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Portables (Apple) Bug Data Storage OS X Operating Systems Upgrades Hardware

Apple Issues Firmware Upgrade For MacBook Pro 52

Posted by timothy
from the there-there-here-you-go dept.
Lucas123 writes "After declining comment on an apparent downgrade to the serial ATA hard drive interface in its new MacBook Pros, from 3Gbps to 1.5Gbps, Apple today issued a firmware upgrade to fix a problem reported by 'a small number of customers' using drives based on the latest SATA specification. Apple warned that it has not shipped drives operating at the higher-speed specification, saying, 'While this update allows drives to use transfer rates greater than 1.5Gbit/sec, Apple has not qualified or offered these drives for Mac notebooks and their use is unsupported.'"
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Apple Issues Firmware Upgrade For MacBook Pro

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:11AM (#28438377)

    Who the hell is intrested in buying a sata 1 drive these days?

    Even newegg only sells a handfull of sata1 drives anymore... ok... 3... they sell 3...

    Not quite the hardware i'd expect for a macbook premium price.. What a rip.

    • by ifrag (984323) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:28AM (#28438619)
      Most Sata II drives should be able to fall back to Sata I. In fact, I've bought Sata II drives which have come configured as Sata I drives (apparently the user was expected to use the manufacturer boot utility to reconfigure the drive). My newer Hitachi drive came set as Sata II by default though so maybe Hitachi stopped doing that. Could be the difference between their consumer and enterprise series.
      • ive bought a couple drives that came limited to 1.5gbps using a jumper. not that any drive you are buying on the market is coming close to saturating that bus, mind you.

        • by yuhong (1378501)
          I think that is because some VIA and SiS SATA chipsets did not implement SATA speed detection properly, forcing a jumper to manually limit SATA drives to 1.5 Gbps.
      • I found that ludicrous when I first heard about it. Seriously - a boot utility to change it?

        Seagate, at least, has those little jumpers you're expected to remove. Hard to miss if you bother to read labels. Too bad their drives have sucked so bad lately. I'm on RMA #3 myself. :/

    • by Bobartig (61456)

      Well, if its a platter-based drive, who cares? Whatever's cheaper works for me. After all, its NEVER going to matter for consumer grade HDDs.

    • by jo42 (227475)

      IMHO the problem Apple is bunging 5400 RPM hard drives into the latest generation Macbook Pros by default [apple.com] to get the battery life. The first thing I would do after ordering the smallest possible drive is to put in a nice fast 7200 RPM spinner. Or an SSD drive if I had more dollars than sense.

  • Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:14AM (#28438427)
    The SSDs that they offer don't read faster than 1.5Gbps? I know many don't, but even I (an apple hater for life who has to use one at work) thought they'd offer something closer to top of the line. Most new MLC and SLC SSDs read at 200MBps+ (1.6Gbps).
    • by cizoozic (1196001)
      It's even worse than that. 200MB/s would take a 2.0Gb connection because of the SATA signaling structure. You're getting one byte per 10 bits over the cable. So when you realize that SATA 1.5Gb/s is limiting you to MAX ideal world 150MB/s transfer... Let's just say that SATA 6Gb/s (effective 600MB/s) and performance3 oriented PCI-express SSDs can't come soon enough.
  • Battery Life? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SixGame (1565287) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:18AM (#28438485)
    I still haven't seen a battery life comparison between the 1.5Gbit/sec and 3.0Gbit/sec options. Does their marketing still hold true, and if not, what's the total change in battery life?
    • Did not make a noticeable difference on a non-SSD 15" MacBook Pro in my very unscientific but very typical usage test - I guess the hardware designers were sane - if you are not using the speed you don't pay for it. I have seen Intel controller documents that sort of state that 0.4w more power consumed by 3Gbps capable controllers (compared to 1.5Gbps ones) but that is Intel controller specific and the controller in the new MBP is nVidia's.
      I am seeing some increased warmth near the speakers after the upd
  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:22AM (#28438533) Homepage

    Post to front page.

    In other news, Apple has decided to start offering decaf in the office espresso machine.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Miltazar (1100457)

      This is news because it points out that an expensive supposed "top of the line" laptop, and a very famous one, has downgraded their hardware performance. This is more of a confirmation that they did infact release it with Sata 1 when the system itself is capable of Sata 2. It's not just a "patch" its a part of a developing story about the new macbooks.

      Also news gets posted about MS patches quite frequently, so I'd say this is about the norm.

