2011 MacBook Pro SATA Problems Resolved!

If you’ve been reading the OWC Blog for the past few months, you’re probably well aware of the problems that 2011 MacBook Pros were having with 6.0Gb/s SATA performance. If you’re not familiar with it, the short form is that in many 17″ 2011 MacBook Pros (and some 15″ and 13″ as well) had problems with SATA 3.0 Revision SSDs such as the Mercury EXTREME Pro 6Gthrough no fault of the SSD— resulting in spotty performance,  beach ball timeout delays, and even complete failure to recognize SATA 3.0 6Gb/s SSDs at all.

Well, if you ran Software Update this morning, MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.2 appears to be the answer. Nearly seven months after these machines first became available, all indications are that we can now reliably count on taking full advantage of the 6Gb/s capability provided.

Apple has somewhat dodged giving any direct response on the issue itself, but this long awaited solution just happens to be there in this update with the official description on Apple’s support site only mentioning the update as addressing Lion Internet Recovery and Thunderbolt. We are very thankful and excited to see the ‘quiet’ fix for 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 main bay drive reliability as a further benefit of this update.

Very important points though concerning the optical bay. #1 – if your MacBook Pro 2011 model currently has SATA 2.0 3Gb/s reported for your optical bay max link speed, this EFI update does not change that to SATA 3.0 6Gb/s. It really makes no difference for the optical drive, but if you wish to add an additional 9.5mm hard drive or SSD with a product such as our Data Doubler, you can continue to do so with pretty much any 3G or 6G drive of your choosing.

#2 – For those with a MacBook Pro 15″ or 17″ model that has SATA 3.0 6Gb/s link capability reported, it is very important to note that this EFI update does not appear to have resolved reliability of using a 6Gb/s drive in the optical bay. If you have a 6Gb/s optical drive bay connnection and are using a product like our Data Doubler, we still recommend only using a SATA 2.0 3Gb/s drive in that bay. MacBook Pro 13″ owners who find 6Gb/s links in their optical bay are not experiencing issues with 6Gb/s drives and this update doesn’t affect that usage.

Our testing has included multiple models of the 2011 MacBook Pro models and using the highest performing OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G and Mercury Electra 6G SSDs. From this testing, we are confident today that Apple has now, by and large, resolved the issues with 6Gb/s drives where issues were being experienced with said drives in the Main Bay/standard drive location. We will continue to review possible solutions for the optical bay, as 15″ and 17″ owners may be rightly jealous of the near 1GB (1000MB/s) data rates currently achievable in MacBook Pro 13″ models with two OWC 6G SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration.

Here are a pair of “before & after” benchmark tests with an OWC SSD in the main drive bay, which show the elimination of the performance inconsistencies after applying the update.

Further testing is being done to confirm this resolution on other 2011 MacBook Pros and we’ll post the result of those findings in an update as well as possible further benefits relating to this under OS 10.7 vs. 10.6.8.

In the meantime, if you’ve been frustrated with how your 2011 MacBook Pro has behaved with a 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 drive to this point, it looks like your system is a “lemon no more”. Now you can enjoy unleashed performance by installing an OWC 6G SSD into the main drive bay of a 2011 MacBook Pro. The SATA 3.0 6Gb/s potential that has been tantalizingly close for so long is denied no longer!


  • Deos anyone know if OS X will be compromised if OS X is on the main bay, and there’s an unreliable sata3 connection on the optical bay (for a late 2011 17″)?

    Surely the main bay’s OS X performance won’t hang due to the drive in the optical bay?

    I suspect my ssd in the optical bay will work ok once it’s un-raid0’d from the main bay and is taking no part in OS X’s operatation. When i test the opti-drive it has no errors and a good read/write speed, just that OS X doesn’t like it.

  • This situation is pretty frustrating! I had no idea this problem existed with this model. I purchased a 2011 macbook pro second hand, had a new graphics chip reballed in place of the old one (to avoid the radeongate problem), and installed 16gb ram. All good so far. So then i purchased two ssds (a crucial 550 1tb, and samsung 850 pro 1tb). That’s when i realised i kept getting beachball hangs every so often and i was confused because it was a fresh install of osx. Once i searched around on the net i became aware of this whole problem with the optical sata connection :( … Now if i want to sell one of my ssds to replace with a sata 3gb one, i’ll lose like £100 value on a drive I’ve barely used.

    My samsung is in the main bay and the crucial in the optical bay. Crucial don’t do any software tools to change it to 3gb, and can’t find any info on the samsung. I tried to do a raid 0 set up to see if that helped but nothing, still get random beachballing. before i fitted the samsung, i had the crucial in the optical bay with OS X on it (nothing in the main bay). I went to the apple store to get a fresh osx on the samsung i’d just fitted and to format the crucial (hoping that this would stop the beachballing, thinking that it was beachballing ’cause OS X was on the optical bay drive). When i got there i decided to try raid0 first just incase it worked, but it started beachballing when i got home. So now i have another appointment in a week to format and un-raid the drives and re install mavericks just on the main bay drive. Hopefully osx won’t beachball. I’m hopeful because when i had osx on the optical bay (crucial m550) and nothing in the the main bay, speed tests showed a normal read write speed for that drive and it showed no read/write errors (only the odd occasional beachball). hopefully, hopefully, hopefully osx will function normally when on the main bay, and the crucial in the optibay as a secondary drive won’t effect it’s performance. If it doesn’t, well thats a whole lot of cash i just blew on an ssd. Utter poop this!

