When the 2012 MacBook Pros were released, we found that SATA 3.0 SSDs—such as the OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G and the Mercury Electra 6G—exhibited poor performance and reliability in the 13-inch model when installed in the optical bay via an OWC Data Doubler, while the same SSDs in the 15-inch model worked just fine.
This was similar to what happened in 2011, where (ironically enough) the 13-inch models were the only ones able to handle our Mercury 6G SSDs in the optical bay at first. Eventually, though, an Apple firmware update resolved the problems in the 15-inch and 17-inch models in the main drive bay.
As it turns out, the same thing happened to the 2012 models. Yesterday’s EFI Update 2.9 for MacBook Pro appears to have fixed the problem. Article Continues…
It turns out that Apple wasn’t content to simply release iOS 6 yesterday; Many OS X users were treated to updates as well. Granted, many of these updates added more interoperability with iOS 6, but each of these updates also addressed ongoing problems too, so you may want to update your Mac, even if you’re not planning on moving to iOS 6.
So, let’s take a look at what was updated.
- iOS 6 – This was the biggie for the day. See yesterday’s article for more info.
- OS X 10.8.2 – A bunch of little updates, including Facebook sharing integration, Power Nap support for the Late 2010 MacBook Air, and a number of iOS 6 interoperability options.
- OS X 10.7.5 – Lion users got an actual “point” upgrade, too. The most notable upgrade here is the addition of Apple’s Gatekeeper security feature.
- Security Update 20012-004 – 10.6.x Users also got at least a little something; a general security update that covered updates for 10.7.5 and 10.8.2
- Safari 6.0.1 – This adds some security measures to protect against maliciously-coded Web pages. It’s not a separate download; it’s currently only available when updating to 10.8.2 or 10.7.5
- Aperture 3.4 - This adds Shared Photo Stream support, along with other functionality and performance updates.
- iPhoto 9.4 - adds Share Photo Stream support, enhanced Facebook capabilities, new themes, and other improvements.
- Xcode 4.5 – This added 10.8 and iOS 6 SDKs, as well as other workflow updates.
- There are also a number of firmware updates. While there’s often a list of what this firmware addresses, there are often other “undocumented bonuses” to a firmware update, so you may want to upgrade anyway. You never know what kinds of extra performance benefits Apple may unofficially add, so if you’ve got one of these machines, it’s probably in your best interest to update:
And while you’re running software updates, if you’ve got Microsoft Office 2008 or 2011, you may want to hit their updater as well, as both versions just got bumped up a little. 2008 consists mostly of stability updates, while 2011 gets Retina graphics support, as well as several updates to Outlook.
In case you missed it, we released a new firmware update for our SSD line yesterday. At the same time, we’ve been running tests to determine if there was any impact on performance.
Well, there is a bit of an effect in that this latest revision seems to smooth out the performance of the drive, lessening the variance in write performance considerably.
It’s probably just easier to show you.
We tested a 240GB OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD using the DiskTester diglloyd Tools both before and after the firmware update, and got these results.
As you can see, read rates stay right around the same speed and variance, but take a look at how much less varied the write rates have become after the update. You’ll also notice that while the variance has narrowed, it has narrowed toward the faster range. Now the minimum speed is right around the level that used to be considered the middle-0f-the road for this drive; it’s now slightly faster.
Granted, this increase in speed isn’t likely to be perceptible to most users – you’d have to be writing files in the multi-gigabyte range just to see a couple of seconds shaved off. However, the stabilization of and increase of write speeds may be an additional benefit if you choose to upgrade your firmware.
Other World Computing announced today it has released a new firmware version—MP5.0.1—to deliver optimum performance and stability from its industry-leading, SandForce Driven Mercury Solid State Drive line when installed in the latest Macs and PCs. The GUI driven, Mac experience friendly and bootable updater for Solid State Drives is freely available from OWC for use exclusively with OWC Mercury Extreme Pro, Mercury Electra, and Mercury Aura Pro SSD models.
The Only Mac Friendly Update Experience
OWC’s proprietary firmware updater, now available with support for all of Apple’s latest Mac models, as well as nearly all prior machines, eliminates the need for a PC, ownership of Windows or other operating system, or the creation of a specially designated drive partition that many SSD updaters have required. Mac users only need to download the updater from OWC’s site, obtain and burn a DVD, and then boot from that DVD to launch an easy to use, point and click GUI for installing the latest firmware revision to their OWC Mercury SSD. OWC’s Mac-friendly firmware updater continues OWC’s unmatched firmware update support for Mac users of SandForce-based SSDs. OWC also provides update support for PCs running the Windows or Linux OS.
“We recognized SSDs would be an ever-evolving product, so we made it our priority to ensure users of OWC Mercury brand SSDs would immediately be able to utilize the benefit from any hardware and/or firmware updates,” said Larry O’Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing. “As such, this latest firmware update is quick, easy and performed with no guesswork or doubt via the only point and click Mac-friendly updater; as well as standard upgrade packages for Windows and Linux Operating System users.”
Friday, October 14th, 2011 | Author: OWC Grant
About a month ago, we talked about how MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.2 “secretly” resolved problems that 2011 MacBook Pros were having with 6.0Gb/s SATA performance.
Since we posted about the fix, we’ve been hearing from customers that some firmware updates are not fully completing… even though it appears that it is. These failed updates offered no indication that the update didn’t complete.
So a bit of sleuthing on our behalf turned up the culprit. When installing the update using Software Update, the installer informs you that it is recommended that you plug in your MacBook Pro to working power source while installing. This makes sense – the one time you don’t want your battery to go out is when running a firmware update.
However, if you download the update via its Apple KnowledgeBase page, though, the description there states that you must have your MacBook Pro connected to the power connector for installation.
From all the reports we’ve seen, it would appear that the KnowledgeBase instructions are the more accurate or at least more specific. Connecting the power supply while updating your firmware isn’t a recommendation; it’s a requirement.
Taking that requirement mindset even further is that when installing any firmware update on any Mac notebook, make sure you have it connected to its wall outlet power adapter before you start the update. Then, after running the updater, check the Hardware Overview screen in System Profiler and see if the the correct new Boot ROM or SMC version number for the update you’re running is present. If you still have the old version, then you will need to run the update again.
Naturally, this connect to power requirement is already solved for desktop machine users. But if you can think of a way to update a desktop machine like an iMac, Mac Pro, or mini without being connected to power, we’d like to hear about it!