Upgrading 2013/2014 Macbook Pro SSD to M.2 NVMe

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by maxthackray, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. zeveto macrumors newbie

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    Sep 21, 2017
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    Paris
    #101
    Hi Guys,

    I'd like to upgrade a MacBook Air (2013). Do you think that a samsung evo 960 / 950 pro is a good choice ?
    Thank's
     
  2. gilles_polysoft, Sep 21, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017

    gilles_polysoft macrumors regular

    gilles_polysoft

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    Location:
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    #102
    Samsung Evo 960 or Pro (960 too) are good devices, and they both work with High Sierra.
    WD Black drives work too. We don't know yet for Intel P600.
    Don't forget : High Sierra is still (for a few days) a beta. You ought to first install High Sierra on your actual AHCI SSD, then (only then) you can install the new Samsung NVMe SSD.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 21, 2017 ---
    Hello,

    Yes that's true the WD Black is a TLCSSD with Sandisk chips and Marvell controller.
    Note that I have also succesfully tested a 512 GB 960 Evo which is TLC, a 960 Pro which is MLC (which I gave to one of my employees and he is using it for over a week in a mid 2015 MacBook Pro retina 15"), and also made tests with a SM961 with no problem at all.

    So TLC seems not to be at all the problem with PM961 drives. Both TLC and MLC drive work
    I guess if PM961 don't work is because of a firmware problem.
    I founded a little Carbon X1 gen3 and will get it in a few days... I'll try to do some firmware backup with the Lenovo exec... don't promise but I'll keep you informed.

    Also, a few news...

    I did further tests there :
    • first I upgraded all my test systems (MBPr 13" late 2013, MBPr15" mid 2015, MBA 13" early 2015) to High Sierra "GM candidate" (build 17A362a) without any problem.
    • also I tried unsuccessfully to boot those test machines on El Capitan (10.11.6) with both the NVMe driver of JimJ740-Macvidcards, and the nvme_patch from Rehabman. Both with no success (either forbidden logo or double kernel panic...).
    • While booting from an external disk with El Capitan and "jimj740" NVMe drive, thought, I was able to mount and read the internal NVMe SSD (of course not in APFS...)
    • same results with Sierra 10.12.6 : unable to boot with the nvme_patch from Rehabman.
    I think what is missing here is that I don't use Clover...
    Also, maybe nobody is interested in using El Capitan with NVMe drives... (other than Apple ones).
    High Sierra works...

    But... I did another experiment with the WD Black drive.
    I read it was possible to format it with 4K sectors... so I did it.
    I wrote a Xubuntu 17.04 distribution on a 8GB USB drive, I booted my MBPr 13" late 2013 on it (with NVMe WD black inside).

    I installed smartmontools and nvme-cli :
    sudo apt install smartmontools nvme-cli
    And I formatted the NVMe drive with 4K sectors :
    nvme format -l 1 /dev/nvme0

    Well.. guess what : the WD drive now works natively on macOS Sierra (surprisingly not El capitan).
    I was able to boot on a "vanilla" Sierra install and the installer did recognize the SSD and installation went flawlessly...

    So that's interesting : with 4K capable drives we don't even need High Sierra...



     

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  3. maenpaa24 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 12, 2017
    #104
    Excuse me, but I wonder why you say that high sierra is still in beta. It sounds to me like if the final release could stop supporting the nvme drives. Could that happen?

    Thank you.


     
  4. myst02, Sep 23, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017

    myst02 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 18, 2017
    #105
    Quick update from me:

    Yesterday I received both the Intel 600p SSD and Adapter. I made a backup of everything, downloaded High Sierra GM, put the install files on an USB drive and upgraded to High Sierra on my original ssd.
    Then I installed the intel ssd with the adapter and booted from the high sierra install usb. The ssd is not being recognized in disk utility.

    So I thought, okay, it's not working because maybe intel ssds aren't supported. For testing, I took out my Samsung 960 evo from my desktop pc and tried using it in the mb with the adapter. Really weird thing is, it isn't being recognized either. Hasn't the 960 evo been tested successfully by someone here?

    This is the adapter I'm using: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B01GHSE7Z2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Is my adapter broken or am I doing anything wrong? I also tried disabling SIP and using kapton tape on the adapter.

    EDIT: Also tried booting from Ubuntu and windows, both do not recognize the drive. I noticed that the SSD gets warm when the Macbook is powered on, so it's running, just not recognized.
     
  5. imprimis1, Sep 23, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017

    imprimis1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2017
    #106

    Part of the situation appears to be 4KB vs 512B block formatting.

    There are still unresolved concerns regarding the interaction between the SSD firmware (or firmware variant) and the model/year and EFI firmware of the MacBook. And also whether at least some TLC devices pose some additional compatibility issue.