  • Hi
    Today I replaced my internal optical drive, with a optical caddy carrying a SanDisk 128G G25SDSSDP in a Macbook pro 8.1. (Early 2011 13-inch).
    My intention is to install a clean OSX Mountain Lion, and run all the programs on the SSD.
    So I decided to format the SSD first, but disk utility cannot format the drive? DU is reading the disk but simply cannot format it. So what to do now?
    The standard hdd is a 320 GB Serial ATA. The SSD is 6gb/s which should work with the Intel 6 series, so I don’t see why it should be a problem?

    • Hello Frederik,

      When formatting the new SSD you will want to follow these steps:

      1. Once you have opened “Disk Utility”, click on your new drive on the left-hand side to select it, then click on the “Partition” tab on the right. This will bring you to the partition screen, which is where you will partition and format the hard drive. Click on the “Volume Scheme” drop-down menu and select the number of partitions you want to create.

      2. Select the partition scheme you want to use. Click on “Options” at the bottom of the partition screen. Select “Apple Partition Map” and click “OK”.

      3.Select “GUID Partition Table”

      4. Enter the name you want to use for the drive. You can also change the format at this point if you want, but in most instances you will want to leave it as the default Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Now click “Apply” in the lower right-hand corner of the partition screen.

      5.You will see a message warning you that partitioning a disk will destroy all the information on it. Click “Partition” to continue with the process.

      You will see a progress bar. Once the partition process has finished, your newly-formatted drive will appear on your desktop. You have now completed formatting your drive.

      If you are still unable to format the drive, please contact SanDisk or OWC!

      • Hi again

        thanks for prompt reply!
        – I have already tried what you suggest but without success :-(

        When I try to create partition and format it – this message pops up;
        Formatting the file system failed.

  • BIG THANKS to the staff at OWC. I finally resolved my Optibay issues with their capable support. The SATA 2 WD Scorpio Black drive I installed in the Optibay was in fact a SATA 3 drive. It was just mis-marketed by Western Digital as being SATA 2. OWC hooked me up with a 1TB HGST drive that was pre-flashed and formatted to run at SATA 2 speeds. I popped it in today and have had a trouble free experience thus far. Thanks OWC!

  • I switched from a Crucial Sata III SSD to a Western Digital Sata II HDD in the Optibay/SuperDrive Slot. For some reason the negotiated link speed is still listed at 6 Gigabit. I get drive errors and it seems my problems have not been solved regarding the Optibay in my Late 2011 MacBook Pro 8,2. Can anyone tell me how to solve the issue and get the Negotiated Link speed to adjust to the Sata II drive in the Optibay?

    • It is possible that the Western Digital Drive being used is SATA III backwards compatible with SATA 3G. This would be causing drive errors. If you can please contact OWC we will be happy to troubleshoot this with you!

      • My Western Digital drive is model WD7500BPKT

        From everything I’ve read It’s a SATA 2 3Gb/s drive but the negotiated link speed will not adjust to the drive. It’s stuck at 6 Gigabit for some reason.

  • Hi, I’ve recently encountered this issue on Late 2011 13″ MBP. Looking at my setup, it seems odd compared to others listed here:

    The original SSD has a negotiated linkspeed of 3G, whereas the ‘optical drive’ where I now have a 2TB 6G drive has a negotiated linkspeed of 6G. Should I swap the drives around/will that solve my problem?
    Many thanks for any and all feedback.

    Intel 6 Series Chipset:

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


    Capacity: 121.33 GB (121,332,826,112 bytes)
    Model: APPLE SSD TS128C
    Revision: CJAA0201

    Intel 6 Series Chipset:

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

    Many thanks for any and all feedback.

    • Depending on your exact laptop, you may have a SATA II 3G SSD from the factory. With the details provided, it leads me to believe that this is the case. You will want to move the SSD to the optical bay and place the 6G 2TB drive into the main bay.

  • I’d like to echo Angelo Farina’s question. Is it possible to test the OptiBay Extreme and see whether it delivers on its promise of a stable 6Gb/s connection? I’d love to pop a faster second drive in my beloved late 2011 17″.

    • I purchased the OptiBay Extreme for my 2011 17″ MBP which had a 6GB/s link speed for the OptiBay and it resolved the stability issues for me. I have been running for over 6 months in a Raid 0 configuration with complete stability and descent performance.

      • Kevin do you have any tips this, I’d like to do the same configuration but I’ve read everywhere that though the Optibay is SATA 3 optimized that it flips to 3GB/s or is not recognized at all. I also wonder if you have Apple replace the logic board under the new warranty program for the 2011 MBP’s whether or not the updated logic board will correctly use the OptiBay at SATA 3.

      • Are you running two HD’s or SSD’s in RAID0 If the latter, is day to day performance noticably improved? I wonder if there’s a bottleneck elsewhere that negates the RAID0 speed vs. running two SSD’s (one 3G, one 6G)? Thanks!

  • I did just discover on the Internet that a new generation of Optibay, called Optibay Extreme, has been developed specifically for solving the issue of SATA3 operation on early 2011 and late 2011 MBPs…
    Can anyone confirm that this new Optibay Extreme caddy solves definitely the issue, allowing to mount two SATA3 SSD units, one in the main bay, and one in this new Optibay Extreme adaptor?

