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Archived (Dec 2008 and earlier) reports on Express34 CardsReturn to News Page

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Archived (2008 and Earler) Reports on Express34 Cards in MacBook Pros
From Dec 2008 and Earlier



This page has 2008 and earlier reports from MBP owners on Express34 cards (SATA, Firewire, Firewire/USB, Modems, etc.) - For 2009 and later reports, see this page.


(OLD reports from Dec. 2008 and Older Follow)

Bytecc BT-ECES2 eSATA Expresscard w/Vantec Nexstar 3 (USB/eSATA) Ext. Case: (Another Silicon Image 3132 chip based card. I assue using v1.1.9 driver (non-RAID) from Silicon Image's drivers page.)

(added 12/8/2008)
"I finally picked up a card for my late 2006 MBP; the Bytecc BT-ECES2 (Sil3132 chip based) was on sale for $22 at a local store.
I was having problems with getting it to work, under both OS X and WinXP, but I eventually figured out the issue was actually with my drive enclosure -- although it's supposed to be SATA 3Gb/s capable, it was causing all sorts of problems until I put a jumper on the drive to force it to use 1.5Gb/s speeds. (I asked what SATA drive he's using) Since then everything seems to be fine.

For the record, my enclosure is a Vantec Nexstar 3 NST-360SU (eSATA + USB 2.0 bridge board), and the expresscard I'm using is a Bytecc BT-ECES2, which uses the SI3132 chipset.
-Wes"

Thanks for the note - ext. case bridge boards can be a source of problems (even SI mentions that) but often people don't include details on the ext. drive/case used (or remember that potential issue). With onboard SATA I macs (G5 Tower, etc.) I've never had to jumper/force modes with SATA II drives, but definitely worth a try for those with problems. (I've tried to avoid drive brands/models with a history of SATA/drive firmware issues also - using primarily Hitachi SATA desktop drives in my G5 tower.)


Another report on Griffin (SiL3132 chip based) eSATA Expresscard: (more notes on griffin hosted "v1.0" (dated 2007 - actually Sil RAID5 driver) and SiL 1.1.9u non-RAID driver from Dec. 2006)

(added 12/8/2008)
"Was using the griffin eSATA card on my new macbook pro (2.8GHz), connected to a Macally 3.5" enclosure (PHR-S100SUA) with a 1 TB drive in it. That drive was the MASSIVE iTunes library from my recently deceased Mac Pro (don't ask). In any case, I was copying the data from the Macally drive via the eSATA card to my new Drobo over FW800, made it about 100GB in and had a kernel panic. (He later said he was using the griffin website 'v1.0' driver, which is actually the SI site's 2007 dated RAID5 driver.-Mike) A quick visit to Griffin Support led me to a new driver, which I installed. (this Griffin support page I mentioned earlier, that links to the Silicon image drivers page v1.1.9 (non-RAID) driver from Dec. 2006.-Mike) With the new driver, no issues. I managed to copy 850GB of data to the Drobo last night.
Bottom line - new driver referenced from Griffin site fixed my issues. At least, I didn't crash while doing an 8 hour copy operation. The first time it made it about 30 minutes in before I had a kernel panic. (w/Griffin's renamed "v1.0" aka Silicon image site RAID5 driver)
JD Thomason"

The "new" (actually older) driver he mentions is the (Dec. 2006) v1.1.9 non-RAID driver from Silicon Image's drivers page. (An earlier report from a 2008 Unibody MBP owner w/Griffin card said he had Kernel Panics on file copies with the v1.1.9 driver, although again the external case/bridge board used is another potential cause of problems as SI mentions on their driver downloads page.)


Notes on Sonnet (SI3132 chip based) eSATA Expresscard Drivers: (Noted "v2" driver at Sonnet not working with earlier (pre-rev A) card, despite being the same SiL3132 core driver and a note there saying it's for all versions of the card)

(added 12/5/2008)
"The driver on the Sonnet site for their Tempo SATA ExpressCard/34 Driver (Mac) version 1.1.9v2 (25 November 2008) will not work in my MacBook Pro early 2008 under 10.5.5. The card shows up in the menu bar as an unknown vendor and any attached drives will not mount.
If I install the driver SiI3132 1.1.9u from the Silicon Image site everything mounts and works normally and the card identifies itself as from Silicon Image. Obviously a sonnet driver problem from my point of view.
My card is the Sonnet Tempo SATA ExpressCard/34, the old one, not the "REV A".
-Brian A."

I downloaded the Sonnet "v2" driver there to check the pkg contents and the base driver included is still the 3132 - "SiliconImage3132.kext" dated Dec. 6, 2006. Not sure why it didn't load. My first thought was that maybe the earlier vs. rev A cards have different card IDs (shown in ASP for instance - I once had to edit an Apple Airport2 driver pkg to change an ID to match a MS card, otherwise it would not load.) But Sonnet has a note at the Mac 1.1.9 V2 driver download that says:

    "This software provides support for all versions of the Tempo SATA ExpressCard/34 adapter in MacBook Pro computers running Mac OS X".

For the windows driver however they have separate downloads for the original card and the "Rev A" card. If I were Brian I'd write Sonnet support to see what they say about the V2 driver not loading. (BTW: There's an earlier (Nov. 3rd) report below from a "Rev A" Sonnet eSATA card user that problems and eventually switched back to an earlier card.)

I asked Brian for info on the external case he used as I like to have details on what external cases worked well with eSATA cards, as not all do. (He later wrote he had a WD 1TB MyBook Home, although it was usually connected to an Airport Base's USB port, so not sure how much eSATA expresscard use it's had.)

Update: Another Sonnet eSATA Expresscard user (with 2007 MacBook Pro) wrote he saw the same thing with the "v2" driver and included a note from sonnet on clearing the system kext (driver) cache (an old tip for issues after adding an SATA card, even PCI/PCIe ones) - although he said clearing the cache didn't help:

(added Dec. 8th, 2008 - updated comments Dec. 9th)
"I am not using a late 2008 MacBook Pro, but a MacBook Pro purchased around Jul 2007, however, I am getting exactly the same issue as Brian. I've been in contact with Sonnet support as well and the last recommendation that they give me was:
    "Try this trick and see if it helps:
    Delete and empty trash for the three (3) following files and directories:
    /System/Library/Extensions.mkext (a file)
    /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.kernelcaches (a directory)
    /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.romextensions (a directory)
    The last directory might not exist so don't worry about it if it isn't there. Immediately after doing this, re-run the v2 installer and then restart the machine. We suspect v2 isn't clearing the caches properly and that's leading to problems."
(That's the same tip that was posted before, including by Firmtek in the past (for issues after adding an SATA card, including those with native support) - Firmtek also included downloads of cache clearing apps for Panther and Tiger (for those that didn't want to do it manually or didn't have Cache Cleaner utilities etc.) at http://www.firmtek.com/download/ but they never posted a leopard app. (there's a Leopard Cache Cleaner utility available though)-Mike)
Anyway, this didn't work for me so I am still waiting. The interesting thing that I've observed is that I've been using the same hardware since Jul2007 from 10.4.9 and consistently upgraded to 10.5.4 without this problem using SonnetSATAExpress34_119.pkg (and I don't need to eject/reinsert to get it working after reboot) until I've upgraded to OS X 10.5.5. And when finder is not responding, I can usually see this message in /var/log/system.log ...

    kernel[0]: SCSIPressurePathManager: new active path available, checking, loops = 0
    --- last message repeated 9 times ---

Do you see this as well? I am not too sure if I am using the "REV A" card, how can you tell? (An earlier post here (and notes at sonnet's site) say the Rev A card has "RED ports"- I guess red plastic around the eSATA ports.-Mike)

My external setup is a Western Digital Caviar SE16 (WD7500AAKS) hosted in Antec MX-1 (eSATA + USB 2.0 Ports) 3.5" SATA HDD External Enclosure. (The case itself is very quiet but there is a small amount of buzzing from the power supply.) Please let me know if you have found a solution to this. Thanks.
(Since it seems to have the same base driver as the SI site 1.1.9 download, I'm not sure why someone would use Sonnet's V2 driver (the installer was edited for their brand name/readme contact info, etc.). On Dec. 9th Eric wrote:)
I've just got another mail from Sonnet and they have found a bug with the V2 driver. I am going to test out the new driver and see how it goes...
(the next day he wrote)
The eSATA port on my card is black (not a "Rev A" card). The new driver did help a little, but I am still getting those lockups, just not as frequent and/or not as long duration during a lockup.
-Eric"

If any late 2008 (Unibody) MacBook Pro owner is using an eSATA expresscard OK (any brand), let me know the details including info on external drive(s)/case used. (Even SI notes external case/bridge boards can be a source of problems - there's been past reports here as well as on the article about using Mac Pro spare SATA ports w/external drives.)


Late 2008 MacBook Pro/Griffin eSATA Expresscard Problems: (Griffin card is SI chip based as many others are, although not all. Note that Griffin's website "v1.0" driver download is the Silicon Image RAID5 driver - the Silicon Image drivers page has both the v1.1.9 driver and a RAID5 driver.)

(added 12/4/2008)
"Problems with Griffin ExpressCard34 eSATA (silicon image chip based) in my Macbook Pro unibody - stops with a kernel panic. My friend has the same system and also the same problem.
-Karel B."

He later wrote he was originally using the Griffin website hosted "v1.0" driver (which is SI's RAID5 driver) and has now tried the Silicon Image v1.1.9 driver - but is still occasionally seeing problems (when he uses other connected devices like Elgato's USB Turbo.264 device and Bluetooth.) I also asked what external case he was using, as sometimes the bridge board in ext. cases are a source of problems (as SI also notes on their driver page - please include ext. drive/case info in reports). I searched Griffin's support section for any updated info, but found only 2 older posts - one on RAID support and another (from Feb 2008) on lockups during file transfers that they said seemed to be fixed by the OS X 10.5.2 update (another suggestion was to remove/reinstall the Silicon Image 1.1.9 driver, which hasn't been updated since 2006).
Update: Another new MBP/Griffin eSATA card owner said his kernel panics on file copies when using the "v1.0" driver install from Griffin's download page (I checked that "v1.0" (2007 dated) download pkg and it's actually the SI site's RAID5 ("SilconImage3132r5.kext") driver version) were fixed by using the (Dec. 2006 dated) v1.1.9 (non-RAID) driver from Silicon Image's drivers page. (The SI site v1.1.9 driver is the most commonly used driver for these 3132 chip based cards to date, although some 'resellers' edit installer packages for their brands, readme, etc. and may have either the non-RAID or RAID driver.)


Late 2008 MacBook Pro/SeriTek eSATA Expresscard Problems: (same setup worked OK with previous MacBook Pro model)

(added 12/2/2008)
"Subject: Kernel "Hangs" with FirmTek's SeriTek/2SM2-E eSATA ExpressCard34 and MacBook Pro Late 2008

Description:
I would like to inform you and your readers of kernel "hangs" that I've been experiencing with FirmTek's SeriTek/2SM2-E eSATA ExpressCard34 and MacBook Pro late 2008.

  • After erasing a RAID 0 volume, the kernel hangs when Disk Utility tries to mount the volume.
  • I can mount/unmount a RAID 0 volume. I just can't erase it; it hangs on the mount.
  • When restoring an image (roughly 320 GB big) to a RAID 0 volume using Disk Utility, the kernel hangs roughly 10 to 30% of the way through. Problem also appears with RAID 10 volumes.
  • By the phrase "kernel hang," I'm referring to something (a thread? a process?) that locks up in the kernel. I cannot log out; I cannot restart; I cannot shut down. Often I cannot quit nor force quit Disk Utility. The only recovery has been a hard reset by holding down the power button.

    The kernel hangs appear to be related to disk writes. I've been unable to generate a hang when reading from a RAID 0 volume. For example, I can use Disk Utility to generate a restore image from a RAID 0 volume without incident. I just can't restore it!

    These problems may (or may not) be reproducible with other Silicon Image based ExpressCard34s, like the one from Sonnet Tech. I don't have access to one to verify.

    The kernel hangs do NOT occur with an older MacBook Pro June 2007.

    FirmTek's response has been great so far. The issue has been escalated from support to engineering. I'll let you know when I have a fix. I wonder if it has to do with the new NVidia chipset?

    System Details:
    MacBook Pro Late 2008 (unibody) 15in, 2.8GHz, 4GB RAM
    Mac OS X 10.5.5 (Build 9F2114) with the latest set of patches. Default installation. No other SW installed. (Using 9600M GT setting.)
    SeriTek/2SM2-E, v5.3.1b7. Reproducible with v5.3.2b2
    2 SeriTek/5PM (enclosure)
    10 Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500 GB drives; model ST3500320AS; firmware SD15
    Tested against Apple Partition and GUID Partition schemes with 4-, 5-, and 6-drive RAIDs created using Apple's Disk Utility.
    -Rodney"

    I asked him if there were any Log or Console messages related to the hang. (He later said no.)