    It is my understanding, from perusing the hackintosh forums, that Hynix/Lite-On/Plextor and Intel devices may require the IONVMeFamily.kext to be patched via a hex editor, due to an Advanced detect feature for default block formatting size peculiar to devices from these manufacturers, even on High Sierra.

    However, it may also be the case that your Intel 600p is incompatible due to firmware and/or TLC-NAND related issues, as well.

    It's becoming clear at this moment that the number of compatible SSDs is a relatively limited class, and the bootrom and kext updates inherent to High Sierra (which merely allow the machine to recognize 512B block format SSD's by the hardware at initialization, and by the OS natively, and also recognize APFS partitions at boot/in the OS, as well), will not greatly expand the list of compatible drives.

    I'd be curious to know whether re-formatting these devices with 4k block sectors from a PC m.2 AHCI/NVMe-compatible motherboard in Linux (where, presumably, they would be recognized) might alleviate some of these symptoms. Of course, not all of these devices permit 4k block formatting, but I believe all the ones under discussion at this stage of the thread do.
     
  6. myst02 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2017
    #107
    Yep, that's also what I thought, but why is my Samsung 960 Evo not being recognized with the adapter then too? It's MLC and has been tested by someone in this thread already. I'm wondering if I have a faulty adapter...

    Or could it be possible that the adapter is not compatible to NVMe SSDs? It looks kinda the same as the Sintech one though.

    Also did some research on the Intel 600p, people on tonymacx86 say it's natively supported.
     
  7. imprimis1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2017
    #108
    Some of these converter/adapters certainly do appear to have quality control issues.


    960 Evo is TLC 3D-NAND, for sake of clarity. That may not be the issue, of course. And certainly a number of MLC-based devices seem to fail recognition.
     
  8. myst02 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 18, 2017
    #109
    I'm probably going to return/exchange the adapter.

    Another thing, you said that some SSDs need a patched kext file in order to work. But why not just patch that file? Or does that only work on Hackintosh?
     
  9. imprimis1, Sep 23, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017

    imprimis1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2017
    #110
    That is a question that remains to be fully tested. I tried to follow a RehabMan patch on Lite-On and Plextor NVMe MLC SSD's in multiple of my MacBooks, and it does not work (assuming that there were no errors in the suggested patch on my or RehabMan's sides). I did this with High Sierra. I haven't tried it on Sierra (10.12) with the patch suggested for that one (which may be better tested).

    The drives are not acknowledged or recognized at the hardware level, it seems.

    Caveat: There were different values suggested for the Sierra version of the patch (paraphrasing: "hardware-dependent, keep trying them until you find one that works"), that I didn't try on the High Sierra one (nor were they discussed in RehabMan's instructions for the 10.13 one).

    -----

    Installing High Sierra (virginally) updates the bootrom on the relevant Apple models to enable them to boot from 512B block-format SSDs and APFS partition schemes. And the OS itself now contains the appropriate kext's to recognize these natively at the software level. But apparently, there are other issues extending from the hardware level of some makes/models of SSD that these updates do not address, and for which no trivial solution exists.

    The information from the hackintosh forums can only be partially useful in these pursuits on actual Apple equipment (mainly valuable at the OS level, less so for hardware-level issues). The PC motherboard (circuitry-level/PCH) and UEFI implementations are likely to be far more forgiving than what these Late 2013-2015 MBP / 2013-2017 MBA portables tolerate.

    My speculative/inconclusive belief is that your Intel 600p is incompatible, and that your 12+16 m.2 adapter may be faulty as well, causing a wild goose chase. Some of these adapters appear to have solder bridges where there shouldn't be any, or dry solder joints, to say nothing of what problems may be in the inner layers of the PCB.

    When selecting an SSD, you can't rule out that inaccurate information is being deliberately put out there (fake positive compatibility results) to frustrate/mislead/thwart potential competition in the arbitrage/resale aspects of these SSD replacements.
     
  10. gilles_polysoft macrumors regular

    gilles_polysoft

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2017
    Location:
    Tours (France)
    #111
    Hello,
    I said that High Sierra is still a beta, because it is still ! And I don't say that about anything regarding NVMe drives, only because any beta software should be used with caution.

    It won't last : final release is awaited for tomorrow...
    And don't be afraid of it to stop supporting NVMe drives.
    The last version which is supposed to be the golden master (17A362a) don't change anything and works perfectly.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 24, 2017 ---
    Hello,

    M.2 to 12+16 Adapters are passive... so they are not, in any sense, "compatible with NVMe SSD" or not..
    It's the Mac that supports NVMe drive or not...

    I may test an Intel 600p in a few days, but as for the Samsung 960 Evo it's absolutely not normal that it is not recognized.
    Could you tell what is your BootRom version ? (and version of the 960 Evo)
    --- Post Merged, Sep 24, 2017 ---
    I don't see the point here...

    High Sierra natively recognize every 512B or 4K NVMe SSD, being it an Apple NVMe SSD, a WD Black -toshiba SSD, Samsung SSD... so it's absolutely useless to try to use RehabMan patch here.

