X

Send us a Topic or Tip

Have a suggestion for the blog? Perhaps a topic you'd like us to write about? If so, we'd love to hear from you! Fancy yourself a writer and have a tech tip, handy computer trick, or "how to" to share? Let us know what you'd like to contribute!

Thanks for reaching out!

OWC Offers Fix For 2011 17″ MBP SATA Problems.

In preparation for our official OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD introduction next week, our team has been focused of all aspects of performance of it and including (of course) that offered by the Apple MacBook Pro 2011 laptops, Apple’s first computers with a SATA 3.0 (6.0Gb/s) drive port. For over a month, we’ve been following reports from some MacBook Pro 2011 model users – almost exclusively those with 17″ models, where issues with other brand 6Gb/s SSDs have been encountered. The main issue reported was that the drive simply wasn’t being seen/working.

OWC makes it a point to have our lab equipped with all model/processor variations of each new generation system so full compatibility and performance testing can be performed. While we did not encounter any issues of non-function with our new Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSDs, we did see unexpected results when the drive was installed in the 17″ model. Essentially, the performance was not as high or as consistent as the same drive tested in same speed (2.2GHz and 2.3GHz i7) 15″ or even any of the 13″ 2011 model versions.

When we sent Lloyd Chambers of Mac Performance Guide a sneak-preview of our new SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s) drive, he popped it into his test machine and his results in the 17″ mirrored our own. Lloyd’s initial testing showed the same kind of performance and inconsistencies that were able to replicate here. Further, prior to testing our new 6G SSD, he reported that an Intel 510 6G SSD didn’t show up in his 17″ at all. Rob-ART from BareFeats had a similar experience in his MacBook Pro 17″, yet got the expected high performance results in his 13″ 2011 model, which was in line with all of our lab testing here.

OWC’s conclusion: It is not a drive related problem; it appears to be an internal issue in the MacBook Pros in question. Our own testing has only seen issue with the 2011 17″ MacBook Pros; the 15″ and 13″ models haven’t shown any performance drops or sporadic drive recognition. Confirmed end-user reports with other brand 6.0Gb/s SSDs also appear confined to the 2011 17″ model. When Rob-ART put the same drive that wouldn’t show in his 17″ 2001 MacBook Pro in his 13″ 2011 MacBook Pro, it showed up with no problems, and recorded industry-leading results.

Checking around, some users found that swapping the SATA cable resolved the issue, while others found replacing the cable offered no improvement. An additional data point we have, however, was the difference in performance between the MacBook Pro 15″ and 17″ models. Seeing the 17″ perform poorly compared to the same processor-equipped 15″ versions really drove research as to why this could be and that it was likely that even the ‘working cables’ weren’t providing the full performance they should… so why was Apple’s 6.0Gb/s implementation on the 17″ version not performing as well as on the 15″ and 13″ models?

We looked into the matter thoroughly and are excited to announce that we’ve found a solution.

As it turns out, the cause of the problem seems to be interference possibly related to the battery indicator cable on the 17″ models. With the 13″ and the 15″ models, this cable runs nowhere near the SATA cable, so it doesn’t cause any problems. In the 17″ model, however, the indicator cable runs right next to the SATA cable at one point. We can not say for sure whether removing this cable would solve the problem, but simply disconnecting it from the logicboard did provide a slight, but very measurable, improvement. How signals bounce around inside a device casing can definitely be impacted by how wires are configured, even when just passively present and unpowered. It could be coincidental to a different cause and/or be just a contributor to the issue – but regardless, these issues have been repeatable and documentable in the 17″ 2011 and not so in the 15″ or 13″… And only the 17″ has the battery indicator panel/cable/and connector placed in this proximity to the SATA drive connector cable.

[nggallery id=8]

Fortunately, the fix is extremely simple, and it doesn’t involve unplugging anything. Simply shielding the SATA cable protects it from interference and lets you maintain full SATA 3.0 (6.0gb/s) performance. Our OWC Shielding Kit, which will begin shipping early next week, can be ordered now for $9.99. This is far less than the cost of a replacement SATA cable which doesn’t seem to address the actual problem in the first place. Perhaps Apple will implement a change in future production, but our solution will solve the issue in current models.

For MacBook Pro 2011 owners who are ordering one of our new OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSDs, we’ll be offering the OWC Shielding Kit at a discounted cost of only $2.99. That way, you can be sure your new Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD will be working to its best capacity.

Note 1: 2011 MacBook Pro 17″ issues, as per our internal testing and available confirmed ‘field’ reports, involve higher performance SATA 3.0 (6.0Gb/s) Solid State Drives. There is no indication of issues being experienced with standard hard drives or even with Solid State Drives of SATA 2.0 (3.0Gb/s) implementation such as our OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro SSD models. While you may still consider purchasing the shielding kit, it does not appear to be necessary unless you are upgrading to a high performance SATA 3.0 (6.0Gb/s) Solid State Drive.
Note 2: There has been some confusion related to SATA version nomenclature. The official terms are: SATA 1.0, which supports up to 150MB/s performance (1.5Gb/s); SATA 2.0, which supports up to 300MB/s (3.0Gb/s); and SATA 3.0 which provides up to 600MB/s (6.0Gb/s). Some naming conventions in use out there, which are not correct, would include referencing SATA 2.0 as SATA II or SATA 3.0G; or SATA 3.0 as SATA III or SATA 6.0G.

UPDATE 4/18/11

 

While our OWC Shielding Kit has provided a solution to the 2011 MBP 17″ not recognizing a 6Gb/s drive and/or showing reduced performance results, it appears the overall results may vary for some – depending on the type of issue and degree of issue.

Our team is hard at work to reach a further understanding of the matter. Currently we can share the following experiences:

In certain 17″ machines, there may be other factors involved that shielding doesn’t fully resolve.

In two recently acquired factory stock 17″ MBPs with the factory stock cable, no additional shielding was required to be installed to obtain optimal results – those comparable to the 15” results – and we further confirmed no benefit was obtained when additional shielding was added.

The Apple cable (p/n 821-1200-A) is the same in these recently acquired MacBook Pro 17” models as the prior units in testing that needed our shielding solution to deliver expected performance results.

However, when we moved that same cable to another 17″ MBP experiencing drive recognition or reduced drive speed performance, the problem(s) remained. Applying our Shielding Kit did have a positive impact, however, with this cable in that same system.

In a more extreme case where no 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 SSD was being recognized properly at all, the OWC Shielding Kit did solve that recognition issue, but performance remained well below expected. This was the case with both the candidate’s original stock cable as well as one we provided that was shielded here and tested to deliver full performance in one of our own 17” units.

The bottom line here is…

1.  With the variety of factors present, we cannot guarantee our Shielding Kit will completely resolve your particular circumstances.

2. In most cases where the 6Gb/s SSD is recognized, but not providing expected data rates – applying the OWC Shielding Kit to the SATA connector cable has shown a good probability to restore expected performance level stability.

3. Whether the OWC Shielding Kit corrects your issue or not, there may be some other underlying hardware issue related to the MacBook Pro 17” 2011 models and 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 SSDs yet to be fully determined and understood. Depending on the variance in the factory stock 17” SATA cable, it would appear that even if a replacement cable alone solves part of the problem – it’s not likely to be the entire solution as evidenced by our example of the standard factory cable operating with no issue in one 17” and with issue in another.

Stay tuned here to this post as additional updates will be posted as we complete our investigation…especially since we are sharing this information with parties of interest.


UPDATE 5/4/11

 

As it turns out, in the cases where our shielding kit did not resolve the matter, the SATA controller itself may be the cause. When diglloyd continued to have problems with SATA 3.0 SSDs in his 17″ MacBook Pro, even after installing the shielding, he contacted Apple and they had him send the ‘Book back—along with the OWC SSD—“for testing.”

Once he got his replacement MBP back, it seems everything is working as expected.

So… if your 2011 MacBook Pro’s SATA 3.0 speeds and behavior aren’t what they should be when using a 6Gb/s SSD in the main drive bay, perhaps you may have to take advantage of Apple’s warranty service.


UPDATE 5/6/11

 

We are not seeing any difference or effect on the 6G SSD performance and/or recognition random issue reported on the 17” MacBook Pro after applying the latest EFI update. However, we do have more reports of customers who have gotten a replacement machine from Apple that does solve any issues.

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

 


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.

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.
Be Sociable, Share This Post!

Leave a Reply

Comment

Name

177 Comments

  • I have an older MBP 17″ and just removed my tired Toshiba hard drive and replaced it with a Seagate 500gb the installation went fine buttoned it all back up and now the new drive is not found it only shows up in disk ulities? Now I’ve read quite alot about this shielding and thought I might try it however it’s sold out, just wondering if you have any other ideas or can I just buy a better sata cable would this help? Also is the out stock temperary? Thanks Brian

  • I have a 2011 March, Macbook Pro 13″. i7 2.7GHz.

    I bought an A-RAM SATA III SSD but it is not usable. It is recognised and I installed Lion, however it beach balls, and frequently has up to 2 minutes of waiting between mouse clicks!

    My question is whether the OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G is guaranteed to work with my MBP? If it is, then I will buy a 204GB, but if it is likely to have problems, for whatever reason, then maybe a SATA 2 SSD might be more reliable.

    Please reply to my email if at all possible.

    Thanks,
    Paul

    • Typo: I wrote 204GB and of course, I meant 240GB.

      I have successfully tried a SATA II SSD in the drive bay, and also my SATA III SSD in the optical drive bay (running on the SATA II connector).

      I have ordered the OWC 240GB 6Gb/sec SATA III SSD drive yesterday. If that also fails then I’ll just have to get it refunded. Here is hoping…

      • For MacBook Pros that have a SATA 2.0 3Gb/s link speed shown for the optical bay, there is no issue using our SATA 3.0 6Gb/s SSDs in that optical bay. Issue exists with Apple’s SATA 3.0 6Gb/s implementation in the optical bay and when it is implemented, it’s no good for SATA 3.0 drives.

        You should expect no issues using installing our 6G 240GB SSD into your main bay with the 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 link. Thanks!

    • You should expect no issue at all with our OWC 6G SSD with your MacBook Pro. If there is any issue, then may have a faulty cable or other hardware issue related to the MacBook Pro. That said – that’s pretty unlikely and either way, you are backed by us with a 30 Day Money back for that added peace of mind along with a full support team here that absolutely is here to help with any issue experienced. The 13″ has been very reliable with OWC 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 SSDs from the get go and more recently Apple’s EFI 2.2 update resolved issues with 6G SSDs in other models for the most part too.