    Unibody MacBook Pro, Vista and FW Expresscards (anyone find a fix/driver update for this?)

    (added 12/1/2008 - later updated comments)
    "The new ("late 2008" aka Unibody) Macbook Pro's (mine is 2.8 Ghz (4GB ram?) and running 10.5.5) have a glitch when running bootcamp with Vista. The glitch has to do with firewire express cards. I have currently tried 6 different cards from different manufacturers (asked for models tried just for the record), reinstalled vista (32-bit), reinstalled bootcamp drivers, played around with device manager but the best I get is to get it recognized, but then it says there are not enough free resources to use this device (no matter what I disable and how many drivers I remove and reinstall, the problem does not go away). My old Macbook pro (2.4Ghz with the exact same software from mac and windows worked fine with firewire express cards, but this one is not). Any ideas?
    (Just for the record - running Vista 32-bit or 64-bit? (using latest bootcamp update?) - Does the onboard FW800 port work OK in Vista? Are you using the 9600M graphics in Vista? (apple kbase doc said 9400M not supported in windows currently).)
    Yes, the onboard FW800 port works with vista. I think you are right on about the graphics. (Apple says 9400M setting doesn't work in XP/Vista currently) It actually had issues on the vista side with several new components. I returned it and got myself a 17" macbook pro (because that was the one i had prior to upgrading) with custom specs as far as hard drive and processor. It kind of sucks to upgrade to the same thing you had even though I definitely needed a bigger and faster hard drive, but that was what I was getting with the 15" plus it is the new design. (The current 'updated' (base drive/ram) 17in models supposedly dont have the flawed 8600M graphics chips - Apple finally posted a doc on that back on Oct 10th, 2008, noting appx May 2007 to Sept. 2008 builds were affected.-Mike)
    Everything works great on the new 17" so I definitely think it was an issue with newer components not working well with vista and boot camp. I appreciate you responding and I have forwarded all my research to Apple engineering (I started working with them after I exhausted all of the Apple technical support tiers).
    -Tony D."

    A later report above from a new (Late 2008/Unibody) MacBook Pro owner noted some problems with his Seritek eSATA expresscard also. (Hopefully will be fixed by an update from Firmtek or Apple.)


    SeriTek/2SM2-E eSATA ExpressCard, DigiGear ExpressCard CompactFlash Adapter:

    (added 11/25/2008)
    "FWIW some additional experience with a Firmtek SeriTek/2SM2-E ExpressCard SATA adapter (firmware 5.3.1b7) used with a 15" Macbook Pro2.4GHz (OS X 10.5.5/4GB ram). I have used this under OS X with various drives (Maxtor, Seagate, Samsung) in OWC quad interface (Oxford Semi) single drive housings for backup via Superduper with no difficulties.
    Similar results in OS X sporadically copying files from NTFS (512 byte cluster) formatted drives (same drive sources) in a Firmtek Seritek/2EN2 dual bay eSATA enclosure (JBOD config). Also use the dual bay drive and adapter with the NTFS drives for data analysis under XP Pro SP3 on a Bootcamp partition.

    It is easy to mount and dismount the drives under OS X without powering off the computer. I haven't tried that under XP Pro, but note that the drives cannot be powered on when starting from the Bootcamp partition. If you start them before Windows boots you get a message indicating 'no bootable drive found'. There haven't been any overt issues with sleep when I've walked away from the MacBook Pro, but I haven't experimented with it intentionally. The dual drive housing does power down and sleep when run with a PCMCIA E-Sata card on a Thinkpad T42 (XP Pro SP3)

    I also have a DigiGear ExpressCard CompactFlash Adapter (CFEXP/DR25) that is supposed to be faster than most USB options for high speed CF cards. It is compact and works without issue. I followed their warning and didn't load drivers under Leopard. Thanks for great site.
    -Bill R."


    PPA Intl Model 1172 2-port eSATA ExpressCard: (another JMicron chip based card)

    (added 11/5/2008)
    "I have received the OWC Dual bay SATA enclosure. I've put two Seagate 500 GB hard drives inside. For now I've decided to run them as independent drives (As opposed to a software raid. This enclosure does not offer a hardware raid feature.) (low-cost SATA cases are just straight SATA) Anyway, I've got it up and running with my MacBook Pro. I booted the computer with the PPA Int'l eSATA Expresscard inserted and the drives turned on. Once Mac OS X booted, it immediately asked if I wanted to format the drives. I installed a copy of Leopard on one of drives and it booted flawlessly. The expresscard operates at SATA II speeds, as reported by System Profiler. Additionally, the drives are supported by S.M.A.R.T. because they are connected via SATA. As far as I can tell I have no problems to report. You can pick up this card at New Egg ($27.99). For the price, it's a steal. (only $8 more than a single-port version) I hope this report makes people aware that a much more compatible ESATA solution exists for less money than many of the rebranded silicon image cards. Thanks for your website.
    -Chris"

    As mentioned in earlier reports - a plus of the Jmicron based eSATA cards is no driver installs required.
    Note - I had a later mail from another PPA card user on problems seen with his WD triple-interface 1TB external drive. I asked if he had access to an eSATA only external cased drive (or another brand/model of external drive) as some multi-interface bridge boards have had problems with eSATA cards (and even when used with the spare onboard Mac Pro SATA ports, as noted in an article on that topic here previously).


    Sonnet Tempo SATA Expresscard ('rev A'):

    (added 11/3/2008 - updated w/later comments/notes)
    "I had the old Tempo SATA Express Card 34 working with the F2 Drive set up in a striped aray for backup and security on Video Storage. Rock Solid. Speeds for Sony ExHD footage was great.
    Just purchased the F2 terrabyte drive and new Rev A card. Total Cluster (!*!*) so far.
    The drive...great. I've had "Device Removal" issues up the wazzoo.
    Have tried about 10 diffent project/computer/setup configs and no workie.
    I'll be driving the unit to the irvine office for some test ops. I'll keep you updated.
    It seems to be a driver issue... new card, new drivers...blah blah blah... not too happy. Don't know if this is world-wide (Common) or not.
    (he later wrote)
    After another few phone calls...I've been handed a new SATA34 card (by the sales guy Steve in Irvine)..not the REVA card with the "RED ports" (that's what they call it) I was told to use the drivers from their site. v1.1.9 and delete the old drivers from Library>extensions>cache> and OLD Tempo SATA ExpressCard/34 Driver (Windows) Version 1.1.9 (windows? - typo I assume.)

    (Does the new "rev A" card have a different chipset? (does ASP show info on the chipset used?))
    Not sure if there is a new chipset, but there is a new driver set. I've tried the one from Sonnettech.com (Tempo SATA E2P (Rev. A) Driver (Mac) and have also tried the driver direct from the manufacturer. (Silicon Image I assume-Mike)

    I think these guys have played with something because he said, when the sales guy handed me an older version card that uses 1.1.9, we'll look at getting you new drivers. So either they are going back to SI (SI/Silicon Image) to see if there are going to be some reworking of the new drivers for the REV A Card.

    (For the record what OS X version are you using? OS X 10.5.5?)
    Yes, OS X 10.5.5.
    -Randy"

    FYI: After a later problem report (Dec. 5th above) on the V2 driver not loading with an early card, I went to sonnet's site and downloaded the "v1.1.9 V2" (late nov. 2008 post date) driver and checked the installer pkg - the core/base driver is still the Sil3132 (dated Dec 6, 2006). There's a note on sonnet's page saying the V2 Mac Driver was for all versions of the card. I wondered about a card ID difference (if it's a common issue). They have 2 different windows downloads there (one for rev A cards, one for earlier cards).


    Kensington and Sandisk Multi-format Flash media adapters:

    (added 11/3/2008)
    "I have used two express34 cards so I can report on both of them. One is the Kensington '7 in 1 media reader' which I swopped for the Sandisk 'Multi card Expresscard'. I am using Mac OS 10.5.5 currently, but obviously there have been the updates from 10.5.0 on. The MBP is a 1 year old 2.2 Ghz.

    Both cards work very well. I am used them to read SD HC cards. I started using the Kensington. After a while I noticed that the MBP was occasionally waking from sleep. I did not pay much attention to this at first, and I cannot tell if it started instantanious, but I doubt that know. I tried all kinds of things including reinstalling Leopard, until I found out the cardreader was causing this problem. As soon as I removed it the mac went to sleep beautifully. I complained at Kensington and they very graciously gave a full refund.

    I used this to swap the reader for the Sandisk. The shop agreed to let me test this one and I could bring it back just in case. There were no problems, and I have been using it for months now. But just the last weeks I started to notice again the wake problems - lid closed but the machine starting up. Occasionally at first, and now often.

    For some reason the problem seems to occur only after a certain period of use. That is very strange and I cannot explain it. In ICT you would expect a binary behavior; it works or it does not work. But maybe somebody knows the root cause?
    Have a nice day, Hans"

    Check your logs to see if it has any info on what triggered the wake (i.e. what 'event' triggered a wak).
    Way back (IIRC a couple years ago at the main site) there were some reports on systems waking from sleep with lid closed (resulting in drained battery, etc) - some blamed the waking on a problem with the latch sensor (could it have been bumped in their laptop bag, etc.) and there was a terminal command I posted back then at the main site (can't find it now) on disabling the latch sensor...
    Maybe not the same issue but the notes on waking from sleep w/lid closed reminded me of that.
    Any connected usb devices that change state (if AC powered a power blip/dropout) can also trigger a wake - but normally you'd think the system should detect the lid closed and go back to sleep (not really wake).


    Lacie FW800 Expresscard:

    (added 9/12/2008)
    "LaCie Firewire 800 ExpressCard 34 used w/17in MacBook Pro 2.6GHz (4GB Ram) and LaCie HDD Rugged 250GB. (What OS X version?-Mike) Running OS X 10.4.11
    LaCie HDD works fine with inbuilt Firewire 800 on MacBook Pro. It also works fine with LaCie Firewire 800 ExpressCard 34 under the following conditions not specified by LaCie in any online or printed product manual.

    1. Power is required for Rugged drive from available USB port. It appears that the ExpressCard slot does not provide power to run the HDD.

    2. To unmount drive, drag to trash as usual. Do not power off ExpressCard via toolbar icon first. I did this and got the "grey screen of death."

    3. I'm used to PC card slots. They lock in firmly. This LaCie ExpressCard is very loose in the slot and does not lock in securely. A small jolt and it falls out resulting in another "the grey screen of death." (lack of positive retention is a common complaint on expresscards.)

    In general I've found LaCie firewire connectors to be too loose. I'll use this device only when necessary. Even though it works okay, because of the initial set up confusion, no useful hardware manual and sloppy connectors, I give this product a 4 out of 10. Hope this helps someone struggling with LaCie support.
    -Timothy B."


    1 port eSATA Expresscard (JMicron JMB360 based): (not using Silicon Image chip as most eSATA expresscards do)

    (added 9/10/2008 - updated 9/11)
    "Generic JMicron JMB360 Chipset, 1 Port eSATA ExpressCard/34
    Read a June report here of a generic card with a JMicron chipset working without drivers on 10.5.3. Did a web search, found Meritline had a $19.99 (shipped), no name listed ('Best Connectivity' on the card) with the JMicron chipset. http://www.meritline.com/1x-e-sata2-port-pcmcia-expresscard.html
    I sprung, and runs on my early '08 MacBook Pro 15", running OS X 10.5.4.

    With a Macally PHR-S100SUA eSATA combo enclosure (eSATA/FW400/USB 2.0 ports - $49) all functions (boot, sleep, spindown (disk sleep) and wake) work normally, then something causes the drive to wake almost immediately from sleep. Tried safe boot and turning off anything that might be polling; no help. Even with the HD unmounted from the desktop, it runs. The Macally box works normally and stays asleep connected FW. Will try a different brand enclosure when the chance arises.

    The card is absolutely flawless when attached to a naked SATA drive with eSATA to SATA cable; boots, sleeps, wakes and snoozes beautifully.

    Haven't tried the Bootcamp XP side, it comes with drivers, I hear.

    Overall I'm very satisfied, connector seems adequate and stable, just must remember to unmount and switch off the HD if concerned with battery and sleep mode when using the enclosure.
    (Lou mentioned booting above but a reader wanted confirmation that he could boot from the eSATA drive attached to the card as unlike some others (i.e. SI chip based cards) - no driver install was required.-Mike)
    Yes (I can boot from this card). And to be clear, no drivers were installed.
    Using a cloned from MBP boot partition on the enclosure with a 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F1 7200 RPM. Uninstalled and used the same drive naked, for that test.
    Incidentally, my MBP (2.5in) internal drive is 5400RPM and takes roughly twice the time to boot as the cloned eSATA/F1 drive through the eSATA card...
    -Lou H."

