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adam94

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 8, 2022
17
2
I am trying to set up my new internal SSD (WD_Black SN750 2TB) with a Sintech adapter on my late 2013 Mac Pro after my factory 256gb ssd failed a bit ago and am having issues where the new SSD seemingly is not being recognized.

To begin I prepared a USB boot drive (tried both Big Sur & Mojave) and after installing the ssd booted with the USB into recovery mode, then into Disk Utility and the new SSD does not appear to show anywhere. I tried show all devices as well as running `diskutils list` in terminal which shows nothing more than Disk Utility did. Should not be a firmware issue with NVME drives as I believe the last OS I was running on my original factory SSD was Mojave.

Just for humors sake I tried using both Big Sur and Mojave on the USB boot drive and it did not make a difference.

This is the exact Sintech adapter I am using
This is the exact SSD I am using, with the Heatsink

Is this just a bad SSD I got? Or is the adapter bad? Is there any way to tell?

mac_pic_1.png

mac_pic_2.JPG



Above you can see a couple pics of the SSD installed. With the heatsink the screw didn't fit perfectly so I shaved some width off the screw and it still was not perfect but better. I made sure not to torque it too much or anything but could that possibly be the issue? I also tried it without the heatsink and still no luck.


Any ideas on how to proceed?


Just in case it was the issue I just ordered this slightly different Sintech adapter
 
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tsialex

macrumors G4
Jun 13, 2016
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Do you have a external drive that you can boot macOS and check the current BootROM firmware? If you have a too old one, you won't have NVMe EFI support and the blade won't be recognized.
 

adam94

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 8, 2022
17
2
Do you have a external drive that you can boot macOS and check the current BootROM firmware? If you have a too old one, you won't have NVMe EFI support and the blade won't be recognized.
Unfortunately I do not, but as I mentioned I am nearly positive I was last running Mojave which means it should have the firmware update to support NVMe drives. To that note I was 100% using the dark mode features in Mac OS which (correct me if I am wrong) I believe was only introduced after the required firmware update.

I did just order an external enclosure for the SSD which I can use to see if it recognizes the drive externally I guess.

Any other ideas what might be the issue or to try? Also out of curiosity how would I check the BootROM firmware if I was able to and what version would I be looking for?
 

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
791
522
Finland
Are you sure the drive/adapter combi is fully attached to each other?
To me it seems there might be a gap somewhere, either the drive/adapter or adapter/gpu. Your screw is not perpendicular to the drive in your photo.

Maybe try attaching them again properly. Not forcefully though, just firm enough to ensure the contact.
 

adam94

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 8, 2022
17
2
Are you sure the drive/adapter combi is fully attached to each other?
To me it seems there might be a gap somewhere, either the drive/adapter or adapter/gpu. Your screw is not perpendicular to the drive in your photo.

Maybe try attaching them again properly. Not forcefully though, just firm enough to ensure the contact.
Yep it's definitely pressed all the way down fully inside the slot, the reason it looks like that is because the Sintech adapter pushes the top of the SSD higher because of the space it takes up.

However I just got a new screw in there that fits perfectly as well as the new Sintech adapter I ordered which I will try here shortly to see if it makes a difference. I also got an external SSD enclosure I can try and use to see if it's recognized externally as well as on another MB Pro.
 
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adam94

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 8, 2022
17
2
UPDATE
____________


So I've now tried a second Sintech adapter to no avail -- so leaning on issue not being the adapter.

Additionally, I managed to install the SSD inside an external enclosure (SSK from amazon) and low and behold it visible as an external drive on both the Mac Pro late 2013 in question as well as another machine (Macbook pro 2017) I also used to erase and format the SSD as APFS before trying again on Mac Pro and made no difference.

I don't understand how this could be firmware issue as last used Mac OS I used darkmode which I believe means it should have the firmware, so any ideas what could be going on??
 

mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
791
522
Finland
Hopefully the socket on the GPU is not defective.

I measured the original Apple flash drive versus samsung EVO 970+sintech. To me they seem like exactly the same length height. And the holding screw seems exactly like 90° installation to mee too.

I can see the wd does have a metal backplate, supposedly for cooling, or to attach the other side cooling sink to the drive maybe. From your picture I can't if the whole in it is sunk enough to the screw holder on the GPU? It still seems a little bit of to me with the installation of the blade. Please see my pics with Kingston KC2500+sintech, and the measurements of 970EVO+sintech besides orig Mac Pro drive.

You don't happen to have any means to access an original working apple blade to try it out?