  • I am seeing a similar problem with my Data Doubler Optical Bay Mercury Extreme 6GB 120GB SSD, that is, I was able to start it up, format it and it works great, EXCEPT that sometimes it shows up, and other times it doesn’t. The chances that it will show up on start up are about 50/50, which is exceedingly frustrating.

    I see that there have been problems of the sort with the main SSD, but I haven’t found any comments related to an SSD installed in the Optical Bay.

    What can I do?

  • Hi

    is it normal for OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD to constantly operating at 128°C?
    I’m using 13″ MacBook Pro i5.

  • Well I installed my 120GB SSD in my 17″ MBP and so far no problems. I am just curious though…what are the problems I WOULD be seeing if it went wrong. I am still waiting and want to verify 100% that I am good. I installed the shielding kit before installing the SSD and did a clean install of Lion on it.

    Also how would I know if I have the new Toggle NAND versions? This is very important for me so please if there is a better way of knowing besides “if it is shipped within these 4 weeks.” I purchased mine on August 9.

    Thank you!

    • If you were running into issues it would be VERY noticeable – like the drive not showing up in disk utility at all!

      I took the liberty of checking into your order, and confirmed that yes, you did receive a model with the Toggle NAND.

          • Thanks for the info Michael.

            So does my 240GB 6G SSD purchased on 14th July have Toggle NAND? (Invoice 2858880).

            • OWC did not make the move to Toshiba Toggle NAND until late July, but your drive still has Tier 1/Grade A NAND inside.

              • OK Michael, I’m not clearly understood your answer yet. So my SSD is not the Toggle NAND? YES / NO?
                How big is the difference in performance between the former NAND & current Toshiba NAND?

                • Sorry, thought I was clear in my last response. No, you purchased your drive before we made the switch to Toggle NAND. So, no your SSD does not have Toggle NAND inside.

                  We switched to the Toshiba Toggle NAND as we saw a slight performance benefit when combining a 16 NAND device configuration with the 2282 processor. The toggle synchronous NAND also offers slight power savings. The Toggle NAND is a minor tweak and we’ve used synchronous NAND across our entire SSD line from the very beginning.

  • Hi Grant,

    Me again (http://blog.macsales.com/9754-owc-offers-fix-for-2011-17-mbp-sata-problems/comment-page-1#comment-37020)

    Just wondering if anyone can confirm that your cable could fix the issues I’m having with my ’11 MBP and the crucial c300 drive I mentioned earlier. It’s still an expensive paper weight and has been for months now. Wondering if Apple will eventually do some kind of recall. There’s an obvious problem with sata3 in these new mbp’s…

    • Hi Andrew,

      This issue has been frustrating at best. The best answer I can give you is that it is completely hit-or-miss.

      While the kit has has success with some, it’s done nothing with others. Some 17″ MBPs come with flawless operation of SATA 6Gb/s speeds, some have minor performance issues, others don’t work at all with 6Gb/s capable drives. There hasn’t been any rhyme or reason that we’ve been able to determine from our end and as Apple doesn’t provide a 6Gb/s capable drive they don’t seem too concerned about “fixing” it.

      Assuming the Crucial c300 drive works in another machine or enclosure and you’re not dealing with the issue of just having a defective drive itself, then the additional cable shielding isn’t going to hurt anything, so giving it a try is completely up to you.

  • :(

    mbp 2011 17 inch.. wc mercury pro 6g
    cant even get bootcamp working with the shielding kit…… under windows installer the drive even goes away sometimes (ssd)

    • after replacing the sata cable i could install windows.. BUt still not real transfer speeds.. only 280 or 300MBps
      apple technical support says, they only want to test with apple hardware and they cant find any problem!!!

      yes on sata2 its working i know.. but on sata3 with 6gbps its NOT!!!!

      help

      ;(

  • The OWC shielding kit didn’t help my Crucial M4 to run as it wasn’t running before (sorry, I don’t have OWC kit), but – and this is interesting – WITH the shielding kit attached my stock 5200rpm 750GB Toshiba has 80-100MB/s in AJA System Test (default config, 128MB), and it was getting around 20/20MB/s before I installed it.

    OMG!

    Who the hell was designing the interior of the MBP 17″ – saying it’s a lottery is to the spot. It’s a lottery that it works at all…..

    (BTW, my MBP build in March has two 6Gbit/s connections and I didn’t yet tried to install the SSD drive in the optical bay – I’m waiting for the kit)

  • Hi OWC, i am a owner of a 60GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD on my 17 inch 2010 Macbook Pro i7 Dual Core.
    I Plan to purchase the 120GB Mercury Electra 6G, question is, will it work without issues on my 2010 17 inch MBP?

    • The 2010 MacBook Pro models have a SATA Revision 2.0 bus speed (up to 3Gb/s). While no issues arise when installing a faster rated SATA drive like the Mercury Electra or EXTREME 6G drives (capable of up to 6Gb/s transfer rates), the data transfer rate will be capped at the limitation of the system bus.

  • i purchased my 17″ the weekend it was released in the uk and it came with 5400rpm drive which is painfully slow. I usually have 2 virtual machines running (win7, 2008 server) over OSX. I was apprehensive about buying the OWC drive but went for it anyway as i could have used the drive elsewhere if unlucky. I just installed it and i am up and running between 450-500mb\s with no problems. I can boot my win 7 and 2008 server with SQL together in less than 15 seconds. This drive is lightning fast.

    • Bad news, tried your shield kit (had a second one and a brand new OEM sata cable here) and its even WORSE than it was stock. QuickBench hangs all over the place, Activity Monitor shows spikes up to 300MB/s and then big lulls of 0MB/s, it’s horribly erratic and just plain BROKEN :(

      I don’t blame OWC here, but it certainly seems there is something massively wrong with trying to run an SSD at 6Gb/s speed in these computers. Boo :(

      • Adding the shielding from OWC also made my performance worse. Much worse. Sometimes my laptop would not even boot up. I removed the shielding and it’s back to the way it was before but, obviously, I still have gross performance problems.

  • Hi,

    I have a problem. I want to buy 240GB Mercury EXTREME™ Pro 6G SSD but all comments posted here made me more confussing than I was before. I already own a 240GB Mercury EXTREME™ Pro 3G SSD for my MacBook Pro 17′ 2.2 i7 Quadcore, 8GB RAM, made between febr 14 – febr 20 2011 as CoconutID said. I was happy with my macsales purchase 240GB Mercury EXTREME™ Pro 3G SSD until I found out there is another, more performant SSD from OWC basically at same price. + 50$.
    1. If I buy 240GB Mercury EXTREME™ Pro 6G SSD and my MacBookPro will have same issue about Sata3, can I use it for sata2 speed as i’m using OWC 3G SSD ?
    2. In case my mac will have same problem as other 17 macs Can I change main bay’s SATA 3 on my own ? is there possible this ? or is not a cable issue? if yes, from where to buy such cable ?
    3. if a Shielding Kit resolve the problem, what is % of lack of performance can get using a Shielding Kit ?

    THANK YOU !

    • Pricing continues to come down on both 3G and 6G Extreme Pro models as the cost of flash does.. both are lower today than they were 2 months ago. Regardless.

      It is a very mixed bag with the Apple MacBook Pro 17″ and SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s operation. It either works as it should, works to some degree, or isn’t reliable at all. Seemed like units from April had lots of good reports and one we bought in April also perfect. In May – I think the score was 3 bad to 1 good we brought through here from May produced units. Anyway, no way we have found to predict/determine which 17″ is going to be a-ok and which not… Units we have are of all different processor configs, etc – not related to the CTO options.

      Concerning use of 3Gbp/s SATA 2.0 Drives in these ‘troubled’ systems… no issue at all. There is ZERO issue that we encountered or been reported to us with the use on SATA 2.0 SSDs like the Extreme Pro you have now. The hit or miss issue confined to SSDs that do the higher performance SATA 3.0 link.

      #1 – if your optical bay has the SATA 2.0 link 3.0GBp/s, you could use a data doubler to use the Extreme Pro 6G in that bay if your main bay proves unreliable for 6Gbp/s.

      #2 & #3 – sometimes the shielding kit helps – it did in our initial 17″ units which had more borderline initial operation… but it’s hit or miss in the larger mass. if the 6Gpb/s SATA 3.0 of your particular main bay is not to full operational spec/reliability- no way to guarantee the exact performance you’d see. With an expansion of our 17″ units here a large reporting customer base, results are all over the place…. from Perfect to no operation at all and all in between.

      Ultimately – we need Apple to fix this issue once and for all. It sure seems like a hardware issue… otherwise would expect same kind of experience with 13″ and 15″ 2011 MBP as well as iMac 2011 – which all also have Sandybridge/Thunderbolt with SATA 3.0 ports… but issues are pretty well confined only to 17″ MBP units. If it is software/efi – that would rock. Heck – I’d rather see Apple back the bay off to SATA 2.0 3Gbp/s max link via EFI if there isn’t a software fix for the SATA 3.0. Apple never promised any particular data speed in these bays and, if nothing else, i’d settle for a reliable 300MB/s bay operation compared to the current nightmare.

        • Sure have… Some cables seem to be ‘better’ in some machines.. just like the shielding kit fixes for some. But it’s not a sure fire. Seems to depend on where the machine is overall in the issue. A new cable, even one tested working perfect in one 17″ has not solved the problem in another 17″ consistently. And cable as-is from a non-performing 17″ has worked just fine in another 17″ that has no issues as well. Frustrating as all can be.

  • Here is a brief on the latest scoop:
    ====
    #1 – the issue with 17″ MacBook Pro is pretty hit or miss. A new unit we received last week was worse than one of the first we had and is a contrast to a unit we acquired in early April that seemed to have the issue resolved.

    bottom line – the actual problem does not appear to be resolved, at least not as of last week, with units coming fresh out of production 17″ MacBook Pro 2011.