    • Just received and tried MCE optibay extreme in my late 2011 macbook pro with a HDD 7200 rpm 1 To 6 Gbps. I am using a SSD Crucial M4 256 Go in the main bay.
      I’ve tried everything, and did all tests I could. There is just no way to make the HDD run properly even though their “extreme” optibay. Wrote to MCE yesterday, still waiting for a reply..
      As it didn’t work for me I would NOT recommend it to any late 2011 macbook pro user.
      I finally downgraded my HGST HDD to 3 Gbps sata2 speed.. Buying that bay was such a waste : my former Storeva disk doubler cost 30$ when the mce optibay extreme cost like one hundred $ but they are now doing the same job. I will make you know if they ever will to answer me.

  • I hadn’t seen this post, rats! I have an early 2011 17″ macbook pro i7 (MacBookPro8,3). I replaced the boot drive with an SSD and moved my hybrid SSHD to the DVD caddy. It showed negotiated 6Gb/s.

    It now spontaneously disconnects or doesn’t show up in boot. Is this due to the chipset not supporting the faster drive completely? I have never experienced issues with the SuperDrive when it was installed.

    • The optical bay circuitry is not reliable for a 6Gb/s connection. This is why. the optical drive linked at 1.5Gb. The bay is solid for SATA II 3Gb/s use. But while it will link a device at 6Gb/s since it is connected to a 6Gb/s port on the logic board, the circuitry is not SATA 3.0 tested/certified. Apple didn’t worry about that since they only ship with a 1.5Gb/s optical in the bay.


      • Larry do you have any idea whether or not the updated logic boards that Apple is replacing under warranty will not utilize the Optibay at SATA 3 for the 2011 MBP ’15s and ’17s?

  • I’ve got the early 2011 mbp 13″, which I ordered with a 120 gb ssd when buying new. I have now bought a 1.5tb 5400 rpm sata III HGST drive to place in the opti bay. The disk Utility recognises the specific model of the drive but will not let me mount the drive, therefore I can’t read/write to the drive. Been searching for answers for a couple of days if youve got any tips?

    • Depending on your laptop, you may have a SATA II SSD from he factory. if that is the case, you’ll want to move that to the optical bay and place the 6G HGST drive into the main bay. Assuming the drive itself is good, it does should like your optical bay does not have the connectivity to properly support a 6Gb/s SATA III link and the solution is only using that bay with up to a 3Gb/s SATA II enabled drive. Most 2011 13′ MacBook Pros were okay for 6Gb/s in the main bay, but not all – and Apple doesn’t officially support anything other than the optical drive (which is 1.5Gb/s) being there so no help there. If nothing else I’d confirm via the main drive bay that the HGST is operating correctly. Hope this helps.

  • Is there a Sata 3G/bs drive over 1TB in size? I can’t seem to find one.

  • I just bought a Samsung 840 EVO ssd to put in my optical drive bay. I have a mid 2012 max book pro and wasn’t aware of the problems trying to boot from a 6gb/s drive. I will now have that ssd in my primary bay but sadly the drive it has replaced is a nice seagate momentus XT 750gb hybrid which ran nice and quick. I hadn’t intended to replace it. I tried it in the optical bay as well but it tried connecting at 6gb/s as well and wouldn’t boot.

    Is there anyway to make it run at 3gb/s?

    Thanks for the great articles and help,


  • would someone be able to help me tell if i could run a raid setup on on my Macbook pro using two 6GB/s HDs.

  • my hardware details are the following on
    Name: MacBook Pro
    Model Identifier: MacBookPro8,2
    Processor Name: Intel Core i7
    Processor Speed: 2.3 GHz

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

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

    Is there anyway I would be able to run a raid setup with two 6Gbs Hard Drives using both the main bay and the optical bay

    • Hello Pat,

      The MacBook Pro8,2 does not reliably support 6G drives in the optical bay. We do not recommend 6G drives in the optical bay because of this issue. Only a 3G drive should be installed in the optical bay, because of that there is no advantage of any RAID configuration between the two bays.

  • my hardware details for Intel 6 Series Chipset TOSHIBA MK5065GSXF on MBP15″ early 2011 say this:
    Vendor: Intel
    Product: 6 Series Chipset
    Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
    Negotiated Link Speed: 3 Gigabit
    Physical Interconnect: SATA
    Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported

    does this mean that my main bay supports sata III but only has a sata II hdd inside? and if so, would it be safe to put this hdd into the optical bay?

    • yes, this means your current drive is a SATA II (3G) drive. That will work perfectly in your optical bay. Having a SATA II drive in the optical bay will not affect the perform of a SSD in your main Bay.

  • Sorry one more question regarding MBP15″ Early 2011 – If I put a SATA II 3Gbs HDD into the optical bay and a SATA III 6Gbs into the Main Bay, will the SATA II of the optical bay affect the performance of the SSD?

  • Hi, just to be clear, am I not allowed to move the original hdd of my MBP 15″ Early 2011 from the main bay and into the Optical Bay so that I can make room for an SSD in the main bay? What will happen if I do so?

  • Just got my 6gb/s 240gb SSD in the mail but I have a 2011 macbook pro (8,2)… will this work ok if i move my current hard drive to the optical drive and install the SSD in the main bay? Or should I just get a 3gb/s SSD? is there a big difference between the 6gb/s and 3gb/s?

