Am I experiencing an SSD failure? Or something else/worse?

benyben123

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 22, 2013
36
1
Hi all.

Trying to get some brainstorming on this issue.

MBA 2015 13.

1. Would stop booting - would stuck on Apple logo. Will take forever. Sometimes would boot though.

2. I am all cloud so went to Recovery. Wiped the drive.

3. Tried to install via Internet Recovery. Failed. Tried via USB - failure to install.

4. Ran diagnostics. Looks OK. "No issues Found".

4. Tried installing from usb installer to EXTERNAL drive. Worked. MBA will boot fine.

5. Once booted, I decided to see if perhaps the internal (original) SSD is dead.

6. Internal showed up on Disk Utility. Decided to check to see it it can write to disk. I moved a movie from External drive to internal drive (which remember - MacOS sees as just storage). It worked.

7. Tried playing the movie. Works fine.

8. Thought it might work if i clone the drive (external to internal). FAILED.

8. WTH?!

9. I installed DriveDx. SMART is ok. Tried to run a Self-Test. FAILED. Program will freeze, and than OS (Mojave) will fire a warning about not ejecting the drive while in use. Weird.

10. Examined internals. Looks clean and no dirt or damage seen.

11. Took out SSD to physically examine. Looks good.

10. Rebooted and tried again - this time speed test (blackmagic). FAILED as well, and again - freezes, and after about a minute or two, the OS will issue the warning.

How can this be? Isn't an SSD either works or not?

Thank you so much for your advice!!!


https://imgur.com/5QtYS1L
 
Last edited:

Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
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My guess would be other chips interfere with the macOS operation while the SSD itself is ok. Running macOS on a Mac is more than just swapping the SSD or something like that, especially after they take away the internal diagnostic port that can be used to backup SSD data in the event of a failed motherboard.
 
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benyben123

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 22, 2013
36
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My guess would be other chips interfere with the macOS operation while the SSD itself is ok. Running macOS on a Mac is more than just swapping the SSD or something like that, especially after they take away the internal diagnostic port that can be used to backup SSD data in the event of a failed motherboard.
Thank you for replying.

If this is indeed the case (NOT the ssd), any advice on what to do next?
Thank you
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
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Thank you for replying.

If this is indeed the case (NOT the ssd), any advice on what to do next?
Thank you
If you head to Apple store, all they will tell you is to replace the motherboard, which is bs for me.
Despite apple’s constant pressure, there are still a few third party repair shops that might be able to help you fix this problem at a much lower cost. Go and google it out.

Ultimately though, you have to make your own call.
 
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benyben123

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 22, 2013
36
1
If you head to Apple store, all they will tell you is to replace the motherboard, which is bs for me.
Despite apple’s constant pressure, there are still a few third party repair shops that might be able to help you fix this problem at a much lower cost. Go and google it out.

Ultimately though, you have to make your own call.
Thanks.

I was thinking of "gambling" and trying to get an affordable m2 ssd and an adapter by Sintech. Worth a shot, is it not?
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
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Thanks.

I was thinking of "gambling" and trying to get an affordable m2 ssd and an adapter by Sintech. Worth a shot, is it not?
The catch is, who the god knows how many hidden chips Apple has implemented inside the Mac to lock down SSD options, especially the introduction of T2 chip in 2018 MacBooks. There is a real chance that the SSD you bought will not work on your MacBook Air. It might worth gambling though and if you have any means to repurpose the SSD you bought, why not?
 
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benyben123

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 22, 2013
36
1
The catch is, who the god knows how many hidden chips Apple has implemented inside the Mac to lock down SSD options, especially the introduction of T2 chip in 2018 MacBooks. There is a real chance that the SSD you bought will not work on your MacBook Air. It might worth gambling though and if you have any means to repurpose the SSD you bought, why not?
That was my thinking. Also, this is a 2015 MBA. So no T2 chip (afaik), and I hear people are reporting the implant to work:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/upgrading-2013-2014-macbook-pro-ssd-to-m-2-nvme.2034976/
 

benyben123

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 22, 2013
36
1
A ngff adapter and nvme drive will work fine in your MacBook as long as the MacBook is running the latest bootrom and High Sierra or Mojave.
That's fantastic to hear. I thought ngff was a typo, but I googled it and indeed it's a thing. What does this weird abbreviation stands for?

