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  • 960. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    fishbert Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    richardaustin wrote:
    Can someone summarize for me the full list of known affected computers from Apple?

    Is it just the portable computers (MacBook / MacBook Air / MacBook Pro 13" 15" 17") ? Mac Mini? iMac? Mac Pro? Current generation models only?

    We are preparing an editorial piece on this issue. We have a couple of the affected machines ourselves to report the issue accurately. But it would be useful to see how wide and extensive this defect might be across the entire Apple computer product line.


    fishbert wrote:
    EuroKRN wrote:
    Well hmm.. am I posting in the right topic?

    My issue is with a new MBP 13" patched with the EFI 1.7 firmware update but I get the same 30 second beachball lockup but with the stock 160GB Hitachi drive (which is supposedly SATA-I).


    It sounds like you may be in the right place.

    Here's a (probably imperfect) checklist...
    1) you have a 13" or 15" MacBook Pro from mid-2009 with the SD memory card slot.
    2) you have installed the EFI 1.7 firmware update from late June, or you have a machine that came with it pre-installed.
    3) you experience beachballs that last anywhere from 30-90 seconds before the system recovers -- you may get an error message if your system was syncing an iPod or something at the time, but other than that your system does recover.
    4) if you move your drive to an external firewire (or USB?) enclosure and boot from that (hold the "Option" key at the power-on chime to select), the beachballs are gone.

    There are other symptoms (CRC errors, question mark folder at start up, etc.), but that right there is a simple first-level diagnosis.

    Also, check out http://vimeo.com/5854152 -- this is an example of what the issue looks like on my machine.
    (has some good audio snips between the hangs -- "watch this" and "worth every penny", haha)


    I read recently of some people claiming this 30-90 second beachball issue is happening on the latest-generation 17" MacBook Pro... and maybe that's true, now that the click/beep problem has been addressed by Apple but many are finding they still have beachball hanging issues.

    But what is generally understood at present is that this issue is limited to the EFI version 1.7 firmware (released in late June), which is only available for the latest-generation 13" and 15" MacBook Pro laptops (easily identifiable by the new SD card slot).

    Also, I'm not sure how much you read of this thread, but Apple released a firmware rollback tool to their genius bar staff a few weeks ago. This solves the issue of the frequent hanging, but leaves you with the same limited 1.5 Gb/s SATA interface that people were complaining about when the new models were released (EFI 1.7 was supposed to address that interface speed issue, providing SATA II support). I was among the first to get my firmware rolled back, and the technician lead at the genius bar said this was the first time he's ever seen Apple provide such a tool.

    Despite this unofficial acknowledgement of a problem, there is no indication whether or not Apple intends to fix the EFI 1.7 firmware.

    I hope that helps with what you're doing. If you need more info, let us know.
  • 961. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    Jerry H. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    can someone please confirm that MBP can be downgraded to EFI 1.6 by an Apple service center ?

    thx
  • 962. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    fishbert Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Jerry H. wrote:
    can someone please confirm that MBP can be downgraded to EFI 1.6 by an Apple service center ?

    thx


    I don't know if the rollback tool has been released any further than the Apple Store genius bars.

    And some people have said that even their local Apple Store hasn't known about the rollback tool. I'd hope that they have become aware by now, but it's probably best to just call the service center you're thinking of and ask them directly if they have access to the tool.
  • 963. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    coolas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    fishbert wrote:
    Jerry H. wrote:
    answer from Crucial on FB:


    Crucial Memory commented on your wall post:

    "Our lab has successfully installed our SSD on the new 13" Macbook Pro with EFI 1.7. You have to make sure you go into Disk Utility and partition the drive using GUID and Mac OS Extended (Journaled). When physically installing the drive into the system, make sure that the ribbon cable is staying connected to the logic board, and that you are seating the connector fully to the SSD."

    A lot of people could say the same thing about a lot of drives... and a lot of other people could say those same drives haven't worked for them. This issue is not drive-dependent, and what they said looks an awful lot like a standard boilerplate response.

    Buyer beware, until Apple fixes the broken firmware.


    New firmware will not fix this issue. Apple would have released a new firmware by now if it could.
    This is a fault in the hardware itself, which means the only way to fix it is when Apple recall all the faulty MBP's and replace motherboards.
    Sad times.
  • 964. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    Well... technically... a new firmware could drop the supported SATA speed back to 1.5 (which is pretty much all that it has ever been since 3.0 can't really be said to have functioned). This would fix the problem. Of course it wouldn't address the support of SATA 3.0 which was the problem that started all of this in the first place... but at least most people would have functional machines. I tend to agree with it being a hardware issue unfortunately... there isn't really any other reason for the previous models using the exact same chipset and OS to ship with and support SATA 3.0. They're between a rock and a hard place though. They either stick to their "We don't support 3rd party drives" line... which is just bull droppings... they can push out a firmware that drops the SATA support back to 1.5 which would basically be an admission of a problem... or they can issue a repair program for those affected. I don't see a recall as an option as there are tons of people who will never upgrade their drive and would never know about the problem. I suppose one option would be to issue a firmware update that would knock the SATA speed back to 1.5... but still report it as 3.0. Since no hard drive can saturate the bandwidth of SATA 1.5 and current SSDs would only occasionally do so... most people would never know.
  • 965. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    PitchBlank Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    JoeyR,

    Yeah. If you ask me, the 13" and 15" MBPs shipping with 1.5 Gbit/s may not have been an oops moment, I think Apple wanted to see if anyone even noticed, hoping it would fly under the radar. But of course it took mere days for the news of SATA crippling to make headlines on all the major Mac sites.