Hope you get it sorted out.
1641895846141.png

1641895918414.png
 

tsialex

macrumors G4
Jun 13, 2016
11,007
11,494
I don't understand how this could be firmware issue as last used Mac OS I used darkmode which I believe means it should have the firmware, so any ideas what could be going on??
It's easy to eliminate this doubt. Just boot macOS from an external hard drive and check the BootROM version with SystemInformation.
 
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mikas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2017
791
522
Finland
For your usage:
one more pic of EVO 970+sintech put against apple original, levelled against my humble kitchen table. I would say they match length wise pretty good, not exactly though. EVO+sintech foremost, apple original behind it. It's a screwhole match I think, while I think the  one is a little bit taller as we can see.
1641927298371.png

Mac Pro 6,1 GPU, NVMe storage assembly and connector: With an adapter like this, the angle at the attaching screw can not be exact 90°, not ever with this kind of an adapter. There would allways be a mismatch from 90° in the attaching angle. It would be a pretty tiny of a mismatch though.
1641927824837.png
 

adam94

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 8, 2022
17
2
For your usage:
one more pic of EVO 970+sintech put against apple original, levelled against my humble kitchen table. I would say they match length wise pretty good, not exactly though. EVO+sintech foremost, apple original behind it. It's a screwhole match I think, while I think the  one is a little bit taller as we can see.
View attachment 1942537
Mac Pro 6,1 GPU, NVMe storage assembly and connector: With an adapter like this, the angle at the attaching screw can not be exact 90°, not ever with this kind of an adapter. There would allways be a mismatch from 90° in the attaching angle. It would be a pretty tiny of a mismatch though.
View attachment 1942546

CC @tsialex


Yeah no I definitely don't think this is the issue as you can kind of see in the pics I attached, it's definitely inserted all the way and with the new screw I have fastens perfectly straight now.

How could I tell if the SSD connector is the issue? There hasn't been any damage to it nor any visible damage, so how likely is this really to be the problem? The background to this is my factory 256gb ssd suddenly failed a couple months ago, which an apple certified shop failed to recover and I opted to install the new drive myself. Maybe not but I feel like they would've noticed if the connector was bad.

How would I boot externally to check the firmware? Would I be able to use my USB boot drive to do this? What exactly would I do and which firmware version would be the minimum needed? Since I 100% used darkmode on my last ssd can you confirm if that means I should have the needed firmware, since didn't dark mode at least coincide with the changes to support NVMe drives?

What else do you think it could be/I should try to do? I'm really bummed I haven't been able to get this working yet, is it possible there's an issue with the ssd itself even though it was recognized fine in an external enclosure?
 

tsialex

macrumors G4
Jun 13, 2016
11,007
11,494
CC @tsialex


Yeah no I definitely don't think this is the issue as you can kind of see in the pics I attached, it's definitely inserted all the way and with the new screw I have fastens perfectly straight now.

How could I tell if the SSD connector is the issue? There hasn't been any damage to it nor any visible damage, so how likely is this really to be the problem? The background to this is my factory 256gb ssd suddenly failed a couple months ago, which an apple certified shop failed to recover and I opted to install the new drive myself. Maybe not but I feel like they would've noticed if the connector was bad.

How would I boot externally to check the firmware? Would I be able to use my USB boot drive to do this? What exactly would I do and which firmware version would be the minimum needed? Since I 100% used darkmode on my last ssd can you confirm if that means I should have the needed firmware, since didn't dark mode at least coincide with the changes to support NVMe drives?

What else do you think it could be/I should try to do? I'm really bummed I haven't been able to get this working yet, is it possible there's an issue with the ssd itself even though it was recognized fine in an external enclosure?
Install macOS to a USB drive, connect to your Mac Pro, power it on pressing Option, select the external disk, boot macOS, do the login, open SystemInformation/Hardware and see the System Firmware Version.

First BootROM to have support for NVMe blades with 4K and 512bytes/sector is 126.0.0.0.0 - a Mojave firmware update. Any earlier release won't detect a NVMe drive that have 512/bytes/sector. For 4K/sector drives, like Apple OEM NVMe blades, the support starts with MP61.0120.B00 - a High Sierra firmware update.

Check the current release and then I can suggest what you can do.
 

adam94

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 8, 2022
17
2
Install macOS to a USB drive, connect to your Mac Pro, power it on pressing Option, select the external disk, boot macOS, do the login, open SystemInformation/Hardware and see the System Firmware Version.

First BootROM to have support for NVMe blades with 4K and 512bytes/sector is 126.0.0.0.0 - a Mojave firmware update. Any earlier release won't detect a NVMe drive that have 512/bytes/sector. For 4K/sector drives, like Apple OEM NVMe blades, the support starts with MP61.0120.B00 - a High Sierra firmware update.

