2011 17" MBP supports 6Gbps SATA

darwin022

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Original poster
Oct 4, 2005
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I got curious after checking System Profiler on my new 17" MBP (2.2Ghz, basically the model you could walk into a brick and mortar Apple store and purchase today). It claimed the following:

Code:
Intel 6 Series Chipset:

  Vendor:	Intel
  Product:	6 Series Chipset
  Link Speed:	3 Gigabit
  Negotiated Link Speed:	3 Gigabit
Came home, pulled the 256Gbps C300 SSD out of my gaming rig, threw it in the second slot of the MBP (where the useless optical drive goes stock), it still reported 3Gbps SATA. Sort of expected, it's just for the optical drive.

Switched things around and put the C300 in the Primary slot... It gets reported as 6Gbps. Unfortunately, it's currently formatted to NTFS. I'm going to back my data up now and reformat it to test. I've got an OWC 240GB SSD arriving tomorrow morning, so that should make for some fun benchmark comparisons.
Code:
Intel 6 Series Chipset:

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

C300-CTFDDAC256MAG:

  Capacity:	256.06 GB (256,060,514,304 bytes)
  Model:	C300-CTFDDAC256MAG                      
  Revision:	0001    
  Serial Number:	0000000013370MGWTF
  Native Command Queuing:	Yes
  Queue Depth:	32
  Removable Media:	No
  Detachable Drive:	No
  BSD Name:	disk0
  Medium Type:	Solid State
  TRIM Support:	No
  Partition Map Type:	MBR (Master Boot Record)
  S.M.A.R.T. status:	Verified
Whichever wins, stays in the new MBP :D I did a bunch of searching for this today, but since no one seemed to have tried or posted, I had to try for myself :)
 

vipergts2207

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2009
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Columbus, OH
I got curious after checking System Profiler on my new 17" MBP (2.2Ghz, basically the model you could walk into a brick and mortar Apple store and purchase today). It claimed the following:

Code:
Intel 6 Series Chipset:

  Vendor:	Intel
  Product:	6 Series Chipset
  Link Speed:	3 Gigabit
  Negotiated Link Speed:	3 Gigabit
Came home, pulled the 256Gbps C300 SSD out of my gaming rig, threw it in the second slot of the MBP (where the useless optical drive goes stock), it still reported 3Gbps SATA. Sort of expected, it's just for the optical drive.
That's very disconcerting. They used SATA III for the HDD, which is great, but used the bad SATA II ports for the optical drive? So basically eventually everyones optical drive will stop working or even worse for people with optibay, their HDD's will no longer work in that slot.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,898
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Inside
That's very disconcerting. They used SATA III for the HDD, which is great, but used the bad SATA II ports for the optical drive? So basically eventually everyones optical drive will stop working or even worse for people with optibay, their HDD's will no longer work in that slot.
Why would the SATA II ports make the HDDs stop working?

Very few SSDs/HDDs on the market as of now use the full SATA II speed, let alone SATA III. Why would it matter to people if their ODD bay has SATA II?
 

idea_hamster

macrumors 65816
Jul 11, 2003
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Why would the SATA II ports make the HDDs stop working?

Very few SSDs/HDDs on the market as of now use the full SATA II speed, let alone SATA III. Why would it matter to people if their ODD bay has SATA II?
The issue underlying the Intel chipset debacle was that the SATA II ports were shown to exhibit statistically significant early failure rates. It may not affect light users or all heavy users, but it was bad enough that Intel agreed to take them all back and resell them subject to an agreement to not use the SATA II ports.

A number of SSDs on the market max out SATA II and more are on the way -- soon it will be yesterday's connection speed.

It's true that SATA II is good enough for current ODD, but why destroy the possibility of an alternate use? That's just plain uncool.
 

darwin022

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 4, 2005
147
4
DC
It concerns me as well. I pull the "useless" optical drives out of my MBP's within days and replace them with useful large spinny disks. I was really hoping that Apple's stance that the Sandybridge recall wouldn't affect their release date was related to doing the right thing and putting a PCIe SSD in them. I was wrong. The curious thing is that system profiler reports the same SATA controller, same everything on the second slot, but it's still limited to SATA II apparently. IIRC, Apple pulled something similar to this before- my guess is that both ARE actually 6Gbps SATA, but they've somehow disabled that on the second port and forced it to stay in 3Gbps mode.

