|MacBook Pro owner reports on Express34 Cards
Reports last Updated: Oct. 17, 2011
This page is a catch-all for MacBook Pro owner comments on Express34 cards (SATA, Firewire, Firewire/USB, Modems, etc.)
[STICKY] Reminder on File Corruption/Copied File Integrity Tests w/eSATA Cards and your External Drive: (Since the previous notes to check for this were often not seen)
Although not everyone has reported the problem (and the majority of eSATA card/ext case/bridge board mix problems have been so major as to be useless - BBOD, system freezes, etc.), in the last couple months I've had more reports on this issue (files copied OK, but fail checksum/integrity tests) - especially with natively supported JMB36x chip based eSATA cards. (Recently a 2-port JMB362/10.6.2 user said he's fine after I repeatedly asked him to test for this. However I am not alone in seeing this issue with several ext. Encl/HD Docks I have tested with a single port JMB360 (natively supported still in OS X 10.6.2) setup - including several Oxford-bridge based ext drives/docks. I have a FYI asking to check for this in the above email feedback request section, but it's clearly often missed so I've made that note RED text to get more attention.)
I and others have seen data corruption with these cards - for instance only 1 of the 4 eSATA port ext. docks I have would pass a checksum test repeatedly. (Some failed every test, some might pass 1 out of 5 times - but ANY failure is reason to NOT USE it.)
I keep hoping maybe an OS X update will help but to date I have not seen any fix for me and others that have seen this probelm.
In some mixes, checksum/file copy integrity tests are a moot point due to BBOD/Freezes, etc. but the point is even if file copies seem OK, file size is the same, etc. there can still be corruption. Run the DMG mount/checksum test repeatedly before you assume your card/ext drive mix is reliable. Since running more tests w/OS X 10.6.2 (which _seemed_ to help with the BBOD/Freezes I had with some of my ext eSATA port HD/Docks) I wanted to make sure readers check for this before assuming their eSATA card/drive's files are OK. (Again test for this regardless if you've had any BBOD/freezes, etc. with your setup - otherwise you could find out later your files are corrupt.) I've now went back to using the other (also $20 retail) eSATA expresscard I have (Sil3132 chip based). I just don't trust the JMB360 card anymore. I hope some future update (OS X or otherwise) can fix that, but I'm not holding my breath. And for my light needs (single drive use) FW800 isn't really that much slower. As I said earlier, after years of problem reports on eSATA cards/ext case mixes, drivers, etc. I think I know why apple still hasn't added eSATA Ports to Macs yet.-Mike
Reader Reports on Expresscards in MacBook Pros: (later reports first)
If you're using an Expresscard in your MacBook Pro, let me know if you've seen any issues and are satisfied with it (value/price/performance, etc.).
NOTE: Please include details on the card brand/model, MBP model/RAM (2GB, 4GB or more?), if you've seen any issues with sleep/wake, any driver/versions used, info on external drive(s) used with eSATA cards and OS version you're using. Many people have sent just one-sentence mails with no details. Thanks. (This saves us both time and makes the report more useful.) Note that unless otherwise specified, most of these cards are not bootable - a current exception (w/Core2 Duo MBPs) are the Jmicron 36x chip based cards (w/native support) BUT make sure you check for data corruption with your setup. Do that -first thing- before relying on it. Sticky on that above.
(DATA Corruption Test: A simple test for file corruption (integrity of copied files using eSATA cards), try copying a large DMG file (such as an OS X Combo update download) to the external drive and then try to mount the DMG from the eSATA external drive. Mounting it does a checksum/verify. I'd repeat this test at least 10 times (delete DMG, recopy it to the eSATA HD). I've seen some fail 10% of the time, some 50% or more. Even ONE failure out of 100 is too many of course. (You can also do a "MD5" compare on files from the terminal but the large DMG example is easier for most.)
Please do this especially for natively supported JMB36x chipset eSATA Expresscards as I and many others have seen problems with them in some cases. See my update from Nov 2009 below on OS X 10.6.2 tests I did.)
FirmTek SeriTek/6G eSATA Expresscard report (w/OS X 10.6.8 and 10.7.1):
(FYI: The owner below has not updated to the latest 2011 MacBook Pro EFI 2.2 firmware update until he can confirm it doesn't affect booting to OS X 10.6.8. I'd tend to doubt it affects that, but welcome confirmation. I'm going to try an ask readers that reported on the (undocumented) fix for SATA3 SSD's in that firmware to ask if they also have a 10.6 volume to try.)
(from Oct 2011 mail, other topic comments removed for brevity)
"This MacBook Pro 8,3 (17", early 2011) currently is a dual boot with 10.6.8 and 10.7.1 located on a updated (from the stock Apple/Toshiba 750GB drive) Samsung 1TB 5400 rpm internal HD.... As it turned out the machine I bought on 6/28/2011 from B&H with a build date 4/26/2011 had SL 10.6.8 & had SATA III in both the hard drive & optical bays... Shortly after buying the MBP 8.3, updating ram to 8GB and installing Samsung 1TB I started looking for express cards since one of the reasons I bought the 17" version was for that (expresscard slot) capability. Looked at almost all of them & mostly rejected them all because of lack of booting ability, with the exception of the Sonnet SATA III version & the FirmTek SATA III - that OWC offered.
(FYI: The very low cost, natively supported JMB36x cards were bootable in C2D models also (I had one in a early 2009 17in MBP for awhile), but as noted here before, some have seen data corruption with them, so always check for that before using/relying on it. OWC now lists them as not compatible w/some MBP models also. I don't know of anyone that's tried one with a 2011 MBP however.-Mike)
The FirmTek was more money but also reported SMART data, the Sonnet did not. They both offer booting on the early 2011 version ONLY - which in my case was outstanding. Choose the FirmTek SeriTek/6G expresscard from OWC for around $120. It is a dual port ExpressCard/E-SATA 6G card. It is called a SeriTek/6G ExpressCard running a v. 6.1.2 driver. Apple System Information under 10.7.1 as well as 10.6.8 reports that it is seen as an ATA protocol interface. (Most controllers that _require_ a driver are not bootable but apparently this one has some native support and is bootable w/2011 model.)
Card is at this point almost flawless. It can run natively on the Mac OS but it is rather slow w/out its own driver. In either case it needs reboot mostly for either the Mac OS to see it or of course for the FirmTek driver to see. When it is mounted there is a menubar icon showing it & driver version if FirmTek, as well as option to power off card. Once you power off card system will not see it again unless you reboot. It reports SMART data back for any bare drives. The Oxford multiple drive cases like the QX2 report smart data via express card to apps like SmartReporter-OK but not to Smart Utility. Single drive cases & bare drives do report SMART data - that was one of the reasons I choose the FirmTek-as the Sonnet -does not. Both ports work at once or individually with multiple drives or drive cases. It is totally bootable either via OWC Oxford cases ( the only type cases I have) or with bare drives- which I have MANY & which is how I mostly use it. It can mount drives/cases hot & eject at will & remount at will.
The flexibility it presents for mounting & booting drives/cases on a MacBook Pro are really nice. Now along with the Highpoint ESATA for Mac PCI card on my MacPro 3.1 which also mounts/boots cases or drives flawlessly - I have unparalleled access & ability to all my drives/cases w/out any BS across my whole workflow- things really are as they should be with all this technology- IT JUST WORKS.
It even mounts drives or partitions with a FirmTek custom icon which is great to be able to distinguish the Express Card volumes from others on desktop. Again if you power down card- it needs a reboot to see drives again. It does not matter whether you plug it in or out again- it will not show up again until reboot. Another thing is because of Apple's design it does not take much movement for card to eject itself- so one needs to have a light touch while card is inserted in MBP. Apple should really improve express card slot interface to hold card in slot more firmly. On 10.7.1 sleeping/waking up is hit or miss while drive/volumes on the Express Card are mounted, sometimes it will wake up after a while- sometimes it may freeze. I have actually forgotten if it has same behavior under 10.6.8 when attempting to sleep/wake-up with drives mounted. I will have to go back & check. I really don't sleep laptop much while drives are connected to the FirmTek card anyway as I am actively doing something with external drives & no need to sleep really. Cloning, booting copying etc happens quite a bit faster than Firewire 800, the speed increase is quite substantial. All 4 of my SATA III 7200 rpm Hitachi's are in my MacPro 3.1 so have not mounted an actual SATA III drive on this card yet to see any difference compared with SATA II drives. That is a test to come. Also have not run benchmarks of any kind yet - because performance is definitely noticeable.
There is one thing that I have noticed & I don't think it is the FirmTek card. When being booted up on 10.7.1 & selecting a suitable startup via system prefs pane of a boot volume that is 10.6 or later, located via the FirmTek card on a drive/case that is formatted with the Apple Partition Map format (the std format for legacy/PowerPC (pre-Intel) based Macs) than GUID - the MBP will NOT startup on that selected partition. It will default back to the current 10.7.1 partition for starting up & booting. It also will not boot up on a APM formatted boot volume via the option key either. It WILL boot as expected if the format of selected drive/case is 10.6 or later & drive/case is formatted as a GUID format.
(Apple has noted Intel-based Macs should use GUID drives since they first started shipping in 2006. In fact, OS's like Lion will not install on an APM (PPC mac format) drive per Apple. A new drive formatted from an intel-based mac should default to GUID.)
On the other hand when MBR (master boot record, typically PC/windows bootable drives) is currently booted from 10.6.8 - then it will select via System Preference startup pane & BOOT just fine from a 10.6 or later volume that is located on a APM formatted drive/case or of course from a GUID formatted source. I think this is a Lion specific development that Apple instituted via 10.7 to gradually move away from the ability to boot from APM formats. I have not tried this same procedure via Firewire to see if thats true with that interface. If the MBP can in fact, being booted from 10.7.1 and then select a valid startup on a APM formatted drive/case and successfully startup directly from the 10.6 or later- APM formatted drive/case then it is the FirmTek card/driver that has that anomaly.
Lastly, after repeated copies back and forth of large .dmg files & repeatedly launching them with checksum on them - I have not come across any corruptions or problems with files. (data corruption test) This, (although a little on the expensive side) FirmTek ExpressCard is highly recommended IF you have the latest 17" early 2011 MacBook Pro 8.3 - as it is BOOTABLE (w/that model), SATA III capable and in most cases reports SMART data back. If you have a MBP 17" model BEFORE the early 2011 (MacBook Pro 8,3 version) - then this card does NOT offer boot ability on those MBP's and perhaps the SATA III may not be of value since they do not have the 6G interface either in them. But for for the early 2011 17" MBP it really completes the abilities of that model nicely.