    • a 6Gb/s SSD will work perfectly in the main bay of your 2011 MacBookPro. You’ll want to make sure all computer updates are installed for best performance and reliability. The optical drive of the computer is what cannot handle 6Gb/s drives.

  • For those of you with sata3 (6gbps) optical bay controllers, and having unending problems getting your new hard drive (hdd) to be recognized by your early or late 2011 mbp (15″)… Go check out THE solution… IT WORKS. and no, I am not a spammer or an advertiser; I am an EX-frustrated 15″ MBP owner trying to add SDD to the main drive bay, and HDD to the optical bay.
    Using the fast 7K1000 1TB HGST, there is a boot loader (burn it to a CD and then boot from it) utility that will let you force the drive to run at 3Gbps (sata2)… THIS FIXES THE PROBLEM! Go here:


    Just a heads up: plug in a usb keyboard with function keys first… it works WAY better that way.

    • Hi Clay. OWC has long offered SATA 2.0 pre-configured HGST 2.5″ Drives, and still does. You can buy HGST 1TB 5400, 1TB 7200RPM, 1.5TB 5400RPM, and 500GB 7200RPM HGST HDDs in 3Gb/s mode from us, and we by default include them in our Data Doubler kits to prevent issue from the get go.

  • Hey guys, I found a solution on the internet. It is a little more sophisticated, as it required burning a Hitachi Feature Tool (DOS) to a CD and run that to change the speed of the SATA II. BUT IT WORKS!!! :)


  • I have an Early 2011 15″ MacBook Pro, model 8,2.

    I’m disappointed its optical bay won’t reliably support a 6Gb/sec transfer rate.

    Finding a 3Gb/sec SSD is very difficult, if not impossible. They’ve been phased out for the newer, faster revision.

    Is this correct? My Early 2011 15″ MacBook Pro, model 8,2 will not reliably support a 6Gb/sec SSD in its optical bay?

  • Macbook Pro 2011 SSD SATA III Drive fails AHT

    I have an Apple MacBook Pro “Core i7″ 2.3 17″ Early 2011 Specs

    Identifiers: Early 2011 17″ – BTO/CTO – MacBookPro8,3 – A1297 –

    My Samsung SSD 840 PRO Series 512Gb do not pass the Apple Hardware Test.
    I suspect that the Apple HDD original cable is the problem as :
    – the motherboard is brand new and I do not have the problem with my SATA II Apple SSD ;
    – it was a known problem (with SATA III drive) at launch and despite the EFI upgrade it seems that I still have the issue.

    What HDD cable part number is compatible with my machine and would fix this known problem ?

    How can I test the cable apart from the AHT ?

    What is the tool used to do the benchmark tests displayed in the thread main article ?

    Thanks for your help.

    • The 17” MacBook Pros from 2011 did have an internal problem that we found a solution to.

      If that doesn’t fix the issue, then it very well could be a degraded cable. Sometimes the cables built into a machine may not properly handle the higher speeds of a SATA III SSDs, but are fine with SATA II or mechanical drives. The AHT can give you an error with the drive when this happens, but is still your best bet to test the cable. If this is the case, a replacement cable should fix the issue. The part number you are looking for is 922-9823.

      The benchmark utility we used for that article is the DiskTester fill-volume test from diglloydTools.

      • Hello Alex,

        Thanks for Your answer.

        Just to let you know Your OWC shielding kit is sold out for almost 3 years now it.s mentionned as the bottom of the page you are referring to :

        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.

        I have ordered the new cable I’ll keep the community posted.
        In the meantime I’m going to test the drive with the software you used, I’ll post results as well.

  • I have read through most everything here but still am not positive.

    Is theere any way to put an SATA III 6Gb/s HDD into the optical bay port and have it function? Are there any updates that make this possible? Maybe upgrading to Mavericks?

    I am currently running OSX 10.8.5 on a Macbook Pro 8,2 15″.


  • I have a Macbook Pro 8,2 15″ 2.2ghz with 16gb ram running Mavericks, today I installed a SSD (it couldn’t be OWC since I live in Mexico, but your post was a must read to do it)so… I installed it in the optical bay port, and what was my surprise, it’s negotiated link speed was in fact 6GB!! so i’m really happy, maybe it was after all just an EFI update for it to support it. I did this so I can try a DIY fussion drive WITH bootcamp, as the problem with bootcamp and this config as i have read was that windows detects the optical bay drive as an external drive, and it does not support booting from external hardware as mac does, so not letting you boot.(since in a fussion drive bootcamp installs only in a partition in the HDD) so leaving my original 750gb disk in the primary bay was necessary, I´ll check this and keep you posted, maybe i’ll get the best of two worlds. :)

  • Apparenly these updates will not work with Mavericks (says not compatable with this system). SSDs drop the battery time from 6+ hours with a HD to 1.5 hrs with current SSDs making the SSD practically useless for battery operation.

  • Hi guys, I’m still having this problem with my MBP Early 2011 15″ (8,2).
    I have a Mercury Extreme 6G installed in the main drive bay.
    I’ve checked the firmware and I’m running MBP81.0047.27.
    When connected the drive will not show (I only get the drive not found error on power on).
    On the one occasion it did detect I was able to install Mavericks and it worked well until I put it to sleep. It seems it then dropped the drive connection and it beach-balled.
    Any advice?

