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Apple Issues Firmware Upgrade For MacBook Pro

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the there-there-here-you-go dept.

Portables (Apple) 52

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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Well that's an Apple product. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28438313)

The lulz just work.

We don't offer modern technology? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:We don't offer modern technology? (4, Informative)

ifrag (984323) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:We don't offer modern technology? (1)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 5 years ago | (#28439389)

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.

Re:We don't offer modern technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28439799)

SATA I doesnt allow native command queueing among other things. It's not about the 1.5 vs 3, its about the additional features that SATA II offers.

Re:We don't offer modern technology? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28440465)

My sata 2 drives can hit a max xfer speed of 85MB/s max. 60MB/s average sustained. With burst rates upto 120MB/sec.

The sata 1 drives in the same machine come nowhere close to those speeds. Not by half. NCQ on sata2 is well worth it. If you're moving to sata drives. you would be stupid to use sata1 at all.

Really tho i don't care. If i was apple i'd be selling people the obsolete sata1 drives i got at a huge discount too. It's not like apple fanboys would notice. Or even consider it a bad thing if they did. They are the ideal customers to screw over. that perfect mix of trendy wannabes with more money than sense. it almost seems wrong NOT to take their money.

GO APPLE!

Re:We don't offer modern technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28444531)

SATA I doesnt allow native command queueing among other things. It's not about the 1.5 vs 3, its about the additional features that SATA II offers.

You've just repeated three very widespread wrong ideas people have about SATA.

1. NCQ was in the original SATA spec. It was (and still is) an optional feature.

2. There is no "SATA II". Don't believe me? Believe the people who define SATA: http://sata-io.org/developers/naming_guidelines.asp [sata-io.org]

3. SATA capabilities are not tied to the speed the serial link operates at. Even if NCQ hadn't been around from the start, it would be possible to use NCQ on a 1.5Gbps SATA link so long as both sides implemented NCQ.

Re:We don't offer modern technology? (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28488639)

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.

Re:We don't offer modern technology? (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28444157)

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. :/

Re:We don't offer modern technology? (1)

Bobartig (61456) | more than 5 years ago | (#28440169)

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.

Re:We don't offer modern technology? (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28448643)

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? (4, Informative)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 5 years ago | (#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).

Re:Really? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28438475)

It's the same strategy most companies use. They cripple their cheap stuff on purpose to make their more expensive products appealing. I mean, pushing ATOM computers to only have 1GB of memmory....rediculous.

Re:Really? (1)

cizoozic (1196001) | more than 5 years ago | (#28442083)

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.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28442157)

*performance-oriented. Switching between a laptop and a Sun UNIX keyboard kills my typing!

Battery Life? (4, Interesting)

SixGame (1565287) | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Re:Battery Life? (1)

parryFromIndia (687708) | more than 5 years ago | (#28438839)

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 update under regular use but I classify that under "General Post Update Weirdness" not caused by anything specific :)

Apple products (0, Troll)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28438493)

are some of the most prettiest examples of broken by design... until enough chumps whine their hardware is crippled.

Re:Apple products (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28445065)

No one will white or complain. The measure of Apple hardware by Apple users do not compare their stuff with other people. In fact, Apple users don't seem interested in comparing their stuff with anything else unless it's another Apple computer. This could be a division of worlds, an isolation of philosophy, a philosophy of isolation or simple a belief that nothing compares to Apple because it is the best. But the end result is the same -- Whatever Apple decides and does is "[for] the best" and also "Steve knows best."

Some people really just don't get "Apple culture/thinking" but I think I do. There is a great deal of unquestioning loyalty when it comes to Apple products. I won't pass judgement saying whether or not this is a bad thing or a good thing. But Apple is more than just a computer company which is a statement that most everyone can agree on. It is an "exclusive club" that people can join simply by buying one and using it, or pretending to use it at Starbucks while wearing a turtleneck and a jacket with patches on the sleeves... for some anyway. For others, it is simply an expression of "I hate Microsoft [Windows] and this works for me just fine!" But Apple is more than just a computer company because it doesn't compete with other computer companies. It is its own game and they always try to keep the ball under control so that select few others can play.

