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News Archive for Wednesday Oct. 14, 2009     Goto Current News Page

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First Reader Feedback on OCZ Vertex SSD firmware update 1.41
First reply to the earlier post today on OCZ's Vertex SSD Firmware updates.

"Mike, Flashed my Macbook Pro with a 120GB Vertex SSD (v1.3) to 1.41 (firmware version w/GC) and everything (so far) is great. I haven't noticed any reliability or performance difference, but just the fact that it hasn't forked my Mac is good enough for me.
(Just for the record I asked for his specific MBP model (as some in the past have complained about not being able to boot from their ISO CD updaters) and what OS is on the SSD (i.e. OS X 10.6.1 or 10.5.8 only, or if he also was using bootcamp/windows on it).-Mike)
OS 10.6.1, Mid-2009 MacBook Pro 13.3in w/1.7 EFI update, 4GB Ram. New HD Performance Update ("Performance update 1.0" that Apple released earlier today. I asked if he'd seen any problems with HD pausing/beachballing before or after the Performance update.-Mike)

I have had some Beachballing every so often (once or twice a day for 30 secs or so) for a month or more (I have had the SSD drive for about 3 months). The Performance Update appears not to effect its frequency.
-Vince D."

IIRC 1.41 is supposed to do Garbage Collection during idle time, helping maintain fast write speeds that otherwise take a nosedive over time/usage. If that's working it's a big plus as there's no OS X GC utility to date that I know of. (And no Trim support w/OS X yet.)
I understand (after being bitten in the past) if readers avoid updating their SSD until more feedback is reported, but if anyone else does, let me know the details and if you see any pros or cons.
(FYI: Thursday's news has More Mac User reports on Vertex SSD v1.41 firmware.)

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Apple releases 'Performance Update 1.0' for Leopard and Snow Leopard
Both the Performance Update 1.0 for Leopard and Performance Update 1.0 (Snow Leopard) (for some specific mac models only - see list below) have the same note:

"This update addresses intermittent hard drive-related stalls reported by a small number of customers.
For detailed information on this update, please visit
System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.6.1 / OS X 10.5.8"

The About Performance Update 1.0 doc has more info including this list of 'affected models':

"Products Affected:
MacBook Air (Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53GHz, Mid 2009), iMac (20-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009), MacBook (13-inch, Early 2009), MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008), MacBook Air (Late 2008), MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008), iMac (24-inch, Early 2009), iMac (20-inch, Early 2009), Mac mini (Early 2009)"

I installed the update (from download) on an early 2009 MacBook Pro 17in (w/original 320GB HD) running 10.6.1. (Although it wasn't in the list of affected models, as a test I ran the updater on a Mac Pro - the installer said it wasn't needed/didn't have 'eligible hardware'.)
If you install this update and find it helps (or has any negative effects), let me know the details (mac model, OS, drive model, etc.). Thanks!
(FYI: Thursday's news has several OS X 10.6.1 user's feedback on Performance Update 1.0.)

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FYI on OCZ Vertex SSD Firmware Updates (1.4 w/Trim, 1.41 w/background GC)
Still waiting for Crucial to release an M225 firmware update (esp. for those of us that flashed 1711 before it was pulled) and not sure if they will release a version with background GC (Garbage Collection) (which would really be nice for users with no OS support for TRIM yet) - but yesterday afternoon OCZ posted a forum thread on their Vertex SSD firmware update 1.4 and 1.41. See notes there including Mac specific tips (they suggest zapping the pram 3 times before booting from the ISO updater). Here's a clip from the post with their notes on the 2 different versions as well as a comment that OS X will "soon" have TRIM support. (Still hoping for that in a future Snow Leopard update.)

"The download is not password protected, there are 2 ISO files, 1.4 and 1.41.
1.4 has TRIM and will suit win7 and any OS with TRIM support.
1.41 has GC and will suit any OS with no TRIM support or raid arrays.
OS with TRIM support = windows 7
All others do not have TRIM although MacOSX and Linux will have it soon. This update still supports Wiper.exe and sanitary erase...

