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News Archive for Friday Oct. 16, 2009 (w/weekend update)     Goto Current News Page

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FreeDOS ISO images w/Crucial SSD v1819 updater (for those unable to update w/Crucial ISOs)
(Updated with some feedback from the weekend of Oct. 17/18th - see below) Posting as a FYI since a LOT of people (including me) have had problems with the Crucial download .ISO's not working (no drive detected, etc.) and many mac owners don't have access to a PC or working bootable flash drive. (That's how I updated mine.)
Note the 1819 updater should be run on 1571 firmware drives only. (v1711 firmware drives should be backflashed first to 1571 before updating to 1819. Just a reminder as a couple owners forgot to do that and apparently the v1819 flasher doesn't really check the previous version. The 1571 backflasher runs under Windows (as noted earlier/below) - I backflashed my 1711 drive in an 09 Mac Pro.)

"The following zip files (here) contain bootable .iso images that contain the 64, 128, and 256GB versions of the 1819 Firmware upgrade respectively. Unzip and burn the appropriate one to a CD/DVD (from Mac OS X, or a VM, doesn't matter how or where you burn it). Put the CD in your mac. Shut down. Turn on and hold down the "c" key. (Or Option key) You should boot from the CD-ROM. At the C: prompt then do a "dir" command (dir CT*.exe to see just the updater file) and you will see the CTxxxM.exe file. Type the .exe file name (CT64M.exe (64GB), CT128M.exe (128GB) or CT256M.exe (256GB)) and hit enter to run it. It should find your disk and ask you to select it by number. Select your SSD drive and then flash takes literally seconds. It did not require me to reformat or anything.

- Jordazilla"

If you try these, let me know if they work for you. Please include Mac model details also.
(BTW: Especially if you're running OS X only and are fine (happy) with 1571 firmware, I'd leave it alone. 1819 is supposed to fix the TRIM bugs w/Windows 7 that v1711 had and does seem to fix the sleep/wake problems I had in OS X w/1711 - but considering the mess this Crucial update has been so far if you're happy with 1571 in your SSD, I'd leave well enough alone for now.)

Feedback on FreeDos ISOs: Within an hour of posting the above (just before midnight Saturday), I had 3 reports. (Updated on Sunday for more, later added first)

  • MacBook2,1 (plastic w/PATA Opt. drive) updated OK
  • MacBook Pro 13in (MacBook Pro 5,5) reported updated OK
  • 2 MacBooks (Unibody/5,1) reported updated OK (no notes on SSD model)
  • MacBook Pro 17" w/256GB SSD - updated OK.
  • 2009 Mac Pro w/128GB SSD (in lower DVD bay, later tried Bay 1 also) - drive detected/listed correctly but attempting to update gave these error messages:
    [ERROR] Vendor information fail.
    [ERROR] Firmware customer type read fail!
    Invalid SSD!
    (and returns to Select drive number prompt. I saw posts from 2 PC users (Dell D820, E1705) that saw the same thing. One said pressing 0 to exit also results in errors. "Floating point error: Stackfault. Abnormal program termination. Memory allocation error. Cannot load COMMAND, system halted".)

  • Mac Pro 1st gen w/64GB SSD - download/update failed message, but drive listed as 1819 afterwards. (I saw one PC user post that saw the same thing. I'd contact Crucial support on this as I don't think it's possible to reflash 1819 after this.)

FYI on M225 Switch models: Apparently some M225s (recent change?) have a Switch on the SSD that must be changed before flashing (and slid back afterwards). I've posted an M225 Sliding Switch image with info from a doc they sent an owner of a switch model.