Also, do you have a recommended ssd of choice (an affordable one - I am not doing anything serious with this Mac other than Chrome).

Thank you!
 

Audit13

macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2017
4,373
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
That's fantastic to hear. I thought ngff was a typo, but I googled it and indeed it's a thing. What does this weird abbreviation stands for?

Also, do you have a recommended ssd of choice (an affordable one - I am not doing anything serious with this Mac other than Chrome).

Thank you!
NGFF=Next Generation Form Factor (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.2)

I recommend the Adata sx8200 Pro, Intel 760p, HP e x920, and Sabrent Rocket.

I recommend the small, black Sintech adapter: https://www.amazon.ca/Sintech-Adapter-Upgrade-2013-2016-2013-2015/dp/B07FYY3H5F/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3DFAKL7KWS6BV&keywords=sintech+ngff+m.2+nvme+ssd+adapter+card+for+upgrade+2013-2015+macbook&qid=1560776567&s=gateway&sprefix=Sintech,aps,153&sr=8-3

I am using a short, green Sintech adapter in a 2015 13" Air with an Intel 600p and a short, black Sintech adapter in a 2017 Air with an HP ex900. These are not the fastest drives but they were cheap, feel no slower than the original SSD, and extra battery drain is minor since I only use these MacBooks for surfing, email, and office apps.
 
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benyben123

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 22, 2013
36
1
NGFF=Next Generation Form Factor (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.2)

I recommend the Adata sx8200 Pro, Intel 760p, HP e x920, and Sabrent Rocket.

I recommend the small, black Sintech adapter: https://www.amazon.ca/Sintech-Adapter-Upgrade-2013-2016-2013-2015/dp/B07FYY3H5F/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3DFAKL7KWS6BV&keywords=sintech+ngff+m.2+nvme+ssd+adapter+card+for+upgrade+2013-2015+macbook&qid=1560776567&s=gateway&sprefix=Sintech,aps,153&sr=8-3

I am using a short, green Sintech adapter in a 2015 13" Air with an Intel 600p and a short, black Sintech adapter in a 2017 Air with an HP ex900. These are not the fastest drives but they were cheap, feel no slower than the original SSD, and extra battery drain is minor since I only use these MacBooks for surfing, email, and office apps.
Wow you have helped me so much (as well as Shirasaki)! This is exactly what I was looking to learn (I have posted in a number of forums/reddit with no real answer).

I just want to double check with you if you don't mind:
I was under the (appreantly wrong) impression that i was suppose to buy this adapter:
https://www.amazon.com/Sintech-Adapter-Upgrade-2013-2015-MacBook/dp/B01CWWAENG/ref=pd_sbs_147_2/134-4058858-9352826?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01CWWAENG&pd_rd_r=491e26c1-8c47-11e9-82a8-bd2d6eb080bf&pd_rd_w=k3pck&pd_rd_wg=N0zd6&pf_rd_p=588939de-d3f8-42f1-a3d8-d556eae5797d&pf_rd_r=JZ80N3HATBH39Y17HB92&psc=1&refRID=JZ80N3HATBH39Y17HB92

But it seems this is not the one!

Ok I think I get it: I don't need a cradle. Just the adapter itself! Correct?


Also (sorry for all the questions btw), you mentioned battery drain. Why would U mention this? Battery drain from a replacement SSD? This I ask out of pure curiosity. I would never imagine to associate battery drain with a replacement SSD, so I had to ask.

Thx again!
 
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Audit13

macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2017
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Wow you have helped me so much (as well as Shirasaki)! This is exactly what I was looking to learn (I have posted in a number of forums/reddit with no real answer).

I just want to double check with you if you don't mind:
I was under the (appreantly wrong) impression that i was suppose to buy this adapter:
https://www.amazon.com/Sintech-Adapter-Upgrade-2013-2015-MacBook/dp/B01CWWAENG/ref=pd_sbs_147_2/134-4058858-9352826?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01CWWAENG&pd_rd_r=491e26c1-8c47-11e9-82a8-bd2d6eb080bf&pd_rd_w=k3pck&pd_rd_wg=N0zd6&pf_rd_p=588939de-d3f8-42f1-a3d8-d556eae5797d&pf_rd_r=JZ80N3HATBH39Y17HB92&psc=1&refRID=JZ80N3HATBH39Y17HB92

But it seems this is not the one!