    The F1 1TB is a fast drive (and only 3 platters for 1TB as noted in Oliver's tests from Feb 2008, plus it would be defragmented from the cloning), although it's had some compatibility issues when used with the internal SATA of some intel-based iMacs (several reports in the drive database here from 2006 (white) iMacs on this, although Mac Pro and G5 tower owners didn't note problems).


    Delkin eFilm Expresscard 34 flash memory card adapter:

    (added 9/8/2008)
    "Just a quick note re: the Delkin eFilm Expresscard 34 flash adapter for SD / SDHC / MMC / MS / MS PRO, and xD flash memory. (Delkin Express/34 Multicard adapter-Mike) It has worked flawlessly on my Santa Rosa-based Intel MacBook Pro and has done so for OS 10.4.X as well as 10.5.X.

    The only tiny criticism I have for this adapter is that inserting flash memory into the card may, on occasion, cause the adapter to pop out or disengage from the Macbook Pro. That "feature" can be traced back to fairly similar pressures required to unseat / eject the memory in the adapter or the pressure required to eject the adapter from the macbook pro. Careful insertion of the memory module (or pre-inserting the module into the adapter before inserting the combo into the macbook pro) solves that "problem".

    All in all, I am very happy with this purchase since it allows me to transfer GB of data quickly and reliably from SDHC cards. It's faster, less messy, and more compact than the USB2.0 cable-based solution built into my camera.
    -Constantin"


    Lacie SATA II Expresscard 34:

    (added 9/8/2008)
    "MacBook Pro 2.4GHz running OS X 10.5.4
    Just bought Lacie SATA II Expresscard 34. Installed drivers and does not recognize. Cannot transfer between MacBook Pro and LaCie 1TB Little Big Disk Quadra (eSATA 3Gbits, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0).
    -Jan H."

    Have you contacted Lacie tech support? (to see if they have suggestions - or maybe a bad sample?) Have you used the Lacie 1TB OK on other interfaces? Do you have any eSATA (only) cased drives to try? There's been some problems reported becore with eSATA cards and some multi-interface bridge boards. (This also reminded me of a report on problems from a Lacie d2 Quadra owner using its SATA port with the Mac Pro's spare onboard SATA ports.)


    LaCie FW800 Expresscard:

    (added 9/4/2008)
    " LaCie Express Card 34 - 2 Firewire 800 ports. First card asked for me to set up a network and never worked. Just received second card from LaCie after much back and forth. It now appears in the bar at the top of the screen. However, the only highlighted option is to power off the card. The grey options include: unknown vendor and firewire controller.
    Attaching external hard drive results in nothing. This is even adding the extra USB power. (you mean connecting a USB cable to the drive? (combo FW/USB cased drive). Does the drive have an aux PS (AC adapter)?-Mike)
    Have notified LaCie again and am waiting for response. LaCie rugged hard drive (500 GB) works fine with USB or Firewire 400. Also works on other Macs with Firewire 800 - NOT express cards. (and works ok w/onboard FW800 port? For the record I asked for his MBP model details and OS X version used.-Mike) Not sure what problem is. Appears similar to Belkin reports.
    -Lamont W."

    The most recent two Belkin FW800 card owners here didn't mention a problem (do a browser 'find' on "Belkin" on this page) - although some earlier (2007) reports on the Belkin FW800 card did note problems. (Not sure what chipset your card uses but sometimes with cards that use a natively supported chipset/same as an onboard controller, clearing the system kext cache (driver cache) can help - old tip from Firmtek in the past.) Hopefully Lacie tech support can be of some help.


    CFExpressPro+ CF Card Adapter:

    (added 8/21/2008)
    "2 month old MacBook Pro (2.6GHz C2D, 4GB RAM, OS X Leopard). I have an EXP34-ADP-CF2-02 CFExpressPro+ PCIe ExpressCard to CompactFlash Memory Card Adapter ($65) from Syncrotech.
    (page has note in red:
    " Please DO NOT install CFExpressPro+ PCIe provided drivers on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard!
    Incompatible with Lexar's WA (Write Acceleration) technology"
    )

    Once I insert the compact flash... it crashes my computer. ALWAYS. No exceptions. The gray screen slowly folds down my screen... and Gonzo!
    I now shut down my machine, insert the compact flash, THEN reboot... and it's fine. Worthless piece of crap.
    -Fred L."


    Sandisk Extreme IV D ExpressCard Adapter for CompactFlash:

    (added 8/21/2008)
    " I Googled seeking answers or fellow-sufferers:
    I have a MBP, 2.4GHz Penryn, latest OS etc. And an ExpressCard CF-reader (bought on ebay - Sandisk card). (I wonder Sandisk discontinued that model - I didn't see that one at Sandisk currently - The only expresscard model I found there was this Multi Card ExpressCard Adapter.-Mike)
    Every time I use it, I get a kernel panic. Both if I insert the card in the mac while booted or in a shut down machine. In the boot-case, the card will appear and work. It ejects fine. Then a while later the kenel panic comes. If the card is inserted while the machine is off, the card will appear when the machine is booted, work fine and the kernel panic will appear when trying to eject the card.

    I followed an advice on the net saying not to install the software on the enclosed cd. (Not in the package with the installer did I find the warning!!!). The ones that didn't had to do a clean install of the OS.
    regards, Martin A. "

    Personally I'd just use a USB based adapter (I also have a FW CF adapter bought years ago, but they're not as commonly found now.) The fastest flash memory cards I have are only around 10-12MB/sec (Ultra II cards).


    Delock eSATA Express Card:

    (added 8/21/2008)
    " Macbook Pro 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, OS X 10.5.4
    I got myself a Delock eSATA Express Card which is based on the usual Silicon Image device and I'm using the 1.1.9 Driver. (No product page link included in mail but is it this Delock Nr. 61386 (Express Card to eSATA II) model?-Mike)

    I've had two main problems, the first one was formatting my two eSATA/USB2.0/Firewire400 FreeAgent Seagate drives (1TB each). (Have you got any other cases to try (preferably eSATA only) - there's been some reports/notes on issues with some bridge boards in multi-interface cases (and IIRC there was a note on FreeAgent drives with even SATA on the Mac Pro/spare onboard SATA ports page reports here). eSATA only cases are typically cheaper also than multi-interface cases. But regardless some have still not been happy with driver installs (and rare updates), expresscards not being secured in the slot, etc.-Mike)

    When I got them they were formatted as NTFS, which is no use to me so I went to disk utility to format them to Mac OS Extended (Journaled), it didn't wanna do it!?! It formatted fine to MS-DOS(FAT). After playing around with partitioning it in half it worked out though... well it works!

    Next problem I first discovered when I tried speed testing it. XBench would give very different results...? (not a big fan of xbench) I then tried copying some files around and watch my Activity Monitor and what I discovered was that it was doing transfers in bursts. Sometimes only a few seconds apart and sometimes MANY SECONDS!! ie. 1-2, and sometimes up to about 8 second pauses...? The peak transfer values were hitting about 75 MB/s. I also get about 50 MB/s when Im playing back a bunch of video streams, which is great as I can now run more video streams in FCP, which was the big idea for me to acquire eSATA in the first place.

    I have looked around on the net for solutions only to find out that most of these cards are the same and use the same drivers. I was very tempted to try out drivers from other manufactures since the chipsets were pretty much identical (the only one I'm not sure on is the Firmtek Seritek card), but didn't bother when I ended up having drivers which were the same!

    I'm really clueless about why It's transferring in bursts?? any ideas? Has ANYONE found a decent express card with eSATA for the Macbook Pro? One that actually works?
    Thanks, Andreas "

    You can read past SATA card posts here by doing a browser "find" (search) repeatedly for SATA (many have noted some problems however...)


    Aug. 7th 2008 - Updated earlier report below on Kouwell 5652E3 eSATA Expresscard with notes on using a different HD in ext. case.


    APIOTEK eSATA II Expresscard:

    (added 7/22/2008)
    " Hi, I recently purchased the APIOTEK eSATA II 300 Express Card Adapter for use in my late model MacBook PRO (2.5Ghz) running MacOS 10.5.4. There really needs to be a good power solution for 2.5" drives... but that is beyond the scope of this card.

    When a disk is connected and recognized the card works well. Good performance.
    I do not believe the express card slot is good for use with this card. The cables are too stiff and even minor movement can cause the machine to believe the card was removed. (some others have commented on this also, wishing for better card retention) Insertion of the eSATA cable requires more force than the insertion of the card, again causing the machine to believe the card to be removed.

    I have had numerous kernel panics with this card, most revolving around the "accidental removal" problem. I have also had the driver panic my machine when inserting the card with a drive attached (to get around the problem of the force required to attach an eSATA cable.). (What about having the cable connected to the Expresscard only, then connecting to the ext. drive after card insertion (taking care to not pull on the cable at the card end)?)

    All in all I am very unhappy with this solution. Hopefully a new revision of the MacBook Pro will have eSATA as an option. The drivers are of very poor quality. (And most all Expresscard SATA adapters use this SI driver/chipset.) There is no excuse for a driver for a removable device to panic the system if the device is accidentally removed. Perhaps now that Leopard has been out for, how long?, they will produce a leopard driver...Thanks for pulling this information together!
    -Paul"

    Although not as fast an interface, if your needs can be served with a FW800 drive, using the onboard FW800 port is another option. (No cards to insert, less potential issues, etc.)


    DigiGear ExpressCard CompactFlash Adapter (CFEXP/DR25):

    (added 6/12/2008)
    " DigiGear: PCIe Interface ExpressCard Adapter for UDMA Mode CF Card: CFEXP/DR25. (Note: the bottom of that page has a note in -red- "*Please Do Not Install CD-ROM Based Drivers! Mac OS X 10.5*". I asked Jerry if he installed the driver.-Mike)
    Random kernel panic crashes on mount, transfer, and eject. gray curtain of death requiring hard restart. OS X 10.5.3.
    -Jerry F."

    I have an old FW400 CF reader (from years ago - not used it with Leopard though) - usually I still rely on my old Kodak (from Wallmart) Multi-card USB reader.


    Sonnet FW800 Expresscard:

    (added 6/12/2008)
    "I am using a Sonnet firewire 800 expresscard. MBP is 2.4ghz bought around Dec 07. Using 10.5.2 (just upgraded to 10.5.3 but yet to test the card).
    Lacie D2 Quadra 1TB hard disk connected to Sonnet firewire 800 expresscard via firewire800. Maxtor one touch 300GB daisy chained to Lacie drive via firewire 400.

    1. issue I have is sometimes when I turn on the mbp, the drives are not detected. However if I open Spotlight, it will start to index and 'discover' the Lacie and Maxtor drives.

    2. The Lacie drive has a 'auto' switch which turns the drive on when power is detected. It works on the MBP firewire800 port but doesn't work on the Sonnet card. I think this is because the Sonnet card doesn't give off power signals.

    3. Another issue is the Maxtor drive read speeds are very slow when I connect via Lacie HD to the Sonnet card as compared with when I connect it to the MBP port. (remember the Maxtor drive is daisy chained to the Lacie.)

    Any solutions? I am thinking of getting a firewire400 to 800 adapter to plug the maxtor directly into the Sonnet card instead of daisy chaining via the Lacie (the sonnet card has 2 firewire800 ports). Any idea if this will help?
    cheers, Terence"

    That may help for the Maxtor drive but I'd prefer a direct (onboard) port connection if possible (less hardware in the chain). However having a FW400 and FW800 on the same bus may affect performance (of the FW800 drive). What is the benefit of the FW expresscard vs just using the onboard FW port (even if daisy chaining off the Lacie HD). Do you have access to a FW Hub? Have you tested yet to see if 10.5.3 helped any of this?


    Generic (Non-SI chip based) eSATA Expresscard:

    (added 6/3/2008)
    "I picked up a completely no-name (no maker listed on card or packaging, nothing at all!) 2 port Expresscard/34 last night for my Penryn Macbook Pro (2.4ghz) - It was a 21 dollar purchase, so thought it was worth the risk. It worked 'out of the box' with an external esata case I picked up at the same time under Mac OS 10.5.3. After some digging under Windows, I found it's based on the JMicron 20360/20363 AHCI Controller, and Windows Vista had full support out of the box as well. No drivers required so far. (most SATA expresscards are Silicon Image chip based, sold under many 'brands')

    I'm going to do some more testing with it, and haven't tried sleep/wake or seeing if it can be seen at the EFI level (to see if I can boot from a drive attached to it).

    So far, using Time machine, the backup was a lot quicker than external USB drives, and Activity Monitor reported peak throughput of over 40MB/s - this is obviously limited by the read performance of the laptop drive, and the write performance of the external drive.