    #2 – It does look like Apple has changed the config to support SATA 3.0 in both the HDD and Optical Bay (6.0Gbp/s) as a production change. Wide reports of this being noticed in all three models (13/15/17″). We have also seen this now on all the 15″ and 17″ 2011 models we have brought in this month. see #3 on this though…

    #3 – Although SATA 3.0 appears to enabled now for the optical drive – our testing with SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s in both the 15″ and the 17″ units we have with this connection enabled make us wonder why Apple did make this change. Perhaps this too will be fixed in the future, but currently we highly recommend against installing SATA 3.0 SSD into the optical bay of 15″ or 17″ model with the SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s link capability. 6Gbp/s is effectively inoperable in the optical bay of models so enabled and highly recommend using SATA 2.0 (3Gbp/s) SSD in so enabled bays of 15″ and 17″ at this time. We have not completed testing on the 13″ with 6Gbp/s optical, but expect better results based on field reports.

    Tomorrow will do a new blog post updating on these matters. Note that Apple has no obligation to make any fix for 6Gbp/s performance in the standard drive bay, let alone for the optical bay. That said, I have a good feeling that at some point there will be a fix as otherwise Apple (IMHO) would otherwise be disabling vs. enabling the SATA 3.0 link capability altogether. Hopefully will be something that can be done with firmware (not too hopeful…) – otherwise we will need to count on the goodwill of Apple for replacing hardware on the basis of the unsupported 6Gbp/s issues. It’s a relative small segment of their market which seeks to maximize the MacBook Pro performance – but a loud and loyal group – and I do believe Apple sees the benefit of having users out spreading the good word of how fast their Mac can be. :)

    OWC SSD 6G – currently in stock on 120GB. 240GB shipping and will be up to ‘same day’ in stock status (no delay for a new order) by tomorrow. We keep selling out/over each day, but production is quickly ramping up. 480GB expecting end of next week and current customers with units on backorder will get a pleasant surprise when they do ship.

    • Dear Larry,

      Is it possible to configure 2 units of 6G SSD in both HDD bay & Optical bay in RAID 0 to achieve TRUE 1GB/s transfer speed?

      • Short answer: As per my most recent post – not currently, at least not with 15″ or 17″. While current shipping units appear to have SATA 3.0 in the optical bay, it is not reliable or viable for 6Gbp/s operation based on multiple units we’ve been testing with. This may change with future hardware update or even firmware update – but currently testing results indicate not using any SATA 3.0 SSD in the optical bay of 15″ and 17″ models.

        17″ 2011 MBP is hit or miss with SATA 3.0 SSD in main bay. Sometimes the shielding fixes/improves, but sometimes doesn’t help at all.

        13″ and 15″ 2011 MBPs so far appear 100% A-OK for SATA 3.0 SSD in main bay, no issues we’ve encountered with our OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD in the Main bay.

        We still need to test the 13″ with optical bay SATA 3.0. But so far testing in both 15″ and 17″ 2011 MBP with SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s SSDs have suggested that something in the optical bay config/connection/SATA implementation is not viable for 6Gbp/s. I am aware of at least one report with a 13″ where SATA 3.0 was reliable in operation via optical bay, we’ll be testing 13s with optical bay SATA 3.0 today and tomorrow. Based on reports, the 13″ models shipping now with the SATA 3.0 in both bays may be the only one to be possible dual SATA 3.0 SSD until something else changes with the 15″ and 17″. On the 17″ – I’d be satisfied when the main bay is at least SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s consistently reliable.

    • I’ve read some reports of the 10.6.8 update fixing the SATA 3 issues. Have you heard anything about this? Do you think it’s possible? Should I wait for the update before I seek a replacement?

      I’m so wary of going through the trouble of getting a replacement and facing the same issues. I read of someone on macrumors that got Apple to replace their affected MBP, only to get yet another affected MBP. With the type of luck I have, I’m sure this will happen to me.

      • Also, how far has your investigation gone into comparing the logic boards of affected vs. non-affected MBPs? Such as serial numbers of parts, cabling, etc.? Or even possibly jumper settings (if there are any at all)? I’m no tech wizard, and I know you guys are doing your jobs, but I’m just curious as to what all you have looked into regarding this matter. It would stand to reason that there would be, somewhere, some identifiable differences. But as no one has discovered any as of yet, I assume we’re all still in the dark.

        Thanks!

        • Geez, one more question. I apologize for so many!

          To your knowledge, do any of the 17″ models featuring 6/6 capability have problems with SATA 3 in the main hard drive bay?

          • I need to do a clean blog entry on this… and sorry for the long post here prior.

            We have tested Multiple units of 17″ now with 6Gbp/s in both bays. SATA 3.0 in the optical bay was UNUSABLE with a SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s SSD. it’s a no go. And both our recent 17″ units also had problems with the main bay and 6Gbp/s as well.

            We also have tested 15″ that had the ‘6/6’ enabled. And, like all the 15s we’ve tested prior, it has NO issues with SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s in the main bay…. but it ALSO was non-operable for SATA 3.0 SSD 6Gbp/s in the optical Bay.

            confirming reports we’ve already read about 13″ successes with 6Gbp/s SATA 3.0 in the optical bay – we have now tested a 13″ which worked great with sATA 3.0 SSD in the optical bay + in RAID sustained over 1GB (1000MB) per second with two of our drives.

            Short summary from testing of current state of affairs (and hopefully 10.6.8 or something will software fix this) with regards to SATA 3.0 6Gbp/s operation:

            MacBook Pro 17″ Main Bay – hit or miss; Optical Bay – No go at all for 6Gbp/s operation
            MacBook Pro 15″ Main Bay – A-OK!; optical Bay – No go at all for 6Gbp/s operation
            MacBook Pro 13″ Main Bay – A-OK! Optical Bay – A-OK!

            NOTE – no guarantee on 6Gbp/s being in the optical bay although that seems to be a change made that is showing up in most new production.

            Physically – have not identified any difference accountable for what makes one work and another not. We haven’t had the time to break things down further and scope the line signals, noise, etc. Giving as much time to this as we can along with out other product line responsibilities. Ideally – Apple will get this fixed and we can close the book on this frustration. :)

            • You mean like they fixed the ExpressCard eSATA issues after 2 years (and then only because they happened to change the chipset)? ;P

              • Right – frustrating… but this one is going to be harder for them not to want to fix given that a lot more users do want to upgrade to get the SSD performance vs. add an eSATA Expresscard, let alone any express card. My personal aggravation with the Expresscard issue on those models + the simple lack there of an Express card on anything but a 17″ for the last 2+ years is a whole blog entry to itself. (:

                • I’m just waiting for a 2011 replacement to my 2010 MBP to arrive and will do my own 6G tests with a M4 then. Like I wrote earlier the Macbook’s electrics are still flawed. You can still make ExpressCards dropout by simply touching an USB port with a grounded USB plug in the 2010 models, curious to see how the 2011 behaves.

                  The reason for the next replacement is that the last 2 years’ Nvidia based MBP don’t work properly with Dual-Link DVI adapters. I already know that the 2011 work with my 30″ over the same adapters that fail on the 2010, but I also already read reports of even 24″ Apple displays failing via native Displayport.

                  Don’t even get me started on all the electronic noise coming from the power-plug area when the CPU, GPU or external ports (USB, FW) are busy. Maybe they should deliver power-supplies + circuitry that can handle the load instead of using those tiny 75 watts PSUs that while peak wattage is over 100 watts (additionally provided by the battery). The whole electric circuitry of Unibody Macbooks is at least questionable.

            • Larry,

              Thank you so much for the fantastic and informative reply! As a side note, you guys at OWC rock. When it comes to tech, best customer service experience I’ve ever had!

              I bought my MBP at Best Buy, and I’m still within my return window, so not just 15 minutes ago I exchanged for a Week 18 (May) build, and I’m happy to report it’s 6/6 as well! I’ll be anxiously counting down the next few hours here at work so I can get home and pop my 240GB in. Crossing my fingers I don’t have any issues this time around!!!

              If not… Best Buy’s return policy is pretty awesome. I guess I can just keep exchanging laptops until I find one with a working SATA III (or they stop me).

    • Knowing how bad the electrics of the Macbooks are I would suggest the following things to try:

      – Exchange the 2-prong with the 3-prong power-plug and vice versa.

      – Unplug the power-supply (run on battery) and unplug *everything* else external, too.

      – Connect an external Firewire HD and cause load on the FW bus (also try booting from that and see how accessing the internal SSD works then).

      – Switch to Intel or ATI GPU exclusively (especially try with a the Intel GPU). You need a small third party app to switch to the Intel.

      – Try different RAM configurations.

      Also run a test on the SSD (best to do a data-verification check like: write data, read data, check for data-corruption) while repeatedly touching the Macbook’s USB or Displayport with grounded mass (like with an USB cable from a self-powered USB hub or an external display).

    • Larry,

      I wouldn’t be telling everyone that SATA 3 in the optibay doesn’t work on the 17″ models just yet :)

      Today I returned my 17″ April (week 14) build to Best Buy and exchanged it for a May (week 18) build. I placed the drive in the main hard drive bay, and to my utter dismay, it seemed I received yet another SATA 3 lemon, even worse than my previous one. It took forever to boot and couldn’t make it through the AJA System Test even once. After updating the firmware (thought it already had been, didn’t come up in the software update the first time around), things got better to around how my previous MBP performed, yet it still would hang every 5 minutes.

      Out of utter frustration and to kill all possibilities before either returning this MBP or returning my Pro 6G, I decided, what the hell, let’s see what it does in the optibay. And WHAT THE HELL! IT WORKS! And it works PERFECT. I’m getting around 490 read 530 write, and I haven’t had a single lock up. I’ve ran the AJA System Test over and over and over and not a single problem. I didn’t even expect this thing to boot, and when the Apple symbol showed up and then popped into my desktop almost immediately, I was dumbfounded. According to not only you, but every source out there, this isn’t supposed to work. But for me, it certainly does. It seems my troubles are over. I hope I’m not speaking too soon. I’ve only had this thing in here about an hour, but I haven’t had a problem yet.

      There are some strange caveats though. Firstly, the boot time is around 20sec, about the same as my stock 750 5400rpm drive. It’s strange, but I can deal with that. Second, when I run the AJA System Test, sometimes I have to hit “start” 2 or 3 times before it initializes. And third, when booted into the OSX install disc, I still can’t get it to recognize the drive, which means any time I want to do a fresh install on it I have to do it on my 750 drive and Carbon Copy Clone it over. I’m fine with that, it just somewhat bothers me because Ben from your tech support told me that I was the first they’ve ever heard of the OSX install disc not recognizing the drive. I found one other person on macrumors experiencing this with an iMac, but aside from that problem, his drive is in perfect working order. It seems the same as mine. It flies, I can open every single app instantly and all at once (as expected), and I’m not experiencing any beachballs. These issues do make me nervous that there’s something, somewhere, not quite right possibly with my drive since I’m the only one you guys have heard of with these issues. But now that it’s working, and working well, I’m hesitant to send it back. I’m worn out from literally spending all my free time trying to get a 17″ + OWC 6G to work all week, being without a computer, that I just want to relax and enjoy it. Here’s to hoping my problems are over!