Check the current release and then I can suggest what you can do.

What I need to clarify is if there is a difference between the mac os USB boot drive w/ Big Sur I've prepared for setting up the SSD vs. "installing" Mac OS to a USB I can use to actually boot from? In other words, is it possible to boot into Mac OS with nothing other than my USB boot drive and no other storage connected internal or external?

Because when I was trying to set up the SSD when it wasn't recognized on the step where it shows Disk Utility, Recover from internet, time machine back up etc, I recall trying the "Install Mac OS" option and then it says choose a start up disk and only my USB boot drive showed as an option and it wouldn't let me use it.

So when you say "select the external disk" is that the USB boot drive, or do I need to put the SSD into the external enclosure again, or can I just use another empty 128gb USB stick?
 

Fastsavage

macrumors regular
Jun 28, 2011
173
38
New Zealand
What I need to clarify is if there is a difference between the mac os USB boot drive w/ Big Sur I've prepared for setting up the SSD vs. "installing" Mac OS to a USB I can use to actually boot from? In other words, is it possible to boot into Mac OS with nothing other than my USB boot drive and no other storage connected internal or external?
Install MacOS to a USB here

 

tsialex

macrumors G4
Jun 13, 2016
11,007
11,494
So when you say "select the external disk" is that the USB boot drive, or do I need to put the SSD into the external enclosure again, or can I just use another empty 128gb USB stick?
If you are using your own non-working Mac Pro to install macOS, you will need two external disks, so yes, you need another USB stick.
 

sceroguitars

macrumors newbie
Jan 23, 2022
2
1
I'm not sure if you got your issue fixed....I tried to read all the comments!

However, I just installed the EXACT SAME WD Black SN750 into my 2013 Mac Pro today, and it worked "perfectly".

This is the adapter I used

My Mac Pro saw it fine under Disk Utility when I booted up to my Monterey USB Installer. The ONLY issue I had was when I formatted the SN750 to Mac OSx Journaled, Montery would not let me choose it while installing (said I was missing firmware). So I went back and formatted it to AFPS, and then the Monetary installer saw it fine, and everything works great! Getting 3X faster speeds!

I hope this helps!
 

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adam94

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 8, 2022
17
2
If you are using your own non-working Mac Pro to install macOS, you will need two external disks, so yes, you need another USB stick.

I'm not sure why the previously posted article seems to imply you can use just the usb you make into the boot drive, however I can report back it did not work for me saying "drive is in use". When I tried a second USB as you said formatted mac os journaled extended GUID partition it said unable to use "because computer does not have firmware partition".

I went and reformatted the second USB to APFS and it worked, however after going through the 29 min install process it hung up on "less than a minute remaining" twice. Apparently this is a common experience w/ Big Sur? The second USB used was 128gb so should have plenty of space.

Any ideas?


@sceroguitars :

That's good to know (lucky you), what was the last Mac OS you were using on your factory apple ssd before swapping? Did you get the heatsink option w/ the SN750? I did with mine and it wasn't the best fit with the version of the Sintech adapter you got so I went back to the shorter one
 

tsialex

macrumors G4
Jun 13, 2016
11,007
11,494
To see the current firmware, you can use any macOS release, it's not important.

Btw, it's easier to install with a fully working Mac, since it you have a firmware update (Apple sent one to all still supported Macs in December) you won't update it from a USB key or external disk (not even a Thunderbolt disk, tested it last week).
 

sceroguitars

macrumors newbie
Jan 23, 2022
2
1
That's good to know (lucky you), what was the last Mac OS you were using on your factory apple ssd before swapping? Did you get the heatsink option w/ the SN750? I did with mine and it wasn't the best fit with the version of the Sintech adapter you got so I went back to the shorter one
The last OS I had on the the Apple SSD was Monterey, and that’s what I put on the USB installer.

And no, my SN750 didn’t have the heat sink. I didn’t even REALIZE you could get M.2 SSD’s with heat sinks on them!
 

adam94

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 8, 2022
17
2
To see the current firmware, you can use any macOS release, it's not important.

Btw, it's easier to install with a fully working Mac, since it you have a firmware update (Apple sent one to all still supported Macs in December) you won't update it from a USB key or external disk (not even a Thunderbolt disk, tested it last week).