    (I asked Andy where he bought it.-Mike)
    Showtime computers in Hudson, NH. They had cards from 60 bucks down, so I went with the cheapest... I'll send pics, it's truly a generic card. Will let you know how it goes with further testing.
    -Andy"


    Sonnet Tempo eSATA Expresscard/OS X 10.5.3: (See reply below from another reader with the Apiotek card (based on same chipset) saying SI 1.1.9 driver still works in 10.5.3)

    (added 6/3/2008)
    "Sonnet Tempo SATA Express 34 - 2-Port ExpressCard/34 eSATA Controller
    Anybody got it working on macbook pro with os 10.5.3 yet?
    just purchased the sonnet card and it seems the 1.1.9 driver won't install.
    (Like most eSATA cards this one is SI chip based - nothing later than v1.1.9 yet on the SiI3132 driver page (linked in earlier post below).)
    Discovered so when I put the Expresscard in and the computer just froze.
    Thanks, Agwah"

    I'd contact Sonnet support also on this, athough it's a SI chip based card (as many/most are) and they don't do the drivers for it. If you have another drive to boot from you could try installing the driver while booted from an external drive and target the internal drive for the driver install.
    FYI - a reader with another SI 3132 chip based card said he's OK in 10.5.3:

    (from 6/6 mail)
    "Hi Mike, I'm using an Apiotek 003D ExpressCard34 eSATA II card ($39 now) on my MacBook Pro with 10.5.3.
    (I also asked what ext. case he's using, as some combo interface bridges have had some issues and eSATA only cases seem the best choice)
    AMS Venus T4S case. It's a 4 bay case eSATA using a SI4726 port multiplier. I have it in JBOD mode. It is not a combo interface model, it only has a single eSATA port.

    It's been working fine since I bought it when 10.5.0 was out, and continues to do so with 10.5.3. I use the Apiotek drivers.
    Thanks! Adam"

    Their drivers (as with other 'rebranded' SI cards) are just the SI drivers (as the card is SI chip based, sold under many "brands", often for more $$ though - i.e. the "S" brand - I asked Adam if he used the "Base" 1.1.9 driver and he said yes.) SiliconImage's 3132 drivers page v1.1.9(u) base driver is the latest as of June 2008. (v.1.1.9 driver released originally in Dec. 2006 but download from Apiotek page has an Oct. 2007 date, although same filename/version).

    If you're using an Express34 card with 10.5.3, let me know the details and if you see any pros, cons or driver issues. Thanks. (Don't own a MacBook Pro personally.)


    Transend SSD Expresscard:

    (added 6/2/2008 - updated 6/19/2008)
    "I have a Transcend 32GB SSD ExpressCard, and it keeps ejecting unexpectedly. Not physically, but I get the error I need to eject it properly, then it reappears on the desktop, only to repeat the cycle.
    I tried turning off spotlight on the card to see if that helps. (Is the card fully seated (check again) when you get this error? Although I also disable spotlight indexing any ext. drives, I doubt that will help. I also asked for more info (OS X version used, etc.) Although it may not matter, I asked if Energy Saver was set to not allow drive sleep.-Mike)
    I have a macbook pro running 10.5.3. It was a problem with 10.5.2 as well.
    Yes, Energy Saver is set to allow drive(s) to sleep, I can experiment with turning it off.
    (He later wrote)
    I think I have a solution to the problem I reported previously. I re-formatted the card with Master boot record partitioning scheme instead of apple partition map. I tried copying about 30G so far and over 2 days it has not failed on me. I have one partition, Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
    I use superduper to backup my home directory to the card. Been a week now without an error.
    -Duncan"

    There's some previous reports here from other SSD card owners - most were disappointed in performance IIRC. (Do a browser 'find'/search on "SSD" to jump to them.)


    Another Apiotek SATA II Expresscard report:

    (added 5/13/2008 - updated 5/14/2008)
    "I recently upgraded to a MacBook Pro 2.6Ghz (Penryn).
    Since I needed a new external hard drive for backups, I decided to take advantage of the ability to easily use eSATA via the "Apiotek EC-0003D Dual SATA II expresscard" . I thought eSATA would provide anywhere from a modest to a significant boost in speed over Firewire 800. I was wrong. (FYI: He's using it for SuperDuper incremental backups of the internal notebook drive to his single external quad-interface drive. See notes on that below - the drives used are also a limiting factor (they're slower than the interface) and superduper's log results aren't a good way to compare the 2 interfaces for overall performance. A better test of the eSATA card vs FW800 would have been using only the external drive (ruling out the effects of the internal source notebook drive).-Mike)

    After receiving the ExpressCard and external hard drive, I had some initial troubles getting the eSATA to work. I quickly found that I needed the SiliconImage3132 driver. I installed it (in 10.5.2) and it works fine with no side effects that I can identify.

    As far as the speed, I started to realize that it wasn't living up to my expectations. I ran a series of SmartBackups with SuperDuper!, switching between eSATA and Firewire 800. My results from the SuperDuper! log are below.

    In short, Firewire 800 is slightly FASTER than eSATA for Smart Backups (numerous random file transfers). (again this was for backup of the internal notebook drive to the single quad interface external drive - I asked if he could run some duplicate file/folder tests on the -external drive only- as a way to eliminate the internal drive as a source.-Mike) The "effective transfer rate" is the amount of data cloned (including files that are skipped and not copied) divided by how many seconds the SmartBackup lasted. (FYI - the xfer rates listed below cannot be accurate for actual copy rates - they exceed the FW800 interface max specs (100MB/sec) and the single drive sustainable max rates - see notes below about the "cloned" data size listed isn't accurate as far as actual data copied.-Mike)

    Verdict:
    - It seems that eSATA is better suited for sustained large file I/O.
    (Remember this example is using the internal Macbook pro notebook drive as a source, therefore it's a limiting factor - results with desktops (faster drives, internal RAID) and faster external drives (or RAID) would better show the benefits of higher performance interfaces. But since this is a page on Express34 cards (and Macbook pro use), it's still a good reminder for those that are looking to do the same thing - have a single external drive for backup of the internal Macbook Pro drive. And the SuperDuper smartbackup listed 'effective rates' are not really accurate, nor a good gauge for this sort of comparison.-Mike)
    - I know these are not serious benchmarks, but I think they do represent a fair (and probably standard) real world scenario.
    - From the looks of this page and the Apple Support Forums, just getting the eSATA ExpressCard and drivers to work can be a hassle. So I'll lend my support to Mike's opinion: Stick with Firewire 800 for backups. (I had commented after several problem reports (some primarily related to the bridge board in the ext. drive case -IIRC simple eSATA cases may fare better than combo interfaces used with eSATA cards), that for single drive needs at least, I'd just choose a FW800 cased drive and use the onboard FW800 port as that avoids addon drivers, card insertions, FW drives are usable with more computers (most don't have ext. SATA ports), etc.-Mike) You'll get great performance and probably avoid unnecessary headaches.

    MBP Connected to "OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Quad Interface" (Drive inside is Samsung HD403LJ 400GB)
    (Remember the "effective transfer rates" listed below exceed the FW800 interface max specs (100MB/sec) and the single drive sustainable max rates - see comments from superduper author reply below (they're not accurate as the data cloned size is not really the amount of data transferred). Also the tests below are not with exact same conditions each time as they were incremental backups (vs a complete wipe of the target drive and complete backup to it each time).-Mike)

    #1: First SmartBackup (eSATA):
    Evaluated 1047360 items occupying 117.06 GB (199917 directories, 825836 files, 21607 symlinks)
    Copied 746 items totaling 4.73 GB (107 directories, 638 files, 1 symlinks)
    Cloned 117.30 GB of data in 761 seconds at an effective transfer rate of 157.83 MB/s
    ----------
    #2 Second SmartBackup (eSATA):
    Evaluated 1047618 items occupying 116.92 GB (200209 directories, 825800 files, 21609 symlinks)
    Copied 2435 items totaling 5.33 GB (449 directories, 1973 files, 13 symlinks)
    Cloned 117.14 GB of data in 784 seconds at an effective transfer rate of 153.00 MB/s
    ----------
    #3 Third SmartBackup (FW800):
    Evaluated 1047511 items occupying 116.91 GB (200214 directories, 825686 files, 21611 symlinks)
    Copied 1038 items totaling 5.11 GB (140 directories, 883 files, 15 symlinks)
    Cloned 117.15 GB of data in 714 seconds at an effective transfer rate of 168.01 MB/s
    ----------
    #4 Fourth SmartBackup (eSATA):
    Evaluated 1054134 items occupying 117.69 GB (201828 directories, 830662 files, 21644 symlinks)
    Copied 7945 items totaling 5.71 GB (953 directories, 6914 files, 78 symlinks)
    Cloned 117.92 GB of data in 817 seconds at an effective transfer rate of 147.80 MB/s
    ----------
    #5 Fifth SmartBackup (FW800):
    Evaluated 1052706 items occupying 117.63 GB (201496 directories, 829575 files, 21635 symlinks)
    Copied 815 items totaling 5.10 GB (115 directories, 687 files, 13 symlinks)
    Cloned 117.85 GB of data in 730 seconds at an effective transfer rate of 165.31 MB/s
    ----------
    (Update: I wrote him about the very high (unrealistic considering drives used) "effective rates" above.)
    I contacted Dave Nanian (SuperDuper! author) with my findings. Among other things, he wrote:

      "Remember: *effective* rate. That includes the files that are *skipped* because they're already on the destination."

    (That explains the very high rates listed, and means the superduper "effective rates" listed above are not actual transfer rates.-Mike)

    Dave also wrote (regarding eSATA vs. FW800):

      "There likely *is* a speed differential with *streamed* large file I/O. But not with lots of small files." And "we're [SuperDuper!] a terrible thing to use for comparison, because we're really random access, small file copies, etc. We don't stream big files -- so for the most part the interface won't matter a lot."

    BTW: I should have told you before, I have a 200GB 7200RPM HD in the MacBook Pro. (how full the drive is also affects performance) I hope this info is helpful. Thanks!
    -a."

    Personally, for actual 'effective rate' comparisons of the Expresscard vs onboard FW800, I'd have preferred timing duplicating a folder with thousands of files and a single very large file on the external drive alone (and rebooted clean for each test run to minimize any system cache effect) - that would eliminate the internal notebook drive as a factor at least. His task tests basically showed for his incremental backups of the internal notebook HD to single ext. HD, just adding a faster (spec) interface wasn't worth it for that task considering the limitations of the internal notebook drive and single external drive. (Again a desktop Mac with faster internal drives (or RAID volume) as a source (and faster target/ext. drive setups) of course would be different. His results are just a FYI for MacBook Pro owners with similar setups (multi-interface single external drive) that for this sort of task, adding a faster interface card may not be worth it for that purpose alone.
    SATA of course has a much higher performance potential than FW800, but there are other factors that effect actual real-world task performance including of course the drives used (source and target).
    But for MBP owners that already have a FW800 external drive and with simple needs like backing up the internal MBP drive, using the onboard FW800 ports is a simplier option with less potentials for problems (no drivers to install, no cards to mess with, no potential sleep issues, future OS X update driver issues, etc.) For higher performance needs (and faster source/target drives) of course SATA is a faster interface.


    Silicon Memory eSATA ExpressCard/34 report:

    (added 5/13/2008)
  • Silicon Memory eSATA ExpressCard/34 - 2 Port 67002. (Interface: Silicon Memory eSATA II PCI Card 67002.)
  • Hard Drive: LaCie d2 SATA II 500GB 7200rpm
    Purchased Aug 2007

    Issue: Kernel Panic
    Grey screen of death requiring restart after
    1) Hot start/insertion of Express/34 card
    2) Hang up
    3) After data transfer
    -Ashley"


  • SIIG FW400 Expresscard (NN-Ec2012-S1):

    (added 2/27/2008)
    "I'm having some sleep/hang issues too.
    MacBook Pro 2.16GHz, 2GB ram, OS 10.5.2,
    SIIG FW (400) 2-Port Express Card - NN-Ec2012-S1
    Recommended by Digidesign for use with ProtoolsLE 7.4 (on OS 10.4.9) running a 003 Console interface.
    -Michael"


    Another Apiotek (EC-0003D) eSATA Expresscard report:

    (added 2/27/2008)
    "Bought this Apiotek EC-0003D Dual SATA II expresscard from owc about 4-5 months ago. First didn't mount any drives at all thought it was DOA found out you need a driver to run it. ...It's a hassle to find the driver, (Doesn't the owner's manual include a mention/link to it if they don't include a CD? - regardless, www.apiotek.com DownloadCenter has them - under the "EC-003D" are links to download both Mac RAID and "base" drivers.-Mike) - once you do they have one for raid operation and a standard one but the RAID driver didn't work and the other did, now here's the interesting part.

    I upgraded to 10.4.11 on my 2.2GHz MacBook Pro and the original driver didn't work so I downloaded another but before I did that plugging the card in immediately crashed the computer 3x's that's when I figured out about the new driver, however I had to use carbon copy cloner to repair reload as disk warrior and tech tool didn't do it although they both said no problems.