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First Notes/Benchmarks on Crucial M225 SSD (Firmware v1819) w/OS X 10.6.1 in MacBook Pro
(Posted late Friday night) Just wanted to post a FYI that I've now finished cloning the MBP hard drive (10.6.1 w/all updates) to the M225 256GB SSD that I updated with new v1819 firmware earlier tonight. (After having to backflash it to 1571 firmware before updating to 1819. The SSD previously had OS X 10.5.8 on it and appx 200GB used - originally used in a Mac Pro w/1571 firmware, then I (foolishly) flashed to 1711 in late August (2 days before 1711 was pulled) - with firmware 1711 it would freeze/hang on wake from sleep even in the Mac Pro w/Hibernate disabled. Although 1711 firmware was pulled due to Windows 7 TRIM issues, I wasn't the only one to see sleep/wake problems w/1711 firmware under OS X as posted here back then.)
The initial boot after swapping the SSD for the OEM 320GB HD was slow but I expected that (setting the SSD as startup disk solves that and a couple reboots to rebuild the kext cache that was cleared). I then verified the (SSD) drive in Disk Utility, repaired permissions (some missing ACLs reported on verify permissions) and made sure that SMS (sudden motion sensor, not needed for SSDs) and Hibernate was disabled (and sleepimage file deleted) - all these are old tips posted here in the past.
I've cold and warm booted several times, put the system to sleep and woke it OK (no hangs on wake as with firmware 1711), did some quick web browsing, played a movie, etc. with no problems seen so far. But of course the real test is longer term use.
Here's the results from an Xbench disk test (drive has never had wiper or any GC run on it)

M225 v1819 OS X SL reinstall

This is the first time I've had the SSD in the MBP or with Snow Leopard on it so no previous benchmarks to compare previous results. (I hadn't used it since August, awaiting a firmware update or backflash due to problems I'd seen with firmware 1711.)
BTW: Several Windows users have reported much lower write speeds (some 40-50% or more lower) with firmware 1819. (Some tested again with and without Trim enabled in Win 7 - to rule out trim being a factor for them - no improvement.) Those that did see much lower writes said running (windows only) Wiper utility on the SSD restored write speeds but only for a short time. (Crucial and OCZ say they're investigating this.)
With this v1819 firmware SSD in the (early 2009) 17in MacBook Pro (OS X 10.6.1), after adding several GB more of files (videos - now over 200GB used), deleting a 4GB file, browsing the web, iTunes playback, etc. and 3 days of light use - I ran Xbench again and didn't see any significant differences yet. (Nothing more than the run/run variation I've seen with Xbench on std HDs.) I do wish Crucial had made a GC firmware available as OCZ did. (They also finally released a Wiper utility for Windows (same version as OCZ's, ST's, etc.) and supposedly are working on a Mac wiper utility but no estimated released date.)
I'll post an update if I see any problems later. If anyone has a question about their M225 (updating, etc.) send a note.

BTW - I didn't burn a bootable CD to flash the 1819 firmware for 2 reasons - I had already setup a bootable USB flash drive for the PC downstairs (used to flash 1711 firmware back in August) and preferred to use that PC for reasons already mentioned (IDE mode bios setting, etc.). With my backlog of work right now, I chose the path I knew would work.

(Update: I later burned the Crucial ISO in Disk Utility to try booting from an 09 Mac Pro and early 09 MBP (just as a test, I've already updated the SSD), which didn't work properly in either the MBP or Mac Pro. As many others have complained about (at least with SATA optical drive machines - PC or Mac), the Crucial posted ISO (v1819 updater) wasn't usable to update the SSD. Booting from it with the MacBook Pro shows "No drives Found, aborting installation" and "Device Driver not found: 'Banana" - No valid CDROM device drivers selected". Booting from the Disc with a 2009 Mac Pro (OEM LG SATA DVD drive) hangs at the "Device Name: Banana" text - never gets to the DOS prompt. (No PATA interface in the 09 mac pros to try an IDE Optical drive.)
I don't have a USB floppy drive to try, but saw a post from a MacBook Pro owner that said he used a bootable DOS floppy in a USB Floppy drive to update to 1819 OK. My 2009 Mac Pro would not boot from a USB flash drive that does boot from a PC.) (Update - See later post above for links to FreeDOS ISO images with 1819 updater)