So I managed to boot into Mojave on the USB and have found that the firmware BootROM version is: 136.0.0.0.0


Even weirder, see the below screenshots:

Screen Shot 2022-01-24 at 11.26.26 PM.png


Screen Shot 2022-01-24 at 11.28.21 PM.png



Apparently it can see the WD Black SN750 SSD just fine! But......only when actually booted into Mac OS and apparently not in Disk Utility during recovery/select startup disk mode.....? What sense does that make? To be clear the WD SN750 SSD is installed internally right now as it was before, so it definitely must be seeing it through it's connector just fine.

What does this mean? Is the SSD itself fine? Should I be able to use the SSD now as the startup disk and begin setting it up and actually using it? I don't get why I would be able to see the drive just fine in Mac OS (Mojave) but not during initial set up. I see one of the volumes in the SSD listed as MS-DOS FAT32 and not sure why since I reformatted to APFS/GUID partition when I had it in an external enclosure.

Looking at Startup Disk in System preferences I don't see an option to choose the SSD and begin using it:

Screen Shot 2022-01-24 at 11.38.10 PM.png


Where to go from here? All seems a bit odd to me.

FYI if it turns out or at least is reasonably suspected the SSD itself is the issue I have until the 31st to return it so I am trying to determine whether or not I should.
 

ChrisChaval

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2016
676
579
Milan, Italy
hi, please forgive, I did not read the entire thread.

I did this once successfully (WD black 750 1TB and mb air 2017 with no name adapter).

What I recall is that is mandatory to have at least High Sierra (or newer) installed on the original SSD BEFORE attempting the hardware upgrade, as the firmware update coming along with HS allows for third party SSDs to be installed (which prior to HS was not a possibility).

Which OS version did your Mac run when the original drive failed?

Did you try internet recovery?
 
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tsialex

macrumors G4
Jun 13, 2016
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So I managed to boot into Mojave on the USB and have found that the firmware BootROM version is: 136.0.0.0.0


Even weirder, see the below screenshots:

View attachment 1949101

View attachment 1949102


Apparently it can see the WD Black SN750 SSD just fine! But......only when actually booted into Mac OS and apparently not in Disk Utility during recovery/select startup disk mode.....? What sense does that make? To be clear the WD SN750 SSD is installed internally right now as it was before, so it definitely must be seeing it through it's connector just fine.

What does this mean? Is the SSD itself fine? Should I be able to use the SSD now as the startup disk and begin setting it up and actually using it? I don't get why I would be able to see the drive just fine in Mac OS (Mojave) but not during initial set up. I see one of the volumes in the SSD listed as MS-DOS FAT32 and not sure why since I reformatted to APFS/GUID partition when I had it in an external enclosure.

Looking at Startup Disk in System preferences I don't see an option to choose the SSD and begin using it:

View attachment 1949106

Where to go from here? All seems a bit odd to me.

FYI if it turns out or at least is reasonably suspected the SSD itself is the issue I have until the 31st to return it so I am trying to determine whether or not I should.
Your 136.0.0.0.0 BootROM release is from Mojave, so you will need a firmware upgrade to the current release (429.60.3.0.0) to run anything newer.

Back to the blade, did you tried to fully nuke (completely erase) your blade and re-create the partition?

Something like:

Code:
diskutil list
diskutil erasedisk jhfs+ "Macintosh HD" GPT diskXX

Check what is the real device name for your blade with diskutil list then you change diskXX to the real device name (disk0 on your screenshot, but this changes each boot).

Don't format it as APFS, format as HFS+, the macOS installer will reformat it correctly later on when creating the containers.
 
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adam94

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 8, 2022
17
2
Your 136.0.0.0.0 BootROM release is from Mojave, so you will need a firmware upgrade to the current release (429.60.3.0.0) to run anything newer.

Back to the blade, did you tried to fully nuke (completely erase) your blade and re-create the partition?

Something like:

Code:
diskutil list
diskutil erasedisk jhfs+ "Macintosh HD" GPT diskXX

Check what is the real device name for your blade with diskutil list then you change diskXX to the real device name (disk0 on your screenshot, but this changes each boot).

Don't format it as APFS, format as HFS+, the macOS installer will reformat it correctly later on when creating the containers.


Wait, so it will need a firmware upgrade to use the NVMe blades like my WD SN750? I thought the version I have is above what is needed, what do you mean by run anything newer? So you're saying my Mac Pro can't run Big Sur/Monteray?


When I was booted into Mac OS I did completely erase it again and formatted it as APFS/GUID partition which did recreate the partition/APFS volume/container structure you can see in my screenshot. I need to do more reading on the different apple disc formats but why HFS+ and not APFS?

Most tutorials I've read say APFS but also Mac OS Extended Journaled which I considered doing. If I do extended it can be converted to APFS later right?