    Odd thing is even if you load that driver and then CCC you have to reload it (the apiotek) as it crashed me out again. Once you have the driver you can put the card in no problem, scares me but it works. For $40 probably a good value, of course no one tells you about the driver but noticing other people's reactions seems like all the sata cards need a driver. I own the Belkin FW800 card and that doesn't require anything.
    Thanks hope this helps.
    Best David F."


    Another Sonnet eSATA Expresscard user:

    (added 2/25/2008)
    " eSATA Tempo Expresscard user 10.5.2 with two external MyBook Home 500 GIG drives. (eSATA, FW400, USB 2.0 interfaces)
    I had all sorts of problems with this card/configuration until I turned off sleep for the computer. If the machine ever slept it resulted in various hangs / panics. If you removed card ever even if you dismounted the drives lookout it would hang on removal or insertion of this card, Hard to say if its a driver or OSX problem but never remove the the card or let your machine sleep.
    MacBook Pro 2Ghz 2GB memory, 100GB internal drive, Sonnet Tempo eSata Express34 card running 1.1.9 driver with two 500 gig WD MyBook drives connected.
    -Kevin O."


    Another Sonnet eSATA Expresscard report:

    (added 2/19/2008)
    "I did not have any problems with my Sonnet eSATA Express 34 card on 10.5.1 (Are/were you using an SATA only drive case? One of the earlier posts below noted previous issues were due to some Combo USB+eSATA case bridges.-Mike) Today after working on 10.5.2 for one week, Airport hung up when inserting the card.
    I also recognized sound problems with the 10.5.2 update and the card. The MotU Ultralite driver had to be restarted after unplugging the card since the 5.2 update. Going back to 10.5.1, all is fine again.
    -Reiner D."


    SIIG eSATA II ExpressCard (follow-up)

    (added 2/19/2008)
    "I wrote you on Jan. 7th about my experience (bad) with a SIIG E-SATA II 2-Port ExpressCard-M. I had been hoping that the 10.5.2 update might remedy matters, as it seems to have done for one of your readers but no such luck. I did get back in touch with SIIG and after a week got the following response which holds out some hope:
      "How long have you had this card?
      This card will only work up to 10.4.6. We recently found out that the firmware doesn't work on newer Mac OS reliably due to the Apple updates

      If you can exchange it with your vendor, please do so and get part number SC-SAEE22-S1. However, the Mac driver doesn't come with SC-SAEE22-S1 and you'll need to contact us for the driver at that time.

      Please contact our RMA department for a replacement if you cannot exchange this with the vendor. If you use our RMA procedure, please request an exchange of part numbers, SC-SAEE12-S1 for part number SC-SAEE22-S1and to include the MAC driver."

    OWC sold me the SC-SAEE12-S1 in October when I was using the last version of Tiger (10.4.10 or 11). I'll try the RMA and let you now what comes of it.
    All the best, Marius"


    Another NitroAV FW800 ExpressCard Report: (Update: Apple has a kbase doc titled MacBook Pro: Sleep issues with NitroAV 2-port FireWire 800 card with notes including "Mac OS X 10.5.2 or higher will also allow the computer to wake from sleep with the card still inserted.")

    (added 2/13/2008)
    "A while back a wrote to you regarding a expresscard sleep crash I was seeing in Tiger. Have something new in Leopard (though the sleep crash is gone!) Seeing this in 10.5.1 & 10.5.2

    I usually keep my system tethered to my desk, with my two external drives connected by my Expresscard and the second monitor attached by DVI. When I want to move around the house, I detach the whole thing and am usually good to go. Since installing Leopard, unmounting the drives and ejecting the card seems to lead to a near total system freeze once I get around to detaching the monitor. Here's the sequence of events.

    1. Eject both drives from the desktop.
    2. Power off Expresscard. (Ejecting / Not ejecting the card seems to make no difference)
    3. Detach DVI cable from laptop.

    The moment I get to step three, the computer freezes, everything except mouse movement. The cursor moves freely, but nothing can be selected and nothing responds, with only a hard reboot as a way out. The usual momentary effect of the primary screen turning blue then returning to desktop view when detaching a monitor does not occur.

    It seems to be a combination of powering off the card and detaching the monitor that is causing this. Detaching the monitor without powering off the card seems to pose no problem. Detaching the monitor first then removing the card only seems to delay the freeze, which will then occur once the monitor is reattached (unless I reboot beforehand).
    Resetting the SMC has no effect.
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 2.16 Ghz Core Duo
    2GB RAM
    NitroAV FW800 ExpressCard
    2 Wiebetech Traydocks w/500GB SATA Drives
    Viewsonic VA1912wb Monitor
    -Marlon"


    Another Apiotek eSATA ExpressCard Report:

    (added 2/13/2008)
    "Hi Mike, I've been using an Apiotek eSATA ExpressCard34 successfully in 10.5.1 for about two weeks, and now in 10.5.2 on my Core Duo MacBook Pro using Apiotek's 1.1.9 drivers. (http://www.apiotek.com/Global/DownloadCenter.htm has Mac RAID and "base" drivers.) My enclosure is an AMS Venus T4S which is eSATA only (not a combo with USB/eSATA). It uses the SiliconImage 4726 chipset. I have two WD 500GB drives installed in it in JBOD mode (it can take up to four drives) and regularly can reach 75mbytes/sec or faster in benchmarks.

    My only real complaint is that the SiliconImage 4726 configuration utility appears to only be compatible with Tiger (won't install in Leopard), so configuring RAID or other options on the enclosure doesn't work. I attempted to configure it while booted in to Windows but the resulting volume was not usable in OS X. Unfortunately I don't regularly have a bootable copy of Tiger around to experiment further.
    -Adam"


    eSATA Expresscard user says 10.5.2 update helped:

    (added 2/12/2008)
    "Hi, Mike. I just wanted to report that 10.5.2 apparently fixed completely the infamous expresscard/eSATA hard drive issues that were widely reported since Leopard came out. This is using the existing SI3112 1.1.9 drivers from Silicon Image (which I re-installed after the update) on my MBP 2.0 Ghz.

    I am using the Apiotek eSATA expresscard/34 solution, but they all use the same chipset (other brands/models require that you use a vendor-provided driver and will fail with the "generic" SI drivers). /models require that you use a vendor-provided driver and will fail with the "generic" SI drivers). (FYI - Most all are as mentioned before, but the exception I think is the Firmtek eSATA card. And the Apiotek eSATA card has some of the most favorable feedback here in the past, as well as costing much less than many others)
    My WD MyBook Premium ES drive (eSATA/USB2) was one of the affected drivers that would not work with Leopard, as it was the case with "combo" eSATA/USB drivers. It works perfectly now, including Time Machine back-ups (which wouldn't even start before). I had been using it with USB2 since Leopard broke expresscard/eSATA.
    Coincidentally, I saw your recommendation to avoid eSATA (expresscards) and use FW800. (FYI: In the past here (i.e. Expresscards) I had said for single drive use at least, why not just use the onboard FW800 - less chance of issues and the FW cased drive can be used with more Macs, as ext. FW ports are far more common than eSATA. I don't think just Leopard users have had problems with eSATA expresscards cards in the past (and not all Leopard users reported a problem as shown in the previous eSATA Express34 card report here), but I mentioned my opinion, which still stands for the reasons mentioned. Again at least for single drive use, some may have need of multiple drives/higher performance, etc.-Mike) I've been meaning to write to you to say that the problems were strictly Leopard-related. Now that it's fixed, expresscard/eSATA is a solid combination.
    (He later wrote with more details)
    I was trying to help, because I'm afraid It was more complicated than that. The expresscard/eSATA problems were narrowed to drives with a dual USB/eSATA chipset. "eSATA only drives" were working well. Some expresscard vendors found themselves in a tech support nightmare and said in their web sites that these USB/eSATA dual interface drives have a non-compliant chipset. In any case, compliant or not, they are working well again with 10.5.2.
    Best, Adolfo R.
    Argentina"

    My comments were just directed to those that had simple needs that could be served by a single drive, avoiding having to mess with 3rd party drivers (which can be broken by OS updates). (But I'd be rich if I had $1 for every problem that wasn't 100% common - especially with anything to do with OS X, 3rd party addons/upgrades, etc. - a ton of variables possible and even in barebones/stock systems some have problems, others not.)


    Sonnet Tempo eSATA card:

    (added 1/30/2008)
    "I have a Rev B MacBook Pro - 2GHz/2GB ram, running 10.5.1 now, Tiger before that. I've been running a Sonnet Tempo 2-port card 24/7 (never turned off or slept?-Mike) for a year or more, connected to 4 drives via an Addonics eSATA "mini tower". No issues of any kind. It all just works. Biggest (*only*) deal has been having to reload the drivers (SCSI-3) after upgrading to Leopard (yawn). I did make up-ticket choices in setting up my outboard rig, and my experience has truly been trouble-free - I feel very satisfied with my purchases. When I first installed OS X (public beta), I had a 9gb SCSI HD connected, and it's never worked again on any kind of machine. Since then, I unplug my USB & Firewire stuff before updating the OS (just as a precaution). Now,I pop my ExpressCard out, too. No worries!
    Forgot to mention, the drivers are what's posted on the sonnet support site - 1.1.9
    (he later wrote in reply to my question that it was run "24/7 for a year or more" without any sleep/shutdown?)
    Sure, both - but it stays pretty busy, so it rarely sleeps deeply. I shut the whole rig down occasionally, when I go out of town, or stormy weather approaches, or I reconfigure my workspace. Sorry, but I have no info at all regarding the chipset used in the Tempo. (it's an SI chipset like all the others except the Firmtek model, just rebranded as usual with a higher price)
    I have 4 drives in the Addonics: 2 Maxtors, 1 WD, 1 Seagate for a max of 1.9tb.-Charlie M."

    As they say "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link". I asked if he knew which actual card/controller theirs is based (I suspect just another rebranded SI chip based card as most 'mac brands' are, except for the Firmtek cards). Although nothing seems a sure thing for everyone/every configuration, based on past reports here, I'd probably chose the ($39 now) Apiotek eSATA expresscard. But as I said before, if your needs can be served by a single drive (there's up to 1TB models now) I think I'd just use a FW800 case/onboard FW800 port. (Less potential for problems, no worries over driver updates/future OS update compatibility, etc. - as all of the vendors that sell these seem to be at the mercy of SI for any driver updates...)


    Kouwell 5652E3 and Griffin eSATA Cards: (also see earlier reports on Griffin and other eSATA cards.)

    (Update - added 8/7/2008)
    "I had previously written to you regarding my trouble with a KOUWELL 5652E3 (eSATA expresscard) and a CoolMax HD-211-eSATA drive caddy combined with the original 120GB Toshiba HD from my MacBook Pro. (see below - I asked if he was still running OS X 10.4.11.) That combo failed miserably and I was only able to get the combo to work in USB mode.
    On a lark, I recently tried a Fujitsu HD in the same combination and lo and behold - everything worked perfectly! I've done many I/O tests on this combination now and it passed everything with flying colors.
    It's roughly twice as fast in eSATA mode as in USB mode through the external case. So if some folks are having trouble with eSATA and their expresscards, it might behoove them to try a different Hard Drive and see if it helps.
    (he later wrote)
    I have since upgraded to OS X Leopard... but it didn't help at all (much to my chagrin) until I tried the new hard drive. For what it is worth, I'm running 10.5.4 right now and I'm also using the SATARaid drivers instead of the regular 3132 drivers. Sorry for not including this information previously.
    -James S."

    James' earlier report from late January follows:

    (added 1/29/2008)
    "I have tried two different eSATA expressCards with my Gen 2 MBP 2.33Ghz, 4 GB RAM, and a 250GB HD running 10.4.11. I have a CoolMax HD-211-eSATA external hard drive case with the original 120GB SATA Toshiba HD from my MBP. I first tried the Kouwell 5652E3 2-port eSATA adapter...but I had nothing but trouble with it. The drive would sometimes mount...but lock my laptop up upon use. Most of the time it would just never mount. I thought it might be the card...so I purchased an eSATA adapter made by Griffin from my local Apple store...same luck. I've tried using the included drivers with both cards as well as the latest 1.1.9 drivers from Silicon Image. Crazy thing is...both cards work just fine in BootCamp using MacDrive. So I know it's not a problem with the enclosure or cards themselves...this clearly has to be some sort of driver/OS X issue.
    Thanks, James S."

    I think most all eSATA expresscards are based on the same SI chip and most owners have reported problems of some sort. If I had a MacBook Pro I'd be inclined to just use a FW800 external drive instead (using onboard FW800 port) if a single drive (up to 1TB) and FW800 performance fits you needs.


    A-DATA SSD E-704 32GB (Flash memory card)

    (added 1/11/2008)
    "I want to share my experiences with my new ExpressCard and my MacBook C2D (old non-LED backlight version):
    It's an A-DATA SSD 32GB E-704. The performance is very poor, especially the write-performance. It could be enough for having an mobile video archive for example...