Sonnet Tempo Pro ExpressCard: (hope my comments make sense, not much sleep latelys)
(from late Sept 2011 mail)
- MacBook Pro (4,1), 2.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB Corsair DDR2/667
- 200GB Hitachi 7200rpm HD, OS X 10.5.8
- Sonnetech Tempo eSATA Pro ExpressCard34
- Sonnetech 5P eSata 5 drive enclosure (w/Sonnet 2m cable)
Samsung Spinpoint F1 500GB HD501LJ (MBR)
Samsung Spinpoint F1 750GB HD753LJ (GUID)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB HD103SJ (GUID)
(Is there a reason the 500GB F1 is MBR? I suspect there is but just not mentioned.-Mike)
MacBook Pro (4,1) 2.6GHz purchased in September 2008 running OS X 10.5.8. I subsequently purchased Snow Leopard but I use some Native Instruments music software that is now unsupported by Native Instruments and therefore won't run on 10.6. I am using a Sonnetech Tempo eSATA Pro ExpressCard34 with the Sonnetech 5P five drive Esata enclosure and Sonnetech 2m Esata cable. I purchased the Sonnetech Tempo eSATA Pro ExpressCard34 after reading the Sonnetech website tech support notice regarding an incompatibility of MacBook Pros with 4GB RAM installed and the standard Sonnetech Tempo eSATA ExpressCard34.
I originally used three Samsung Spinpoint F1 750GB drives without any glitches running the Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro 2.2.4 driver. I use standard Samsung Spinpoint drives and not the server grade drives as Google's Hard Drive failure rate research paper suggests little significant differences in drive reliability once past a higher twelve month initial failure rate for standard drives.
It was when I introduced Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB drives that I started experiencing system hang-ups first running the Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro 2.2.4 driver then updating to the Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro 2.2.5 driver and subsequently to the Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro 2.2.6 driver. Even using only Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB drives in the 5P enclosure can cause a system freeze where the activity lights on the Sonnetech Tempo eSATA Pro ExpressCard34 stall on Amber and the computer progressively stops responding. I typically have a mix of one Samsung Spinpoint F1 500 GB, three Samsung Spinpoint F1 750 GB and Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB drives installed in the Sonnet 5P enclosure.
I have traced one issue in part to journaling - i.e. having journaling switched on the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB drives seems to cause a system conflict such that the Sonnetech Tempo Pro ExpressCard34 hangs and causes a complete system freeze necessitating a computer reboot using the power switch. Unfortunately Time Machine creates journaled partitions on a drive whether they have been formatted as Mac OS Extended journaled or not so these are now located on one of the Samsung Spinpoint F1 750 GB drives. Similarly creating a clone of the system drive can cause issues as the Sonnetech Tempo eSATA Pro ExpressCard34 does not allow booting from the attached drives and the clone is formatted Journaled HFS+.
-Stephen C. (UK)"
Since it sounds like the F3 is the primary cultprit, I'd check w/Samsung to see if this is a known issue/if any drive firmware updates are available, etc. (If you know your F3's firmware version let me know - Apple system profiler reports it as drive 'revision' usually, but may not for external cased drives depending on bridge, etc.)
If you could test the F3 (w/journaling enabled) with an onboard SATA interface (and/or has any issues with another other SATA interfaces also), I report this to Samsung as well. (Not sure they have any later firmware for the drive, or if this is a known problem. If not, I doubt it they will be of any help.)
Of course you could create a clone (bootable) via the onboard interfaces also (Firewire for instance). Not quite as fast as ESATA (even w/single drive), but the FW interface is usually 100% reliable, unlike some eSATA cards have been.
Anyway, in case it's useful here's how to disable journaling w/o reformatting the drive (clip from post in 2008 here, tested w/10.4.x and 10.5.x back then) - but see my note that follows.
- Open Disk Utility
- Select the Volume (not the device)
- Press (hold down) the Option key
- Click the File menu
- Disable Journaling will be available (in file menu)
FYI: In my experience (often a cruel teacher), problems like this can be a sign of a more basic issue that disabling Journaling won't fully fix. (If your data is worth anything, best is to replace the drive with something that is reliable w/o workarounds.)
I'm curious if you have ever used that same Samsung F3 drive (w/journaling enabled) with a Mac's onboard SATA? (To see if the issue exists w/onboard interface and not just the expresscard setup w/3rd party drivers and hardware.)
The reason I asked about that (and the drive's firmware version) is the comment on journaling problems and I/O freezes reminded me of similar problems with some early firmware Samsung F1 and Seagate 1.5TB drives several years ago. (I/O freezes, pausing, 'stuttering' playback, hangs, etc with early firmware SD17/SD19 (IIRC) 1.5TB Seagate SATA drives in summer/fall 2008.
Disabling journaling (above tip) was one (temporary) workaround used by some until the firmware update was released) And earlier that year some iMac owners reported similar problems with Samsung F1 drives with firmware 1AA01112 and earlier (IIRC) back then. Some said later firmware (1AA01113) for the F1 may have fixed that. (F1's may be shipping with even later firmware now.)
(from Nov 25, 2010 mail)
jmb360 on macbook pro
I've just bought a jmb360 based esata expresscard, using it with 1TB hitachi drive.
(asked for details on card and ext drive/case/bridge board)
On first connection (after disconnecting USB link) the drive was really slow (like a minute to list directories), but after a restart and taking the expresscard out and back in it seems to be fine.
I've tried copyiing few big dmg's onto it and they all mount without issues. I hope it will stay that way.
(I asked if he'd repeated that checksum test (I'd do at least 20 times, using a large DMG file like the OS X Combo updaters mentioned above). Even one failure out of dozens is too many.)
MBP early 2008 (non-unibody), osx 10.6.4.
I will report if I have any issues. thanks.
OWC Slim/Flush eSATA Expresscard JMB-360 chipset - see above notes and earlier reports on JMB-360 cards below. Also note that OWC's card product page has several MBP models (including the late 2008 unibody) listed as 'not compatible' with this card - and I assume the non-slim JMB360 card also. Again see my warning above to run repeated checksum tests.)
(from Nov 19, 2010 mail)
"I've just received my OWC Slim express34 card two days ago and I immediately experienced crc errors when downloading rar files from usenet (saved straight to external drive).
When I first got this error I started ruling out the quality of the news post and my usenet provider. I started thinking what might cause the crc errors and then it hit me. I just started using the OWC slim express34 card! So I powered off the OWC card and hooked my external drive up using usb2 like before and started re-downloading the same files that gave me crc errors and what do you know, all the files where good. No crc errors to be found with usb2.
Aside from pulling in some usenet rar's I've also copied a whole lot of data from the express34 connected drive (drive1) to an usb2 connected drive (drive2). Most of them where .dmg files and they seem to mount without any problems. The non .dmg files are also working just fine.
Aside from just mounting the .dmg files I also did some extra file corruption check like you suggested on your site.
First I copied a big file (300+ MB) from drive1 to drive2. Checked both the MD5's and the came back the same and both mounted without a hiccup.
Then I tried it the other way around. Copied another file from drive2 to drive1. Checked both the MD5's and they also came back the same.
So it seems I only have problems with downloading the rar files from usenet. Oh wait! I've also had problems with waking my macbook pro up from sleep. Nothing would bring it back so in the end I pressed and hold the on/off button to turn it off completely.
Here's some info about my setup:
- 15" Macbook Pro late 2008 model 2,4Ghz Core2Duo
- 4GB DDR3 ram from Crucial
- Intel x25-m g2 160GB SSD
- Running OSX 10.6.5
- OWC Slim eSATA Express34 card with Jmicron JMB360 chipset
(I sent him a note that OWC now has red "X"'s through some MBP models on the page for the eSATA Slim/flush Expresscard including his late 2008 Unibody model. (I had written last year about the Checksum test failures with the previous (non-slim) JMB360 card in my MBP (early 2009 17in) as well as similar results from others including reports below.)-Mike)
- No extra drivers. Just popped it in the slot and started using it.
- External drive that I'm using is the Sharkoon SATA QuickPort Duo V1
- Drive1 is a 2GB western digital caviar green disk in the Sharkoon Quickport (bay1) hooked up to my mac via Expresscard.
- Drive2 is a 1,5GB western digital caviar green disk in the Sharkoon Quickport (bay2) hooked up to my mac via usb2.
- Value: Reasonable 3/5
- Price: Reasonable 3/5
- Performance: Good 4/5
- Overall: Terrible 1/5
The crc errors I keep getting is a major downside. I'm now hesitant to keep using it cause I'm afraid It will fudge up my external drive and make me lose all my data.
Hope this info helps.
Last year I put the (sticky) note above to check for data corruption with eSATA cards, especially JMB-360 chipset ones. (Many have seen this issue - I had one eSATA/USB HD Dock that passed the checksum test I mentioned dozens of times - but others (including every Oxford bridge based eSATA Dock I had) failed more than 50% of the time on those tests. (And even one failure is too many...)
Updated Silicon Image 3132 SATA card OS X Drivers: (clip from the Nov 4th news page) A reader that previously had problems installing the earlier drivers sent a FYI that he had no problems installing the latest updated OS X drivers on Silicon Image's SI3132 Drivers page - v220.127.116.11 (non-RAID) and v1.7.5 (RAID - users of the MiniPCIe SATA cards (i.e. imac, mini mods) used the raid drivers -in general expresscard owners use non-RAID driver). He said these installed fine. (I've used their previous 3 (non-RAID) versions with Snow Leopard w/o any problems (w/PCIe card and expresscard) but have not tried these yet. In the past though some had problems with the SI site ref drivers but not sonnet's installer (despite it often being the same version - perhaps something in their installer helped?)
(Another) Best Connectivity (JMB360 chip) eSATA card Problem report:
(from Nov 5, 2010 mail)
I've given up trying to use the Best Connectivity single port eSata EC/34. Not bootable. Data corruption on many different external drive devices. Corruption includes copy issues, integrity issues, and eventually un-repairable drive that can't be written to, but I can read data from. The only fix is to format and start over with different connection. Same drive that works on FW800/FW400/USB2 will fail, with data corruption, after few days connected to ESATA.