      • Additionally, I wanted to clarify that I had drive recognition problems in the OSX install disc with both 17″ MBP’s I’ve had. What are your thoughts on this? Should I worry about it? Same with all the other strange (though non-performance inhibiting) behavior I’m experiencing? Honestly, I think I’m just going to keep it, unless I experience issues that make the drive unusable. It also seems that the AJA System Test won’t initialize if the hard drive has been sitting idly. Once I do get it to start after a couple presses, it will immediately initialize thereafter until I let the drive rest for a few minutes.

        • Here I go again, writing one too many posts before I’ve said everything I want to say.

          I wanted to mention, too, that I’m not using your optibay kit (sorry!). I’m just letting you know, in case it has something to do with why my optibay is working with SATA 3.

          • Thank you for all the detailed information.

            I probably should have provided additional details as to the pass/fail we gave on 6Gbp/s utilization.

            This is an example of graph with a 17″ 2011 that has borderline 6Gbp/s operation in the main bay:
            http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2011/images/2011-0412-OWC-6G-SSD-disktester.png

            MacPerformanceGuide.com got that flakey 17″ replaced and the new 17″ actually provides an expected result:
            http://macperformanceguide.com/images/OWC-Mercury_Extreme_Pro_6G/disktester-fill-volume-mbp17-replacement.html

            You’ll notice the expected result has a far more uniform plot and without the steeper dips/slow downs that the less than great 17″ provided…. and that flakey 17″ is actually on the good side of affected units as some are complete no goes, others have worse dips, etc. At the end of the day you want a clean, reliable connection to your drive. Anything less is what brings about issues. And while they may not seem to inhibit performance on some short tests, they do impact performance with extended real-world data loads and potentially more significant issues.

            The same goes for the optibay drive placement. The 13″ tested with perfectly clean, extended sustained transfer results. Results we not at all clean in the 15″ and 17″ units we had for testing. Thus my recommendations. I should add that your experience suggests operation that would fall into the hit or miss category, which is better than we saw, consistently, in the the 15s and 17s we tested with 6Gbp/s optibay.

            So… Maybe some 15 and 17″ units may be more hit or miss with optical bay 6Gbp/s. But, the issues you’re having could very well be due to what is still borderline in the that optical bay, even if it is better than your main bay.

            Very frustrating in general with significant variability.

            I sincerely hope Apple makes the fix.

            • I checked my graph, and I am getting performance a lot more comparable to the expected result. I do however get occasional dips down to 250MB/s on the write portion on the test, with very few dips on the read (never going below 250). With the test I just ran, AJA System Test averages write 492 and read 506 with peak 530 write and peak 536 read. I don’t think it’s too bad. After using this thing all night last night, and installing about 125GB worth of applications, I haven’t had a single hang-up. Everything screams. The semi-slower boot times seem to have faded for some reason as well. The drive also seems to work about 50MB/s faster when I have devices plugged into the USB.

              I don’t know how much this has to do with anything or if it’s specific to my case, but when I wrote my post yesterday, I hadn’t secured the drive in the optibay yet with the screws (as I don’t see the need when swapping and doing tests). After I was satisfied with performance, I went back and screwed everything in, and noticed under the cable that stretches across the optibay, a screw that was directly pressing up on it and causing an indentation on the cable. I figured that this was probably not a good thing, so I removed the screw. With the screw removed, I was getting ridiculously sporadic read/write speeds, averaging about 100MB/s with the write. I wasn’t experiencing any hangs, however things were noticeably slower and the drive speeds very inconsistent. After putting the screw back, things returned to normal. Also, when the long screw at the top of the optibay was tightened too much, somehow this interrupted the signal from the power button and I couldn’t power the system on. When loosened a little bit, the drive actually performed even better than without the screw.

              • We will do some review of this… it’s not ideal for a kit (I know this isn’t our data doubler kit) to impose that kind of contact on the cable, but interesting that this kind of contact point would have said affect.

                At the end of the day, we just want a reliable solution that consistently works and can be counted on for the long term. Once Apple does fix this, I think a lot more will be understood. Connecting something via USB shouldn’t make a difference, but this wouldn’t be the first time for that kind of thing.

  • The shielding kit made things exponentially worse for me. When applied, it took nearly 5 minutes to boot into OSX. When finally booted, I got 500MB/s+ write speeds and around 120MB/s read speeds with constant hangs. Without it, I boot in about 10 seconds and I get around 487MB/s write and 436MB/s reads when it’s not hanging, which is about every 5 minutes. It’s a lot more consistent and a little more usable, but still not completely functional.

  • Wow, Apple took in Lloyd’s machine for testing and even provides a fix? That’s a new one!

    Already ordered a 6G SSD (not from Macsales though, since I prefer these things to not be shipping overseas) and am waiting for my 2011 replacement MBP 17″ (replaces a 2010, which replaced a 2009, which replaced a 2008).

    Holding my breath to see if it will work without any cable tweaking or anything.

    I wonder if this fix by Apple came at the same time that they upgraded the optical drive SATA connector from 3G to 6G (at least some users report about this)?

  • I tried the shielding cable (Intel 510 + MBP2011/17″ here): nothing works. Lots of beachballs.

  • I got the issues (beachballs/hangs) with my SSD drive in my Macbook 17″ 2011, i called Apple and they send me a replacement. With this new Macbook i dont have any issues with my SSD…

    • Samplex.. Can you check to see if both bays are 6G on your new replaced Macbook Pro 17″? Also is it a 2.2 or a 2.3 processor?

      • Primary bay is 6gb, the dvd bay is 3gb. Macbook 17 2011 manufacture date april.

        2.2 ghz cpu

        No Applecare

        • Thanks for the kind answer.
          How did you get a replacement? Did you simply say to Apple (by e-mail? by phone?) that your SSD can’t work properly with your MBP?
          Sorry for questions, I’ve just bought a brand new MBP (not yet delivered) and I was willing to buy an OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD.

          • Yes i called them a couple of times regarding heating issues, SSD issues, hangs etc
            The nice lady told me i get the replacement and it was delivered 18 hours later..

    • Now I’m getting angry with Apple’s response to me – I’m in the process of writing a note to the Apple Customer Relations representative I was dealing with.

      Would you please tell us who you contacted or what number you called or what store you went to to get your replacement? As you can see in my notes below I was told they will NOT replace any more machines – this was over a week before your post.

      • FWIW Jeff…now hearing Apple has stopped replacing machines and those now shipping are working fine. So that doesn’t sound good in your situation. Compounding the aspect is Apple never official stated support for 6GB/s in these machines…

        • Grant.. would you know the one being shipped now are 6/6 for both bays? does the 6GB in optical bay a true 6GB?

        • Grant,

          Thanks for the info. And thanks for all the info you’ve been supplying all of us concerning this issue.

          It seems strange to me to include a SATA rev. 3.0 controller but not one that works reliably at that speed, almost like including a latest revision USB port that only occasionally works properly. I guess I’ll just wait until this is completely sorted before taking the leap with a new laptop.

          Thanks again!

  • Hi everyone,

    If a MacBook Pro (2011 model) have 2 SATAIII ports (HDD & optical), does that mean we can run 2 units of OWC 6G SSD (550MB/s each) in RAID 1 & achieve TRUE 1GB/s transfer speed?

    • Do you mean RAID 0?
      RAID 1 is mirroring for fault tolerance and there are no performance improvements but a little write performance reduction.

  • It has been discovered that some of the newer production MBP have two 6 Gigabit connections (one to the main HDD and ALSO one to the optical bay). Is it possible that this hardware rewire/revision to the MBP could have addressed some of these speed/stability issues with the SATA 3 drives? I have no hardware to test and post the results, instead I look to the community to follow this through.

    Here is a link to the related thread.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=12588942#post12588942

  • Have there been any further updates to this? Has Apple revised anything that has resulted in this issue being resolved as noted by the Mac Performance Guide ( http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2011/20110503_1_MBP17ssd–gear.html ). Im at that stage where Im about to order a new 17″ MacBookPro and wanted to order a (or preorder) a 6G OWC Extreme 240GB however Im slightly hesitant is there are still hardware issues. Also is there any more hard data out there on new 17″ MacBookPros that have the 6GB optical bay also? Im reading quite a number of people reporting this and am wondering if this is also the result of a “minor” update to the chipset by Apple
    Thanks

    • There is nothing we’ve seen to suggest any change has occurred in the chipset. That being said, there is evidence of some adjustment based on user reports of more recent 17” model purchases not suffering the 6Gb/s performance issues –including an additional unit we procured about a month ago vs. all of the 17’s we acquired right at release having varying significant degrees of issue.

      We have seen a couple of scattered reports of some lucky customers having SATA Ports 0,1 engaged for HDD and Optical Bay – both of which are SATA 3.0 6Gb/s. But hard to say what the rhyme or reason is on that luck. Systems purchased well after those reports have had the same 0,2 engagement – port 2 being SATA 2.0 3Gb/s and what has typically been found going to the optical bay.

      We plan to bring in another fresh unit at the end of this week and we’ll certainly let everyone know the results. It is possible that timing is everything and Apple has quietly fixed the issue and is starting shifting to the 6Gb/s for both ports. It is important to note that because Apple never made any spec commitment for the performance of the HDD bay for SATA Revision 3.0 6Gb/s – they are also not acknowledging there was any issue with these machines. Kinda seems odd to us given that SATA 3.0 was part of the new design, but not something one can rake Apple over the coals for. Just because something has the capacity to do something doesn’t mean that it’s certified/supported to do such.

      Based on the last unit we received and the positive reports from the field, and regardless of Apple acknowledgment or lack thereof, here’s hoping this issue has been ‘quietly’ put to rest by Apple. These Apple MacBook Pro 17” (as well as the 13” and 15” models which has had no 6Gbp/s issues to speak of) are AWESOME machines and our own Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSDs unleash performance just not seen before with a laptop.

