bay – this is a signal quality issue and nothing related to BSOD that I am aware of. That bay and supporting hardware was not designed by all indications for SATA 3.0 compliance, was never intended for SATA 3.0 6Gb/s drives, and in the case of the 15″ and 17″ Macbook Pros that have 6G link shown for that bay – it’s going to be a challenge, if even possible, to get it working for 6G in the new Sept/2011 models and highly unlikely for the Feb/2011 IMHO.

            • It’s not OWC, it uses same controller from Sandforce. I do own several of your SSD. I purchase MBP day 1 and bought only SATA 3 SSD on market at the time that wash ‘C3000. You guys were still not sure of ETA 6G. I know you guys tweak firmware, this isn’t firmware issue as far as i can tell. I’ve tested, replace, & jump threw hoops to get this machine stable, it’s been learning curve i like to forget about. It felt like 2011 was year of beta testing for Intel Sandy Bridge line up. I own 2010 MP, 2008MBP, 2011 MBP, Hackintosh workstation P67. It’s been trouble shooting year starting with P67 mobo recall with B-3 revisiion leading straight into MBP issue. As soon as Apple or Somebody gets 17 ” stable, I want to put 2 x 240 OWC 6G as RAID 0 with 16GB RAM. Im not going to spend $ until i know for sure it’s going to work.

              • We support a 30 Day Money Back on our SSDs for a lot of good reasons. There are plenty of differences between our SSD models and even other sandforce based. I think the other you’re referring to is Crucial C300, that was their 1st Gen 6G SSD from 2010 replaced in 2011 with their M4. The C300 was actually lower performance than our 3G SSDs for various tasks. Regardless – if it is a c300 referred to, that is not a Sandforce based SSD. If it’s someone else’s SF228X based 6G Sandforce Driven SSD, still could see success with our brand. FWIW, we were the 2nd manufacturer to introduce Sandforce Driven 6G SSD models and that was right on the heals of the first… :)

                • Sorry, typo error “that was no’t” C3000. One i have is 240GB Vertex 3, -Im pretty sure I’ll have same problem with your one of your drives. Im more than likely going to put SATA II in this MBP and put it on Ebay. I’ve been waiting on your guys test results on New MBP before i make decision. Seeing results, it might just be in my best interest to wait for re-design 17″ MBP hope it’s stable. I wish Apple would have come up with solution for dedicated pro users. Seems it’s all about iOS and time for professionals to start thinking of other ways to perform there day to day operations.

  • Hi, i bought in owc sdd 6G 240 gb for mi macbook pro late 2011 and OWC Data Doubler for replace my superdrive, the final configuration will be: Main drive bay with SSD 6G ELECTRA 240GB and Optical Drive bay with Data Doubler and HD 500GB 5400RPM 9.5mm original apple, TOSHIBA MK5065GSXF.

    This is my question, will i have a problem with this setup?

    Than you very much.

    • All stock Apple drives are 9.5mm and will fit in the optical bay via our data doubler without issue. The hard drives, on their labels, also typically indicate whether they are a 6Gb/s or 3Gb/s drive version.

      the specifications I see for MK5065GSXF Toshiba 500GB indicate this is a SATA 2.0 3Gb/s drive and this will work without issue in your optical bay via DD. All good.

      To all: Note that drives showing SATA 3.0 6Gb/s should be used in the main bay of 15″ and 17″ 2011 models that report 6Gb/s link speed in those bays. 6Gb/s drives are fine in optical bay of 13″ models as well as any 15″ or 17″ model that is only reporting 3Gb/s link present.

  • Have you tried testing the 6.0Gb/s SSD connected to the Optical Drive bay port with a Main Drive bay cable? It wouldn’t be pretty booting the system with the guts hanging out, but it could prove the problem lies in the Optical Drive bay cable.

    • Different style connectors between the two connectors. We’re continuing to test a number of different approaches to this issue – stay tuned!

  • This is, of course, assuming that the OWC Data Doubler actually fits (physically) within the latest models (i.e. they haven’t changed their case design or w/e), correct?

    If so, could you please change the details on the Data Doubler product page to confirm:

    Currently, it does not mention “Late 2011” MBP as compatible.


    • Aw Dang Colin…you are right…thanks. We’ll update the page shortly. But Yes….Data Doubler fits just fine…case DIMS haven’t changed at all…just the speed bump.

      • Hey guys. I am just wondering if a newer data doubler was made that is faster. I bought one over a year ago and don’t know if would even support 6g (if it were working)

        • The OWC DataDoubler, which we first began shipping late November of 2010 just under a year ago, is fully SATA 3.0 6Gb/s capable since the first units we produced. No change has been made to the product nor needed with respect to SATA 3.0 support. But – as noted – the Apple Optical Bay in the 15″ and 17″ 2011 models (many of which have SATA 3.0 6Gb/s port enabled) are not reliable for drives that are more than SATA 2.0 3Gb/s. You can use a Data Doubler with a 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 drive in the 13″ MacBook Pro 2011 models which do typically have fully reliable 6Gb/s optical capability when the SATA 3.0 6Gb/s is shown available there. For 15″ and 17″ models- should stick with only SATA 2.0 3Gb/s Drives in terms of installation to the optical bay via Data Doubler, etc.

  • A head’s up to those using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, a free download available from the App Store, to test the write/read speeds of the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro in Lion.

    It consistently reported write speeds for my Mercury Extreme Pro 240GB drive that maxed at 269 MB/s or so. Read speeds were about 495 MB/s.