MBP (5,1) 2.53ghz, 4GB RAM
Primary Boot Device FW800 ext. 1TB hard drive (MacAlleyG-S350SUAB FW800/FW400/USB2/ESATA)
EC/34 device single port Best Connectivity from OWC (second card, 1st replaced with same problems)
External devices tried include:
Voyager SATA Dock with usb2 and esata ports
Mini Stack V3
Best Connectivity (JMB360 chip) eSATA card/10.6.2 report: (deja-vu.... see above sticky/warning)
(from Jan 22, 2010 mail)
I have been using a Best Connectivity eSATA express card with a SimpleTech and OWC external enclosures. (Just for the record, I asked what models, as I have seen this issue with several eSATA HD docks I have. Only 1 eSATA HD Dock I have tested passes a checksum test regularly - the others all fail repeatedly (and even ONE failure is too many. (And we're not alone - some other owners especially of JMB360 based cards in SL have seen this problem. I made the FYI on the checksum tests red text now since many have missed it and found out later they had file corruption.-Mike)
While the card is the natively supported JMicron JMB360 chipset and the drives mount and copy files correctly. I have been finding that after using them for a while I see a lot of directory damage. When mounting,OS X will post a message that the drive's directory is damaged and need to reformat. Running DIsk Utility and DiskWarrior, I am able to repair the damage after a long time of running these utilities (run one, it states it cannot repair it more, then run the other until it cannot repair and keep switching them until the directory damaged is repaired). Then I will start using them and after a month or so, the problem re-appears.
Forgot to mention, I am running !0.6.2 with the latest updates on a Unibody MacBook Pro 17" (summer 2009).
For those that missed my early Nov 2009/10.6.2 test update notes (with this same card and some eSATA encl/docks that earlier would only BBOD/Freeze) - although they did allow file copies (and file sizes were the same) - they failed the file integrity test (easy to replicate as I mention above by copying a large .DMG file (for instance the 10.6.2 Combo updater from apple) to the eSATA HD and then try to mount it. (Double clicking on it will run a checksum verify first before mounting). I've not went back to using the ($20) Dynex 3132 based card for now (although drivers only 32bit as of the 1.1.11u update from mid-Oct. 2009). With that card/drivers, the same eSATA HD/docks that failed (from 100% of the time to more than 50% of the time depending on dock used/drive used) with the natively supported JMB360 card pass every time.
OS X 10.6.2/JMB 362 (Dual port) Natively Supported eSATA card report: (Initially like most he had not run the requested checksum/integrity test but I asked he do so - report updated for that)
(from Jan 10, 2010 mail)
"I have a 17" 2.33Ghz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro, and just got a GXT 2 port SATA II Express Card. The package refers to valgear.com, but there is little information there about the product, and it looks to just be a generic express card with this manufacturing label. The packaging says it's based on the JMicron JMB362 chipset. It's $33 Canadian at FutureShop, $1 more than the 2 port Dynex SATA expresscard device. I paid the extra buck for a chance that port-multiplication will eventually be supported on the device [the device supports it, but reports on the internet say the Mac drivers included in the OS don't support that feature].
For me, it worked out of the box, without needing any drivers with 10.6.2. Inserting it into the computer resulted in a new RHS menu item with a disabled item labeled "SATA Controller" and an enabled item labeled "Power Off". Selecting Power Off, the menu item disappears, and I can remove the device from the computer.
In System Profiler, it reports the device as being an Unknown AHCI Standard Controller, Speed 3 Gigabit, AHCI Version 1.00 Supported, with 2 entries [I guess one for each port].
Hot-plugging a eSATA cable into the unit mounts the drive fairly quickly, and it worked in doing some performance testing using Drive Genius using an i-rocks usb/esata 2.5" drive case/7200/160Gb Seagate and a seagate pvr expander driver with an esata port. I had to remove/reinsert the expresscard for the computer to recognize a different device [when I switched between the two drives]. Performance-wise, using the esata connection generally significantly outperformed the USB port on the combo-drive. Using USB plugged directly into the computer, the drive would max out at 20MB/sec using Drive Genius 2, while using esata, the tests would trend to 40 MB/s [for the largest transfers], with write speeds in the 'middle' of their tests going over 100 MB/s, so it definitely performs much better than USB. I only have 1 cable, so I couldn't test using 2 drives at the same time.
It supports booting from drives attached to it.
And the drivers for it seem pretty stable, as the system handled having the device removed with a drive attached & mounted [no kernel panic, just complained about the drive being disconnected without being properly unmounted].
So, I'm pretty happy with it.
My First Impressions of (flush-fit) Sonnet Express/34 card slot Memory card reader/writer
Very happy with this ($27) memory card reader/writer in my early 2009 17in MacBook Pro running 10.6.2. To save space here (page already huge) see my comments in the Jan. 8th, 2010 news page.
UniBody MacBook Pro eSATA Expresscards/Windows problems revisited (Windows 7 notes) (My tests in Oct. 2009) This problem (card not usable in Windows - code 12/resources error) came up twice in the past here (earlier reports below from Unibody MacBook Pro owners that tried 5 and 6 different cards). Since I now have a Unibody MacBook Pro (early 2009 17in) and both a JMB360 (natively supported in OS X 10.4.x-10.6) and Sil3132 eSATA expresscard and Windows 7/bootcamp install I decided to test this myself. And with both cards I saw the same problem the Unibody MBP owners reported in the past - both reported the infamous Code12 error (not usable). To save space on this already huge page see the Nov. 6th, 2009 news page for details.
(Update/FYI - I have not retested this after Apple's Bootcamp 3.1 update in Jan 2010, but since it's been a problem for all Unibody MacBook Pro owners in the past I'm not hopeful that will matter.)
Silicon Image 3132 1.1.11u Driver Update for Snow Leopard: (Also reported to solve issues some have seen with >2GB ram) To save space here see the links in the Oct. 12th news page - includes link to initial feedback from readers using them. (Sonnet also posted their repackaged version of these drivers.)
FYI - Kernel Panics with iAntivirus and eSATA Expresscard: I doubt many readers are using it but just a FYI on those that are. To save space here see the Oct. 2nd 2009 news page post regarding Kernel Panics after removing eSATA Expresscard in Snow Leopard w/iAntiVirus installed.
Another Best Connectivity (single port) eSATA card report (OS X 10.5.x):
I have tried (Sil3132-based) Dynex and Sonnet Tempo eSATA expresscards with my (Late 2008 model) 15in Unibody Macbook Pro 2.53Ghz (4GB RAM), OS X 10.5.7. Both caused kernel panic. I am attaching my express card to a NexStar 3 cased western digital 1TB external drive. I have finally found a card that works $19.99 Best Connectivity (single port) eSATA express/34 card.
The chip in this card is not the problematic Sil3132 chipset. (It's JMB360 based, with native support in 10.4 and later.) So far so good. The only slight draw back is this card only comes with one port.
Teresa didn't mention doing it but remember to run the copied file integrity test (noted in feedback section above).
Apiotek 2-Port (SI3132 based) eSATA Expresscard: (another report noting reinstalled 1.1.9 drivers seem ok in Snow Leopard. They're 32bit drivers, but the default SL boot uses 32bit kernel)
"I have a brand new 17in Unibody MacBook Pro 3.06GHz (4GB RAM) with an APIOTEK Extreme 2-Port eSATA Expresscard. Under 10.5.8, this card worked fine, except I needed to power up the enclosure before inserting the card. If I had the card inserted and then power up the enclosure, I would get a kernel panic. On a previous MacBook Pro, this did not happen.
Upon upgrading to Snow Leopard 10.6.1, I reinstalled the Silicon Image Si3132 drivers (www.siliconimage.com/docs/SiI3132_1.1.9u_Sil_Pkg.zip) (which are removed by the 10.6 installer) and was able to read and write 300GB without issues. I did not try inserting the Expresscard without out the enclosure being powered.
It was interesting to note that I had the external hard drive powered and expresscard inserted. The menu at the top showed that Mac OS 10.6 did not recognize the card. Then I installed the Silicon Image drivers and as soon as the install completed (no restart) the drive mounted.
(Just for the record I asked him for details on his ext. case/enclosure. (I like to have those details in reports, as sometimes the bridge board/case used has been a factor in problems some have seen so good to know what cases were used w/o problems.)-Mike)
Right now, I have an OWC case with RAID0 that requires two eSATA cables. I also have a SimpleTech quad interface RAID0 drive that uses port multiplier with one cable and a simple eSATA dock that you stick the drive on it. All three have worked fine with Sil3132 driver and OS 10.6.1 and 10.5.8.
The main difference difference on Unibody MacBook Pro (vs 2007 MBP) is that I cannot have the drive off with the Apiotek card connected or I get a kernel panic. On the MacBook Pro 2007, I did not get a kernel panic. I have not used the Apiotek card with 10.6.1 on the 2007 MacBook Pro yet.
Best regards, Pedro"
Addonics 2-port (3132) eSATA Expresscard: (another report on reinstalling 1.1.9 drivers after 10.6 install - see above for later 1.1.11u driver update link.)
"Like most I was wary to make the move to Snow Leopard for several reasons, one being that my eSATA card may not work (as I had read) and my test machine (a white macbook) gave me no way to test this scenario in the 2 weeks of testing I put in for all of my apps (ProTools especially) since it does not have an ExpressCard slot. I have a Macbook Pro 3,1 (Santa Rosa) with 4GB of RAM. The card is an Addonics non-RAID 2-port based on the Sil3132 chipset. While most people seem to worry about issues with kernel panics, I was much more worried about data corruption if the driver didn't fully support the new OS (as the automatic removal of the drivers during the upgrade suggested). I installed the Sonnet Tempo 1.1.9v2b drivers immediately after the upgrade. I plugged in the card, which worked just fine. I then plopped a Hitachi 250GB (old SATA I) drive into my hot-swap eSATA enclosure and formatted it to GUID/HFS+ for the tests. I used the latest version of SuperDuper! to fully clone my existing installation to the drive, and then verified it. The verify failed, but only due to the volume header being different (which is normal for a fresh clone). I then grabbed a DVD image of Slackware 12.1 that I had handy and created an MD5 file from it while it resided on my internal HDD. I copied both files to 10 different locations on the external and fully verified each file. No issues what-so-ever. I believe that Apple was playing it safe and considered the driver incompatible due to the future which may boot into a 64-bit kernel by default. (Or there's some issue with the driver we don't know of yet - and IIRC the 1.5 driver they listed is the RAID version (which even some earlier OS users had problems with IIRC). Although I saw no problems (data corruption or otherwise) in my limited tests with a 3132 card/1.1.9 drivers in 10.6 (see below), I've since replaced that card with a natively supported (including 64bit kernel) JMicron card.-Mike)
From my testing, which is by no means scientific, I would say that it is safe to reinstall an existing Sil3132 driver after install. I should point out that Apple's website claims the incompatible version of these drivers is "18.104.22.168". I do not know about you, but I was under the understanding that 1.1.9 was the latest version.