      • I have been following this issue with interest having been in the process of MacBook Pro 17″ purchase with a view to using a OWC 240GB 6gbs drive.

        My MacBook Pro 2.3 arrived a few days ago and I to can report that the optical bay shows a 6 gbs SATA chipset. I’m aiming to purchase the OWC drive as soon as it’s available (in the UK) and will report back on success (or not!)

        • Wow Julian…you are one of the lucky ones then that has that 6G optical bay….for SURE let us know how our Pro 6G SSD works in that bay…you do know about our SuperSlim optical enclosure for your replaced drive yes?

          http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/VLSS9TOPTU2/

          If interested, we could even offer you a guest blog post on how the install went…before and after performance tests you run, etc.

          • “you do know about our SuperSlim optical enclosure for your replaced drive yes?”

            Well I’m going to be putting the SSD in the main drive slot rather than the optical. Nice product though!

            By the way OWC 240 GB SSD seem to have been on back order for a month now – went to pending 2 weeks ago then back to 10 days now back to pending… is it imminent?

      • Hi Grant
        Based on a more recent comment I saw you post, have OWC been able to test a later build MacBookPro 17″ now (ie. was it a May build?) and is based on that youve seen the 6GB problem resolved?
        Thanks

        • Hi Patrick….we’ve got new 13, 15, and 17″ models all on order and supposed to be here today or tomorrow. We’ll likely blog about the outcome ;-)

          • Grant.. any update on the faith of the new Macbook pro you were scheduled to receive? Are the 240GB 6G SSD shipping?

  • I got a 13in MBP about 2 weeks ago. Been testing with a Crucial 256G M4 (sata 3) drive. Very fast but very frequent “Beach-Ball” hangs (maybe every 2 minutes or so for 20 seconds). I added the shielding (just adapted the 17in kit) but didn’t really see any improvement. The machine runs fine with the stock 5400rpm drive and a Seagate 7200rpm drive which is what it has now. I’m not super-annoyed at Apple, but somewhat. Mostly because I’ve had a glimpse of the phenomenal speed of the 6G drive and really wish it were reliable enough to use for production. I will try the OWC 256G drive when it is shipping since it seems that the 13in is not quite as bad as the 17in for this problem, maybe the OWC drive will work well enough.

    • Received my 120G OWS 6G drive. It seems very happy in my MBP 13″. Not getting the BeachBalls that I was with the Crucial drive. The cable is still shielded (as I never undid that) and it has gotten the latest FW updates from Apple, but the fact that it’s happy makes me happy. Thank you OWC.

  • Does anyone have a suggestion for who to contact at Apple for this issue? I took my machine into an Apple store a couple of days ago. They sent it to “the depot” for testing but they’re giving me stick about the unsupported third party drive (a Vertex 3). They say there’s nothing they can do because the hardware works fine when they put the stock 5400 RPM HDD back in.

    I’m getting frustrated and not sure where to go next, and Apple’s not giving me much help on where to go next either. Any suggestions are welcome!

    • Update:
      Got through Apple developer’s support. According to the person I spoke to, engineering has collected all the machines they want for testing, so the people who’ve gotten replacements received them because engineering wanted to see machines with the problem.

      He said he was going to pass me on to their repair depot but after a long time on hold he passed me instead to Apple Customer Relations. Their response: the Apple hardware works fine without third party components so they can send the machine back to me and I can try to take up the issue with the third party manufacturer. Since the drive’s not the problem, there’s point in that. Looks like they’re going to try to help me return the machine (it’s about 3 weeks old now) to the store where I purchased it.

      Everyone I’ve spoken to at Apple has been incredibly nice but this is a disappointing result. And now I appear to be stuck with a SATA 3.0 drive but no SATA 3.0 controller and a Data Doubler and external optical drive case that I can’t use. Thanks Apple!

    • Update 2:

      I don’t think my first paragraph in the last update was clear. The Apple level 2 tech support person I spoke to said engineering has seen all the machines they need to so they are *not* accepting any more. This means they would not accept my machine for either replacement or repair, since officially, there’s nothing wrong with it.

    • I had a slightly different experience with phone support. The guy I talked to escalated it, and that guy did find mention of it in a document from engineering. He put in a request for a status update, and after about a week got back to me with (paraphrasing) “Engineering is aware that, although this is an unsupported configuration, there may be an issue, and is looking into it. I don’t know if or when a fix will be available, or whether it will be hardware or software, but I will leave a note for a status update when anything changes and call you back at that point.”

      So, basically, engineering definitely knows there’s something wrong, but it remains to be seen whether they’ll just quietly fix it in the newer models (which it’s sounding like they may already have), or eventually offer some sort of under-the-radar repair program for squeaky wheels.

      Since I can still use the drive in the optical bay at half-speed, I’ll hold off for a few weeks to see if anything does happen. Assuming it doesn’t, I may try again and see if a little extra complaining can get someone to take a look at it and maybe replace what’s necessary.

      While this indeed is an unsupported configuration, so you can’t 100% fault Apple for it, the hard drive is a user-upgradable part (without voiding the warranty). It’d be different if the drive just performed at 3Gbit speeds (since they never specifically said there was a 6Gbit port, and indeed the software fix might end up being simply downclocking problem ports to 3Gbit or something), but the fact is that an entire class of high end drives simply don’t work in the main hard drive bay. More to the point, though, I spent nearly $3K on a top-of-the-line pro-grade computer, and for that kind of money I will tend to hold Apple to a higher standard when it comes to making sure that top-of-the-line pro-grad hardware works in it to my satisfaction.

  • Tyson, do you mean that the replacement customized macbook pro 17″ has a 6G (SATA III) optical bay? Have you confirmed that from the system profiler?

    • 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

      MATSHITADVD-R UJ-898:

      Model: MATSHITADVD-R UJ-898
      Revision: HE13
      Serial Number: UL21 140CCT
      Native Command Queuing: No
      Detachable Drive: No
      Power Off: Yes
      Async Notification: No

  • I installed my c400 in the optical bay, which is sata 2 on my machine (17″, early build), and I get the following from aja system test (sequential):

    SATA3
    Write: 263MB/s
    Read: 443MB/s

    SATA2
    Write: 235MB/s
    Read: 270MB/s (!)

    On the other hand it actually works now…

  • In case you missed the update in the post, we are not seeing any difference or effect on the 6G SSD performance and/or recognition random issue reported on the 17” MacBook Pro after applying the latest EFI update. However, we do have more reports of customers who have gotten a replacement machine from Apple that does solve any issues.

    • Ordered a replacement customized Macbook Pro 17″ (Early 2011) from the Online Store on the 2nd.

      It does not manifest issues with SATA3 (6Gb/s) Drives, and the Optical Bay is 6Gb/s as well.
      This appears to show that Apple has moved over to a new Logic Board for these systems.

      As such, it would seem as though Apple has identified the problem and are doing something about it, even if it’s only behind closed doors.

    • Just ordered the shielding kit. Earlier tonight I installed a Vertex 3 and was going to use the stock 750GB drive with the Data Doubler I just received. I installed the Vertex in my new (purchased from a store about 2 weeks ago) 17″ Macbook Pro. I’m having occasionally kernel panics and fairly frequent hangs/beach balls. My Xbench numbers for the disk tests appear to be all over the place, as low as 7.13 for the Sequential Uncached Read.

      Grant: would like to see any of the results? It doesn’t sound like the shielding will necessarily solve my problem. Any other suggestions? After reading this, I’m thinking I should call Apple on Monday.

      • Yeah Jeff, that’s the darn thing about this…issue is so random and so is the cure provided by the shielding kit. Also, while it likely shouldn’t matter, we only tested the kit with our own SSDs and not other brands so we only found improvements with our own SSD.

        Certainly sounds like you should contact Apple and see if you can get a replacement machine.

          • The shielding isn’t electrically connected, nor is it intended as a ground. It is meant to further isolate the wires in the SATA cable from any environmental interference, hence strengthening the signal through the cable itself.

            • TNX
              Can I ask – did you try electrically-connected and well grounded shielding? If so – what was the result?
              (actually I have problem with C300 256 in MBP 2011 17 myself – so its important for me to know)

              • Actually, I stand corrected on my prior post. Our Product Development Team has informed me that the adhesive strip is meant as a grounding pad to improve grounding on Apple’s ground point.

  • So, am i to gather from all of these postings that if you were one of the first to purchase a brand new 17″ Early 2011 MacBook Pro and cannot get a Sata III drive to work properly in the primary drive bay you need to return it to Apple for replacement/repair?

    Does anyone know if the MacBook EFI (v2.1) and Software Update (v1.4) that came out today (May 4) have any impact on this issue? I hesitate to swap my drives around as the last time I tried a “proven fix” (iFixit cable swap) i lost all the data on my drive and the problem still persisted.

    Thanks,
    Tony

    • Yeah, I’d rather try this before I call Apple, but I’d even more rather somebody else tried it before I go to the trouble of cracking mine open and swapping the drives around.

      I didn’t lose any data through past experimentation, but it’s a decent-sized hassle getting the Data Doubler out of there, and since one of the three extra-long screws stripped out when I first installed it (could’ve been my fault, but it seemed a little too short to me), I’m even more nervous about messing with the remaining two.

      I’m not expecting the EFI changes to have helped, though–the problems don’t seem to be the sort that a software change would fix.

    • I got mine the day it came out, back in March, I had nothing b ut ad luck trying to get a data 3 to work right.
      I took it in and spoke to the manager and they took it and gave me one in the box, they just replaced with with a new one, funny, the warranty started that date too, June 14th.
      I haven’t gone out to try another SSD yet thought

  • I’ve decided to remove my optical drive and put my SATA 3 SSD on the SATA 2 bus and hope that works. I discovered apple actually had this problem with SATA 2 drives not working when they moved from SATA 1 and never resolved the problem years later.

    This is a fix/statement from apple basically saying if you didn’t buy the drive from them they don’t support it: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3561

    This is contradictory since they say the drive is “user-serviceable” and apple doesn’t sell any internal HDDs. Too bad none of the media outlets picked up on this, I have a feeling they would have a quick solution if so.

    The posts seem to have died down on this (not just here but in general), so unless a drive manufacturer or a company like OWC comes through we’re out of luck.

    Have there been any reports of an intel or micron/crucial or vertex 3 user having problems and then switching to the OWC drive and having success? If so I might consider plunking for the 512GB OWC drive.

