Slow SSDs in MacBook Pro 13″ 2012

A friend asked me to check her MacBook Pro 13″ from 2012. It is running unbearable slow. So I’ve made a bootable copy with Carbon Copy Cloner and TimeMachine and tried to start with a fresh installation.

I’ve created an external Bootdisk with macOS 10.15 and tried to repartition and wipe the SSD. This process took already very long and I started to wonder what might have caused this delay.

This MacBook was running fine for almost two years when I’ve replaced the internal HDD with a SanDisk SSD Plus SDSSDA-480G. All the more I was wondering why it started to be so slow without warning.

I’ve found this post on ifixit.com where someone replaced the HDD with an SSD in the same model and it started to be very slow. The culprit should be the internal SATA cable, which isn’t either SATA3 compatible or has broken data lanes due to mechanic stress from bending or itching on sharp edges caused by the CNC milling of the MacBook case:

I’ve checked the cable and did not see any damages to the cable. So I’ve tried an old HDD on the same cable and repartitioning and installing was reasonable fast again.

I was still not convinced that the cable should be the problem, but decided to order a new cable including the IR receiver as well as the standby LED. There’s some sort of confusion about the right model number, but looks like 821-1480-A is the right one. I’ve ordered the cable from iFixit.com as I intended to avoid quality problems. However, you’ll get the same cable with the HDD bracket for less money from Amazon.

Replacing the cable is quite easy and can be done in less than 10 minutes.

After I’ve replaced the cable, I’ve tried the SanDisk SSD again. The installation was still very slow so I’ve cancelled the installation. Luckily I’ve had another SSD which I could test and this one installed quite fast.

So I’ve decided to replace the exchanged cable with the original cable and rebooted the Mac. I was surprised by a login screen where the default user was unknown. I’ve only created one user on that machine and it should’ve been automatically preselected. Ok, I can type that username by myself and typed the password, but I’m unable to login at all. Either password or username are wrong?!

I’ve rebooted to the recovery partition of the currently installed SSD and tried to repartition the SSD. Deletion was now slow again and failed with this error I’ve never seen before (got the error message only in German, sorry 😞):

Das Entfernen der Volumedaten zum Verhindern zukünftiger unbeabsichtigter Überprüfungen ist fehlgeschlagen (-69825).

Searching for this error lead me to a German forum, where a user has also the same MacBook and problems with his SSD. Looks like changing the SATA cable helped in this case.

After I’ve replaced the faulty SATA cable with the new one, I was able to repartition the SSD which wasn’t deletable before.

How to create a Fusion Drive on Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks from scratch

A few years ago I bought a SSD kit for my MacbookPro 5.5. At that time I had decided to use the Intel SSD 320 separately from my HDD as independent drives. This resulted in increased performance, but I had to decide by myself what I want to place on the faster or larger drive.

With Mac OS X 10.8 Apple introduced the Fusion Drive with the new iMacs. It is based upon the Core Storage Layer of Mac OS and combines a fast SSD with the larger but slower HDD into a logical unit. Mac OS X decides what files it wants to place on the SSD and what on the HDD.

The performance is a little slower compared to my solution with single drives. However, it is proven fast enough, so I’ve decided to use it under Mavericks. For Mavericks, I’ve created a bootable USB stick so that I can start with a fresh installation.

If you want to try it out, this is the way to proceed: First of all, create a bootable backup of your system using SuperDuper! or CarbonCopyCloner. Now you should follow the steps from this blog. I’ll add my notes and tweaks.

We’ll follow option C. But instead of booting from the Recovery Partition, we want to boot from the USB stick which you should’ve created following my other blog article linked above. This way, we are completely independent of the existing content of either SSD or HDD.

Now delete all content from the SSD and the HDD. Repartition the HDD to use 1 partition. This partition will be used to install a fresh copy of Mavericks. As you’ve destroyed all partitions on both drives, you don’t have a recovery partition on either disk. But the Mavericks installer will create a new recovery partition on the drive on which you’ve decided to install Mavericks (in this case it’s the HDD). This is an important step, as this partition needs to be outside of the logical volume created for the fusion disk. This way you are still able to boot into recovery, in case something goes wrong (you could nevertheless boot from the USB stick, which will allow access to the same recovery tools).

You will now continue with the instructions from the blog and merge the drives to one unit. This unit is now empty and can be used in a new installation run of Mavericks. This way, you’ve created a bootable Fusion Drive with a fresh installation of Mavericks. It is now your choice, if you want to clone your old installation with one of the cloning tools mentioned before. But you could also start with a fresh copy or you can use the migration assistent.

I’ve chosen a fresh copy and started from scratch. This is a good start to clean up your Mac from any unwanted old stuff. You’ve now successfully created a fusion drive on Mavericks. Your Mac will now handle all the logic for you on where to place the files. You may now also activate FileVault 2 to encrypt your Fusion Drive. Beware that the usage of BootCamp requires a separate partition on either SSD or HDD, because Windows will otherwise not boot. If you want this configuration, you may look up the details in this blog.

Macbook Pro 5,5 mit Intel 320 SSD und Snow Leopard Migration

Endlich ist es soweit: Nach vielen Monaten der Überlegungen und vielem ausprobieren habe ich mir eine Intel 320 SSD mit 120GB Speicherplatz gekauft. Die Entscheidung eine SSD zu kaufen wurde mir glücklicherweise ziemlich leicht gemacht. Ein guter Freund von mir hat mir seine neue Intel 320 mit 300GB testweise geliehen, so dass ich erst einmal Testen konnte, ob ich denn nicht wieder den elendigen Beachball bekomme und dauernd auf die Festplatte warten muss oder ob ich überhaupt installieren kann.

Nun, dieser Test funktionierte sogar so gut und meine Begeisterung darüber war so groß, dass ich mir direkt vor 3 Tagen die SSD und einen Optibay Adapter über Ebay besorgt habe. Ich wollte so schnell es geht die Hardware zusammen haben und mich an das umbauen setzen.

Macbook Pro 5,5 mit Intel 320 SSD und Snow Leopard Migration weiterlesen

MacbookPro5,5, OCZ Vertex SSD und Snow Leopard

Ich habe gerade die Möglichkeit gehabt, eine OCZ Vertex SSD in meinem MacbookPro5,5 zu verbauen. Allerdings funktionierte die Installation von Snow Leopard überhaupt nicht (siehe Artikelbild) und mein erster Anhaltspunkt war eine zu alte Firmware Revision der SSD. Ich hatte jedoch bisher keine Möglichkeit ohne größere Umbauarbeiten die SSD an meinem Mac anzuschließen um die Firmware Revision auszulesen. Das werde ich bei Gelegenheit nachholen. Update: Ich habe gerade mal an einem PC die SSD angeschlossen und es ist leider schon die neueste Firmware 1.6 installiert. Schade.
MacbookPro5,5, OCZ Vertex SSD und Snow Leopard weiterlesen