(I'd mentioned a few times recently (since posting that Apple doc on 10.6 incompatible software on Aug 27th) that IIRC the 1.5 driver is the RAID version. But regardless of version installed, the 10.6 installer removes any 3132 drivers. But since day 1 (Aug 28th), some have said reinstalling the 1.1.9 drivers seems to work (w/default 32bit kernel boots of course). Granted there may be some issue we haven't seen/discovered yet.-Mike)
(I asked for info on his external case/enclosure)
I have 4 eSATA enclosures that I can test (1 thus far tested - EagleTech Contour USB/eSATA Hot-Swap Enclosure (Sunplus SPIF215A) - Tested OK).
(he later wrote)
I have completed testing the remaining 3 enclosures and while i did have issue with one of them, I do not believe it is related to an incompatibility and rather it is just failing (I have had similar issues on Leopard). It also caused a Kernel Panic. The drive that had issue was the dvBox with an Oxford 924 chipset. Nine 4GB files copied over to it just fine, then on the tenth everything slowed down, beached balled, and finally transferred. Later while testing the files it became unresponsive again, made the system hang, I turned the drive off (after 10 minutes) which resulted in the drive failing to even mount. I pulled the drive from that enclosure and took the hot-swap enclosure apart (the VRaptor is the first kind where it won't fit in a hot-swap style case) and attached it to the VRaptor. All files then successfully verified. The other two enclosures worked fine.
EagleTech Contour USB/eSATA Hot-Swap Enclosure (Sunplus SPIF215A - which appears to be a USB to SATA bridge, so maybe the eSATA part is passthrough) - Tested OK
Vantec NexStar 3 2.5" USB/eSATA enclosure (JMicron JM20339 - also stated as USB to SATA) - Tested OK
dvBOX USB/FW800/eSATA enclosure with a VelociRaptor inside (Oxford 924; appears to be same OEM as OWC) - Copy Test OK, occasional "beachball" hang. Unsure if its the enclosure itself or the chipset being incompatible.
dismantled WD MyBook Studio USB/FW800/eSATA enclosure (Oxford 934 with some lame power management; The 1TB Greenpower from this unit is the primary drive in the EagleTech enclosure due to the above stated lame power management) - Tested OK.
My OS X 10.6 Tests w/Cheap ($20) eSATA Expresscards: See this page for details on my tests on Sept. 4th, 2009 with OS X Snow Leopard and low-cost eSATA expresscards (Sil3132 card and JMB360 card). [Updated early Nov. 2009 for later tests with OS X 10.6.2 (w/SATA AHCI kext 'performance update' from Apple). Includes another warning to check for data corruption, especially with natively supported JMB 36x cards. (Even if you don't see any BBOD/Freezes, etc. with your card/ext drive combo - even if file copies/operation _seems_ OK, there can still be file corruption.) Also includes a link from the mid-Oct 2009 updated Sil3132 drivers (32bit) for Snow Leopard.]
First report on Jmicron chip based eSATA Expresscard w/OS X 10.6 (early Sept. 2009)
There were several earlier reports on other eSATA Expresscards in OS X 10.6 (Sil3132 based, Sonnet Pro card, etc.) but I had been curious about OS X 10.6 with jmicron chip based eSATA expresscards (which had native support in 10.5/10.4). Here's the first report on one:
"Hi Mike, I wanted to wait a bit before sending this but I have been running a PPA 1172 (JMicron-based) 2-port eSATA ExpressCard on my 2006 MacBook Pro (Core 2 Duo) with 10.5.8 for a couple of weeks now without any major problems.
I have it connected to a dual-bay, two-port eSATA enclosure from OWC.
One thing I did have to do was force (jumper) the 1TB drives (Western Digital WD10EACS) to 1.5Gbps SATA as I noticed a bit of flakiness at 3Gbps, but everything has been fine since. (I asked for more info on the issues he saw before jumpering the HDs. As an FYI, the expresscard interface (slot) IIRC is spec'd at 2.5Gbps (max).)
After two weeks of OS X 10.5.8 use, yesterday I updated this MacBook Pro to Snow Leopard and the drives are still working fine, with the built-in drivers.
(What sort of problems did you see with it before jumpering the WD HDS to sata 1.5Gbps? Any corruption? or just other problems like mounting, accessing, etc. Have you ever noticed any overheating in extended use (as some expresscard owners have - saying some shut down until cooling off)-Mike)
Thankfully no corruption, but I saw that severe performance issues. Everything would be fine upon initial connection, getting full speed (over 100MBytes/sec to the drives), but eventually (within an hour or so) it'd get to the point where reading and writing to the drives would slow to a crawl, down into the 100-500KByte/sec range. Switching to 1.5Gbps SATA fixed that problem.
The drives are configured in a striped RAID set. I've used the following dd command to write 3GB of data to the drives and I consistently get over 100MBytes/sec:
time sh -c "dd if=/dev/zero of=/Volumes/Time\ Machine/ddfile bs=16k count=196608 && sync"
When the command finishes, it'll tell you the speed it ran at. I also watch Activity Monitor for comparison.
I haven't seen overheating, but I do remember seeing that post (here previously from a user of a different card). I usually run SETI@home all the time, and the additional thermal load on the MacBook hasn't caused any problems with the eSATA card.
I was curious about any overheating during extended (long duration) I/O through the card. I asked he report back if he sees any issues in longer term use. (and as always, I'd check for copied file integrity - mounting a large .dmg file copied to the eSATA HD will run a checksum test before mounting it.)
OS X 10.6 Install on Wintec FileMate 48GB: (8/31/2009) First report on installing OS X 10.6 report on this SSD Expresscard (although there's been earlier reports from OS X 10.5.x users here). His experience/problems may not be common (few are typically) but posting as a FYI:
"I've come across an interesting issue. This weekend I successfully installed SL on my three macs (new mac mini, unibody 17" and unibody 13" MacBook pro) both laptops have SSD's as well.
I've even been able to load SL on my 16 GB Sandisk Extreme III SD card, for doing repairs for the 13"... however, when i try to load SL on my 48GB Wintec Filemmate SSD Expresscard drive, I have gotten TWO failures. SL reports a failure and it cannot finish installing. i am trying one more time, but i fear that SL will not load onto this expresscard. odd though, because the original disks from the unibody with 10.5.7 installed just fine, and ran perfectly.
I also did a disk utility erase and partition to create one partition and it failed again. am trying now for one last time and will call the manufacturer tomorrow...
(But he later wrote with a fix)
I figured it out. Multiple tries, failure, nothing... Reformatted - no help...
THEN I ran Snow Leopard's disk utility and hit repair disk.
I saw then that the repair added some BOOT files for the partition per necessary (or something to that effect...) and VOILA!
(FYI: That "Boot" related message in Snow Leopard's Disk Utility seems standard now on every repair run, based on what I've seen in repeated checks here. (During my "OS X 10.6 Tests w/Cheap eSATA SI3132 PCIe and ExpressCards".) This is the message that appears below the "Volume Repair Complete" message in OS X 10.6 Disk Utility (every time)
"Updating Boot Support Partitions for the Volume as Required"
That message appears every time I "repaired" an external drive using 10.6 DU. Running a "Verify disk" again (all reported OK) and then another "Repair disk" shows the same "Updating Boot Support ... as Required" message.-Mike)
I don't know if others will get this stymied, but the important point here is if you run across a problem, and you've already upgraded your internal HD, then make sure you repair your external drive and have SL add those all-important boot files to the partition!
I haven't yet tried to boot from ext drives (I have some FW and/or quad interface Ext. drives) with 10.6, but have booted from internal drives OK (w/10.5.7, 10.5.8, Vista64 on them). Disk Utility Repair (disk) has also helped in the past with some Firewire (or USB) External drives that failed to mount (after an update for instance, or just from a crash/corruption.)
BTW - While on the subject of External drive SL installs, Apple has a doc about OS X 10.6 install problems to a volume that was used for TimeMachine (even if it was used for TM in the past and not currently) - doc includes tips for that.
Update: A 64GB FileMate SSD Expresscard user later wrote he didn't see any problems updating it to 10.6:
"I've been using the 64GB Filemate Expresscard SSD as boot disk / test disk. I finished installing SnowLeopard on it and had no issue except for my iStatmenu not working anymore, but seems like islayer is working on a fix already.
The SSD is regarded as a USB drive with 35MB/s (read) - 30MB/s (write) speeds, a bit slower than the SATA (48GB) version, but still very responsive.
I first ran 10.5.7 (on it) which I had upgraded to 10.5.8 and now upgraded to 10.6. It boot's 10.6 both in x32 or x64 kernel no problem and I've extensively used it with vmware fusion (at work we use in-house developed windows software)
Unless there's a new update recently, Fusion 2.0.5 only works with 32bit kernel.
First Reports on eSATA Expresscards with OS X 10.6.0: See post in Friday (8/28/2009) news page with Notes/Tips on Sil3132 SATA card drivers (SI's and Sonnet's) and OS X 10.6. A later post that same day (up the page) has notes from a Sonnet Tempo Pro (Marvell chip based) user w/10.6 noting he saw no issues so far.
Note: Reports below were before OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) was released to the public.
Another report on Griffin eSATA Expresscard (driver versions/KPs, Performance)
(added 8/18/2009 - updated 8/24/2009)
"I have the latest developer version of Snow Leopard, (10A432 I think) installed on an external FW800 drive. I was having difficulty with a Griffin EXPRESSCARD/34-ESATA 2 Port on OS 10.5.8, after installing the drivers and plugging in the card with an eSATA cable connected to a MacPower Pleiades FW400/800/USB2/eSATA drive I experienced fairly instant kernel freeze requiring shutdown and re-start, this happened 3x in a row.
(That card is Sil3132 based from past posts here. And I remember a previous report on problems using "Griffin's driver" at their site (renamed/re-pkg'd SIL driver, but may have been the raid driver? - can't recall now).
Did you try the (standard/reference) 1.1.9 driver from Silicon Image's drivers page?