    • We are sorry to hear about the issues. I would try both a SMC and a PRAM reset.

      SMC reset: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1411


      PRAM Reset:
      1) Start the machine while holding down the Option-Command-P-R keys

      2) Wait until you hear the 3rd startup chime, then let go of the keys and let the machine boot up.

      If you continue to experience an issue please contact our tech support. We’ve seen these kind of issues caused by a bad SATA cable in the computer, our tech support will be able to dive more in depth with you to help determine what the issue is.

  • I’m still experiencing frequent crashes when transferring large files from the 2nd hard drive.

    Here are my system specs:
    – Macbook pro 15″ mid-2012
    – OSX Mountain Lion (latest)
    – HGST 6GBS 1 TB (HTS721010A9E630, Revision JB0OA380).
    – Regular data doubler

    Crashes occurs no matter the drive’s format. At first I was experiencing these crashes and it was NTFS. Then I reformatted to HFS+ thinking it would be the solution be it wasn’t.

    How exactly can I narrow the issue down so I can find out if these crashes are due to faulty HDD, corrupt OS, Data Doubler kit, or even a setting option that should/should not be enabled?

  • Hey!

    So just to clarify, My late 2011 MacBook Pro will take a 6G SSD in the optical bay?
    And do I need to be using a specific OS or will Snow Leopard work just as well as Lion?

    Model Identifier: MacBookPro8,2

    Many Thanks,

  • Hello!

    Guys, I have a mid 2012 macbook pro 15″. (Macbook pro 9.1).

    I have a HGST 1tb on the optical bay and Im experiencing unnmounts and random crashes when transferring data.

    I believed my macbook pro model supported the 6gbs link? Or am I wrong?

    After-all everyone but 13″ users have to put 3gbs drives on the optical bay, no matter the mac’s revision or release year, is that it?

    • Our testing with those machines has found that the optical bay in the 15” MacBook Pro from 2012 worked from day one, though the 13” model had performance and reliability trouble. Since then, the 13” model received an EFI update from that fixed the issues it was having.

      Here is the article with our initial results.
      Here is the article concerning the update to the 13” model.

      If the drive is unmounting and crashing, it is likely another issue is causing this. Please contact our tech support by phone, e-mail, or chat for help with this issue. Tech support is open from 8am-8pm cst weekdays and 9am-4pm cst Saturday.

      Phone: 800-275-4576

  • Well, I seem to be having this problem. For the most part my Late 2011 MBP (macbook8,1) is blazing fast thanks to http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/1333DDR3S16P/ and http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Mercury_Extreme_Pro_6G/, but around every 30 seconds or so, while whitching programs or just using the computer as normal I get a lot of momentary freezes and the beach ball.

    Here is the full System Information screenshot: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/74442973/ATA_Info.png

    Any ideas? I’m running OSX 10.9.1

    • This freezing could be a number of different things. It would be best to first check the memory by running Rember. Rember will let you know if the memory has any faults. If Rember finds no errors and the issue persists then I would try both a SMC and a PRAM reset.

      SMC reset: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1411


      PRAM Reset:
      1) Start the machine while holding down the Option-Command-P-R keys

      2) Wait until you hear the 3rd startup chime, then let go of the keys and let the machine boot up.

      If Rember alerts you to issues with the memory or your issue persists please contact our Tech Support.

  • Hi Guys,

    I have a macbook pro 8.3 17 inch. Running 10.6.8. I have installed the data doubler with no problems. 480 6g Electra in the original apple hard drive bay and 1.5tb 5400rpm drive in the optical bay.

    When I boot up with the above setup, The computer loads, but it I am unable to click the trackpad or use the keyboard…

    If I disconnect the optical bay and boot up, it works with no problems. If I reconnect the optical bay it also works fine.

    Any ideas what the problem could be? I have tried firmware updates, but they are all the latest versions.

    If anyone could please help me, I am in desperate need to get this sorted.

    Thank you

    • You’ll need to check to see if the 1.5TB 5400RPM drive is 6G or 3G. The 6G connectivity issue in the optical bay is not limited to SSDs, it exists with HDDs as well. If the drive is a 6G drive you will want to switch to a 3G drive.

  • I have a data doubler and a Hitachi SATA III drive in the optical bay of my 2011 MBP (unfortunately I purchased it before the link negotiation issues came to light). I’m using the disk to dual boot Windows. Strangely, dual booting into the windows partition on the Hitachi works, but when I start OS X on my main drive it says the Hitachi hasn’t been initialized (even though it sees the partitions on the disk when I look at system report). So while I can dual boot, the Mac partition on the second drive is inaccessible.

    My question is whether or not there is a way to force the drive in the optical bay port to negotiate a link speed lower than 6Gb. Would that resolve the issue? If so, how would I go about doing that?

    • There is no way to force the computer to run at 3G in the optical bay. You could check with Hitachi to see if they have a firmware tool to force the drive to negotiate at 3G rather than 6G.

      • If only – would be great if way to force the link to 3Gb/s instead of 6Gb – but not possible other than to use a 3Gb/s drive. There is no end user firmware solution update either. Best bet is to return the 1TB standard 6Gb/s drive for a 3Gb/s drive – and we also offer the HGST 7200RPM custom update to 3Gb/s here:

        hope that helps – sorry not an alternative fix. Believe me – would much rather have a solution to simply drop that bay to a 3Gb/s link.