    I will return my card because it causes massive problems with system sleep mode. After 5 seconds Mac OS wakes up and tells me that I have to unmount the volume before removing it. But this doesn't change anything. It's just unusable, without completely removing it before sleeping the system.
    Below are the XBench results.
    -Matthias Z.

    Results 0.92
    Xbench Version 1.3
    System Version 10.5.1 (9B18)
    Physical RAM 3072 MB
    Model MacBookPro2,2
    Drive Type ADATA E704
    Disk Test 0.92
    Sequential 19.14
      Uncached Write 16.39, 10.07MB/sec [4K blocks]
      Uncached Write 11.34, 6.42MB/sec [256K blocks]
      Uncached Read 25.13, 7.36MB/sec [4K blocks]
      Uncached Read 49.94, 25.10MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 0.47
      Uncached Write 0.12, 0.01MB/sec [4K blocks]
      Uncached Write 2.30, 0.74MB/sec [256K blocks]
      Uncached Read 848.70, 6.01MB/sec [4K blocks]
      Uncached Read 131.07, 24.32MB/sec [256K blocks]"

    There's an Oct. 2007 Transcend 32GB SSD ExpressCard report below with similar performance.


    Griffin eSATA Expresscard: (there's also an earlier report on this card from Jan 2nd below)

    (added 1/11/2008)
    "I have a MacBook Pro (Intel). (OS version used?) I purchased a Griffin ExpressCard34 eSATA card and a Western Digital My Book 500GB Home Edition (USB 2.0, FW400, and eSATA). The drive would work fine till part of the MBP goes to sleep (my power settings are set to never put my computer to sleep; however, there is something strange happening with this setup). At this point, the drive stops responding and the rotating Finder ball never disappears. The only solution is hard shutdown (hate doing that!).

    I talked to Griffin (twice; very friendly technicians but unable to help) and Western Digital (Level 1 and 2) support with no solution. WD people blame the eSATA ExpressCard. The WD drive goes to sleep as soon as the power on eSATA drops I am ready to return this hardware.

    I will get a couple of hard drives, set them up as RAID1 on my Linux machine and use that for backups... cheaper and more reliable.
    -Mario"

    A previous report on the Griffin eSata Expresscard also noted problems (although the sleep support issue has been seen with others also). I'm not sure any eSATA Expresscard is a sure thing but the most favorable comments seem to be from the ($39 now - $30 cheaper than Griffin's) Apiotek model. (See previous owner reports below). I'd also consider a Firewire drive (using the onboard ports) which may be fast enough for your needs and less likely to have problems IMHO.


    SiI3132 chipset eSATA Expresscard (unknown "brand") (includes link to SI driver page)

    (from Jan 9th, 2008 email)
    "I came across your website when I was looking for help with my eSATA ExpressCard for Mac. I have a Macbook Pro 2.2GHz with 2GB of RAM running Mac 10.4.11.
    The eSATA ExpressCard has the SII3132 chipset (OEM manufacture so I can't tell where it originated) and I have it connected to a Thermaltake IDE/SATAII - USB 2.0/eSATA enclosure with a WD5000AKKS (WD 500GB) installed.

    Initially I wasn't getting anything when connected. The drive didn't mount. Disk Utility didn't see it. However, USB 2.0 worked no problems.
    Just tonight I decided to try www.siliconimage.com for support. I came across this url:
    http://www.siliconimage.com/support/supportsearchresults.aspx?pid=32&cid=3&ctid=2&osid=3&
    (page includes several driver/downloads (including base/non-RAID) but below is latest dated one, as of early Jan 2008)
    And downloaded the following:

      Name: SiI 3132 32-bit universal Mac OS X 10.4.x SATARAID5 Driver
      Version: 1.5.16.0
      Date: 8/14/2007
      Size: 1996KB

      (adding the description as a FYI.-Mike)
      "This download includes the initial SiI3132 SATARAID5 driver and SATARAID5 Management Utility release for use with Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.9 and 10.4.10. The SATARAID5 components support RAID levels 0, 1, 5, and 10 for RAID sets with up to 5 members."

    After installation, I restarted the Mac and Voila! There was my drive!
    I'm only hours into this working but I've been copying data over to it and reading data from it with no problems at this early stage.
    Cheers, Will M."

    I wonder if that "RAID" download includes a base driver also (any later than the base driver listed separately there.) I don't know if these cards can be flash updated (firmware) but asked if the download was just drivers only. (And some cards such as the mini-PCIe 802.11n cards have software loaded firmware files.) A couple months back the main news page (and 10.5 feedback page IIRC) there were some notes/links to SI PCI SATA card drivers and an AMUG product tester said the RAID driver had some performance issues IIRC (at least in RAID use).


    Apiotek eSATA II Card:

    (added 1/7/2008)
    "I just upgraded my MacBook Pro to Leopard. I have an Apiotek Extreme Dual eSATAII Express Card (was $44.99, now $99) from OWC (APIEC0003D).
    I just backed-up using Retrospect into an OWC dual-drive RAID enclosure with no problems.
    Best regards, Pedro

    I asked Pedro for a link to the dual-drive enclosure model he used and just for the record, what drives were inside and how long he'd been using this setup. A previous Apiotek SATA card user running OS X tiger also seemed happy, although he'd had problems with another brand of card previously. (The previous report today from an SIIG user had a much different experience with his SIIG card and External drives.)


    SIIG eSATA II 2 Port ExpressCard-M

    (added 1/7/2008)
    "SIIG eSATA II 2 Port ExpressCard-M - throwing in the towel...
    MacBook Pro (2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo w. 4 GB RAM) purchased 10/97 (10/2007?), OS 10.5.1, previously 10.4.10
    From OWC, I ordered a SIIG eSATA II 2 Port ExpressCard-M along with OWC's Mercury Elite-AL Dual Bay SATA Enclosure. Installed two new Seagate 500 GB hard drives.
    Kernel panics ("grey veil of death" requiring restart) over the last three months, upon:
    -- accessing an external drive for an extended file transfer (more than a a gig or so);
    -- accessing an external drive after not having done so for a while;
    -- unmounting an external volume;
    -- powering up the external drives when they are connected to the ExpressCard; and
    -- for no discernable reason at all, i.e. the only applications in use don't need to access the external drives.

    I sent the error logs to SIIG. After more than one week they replied that I probably had a defective unit and should try to return it. OWC issued an RMA and reported that the unit tested as defective. They sent me a replacement and told me to use the Apiotek driver which was more recent and based on the same chipset. (I had asked them if they could just send me the Apiotek instead which was half the price and they refused.) The replacement unit has the same problems as the original both in Tiger and now in Leopard. The Apiotek driver doesn't recognize SIIG device. I've written to OWC asking for instructions on getting the Apiotek driver to work with the SIIG and haven't heard back. I'm not holding my breath.

    From what I can tell on the web, all of the eSATA ExpressCard adapters use the Silicon Image chipset. And until Silicon Image comes out with a functioning driver, none of these products is going to meet users' expectations. (Apple forum thread, Ars forum thread) (As with anything YMMV, but there have been some positive Apiotek SATA expresscard user reports here in the past - and another one today (above).-Mike)
    I didn't buy a dual bay enclosure, two drives and an adapter because I was going to be transfering small amounts of data infrequently. I bought them because I'm a photographer and I wanted to be able to use my Macbook Pro at home like a desktop, i.e. with multiple drives serving different purposes.

    I'm throwing in the towel (for now) on an ExpressCard e-SATA solution. The fact that these ExpressCards appear to work nicely running Windows in Boot Camp doesn't help me as a Mac user. Until they really work, they shouldn't be marketed to the Mac community. Companies like OWC should know this.

    You ask for details - here are some sample error logs from when I was running Tiger. I ran Onyx recently and deleted my recent logs which would show problems in Leopard. Unfortunately, they can be easily reproduced.

    I hope this is helpful. Apart from $150 in hardware, I've wasted countless hours rebooting my MBP, googling for solutions, sending emails etc. Prospective purchasers need to know that hooking up an external SATA drive to their MacBook Pro is - at best - an iffy proposition.
    -Marius S.
    (one of several sample crash logs follow)
    Fri Oct 26 11:16:49 2007
    panic(cpu 0 caller 0x003A4705): getPhysicalSegment() out of 32b range 0x10010e000, len 0x19000, class IOGeneralMemoryDescriptor
    Backtrace, Format - Frame : Return Address (4 potential args on stack)
    0x4765bc38 : 0x128d08 (0x3cc0ec 0x4765bc5c 0x131de5 0x0)
    0x4765bc78 : 0x3a4705 (0x3f09c4 0x10e000 0x1 0x19000)
    0x4765bd48 : 0x3a2291 (0x91c5f00 0x0 0x4765bd8c 0x6)
    0x4765bda8 : 0x5e1f9080 (0x6208ac0 0x91c5f00 0x0 0x4765bdf4)
    0x4765be18 : 0x5e1f8f01 (0x6219000 0x0 0x4f1afa6e 0x88)
    0x4765be38 : 0x5e1facc0 (0x6219000 0x7530 0xf4240 0x5e1f9f20)
    0x4765be58 : 0x5e1f8581 (0x6219000 0x7530 0x1 0x633bf00)
    0x4765be78 : 0x5de01619 (0x6219000 0x0 0x4765bed8 0x6199e00)
    0x4765be98 : 0x5e1f86bd (0x6219000 0x0 0x4765bed8 0x6199e00)
    0x4765beb8 : 0x5e1f73fe (0x6219000 0x5ef9d08 0x4765bed8 0x19e23a)
    0x4765bee8 : 0x5e1f73ce (0x6199e00 0x0 0x5ef9de4 0x5ef9d24)
    0x4765bf08 : 0x39b3ff (0x6199e00 0x620d080 0x1 0x5ef9d08)
    0x4765bf58 : 0x39a5d1 (0x620d080 0x135eb4 0x0 0x5ef9d08)
    0x4765bf88 : 0x39a307 (0x6216880 0x6216880 0x450 0x1f03)
    0x4765bfc8 : 0x19ad2c (0x6216880 0x0 0x19e0b5 0x6e1aee0) Backtrace terminated-invalid frame pointer 0x0
    Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
    com.SIIG.driver.SIIG3132EC(1.0)@0x5e1f6000
    dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(2.2)@0x57979000
    dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOATAFamily(1.7.1f4)@0x5ddfd000
    com.apple.iokit.IOATAFamily(1.7.1f4)@0x5ddfd000
    Kernel version: Darwin Kernel Version 8.10.3: Wed Jun 27 23:29:36 PDT 2007; root:xnu-792.23.3~1/RELEASE_I386"

    I asked Marius some questions about this external drives. (A later reply today above noted using an Apiotek SATA express card/OWC ext. case OK w/Leopard, but as always YMMV.) There's been other SATA Expresscard problem reports in the past here. (A SATA Burner user had the most positive report recently.) Although a slower interface than SATA (although drives used are often the limiting factor), I'd be tempted to choose a FW800 external drive/array instead.


    CoolDrives SATA Expresscard w/ext. SATA Blu-Ray burner

    (added 1/3/2008)
    "Mike, In response to the request for suggestions on Blu-Ray /Writer case combinations (in yesterday's news). I couldn't wait for the newer GGW-H20L but have the GGW-H10N which is the 1st Gen Blu-Ray/HD Combo drive. I installed mine in the Cooldrives OPT525-EXTE case and use the 2 port eSATA Express card also from cooldrives, the combination works very well. The cooldrives case is a bit bulky but at the moments there aren't many cases to choose from. I have used a variety of Sony and Maxwell BD-RE/R media with toast and have had 100% successful burns using my Macbook Pro 10.5/2Ghz/2Gb. Burned disks including Divx movies encoded with toast also work fine in my PS3.

    I have VISTA ultimate installed on my bootcamp partition and can confirm that this combination also runs well using PowerDVD Ultra. I do occasionally get choppy video with Blu Ray discs when I have tried to watch a movie, this maybe due to VISTA drivers, I only have one HD/DVD movie which I didn't notice any problems with. I also tried to use this drive with XP under Parallels connected via USB2 but didn't have much success, probably would fair better with a clean install of XP.
    Overall I am happy with Expresscard/Drive/Case combination.
    Leslie
    Lime Design - Graphic & Print Solutions"


    Griffin Technologies eSATA card:

    (added 1/2/2008)
    "I have a Griffin Technologies eSATA Express34 card. (not easy to find at their website but here's the Product page at Griffin - $69.99 list. It looks similar to this $30 cheaper Apiotek Dual eSATAII Expresscard and I suspect like most, they use the same SI chipset.-Mike) 2x Cavalry 500GB external drives with USB 2 plus eSATA interface running as two entirely separate disks. MacBook Pro with 4GB of memory running Mac OS 10.5.1.
    Several programs have problems writing to the drive and lots of kernel panics. The drives work flawlessly through their USB interfaces. I think the problem lies with the (Silicon Image) SI 3132 firmware which has not been updated for a year. Apple has heard about the problems but believes the problem is not theirs to fix (and I agree with them).
    -David P."