(Not updated since Dec 2006 IIRC, but sometimes that driver worked where other card dealers website drivers for the same chipset didn't.)
But I've also had others report problems (in the past and recently) with Sil3132 cards (PCIe and Expresscard), and last week's news had posts regarding needed 64bit driver updates for Snow Leopard.-Mike)
I installed a copy of Snow Leopard on a FW800 drive and booted off that, did all the software updates (Mon 17 August) to see if it would perform any better in that environment.
At first it seemed stable, I transferred a 700MB+ file to and from the eSATA connected drive in 38 secs. Not that fast?
I did this back and forth a few times, always 38 seconds, then suddenly the descending horizontal blackout kernel scan appeared, and I was back where I was on 10.5.8
I've since asked my local Magnum Mac store for a refund on the Griffin EXPRESSCARD/34-ESATA 2 Port, they've agreed, and hopefully they're geting in a Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 that I can try out to see if I want to buy it. (That card is over $200 and will also need a SL driver update per previous comments. (but maybe you're running 32-bit SL kernel? The 32bit SL kernel can still run 64bit apps and uses 32bit drivers, the 64bit kernel can't use 32bit drivers.))
I need to edit XDCam HD footage from a Sony PMWEX3 camera in Final Cut Pro. I figured eSATA would give me a boost from the FW800 I had been using previously with SD DV footage.
As I mentioned the drives that I have purchased include FW400/800/USB2/eSATA so I guess they have the Oxford chip-set. I could get something like the eSATA only FirmTek SeriTek/2EN2 drives, but sometimes I need to share drives with others that only have firewire...
If anyone has any suggestions or can share knowledge about this widespread conumdrum it would be appreciated.
It seems to have something to do with having 4GB RAM in new MacBook Pros.
(There's a previous post about that (down the page here under the heading "eSATA Expresscard KP's with 4GB RAM" from a SIIG sil3132 card owner). Although not everyone seems to have seen the problem . However lately I've gotten several SI 3132 based card/OS X 10.5.8 and SL problem reports. No current Sil3132 64bit OS X drivers - firmtek said they will be doing 64bit driver for their PCIe and expresscard based on the Sil3132 but still no idea if SI will. But I'd like to think so, considering the tons of cards out there that use that chip.-Mike)
Apple stores seem happy to sell the eSATA cards, and yet hardly any combinations seem to work stably.
(His later reply after trying the SI site 1.1.9 (non-raid) driver in 10.5.8:)
Mike, You might be onto something there!
I downloaded that (SI drivers page) 1.1.9 driver, de-installed all of the SI driver that came on GRIFFIN CD and I have had Final Cut Pro running for 30 mins, no KP in sight!
- 1.04GB file copied from desktop to eSATA drive 16 secs
- 1.04GB file copied from eSATA to desktop 17 secs
That's over twice the speed I got on the other (Griffin CD) driver within Snow Leopard. (NOTE: The above results were with an OS X 10.5.8 boot, not SL.)
I'll reboot with Snow Leopard and report back how that works...
(an update sent on Aug 23rd after more use with the reference Sil 3132 1.1.9 driver)
I've been working on an HD Final Cut Pro edit (in OS X 10.5.8) for the last 5 hours, connected to an eSATA quad-interface drive via GRIFFIN EXPRESSCARD/34-ESATA 2 Port. No kernel panics at all, in fact very impressed all round, seems a bit more responsive than FW800. Thanks for that (driver) tip.
No reply yet on Snow Leopard (he promised to test that - but not sure if he's running 32bit kernel or 64bit. (The 64bit kernel can't load 32bit kexts. That's one reason to run a 32bit kernel and you can still use 64bit apps.)
I'm also curious if the natively supported (in OS X 10.5/10.4) Jmicron chip based eSATA expresscards work in 10.6.
FYI on FileMate SSD ExpressCard Potential for Overheating: (latest report on this SSD Expresscard)
"I've been running the Wintec ExpressCard SSD now for six weeks in my 15" macbook pro (pre-unibody). It's a 2.4ghz Core2 model with a stock rotational hard drive. I boot off the rotational drive, but my home directory and all my files are on the SSD. With 4GB RAM, this means the SSD is used for 90% of drive access and the stock drive spends the bulk of its time idle.
Overall, it's been solid as a rock. However, I did notice some odd behavior recently. After testing, I found out that the SSD is vulnerable to overheating. When this happens, it looks like the drive initially shuts down writes and then eventually powers itself off or stops responding to commands. Whether this is by design or coincidence, I'm not sure. However, I was able to trigger this overheating behavior by using the laptop resting on a bed, and using just Mail and Safari. The laptop's fans themselves never came up to full power, I suppose because the CPU itself was relatively cool.
After cooling down and rebooting, the SSD began working again, and disk utility found a long list of HFS errors. I believe that two things contribute to this "problem". First, there's very little cooling directed to the EC slot, other than passive cooling through the speaker grille area. Second, much of the heat from the EC slot needs to be dissipated by the metal bottom panel of the laptop. Third, the battery and charging circuitry is in close proximity to the EC slot. Both times this happened, the computer was plugged in to power and recharging a partially depleted battery.
So, just as a cautionary measure, I try to ensure that the laptop is always on a cooling pad when I'm logged in to an account on the SSD. I wanted to give your readers a heads-up on this because you won't see the normal signs of thermal distress such as a ramping up of fan speeds, or an abnormally elevated temperature on the CPU or GPU probes. Hopefully the unibody models are a little better at heat dissipation, but I don't expect them to be immune either.
BTW - I later saw a web post from an eSATA expresscard user also noting it overheating (in heavy/extended use) with the same note about it shutting down/drive not accessable until cooled back down.
Another SIIG eSATA Expresscard (SIL3132 based) Report:
"Just wanted to give you a usage report. This is on a (late 2008/unibody?-Mike) 15" Macbook Pro 2.66 GHz with 4 GB of RAM, running 10.5.7.
1) I buy the SIIGSC-SAEE12-S1, which I get from Apex Suppliers, not knowing this has known issues with Leopard. They have the gall to list it as a SIIGSC-SAEE22-S1 on the invoice (well, to be fair, in one of the two places on the invoice - but let's face it, not cool to sell a product with known issues under Leopard).
2) The driver install never goes smoothly (craps out with an error every time actually), but the documentation says that if the .kext is in extensions, the driver is installed and all is good. It is.
3) So, I keep trying to boot, attach drives, and, lo and behold, Kernel Panics all over the place. Not once does a drive even mount/show up. I get an instant KP when unplugging a drive/simply powering it down while the drive is attached.
4) I get an RMA from SIIG, who hook me up with a SIIGSC-SAEE22-S1. They point me to their website for a 10.5 updated OS X driver, "V 2.0".
5) Again, the driver install doesn't take ("there's been an error, contact the software manufacturer"). But, No KPs. Also no dice - card shows up in System Profiler, but drives don't mount, and don't even show up in disk utility.
6) Being a just dangerous enough kind of guy, I find the .kext in the installer package, and copy it directly to extensions. OS 10.5.7 is smart enough to say (after about 10 seconds) "This kext isn't valid, therefore won't work, and wasn't properly installed in the first place. It's been disabled." (manual copies of extensions can also have permissions/owner issues preventing use/loading.)
7) But here's the silver lining - following the direct link you provide on your page to Silicon Image's Driver download page, I come across this installer:
(That's the most commonly used driver (non-RAID) for OS X (from several years ago). Some vendors repackage it (w/their info/readme, etc.).-Mike)
It's their "base" driver, and lo and behold, it installs successfully! And, I can mount drives, and hot swap drives, and copy and use drives at great speed. Whodathunkit. I can't even cause a KP if I try: sleep, accidentally unplugging stuff, you name it.
So, looks like that's the driver you need if you have 4 Gigs of Ram and are running 10.5.7 on a Macbook Pro. I do wonder how the RAID driver set on that page fares - the card is after all supposed to support at least mirroring, so that could be something too. (I may
mirror at some point, but have no need yet, and frankly, am just not that brave yet with this card as it concerns my data).
P.S. The Enclosures that I'm using are "Nexstar 3" Enclosures - basically, esata plus one or both of USB and FW 400. The drives range from 400-750GB, and are either Seagate or Western Digital, I don't remember."
Another report on Wintec FileMate 48GB SSD ExpressCard:
"Well I received my Wintec FileMate 48GB Ultra ExpressCard 3FMS4D48M-WR (thanks to the Brian G. report) and it is working perfectly. (Formatted it w/GUID Partition OS X Extended using Disk Utility.) I can sleep my Mac book 2.16 (first generation) running 10.5.7 with it inserted. And with a fresh install of Leopard (updated to 10.5.7) on it I can boot from it.
The boot time was really fast and the only drawback was the SSD drive did get a little warm. I expected this but it cooled down fast once the it stop constantly was reading off the data.
I am really happy with this and highly recommend anyone with a free unused Express card slot to get this card. It is just short of being exactly like an internal SSD.
Another report on under $20 eSATA card (1 port/Jmicron based):
"I purchased the "Syba SD-EXPC34-1S2 JMB Chipset 1x e-SATA Ports, 34mm, Up to 3.0Gb/s ExpressCard" (this is what comes up after scanning the barcode in Delicious Library) from OWC (this item - "Best Connectivity" labeled) following reports on your database. (Several earlier reports below on this same card) Apparently based on JMicron JMB360. I paid $18.99, but I see it's now $19.99.
I am using it on a MacBook Pro (Unibody) "MacBookPro5,1" 2.4GHz C2D, 4GB RAM running 10.5.7. Attached HDD is a Western Digital My Book Studio Edition 750GB.
I have installed no drivers. Inserting the card brings up the ExpressCard menu bar item, which shows "Unknown Vendor". The "Power off card" choice seems to do nothing, and ejecting the card manually, "hot," without first going to the menu bar causes no problems. I've put the 'book to sleep with no issues arising. Haven't tried booting from the eSATA port yet.
Haven't got any speed benchmarks either. Frankly got frustrated because the My Book Studio suddenly decided to stop working over FW400 or FW800 with my Alu iMac. Not sure why, but going to blame the iMac. Not happy with it anyway...
In reply to a post on 5/15/09 from "James" on your reports page you said, "some in the past have also wished for a more positive retention of Expresscards in the slot, saying sometimes a card was accidently unseated a bit, causing a connection problem and resulting KP." (this was typically with a drive cable attached to a card, which might have been under (lateral) tension or accidently pulled/tugged, etc.-Mike) This card seems secure in my MBP; nae shoogling!