  • Hello
    My boot firmware reads as “MBP81.0047.B27″, so if I understand this correctly ( please inform me If I “do not” get it ) that I can use a 6G in main but would be best served by a 3G in the optical bay.

    Early 2011 MBP 17″

    • Hi Terence. The best way to know if you have a 3G or 6g drivers is to click on the apple icon on the top left of your screen and select: ABOUT THIS MAC. Once the little information window pops up, select: “More Info…” Another window will pop up and you’ll have to select “System Report…” Within this window, and under the “HARDWARE” section, click on: “SERIAL-ATAT” Here you will be able to see a Serial-ATA Device Tree. Most likely you’ll have two devices to select. Select each one and see what it says for: Link Speed and Negotiated Link Speed.
      If they both happen to say 3 Gigabit for Negotiated Link Speed, you’ll be limited to 3 Gigabit Sata SSDs. Hope this helps out. There may be an easier way of doing all of this but this is how I’ve known how to check and have doing it for years now.

    • The MacBookPro8,3 that you own will work perfectly with a 6G in the main bay, however you should NOT use a 6G in the optical bay. Only install a 3G drive into your optical bay.

  • Thanks for the continued coverage on this topic. I’ve been following it off and on since you’ve first started covering it (I just couldn’t afford an SSD back then). I have an Early 2011 Core i7 2.0 GHz Macbook pro that’s registering both SATA compartments (Main Bay and Optical Bay) as 6 Gigabit Controllers. I initially had a HDD in the optical bay with the OWC Data Doubler which died in the hands of Apple’s repair center. I purchased a Toshiba Q-Seires Drive yesterday, installed it in replacement of my HDD and benchmarked it with Black Magic’s Disk Speed Test and seem to be getting a consistent (401Mb/s Write) and (496Mb/s Read) on the drive. Package states 6Gig speeds at 501 and 552.
    Am I one of the lucky ones or is this a recipe for disaster down the life of this new SSD I installed?

    Thanks in Advance

    • Also, something I didn’t mention before. I’m having issues waking up my SSD from sleeping/clamshell closing running my operating system: MAC OS 10.8.5
      I went through the whole disabling hibernation and deep sleep and still no success. I used carbon copy to transfer my HDD files onto my SSD. Anyone have experience with this? I’m considering updating to Mavericks but I want to make sure I’m not missing any steps to remedy this before I do.

  • The web page of Toshiba 1.5TB Aquarius Hard Disk Drive says


    -“Only the MacBook White Unibody Late 2009 / Mid 2010, 13″ or 15″ MacBook Pro Unibody (2008-2012), and 17″ MacBook Pro (2006-2011) models can accommodate a 12.5mm tall drive. For PC owners consult system specifications for maximum allowable drive height before attempting to install. (See compatibility tab for more info)”

    -“This drive is NOT recommended for use in Macbook or MacBook Pro Optical Bays via a Data Doubler.”


    What is the reason why it is not recomened for Optical Bay via Data Doubler? I thought it was okay to put practically any SATA 3.0Gb/s drive there as long as it is 3.0 Gb/s and the Aquarius specs say it is a 3.0 Gb/s drive. Is there some other issue than the mentioned 6.0 Gb/s problem.

    I have a Macbook Pro 17 late 2011 (8.3 model) and am hoping I can have large internal drives for video editing on the road. 2 x 1.5 Tb would be awesome.

  • Any updates on the progress of the possible maybe solution OWC is working on that might solve the optical bay not being able to run SATA 6.0 gbps?

  • Ok, now I am confused. Just bought the Data Doubler without realizing this optical bay SATA problem existed. I have an early 2011 MBP 13″ (MacBookPro8,1). From the above article, it seems to imply that the 13″ MBPs don’t have an optical bay SATA problem at 6Gbps while the 15 & 17″ models do. Is this true? Can I put a new 6Gbps HDD into my optical bay or do I need to used the original HDD which is 3Gbps?

    • While Apple does not support the use of 6Gb/s drives in the optical bay on any of the models, we have observed a high rate of success using SATA 3.0 6Gb/s drives in Apple 13″ bays where 6Gb/s link is present.
      For guaranteed reliability/compatibility, we suggest 6Gb/s drives be used in the main drive bay, and 3Gb/s hard drives or SSDs be used in the optical bay when a two-drive configuration is desired.
      Since you have one of each, I’d suggest using the 6Gbps drive in the main bay and the 3Gbps drive in the optical, just for the guaranteed operability. On the other hand, if you plan on upgrading the 3Gbps drive down the road – might be best to check now if your 13″ machine will handle the 6Gbps drive in the optical. Just makes sure you have a working backup before you do.

      • Thanks for the response.

        My thought was to put a new SSD in the old HDD location and a new 1TB HDD in the optical position. Any new drive will of course come with SATA 6G.

        How could you tell if you are going to have a problem with SATA 6G in the optical bay? Does it show up quickly in the form of disk error messages? Or is it more intermittent where it won’t happen for days/weeks?

        • Please note that we offer HGST 1TB 2.5″ Drives with 3Gb/s configuration:

          These drives will work in any of the 2011 model optical bays, linking at 3Gb/s SATA 2.0, and operate without issue.