Re:Apple products (2, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 5 years ago | (#28449917)

Apple stuff generally "just works". When you get older and want to simply get things done, rather than wanking over spec sheets or rooting around with software for the sake of it, apple hardware/software is attactive.

I've recently bought a mini to play with, and I have to say I'm a convert. My next general purpose machine is likely to be an iMac.

My mini is sitting on top of a quad core PC with 4gb of RAM and I'm spending a lot more time on the mini because it's more pleasant to use to actually get things done...

Apple updates a driver!! (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 5 years ago | (#28438533)

Post to front page.

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

Re:Apple updates a driver!! (2, Informative)

Miltazar (1100457) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443833)

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.

I like apple. (0, Offtopic)

neblol (1539061) | more than 5 years ago | (#28438573)

Posting first non Apple bashing reply. Also, I dont see what the big deal is about hard drive speed.

better get the anal lube (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28438589)

It's just an Apple firmware update.

I hope you faggots don't get AIDS celebrating...

Great for apple (2, Informative)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28438643)

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]

Re:Great for apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28438805)

You bought a first gen product, had problems, and didn't return it for a refund?

What did you expect from a computer that doesn't even have a removable battery?

Re:Great for apple (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28440841)

You bought a first gen product, had problems, and didn't return it for a refund?

What did you expect from a computer that doesn't even have a removable battery?

Jepp the main issue is that those problems do not show themselves in the first two weeks, the broken hinges appear after a year or more and the heating issues in summer. Guess what, apple never really fixed it, and until someone drags them with a class action lawsuit to court within the US they probably will never react!

Re:Great for apple (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28450211)

Actually one thing I am really satisfied with is the battery, it really holds longer than the standard LI ION batteries, with my usage a standard LI ION battery probably already would have degraded into oblivion while the air chuggs along nicely on around 80-90% of its original capacity!
So this is one thing I definitely can live with!
A and replacing the battery on this machine is no rocket science either it is mostly removing 4 screws!

Re:Great for apple (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#28447187)

You bought a first gen product [...]

More importantly, you bought a first generation APPLE product and didn't expect problems ?

Re:Great for apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28447721)

As an owner of an iBook G4 for 3 months I can state that second generations of apple hardware can be just as crappy. I ran into the cold solder hang on mine ~ 3 months into owning it. Given that not even firewire worked I ended up ripping out the hard disk (full of my classwork!) and never got it returned for warranty service. Long story short, the G4's were said at the time to not have the cold solder problems like the G3 (even though it was the same frickin mobo), and it wasn't until years later that I read about independent testing in Norway or Finland or somewhere that verifiably proved the cold solder issue on the video or pmu chip.

Needless to say that was the first and last piece of apple hardware I bought. Not that PC hardware, esp laptops are much better.

Re:Great for apple (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28450199)

Needless to say that was the first and last piece of apple hardware I bought. Not that PC hardware, esp laptops are much better.

Actually my experience with Apple has been mostly positive the mac minis have been chugging along for years and the harddrive failure i had once was fixed by me (outside of warranty so who cares)
but the macbook air is an entirely different issue and also the problems did not show up upfront. The heating issue reared its ugly head in summer the broken hinge problems I am at the beginning stage there so my hope is to get it fixed upfront!

Anyway the problem is you can get burned on the PC side as well, but it makes a difference to get burned for 800 Eur or for 3000Eur, and from Apple I at least would expect to support their most expensive machines more than they actually do

(which is almost non existent, being in the deny mode Apple obviously is on those problems they definitely know about them)

Needless to say, I will be reluctant to ever buy from Apple again, even the Mini will be phased out in the long run once real htpc alternatives arrive with similar specs (and no some cheap ass Atom based copies are not alternatives for now)!

My personal opinion is that Apple is the master of risk management. Which means they seem to have the chances of class action lawsuits in their recall statistics, if the chances are low due to low sales than the chances are high you will never ever get a problem on a 3000 $ machine repaired!
It is not like they had not pulled those stunts several times in the past! And oh god how many times they have been dragged to court already. It is just a mere wonder nobody from the US has done it over the Macbook air!