  • Great for apple (Score:2, Informative)

    by MemoryDragon (544441)

    It would be even nicer if they fixed the 3000 USD first gen macbook airs which are plagued by broken hinge problems and overheating:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1696844&tstart=15 [apple.com]

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1387729&tstart=15 [apple.com]

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1931283&tstart=30 [apple.com]

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1893302&tstart=15 [apple.com]

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:47AM (#28438867) Journal
      They did: You just register some customer information with Apple here [apple.com] and a fedex delivers your hardware patch within a week or so... It's the Apple way.
      • They did: You just register some customer information with Apple here [apple.com] and a fedex delivers your hardware patch within a week or so... It's the Apple way.

        Well there is another company doing cheaper repairs the same way: http://www.dell.com/ [dell.com]
        After all I d rather spend 500 USD on semi working garbage and having at least repair options than sitting on 3000$ semi working garbage and waiting for a recall which will never happen ;-)

  • <speculation>I've more often than not had issues with "not Intel" chipsets when it came to reliable data transfer, particularly when stressing the system. Maybe Apple found some intermittent issue with their NVIDIA-based machines which were mitigated by turning down the SATA speed?</speculation>

    It's a pity that Intel is unable to produce a decent integrated graphics solution...

  • by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:39PM (#28440655) Homepage

    My MacBook Pro has one continually annoying problem:

    Missing first keypress [apple.com]

    If I haven't typed anything for about fifteen minutes, then the first key I press is ignored. This happens in situations where the OS is otherwise alert because of mouse movement, such as while browsing the Web. I click a text field, start typing, and ten letters in I realize that the keyboard missed the first one.

    This is particularly annoying in cases where there's a little typing lag anyway, like typing in an search box with autocomplete. There's a short delay before the letters start appearing anyway, so the only way to type error-free is to wait a second every damn time to see if the first keypress was recognized.

    Apple issued a Keyboard Firmware Update [apple.com] in February 2008 but it never fixed my problem and others have reported it made their systems totally freeze.

    Does anybody else still have this problem? Or did you have it before and get it fixed?

    • by Xoltri (1052470)
      Another one that happens to me all the time is related to running Windows XP on boot camp. Once in a while the 'system' process will start eating ~20% of the CPU for no reason, which makes the computer painfully slow. There are two ways to fix it. I can go into device manager and disable Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery. Alternately I can remove the battery with the laptop still on AC power and it will instantly start working like normal. Put the battery back in and system starts eating t
    • by Tek12 (969515)
      I have had and still have this problem on my 2007 MBP. The keyboard firmware was installed but it still did not solve the problem. I have since bought the new summer 2009 MacBook Pro and I have not seen this issue.
  • Having Intel ICH8-M chipset similar to the Lenovo systems in a Macbook 3,1 Santa Rosa, I was interested to hear about this because I believe my hardware is also capable of running at Sata II 300 speed. I doubt Apple will release this firmware update, seeing as how these newer systems get preferential treatment. Anyone else see this bottleneck for SSDs in an older Apple laptop and have stories to tell? Xbench scores maybe? I've got a g.skill falcon coming in the mail and am anxious to see how it performs aga
  • Thank you! (Score:3, Funny)

    by iamapizza (1312801) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:47PM (#28441797)
    Thank you for running this article informing me about a firmware upgrade for the MacBook Pro. It pleases me to no end that you are going out of your way from serving us with "news for nerds" and "stuff that matters" to do this.

    I would, humbly, like to request that you run more stories about Apple's firmware updates or even rumors, product reviews and comparisons against other technologies, as I immensely enjoy perusing such unprejudiced information on a regular basis. It is gratifying to know that there are wonderful Apple-news websites such as Slashdot out there for the masses of us who have seen the light and can revel in the glory of their superior products.
  • Apple still do not have a blu-ray option in any of their top end machines. A MacBook Pro 17" costs £1849 and only has the DVD SuperDrive!

    Don't even mention the Mac Pro!

    I've seen laptops for nearly a third of the price that can play blu-ray discs.

    They are a strange bunch of folk. Quite isolationist, like a cult!

    They also certainly want lots of your money!

  • This update seems to have made things worse on my MacBook Pro. I swapped the hard drive for a larger one which supports SATA 3 Gbps. Now, I am getting random freezes which look like they are caused by errors in talking to the drive. It sounds like the problems with SATA 3 Gbps which caused them to originally disable it are really there. Multiple people on the Apple forum have a similar problem.

    Unfortunately, there is no way to revert to the old firmware. Or set the controller to the slower speed. And sett

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