Don't buy A-RAM Sata 3 SSD

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by pszilard, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. pszilard macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #1
    Hardware: MacBook Pro 8.1, i- 2.7GHz CPU, 8GB RAM
    OS X 10.7.1 Lion (11826) - latest as of 22 Aug 2011

    I spent quite a bit to buy a 240GB Sata 3 A-RAM Elite SSD and it doesn't work in the MBP on the SATA III port.

    Yes, I have tried everything. Including cloning, installing after a re-partition/format, but irrespective the thing just hangs forever on the beach ball. Not immediately but within 10 minutes. I waited an hour for it to clear but it wouldn't.

    I had ran Memtest 86+ for 3hrs and completed the full test about 5 times without a single error.

    I tried to contact A-RAM both by using the Contacts page and their forum, but got nill response. They do not have any firmware downloads, at all.

    I have also done a surface scan using TechTools 6 with the SSD connected via USB2. No problems found.

    In fact when I cloned the Seagate HDD to the SSD, I could boot off the A-RAM if it was connected externally via USB2, but not if it was internally on the SATA III connector. Before you suggest that I have a bad SATA ribbon; the HDD works fine on the internal port.

    My conclusion is that there is a compatibility bug with the shipped firmware and the MBP.

    So, you have been warned!

    Only thing I hadn't tried yet is to install the SSD and try installing Windows 7 natively. Will do that later on.

    I wonder if another manufacturer's firmware update would work as long as they use the same controller chip...
     
  2. negativzero macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #2
    Never heard of this brand before. How much did you pay for the SSD?
    As a guide, when buying expensive stuff like SSDs go for reliable brands like OWC, corsair, crucial, intel...
     
  3. bb426 macrumors 6502

    bb426

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #3
    At first I thought you were talking about RAM, not SSD... sort of a confusing one here.

    You're not the only one with this problem, as you can see if you browse through the threads here (I have the same problem as you with my SSD). More than likely you're dealing with the same problem that everyone else is having with SATA III.

    And I can make a guaranteed guess that if you install Windows 7 on your SSD through BootCamp, it will work just fine, no hanging or anything. Just not so much with OS X.

    This being, your SSD is fine. Don't keep testing it and wearing it down more and more, just use it or return it and get a more reliable SATA II drive. Swapping it out or the same drive isn't going to do anything, so either wait for Apple (or the manufacturer, which I doubt) to release an update for OS X or your MBP, or get a different SSD.

    It sucks, I know. :mad: But you only have a few options.
     
  4. pszilard thread starter macrumors member

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    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #4
    I had the MBP running over night with the SSD connected via USB and had it booted off the USB drive. No problems here.

    This confirms to me that the problem is in the SATA III interface.

    Regarding brands: do not think that you get different contents, just because the packaging is different! Developing and manufacturing LSI (large scale integration) chips requires billions of dollars and years of setting up. There are only a very few companies that can do this. E.g. Samsung, Hitachi, Intel. So when you buy an OCZ or whatever, you are paying for their marketing, distribution and hopefully support.

    I've had SSD failures from Corsair, and Super Talent, to name a couple. I have 30 years IT experience (not trying to show off, just stating the facts), and I buy whole-sale for reselling, usually. Unfortunately I am stuck with what brands my whole sale channel provides. I haven't had a single failure of the A-RAM brand, and in this case it is not the SSD that is failing (which unfortunately means that I can't get refunded, because the item is NOT faulty!).

    Anyway, I tell you guys all this just for information :) Another option for me to try is to install my SSD in the optical bay which I believe is SATA II, and/or try to swap my SSD to a SATA II and use that instead.

    Incidentally, I also have problems when I tried a 120GB OCZ SATA III SSD!

    Life can be cruel sometimes :D

    Have a great day, guys...
     
  5. bb426 macrumors 6502

    bb426

    Joined:
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    Location:
    California
    #5
    So who's problem do you suggest it is? Is it Apple or Intel? And is it firmware or the OS?

    I'm not suggesting you should know the answer, I'm just asking for an educated guess. ;)
     
  6. pszilard thread starter macrumors member

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    May 29, 2011
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    Sydney, Australia
    #6
    Well, you have identified the potentials, correctly (IMHO). I would think that the mobo is following Intel's architecture. If some SSD's are working correctly, then my guess is that it can be fixed by SSD firmware. An interface of 6Gb/sec is pretty damn fast if you think about it with protocol hand shaking, error corrections and caching going in on. My guess is that it is a timing related issue, and could be fixed by any of the parties involved, as basically what is required is that the devices all "speak" the same language (protocol).

    If some SSD work ok, then that would indicate to me that the most likely solution will be a firmware fix. If however Windows 7 were to be OK with my current SSD (not yet tested by me), then an OS driver fix is possible. Of course it may well be a combination of both.