    Intel chipsets do support 3.0 Gbit/s with no glitches, so maybe this is about those **** NVidia and their myriad quality problems... I had an all-NVidia gaming PC a while ago and it was the glitchiest piece o' crap I've ever owned, full of weird speed bottlenecks that I had never encountered in any other PC... video activity would choke the firewire bus, etc.
  • 966. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    It's worth noting that the previous versions of these machines (the initial unibodies) used the same chipset. Those machines shipped in SATA 3.0 mode and had no problems with third party drives.... so it's not likely a chipset issue. Intel and nVidia have had hits and misses in the past... but I think they both produce pretty decent products now. I guess the focus would need to be on what changed between the initial unibody machines and the newest ones. There were obviously some design differences such as including SD card readers... pulling the express slot... pulling the dedicated GPU in all but the higher end 15" MBPs, etc. As the problem seems to apply to both the 13 and 15" versions, we can eliminate the redesign associated with the removal of the express slot and dedicated GPU as neither of those apply to the 13" model. So we're left with changes that may have been made to incorporate the SD reader or other components they may have chosen to change out in this latest revision. There's not a whole lot that would make the system stable at SATA 1.5 but not at SATA 3.0. It looks like the location of the hard drive was moved between the two generations. I'm not sure if they used a new SATA cable or not. To be honest, I would find it hard to believe if Apple didn't know exactly what the problem was at this point. The issue is probably more of how to address it. It's safe to say that it's not a simple fix or we would have seen it already.
  • 967. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    PitchBlank Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Right, but the random 30-second beachball freezes occur on the June 2009 MBP 17" as well (mine included, and several 17" owners are reporting the same issue in other threads). It never had 1.5 Gbit/s SATA speed at any point, thus never received the 1.7 EFI Firmware update, it retains the ExpressCard slot and the discrete 9600M GPU. So it must be something else. And it's not limited to certain hard drives (I have the stock Hitachi 5400 RPM 500GB), it's simply more noticable with the Seagate 7200 RPM because it used to click and beep up until a recent firmware update.

    Right now I'm not having the beachball issue (it plagued me up until this morning), and that's due to any of the following... A) I performed an SMC reset, B) I performed a PRAM/NVRAM reset, and C) I switched from 9400M to 9600M, or D) it simply goes away for a while after a reboot. I'll see if it crops up later.

    It seems to rear its ugly head more often when I'm playing video files, but that might just be because it's more noticeable due to the jarring audio/video freeze accompanied by deafening HDD silence, 30 secs of spinning beachball and then the HDD starts chattering and the video playback returns.

    I'm not aware of any other changes made to the MBPs... the only clue to why anyone would cripple SATA speed is a Lenovo Thinkpad model where they strangled SATA to 1.5 because the SATA-to-PATA bridge for the optical drive didn't perform reliably at full bus speed. Maybe this is Superdrive related? Those can do really weird things to systems... people don't use optical drives much so they think they're just sitting there quietly, but I once did a firmware update on the optical on my PC laptop that resulted in frequent audio glitches even though the optical drive wasn't in use in any way... it seemed ridiculously unrelated to straight audio playback from my hard drive so it was just dumb luck that I stumbled upon the culprit - a firmware rollback fixed the audio problems.
  • 968. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    katmeef Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    PitchBlank wrote:
    Right, but the random 30-second beachball freezes occur on the June 2009 MBP 17" as well (mine included, and several 17" owners are reporting the same issue in other threads). It never had 1.5 Gbit/s SATA speed at any point, thus never received the 1.7 EFI Firmware update,


    Not to be rude, but please start your own thread. As you stated, your 17" never received the EFI update. This thread is all about the EFI update and the 13 and 15" MBP..
  • 969. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    Just to build on katmeef's comment. This thread was started to address a very specific issue. It applies only to the latest generation of 13 and 15" MB Pros with firmware 1.7. Any number of hardware/software issues may result in beachballing. If your machine is not one of those specific machines impacted by the 1.7 firmware issue, your problem is likely caused by something else. It would be in your best interest to create a new thread as it is very possible a resolution for your problem may exist (unlike the 1.7 issue)and your issue will get the attention it deserves in a separate thread.
  • 970. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    PitchBlank Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I'm not going to start the umpteenth thread about the same cross-related issues. I've sifted through half a dozen of these threads and while they all have different headers (this particular one is about the 13"/15"-exclusive firmware update allegedly causing random freezes), they're all about the same EFI 1.7 + "random 30-second beachball terror" + "is it just the 13"/15" models or isn't it" + "possible changes to the June 2009 MBP's that may be behind these issues" stuff.