I'm pulling data off of that C300 now so I can hopefully wipe it and install OS X tonight. Expect a 'fresh install' benchmark on the C300 tomorrow, along with another for the 240GB OWC SSD soon after.


edit: When I went SSD on my 2008 17" MBP, I did notice much better performance from the primary SATA port, even though both SATA ports were reporting 3Gbps. Doesn't surprise me all that much. The optical slot will still be more than sufficient for a fast spinny.
 

darwin022

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 4, 2005
147
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Aaaw, I left the install media at work, so I'll have to wait till tomorrow to play with the C300 more.
 

zer0sum

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Oct 19, 2008
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I noticed the same 6gb controllers in a 13" I was lolling at in the apple store as well
 

axu539

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2010
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how do you know it's not your optibay connector that doesn't support SATA III?

Edit: Nevermind. I see the screenshot. I'm guessing it's software capped. Apple probably had to rewrite some software for the HDD port to support 6 Gbps. They probably just didn't feel a need to rewrite the software for the ODD, since most users won't be touching that anyway.
 
Last edited:

axu539

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2010
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Very good point. Hopefully this or darwin's explanation is what's actually going on here.
It's doubtful Apple would knowingly use the flawed ports. So, we have a couple possibilities:

1. The MBPs use the fixed chipset, and Apple got priority since they're also a partner for ThunderBolt.

2. The port is actually a 6 Gbps port, but Apple hasn't gotten around to having the OS actually support 6 Gbps in that port.
 

darwin022

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Original poster
Oct 4, 2005
147
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DC
how do you know it's not your optibay connector that doesn't support SATA III?

Edit: Nevermind. I see the screenshot. I'm guessing it's software capped. Apple probably had to rewrite some software for the HDD port to support 6 Gbps. They probably just didn't feel a need to rewrite the software for the ODD, since most users won't be touching that anyway.
It's also something that Apple loves to call an 'unsupported configuration' and well, won't support if something goes wrong with it or if it doesn't work properly.

If someone can point me in the right direction to find out more detailed information on the SATA controllers in it, I'll be happy to run the tests and post the results. System Profiler is limited sometimes.
 

axu539

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Dec 31, 2010
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It's also something that Apple loves to call an 'unsupported configuration' and well, won't support if something goes wrong with it or if it doesn't work properly.

If someone can point me in the right direction to find out more detailed information on the SATA controllers in it, I'll be happy to run the tests and post the results. System Profiler is limited sometimes.
If I'm not mistaken, these MBPs are the first Macs to have 6 Gbps ports at all, so OS X might simply not have fully-developed support for the tech yet. Try going into Windows through boot-camp to check the ports.
 

vipergts2207

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Apr 7, 2009
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It's also something that Apple loves to call an 'unsupported configuration' and well, won't support if something goes wrong with it or if it doesn't work properly.

If someone can point me in the right direction to find out more detailed information on the SATA controllers in it, I'll be happy to run the tests and post the results. System Profiler is limited sometimes.
Here's what the information should say, revision 05h and B3 stepping, but I don't know how to access that information.

http://www.techpowerup.com/140250/I...ng-Cougar-Point-Chipset-from-February-14.html
 

slapple

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2008
442
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I just read a description of the Intel chipset flaw here:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20030070-64.html

Apparently the problem only affects SATA ports 2-5 and not 0-1. Are you guys saying the ODD is connected to port 2,3,4 or 5 instead of 0 or 1?

Also, even if Apple is shipping MBPs right now with the faulty chipsets, wouldn't they get replaced eventually, so if you wait a few months to get a MBP, you shouldn't have a problem?
 

darwin022

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Original poster
Oct 4, 2005
147
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If I'm not mistaken, these MBPs are the first Macs to have 6 Gbps ports at all, so OS X might simply not have fully-developed support for the tech yet. Try going into Windows through boot-camp to check the ports.
I'll try that, but it might be sometime this weekend. Bootcamp is a low priority. The current testing regimen will be:

- Install a stripped down build (no printers, languages, additional software, etc.) on the C300, SATA III (Slot 0) tomorrow morning. Benchmark. Post results
- Install the same stripped down build on the OWC SSD (SATA II) in slot 0 when it arrives (theoretically before 10:30am). Benchmark. Post results

I'd pull the (same as I just ordered) OWC Mercury Extreme 240GB out of my 2010 Mac Pro tonight, but it seems as though it's not an easy 'drop in' swap while the drives are whole disk encrypted. oops.

Based on Apple's continued silence about SATA ports and other specs, they seem to be begging for the end users to just try stuff and see if it works.
 