    • I have spoken with Apple on the phone about this particular issue and they do seem interested in addressing it, despite it involving SATA III drives which they are not shipping as standard or BTO options. I think the main thing there are concerned with is the fact that the drives will work in other MBPs, including other early 2011 MBPs, but not some 17″ which suggests a manufacturing issue or defect.

      I tried the OWC shielding kit and it offered marginal benefits (ie I would get the Apple logo on start, whereas before all I got was the circle and slash) but still never got the machine to boot. I took it in to get it serviced at Apple’s instructions over the phone. First attempt was replacing the SATA cable which did not work. Now awaiting a replacement logic board. I will update the group once I hear back from the service provider.

      • Got the new logic board, and still doesn’t work with SATA III drives. The service provider told me that’s all they could do. Considering calling Apple to let them know the issue is still not resolved. This is rather frustrating.

  • I finally got around to installing the Vertex 3 SSD in my new 2011 MBP today. I decided to install it first without using the shielding tape. I formatted the drive using Apple’s Disk Utility and the ran the AJA System tester on it to measure the disk speeds. Depending upon which test file size i selected, I constantly got between 480 and 510 for read and write speeds, When checking the graph the apps produces, I did get a few drops, but I think this may be normal with most drives and will not affect performance in any way. So far, everything is looking good. I will see what happens after I get the drive loaded and use it for a month or so.

  • Here are the specs on the SSD drive that Apple ships with MacBooks.

    http://www.toshiba-components.com/ssd/lineup/pdf/hg3_series.pdf

    Interestingly, the drive is only a SATA II (3Gb/s). With most all different brand SATA III drives having compatibility issues with the new 2011 models, you almost have to wonder if there is some design flaw with the logic board causing problems negotiating the higher 6Gb/s speeds.

    • Apple standardized against the Toshiba parts a for their SSDs a couple years ago, and is just now getting around to changing / supplementing them from Samsung for the Blade SSDs used with the Macbook Air.

      Apple surely still has significant stock available of their SSDs, and considering that Apple wrote their own firmware for the drives, there is no reason to believe that they will be changing interfaces right now.

      For things like this, they are usually 18 months behind significant changes by their manufacturers before they change over to newer stuff.

      I mean, they went 4 years without changing the Airport Card Part used within their Macbook Pros to bring them from the draft specification of 802.11n to the final.

  • I just ordered the 240GB 6G for my 17″ MBP. I figure that it is worth a shot to try to get that performance.

    However, I was wondering if you had any estimates of what percentage of 17″ MBP users are encountering problems with this drive (without the shielding kit) versus those that seem to have normal results comparable to the 15″ or 13″ MBP?

    Also, have you taken any data from the users on manufacture date? From what I understand you can still get the week of manufacture from the serial number so that may give some indication of whether this affects more recent builds differently.

    • Our field of 17″ MacBook Pro machines that are experiencing problems is really too small versus the total amount of 2011 MacBook Pro machines sold to draw any accurate conclusion as to what percentage total are encountering problems or if manufacture date is even a factor. We have a few models here that we’ve been using for testing and a few independent test labs with their own 17″ models that have been helping out with their reports.

      Perhaps, to be clear though, this question should really be directed to Apple as it is their hardware issue after all. We’ve seen that all 6Gb/s SSD brands can experience random issues, primarily with the 17″ model as we have noted in this post and in the comments.

      • Sorry Michael I probably should have worded that differently. I meant to ask if you knew the percentage of your customers with 2011 17″ MBP that install the 6G drive that have issues. Or even with your internal test bed and those independent test labs what percent seem to have issues.

        You made a good point however that it would be far more informative to know what percentage of all 6G installs on the 17″ model appear to have issues.

      • And yeah you make a valid point about any generalizations from what you guys are seeing. I realize that the sample size here is so constrained that it would be ludicrous to extrapolate those numbers to a probability of having an issue with any particular 17″.

      • Um yeah, the cable shield did not work for me, neither did cable upgrade. I took my 17″ 2011 MBP back today at Apple’s request. The engineering team wanted a look at it. I got another machine, same problem. For now I am using a mercury extreme pro SE Sata II. My Intel 510 is in the optical bay where it works properly. I think this is a very serious problem, and suspect a recall will be required to fix it. The engineers at Apple were very eager to get their hands on one that consistently failed.. I don’t think they really had to look that hard. I do appreciate that they are very concerned about the problem though.

  • Addendum to my previous post: permission repairs, SMC and PRAM resets were applied at multiple times during the procedures mentioned, at appropriate times. I have no way to know if those helped or hindered since similar effects were evidenced before and after application of SMC and PRAM resets, but it’s standard operating procedure to try those at intervals along the way so I did.

    Thus far I have had exactly zero issues with the same SSD relocated to the Data Doubler. Fingers and toes crossed.

  • Received 240GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD from the first batch. It arrived Friday. First thing I did was to clone a known to be working drive that was the boot drive of my 2011 MacBook Pro 17”. I also have a hard drive in an OWC Data Doubler.

    The SSD was recognized and booted up, was very VERY fast… except for the frequent beach balls and the intermittent lack of visual cues as to what processing was actually being done. Example: a status bar would show no movement and then, poof! the process would magically be complete. Also got some long blue screens on restarting before it would magically suddenly appear as a completely functional desktop, mixed with other times where the restart would be lightning fast and perfect. Also file transfers would sometimes be super fast or super slow between the SSD and internal SATA in OWC Data Doubler and also to external FireWire 800 drives.

    Executive summary: fast and flaky.

    Next: on Saturday, received the shielding kit. Carefully installed as per instructions. Backstory: I have been a Mac tech for almost 20 years and have field stripped hundreds of tightly packed laptops so I am familiar with how to follow directions and be meticulous with tension of screws etc. Result: still inconsistent in all of the same ways, but perhaps slightly less frequently so.

    Next step was fresh format and manual installation of a fresh OS and apps. Hmmm, no DVD drive… so I made a disk copy of the installation DVD on another machine, then used Super Duper to mount and clone that image to a partition on a FireWire drive to trick the MacBook Pro into recognizing the partition as the boot DVD. Which works, by the way.

    10.6.7 buck naked with no add ons of any kind but the latest Apple updates still had issues. Same issues, perhaps mitigated slightly but they all still occurred. Bummer, that was a lot of work.

    Time for more surgery.

    Swapped the SSD to the Data Doubler SATA bay. So now it negotiates at 3G speed. Moved the hard drive over to the traditional hard drive location. Mind you the SSD is still the boot drive with all the apps on it. That was yesterday and pushing it hard I cannot get it to hiccup. So far rock solid in the Data Doubler, 3G SATA location. Clearly it is not ideal to give up half of the speed the drive is capable of, but for the moment I’ll gladly sacrifice a bit of top end throughput for stability. My experience has been that Apple will stay quiet until there is a resolution suddenly provided. My recommendation is that if you have a flaky 17″ / 6GSSD situation and you have a Data Doubler too, swap ’em and wait for the resolution from Apple.

    Will update this report after testing further.

  • im ready to buy a 2011 mbp, i need to know if with the 17″ version i can install 2 of your mercury extreme pro re ssd drives (one with the doubler kit you sell for optical bay) and do a raid 1 config? also can i do the same with the new 6g drives you are discussing here?
    thanks for your quick reply as im on to buying tomorrow…

    • Hi Juan and thanks for the questions.
      1. As you are in this thread, you know then the random issue plaguing the 17″ model with 6G SSDs. So, doing a dual 6G SSD install while feasible can potentially cause you some inconsistent drive performance. RAIDing those together though is NOT recommended as you would be trying to address drives with two different speeds….6G in main drive bay, 3G in optical bay.
      2. Other than the speed increase which really is only useful for those working with large uncompressed files…or say using a scratch disk with large Photoshop files….there is no advantage to the 6G over the original 3G Extreme Pro.
      3. So, my recommendation would be to use two RE models and then all the above concerns or issues are resolved.

  • Count me as a data point of one that shielding apparently doesn’t quite do it on.

    I have one of the first 17″ off the line (I was sitting there refreshing the online store in the morning waiting for it to come back up), and ordered the shielding kit assuming I’d need it.

    Both the kit and 120GB drive arrived today, and after carefully installing both I’m getting flaky performance out of the 6G SSD–tests using AJA and Xbench show results all over the place, with a lot of dropouts to very low performance and occasional outright I/O stalls that hang the entire system for ~5-10s. I even cleaned the conductive glue off the gold pad with alcohol, to be extra thorough.

    Sadly, I didn’t try the drive alone, without the shielding, and I’m not about to peel it all off to test, so I can’t say for certain that I didn’t screw something up in the process, but I’m pretty experienced tearing down laptops and working with sensitive electronics without breaking things. I did dismantle it and re-press all the foil to be absolutely sure I did it right, to no avail.

    Also, for what it’s worth, for the heck of it I tried disconnecting the battery indicator light from the motherboard, which did nothing to improve performance.

    I also tried putting a spare piece of foil that was in the kit over the exposed piece of SATA cable right next to the top shield, stuck to the perforated metal underneath and forming a barrier between the SATA cable and the battery cable and whatever the cable to the left is. That not only didn’t help, it made it MUCH worse–there were so many I/O errors happening that applications were crashing left and right. Removing it returned the system to the moderately flaky but functional state.

    Fingers crossed that this gets figured out and/or Apple offers a fix, because I’d really love the killer 6G speeds!

    • Ah shoot Marc….wish you would have tried the drive before installing the kit…not that we’ve heard the kit can cause or exacerbate any issues….but it would have been good to see how your machine worked with just the drive first. Likely though, with the kit not improving anything with an OWC SSD, this comes down to that randomness I’ve/we’ve mentioned…there is really no sure-fire way to tell if a machine will experience issues with a 6G SSD or not until one is installed.

      • Yeah, I was thinking about a before-and-after test, but since I was installing directly to the drive (decided to do a clean install instead of a clone, to get a fresh start) I figured that it’d be safer to just put the shielding on while I had it open. I’d have tried it if I’d checked this post to see that there were a few cases the shielding didn’t fix, but so it goes.

        It’s usable, so I’ll probably wait a few days to see if any more info comes to light before I call Apple and see if there’s anything they can offer. Fingers crossed!