    Info about the 17" model having similar issues is relevant since it eliminates the SD slot, the omission of the 9600M, the 1.7 update etc from the list of sources of the random intermittent freeze problem, especially since some of the posters who frequent these threads seem to be under the impression that these beachball terror freezes are confined to the two smaller MBP models. Or is it not in everyone's interest to isolate the problem source?

    I very much doubt that MBP 17" owners who are experiencing this issue all happen to have some completely unrelated problem resulting in the exact same behavior shown in the demo movies of the 30-second beachball freezes. More likely, the EFI 1.7 update moved the 13"/15" models into a problem territory that the 17" was already suffering from thanks to having 3.0 Gbit/s SATA from the get-go.
  • 971. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    +*info about the 17" model having similar issues is relevant since it eliminates the SD slot, the omission of the 9600M, the 1.7 update etc from the list of sources of the random intermittent freeze problem*+

    That's just the point... it "has" been established that firmware 1.7 did cause the problem and it is specific to the referenced machines. The problem simply did not exist prior to 1.7. If someone was having beachballing issues prior to 1.7 on a new 13 or 15" MB Pro or a 17" MB Pro, it is not related to the same issue.

    There's nothing to say that the only possible cause for beachballing is the 1.7 firmware update... lots of things can cause that. The issue is that this thread was created to address the specific 1.7 firmware issue only.
  • 972. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    24Golfer Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    fishbert wrote:
    richardaustin wrote:
    Can someone summarize for me the full list of known affected computers from Apple?

    Is it just the portable computers (MacBook / MacBook Air / MacBook Pro 13" 15" 17") ? Mac Mini? iMac? Mac Pro? Current generation models only?

    We are preparing an editorial piece on this issue. We have a couple of the affected machines ourselves to report the issue accurately. But it would be useful to see how wide and extensive this defect might be across the entire Apple computer product line.


    fishbert wrote:
    EuroKRN wrote:
    Well hmm.. am I posting in the right topic?

    My issue is with a new MBP 13" patched with the EFI 1.7 firmware update but I get the same 30 second beachball lockup but with the stock 160GB Hitachi drive (which is supposedly SATA-I).


    It sounds like you may be in the right place.

    Here's a (probably imperfect) checklist...
    1) you have a 13" or 15" MacBook Pro from mid-2009 with the SD memory card slot.
    2) you have installed the EFI 1.7 firmware update from late June, or you have a machine that came with it pre-installed.
    3) you experience beachballs that last anywhere from 30-90 seconds before the system recovers -- you may get an error message if your system was syncing an iPod or something at the time, but other than that your system does recover.
    4) if you move your drive to an external firewire (or USB?) enclosure and boot from that (hold the "Option" key at the power-on chime to select), the beachballs are gone.

    There are other symptoms (CRC errors, question mark folder at start up, etc.), but that right there is a simple first-level diagnosis.

    Also, check out http://vimeo.com/5854152 -- this is an example of what the issue looks like on my machine.
    (has some good audio snips between the hangs -- "watch this" and "worth every penny", haha)


    I read recently of some people claiming this 30-90 second beachball issue is happening on the latest-generation 17" MacBook Pro... and maybe that's true, now that the click/beep problem has been addressed by Apple but many are finding they still have beachball hanging issues.

    But what is generally understood at present is that this issue is limited to the EFI version 1.7 firmware (released in late June), which is only available for the latest-generation 13" and 15" MacBook Pro laptops (easily identifiable by the new SD card slot).

    Also, I'm not sure how much you read of this thread, but Apple released a firmware rollback tool to their genius bar staff a few weeks ago. This solves the issue of the frequent hanging, but leaves you with the same limited 1.5 Gb/s SATA interface that people were complaining about when the new models were released (EFI 1.7 was supposed to address that interface speed issue, providing SATA II support). I was among the first to get my firmware rolled back, and the technician lead at the genius bar said this was the first time he's ever seen Apple provide such a tool.

    Despite this unofficial acknowledgement of a problem, there is no indication whether or not Apple intends to fix the EFI 1.7 firmware.

    I hope that helps with what you're doing. If you need more info, let us know.


    FISHBERT,

    you're the genius. Thanks for the info.

    What is the speed with the EFI 1.7? You say if I rolled it back it will slow down? How much slower would it be?

    Thank you
  • 973. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    PitchBlank Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    JoeyR:

    Right, and what did the 1.7 update bring? 3.0 Gbit/s SATA.
    What did the 17" model already have? 3.0 Gbit/s SATA.

    So you can either argue over the reason why the 1.7 update was bad (perhaps because 1.7 is an unlucky number in Azerbadjan?) or consider the possibility that the very thing that the 1.7 update accomplished, i.e. upgrading the crippled SATA speed to 3.0, might be the cause, in which case all three MBP models sizes share the same issue.
  • 974. Re: Firmware update and SATA II hard drive
    JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    In which case the previous unibody MacBook and 15" MacBook Pros also shipped with SATA 3.0 enabled and did not experience the issue. The current 17" model was not refreshed with the mid 2009 13 and 15" models, so it is basically the same version as the last gen unibody MacBook and 15" MB Pro which did not exhibit the problem.
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