There's also some posts from Mac users (down the page) in that thread. (First reader feedback here in a later post above.)
As with any firmware update, you may want to wait awhile (for more user feedback) but if any readers update their SSD (especially anyone with OS X on it and with the GC/1.41 version) let me know if you see any pros or cons. (I really hope Crucial releases a GC version - background/idle time GC would be a nice plus for OS X users w/o current OS trim support.)

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Feedback on Sonnet SATA Tempo E4P PCIe card/Pro Expresscard Driver Update
(Comments updated) Yesterday's news had a FYI on a Sonnet driver update (v2.2.0) for their Marvell chip based Tempo SATA E4P (PCIe) and "Pro" Expresscards. Here's some initial reader feedback from E4P PCIe card users:

(comments later updated)
"I just tried the new drivers for the Tempo E4P in my (early 2009) Mac Pro running OS X 10.6.1 and I have a problem. Randomly, disk utility (and also DiskWarrior 4.2) hangs when scanning for available disks. Once that happens I can't eject any of my external SATA drives (in an Addonics enclosure with a port multiplier bridge board). If I try to reboot the whole system hangs and I have to cycle the power.

I'm going to revert to 2.1.8 later. Just thought your readers might want to consider holding off on the upgrade, especially as Sonnet have said they'll release 64-bit drivers later this month.
(I asked Hugh for specifics on his Addonics enclosure, as another user (report below) didn't note this problem.-Mike)
It's an Addonics Storage Tower ST5x1PM, with a Disk Array 5SA. So it's not the same port multiplier card as in the other report (below) - the 'hardware' one includes JBOD/RAID functionality, whereas the one I am using is just a straight PM.
It has worked flawlessly until the 2.2.0 update, so I am pretty sure that the update causes the problem.

Interestingly, it doesn't seem to happen to drives in a Voyager eSATA docking station that is plugged into the same E4P card... so it would seem to be an issue with whatever chipset is used on the PM card.
Cheers, Hugh"

Enclosure/bridge board compatibility issues are a common source of problems w/eSATA, but I'd also report that problem to Sonnet Tech Support.

" No issues here so far running on a 2008 MacPro on 10.6.1 (32bit kernel) with Sonnet E4P. The card has two separate 4 drive RAID-0's hooked up via 2 Addonics 5X1 eSATA Hardware Port Multipliers. For the moment the other 2 ports on my E4P are empty.
I'll report back if anything odd happens but so far so good.
(I asked Kevin if he'd tried running Disk Utility to see if he saw the problems that Hugh did.)
For the record I don't seem to have any issues with disk utility. Still smooth sailing on my end.

Here's a couple later reports that also noted v2.2.0 driver problems (and both using Sonnet Enclosures)

"I upgraded to the v 2.2 driver early today and regret that. System : Macpro Early 2008, OS 10.6.1 with external Sonnet Fusion 400 and 500 enclosure. System hangs randomly it seems the external disk just gets dropped or falls asleep. Finder crashes and the only way out is the power button.

And another E4P 2.2.0 driver problem report (recd Oct. 19th) that also used a Sonnet Enclosure:

"Yes, have a problem with Finder crashing in Snow Leopard with E4P/Fusion 500p

Update/FYI: Hugh sent a FYI on Oct. 19th that Sonnet has (re)posted the v2.1.9 drivers. Page includes info on removing v2.2.0 before installing 2.1.9.

I welcome other feedback on these drivers from PCIe card or "Pro" expresscard users. (Please include info on drive/enclosure used as well as OS version. Thanks.)
BTW - Thursday's news has a report on the 2.2.0 drivers from a Mac Pro (early 2008) user running 10.6.1 with E4P card connected to Sonnet Fusion 400 and 500 enclosures that noted random system hangs and Finder crashes he said (suspecting the drives were dropping out or falling asleep).

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iMovie 09 edit/patch for G4 use updated w/iMovie 8.0.5 offsets
I've updated the original info on iMovie 09 patch/edits for G4 Mac use with the new offsets for yesterday's iMovie 8.0.5 release. (As always backup the app before editing - and if the changes in v8.0.5 are not useful for you, I'd not bother with updating.) And thanks again to "RunAway" for the updated offsets.
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Apple Support/How-To/Troubleshooting Doc Updates
(updated during the day - later added first)

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Other News/Reviews/Articles, Misc. Software Updates

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Recent Articles and Reviews
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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