Last edited:

Ace134blue

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2009
734
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That's very disconcerting. They used SATA III for the HDD, which is great, but used the bad SATA II ports for the optical drive? So basically eventually everyones optical drive will stop working or even worse for people with optibay, their HDD's will no longer work in that slot.
Relax, they fixed that.
 

axu539

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2010
929
0
I'll try that, but it might be sometime this weekend. Bootcamp is a low priority. The current testing regiment will be:

- Install a stripped down build (no printers, languages, additional software, etc.) on the C300, SATA III (Slot 0) tomorrow morning. Benchmark. Post results
- Install the same stripped down build on the OWC SSD (SATA II) in slot 0 when it arrives (theoretically before 10:30am). Benchmark. Post results

I'd pull the (same as I just ordered) OWC Mercury Extreme 240GB out of my 2010 Mac Pro tonight, but it seems as though it's not an easy 'drop in' swap while the drives are whole disk encrypted. oops.

Based on Apple's continued silence about SATA ports and other specs, they seem to be begging for the end users to just try stuff and see if it works.
Those all sound like very interesting tests. Do let us know! Again, I doubt Apple would knowingly ship faulty chipsets, since in order to even use those chipsets, they had to agree to Intel that they wouldn't use the faulty ports. Otherwise, they will have a VERY big lawsuit on their hands.
 

darwin022

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 4, 2005
147
4
DC
Those all sound like very interesting tests. Do let us know! Again, I doubt Apple would knowingly ship faulty chipsets, since in order to even use those chipsets, they had to agree to Intel that they wouldn't use the faulty ports. Otherwise, they will have a VERY big lawsuit on their hands.
Thanks, will do. Screwing around with technology isn't JUST my hobby, it's what I do for a living :cool: . I agree, I doubt Apple would knowingly ship computers with faulty components. That's why we 'love and trust' Apple. Worst case, it gets a lot more expensive for them to replace all of the bad machines/do a recall down the road.

My guess is that Apple and Intel came up with a custom batch that supported Lightpeak- I mean Thunderbolt and somehow that might not be affected.
 

idea_hamster

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Ace134blue said:
That's very disconcerting. They used SATA III for the HDD, which is great, but used the bad SATA II ports for the optical drive? So basically eventually everyones optical drive will stop working or even worse for people with optibay, their HDD's will no longer work in that slot.
Relax, they fixed that.
Only sort of -- they did fix the error, but they also shipped all the flawed ones subject to a do-not-use-SATA2 agreement.

So it's possible -- probable even -- that these MBPs have the flawed chipset.
 

stationstops

macrumors member
Apr 30, 2010
38
0
Relax, they fixed that.
Not on notebooks. Since notebooks only use 2 SATA ports at most, Intel just advised vendors to not use the 2 3 Gbps ports, which are the only ones affected by the chipset bug.

No reason to recall all those boards if the vendors are not using the affected hardware.
 

darwin022

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 4, 2005
147
4
DC
Quick update:

I threw the C300 in slot 0 today and tried to install. It failed the first time, so I threw it in my 2009 MBP and put that into Firewire Target mode, then installed from the DVD in the 2011 -> the C300 as a firewire disk. That ended up working. However, it will randomly hang for about 30 seconds ( The console errors often point towards this thread: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2141492&start=0&tstart=0 ). The curious part is that Xbench works great until the sequential uncached 4K write. Then it tanks and hangs for a few minutes. If I let it run, it will report a VERY VERY low (score of 5) for that test, then flies for the tasks after.

At this point I haven't been able to do more in depth testing, but it looks as though 6Gbps might be causing issues. Possibly driver, chipset, EFI, who knows without more testing. It might just 'not work' but it's worth a try :D

I've got the OWC SSD in it right now and I'm about to install OSX to it. Hope it performs better.
 

stylinexpat

macrumors 68000
Mar 6, 2009
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Quick update:

I threw the C300 in slot 0 today and tried to install. It failed the first time, so I threw it in my 2009 MBP and put that into Firewire Target mode, then installed from the DVD in the 2011 -> the C300 as a firewire disk. That ended up working. However, it will randomly hang for about 30 seconds ( The console errors often point towards this thread: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2141492&start=0&tstart=0 ). The curious part is that Xbench works great until the sequential uncached 4K write. Then it tanks and hangs for a few minutes. If I let it run, it will report a VERY VERY low (score of 5) for that test, then flies for the tasks after.

At this point I haven't been able to do more in depth testing, but it looks as though 6Gbps might be causing issues. Possibly driver, chipset, EFI, who knows without more testing. It might just 'not work' but it's worth a try :D

I've got the OWC SSD in it right now and I'm about to install OSX to it. Hope it performs better.
Thanks for keeping us posted:)
 
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