          As for the systems that we have noted are not 6Gb/s stable with drives in the optical bay – first off, while the degree issue has some variance from system to system… it takes little time to see the issue. At worst, won’t get past the initialization stage. More typically – performance is highly erratic with data rates dropping to zero/near zero to drive peak with a net performance that is very low and real risk to data reliability from actual bus drop off. Also seen, more mildly, stable operation – but with a data rate of under 20MB/s.

          There is very minimal benefit from running a hard drive via SATA 3.0 vs. SATA 2.0. No hard drive today sustains data rates exceeding the 300MB/s ceiling SATA 2.0 3Gb/s provides and few peak above even SATA 1.0 150MB/s. Unless you have a model that is noted as 6Gb/s A-OK in the opti-bay, there is virtually no upside and all downside for putting a 6Gb/s drive in that bay.

          The issues are not intermittent days apart -they are real time.

          Hope this helps!

          • Larry,

            I decided to take the experimental approach. I put a SATA III SSD (a 90GB Corsair GT that I took out of an old PC to use as my Guinea pig) into your Data Double product and then installed it on my MBP 13″ early 2011 machine. Then to try it out the SSD, I copied my VMware virtual machine files on that new disk. VMware Fusion is a disk intensive program and so far there seems to be no problems. I will continue testing for a week or so. But I guess what you wrote was that the early 2011 MBP “13 with the Intel SATA controllers are known to be good so it should work. Is this right?

            On a separate note, I just ordered the “OWC Mercury Elite Pro eSATA, FireWire 400/800 & USB 3.0/2.0/1.1 Kit”. This is the package that includes the software bundle. After ordering it I learned that your software description of the SpeedTools OEM version is incorrect. This page describes the bundled software is: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/solutions/software_bundle/. On this page is says “Repair Broken Aliases” under what is clearly labeled as the OEM version of SpeedTools. But I later found out that the OEM version does not fix broken aliases. Fixing aliases is my only reason for getting SpeedTools. If I had know that the OEM version did not do this then I would not have ordered it, but would have gotten the full version of SpeedTools – which I now have to order separately with additional shipping and time delay. Meanwhile I have a bunch of broken aliases to fix manually… I suggest you fix your description of this software bundle on your website.

      • You mentioned that either place a 3G HDD or an SSD in the Optibay…but how about if the SSD is a 6G – SATA III? ‘Will it cause any problems?


        • The issue that we note with the 15″ and 17″ models is with 6Gb/s drives – SSD and HD – when attempted in the optical bay. As noted, the SATA connectivity in this bay was not engineered to meet the requirements for reliable 6Gb/s SATA 3.0 operation – despite Apple connecting to the 6Gb/s motherboard port. Apple didn’t need to worry about that though since the optical drive they factory install only needs 1.5Gb/s link and doesn’t matter what the port can link up to.

          That all said – the optical bay in the affected is AOK / 100% fine for SATA 2.0 / 3Gb/s drives. While SATA 6Gb/s drives will attempt to link at 6Gb/s even though the connection is no good for it, the SATA 2.0 drives of course link at 3Gb/s and the connectivity in the bay fully meets 3Gb/s SATA spec requirements.

          For reliable operation – only install a SATA 2.0 3Gb/s drive model (SSD or HD) into that bay.

  • I currently have a 6G OWC SSD in my main bay and a 3G OWC SSD in my optical bay for my 15″ MBP Late 2011 i7. Will my overall performance increase if I switch to a raid striping of 2 x 3G OWC SSDs in both main and optical bays?

    To double check, should I only use a 3G drive in my optical bay even if it says:

    Link Speed: 6 Gigabit
    Negotiated Link Speed: 3 Gigabit

    • RAID Striping 2x3G SSDs over the Main and Optical bay would not provide an overall performance increase compared to the 6G SSD running in your main bay. You would be able to see both disks as one volume but there would not be a performance increase.

      The optical bay of the late 2011 MBP models only support a SATA Revision 2.0 (3Gb/s) ie. a 3G SSD. Placing a 6G SSD in the optical bay may result in even slower speeds than a 3G drive or drive inconsistencies.

    • Peak performance of a RAID set of our 3G SSDs x 2 vs. a single 6G is pretty similar / little to gain in the real world.

      Now – in terms of application performance, if you are working largely with incompressible data types in heavy processing scenarios that output the incompressible data to the target drive set, there is some room for benefit there if you had RAID of 3G x 2.

      If you could give specifics of what your using the MacBook Pro for – I can give a better, more detailed response on this matter.

      You definitely do not want to put a 6G drive into your 15″ optical bay. A 6G drive will link or attempt to link at 6Gb/s in your optical bay. The optical bay is not reliable for 6Gb/s operation in that 15″ 2011 and typically the result of attempting such is either non-function and/or highly unstable data transfer rates that average well below what you get with a properly operating 3Gb/s drive.

      • This is a hot topic of conversation! I’m an old member of the xlr8yourmac forums from back in the day and man I’ve never seen a topic so talked to death. Props to OWC team for providing such great guidance. Every time like its the first time.

      • Thanks for the replies! Here’s more detail on how I currently work on my Mac:

        Main Bay – 120GB OWC SSD Electra 6G
        – OS and Applications

        Optical Bay – 240GB OWC SSD Electra3 3G
        – All data files

        I currently use my computer for photography and work with very large digital files – Hasselblad 50 Megapixel files and Canon DSLR files. I shoot connected to the laptop and the files go straight to the Data drive.

