Apple released the OS X 10.6.8 update last week. According to the Knowledge Base article on this update:
The 10.6.8 update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, including fixes that:
- Enhance the Mac App Store to get your Mac ready to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion
- Resolve an issue that may cause Preview to unexpectedly quit
- Improve support for IPv6
- Improve VPN reliability
- Identify and remove known variants of Mac Defender
According to a post on MacRumors, there are a couple of other additions, as well. First is the enabling of TRIM support for Apple-branded SSDs. The other unannounced addition seems to be a boost in graphics performance nearly across the board.
While it’s great to see that Apple is moving towards the future with many aspects of its OS, there are several items they have not addressed yet, specifically on the 2011 MacBook Pros.
10.6.8 Doesn’t Resolve 6Gb/s SSD Problems.
This has been discussed quite extensively both here on the OWC Blog and elsewhere. If there were a software resolution to this problem, this would have been an ideal time for Apple to release it.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be the case. Testing has shown that, even after the 10.6.8 update, the performance anomalies that weren’t resolved by our shielding kit still existed. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that some sort of firmware-based solution is made available.
No Change for 2011 Optical Bays stuck at 3Gb/s.
Oddly, some of the optical bays in the 2011 17″ MacBook Pros run at SATA 2.0 (3Gb/s) speeds, while others run at SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s) speeds. There’s no rhyme or reason to which Intel 6 chipset you get and you won’t know until you run System Profiler and see if the Link Speed shows 3Gb/s or 6Gb/s. This makes installing a Mercury Electra 6G or Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD in your 2011 MacBook Pro’s optical bay somewhat of a Charlie Bucket finding the Golden Ticket proposition. The SSD will work either way, but your speed will be limited if you’re one of the unfortunate ones who only got an optical bay with 3Gb/s capabilities.
TRIM enabled for Apple SSDs, but not for anybody else.
Admittedly, this one isn’t so bad. TRIM is nice if you’ve got a “lesser” solid state drive, but SandForce-based drives, like all OWC SSDs are, don’t need it.
The wear-leveling, block management, and real-time data redundancies of the SandForce controller gives you the same (indeed, better) level of performance from your SSD that TRIM support provides to other drives.
There are hacks out there that enable TRIM support for 10.6.x, but with the aforementioned advantages that the SandForce processor gives, we really don’t recommend using it with our SSDs; we don’t need it.
Room for one more?
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is just around the corner. Traditionally, updates for an OS stop after the new version is released, or shortly thereafter. That raises the question: If (and, admittedly, that’s a mighty big “if”) Apple releases an update to enable/fix these SATA 3.0 issues, will it be in a 10.6.9 release, in a 10.7.x update, or in a combination of the two?
While the latter is the most likely and most beneficial to all, only time can tell.