I'll get back in touch once I've tested booting and benchmarked the performance.
Wintec FileMate 48GB SSD ExpressCard:
(added 5/20/2009 - comments updated 5/21)
"I'm using a Macbook Pro pre and post unibody with an express/34 SSD (48 GB Wintec Filemate Ultra) as my boot drive in both computers...it's reasonably fast (~100mb/s)...the trick is to partition it with the GUID partition table (thank you apple store dude!) (GUID is the proper Intel-based Mac format (APM was for PPC macs), most typical Flash drives ship with PC FAT format.-Mike)
See (Tigerdirect page) Wintec FileMate 48GB Ultra ExpressCard 3FMS4D48M-WR ($189.99 there currently) Beware, only the 24 and 48 gb models are suitable to use as boot drives.
(For the record, I asked what OS X version he's using and if he's seen any sleep/wake issues using it as a boot drive.)
I'm using (borrowing) two computers for this experiment, both one running 10.5.6 (unibody), the other 10.5.7 (pre-unibody). I'll have to put them to sleep and see what happens... (see later reply below)
I did have the unibody freeze once after ejecting the ssd disk after shutting off the power to the ssd from the menubar (when the ssd wasn't serving as the boot drive!)
I'll experiment some more today. I do know that I'm getting a new MacBook Pro for graduation, and I don't think I need/want the (Apple CTO option) internal SSD (at that price)...the express/34 card SSD is fast/big enough for my humble uses...
(a later reply)
No problem sleeping and waking up when the SSD Express card was the boot drive on pre-unibody MacBook pro running 10.5.7.
BTW - I'm sure those interested in SSDs have read the (usually PC site) reviews/articles about limited life of cells, etc. (although controllers have 'wear leveling' and other features to extend this). If I had one I'd disable spotlight indexing on it and turn off hibernate mode (saves writing GB's of ram contents to disk at sleep - plus delete the existing sleepimage file, saving GBs of SSD space.) See the July 24th, 2009 news page post these tips and more.
OS X 10.5.7 Reports from eSATA ExpressCard users: (May 2009) Here's several reports from the separate page of general OS X 10.5.7 Feedback.
"eSATA Expresscard and 10.5.7
I have an APIOTEK Extreme EC-0003D (dual port, Sil3132 based) on a MacBook Pro (late 2007) and everything works fine after 10.5.7 update.
(I asked for more details just for the record (including driver version and ext. case used) and if he had 4GB ram (just curious after a report on the expresscards page))
Yes, it is the SIl3132 chip with the 1.1.9 driver.
I am using it with two external drives. SimpleTech Duo Pro Drive RAID0 dual-drive quad interface enclosure (with single SATA cable). I am also using it with NewerTech dual drive (esata only) enclosure with dual sata cable and RAID0 setup from Disk Utility.
Both have worked fine with OS 10.5.6 and 10.5.7.
I have 4GB of RAM, but this MacBook only sees 3GB (late 2007).
Let me know if you need any more info.
By the way, I always disconnect the express card by powering down the card from the menu before pulling it out of the MacBook. However, I have pulled it before powering down and disconnecting drives and never had a kernel panic.
Best regards, Pedro"
"eSATA Expresscard and 10.5.7
I have a JMicron JMB360 chipset Expresscard eSATA from OtherWorldComputing. I use it with their NewerTech Voyager Q (Quad Interface) FireWire 800/400/USB 2.0/eSATA Hard Drive Docking Solution. I had no trouble booting from a 2.5" SATA drive and the Expresscard eSATA card.
(Comments updated 5/20/2009)
"eSATA Expresscard and 10.5.7
Got the SiL3132 (chip based) eSATA card and haven't had any problems.
(I asked for more details and if Combo/DL or SU used)
MacBook Pro 15" (Core Duo), Driver v22.214.171.124
Used with an OWC RAID external (2 Hitachi 1TB drives striped)
Used the 10.5.7 Combo updater download.
(Comments updated 5/20/2009)
"eSATA Expresscard and 10.5.7
2006 MBP 2.16 17", Sonnet Tempo SATA Express/34 card (non-pro card, using 1.1.9v2 driver from Sonnet's site), OWC dual eSata housing with WD Black 1TB drive.
Installed using Combo update, permissions repair, etc.
When converting and compressing several VIDEO_TS folder for archiving in Popcorn 3.03 computer hung with frozen cursor. Happened twice. My MBP NEVER froze before. Only happened after 10.5.7 update.
(Were the freezes related to the esata card? - Were you using its attached drive during the conversion?)
Yes. The files were located on the esata drive. It only happened after several VIDEO_TS folders were converted - one after another. I have done the same kinds of conversions in the past with no problems. Note: I do have the latest firmware and have had no problems with the drive in the past.
JMicron chip-based eSATA Card w/OS X Tiger: (reply to an earlier post/request below as some had reported problems in Tiger, although most used OS X Leopard)
"Jmicron eSATA expresscard with Tiger
I have just purchased this card. (I had to order some cables before I could use it :)). I bought the single port card (under $20) from OWC. I work for a storage company and I have plugged it into a "bare" 400GB, 7,200 rpm SATA drive (Hitachi) and supplied external power. I also have a Seagate 500 GB drive and case with the eSATA connection option, I have not tried that yet.
The card will cause a kernel panic when it is removed (it takes about 20 seconds, then panic). It does not matter if the card has been powered off or not. It can be inserted and the disk is recognized. The first time I used the card, I tried to use the Disk Utility to "restore" my boot drive to the eSATA, as soon as I entered my admin password, an immediate kernel panic. When I got the first kernel panic, I restarted the machine and the SATA drive on the card showed as disk0 and the internal drive showed as disk1. The Disk Utility "restore" did work then. I also used psync to backup my boot drive.
The machine did boot via the card with no issues. The only issue I see now is the need to power off the machine to remove the card. It seems to kernel panic when the card is pulled.
Mac OS 10.4.11
2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Mid 2007 model
(he later wrote)
On your followup question, there is an icon that shows in the menu bar to "power off" the card shows no vendor ID. The card is at my office now, I'll check the profiler tomorrow.
My hope is that the next Mac OS version that I install (most likely snow leopard), will be able to handle hot swapping the card.
I was seeing close to 40 MB/s when I used psync to backup my boot drive. Other than the kernel panic when "hot pulling" the card, it works well.
I've not owned a MacBook Pro, but some in the past have also wished for a more positive retention of Expresscards in the slot, saying sometimes the card was accidently unseated a bit, causing a connection problem and resulting KP.
More JMicron eSATA card reports:
"Here's JMicron's details on the JMB362 http://www.jmicron.com/Product_JMB362.htm. I bought the (JMB362 based) 2 port eSATA card from this ebay auction. They send it from HongKong and were great in keeping in touch when I found that the package had been opened during mailing from HongKong. Long story short they provided excellent customer service, and the card works great in my late 2008 MacBook Pro.
"Unibody MacBook Pro Expresscard report
I have a noname JMICRON 362 (2 port card) and it seems to be working fine so far with one esata drive. It is a 1TB hitachi drive with 16mb cache in a nexstar 3 esata/usb enclosure. It's too new to jump to conclusions however but seems to be working fine. The only problem is that the "vendor unknown" and "Unknown AHCI Standard Controller" in system profiler. I would like the system to recognize the card but regardless it has worked with over 100 gb of sustained transfers.
(he later sent more details on his system)
Unibody MacBook Pro 2.4GHz (w/2GB ram) running OS X 10.5.6.
eSATA Card: Sunweit/JMicron 362 (2 eSATA II Ports)
Vantec Nexstar 3 enclosure (eSATA and USB only) w/Hitachi HDT721010SLA360.
Prior to installing JMicronATADriver.dmg (the most updated) everythig works and worked fine. Though the system profiler shows the card in the "Serial-ATA" section of the system profiler with "Unknown AHCI Standard Controller". Also "Unknown Vendor" in the icon that shows up on the top right corner of the menu bar in OS X 10.5.6.
After Installing the JMicronATADriver the 2 expresscard ports show up in the "ATA" section of the Hardware in the system profiler. Still with "unknown vendor" in the top right corner of the menu bar in OS X 10.5.6.
I uninstalled the Jmicron driver that I downloaded from its own site because there seems to not be any difference between having it and not. Other than the system profiler difference.
eSATA Expresscard KP's with 4GB RAM: (I welcome other feedack on this)
After installing 4gb of ram on my macbook pro, I'm getting the exact same kernel panics reported by one of your users (earlier report below here) when accessing my external drives with my SIIG eSATA 2 ExpressCard-M. (BTW: SIIG's
eSATA II ExpressCard-M for Mac notebooks (SC-SAEE22-S1 model) lists only "Mac OS X 10.4.6/10.4.7" in the "requirements" yet their (same list price) SC-SAEE22-S1 model lists "Mac OS X v10.4.9 to 10.5.6". And I couldn't find any "SATA" card section in the Support/FAQ.-Mike) I noticed this user also has 4gb of ram. It seems that this particular card only has problems when there is 4gb of ram present (as I had no problems until the upgrade). My kernel panic is as follows:
Sun Mar 22 09:40:09 2009
panic(cpu 1 caller 0x0042CFB7): "getPhysicalSegment() out of 32b range 0x10002c000, len 0x1000, class IOGeneralMemoryDescriptor"@/SourceCache/xnu/xnu-1228.9.59/iokit/Kernel/IOMemoryDescriptor.cpp:1473
Backtrace (CPU 1), Frame : Return Address (4 potential args on stack)
0x5b68bac8 : 0x12b4f3 (0x45b13c 0x5b68bafc 0x1335e4 0x0)
0x5b68bb18 : 0x42cfb7 (0x4a009c 0x2c000 0x1 0x1000)
0x5b68bbe8 : 0x42a9dd (0x801ca00 0x1c000 0x5b68bc2c 0x0)
0x5b68bc48 : 0x6fee5080 (0x823ed00 0xa0aee00 0x1c000 0x5b68bc94)
0x5b68bcb8 : 0x6fee4f01 (0xa076e00 0x0 0x9900bc06 0x434b)
0x5b68bcd8 : 0x6fee6cc0 (0xa076e00 0x7530 0xf4240 0x6fee5f20)
0x5b68bcf8 : 0x6fee4581 (0xa076e00 0x7530 0x5b68bd48 0x427df4)
0x5b68bd18 : 0x835371 (0xa076e00 0x98b0c00 0x0 0x0)
0x5b68bd38 : 0x835333 (0xa076e00 0x98b0c00 0x0 0x0)
0x5b68bd68 : 0x422e29 (0xa076e00 0x98b0c00 0x5b68bdec 0x0)
0x5b68bdb8 : 0x8352f4 (0x7493080 0x835300 0x98b0c00 0x5b68bdec)
0x5b68bdf8 : 0x8325f3 (0xa076e00 0xa08eb80 0x98b0c00 0x6feeb973)
0x5b68be28 : 0x6fef1d1c (0xa08eb80 0x98b0c00 0x6fbafa 0x742be80)
0x5b68be58 : 0x6feec14a (0x8728d00 0x8cb2000 0x1 0x6fee6106)
0x5b68be78 : 0x8356d3 (0x9836d00 0x0 0x5b68bec8 0x0)
0x5b68bea8 : 0x6fee46bd (0xa076e00 0x0 0x5b68bec8 0x98af300)
Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
BSD process name corresponding to current thread: kernel_task
Mac OS version: 9G55
Kernel version: Darwin Kernel Version 9.6.0: Mon Nov 24 17:37:00 PST 2008; root:xnu-1228.9.59~1/RELEASE_I386
System model name: MacBookPro3,1 (Mac-F42388C8)
At first I thought it was the ram (Corsair low latency tuned for MBP), but I'm able to max up the ram usage without the SIIG card installed with no kernel panics. Memtest also reports no problems. I hope this isn't the case with all ExpressCards and this ram configuration as I intend to get another brand e-SATA card.
