17" 2011 Quad with a 6g SSD from OWC, shielding it

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MrFlynn, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. MrFlynn macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2010
    I wanted to post my experience with the 17" Quad 2.3 installing a 120 gig 6g SSD from OWC. When I purchased the drive, I wasn't aware that there were issues using the Sata3 channel in the primary (or secondary) bay. I was installing this in the primary bay to replace the 750 gig drive. FYI this machine has already been upgraded to 8 gigs of ram.

    I installed the SSD with very little difficulties. FYI, Apple has done a great job making this installation easier and easier over the last few revisions of the MacBook Pro. The latest model makes drive removal/replacement a snap, using one fixed bracket on top instead of two. The design was really clean.

    Once I installed the drive, I installed a clean image of Lion and was having intermittent beach balling problems. The drive itself was fast, but the beach balling was driving me nuts. I even wiped it and started over before I started checking out the forums and discovered a known issue using Sata3 on the 17" units.

    My system was purchased the day the units were released, so its the earliest of the early units.

    OWC sells a shielding kit for ten bucks that basically wraps the Sata3 ribbon connector in an attempt to shield it from EMI coming from the battery (directly next to the HD.) For fun, I opened the system last night and shielded the ribbon cable myself using Aluminum Foil. The ribbon has several elbows, and I wrapped one segment to the end of the elbow, then the next segment, etc. I reinstalled the drive and rebooted.

    I have used the system for about twelve hours and haven't had a problem since. The system was beach balling several times every ten minutes. Now the system feels much more responsive. It was booting in about 25 seconds before I shielded it. Now it boots in 11.

    So far so good. :apple:
  2. bb426 macrumors 6502


    Jun 7, 2011
    I have an urge to do this with my 15" MBP, but I'm not sure whether or not it will help. I'm having the same issue with my SSD beach balling pretty often (it's not the drive, I swapped it with a brand new one and I'm having the same issues).

    How did you shield it with foil? You have any guides that worked for you online? I would look but I am on my way to my next class :p
  3. Kal~El macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    I don't have a SSD (yet) but have this problem with the hard drive.
    Would this work for the hard drive?
  4. madonionrings macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2007
    Not sure the shielding is actually the root of the issue. A little more research will help shed some more light on this... Seems to be a problem with the SATA controller itself on certain models. Theories are out there regarding voltage variation and this causing problems with the strict nature of SATA 3 spec.
  5. clutchm3 macrumors 6502


    Aug 9, 2011
    Read my thread here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1212504

    I was worried about the SSD not working on me but I installed it straight off the bat with the shielding kit and have not really experienced beachball problems. They do come up occasionally on heavy programs such as Avid but I feel it is understandable. Have you done a disk benchmark yet? Use black magic disk speed check from apple store and post it up. If our results match then you should be fine :cool:
  6. madonionrings macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2007
    How are errors understandable? If there is no issue with the drive / interface you should see 0 issues. I couldn't accept a situation where my drive would crash in the middle of an AE / PS project or FCP.

    The bottom line is this is a quality control or technical issue Apple really needs to address. Accepting something that is only partially working won't help this process along.
  7. clutchm3 macrumors 6502


    Aug 9, 2011
    Relax when I say beachball problems that does not mean errors. That means I am rendering/loading a crapload of stuff in the project file. Avid takes an immense amount of power and it is nothing intensely noticeable. :rolleyes:

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