    If the BootRom is up to date, the drive is recognized by the EFI and will show up at "boot menu" if it has an OS on it (being it 10.11, 10.12, Windows, linux etc.)
    Only recent OS will then be able to achieve boot, but this is only "secondary" here...
    The first preoccupation should be : is my BootRom up to date so that my drive would be recognized at EFI level ?

    The problem of the drive being recognized by the OS is at a higher lever

    I never had adapters with solder bridges but I tested both Sintech adapter (I have bought 10s of them) and Chenyang.
    Both are only 1-layer 2-side PCB

    fake positive compatibility results ? Please be serious...
     
  11. myst02 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2017
    #112
    Hello,

    bootrom version is MBA71.0171.B00 (MB air early 2015). I did a bit of research and it seems to be the newest available for the Air 2015. The samsung 960 evo ssd is rev. 1.1.
    Please also check your private messages.
     
  12. imprimis1, Sep 24, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017

    imprimis1 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 16, 2017
    #113
    According to the discussions on the insanelymac and tonymac86 forums, Hynix, Lite-On, and Plextor devices require an additional patch to override a pecularity in their SSD firmware, else the OS will not recognize the device.

    Certain Intel SSDs were also discussed as requiring the same override patch (although that is not expressly indicated in the Pike or Rehabman patch documentation, whose general importance is disappearing due to 4K reformatting instructions and the High Sierra release).

    The native (unpatched) 10.13 High Sierra .kext, which resolves many of the issues with 512B block size, is not sufficient left unpatched to enable those devices to work.

    (This may or may not necessarily be relevant to the earlier poster's Intel 600p issue)

    Even with the patch in mind, that doesn't establish whether those brands of devices are all otherwise 'well-behaved' enough firmware/hardware-wise to function with these MacBook models.

    The users on those forums, of course, have very permissive UEFI implementations on their less-proprietary PC motherboards.
    .
    I'd be curious to know whether reformatting them on a PC in Linux to a 4K sector size, and perhaps flashing any currently available firmware update, might get these specific SSDs working.
     
  13. myst02, Sep 24, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017

    myst02 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 18, 2017
    #114
  14. mikeboss, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017

    mikeboss macrumors 65816

    mikeboss

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    switzerland
    #115
  15. maenpaa24 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2017
    #116
    Hi! Could you clarify me if you could have also formatted the samsung 960 evo with 4k sectors in order to be able to boot sierra as you did with the WD black. I mean if the samsung 960 can be formatted either with 4k and 512b sectors. Or is it only compatible with 512b sectors?

    Thank you.
     
  16. myst02 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 18, 2017
    #117
    Samsung 960 is not compatible with 4k sectors.
     
  17. maenpaa24 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 12, 2017
    #118
    Mmm, is there any disadvantage because of that fact? By the way, do you know any other opal compliant nvme 4k/512b block size ssd drive that fits on these apple machines?

    Thank you again, because you have been of great help for me.
     
  18. imprimis1 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 16, 2017
    #119

    The Samsung 960 Evo is 4K block-aware.
     
  19. maenpaa24 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 12, 2017
    #120
    Sorry, but I can not understand what being aware of the 4k block size means. Does it mean that it can be formatted to 4k sectors like the WD black?
     
  20. Audit13 macrumors 68040

    Audit13

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2017
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #121
    Hi,

    i am very interested in upgrading a mid-2013 Air. Could someone recommend a good adapter for my MBA from a vendor that ships to Canada?

    Thank you.
     
  21. gilles_polysoft macrumors regular

    gilles_polysoft

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    Jul 7, 2017
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    #122
    Hello,
    you're absolutely right, I've updated the table, see it attached

    Hello,
    The 960 Evo can't be, to my knowledge, formatted with 4K blocs, which are mandatory to boot Sierra.
    So you can't boot Sierra (10.12.6) natively on a 960 Evo, but you can boot High Sierra (10.13) which was just released.
     

    Attached Files:

  22. TokMok3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2015
    #123


    Thank you for all the testing that you had done and for sharing that information. What are the sequential reading and writing speeds after installing the 512GB 960 Pro in the MacBook Pro Mid 2015? Has the system gain speed performance by installing the 960 Pro over the native drive which came with this system?

    Thank You!​
     
  23. gilles_polysoft macrumors regular

    gilles_polysoft

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    Jul 7, 2017
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    Tours (France)
    #124
    Hello,
    After installing the 512 GB 960 Pro, I got around 2800MB/sec read, 2000MB/sec write on the MBPr 15" mid 2015.
    I can't say it has gained speed because I haven't used the original drive (256GB) with High Sierra...
    But it does work well I'm satisfied :)
     

    Attached Files:

  24. TokMok3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2015
    #125
    Thank you, that is a significant increase in performance. I have read that it requires an adapter to install this drive, what adapter did you use?

    Thank you again.
     

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