    I wonder if there's any updates from SI (or at some other vendor site as often the same basic card may be sold under several brand names). (Update: See later Jan 9th report above on a (generic) SI eSATA card which has a link to their drivers page - although as of early Jan 2008, the latest driver there was Aug. 2007 dated and was a RAID5 driver, which that reader used.)


    Sonnet Tempo Express34 eSATA card

    (added 12/10/2007)
    "You are collecting MAC users' experiences with Express cards. Hope you find this useful and of interest. Btw, if you ever find out why these problems occur I'd love to know.

    MacBook Pro (purchased Sept 07), 2GB RAM
    Mac OS 10.5.1 (but all observations were identical under 10.4.x)
    Sonnet Tempo Express34 eSATA card
    Freecom 500GB external eSATA drive

    (I asked if ASP had any info on the actual card OEM Mfr. I think there's been similar reports here earlier on this sort of thing. I'd write sonnet tech support to see what they say. (And some companies may have updates for some cards, but not sure which actual card mfr/model the sonnet is based on.)-Mike)
    Nothing in the System Profiler to identify the card's manufacturer other than a vendor ID of 0x1095. However in the info bar at the top of the screen when I hover over the card icon it comes up with (Silicon Image, Sil 3132 SATALink Controller).

    Observations:
    Sometimes MBP will not wake from sleep unless Express card is ejected, referring instead to sit at the desktop with the 'busy' mouse icon just spinning. I have waited up to 30 mins just to see if it clears but it never does. Also experienced problems with the MBP booting if the card and external drive are connected (intermittent, but fairly frequent) - again this requires the card to be ejected from the slot and powering off then on again. Without the card inserted there are never any problems with the MBP waking from sleep or booting.
    (He later wrote)
    I have updated already the Firmware for the card as it wouldn't work at all under 10.5 until I had done that. Like I say, it works fine if you keep the MBP out of sleep mode, it's only if you have to wake it and then it's in the lap of the gods as to whether it will wake or whether you will have to do a hard reset (if it hangs sometimes you can just eject the card or power off the Freecom drives and it will work again). If I learn any more of how to resolve it I'll let you know. I've posted in a few places to see if anyone else has had the same problem (which is how I came across your site).
    Best Regards, Lloyd"


    Telstra Turbo 7/Sierra Aircard 880E:

    (from several mails in early Nov.)
    "I've just taken delivery of the Telstra Turbo 7 Series Express card for my new MacBook Pro using Leopard.
    The CD supplied for the unit is only for PC's. I'm currently on hold to find out if there ar Mac Drivers. Sierra (The makes) says it is Mac compatible.
    (I asked for more info on the card, page link, etc.)
    You need the driver from Sierra for the specific aircard you have. Mine is the Turbo express 880E.
    Here is the link to find your driver for the Mac.
    http://www.sierrawireless.com/support/.
    (he later wrote)
    I think it's great. I have used it now doing Australian country locums and it always has got a signal. Tomorrow is a real test. I'm off to Emerald Hospital in Queensland (look on a map how remote it is) where NONE of the internet/WiFi providers offer cover. But, my 3G phone works there from previous visits just fine so I know I will have a computer that works.
    -Jules B. "

    Here's the product page for the Sierra Aircard 880E.


    SIIG and Sonnet eSATA, Belkin FW800 cards: I asked for more info on this earlier mail (OS version used for instance and what FW800 card he finally went with)

    (from Oct. 27th, 2007 mail)
    "I just tried 3 different eSATA ExpressCard/34 from SIIG and Sonnet. None of them worked properly. The two from SIIG caused KP's, lockups, and although System Profiler could see the WD 500 GB Drive, it would not mount. The Sonnet card (Tempo) mounted, but I kept getting Error -36 messages when trying to copy things over. So, I went with FireWire 800 (dual port) so I can use my regular FireWire port for my audio interface, and the ExpressCard for faster HD. I wish eSATA worked well, but it doesn't.
    (FW800 card model/brand?)
    Belkin FireWire 800. A little more pricey, but worth the reliability. Its fast, but not as fast as eSATA would have been.
    -Michael J. "


    EVDO ExpressCards:

    (added 10/16/2007)
    "Long time reader. Have always loved your site! I don't see these mentioned and think they should be:

    Verizon Novatel V740 Rev-A EVDO ExpressCard
    - Takes advantage of fastest EVDO broadband available.
    - Native OSX WWAN drivers since 10.4.8
    - External adapter cable readily available allows use with many antennas

    Verizon Novatel V640 Rev-0 EVDO ExpressCard
    - Does NOT take advantage of fastest EVDO broadband available. (Rev-A)
    - Native OSX WWAN drivers since 10.4.8
    - External adapter cable readily available allows use with many antennas

    Sprint Novatel EX720 Rev-A EVDO ExpressCard
    - Identical to Verizon V740, just provisioned for use only on Sprint
    - Takes advantage of fastest EVDO broadband available.
    - Native OSX WWAN drivers since 10.4.8
    - External adapter cable readily available allows use with many antennas

    Sprint Sierra Wireless AirCard 597E Rev-A EVDO ExpressCard
    - Takes advantage of fastest EVDO broadband available.
    - NO Native OSX WWAN drivers! Available OSX app does not give RSSI strength, and is rumored to not be a universal binary.
    - External adapter cable readily available allows use with many antennas
    - Ridiculously long card, sticks out twice as far as Novatel V740/EX720

    Alltel Kyocera KPC680 Rev-A EVDO ExpressCard
    - Takes advantage of fastest EVDO broadband, but Alltel doesn't have Rev-A
    - NO Native OSX drivers! Users have found a way to make it work, but PITA
    - External adapter jack, but cable is NOT readily available yet.

    AT&T Option GT Max 3.6 Express HSDPA ExpressCard
    - NO Native OSX drivers! But there is software available from cardmaker.

    FYI, as long time mac geeks, we test and maintain all 3G cards from a Mac point of view and maintain this chart of 3G Device compatibility: http://www.EVDOinfo.com/cards.
    -Alex S.
    EVDOinfo.com "


    Cables Unlimited 18 in 1 Flash Memory Card Reader

    (added 10/15/2007 - updated 10/17)
    "Hi Mike, I bought a Cables Unlimited 18 in 1 ExpressCard, Flash Card Reader for $31 shipped from Buy.com a few weeks ago. I even got a report from Cables Unlimited that they were processing a $20 rebate on the card which, if processed, would make the out of pocket cost $11 for the card.
    I like being able to just stick a memory card in my computer and pull the files off rather than go through iPhoto and as with my previous PowerBooks, was always able to find a PCMCIA reader to do this, so I was happy to find this card and not have to worry about having a USB cable, go through iPhoto, yadda yadda. (you can transfer files via the finder with a USB cardreader - I've done it for years using a USB multi-format model (CF, SD, Memorystick, etc.) and knock on wood it has no sleep issues with my PB G4, even with a card inserted.-Mike)

    With the card installed, however, the computer won't fall asleep properly (boots back up from sleep, so if I want to leave the card in I have to put the computer to sleep or remove the card) which is a hassle. I was hoping to have a fixture in my computer so I could just read cards at any time since I travel a lot and take my laptop most everywhere (like this weekend when I didn't have my USB cable with me).
    Oh well, for $11 (net) it was worth checking out. Will have to decide if I want to carry the cable around or this card reader. Other than the sleep problem, the card reader works well so far.
    (he later wrote)
    Oh me with the typos... I should have written - If I want the computer to sleep I have to remove the CARD READER or simply shut down the computer.

    That said, I have a USB Card Reader but it's a POJ and often dismounts randomly. (I have a several year old Kodak (silver) USB reader (multi-format) - never once had that problem. It also has a short (3in or so) USB cable attached. It's about 2in wide x 4in long x 1/4in thick I'd say. Not huge but not tiny either.-Mike) I was looking for something that I could always have with me when I carry my laptop. I have NOT done the firmware update (have to either swap out the HD for my SuperDuper! backed up HD or erase the installed drive, reformat, and then reinstall data from the SuperDuper! backup. Sound dangerous?
    -Craig"

    You say you need to reformat the internal drive to install a firmware update - then I guess you did you not format the drive w/GUID partition scheme originally? (Several readers that did internal drive upgrades made that mistake but you'd think Disk Utility would *default* to the correct scheme when run from an Intel-based Mac) - see this apple doc for more info.)


    Best Connectivity SATA ll ExpressCard: (updated)

    (added 10/9/2007)
    "Best Connectivity SATA ll ExpressCard, does not work in MacBook Pro. "descending grey screen of death" hard restart is necessary.
    Upon insertion the cards light blinks on then off. Shortly after that grey screen descends.
    I can't find a web site for this company to see if there are Mac drivers .. looks like it's Windows only.

    from the package:
    * Compatible to x1 Lane PCI-Express throughput
    * Compliant with Serial ATA Generation 2 specification
    * Transfer rate up to 3Gb/s
    * Support NCQ, Port Multiplier, etc
    (He later wrote)
    Mike, I've got some more info on that card (Best Connectivity) it uses a chip by JMicron .. JMB360 - that's the chip # I emailed JMicron asking about a driver for Mac they responded:

      "JMB360 is supported by Generic AHCI driver of Mac OSX So you can download latest version of Mac OS (10.4.10 or 10.5-9A559) But 10.4.X doesn't support Hot plug feature."

    So it's supposed to work I don't have my laptop here at the office to test further for he may mean the card has to be plugged in before you boot or if he's referring to only the drives when he says no "Hot plug" I plugged the card in to the MacBook Pro when the computer was on and it died. I haven't tried plugging the card into a turned off MacBook and then booting.
    -Wil S. "

    I'd try that (only takes a minute) before sending another mail. FYI - See below for other/earlier reports on Mac compatible SATA Expresscards.


    Dell 5510 (rebranded Merlin 870XU HSPDA Modem):

    (added 10/9/2007)
    "I have been given a Dell 5510 express card which is a rebranded Merlin 870XU (it even says so on the bottom of the device).
    The card is not recognized by my MacBook Pro without a SIM or with data-enabled SIMs, either on AT&T/Cingular in the U.S. (Iowa) or on O2 (unlimited 3G connection) in EU.
    Is there a way to reflash the card so it reports like a Novatel Merlin?
    (I don't know of any way to do that - There's a previous post/tip here on the Merlin XU870 HSPDA Modem-Mike)
    As the cards should be software-updateable (Nova promises a reflash to enable HSDPA 7.2 Mbit) there has to be a way. If we find out we'll share the information with you,
    -LP Turek"


    Transcend 32GB SSD ExpressCard:

    (10/8/2007)
    "Transcend 32GB SSD expresscard (Paid $300 plus tax/shipping. Here's a link to a PDF doc w/card info)
    The thing is freakishly slow for certain kinds of operations, which include untar'ing a 2GB file containing thousands of text files. Here is the xbench result for the disk test.
    I don't recommend the drive for anything other than a bulk backup medium.
    System Info: MacBook Pro Core2 Duo 2.33GHz. -Anthony L.

    Xbench Version 1.3 Disk Test results
    System Version 10.4.10 (8R2218)
    Physical RAM 3072 MB
    Model MacBookPro2,2
    Drive Type SSD34E TS32GSSD34E-M
    Disk Test (overall score) 0.92
    Sequential 9.93
     Uncached Write 15.59, 9.57 MB/sec [4K blocks]
     Uncached Write 11.47, 6.49 MB/sec [256K blocks]
     Uncached Read 4.48, 1.31 MB/sec [4K blocks]
     Uncached Read 35.45, 17.82 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 0.48
     Uncached Write 0.13, 0.01 MB/sec [4K blocks]
     Uncached Write 2.36, 0.75 MB/sec [256K blocks]
     Uncached Read 175.65, 1.24 MB/sec [4K blocks]
     Uncached Read 96.06, 17.83 MB/sec [256K blocks]"


    Another report on Belkin Firewire 800 Card (FYI - Also see earlier Aug. 10th report below on the Belkin FW800 card)

    (10/5/2007)
    "I just got belkin FW800 express card. (F5U514 model I assume?-Mike)
    An icon shows up for the card but the only option is to power off the card. I attached a lacie drive to it and I could never see the drive. It never powered up the drive. (was it a bus powered drive? If so does the card require an AC adapter/PS connection for that?-Mike)
    -JS"

    Just for the record (and requested in red above), please include details like OS version used, specific MBP model, if all updates (including firmware) were applied, etc. Thanks. There's also earlier reports here on other brands of FW800 express/34 cards. (Sponsor OWC also has some other brands of FW800 Express34 cards for Macs, as well as other Express/34 card controllers, adapters, etc.)