        • An additional bit of data, I moved the 6 G SSD to the optical bay, and while it is of course running at 3G now, it’s perfectly smooth and very fast now. So the drive is presumably fIne (and snappy!), just need to wait and see when Apple gets this sorted.

        • Addendum, I moved the 6G to the optical bay and the stock drive back to the HD bay, and the OWC SSD is now running smoothly and plenty fast. Obviously comparatively “slow” at 3G, but otherwise working perfectly, and an acceptable interim solution.

          Nothing much to do but wait a bit and see what move Apple makes on this before prodding AppleCare about a fix. They’re presumably aware of the issue, but even so it’s not unrealistic to expect it to be a bit before they determine conclusively what it is and how to fix it, and it’s rare at best Apple will say anything at all before the fix is finished.

          (Funny, I thought I already posted this, but apparently not.)

  • I’m ready to buy as soon as this issue is sorted.

    Appreciate the work solving a problem you didn’t create.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Lee. The issue may be ‘sorted’ for some 2011 17″ MBP users (like David a few comments ago) who by using this Shielding Kit with our SSD resolves the issues.

  • I installed the kit yesterday (17″ 2011 MBP) and the SSD does appear to be faster, photoshop loads in about a second now, but I still get beachballs. I have a Micron C400 (aka Crucial m4) 512GB. I am hoping the beachballs are reduced to the point where I can actually use the drive now, but after a day of use it appears the same.

    Has Apple/Intel responded to you guys in any way? Intel says this is an apple problem in their 510 forums (the 6gbs 510 apple demoed with thunderbolt doesn’t seem to work either).

    • Did you use the TRIM Enabler? The more I read, the more I would avoid that on any SandForce based drive…

      • Ah…not sure if you addressing us or another poster there David…but as we’ve said, we highly suggest not using TRIM on ANY SSD until more is understood about what the
        result of doing so is. Even excluding those reporting use of it with SandForce based drives, the results are extremely mixed. To be succinct, we do not support
        or endorse it’s use with any of our OWC SSD models, all of which utilize the SandForce processor.

  • I just took delivery of a new 2011 17″ MBP last week. I ordered it direct from Apple, hopping that if they made any hardware modifications concerning the freezing issues on the early ones, I would get the latest build. Normally when I order from Apple, the unit gets sent direct from China, but this one (stock configuration) was shipped right away from Tennessee, so it’s hard to tell when it was built. They must have some stockpiled there. Anyway, I just ordered your shielding kit and DataDoubler. I’m have an OCZ Vertex 3 I bought recently (didn’t know you had SATA 3 models already) and am hoping this will avoid any problems with drive performance. I will let you know what happens. BTW..what controller is in your new SSD drives? SandForce 2281?

  • I went from 300Mbit performance… with no beachballs…

    applied OWC cable patch.

    I have 300 MBit performance, with highly occurring beachballs…

    stay awy from this cable patch kit.. it essentially has ruined my 17″ mbp

    • Roger, John, and others that may read this at later date….as we have explained our Shielding Kit in the 4/18/11 update, the results of the kit will vary from user to user based on a variety of factors. There are some important things to note that may improve your individual results.
      1. Make sure all cable routing/hold down screws are firmly tightened after installation. Don’t tighten to point of stripping…but firmly. Some users have reported this to be a key issue.
      2. Do NOT run any kind of TRIM enabler…as we have mentioned in comments in this thread, there is simply no need to with OWC drives. And even with other brands, users have reported better stability when they have eliminated that enabler.
      3. Again, as we have pointed out in our 4/18 update, the issues could be the SATA connector cable and/or the machine itself. We have observed a perfectly correct working cable transferred to a machine experiencing recognition and/or performance slow down and the good cable offered no improvement. To us, that means there is something going on with the machine itself then.

  • I got my shield kit yesterday, super impressed by the quality of materials and the excellent (as always) instructions. To the guy looking for pictures: http://twitpic.com/4ncy52/full

    However, it didn’t have a single bit of impact on dropouts (or whatever is causing 10-45 second beachballs in OS X). Oddly, I have yet to experience that in Windows 7, wondering if the driver there is only supporting 3Gb/s (is that possible, I always thought the link was negotiated by hardware)? I did however experience massive data corruption on my BootCamp partition – actually happened AFTER installing the shield kit, aka unrelated IMHO. I am HOPING that my OCZ Vertex 3 (240GB) is just bad, it makes an awful whining/squealing noise – audible from 2-3 feet away, and that noise bleeds into the headphone jack too (aka even with high end IEMs shutting out ALL ambient noise, you hear it directly through the headphones). I ordered a 120GB OWC 6Gb to test with, I’ll know more tomorrow if it’s just a bad SSD I was dealing with, or a bigger issue with the 2011 MacBook Pro design or something else.

    I’m also picking up an extra OEM SATA cable from a local Apple authorized repair center to do A/B testing with.

    One thing of note / a question – I’m no RF engineer by any means but I find it odd that the CABLE is grounded, but not the new shield? AKA, is this meant to reflect, or absorb-and-redirect whatever is interfering with the SATA transmissions? The gold patch (and subsequent little pad which I have to assume is conductive adhesive?) grounds what, some internal conductor in the cable that’s connected to that?

    • After seeing your tweets, I revisited this post. To us, sounds like perhaps a bad capacitor in that OCZ…..we have not had any of our production units here make any kind of whine, squeal, hiss, etc. That’s supposed to be a feature of SSDs…silent operation.

      • Yeah I am operating under the assumption the OCZ is bad, and have already returned it. Just got my 120GB OWC 6Gb and am installing a fresh copy of OS X onto it – one of the support guys at OCZ suggested NOT using the TRIM Enabler with their disk, if you read their forums (Start at post 5: http://bit.ly/idfp7V for more info) it seems that it causes conflicts or problems and might be the source of the beachballs.

        We’ll see if I run into anything like that with the OWC, I am NOT planning to run the Enabler on it, as at least with the SandForce based OCZ 240GB, I saw ZERO difference with vs without TRIM, speed wise… If the OWC 120GB has pauses/lockups then it must be the MacBook Pro, not the drives (or I suppose it could be a bad cable, hence why I have a spare on the way to test if needed).

        • Hi David…sorry to hear of your OCZ experience.

          The only TRIM enablers we’re aware of for the Mac essentially trick the OS into believing it is talking to an Apple SSD…which are the only drives that otherwise show up as TRIM enabled in OS X.

          Many users are still not convinced that TRIM isn’t necessarily needed when the SSD contains the right controller. Hence why there is TRIM support for our SandForce based drives under Windows…

          We have not observed any benefit from enabling or having TRIM supported with any of our SandForce controller based SSDs. The SF controller offers extremely effective block management that eliminates the benefit of an OS side trim interface which, incidentally, historically has never been all that great anyways.

          Back to that “trickery”…. since enabling TRIM on OS X now is essentially forcing the system into an unsupported mode, we feel it’s a dice roll… and a pretty unnecessary one given you get no real measurable benefit from its use. If you have two roads to travel, one known and one you’re not familiar with – it might be worth the risk to travel the unknown if you expected a commensurate benefit. However, we have not personally witnessed nor have been made aware of any benefit to expect from using any TRIM enabler on our SandForce based SSDs, and as such, we cannot in good conscience recommend or support the use of such with our drives.

          There are plenty of other non-SandForce based SSD brands that really would benefit from TRIM being supported. If the TRIM Apple is supporting, which that enabler tricks up for supporting non Apple drives, does help these products work better (as it has been reported to) and without creating unforeseen issues down the road…great! But we have heard even in these cases, some drives slow down, some drives start to experience data integrity issues, and the results of any benefit vary widely….so truly…the odds are not in your favor on this high stakes game.

          To reiterate so there’s no misunderstanding, there is no need or demonstrated benefit by using an enabler with an OWC SandForce based SSD.

    • Just a quick update – several days of use, zero freezes / beachballs. Kudos to OWC for a great drive and good kit re: shielding the cable!

  • Is it possible that the drives themselves are emitting some kind of EMI?

    Kudos to OWC for stepping up and trying to resolve this.

    • Seems unlikely as issue so randomly affects machines…and for most part confined to 17″ 2011 MBP.
      If an EMI issue, more reports of the non recognition and/or reduced performance would be coming in on wide variety of Macs and PCs

  • Dear OWC – u guys do truly rock!

    I buckled last month and got a bargain 120gb mercury extreme from the garage sales – working flawlessly
    just something to tie me over and play around with until the 6G drives came out

    I have a 2011 17″ MBP and am waiting for the right moment to cop a 240gb sata 6G drive
    i think i will buy the shielding kit as a back-up if the drives poses probs!
    I wanted to ask will owc be doing any bundles for the datadoubler and a sata6G drive? I currently have the awful newmodeus caddy – it does the job ok but only has x1 screw fixing the drive to the MBP! Wish OWC would do a sata 6g and data-doubler bundle for under $600 – my credit card is ready and waiting!

    PS can owc do one of those fantastic videos and give step-by-step instructions on how to install the sata cable shielding kit!

    In all honestly, apple should address this issue – its an embarrassment this is occuring with their flagship MBP! They should at the minimum offer to install this shielding kit by their so called ‘geniuses’

    Finally, could i send my MBP to owc to have data-doubler/shielding kit and one of those new sexy sata6G drives – im a tad on the lazy side!

    PS – you can keep my newmodeus caddy as scrap metal!

    • Hey Johnny from the UK!

      Yes…eventually we’ll do a bundle deal…no idea of eta as this will be based on higher volume supply of our SSDs.

      I’ll talk to the video team…they report to me…about getting a video done…but I think you’ll find our step by step install pictorial on the shielding kit page more than helpful:

      http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/CBLMB17SHLD/

      Hmm…sending your MBP long distance just for that SSD and DD install really wouldn’t be cost effective for you Johnny. When we get the DD bundle together, all you really have to do is watch the install video:

      http://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/macbookpro_17_unibody_early11_dd/

      and you’re golden. AND…if you’re really wanting this set up that badly….could just buy now and be among the first to have this “hot rod storage” setup in your 2011 MBP… ;-)

      • Hi, again

        missed that step-by-step guide

        ill be sure to order the sata-shielding kit for a bargain $3 in-case the need ever arrives

        i have to say folks, given i technically brought a used 120gb sata-2 from the garage sale – ran a bunch of benchmarks – filled it to capacity and noticed zero performance degradation nor slowdown – owc are really true to their word! I get consistant boot-up speeds 11-15secs (from turning power on) and read 265mb/s and write 255 mb/s – stunning drive
        God if a used sata-2 drive performs like this, imagine a brand, spanking new 6G drive!

