Apple MacBook Pro firmware fritzes third-party HDDs
Fast Sata drives fail post patch
Apple's firmware upgrade, which restores the 3Gb/s Sata link speed to MacBook Pros, has also caused some 'unauthorised' hard drives to fail.
An Apple Discussion board thread has 65 comments about the issue, which may occur when the Apple-shipped drive in the MacBook Pro is replaced with a third-party drive and the fast Sata firmware upgrade is applied.
One poster, Ian Burrell, first noticed the issue with a WD Scorpio Blue drive. His MacBook Pro froze randomly and he suggested that there were intermittent data errors. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no way to revert to the previous firmware and so recover from the problem.
A poster called Whaleface, with a WD SCorpio Black, wrote: "No disk access can happen at all for 20-30 seconds, then usage spikes, then no disk access at all."
Another poster found his Intel X25-M solid-state drive worked before the update but not afterwards. Andrew Myers wrote: "I would like to add that I'm experiencing the same thing as the above users. I am using the Intel x25-M. This is terrible, the laptop is near-unusable."
Some users report their Sata II drives work fine after the update. Others say they are having problems with stock Apple drives. One poster reverted to a 1.5Gb/s Sata drive and the problem went away.
Apple Store contacts are variously reported as saying that the company warrants its software - and firmware - to work with Apple-shipped drives, which happen to be 1.5Gb/s Sata units in the MacBook Pro, but not with uncertified and retro-fitted drives, such as many of those listed above.
Poster jlamarp wrote that Apple Technical Support told him: "Apple is not responsible for maintaining compatibility with third-party aftermarket hardware with their firmware updates."
Indeed, the blurb accompanying the recent Firmware 1.7 release says: "While this update allows drives to use transfer rates greater than 1.5Gb/s, Apple has not qualified or offered these drives for Mac notebooks and their use is unsupported."
Apparently, Apple "Geniuses" at Apple retail stores may be able to roll back the firmware upgrade if there was a problem during the upgrade itself, but not otherwise. Apple was not immediately able to comment directly on the issue. ®
@ Joe Ragosta
"Apple has the highest customer satisfaction and reliability of ANY computer vendor in virtually every survey ever done. There's another one in eWeek today - The number of 'very dissatisfied' customers from HP and Dell was 3-4 times the number for Apple."
Having to support HP, Dell and Apple at work I've found Apple to be the least reliable out of the bunch. We deployed around a dozen Unibody MacBook Pros only four months ago and two have had their powerpack fail for no apparent reason (not frayed or kinked) another one has had the trackpad button jam on. Also we've had a few batteries on the previous model MacBook Pro swell up, according to our Apple service agent these are quite common problems that he deals with regularly. We also have had to replace the optical drive on dozens of G4 iBooks due to a design flaw that prevents the disc from ejecting, fortunately most have been under warranty but there should have really been a product recall, or a warranty extension like Microsoft has done for the XBox 360.
I had to call Dell for the first time ever the other day for a warranty repair, I was on the phone for less than 10 minutes in total, and they sent a technician out the very next day to fix the problem on-site. My experience with HP is also similar.
As for the reason why Apple top these surveys I think it's very much a case of the Emperor's new clothes.
In related news, heroin users have the highest drug satisfaction and reliability of ANY drug users out there as well...
Not a swipe at Apple per se (though I have no love of the company and my mate's week old Macbook Pro is a lovely paperweight pending a visit to the genius bar), but rather the company I work for, who troop out this line all the time. All it shows is that you can create enough branding and cult status that you can delude your users into loving you!
It's just a bug...
It's amazing how ignorant people are about Apple. Of course Apple didn't intentionally cause this error... it just is a bug in conflicting HD firmwares. Less than .0001% of people will ever experience this when updating HDs in MacBook Pros so it's a non-event.
Apple stuff works extremely well, it's near perfection... but 20 people out of 370,000 is not something to get worked up about.
"Like all such surveys, it says much more about the Apple's *users* than their hardware.."
That's just plain absurd. Some of the surveys are things like "did your computer start up when you took it out of the box". If you were correct, either Mac users have some kind of telepathic power forcing broken computers to work or are incapable of telling whether a computer is turned on or not.
It is about 10 trillion times more likely that there is some truth to all the surveys and you are simply too narrow minded to believe reality.
Solution: Don't buy overpriced proprietary crap
This just proves why having a system you can upgrade yourself is important. Nobody wants someone dictating what hardware they can run...