        I am now looking into upgrading my Main Bay drive to a 240GB/480GB Mercury Extreme Pro 6G where I will shoot all the photography files of the current job into. Will the Extreme Pro 6G give a performance boost compared to my Electra 6G because I shoot raw digital photography files because of the faster “Incompressible Data Rate”?

        Thank you and I’m looking forward to your detailed response :)

        • The boost will come when you go to process and store those files in a compressed format – if you ultimately are doing so. RAW and RAW/TIFF image formats include zero or very little compressed data, so – the top end performance for writing this kind of data is very similar between the Extreme Pro 6G and Electra 6G. If you are doing editing and conversion post capture where you output to JPEG or other compressed image format, for this portion the Extreme offers a substantial benefit.

          Happy to answer addition questions and hope the above is helpful.

  • Hi,

    I have purchased a 1tb seagate sshd from you and was unaware of this issue.

    I have a data doubler, and wish to use it as a secondary disk, but the SSHD is rated at 6gb/s.

    Is there a way to force the disk to negotiate and operate at 3gb/s link speed? I’m cool with having the SSHD operating at this speed.

    A tweak to Mac OS X, or the Eli, or a jumper, or SMART command?

    • If there was a way to force the bay to negotiate only up to 3Gb/s – would have been a great option. Unfortunately, Apple does not allow this kind of control / locks such access out vs. the open bios/efi equiv on the PC side of the fence.

      We are actually able to offer special 3Gb/s SATA 2.0 firmware models of some HGST Drive models such as these:

      but no such option currently for controlling the same on Seagate drives.

      At this time we do not have any field deployable solution in general to overcome the signal limitations (of Apple’s optical bay SATA implementation) that prevent reliable 6Gb/s drive use in that bay or to force the bay itself to be limited to 3Gb/s link (Apple restricted within EFI).

      Apple never intended, advertised, or suggested that this bay would support 6Gb/s SATA operation – but would have been nice if they’d simply limited it to the 3Gb/s link capability its design implementation is reliable to. Nothing we can do there though and have noted such from the beginning including in data doubler information.

      if the drive in your main bay is 3Gb/s – the best option is to put that drive into the optical bay location and use 6Gb/s only in the main bay. if both drives are 6Gb/s, only solution is to go to a different 3Gb/s drive for the optical bay to support additional storage sought.

  • Hey Guys, I have a 2011 MBP 17′, 3Gbps in the optibay. Can any shielding solve this? I’ve seen a post here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1570602

    What do you think about it? Can OWC come up with a solution? It has been 2 years now since this issue is going on.

    • While we still have a possibility being explored, at present there is not a field deployable solution for 6Gb/s reliability in the noted 2011 17″ and 15″ MacBook Pro models.

  • Hi

    I have a MacBook Pro 17 early 2011. Yesterday i bought a OWC doubler here, and i just wondering, ite any issue if a get me orginal mac HDD in the OWC doubler into the Opticalbay then have a SSD disk in the Mainbay for the OSx and apps.

    The SSD i have bought is a Samsung 6 GB/s speed. My Macbook pro model is 8,3 with 2.2 GHz processor.

    Intel 6 Series Chipset:

    Link Speed​​: 6 Gigabit
       Negotiated Link Speed​​: 3 Gigabit.

    So please tell me after i read this post am very doubfull about its woking?

    • Installing the SSD in the main hard drive bay will work as long as you’ve performed the firmware update. Then, as long as the original HDD is reporting as a SATA Revision 2.0 (3.0Gb/s) drive, all should be good for your planned setup.

      • Hey Larry, I’ve got a MacBook Pro 8,3 early 2011 running 10.8.5 and my system can’t access an SSD in the main slot. I’ve downloaded the 2.3 firmware update in hopes of that sorting it out but when I try to run it, it says “the software is not supported on your system.”

        Any ideas why this is happening?

  • The firmware updates we release go through a testing process before we release them to ensure that no new issues are created. We recommend to install the latest firmware when available. While we recommend updating, that does not mean it is required. If any issues ever develop on a SSD, checking to make sure the firmware is up to date is always a great first step in troubleshooting. In most troubleshooting instances updating the firmware is required.

    This blog applies only to 2011 MacBook Pros SATA speed issues. The Intel Motherboard you linked should not have any SATA 6.0Gb/s issues.

    We recommend that you update the firmware on your OWC SSD. Our Windows firmware updater can be found here – http://eshop.macsales.com/tech_center/OWC/SSD/PC

  • If no release notes are to be displayed as per SandForce. Then, how do I know if I need this update or not for my Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 240GB running under windows. Should I download it or not? All the comments states that it enables the 6G speeds in Mac environment. What about Windows??
    In a perfect world it’s always better to download the new firmware for SSDs. In my experience I found some new firmwares to be problematic “happened many times on NON OWC drives”.
    I got this drive in the summer & it rocks. It outperformed my OCZ & Samsung drives; it’s stable & the most important thing is that this drive maintains it’s Out Of Box performance. OWC drives simply are the best.

    So should I go for this firmware under the following environment:
    MB: Intel DX79SI
    CPU: I7 3820
    RAMS: Corasair Platinum 16GB
    Drives: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 240GB “main boot drive”
    Running Windows 7 SP1 64bit