(He later wrote)
Very Late 2007 (2.6 ghz 17" Santa Rosa). And I forgot to mention. It's connected to two external "noix" (cheap enclosures) with Two western digitial 320 gb drives in a software raid set (actually ripped out of my old desktop).
I asked if he had tried any other drivers (or even try clearing system driver/kext cache). I'm guessing this card is Sil3132 chip based. If so try the 1.1.9 OS X driver at Silicon Image's 3132 driver downloads page. If nothing helps, I'd contact SIIG support.
Silicon Image (SATA) Sil3132 card Firmware Updates: Follow-up from a reader that a couple weeks ago had sent a link to a Silicon image press release from Jan. 4, 2008 titled Silicon Image to Release Industry-First UEFI™ 2.1 Firmware Upgrade to SATA Controllers - Enhanced Controllers Support Pre-boot Port Multiplier Features and Advanced Apple Storage Features for SATA." Here's a clip from that (Jan. 2008) press release:
"Jan. 4, 2008 - Silicon Image, Inc. (NASDAQ: SIMG), a leader in semiconductors for the secure storage, distribution and presentation of high-definition content, today announced a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) 2.1 Firmware upgrade to its SiI3132 and SiI3124 SATA SteelVine controllers. Silicon Image is the first in the industry to deploy the UEFI-certified storage controllers, which support enhanced Port Multiplier (PM) features and advanced Apple storage features for SATA. This upgrade to the SiI3132 and SiI3124 controllers supports Silicon Image's mission of delivering digital content everywhere.
UEFI is a new model for the interface between operating systems and platform firmware and provides a standard, modern environment for booting an operating system and running pre-boot applications. The upgrade is currently used in Apple and Windows-based computers. The UEFI specification is based on the EFI specification published by Intel, with changes managed by the Unified EFI Forum.
Silicon Image has added two custom applications to the SiI3132 and the SiI3124 SATA SteelVine controllers. The first new customization is a complete PM driver embedded in the basic input/output system (BIOS) option read-only memory (ROM). This feature enables users to boot from their choice of PM ports, even when using different operating systems. It also allows users to troubleshoot difficult storage issues in a pre-boot environment, speeding up manufacturing and testing time. The second new customization is expanded support for Apple OS storage, with added target mode and removable media support. When using target mode the SATA bus enables twice the speed of FireWire, making backup to a user's desktop hard drive much faster..."
I hadn't seen that PR before nor had I seen any firmware updates on their Sil3132 driver download page (still not there). This past weekend he wrote they have posted a firmware update on a different page (no updaters for Mac OS listed there that I see though):
(from March 6th, 9th and 10th emails)
"Today Silicon Image has published a new version of firmware for SiI3132 : 7.5.07.
It is dated of 9/17/2008 but it has been online only today.
I've updated the firmware of my card (Delock 66222 single esata port in MacBook Pro early 2008) but I didn't notice any improvement. I wonder what is new in this new firmware. The support of Silicon Image gives no detail about it.
(I asked for a download page URL, as it's not listed on their driver downloads page for the SiL3132)
Here is the link to the download page for the firmware.
(I asked if he updated the firmware via Bootcamp/Windows, as no Mac OS updaters listed there)
Yes, the only way to update the firmware is to boot on the Windows partition and to update the firmware in Windows. If you have an express card, remove it before booting on Windows, because the card is not compliant with efi and inhibits the boot in Windows. When the boot is finished, you can plug your card again.
After having installed the windows driver (see http://www.siliconimage.com/support/ if not yet installed), you will see your card as a parallel SCSI in the hardware control panel.
There is a tab to update the firmware, it is very easy. No program to launch, you have just to give the path of the new firmware. Be careful that there are 3 files in the folder, you must use the file prefixed by "r" if your card is a Raid 5 one, or the file prefixed by "b" if your card is a base one.
You must not use the file without prefix, that one is only for the PC's with a motherboard having a SiI3132 chip inside. (onboard Sil3132 controller)
(Does Apple System Profiler (OS X) report the card revision/firmware version as updated? (I never owned one of these cards and didn't know if they were even firmware upgradeable.)-Mike)
(but it is in Windows correct?)
Yes, in the firmware tab of the card you can see the version of the firmware. But only if your card is updatable, otherwise this tab doesn't exist.
Best Regards, Jean-Pierre"
If anyone else updates their card and sees any pros or cons, let me know.
Dynex 2-port eSATA card (Sil3132 chip based):
(from 3/7/2009 mail)
"I have a Dynex 2-Port e-SATA II ExpressCard Adapter (v. 8A21) which is a generic card based on the SiL3132 chipset. I had problems under Leopard (10.5.6?) with the included driver and with the downloadable driver from the card manufacturer (Dynex site driver? Usually just edited (text/readme) versions of SI's OEM driver). I ended up getting the generic driver from SiL, (I assume he means 1.1.9 from Silicon image's 3132 drivers page-Mike) but this has a few issues.
First, I have a LaCie 500GB d2 Quadra, and a Western Digital 1TB MyBook (both have e-SATA). If I have this card plugged in for longer than about 6 hours, the card will cause applications to randomly hang. As soon as I unplug the card, all of my problems magically disappear. (May not be related but is Energy saver set to allow drive sleep? Are the drives in sleep mode when this happens (some drives may have their own power saving, despite ES settings and go to sleep/spin down after some period of inactivity).-Mike)
Most problems are evident when I try and open a new application, not one that is already running. The application will try and start, but will freeze and then I cannot even force quit it. (Next time try to open the drive icon on the desktop (vs running another app) - just to see if the drive is in sleep mode.
(although if the system has powered down the expresscard, it won't respond either - just curious if before running another app if the drives will eventually open/spin up if clicked on from the finder). Might also check the system logs (open Console app and view all messages) to see if there's any useful entries there related to the problem.-Mike) I have no applications on the external drive, so that isn't the issue. No data is being passed through the card at that time. I am actually reverting to daisy-chaining the MyBook behind the LaCie (FW800 > FW400 using the ports on the back of the LaCie) since the MyBook doesn't have FW800 and my MBP doesn't have FW400. I was actually surprised that daisy-chaining worked. (It should (as you can use FW800/FW400 cables to use FW400 devices on FW800 ports) although I think having a FW400 device on the bus may slow performance for FW800 devices IIRC).
Hope this helps.
Sincerely, Claude B."
More Feedback on $19/single port JMicron eSATA Expresscard: (later reports first)
"After several months of heavy usage with the OWC Express34 eSATA card, I have found it has performed near flawlessly with my MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo and 3.5" Seagate Enterprise 500GB. There have been 3 kernel panics which had to be remedied by holding the power button down for six seconds. There was no rhyme or reason to their occurrence.
My MacBook Pro takes about 40 seconds to boot up from its internal drive (Hitachi 7,200rpm) compared to about 55 seconds for the (eSATA) Seagate. I would highly recommend this product especially at this price. Email me if you have any questions. Take care, Steve"
(added 2/26/2009 from Feb. 25th mail)
"I want to give you a positive report on using eSATA on a 17" 2.4GHz MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo (mid-2007 model). I used OWC's $19 ExpressCard/34 single-port eSATA card (Best Connectivity eSATA expresscard/34 Jmicron JMB360 based, native support) along with the NewerTech Voyager quad-interface drive dock. Using this solution, I was able to do a volume backup via eSATA with speed comparable to what I've been getting with FireWire 800. The best part is that no drivers were required, whatsoever. Both the Expresscard
and the Voyager operate without drivers on OS X 10.5.6.
I was also able to boot from the drive through eSATA by holding down the option key at boot, the same way I would with FireWire. (However, OWC's page says that older, Core Duo models cannot boot via this card.) The Voyager advertises hot-swap capability, but this is not available when using the eSATA interface -- the Mac must be powered off before adding or removing a drive. (product page has a footnote "*Use of eSATA interface requires system reboot in order to recognize hard drive")
As drive speeds increase, we're starting to reach transfer rates that even FireWire 800 cannot keep up with, so eSATA is a good investment if you do frequent volume backups with fast hard drives. And it's refreshing to be able to use several new devices together without any driver installation hassle! I have no relation to any of these companies other than being a satisfied customer.
(FYI - sponsor OWC today sent a note they have some Voyager Hard Drive Dock Bundles with drives up to 2TB, plus utility software.)
(added 2/23/2009 from Feb 21 mail)
"Best Connectivity eSATA expresscard/34 (Jmicron JMB360 based) in 1st Gen Macbook Pro. My drive is a WD MyBook Home 1TB, and I've been experiencing a lot of bus errors with it. I've got some applications installed on the drive (X-Plane, for one. Way too big for my MBP's internal drive), and sometimes when I first put in the card and mount the drive I'm unable to start any applications or transfer any volume of data to the drive without a crash. Console always reports a "Bus error" of some kind. Then, if I power down the card, pull it out, and re-insert it, it will work without any trouble at all. So far the successes seem to be rather random. Also, if I let the drive spin down I'm in the same boat.