  • Could this also be related to problems with the Mid-2010 MBP drive access? I do audio production and get drop-outs when I really shouldn’t and it’s not under great load. I’ve been having various problems with mine after fitting a Momentus XT. This was made a lot better by going back to a Standard Non-Hybrid drive (WD Black) and there are definitely some issues Seagate had with firmware. However, I still get problems with the other drives, including the original when playing certain songs. There’s also talk that EFI update 1.7 may have caused people problems too with 3rd party drives. This issue’s been driving me mad ever since I got this MBP last August, but it’s a nightmare to track it down to software or definitely the hardware, and then able to do some true finger-pointing to get support.

    Might give it a try, as nothing else has worked so far, with other Ableton Live/17″ MBP owners saying they don’t have the same issue…

    • Not sure if you saw earlier comment from me and or addressed in post….but we have not observed any recognition or performance issue with SATA 2.0 (3Gb/s) drives….SSD or HD…in any Mac we’ve tested.

  • Will this also address the random beach ball issues that are affecting other 6 Gbps SSDs when put into the SATA-III drive bay on the 17″ model? I find that the Vertex 3 is recognized, installed, and works most of the time very quickly, but often beach balls randomly for 30 seconds at a time.

    it makes sense that it would be signaling issue, the Vertex 3 works flawlessly in the optical bay when connected via SATA-II.

    Either way, excellent work troubleshooting the issue and providing an affordable fix!

    • Hi Chris….we’ve found such randomness to this issue…the results vary depending on issue and severity of issue…

      While we’re working at getting a deeper understanding of the matter, including with appropriates parties, we can tell you that in certain 17″ machines, there may be other factors involved that shielding doesn’t fully resolve.

      In two recently acquired factory stock 17″ MBPs with the factory stock cable, no additional shielding was required to be installed to obtain optimal results – those comparable to the 15” results – and we further confirmed no benefit was obtained when additional shielding was added.

      The SATA connector cable is the same part number in those MBP models as was found in other units that needed our shielding solution to deliver expected performance results.

      Moving that same cable to another 17″ MBP experiencing drive recognition or reduced drive speed performance didn’t resolve any issue. But, applying our Shielding Kit did have a positive impact.

      So…bottom line, if you have a 17″ and want to give this a try…there is no guarantee that it will completely resolve your particular circumstances.

      When the SSD is recognized, but not providing expected data rates – applying the OWC Shielding Kit to the SATA connector cable has shown a good probability to restore expected performance level stability.

      So in your case, with the drive being recognized, this kit may offer you a solution to that beach ball issue.

      • I have a Micron c400 (aka crucial m4) 512gb and am experiencing frequent beachballs in an early 2011 17″ macbook pro. I am going to assume that the board in these machines has bad routing or otherwise poor SNR to the drive that is improved between 0-100% with a shielded cable depending on how bad the traces on the board are.

        I covered the entire cable with aluminum foil (up to the connector on both ends) and if anything it got worse. I did order the OWC fix so I’m hoping I will notice a difference then, otherwise I’ll have to sell the SSD on ebay :(. Major bummer as I was enjoying the speed (I have since switched back to my 7200rpm drive).

        It is looking more and more like Apple is either going to have to replace a bunch of logic boards or just ignore the issue due to the cost. I suspect the latter since it appears they have done a silent update to the boards.

        • Hey John…for what it’s worth…in our testing, we’ve not experienced that “beach ball” result in any of our machines. As we’ve stated, there are so many variables at this time to conclusively say the issue is entirely due to the cable, the cable routing, the logic board, or even the other brand drives themselves! Again, what we do know is that a machine with no issues, we take that cable and put it into a machine that is experiencing issues and we’ve found that doesn’t solve problem. But then we applied our Shielding Kit and that positively improved issues. And, in machines where drive was fully recognized but just not delivering full performance potential, installing our Shielding Kit has shown the ability to significantly improve performance results.

  • My setup is with an OWC SSD data doubler kit for the optical drive and the 500GB Mac installed HDD.

    Am I affected by this issue and might I benefit from the discount as a recent purchaser of the OWC SSD drive for the optical bay?

    Thanks

    Ross

    • In order to determine whether this will affect you or not, answer the following questions.

      • Are you installing this into an Early 2011 MacBook Pro 17″?
      • Is the SSD a SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s) model? (e.g., a Mercury Extreme Pro 6G, rather than the Mercury Extreme Pro)
      • Are you installing the SSD into the 6Gb/s Hard Drive bay, rather than in the optical drive bay via a Data Doubler?

      If you answered “Yes” to all three of these questions, then you may be affected by this issue and may benefit from the solution. Otherwise, this solution doesn’t apply.

    • While OWC Chris answered your question directly, Ross, here’s a bit more insight on the matter:

      #1 – We’ve done extensive testing with 13, 15, and 17″ Early 2011 MacBook Pro models of all processor option variations. We have only consistently seen what was reported in the field with the 17″ version.

      #2 – Our own experiences and reports over the past month have been exclusively related to 6Gb/s operation in the main drive bay and with 6Gb/s SSD drives. We have not heard of, read, or otherwise seen any kind of issues with any SATA 2.0 (3Gb/s) drives, SSD HDD, nor even with SATA 3.0 hard drives either. It’s only where higher sustained performance is occurring with 6Gb/s SSDs installed in the main drive bay that we are aware of this matter. Our testing is focused on our own line of SATA 2.0 and 3.0 Solid State Drives as they our our own branded product.

      #3 – We are not aware of any issue with using any type of drive in the optical bay. The SATA port in the optical bay remains SATA 2.0 (3Gb/s), not SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s) which the main drive bay offers. Our OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSDs perform without issue in the optical bay with our Data Doubler product, albeit at the limits of the factory SATA 2.0 port speed. It is unfortunate that Apple did not elect to enable 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 to the optical bay, but that is quite underdstandable as Apple doesn’t offer a non-optical drive option for this bay and there isn’t a benefit for optical drives today or expected anytime soon between SATA 2.0 and SATA 3.0 interface performance.

  • So this will allow my crucial c300 256gb to actually work with my 2011 17″ mbp or does this just fix some speed issues with current drives? At the moment my SSD doesn’t even install OS X at all. Bit angry at Apple right now, gonna cost over US$40 to ship the cable to New Zealand.

    • Hi Andrew….it is possible your Crucial c300 will work flawlessly in your 17″, but really depends on nature of issue(s) with your unit. Stay tuned to our blog for additional info and results we’ll be posting this week.

  • OWC RULES!!!!!!
    First, my question, and then my story and why OWC RULES. HardMac reported some issues on the 13″ MBP
    http://www.hardmac.com/news/2011/04/06/sata-iii-problem-in-the-2011-macbook-pro-the-cable-is-truly-the-problem
    this link is included in your blog post in the checking around paragraph, above. That being said, can the fix for the 17″ be applied to the 13″ or will OWC create a fix for the 13″? I am only asking because if there is even a chance of there being an issue, then I rather give you the 10 bucks, just in case.

    Now on to the important stuff, why OWC rules!

    Truth be told I was looking at getting a Vertex 3, I had not heard about the OWC SSD yet, but before I committed I wanted to do my research to see if it would even work on A 2011 MBP 13″ 2.7Ghz model, so first I called Apple care and no one there could help me and even said they weren’t giving that information out, so I persisted, I went to the retail store and the geniuses did not even know if the hook up for the hard drive supported SATA 3.0, so I scanned the internet with no resolve, so I called OCZ and they put me though to a tech support guy who said they have no idea if that model supports SATA 3.0 or if their drive would work on the computer, so out of frustration I called Apple care again, no luck, then went to the store again, with the same results, as I continued to scan the internet I came across HardMac which led me to you.

    You rule because you are leading the way in taking care of your customers.

    OCZ wants you to buy their drive and THEY don’t even know if it works. Thanks OWC, I can’t wait to get my new OWC drive.

    • Wow Peter…that was some run around to get a simple answer. Geez…we wrote about these models having 6Gb/s interface back in Feb:

      http://blog.macsales.com/9089-macbook-pro-early-2011-upgrades-benchmark-results

      To answer your question, the 13, 15, and 17″ MacBook Pro models all have different cable setups. Our kit could potentially be applied for all three, however, we haven’t been able to confirm the issue exists on signal on 13″ and 15″ to be able to suggest our kit is a solution for those models.

      Make sure to follow the blog regularly for updates on this issue…as well as to save some time in getting the right answer ;-)

      Looking forward to hearing back from you on how fast you feel this drive really is….use some great vernacular!

  • Man, I’m feeling a tad burned by this.

    On one hand, it’s just plain awesome that OWC not only figured out what the problem (apparently) was, and even more awesome that they’ve come up with a reasonably inexpensive kit to fix it. Plus a nice discount for people buying it with an OWC drive that needs it. Kudos!

    On the other, I ordered a 6G SSD for my 17″ as soon as I saw the review on BareFeats, and didn’t know that the issue existed at the time (I’d just done enough reading to know that the main port was 6Gbit and the optical bay one 3Gbit). When I saw this blog post, I of course realized I needed one of these, so I went to add one to my order… except I paid with Amazon, so apparently the only way to do that is to cancel my order and re-place it. And doing so would bump me from the queue, so I’d have to wait for a later batch of 120GB drives (the first batch, I was told, have already sold out). I can place a separate order, but then I don’t get the $7 discount, plus I have to pay shipping.

    I of course should probably blame Apple for the design flaw, and I probably shouldn’t complain about an extra $10 (or waiting an extra week or so) after spending $500 on an upgrade for a $2500 computer. I just hate feeling nickel-and-dimed on a big-ticket purchase (by my standards, anyway–not like I’m ordering a stack of 480GB drives) due to the way payment backends are set up.

    Oh well.

    I wonder if you could get the same effect with a piece of carefully folded aluminum foil in contact with the case… might be an interesting experiment to try once my drive installs.

  • Just to be clear, Does shielding the cable means giving us the full performance of OWC 6G on 17″ MBP2011. That is equal, if not more, in 13″ and 15″?

  • I presume this won’t be an issue when Apple switches its next version of the MacBook Pro to the same blade-style flash storage used on the current MacBook Air.