Ok I think I get it: I don't need a cradle. Just the adapter itself! Correct?


Also (sorry for all the questions btw), you mentioned battery drain. Why would U mention this? Battery drain from a replacement SSD? This I ask out of pure curiosity. I would never imagine to associate battery drain with a replacement SSD, so I had to ask.

Thx again!
I recommend the short adapter because it may be difficult to screw down the drive with the long adapter if you install a nvme drive with memory chips on both sides. I have been using the short adapter in my 2015 Air for about 1.5 years with zero problems.

Mac OS doesn't support advanced power management with a non-Apple SSD; therefore, battery life will decrease as a result. It's a trade off for saving money by using a nvme drive. I mentioned these nvme drives in my previous post because people using these drives have good results.
 

benyben123

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 22, 2013
36
1
I recommend the short adapter because it may be difficult to screw down the drive with the long adapter if you install a nvme drive with memory chips on both sides. I have been using the short adapter in my 2015 Air for about 1.5 years with zero problems.

Mac OS doesn't support advanced power management with a non-Apple SSD; therefore, battery life will decrease as a result. It's a trade off for saving money by using a nvme drive. I mentioned these nvme drives in my previous post because people using these drives have good results.
Ohhhh, I see. So their OS is "aware" that this is not an apple drive? Or perhaps they run their own firmware on their own drives (although their drive is made by Samsung: https://imgur.com/71k9Sq8)?
 

Audit13

macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2017
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Ohhhh, I see. So their OS is "aware" that this is not an apple drive? Or perhaps they run their own firmware on their own drives (although their drive is made by Samsung: https://imgur.com/71k9Sq8)?

That's somewhat annoying to be honest. Always something with Apple - but I guess that's what makes them so good as well. But i regress, sorry.
Correct, the Apple SSD runs custom firmware that cannot be flashed to an nvme drive.

Yes, the extra battery usage can be annoying for some people but not me. I'm in Canada and upgrading my Air's 128 to a 256 Apple drive would cost me around $240 CAD. Using the Sintech and 256 GB HP ex900 cost me $90 CAD. I would save even more if I needed a 512 GB nvme vs the same size Apple SSD.
 

benyben123

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 22, 2013
36
1
Correct, the Apple SSD runs custom firmware that cannot be flashed to an nvme drive.

Yes, the extra battery usage can be annoying for some people but not me. I'm in Canada and upgrading my Air's 128 to a 256 Apple drive would cost me around $240 CAD. Using the Sintech and 256 GB HP ex900 cost me $90 CAD. I would save even more if I needed a 512 GB nvme vs the same size Apple SSD.
Same here. I am not in the USA and you don't even want to know how expensive parts are here (not to mention repairs). It's actually so absurd that it makes it a huge mistake to get anything from Apple.

This is why I put a lot of time into this research.
 

benyben123

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 22, 2013
36
1
Correct, the Apple SSD runs custom firmware that cannot be flashed to an nvme drive.

Yes, the extra battery usage can be annoying for some people but not me. I'm in Canada and upgrading my Air's 128 to a 256 Apple drive would cost me around $240 CAD. Using the Sintech and 256 GB HP ex900 cost me $90 CAD. I would save even more if I needed a 512 GB nvme vs the same size Apple SSD.

Hi again. Wanted to ask you: would you pay a bit extra for a used but original Apple drive? I was offered such drive from a dead MBA with an original - yet used (about a year old I was told) - machine.

So it's this, or there's really no point in spending the extra money outside of a slight battery improvement?

Thank you!
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
9,423
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Hi again. Wanted to ask you: would you pay a bit extra for a used but original Apple drive? I was offered such drive from a dead MBA with an original - yet used (about a year old I was told) - machine.

So it's this, or there's really no point in spending the extra money outside of a slight battery improvement?