    I contact OWC support, and was able to download Intech’s SpeedTools Utilities to test the drive. The produced read/write speeds of 509/495 MB/s maximums.

    The BM tool did not correctly report write speeds.

    Thanks for OWC for great support.

    • Interesting. I used the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and was getting only 180MB/s write speeds for my 120GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro in Lion.

    • I think I have the same issue with your experience…. write speeds around 270 with Blackmagic Disk Speed Test

      • I think Black Magic uses incompressible data in it’s testing. On a Sandforce drive, this would report much lower speeds, since the Sandforce controller compresses data in part to achieve it’s speed. The 500MBs+ is only possible with compressible data. Thus the program is not reporting the speed incorrectly, it’s just reflecting the speed the Sandforce controller can achieve with incompressible date. Even the Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G can only achieve 285 MB/s writing such data, according to OWC:

  • I wonder what caused the incompatibility with SATA 2.0 drives in the first place. Has any of the hardware changed between the early 2011 and the late 2011 MacBook Pros to have influenced compatibility?

    • sorry for any confusion – there is not currently and has never been any issue compatibility or otherwise with the utilization of SATA 2.0 3Gb/s drives in either bay of any 2011 (Feb or new October models) MacBook Pro.

      The issue had been with the reliability of signal for SATA 3.0 6Gb/s drives… an issue by in large overcome in the early 2011 15/17″ models with firmware tweaking by Apple engineers (and also some bad cable replacements in addition there to). There are no physical differences that stand out in the new October models.

  • Now that there are 1 TB 2.5 inch hard drives in a standard 9.5 mm format this is really a non-issue, Before you needed the extra height for the 12.5 mm drives, but not anymore

    • That’s my personal setup – 1TB Samsung in the optical bay and OWC EXTREME Pro 6G in the main bay. Got my extra storage, 2nd boot volume for any maintaining, and time machine volume. Can’t complain at all. Full speed and max cap. :)

      • Larry does the optical bay support 7200 RPM drives?
        I’m thinking of buying the new macbook pro with the 7200 RPM drive option and move that over to the optical bay to make room for a mercury extreme 6g ssd in the main bay…

        You said you use the samsung 1TB but it’s only 5400 RPM so I wasn’t sure..

        How’s the performance on it?

        • 7200RPM Drive models current within the last 24 months are absolutely A-OK in the optical bay. That said – the 1TB Samsung is the fastest 5400RPM drive we’ve tested… the Seagate 7200.4 Momentus drives and Hitachi 7K500/7K750 are anywhere from 5-15% faster at various block levels – but the Samsung is supporting 110-125MB/s that is more than quick enough for my secondary purposes.

          Getting back to the performance of 5400RPM – all drives in general today have been getting faster and faster as platter density has been going up. The heads don’t need to travel as far a distance for data R and W which is where drive speeds have continued to improve.

          • I’m sold.

            So two questions:

            If I buy the standard data doubler kit for the 480gb ssd (mercury extreme pro 6g), and I put the ssd in the main bay, can I use the data doubler to house the Sammy 1TB in the optical bay?

            Will doing this affect either the standard apple warranty and / or apple care?
            What about adding the 16gb ram? Does this void apple warrant / AppleCare in any way?

  • It wasn’t mentioned in the blog post originally – but was the latest EFI Update 2.3 applied or already in the late 2011 MBP models you tested above? (I assume so but no mention of it so wanted to confirm).

    Originally apple didn’t list the v2.3 update as for the late 2011’s, but added them to the doc a couple days later. (Apparently at least some of the late 2011’s first production builds shipped w/o the latest firmware.)

    But IIRC an owner of a Late 2011 MBP (‘Desmond’) in your 17in unboxing blog post said it didn’t help. (not sure that’s typical – so wanted to confirm if your test machines had the latest firmware.)

  • Here suggestion on how to make it work.

    1st. Build RAID from external Boot Drive

    2nd. Use iPartition or GPTfdisk create Fake RAID with EFI & MBR Code to /dev/disk1

    3rd Alignment needs to be align with Nand. SSD with 25nm try :
    – EFI “size 200MB at starting sector 8192”
    – /dev/disk1 “Enter Size” at starting sector 417,792

  • Any word on when your firmware update tool is compatible with the 2011 MacBook Pros?

  • I’ve been hitting refresh to see the verdict on this.
    Very disappointed to hear that Apple has yet to address this optical bay issue.

    • That’s a tough one…. that bay really only needs to be 3Gb/s SATA 2.0 – or even just SATA 1.5Gb/s for the optical drives that bay is designed for. I’ve never seen an Apple factory optical drive linking at faster than SATA 1.5Gb/s and really no optical drive out there today in that profile fast enough to need a higher link rate. That being said – it is frustrating to see 6Gb/s link present and effectively unusable. It would still be a disappointment to have only a 3Gb/s port SATA 2.0 link in the optical bay – but I’d be more than happy with that in 15″ and 17″ since it would be 100% reliable for any drive pretty much you’d want to replace the optical drive with. We’ll see – with the improvements that are definitely measurable between prior 2011 and the new Oct/2011 updated models, there is some hope and possibility that we may be able to do a 6G solution for the optical bay. I don’t want to mislead or get hopes up though as nothing certain yet by any means or short term expected. Anyway… I’m just happy that the main bay is reliable for our 6Gb/s drives now – after a good 6 months wrestling with that one, so glad to have that in the rear view mirror.

      • A glimmer of hope!
        Would this “fix” be something along the lines of a shielded cable like last time? Or something else?
        Any clues to satiate the power hungry users out there? :)

        1 GB/S…. drool.