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Fix for 2011 17-Inch MacBook Pro SATA Issues Found

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Other World Computing reports that it has discovered a fix for an issue with SATA performance on Apple's latest 17-inch MacBook Pro models that has caused problems with solid state drive performance.
For over a month, we've been following reports from some MacBook Pro 2011 model users - almost exclusively those with 17" models, where issues with other brand 6Gb/s SSDs have been encountered. The main issue reported was that the drive simply wasn't being seen/working.
Investigation of the issue reveals that it appears to be related to the battery indicator cable and the SATA connection cable to the drive running next to each other at one point within the machine's chassis, resulting in interference that is degrading SATA performance. The cable configuration is unique to the 17-inch model and thus the issue has not been demonstrated in the smaller 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros.

In order to address the issue, OWC is offering a cable shielding kit priced at $9.99. Users who purchase a new OWC-branded drive for installation in their machine can obtain the shielding kit for a discounted price of only $2.99.

Article Link: Fix for 2011 17-Inch MacBook Pro SATA Issues Found
 

NATO

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Feb 14, 2005
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Well done to OWC for diagnosing this and finding the exact cause. It's a bit of an engineering slip-up for Apple though, I wonder if they will offer a free fix as this is clearly an easily reproducible problem.
 
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Stridder44

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Mar 24, 2003
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Wow, that's pretty ridiculous for a hardware engineer to miss. Here's to hoping Apple will address this and offer a free fix soon.
 
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commander.data

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I wonder if this is an indication that I/O standards over copper are now running at the edge of physics where even slight unoptimal EM interference can cause not just performance degradation but complete recognition failure? Increasing insulation may be inconvenient due to the focus on getting everything in increasingly thin profiles. Perhaps this will push things over to optical connections?
 
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Ahheck01

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Aug 7, 2006
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I'm not completely clear - is this only an issue for aftermarket drives, or will this potentially be an issue for my 128GB apple drive in the 17" I've got on order?
 
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jrtc27

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Apr 12, 2010
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I'm not completely clear - is this only an issue for aftermarket drives, or will this potentially be an issue for my 128GB apple drive in the 17" I've got on order?

I believe that all drives will be affected unless you buy this shielding kit - the same cable will be used for your new drive as for the standard one, which is the cause of the problem.
 
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codymac

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Jun 12, 2009
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Easy enough to confirm. Anyone who's having issues can just disconnect the battery status cable and see if the issues go away.

Waiting to hear reports. IIRC, people were seeing the issue with the 13 and 15 as well, albeit to a lesser degree.

ETA: See from the blog comments that OWC is saying they simply haven't been able to reproduce it as a signal issue on anything but the 17". Good work on OWC's part and nice that they're sticking with their facts and not generalizing about the fix.
 
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class77

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Nov 16, 2010
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Will this affect my husband's new 17" MBP which was just received today? He's got a 500GB hard drive, not the SSD chip. What "problems" are they talking about?..If it's an engineering screwup from Apple, shouldn't they fix it for free?
 
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126351

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Refuse to believe this is yet another manufacturing defect afflicting Apple's devices. :rolleyes:
 
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Weaselboy

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Will this affect my husband's new 17" MBP which was just received today? He's got a 500GB hard drive, not the SSD chip. What "problems" are they talking about?..If it's an engineering screwup from Apple, shouldn't they fix it for free?

Isn't this only for 6gb drives though, while Apple uses 3gb ones?

It seems to only be a problem with aftermarket SATA III SSD drives. The OEM hard drive and SATA II SSDs do not appear to have the problem, likely because of their lower transfer speeds not being impacted by the electrical interference OWC reports they have found.
 
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class77

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Nov 16, 2010
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It seems to only be a problem with aftermarket SATA III SSD drives. The OEM hard drive and SATA II SSDs do not appear to have the problem, likely because of their lower transfer speeds not being impacted by the electrical interference OWC reports they have found.

Thanks for the peace of mind Weasel
 
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Hawaga

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menomano said:
Way to put this on Page 2 Macrumors.

Just couldn't agree more. This should be front page.

Apple design/manufacturing flaws should obviously be pointed out. I just bought my 2011 MBP for 3100€ for Christ sake. Could have spent half the price on a portable pc if it wasn't mostly for design/build quality. :(
 
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Mr. Retrofire

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I wonder if this is an indication that I/O standards over copper are now running at the edge of physics where even slight unoptimal EM interference can cause not just performance degradation but complete recognition failure? Increasing insulation may be inconvenient due to the focus on getting everything in increasingly thin profiles. Perhaps this will push things over to optical connections?

Intel began the research in 2007 under the code name "Light Bus". We can expect the results of this development in the next 5-10 years. It depends on the connection- and transfer-technologies, which must be power efficient, robust and compatible with industry standards.
 
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lowbatteries

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Just couldn't agree more. This should be front page.

Apple design/manufacturing flaws should obviously be pointed out. I just bought my 2011 MBP for 3100€ for Christ sake. Could have spent half the price on a portable pc if it wasn't mostly for design/build quality. :(

Oh, this looks like from my hardware lab. *lol*

The 17" MBP costs what? And you need < 5 ct ALUMINUM FOIL to make the SSD over 9 times faster?

WTH? :rolleyes:

"Good" work Apple!

So you people are throwing a hissy because Apple didn't test the computer with hardware that it doesn't even sell? Aftermarket upgrades are at your own risk. The laptops as shipped work fine.
 
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Ries

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So you people are throwing a hissy because Apple didn't test the computer with hardware that it doesn't even sell? Aftermarket upgrades are at your own risk. The laptops as shipped work fine.

The drive goes into a user replaceable bay with a standard connector and protocol. I would except any drive that complies with it to work and it should. Would you accept that only stuff sold on apples web page would work with thunderbolt on their laptops cause apple screwed something up?
 
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Hawaga

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Jun 21, 2010
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the drive goes into a user replaceable bay with a standard connector and protocol. I would except any drive that complies with it to work and it should. Would you accept that only stuff sold on apples web page would work with thunderbolt on their laptops cause apple screwed something up?

+1
 
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