Thank you!
I personally would go against those drives because you never know beforehand whether those drives are “legit” or not. And, just because it is legit apple parts does not mean Mac will not treat it as foreign components, kinda like human’s immune system. I have no knowledge about how Apple verifies their components to determine if the computer is tampered, but they have a way to do so.
 

Audit13

macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2017
4,373
1,096
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hi again. Wanted to ask you: would you pay a bit extra for a used but original Apple drive? I was offered such drive from a dead MBA with an original - yet used (about a year old I was told) - machine.

So it's this, or there's really no point in spending the extra money outside of a slight battery improvement?

Thank you!
How big is the drive and what's the price?

It may be worth it to save battery life; however, it all comes down to price and convenience.
 

benyben123

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 22, 2013
36
1
How big is the drive and what's the price?

It may be worth it to save battery life; however, it all comes down to price and convenience.
They are god like - all knowing :)

Ok. I REALLY appreciate it!
[doublepost=1560865285][/doublepost]
How big is the drive and what's the price?

It may be worth it to save battery life; however, it all comes down to price and convenience.
I was offered the 2nd hand original "about 1 year old" 128gb for $166
 

smbu2000

macrumors regular
Oct 19, 2014
245
103
I'm not sure if it is anything similar to your issues, but I have a 1TB drive from a late 2013 MBP and the drive will not work if I try to format it using APFS. (High Sierra/Mojave)
Formatting it with HFS+ though and it works perfectly fine. I've tried the drive in a few different retina MBPs and also in my 2013 Mac Pro. Same result if trying to format as APFS instead of HFS+.

If I try to upgrade from an HFS+ install (Sierra) to APFS (Mojave) the drive will fail to be recognized upon reboot and going into disk utility from the recovery menu, the drive will usually fail to appear unless I use internet recovery, connect to the drive/Mac in Target Disk Mode, or put it in the usb3 case to reformat it to HFS+.

The drive was from an out of warranty rMBP.
I'm currently using the drive as storage (formatted to HFS+) in an external usb3 case that I got from OWC, the Envoy Pro.
 
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Audit13

macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2017
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I personally would go against those drives because you never know beforehand whether those drives are “legit” or not. And, just because it is legit apple parts does not mean Mac will not treat it as foreign components, kinda like human’s immune system. I have no knowledge about how Apple verifies their components to determine if the computer is tampered, but they have a way to do so.
Apple SSDs are the only drives that use this weird 12+16 pin configuration so any drive that has this configuration without the use of an adapter would be an Apple OEM drive.
[doublepost=1560894437][/doublepost]
I'm not sure if it is anything similar to your issues, but I have a 1TB drive from a late 2013 MBP and the drive will not work if I try to format it using APFS. (High Sierra/Mojave)
Formatting it with HFS+ though and it works perfectly fine. I've tried the drive in a few different retina MBPs and also in my 2013 Mac Pro. Same result if trying to format as APFS instead of HFS+.

If I try to upgrade from an HFS+ install (Sierra) to APFS (Mojave) the drive will fail to be recognized upon reboot and going into disk utility from the recovery menu, the drive will usually fail to appear unless I use internet recovery, connect to the drive/Mac in Target Disk Mode, or put it in the usb3 case to reformat it to HFS+.

The drive was from an out of warranty rMBP.
I'm currently using the drive as storage (formatted to HFS+) in an external usb3 case that I got from OWC, the Envoy Pro.
Are the other Macs running the latest bootrom?
 

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smbu2000

macrumors regular
Oct 19, 2014
245
103
[doublepost=1560894437][/doublepost]
Are the other Macs running the latest bootrom?
Yes, all of the other macs are updated and work fine with other apple SSD blades.

I tested it on a late 2013 15" rMBP (Originally installed in this one), late 2013 13" rMBP, two different 2015 15" rMBPs (2.8 no dGPU and 2.5 dGPU) and my 2013 nMP. All of them work fine with Sierra installed on the drive, but fail if trying to install High Sierra or Mojave on it.

Anyway, I'm not trying to troubleshoot the drive (already tried before) as it is only backup storage nown the usb3 owc case. I just wanted to add some info for the OP that might be related to the OP's ssd problems.