Re:Great for apple (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28438867)

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.

Re:Great for apple (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28440877)

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 ;-)

Re:Great for apple (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 5 years ago | (#28450313)

Funny you should mention the company that has a long history of broken hinges.

NVIDIA chipset issues? (1, Interesting)

FromageTheDog (775349) | more than 5 years ago | (#28438881)

<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...

Re:NVIDIA chipset issues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28440045)

the 4500HD and what not are fairly decent for what they're intended to do.

otoh if you want to play crysis on integrated.. look elsewhere.

What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28439431)

Scenario: A Macbook pro user enters, panicking over the SATA scandal

User: Oh my god, what am I going to do!
Apple representative: What! What's the matter!?
User: Oh, it's absolutely terrible! I just got a message that if I don't put the DVD-DL image on my hard drive to my memory in three seconds, It'll detonate an atomic bomb! But it only has SATA 1!
Representative: But our Macbook line doesn't come with enough RAM to fit a DL image in, and beyond that, the drive we put in them have much lower speeds than 3 GB/s. And beside that, we've been speaking for more than three seconds already.
User: Oh. I guess I was outraged panicking for nothing, then.

Seriously, who actually needs 3 GB/s speeds outside the server market? The people who develop these technology really need to learn that being superfluous is not really a good thing.

Uhhh... (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28439585)

It's 3 Gb/s, not 3 GB/s. Big difference.

elp! They still haven't fixed my problem. (2, Informative)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28440655)

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?

Re:elp! They still haven't fixed my problem. (1)

Xoltri (1052470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452327)

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 the CPU and it runs slow again.

Re:elp! They still haven't fixed my problem. (1)

Tek12 (969515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28454661)

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.

Older Macbooks can use this too with ICH8-M (1)

technicallyhesright (1001965) | more than 5 years ago | (#28441477)

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 against an OCZ vertex or an Intel X25-m in this machine.

Less than 30 comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28441643)

Not even slashDot cares about this.
Amazing.

Thank you! (3, Funny)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Thank you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28449409)

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.

It seems your out of touch, purposefully or not, willingly or not, with your master, Apple. You could've created something more ingenious, but you just spilled coffee on your pants while trying to impress a dame. tsst

It is pathetic to think that an Apple user thinks he has a superior machine in this day. You're using the same equipment as the pc's and have a bsd kernel. Seriously, why would anyone, through maybe no fault of their own, continue to support a company that can't even alert their customers of critical patches? If it takes you coming to this forum, reading of tech news you make you salivate, to find out about an update... then Apple has failed miserably. I'm waiting for Steve to finally retire so Apple fans will give up.

Re:Thank you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28450137)

He's being sarcastic you insensitive clod!

SATA II is a bag of hurt! (1)

WhiteFluffyChest (1101403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28443691)

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!

Re:SATA II is a bag of hurt! (1)

WhiteFluffyChest (1101403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28445231)

Obviously, they want you to buy their Apple TV instead of any blu-ray movies!

Doesn't seem to apply to MBP17 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28445727)

I just purchased a MacBook Pro 17" this past June and it was 3.0GB/S SATA out of the box. I would guess this only applied to the 15" and below models.

1. break stuff 2. ?? 3. PROFIT!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28448193)

Interesting, a friend of mine just had her hard drive stop responding. I could not fix that damn thing, seeing as its a mac and I hate them. It would not boot properly after the last 'patch'. Cost 100 bucks at the mac store to get it fixed. Though they refused to tell me the technical details.

Revenue boost anyone?

Made it worse (1)

iburrell (537197) | more than 5 years ago | (#28448251)

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 setting the speed on the drive requires Windows.

Re:Made it worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28560615)

I'm having the same problem. There is a 195-response thread on Apple with similar firmware 1.7 woes:

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2054387&start=165&tstart=0

The *real* news story is that this upgrade breaks many third-party SATA II drives (the whole point of upgrading in the first place). None of the news sites have seemed to notice, though, considering "SATA II Update" to be the end of the story. It's not, everything is broken.

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