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…
While the MacBook Pro with Retina Display has been getting a lot of press around here lately, the real unsung hero of WWDC 2012’s new Macs is the MacBook Pro 15”.
Though it’s lacking the thinner profile and high-resolution screen, the 2012 MacBook Pros offer two things that the Retina Display model doesn’t which mean everything to performance: an optical drive and a standard SATA hard drive.
Those two components themselves aren’t particularly great; the platter-based hard drive is a dog-slow 5400rpm and nobody seems to use their optical drives any more. The real potential here comes, not from the components, but from the space they occupy.
The hard drive is easily replaced, and replacing it with an OWC 6G SSD is a natural upgrade path for those looking to max out their performance. The bay will handle SATA Revision 3.0’s 6Gb/s speeds just dandily. It’s the optical bay, though, that really opens up possibilities. Article Continues…
While the both the new Macbook Airs and the MacBook Pro with Retina Display have new, custom connectors for their SSDs, the updated 2012 13” and 15” MacBook Pros continue to use industry standard SATA drives for their storage. That’s great news for upgrading; it means you can install an OWC Mercury Electra 6G or Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD in the main drive bay and get the amazing performance boost that comes from an OWC Solid State Drive.
There’s also an optical drive in these models. It’s obvious Apple is moving away from the optical drive as a media source; they’ve removed it completely from both the Air and now the 2012 MBP Retina models. You can do the same with the standard MacBook Pros, except you can put something even more useful in its place: more storage! The OWC Data Doubler, allows you install any 9mm or narrower 2.5” SSD or platter-based drive in the optical bay, and fits without issue in the 2012 MacBook Pros.
You may recall the problems people had using 6Gb/s SSDs in the optical bay of some 2011 MacBook Pros, so we did some preliminary tests this time around, too. We’re happy to say that the 15” model can take a 6Gb/s drive in either bay. Unfortunately, we can’t recommend using a 6Gb/s drive in the optical bay of the 13” model at this time. In our testing, we found the 6Gb/s performance of the bay to be very poor. The 3Gb/s models work with no problems, though, so you can still put a high-capacity drive in the optical bay and put the super-fast 6G SSD in the main drive bay, where it’ll work just fine.
We will be reviewing options to resolve the problem in the 13″ 6Gb/s optical bay , just as we are continue to do so with the similar issue affecting the 2011 MacBook Pro 15″/17″ models.
Speaking of new Macs and what can/can’t be upgraded, stay tuned for our coverage on the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
ADDENDUM: Independent sources confirm Data Doubler and our 6G Extreme as offering incredible dual drive performance: http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2012/20120708_2-MacBookPro15-dual-6G-ports.html
UPDATE – 9/20/2012
Good News! Apple released EFI Update 2.9 for MacBook Pro (Mid 2012), which appears to have resolved this issue! We’re locking down the comments here. All the coverage and comments are now concentrated here.
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!
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. Article Continues…