    Until yesterday's Lion update to 10.7.1 I was getting beach balling even with my Apple supplied and logoed Seagate 500GB HDD. This had improved noticeably, which is why I gave the SSD another shot. Unfortunately, it was not to be! (BTW, I also have a hybrid Momentus XT drive, which was also beach balling, even though it is SATA II).

    Unfortunately, I have to devote my time to earning a living, so my testing hrs are currently limited. Perhaps some one else could do some tests?
     
  7. bb426 macrumors 6502

    bb426

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #7
    My Momentus XT has never beach balled, I've never had any issues with it! It's been one of the best HDD purchases I've ever made, to be honest. Nice, reliable drive. I've used it in both bays of my MBP with no problems with SL and Lion. Though I got firmware SD26... it shipped with that. Perhaps a firmware update is needed? I don't think Seagate's publicly releasing SD26 so if you haven't, update to SD25 and if you have, email support (don't ask for SD26 because they won't give it to you, just tell them your problem and they may offer that as a solution).

    I am getting a new HyperX SSD overnighted to me so that I can exchange it with the one I have, just to test to see if it's a faulty SSD (which I doubt, but it's not a thorough investigation unless everything's been tried). Though my SSD is not the same as yours, I am more than certain we're experiencing the same issues. I'm going to do a fresh reinstall of Lion (again) with a newly formatted USB drive. What I CAN say is that Windows 7 in BootCamp on my SSD had absolutely no problems in the HDD bay. Zero hangups, very zippy.

    I too am very limited on time with a part time job and currently working on 19 units in college... but I can't have a constantly occurring beach balling MBP when I'm working with Xcode! So I'm troubleshooting the hell out of this.

    Kingston has been a huge help, they've done way more to help me than Apple has.
     
  8. pszilard, Aug 22, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011

    pszilard thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
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    #8
    Thanks for the feedback bb426, (or can I call you "bb"? :) )

    You have inspired me to put back the XT drive and see how we go. The drive is a ST93205620AS.

    Can you send me the SD26 version? You could DropBox it (I could PM you a link) or email it directly (gain, I could PM my email), or use Mobile.me

    Cheers,
     
  9. awer25 macrumors 65816

    awer25

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    #9
    I'm using a Vertex 3 and haven't had a single problem - maybe the issue is your computer
     
  10. pszilard thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    Just arrived from A-RAM:
     
  11. bb426, Aug 22, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011

    bb426 macrumors 6502

    bb426

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    Location:
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    #11
    By SSD vendors, that includes EVERY SSD vendor? That would be pretty big...

    And you can call me whatever haha, name's Brendan.

    And well I would love to send it, but the drive shipped with it brand new, it's never been updated by me (therefore I don't have any firmware from Seagate). And supposedly SD26 only fixes very minor and user specific problems, most that are very rare (from what a Seagate rep said).

    But try the SD25 firmware if you haven't first... look here:

    http://forums.seagate.com/t5/Moment...s/Firmware-update-Momentus-XT/m-p/77254#M1133

    and here:

    http://att.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1162841

    and download here:

    http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=215451

    there's a lot of good information. Cheers!

    P.S. You MAY need to run BootCamp in order to update it..... I forgot about that. Unless there's a CD utility.
     
  12. pszilard thread starter macrumors member

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    May 29, 2011
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    Sydney, Australia
    #12
    Hi Brendan, - thanks for the heads up. I connected my XT drive via eSATA to my W7 box and I downloaded drivetect.exe file. Guess what! It was SD24. So I upgraded it to SD25 - even though it was in Mac format, but I guess the firmware updater didn't care.

    I am just running Carbon Copy Cloner to update it before sticking in the MBP.

    The SSD ran for 24 hrs on USB2 without a single hitch! It's going in the draw until the new firmware arrives. LOL. At least I have a light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully it's not a locomotive!

    Will see how the XT goes with SD25.
     
  13. Alexjones macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    #13
    I have the Crucial M4 256 GB . I haven't experienced one beach ball. I believe its a SATA 3 .
     
  14. pszilard thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    Wanna swap? I'll pay postage! :D
     
  15. pszilard thread starter macrumors member

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    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #15
    Before reinstalling the Momentus XT Hybrid with SD25, I measured boot up time using the Apple supplied drive. I measured from pressing the power switch until the blue background changes back to gray.

    The Apple supplied original drive took 95 sec

    Then I swapped drives and went through 3 reboot cycles to optimize the hybrid cache. It then measured 52 sec. That is about 45% less time, or roughly twice as fast. Of course if the SSD cache isn't utilized it will be the same speed, but it gave me an indication.
     
  16. bb426 macrumors 6502

    bb426

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #16
    So I'm assuming the firmware update did the trick eh? :D Good job, sounds like we got a happy guy here haha. Let us know how things went down.

    I'm getting another HyperX SSD shipped to me later today, hopefully, so I'm gonna check out whether or not it's a bad drive. Not that this helps people much, but anyone who may have my problem can see the threads if they find them. :p
     

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