I'm using a first-gen MBP 1.83Ghz / 2GB RAM with 10.5.6 on it. I've cleared driver caches, booted with -f option to rebuild driver cache, etc, and nothing seems to improve the reliability of it. The drive works fine via USB 2.0, though of course it's way slower.
Example of crash:
2/20/09 11:12:32 PM com.apple.launchd (com.apple.ReportCrash) Exited abnormally: Bus error
2/20/09 11:12:35 PM com.apple.launchd (com.apple.ReportCrash) Exited abnormally: Bus error
2/20/09 11:12:35 PM com.apple.launchd ([0x0-0x106106].com.laminar_research.Plane-Maker) Exited abnormally: Bus error
I've contacted OWC about it, no response yet. I hope I can get this going, as I have a friend with a SiliconImage based card with a similar vintage MBP and he's had a lot of trouble too... Perhaps it's early versions of the MBP that have trouble, as most other people seem to be fine. Great site! It's been tons of help!
Does the WD drive docs have any notes on eSATA port hot-swaps? (Do you ever see the bus error if the system is booted with card/drive connections first?) The (natively supported) Mac Pro's spare (and builtin) SATA ports don't support hot swapping either, although IIRC the Jmicron card specs did.
I had a Unibody MBP owner recently report some data corruption problems with this card in his system. (Some early reports below on Jmicron chip-based cards from Leopard users didn't note any problems (different MBP model/ext. drives) although Tiger users did.)
Looking for Unibody MacBook Pro owners using SATA Expresscard w/o problems: (Feb 18th, 2009) I've gotten another mail from a Unibody (late 2008) MacBook Pro owner on problems with an SATA Expresscard. (In his case a natively supported JMicron chip based card.) He reported repeated instances of external drive corruption. (I asked if he'd tried clearing the system driver (kext) cache, but that may not help, it was just an old tip from the past originally from firmtek.)
If you have a Unibody MacBook Pro using an SATA Expresscard OK, let me know the details - including card brand/model, driver version installed (if reqd) and external drive case details (as some bridge boards have also been a source of problems). Thanks.
Update: Here's a reply today (using SiL3132 chip based SATA card w/eSATA case OK)
Hi Mike, I'm using an Apiotek 003D ExpressCard34 eSATA card on my Unibody MBP 15" connected to an AMS Venus T4S enclosure (SI4726 based port multiplying 4-bay eSATA enclosure) with 4x 500GB drives.
It works as reliably and as well as when I used this card and setup on my first generation MacBook Pro 15" Core Duo 1.83GHz.
Software wise, I'm running 10.5.6 and using the base Sil3132_1.1.9u driver from Apiotek.
Back in early Dec. 2008 a Unibody MBP/Griffin (SiL3132) card user originally had problems (using RAID5 driver) but later reported OK with the standard 1.1.9u driver. As with anything you're 10x more likely to hear about problems than from those that don't have any, but it's almost to the point I wonder if anything is a "sure thing" for everyone anymore. (So many variables possible in hardware and software configs out there and the card alone may not be the culprit.) I get a lot of mails on just OS X software update problems, most I can't replicate personally, even on similar hardware. (i.e. not a common bug/problem but you can't convince those affected of that.)
Unibody MacBook Pro Vista 64-bit eSATA Card Problems: (the same issue was reported here back on Dec. 1st, 2008 - several cards tried). If anyone finds a fix/driver update, etc. for this let me know. And note that several Unibody MacBook Pro owners here have reported they tried 5 or 6 different brands of eSATA expresscards and had problems with all of them - even natively supported ones like the Jmicron-chip based models.)
(added Feb. 16, 2009)
"I have a new 15" Unibody Macbook Pro and am seeing major issues with e-sata expresscards in Windows Vista x64 under boot camp - In fact, not one of them will work. I have now tried 5 different cards, including the $299.95 Sonnet Tempo Pro Expresscard 34, none of which will work at all in Vista on my machine. Each and every card reports the same error...
(FYI: the same error was mentioned by another Unibody MBP owner back on Dec. 1st, 2008 here (said he tested 6 cards with Windows). Sonnet's "Pro" expresscard lists "Windows Vista" in compatibility section but doesn't specifically list 64bit/32bit versions. I checked Sonnet's support/downloads page and found a Feb. 13th, 2009 Dated OS X Driver Version: 2.1.7 for the Tempo Pro SATA Expresscard, but no updated windows drivers (yet). I'd write Sonnet tech support to ask about this issue.-Mike)
"This device cannot find enough free resources that it can use. (Code 12)
If you want to use this device, you will need to disable one of the other devices on this system. Click 'Check for solutions' to send data about this device to Microsoft and to see if there is a solution available."
The machine has no other devices or peripherals attached so there is not a chance of disabling another device on the system! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
There's earlier reports below here on Expresscard issues seen by other Unibody MBP owners. (See below - some previous reports noted they finally got some model SATA expresscards working OK w/OS X - although reportedly v1.6 firmware update for Unibody MBP's impacts performance w/SiL3132 chip based cards.) If anyone has used an eSATA Expresscard OK in Bootcamp/Windows with a Unibody MacBook Pro, let me know the details.
Any readers using a 'Best Connectivity' (jmicron chip) eSATA Expresscard with OS X Tiger? (from Jan. 29th news page) Earlier this week I had a MacBook Pro owner running 10.4.11 write he had Kernel Panics (immediately) with 2 samples of a (under $20) JMicron-chip based (no drivers needed) single-port Best Connectivity eSATA expresscard/34. (I would have tried clearing the system kext (driver) cache, but he had already returned the card.) The JMicron (JMB360) chip-based cards (sold under several "brands") are as far as I know the only OS X bootable (w/C2D based MBP)/natively supported (at least with later OS X versions) eSATA expresscards available to date (others require OS X driver installs and are not bootable).
Although a couple previous reports here from OS X Leopard users last year (spring/summer 2008) noted no problems and the OWC page lists 10.4 and 10.5 native support - I'm looking for feedback from anyone using one of these with a MacBook Pro running OS X Tiger (10.4.11 preferably). If you are/have used one of these Expresscards with OS X 10.4.x, let me know the details.
BTW - I've had a couple more OS X Leopard users write they're using this card without any problems, but only one reply today from a Tiger user (AMUG member) that said he had problems with JMicron-chip based cards running OS X Tiger (10.4.11). I was hoping for a larger sample of Tiger users, but as Leopard has been out since late Oct. 2007, I suspect most MBP owners are running 10.5.x.
Bootable eSATA Express34 cards:
"I have a Macboook Pro 2.4Ghz (mid 2007) and just dropped $1,800 on a Sonnet D500P 2.5TB and a Tempo Express34 eSATA card (standard not pro model). (Tempo Pro expresscard also not bootable BTW) I'm using the RAID class drives that came with the D500P. I just found out that I can't make a bootable Striped Raid volume on the D500P because the chipset in the Express34 card doesn't support bootability according to Sonnet's email to me. This is crushing to my soul because I really wanted the fast response of a bootable RAID. Are there any other eSATA Express cards on the market that are bootable?
(I wrote Firmtek to ask if their SeriTek/2SM2-E Express/34 card was bootable (not mentioned on product page) - they replied No.-Mike)
(he later wrote)
I found a bootable Express card for the Macbook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo, not the core duo models. It is the OWC eSATA I/II ExpressCard/34 (single port, under $20). ("Best Connectivity" JMicron JM360 based card) There are a couple of setbacks:
1. It is not bootable for Windows - only for Mac (w/Core2 Duo MacBook Pros)
2. It has only one port and it doesn't support port multiplier
To my amazement, it is only $18.99. (Price now $19.99) (From the 1 port and low-cost I suspected this was a JMicron (JMB360) chip based card - their product page confirms it. (Some earlier reports on JMicron cards here - supposedly natively supported with OS X Leopard/Tiger)-Mike) This seems too good to be true. At last I'll have a Fusion D500P 2.5TB running in Striped RAID that is bootable.
I asked Steve to report back after he gets the card. (NOTE: Although OS X Leopard (10.5.x) users have postive reports on Jmicron based cards here (including this model) - OS X 10.4.x (Tiger) users have had problems. (See later post above.) And Unibody MBP owners have had problems with multiple brands of cards despite running OS X Leopard.
Review of Sonnet's 'Pro' (Marvell chip based) eSATA Express/34 card (From Jan 2, 2009 news page)
"AMUG has published a detailed review of the Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 ($299.95). MacBook Pro users looking for the fastest eSATA ExpressCard on the market will want the Tempo SATA Pro. This new Marvell based hardware can provide 30-40% higher direct connect RAID 0 performance than any other ExpressCard/34 currently available. Mac OS X SMART application support is another great feature provided by the Sonnet "Pro" ExpressCard." (Card is not bootable.)
As a FYI (noted with some other SATA cards also), Sonnet's Tempo Pro SATA Expresscard product page has these ext. case compatibility notes:
(1) Support for 10 drives requires the use of drive enclosures employing port multipliers (like Sonnet's Fusion D500P, Fusion D400Q, or Fusion R400Q). When using an enclosure without a port multiplier, Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 will support 2 drives.
(2) If you intend to configure Western Digital drives in a RAID set, Sonnet and WD recommend using only their Enterprise edition hard drives. For more information, see this Western Digital FAQ. (no link to WD FAQ provided). Western Digital manufactures Desktop edition (WD Caviar, Caviar SE, Caviar SE16, and Raptor X) hard drives and Enterprise (RAID) Edition (WD RE, RE2, and Raptor) hard drives. Each type of hard drive is designed to work specifically in either a desktop computer environment, or connected to a RAID controller (hardware or software-based).
(3) While some customers have successfully used external hard drives with USB 2.0/eSATA dual interface, these products (based on the Oxford Semiconductor OXU931DS storage controller chip) exhibit underlying errors that prevent them from being fully compatible with this Sonnet product under Mac OS X. Kernel panics occurring when the drive is connected, and the drive not being recognized by the operating system are known issues. These drives include, but are not limited to:
Sonnet's Fusion D400Q and R400Q quad-interface storage systems are not affected by these issues, and are fully supported.
The AMUG review includes notes on performance impacts of the "Late 2008" (unibody) MacBook Pro v1.6 firmware update with Sil3132 based eSATA cards.
Archived Reports from Dec 2008 and Earlier are on this page.