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Backflashing a Crucial M225 SSD (to 1571) in Mac Pro, Flashing to v1819, Cloning MBP 10.6.1
A follow-up to the earlier post today regarding my 256GB M225 w/infamous firmware v1711 that was pulled due to problems shortly after I updated it back in August. (I'm not saying what I did is the best way, but here are notes on what I did tonight.)
I downloaded the 1571 backflash and 1819 update ZIP files and extracted them on the iMac (10.5.8). I then mounted the ISO's in the Finder and copied the CT256M225_1571.exe (backflash exe) and CT256M.exe (1819 update DOS exe) to a bootable USB Flash drive. Note as mentioned in their Guide (PDF), the 1571 backflash exe file will not run from a DOS boot, so after copying it to the Vista HD in a PC (that has IDE mode in Bios for SATA drives, the same PC I used to flash the M225 to 1711 back in August), I inserted the M225 (in an IcyDock 2.5in to 3.5in case) into that PC's 2nd HD bay and booted into Vista 64 (w/UAC disabled as recommended in the Crucial PDF, although I still run any updaters as "adminstrator"). This PC (w/EVGA Nvidia 780i SLI motherboard) has the Bios set to IDE (preferred setting for flashing SSDs) and SATA drives in its 5 HD bays appear as "SCSI" in Windows. The Crucial 1571 backflasher saw no drives and therefore impossible to update the SSD. (SSD was originally formatted for OS X/had 10.5.8 installed on it.)
So I swapped it into the 2009 Mac Pro (as a 3rd HD) and booted Vista 64 Ultimate (with UAC disabled) and then (on my own accord) disabled write caching on the M225 drive via Device mgr and rebooted again. Ran the 1571 exe and it saw all 3 HDs, but refused to update the M225 SSD as it had a partition table. So I deleted the M225's volume using vista's disk tools and ran the 1571 backflasher again and selected the M225 drive - and it reported the backflash OK.

At this point I wasn't sure about updating it to 1819 in preparation for Windows 7 or install Snow Leopard on it. (Originally I'd thought about using an MCE OptiBay to make the SSD a 2nd HD in the MacBook Pro 17in for Windows 7, which has TRIM support, at least with the MS drivers Intel's windows7 drivers to date still do not support Trim as far as I know but a future update hopefully will.)
But I decided (regardless of OS used) to update the firmware to 1819 since I wanted to test for any issues with that firmware (regardless if SL or Win7 used on it). And since only OCZ has GC firmware, I might has well have 1819 on the M225 in case there is an update to Snow Leopard with TRIM support later on.

Having already set the PC's bios boot order to USB first (and installing the M225 in the HD bay rack as the lone drive), I booted from the USB flash drive and ran the CT256M.exe updater which completed OK. (Photo is from a cellphone, so not great quality)

I then removed the M225 from the ICYDock case and inserted it in my eSATA Hard Drive dock connected to a natively supported JMB360 eSATA Expresscard (from OWC) and booted my Early 2009 17in MacBook Pro (OS X 10.6.1 w/all updates).
I used Disk Utility to erase/format the SSD for OS X. After clearing all logs/caches/RP, etc on the MBP HD (I'd already disabled SMS, Hibernate mode and deleted sleepimage file), I then used DU's "Restore" to clone the boot OS 10.6.1 HD to the M225 - which is still in progress as I'm typing this.

I'll post later if I've seen any problems cloning the MacBook Pro HD to the M225 (w/1819) or using the M225 (v1819) in the MBP running 10.6.1. (If anyone's interested I can post some pix on swapping out the OEM 320GB (Fuji) HD with the M225.)