Also I don't recall seeing HFS+ as an option in disk utility but I assume you mean I should run your sample code when booted into Mac OS through the USB I created in terminal, then restart and see if the internal drive shows up during recovery mode as an option to install Mac OS onto it?
 

tsialex

macrumors G4
Jun 13, 2016
11,007
11,494
Wait, so it will need a firmware upgrade to use the NVMe blades like my WD SN750?
No, it's already supported with your current EFI release.
I thought the version I have is above what is needed, what do you mean by run anything newer?
Like I wrote, if you install Catalina and BigSur your EFI will be updated to at least 428.140.7.0.0 (I don't know if 429.60.3.0.0 is already available for anything besides Monterey, if not it will be made available in the next few weeks, probably in the next time a Security Update is released).
So you're saying my Mac Pro can't run Big Sur/Monteray?
Not with this EFI version, the BootROM will be upgraded to the current release with the Catalina/BigSur/Monterey install process. Also, some 3rd party blades don't work for BootROM upgrades - Apple relaxed the requirements and now it's mostly agnostic, but from time to time someone posts that blade XYZ didn't worked for the upgrade. Same happens with rMBPs and iMacs.
When I was booted into Mac OS I did completely erase it again and formatted it as APFS/GUID partition which did recreate the partition/APFS volume/container structure you can see in my screenshot. I need to do more reading on the different apple disc formats but why HFS+ and not APFS?

Most tutorials I've read say APFS but also Mac OS Extended Journaled which I considered doing. If I do extended it can be converted to APFS later right?

Also I don't recall seeing HFS+ as an option in disk utility but I assume you mean I should run your sample code when booted into Mac OS through the USB I created in terminal, then restart and see if the internal drive shows up during recovery mode as an option to install Mac OS onto it?

Don't try to more clever than the macOS installer is, made sense back in the old days when you had autonomy to change your partitions, not today with sealed containers, separation of macOS files from the user files and snapshots. Nuke your blade and partition it with the command from my last post. Some people hate it, but now is the KISS principle.

Again, the installer will correctly convert to what is really needed after InternetRecovery or createinstallmedia USB installer download/copy the installer files to the blade and reboot to the macOS installer. If you format to APFS, you'll make it more failure prone. HFS+ (jhfs+) is the simplest way to do it.
 

adam94

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 8, 2022
17
2
Not with this EFI version, the BootROM will be upgraded to the current release with the Catalina/BigSur/Monterey install process. Also, some 3rd party blades don't work for BootROM upgrades - Apple relaxed the requirements and now it's mostly agnostic, but from time to time someone posts that blade XYZ didn't worked for the upgrade. Same happens with rMBPs and iMacs.

So will I be able to upgrade my Mac's firmware to be able to ultimately use Big Sur/Monterey without needing to use a factory apple SSD, but you're saying it's possible my specific SSD will give issues (hopefully not likely)?

If I understand correctly that I need firmware updates in Catalina to use Big Sur/Monteray then should I just prepare a Catalina boot USB to perform the process you mentioned? Otherwise as I saw yesterday when booted into Mojave on the USB in System update it showed Monteray as the available update which won't work right? Or am I misunderstanding what you're saying and that installing Monterey itself from Mojave will update firmware as needed to run Monterey?

Back to resolving the original issue -- is the idea that booting back into my USB and erasing+reformatting the SSD with the command you provided will make it so that I can restart holding option into the USB boot mode again, and the SSD should now be visible in disc utility and allow me to install Mac OS to it and begin using it as the startup disc?
 

tsialex

macrumors G4
Jun 13, 2016
11,007
11,494
So will I be able to upgrade my Mac's firmware to be able to ultimately use Big Sur/Monterey without needing to use a factory apple SSD, but you're saying it's possible my specific SSD will give issues (hopefully not likely)?
Correct.
If I understand correctly that I need firmware updates in Catalina to use Big Sur/Monteray then should I just prepare a Catalina boot USB to perform the process you mentioned? Otherwise as I saw yesterday when booted into Mojave on the USB in System update it showed Monteray as the available update which won't work right? Or am I misunderstanding what you're saying and that installing Monterey itself from Mojave will update firmware as needed to run Monterey?
Like I wrote before, the macOS installer will upgrade the firmware. I'd install Mojave right now and check if can at least complete the install.
Back to resolving the original issue -- is the idea that booting back into my USB and erasing+reformatting the SSD with the command you provided will make it so that I can restart holding option into the USB boot mode again, and the SSD should now be visible in disc utility and allow me to install Mac OS to it and begin using it as the startup disc?
Yes.
 
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