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Crucial M225 SSD Firmware Updates page has v1819 firmware (and v1571 backflash)
[Update: As of Oct. 22nd, Crucial had revised their firmware downloads page to correct their PDF guide and list separate PDFs for Updating (1571 to 1819) via Boot from CD or Boot from USB (with separate downloads for each).
ALSO be aware apparently some recent M225s may have a Switch on the SSD that must be changed before flashing (and slid back afterwards). I've posted an M225 Sliding Switch image with info from a doc they sent an owner of a switch model.]
(original post from Oct. 16th follows)
I'd been refreshing their SSD firmware updates page every 1/2 hour for days and the page was revised with updates and backflash around 5:45PM ET today (Friday). (At first they linked to .iso files that were not found, but around 7PM ET Friday night, the firmware D/L links (zip files) are working.)
Crucial's SSD firmware updates page now lists new v1819 firmware, release notes and update guide PDF (which needs corrections for new updater) and also links to a v1571 backflash (and Firmware revert instructions (PDF) for those of us that updated to v1711 before it was pulled. (I have to backflash my M225 256GB which currently has 1711.)
Although no GC (garbage collection) firmware as OCZ has for their vertex model (and no Mac updater that was promised in a past moderator post) - still glad to finally see these released. Hopefully this time the new firmware will be problem-free. (BTW - There's complaints about the Crucial ISO's not working properly for updates (no drives detected, no SATA CDrom support, etc.) - Their ISO's did not work properly with an 09 MBP and 09 Mac Pro here.) - I copied the EXE updater to a Bootable USB Flash drive and use a PC to update to 1819, after backflashing the 1711 SSD to 1571 in a Mac Pro. Backflasher runs under windows (w/SSD as secondary drive/not Boot HD), but 1819 updater does not.)

Many I suspect are going to wait for feedback on 1819 first but if any readers with M225 SSD's update their firmware to v1819, or had updated to 1711 and are just reverting back to 1571 - send a note if any see any problems (or not) flashing or using the new firmware (or backflash).
(Update/FYI - See later posts above for more notes and also downloads of FreeDOS ISO's which worked for some (several MacBook Pro users) but not all - a couple Mac Pro owners still had problems.)

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SuperTalent (barefoot model) SSD Firmware Update 1819 (and 1571 backflash)
FYI to any reader with a (barefoot based) SuperTalent SSD.

"A note to let you know that Super Talent has posted firmware updates (1819) for their (barefoot controller based) SSDs
The downgrade process to v1571 for those who had already installed the v1711 firmware is harder to find. It's posted in their forums:
(he later wrote)
I have a Super Talent SSD (256GB), I tried it with my late 2008 MacBook Pro and had extensive pauses making it completely unusable. I hope to back flash it to 1571 then to the new 1819 firmware this weekend and then try it out.
-Rob B."

These (barefoot controller model) ST SSDs per PC site reviews/take-aparts look to be from the same OEM MFR as the Crucial M225s. (Update - Crucial finally posted their v1819 and 1571 backflash - see later post above.)

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More Feedback on Performance Update 1.0 (OS X 10.5.8 and 10.6.1)
Yesterday's news had several reports on the Performance Update 1.0 for OS X 10.6.1. Here's one on the OS X 10.5.8 version:

" Interesting update. Since my Mac Mini (2.26GHz C2D, 4GB ram, 320GB Hitachi) is only several months old, I thought I was experiencing a potential problem with its internal hard drive (Hitachi), or possibly the drive sleep control as it was non-responsive at random times, acting as if the drive wasn't waking up. I'd deal with it later, when time permitted, as the mini might have to go back to Apple to fix. Plus I had no such problem with my Firewire 800 drives on the mini. (Mercury Elite-AL Pro (x2) with 150GB WD Raptor and 500MB WD5001AALS sata drives)
After downloading and installing the Performance Update 1.0 to Leopard 10.5.8 wednesday night, the random no response issue hasn't happened at all, during heavy use. Happy to have a fix.
Now, if Apple would fix 10.6.1, I could try the update on it, too. In the meantime, I'll stick with 10.5.8 until an update for Snow Leopard arrives.
-Rod "

And another report from a 10.6.1 user that hadn't seen the pauses/beachballing some had, but applied it anyway:

" I had never noticed any beachballing, but I thought it might speed up my 13" Unibody MacBook Pro 2.53GHz (running OS X 10.6.1) so I installed it.
Nothing changed over here. I didn't think about doing a boot speed test so I can't talk about this seriously, but I have the impression that it boots faster. Maybe it's just psychological, though.
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