    SIIG FireWire 400 Card:

    (8/14/2007)
    "Regarding your query for MBP issues, I just purchased a 2.2GHz running a SIIG FireWire 400 2-Port ExpressCard 34. The drivers appear up to date. Specifically, I have had more of an issue with the non-responsiveness of the AirPort than I've had with sleep mode, although that is an issue as well.
    Other than that, the thing works with an audio interface running off the native FW400 port and external drives plus a CD-RW burner off the SIIG. As long as I'm not online, and I remember to eject the drives and power off and physically unplug the ExpressCard before logging on or putting the computer to sleep, things are OK. If not, I get those lockup issues that your readers described. Thank you again for your query, and kudos for running an excellent site.
    -Ricardo "


    Belkin Firewire 800 ExpressCard F5U514

    (added 8/10/2007 - updated 8/13)
    "Bought the Belkin Firewire 800 ExpressCard F5U514. When I insert the card I get a icon in the menu bar. But all I can choose is to disconnect the card. The MBP doesn't seem to recognize the express card.
    I can see in the Apple system profile that there is a firewire 800 bus, but for some reason it's not working. If you have any experience with this I'm all ears.
    (Just for the record - what Macbook pro model? all updates applied including firmware and expresscard updates? What OS version? 10.4.10?-Mike)
    My MBP is an 15 inch 2.0GHz intel core duo with 2GB RAM. I'm running osx 10.4.10 with all the latest updates.

    I'm in contact with Belkin support, but haven't solved it yet. They tell me that I won't get 800Mb/s with the MBP. Only up to 400Mb/s because the MBP is missing a driver.
    (If they told you that then their own website info is wrong then. Belkin's support page says it doesn't need any 3rd party drivers - saying they're already present in OS X. (Card Specs page Lists "Mac OS X 10 and above")
    I did a Belkin Support page search on the F5U514 and (currently) it only shows one item, which says OS X already has driver support:

      "Question: Are there any drivers or software required to make the F5U514 work on a Mac running OS X?

      Answer: No. The drivers for the F5U514 are natively available from your Mac operating system. No third party drivers are required."

    I'd tell the Belkin support person to check their own website info on this card.-Mike)

    You can only get the full speed working on a pc.
    (If it doesn't work with a FW800 drive, have you got a FW800 to FW400 cable to see if that works?
    I assumed he had tried the card with a FW800 drive but apparently not as he later wrote:
    )
    Thank you so much for your reply. After my last conversation with Belkin I realized that the card actually works even though the MBP doesn't seem to recognize the card. So I'm back in business except for the fact that the speed is only 400MB/s and not 800MB/s. Too bad it doesn't say that on the package...
    -Thomas L."

    I asked if he could test for any sleep/wake issues, but I'd choose a different FW800 card personally. (There's reports below from other brand FW800 Express card users.)


    SeriTek 2SM2-E SATA Card (Updated for reply w/tip for applying Firmware update)

    (added 8/6/2007)
    "I've spent way too much time trying to make the SeriTek/2SM2-E SATA Card work reliably, but I give up. 5.2.6 drive on the seritek site, but when installing, ran into this error.

    ERROR: can't make file "Macintosh HD:Volumes:Seritek2sm2_5.2.6_inst:InstallSeriTek2SM2E.app:contents:Resources:FT_ATA_SIL3132EC.kext" into type file.
    Subject: ERROR STATEMENT: The last transaction on channel 0 unit 0 did not finish most likely due to a hardware related issue (drive or connection problem)"

    Update - a reader replied to the above with a tip:

    " When applying the Firmtek update I had the same errors. What I found was that when you dl the update it makes a folder on the desktop with the install software in it. When I tried to run the update from there I got the errors.
    What I did was to go back and retrieve the .dmg file (it may put that in the trash when it creates the folder on the desktop) and run the updated from the .dmg file. Then it works.
    You have to open the .dmg file after every reboot (??? After you update the card you should no longer need the .dmg file.-Mike), but it did do the updates that way.
    (I asked him to clarify the comment on reopening the DMG file after a reboot)
    After you finish the update you don't need the .dmg anymore. But there are a point in the update process when you have to reset (restart) the computer and you have to reopen the .dmg after that step. Clear as mud??
    -Brad B."

    The First report on the 5.2.6 firmware update was very positive.


    Apiotek SATA 2-port Card: (2nd report on this card)

    (added 8/2/2007)
    "I'm using an OWC purchased Apiotek Dual eSATA II Express34 Card Adapter P/N EC-0003D driver version 1.1.6u in a SR MacBook Pro 10.4.9. Connected to a SeriTek/2EN2 Dual Bay Enclosure with no problems to report.
    -Paul B."

    There was an earlier report on this same card that was also positive.


    Wiebetech FW800 Card:

    (added 8/2/2007)
    " I have a new 15in MacBook Pro 2.4GHz w/4GB RAM and a new Firewire 800 Express 34 card from Wiebetech and (sold by?) OWC. Last night I hooked up the also new 250GB Mercury Elite Pro via the Express card just to see how the speed compared to the built in Firewire. Well it was late and after running a couple of runs of Quickbench I closed the lid. This AM I came back to it to find it quite warm (almost hot) (System either never entered sleep or awoke from it. For many cards, unmount drives before you put the system to sleep (some cards may still not support deep sleep unless ejected).-Mike) and while the screen came to life there was no life in the keyboard or the wireless Mighty Mouse.

    I have no other info at this time as I have not pursued it further at this point. Too busy with other stuff.
    -Tripp "

    Sleep related problems are the most common ones from Expresscard users in the past, although not all have that problem (See reports below). And before you walk away/assume the card supports deep sleep, take a minute to confirm that.


    Seritek 2SM2-E SATA card: (also see earlier reports including notes on 5.2.6 firmware update)

    (added 8/2/2007)
    " Mike, I used to use the Firmtek Seritek 2SM2-E Expresscard SATA adapter with Mac OS X 10.4.8 and a MacBook Pro 2.16 GHz Core Duo (not the Core2). Seritek driver version was 5.2.0. I still had problems with that version. I was using a MaxLine 7L250S0 (1.5 Gbps SATA) in the OWC external Dual SATA case (OWCMESATATBE). Firmtek was prompt with sending out version 5.2.0, but I never heard anything after that. I eventually moved the drive and case over to my Mac Pro using the Firmtek 2SE2-E PCI-Express card. I don't really know what hardware differences there are between the 2SM2-E and the 2SE2-E. As far as I know, both of them use the Silicon Image 3132 chipset. The Mac Pro is running Mac OS X 10.4.10, and I do not have any sleep problems with the card.

    When I was using the 2SM2-E in the MacBook Pro, I noticed that deselecting the option to "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" (disable drive sleep) in the Energy Saver Control Panel seemed to alleviate the kernel panics. (see below for a 2SM2-E card user's notes on the later 5.2.6 firmware update)

    FWIW, I remember reading of some problems with other Expresscard units in regard to sleep mode. As a result, I'd think that there may also be some OS problems here as well.
    Thanks, Steve"


    NitroAV Firewire 800 Card: (latest mail from Marlon that combines his comments from the Dec 1st news page and later comments added to the 10.4.10 feedback page)

    (added 8/2/2007)
    "I was the person who contacted you back in December regarding ExpressCards and sleep. (Ref: Dec 1st news page posts on Expresscard sleep problems w/10.4.8. Bottom of page here has links to other/older posts on Express34 cards)
    Here's what I've been experiencing.

    Hardware:
    MacBook Pro 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo, 2GB RAM
    NitroAV Firewire 800 ExpressCard
    2 Wiebetech FW800 TrayDocks

    I have a NitroAV FW 800 ExpressCard, using it to mount and /or boot up from external hard drives (a pair of Wiebetech TrayDocks w/SATA drives) on a pretty steady basis with no issues.

    Under 10.4.7 and earlier, the card behaved as expected. No issues with sleep, no need to eject the drives or power off the card.

    After updating to 10.4.8, I found that having my NitroAV FW 800 card plugged in during a session seemed to prevent the MacBook from going to sleep properly.

    The sleep light stayed fixed and steady, only disappearing if I pressed the power button (it only reacts to the power button). From there the screen remained dark and all plugged in devices fail to respond. I could hear the drive spin back up, but nothing else happened.

    It reacted the same whether or not I ejected the card before putting the computer to sleep. I found it necessary to reboot the computer and not use the card at all if I wanted to prevent the computer from crashing in sleep. Having fallen back on a back up of my 10.4.7 install, I can say this behavior was not present in the older OS version.

    This is a typical console output for these incidents:

    Nov 2 04:32:04 .... kernel[0]: PCI sleep prevented by AppleFWOHCI (5)
    Nov 2 04:32:04 .... kernel[0]: PCI sleep prevented by PXS3 (1)
    Nov 2 04:32:04 .... kernel[0]: hibernate image path: /var/vm/sleepimage
    Nov 2 04:32:04 .... kernel[0]: sizeof(IOHibernateImageHeader) == 512
    Nov 2 04:32:04 .... kernel[0]: Opened file /var/vm/sleepimage, size 2147483648, partition base 0xc805000, maxio 400000
    Nov 2 04:32:04 .... kernel[0]: hibernate image major 14, minor 2, blocksize 512, pollers 3
    Nov 2 04:32:04 .... kernel[0]: hibernate_alloc_pages flags 00000000, gobbling 0 pages
    Nov 2 04:32:08 .... kernel[0]: IOBluetoothHCIController::terminateWL .. done
    Nov 2 04:32:08 .... kernel[0]: System Doze

    After that, nothing until I forced a restart.
    This behavior remained constant after updating to 10.4.9.

    After applying the 10.4.10 update, I found the behavior to be much the same, at least while the drives were mounted and the card powered. The new wrinkle was that ejecting and powering off the card before sleep now seemed to prevent the crash, but it's still not back to what it was back in 10.4.7.
    -Marlon R."


    Seritek 2SM2-E Expresscard 5.2.6 firmware update (fixed problems) (7/30/2007)

    " it looks like the Firmtek driver/firmware update from 5.2.0 to 5.2.6 (OSX 10.4.10) seems to fix all the outstanding issues I had with the Seritek 2SM2-E card.

    a) Drives can be left mounted when the notebook is put to sleep.
    b) Drives can now be hot-plugged.
    c) Card plus drives can be hot-plugged.

    As a nice bonus, the Seritek 2SM2-E finally supports port multiplier enclosures. New firmware/driver updates can be accessed directly from the Firmtek website.
    -Chris "

    You can download their latest (public) firmware at http://www.firmtek.com/download/.


    Firmtek SeriTek/2SM2-E SATA Card:

    (7/28/2007)
    "I have a Firmtek SeriTek/2SM2-E expresscard SATA adapter that is used with a first generation 15" Macbook Pro Core Duo 2.16 GHz (OSX 10.4.10). Currently have firmware version 5.2.0 (Nov 0506 build) installed on the expresscard. My drive setup: Two 500 GB Maxtor MaxLine Pro (7H500F0) SATA drives in 3.0 Gbps mode. JBOD setup in Firmtek Seritek/2EN2 dual bay eSATA enclosure.

    I had a semi-recurrent problem of kernel panics when the laptop went to sleep with the expresscard installed. After updating the the firmware to version 5.2.0 the kernel panics stopped.

    However, I seem to have replaced the kernel panics with OSX lockups (non-responsive). Not sure what the issue is but it is at least reproducible. Inserting the expresscard with the external drives powered seems to be a no no.
    Inserting the card, waiting for the expresscard to be recognized, followed by powering on the drives seems to work fine. At the very least this makes sense to me. Due to the aforementioned problem, hot plugging drives is out of the question.

    Have not tried firmware update 5.2.6 yet. Apparently this firmware update resolves the expresscard recognition problem. Will have to test it tonight.
    Hope this helps,
    -Chris"

    See above for Chris' follow-up on the 5.2.6 firmware update.


    Apiotek SATA 2 Port Card:

    (7/28/2007)
    " I use an APIOTEK EXTREME Express34 SATA I/II 2-Port Card
    purchased from OWC (for $45) to run a pair of Seagate 750GB drives in OWC Mercury Elite-AL Quad Interface cases ... no problems with sleep at all.
    I had originally used a Firmtek (SeriTek/2SM2-E?) eSATA card, and it did not like to sleep, even when the drives were turned off. With the APIOTEX card I do _not_ dismount the drives or anything ... just put the computer to sleep.

    2nd Gen (Core 2 Duo) MacBook Pro, 2.33, 15-inch, running 10.4.10 at the moment, but it worked just as well under 10.4.9.
    -Dennis J. "


    Apiotek Combo FW400/USB 2.0 Card:

    (7/28/2007)
    "I have a combo FW400/USB2 express card (APIOTEK COMBO Dual 1394+USB 2.0 Express Card 34 Adapter)
    The only problem that I have had with it is the fact that an external power supply is necessary, but wasn't sold with the product ($15 @ radio shack).
    I highly recommend it for anyone that has a 1st Gen Macbook Pro.
    (For the record I asked about OS version, Ext. Drives used, etc.))
    OS Version: 10.4.10
    Drives: two ATA/133 in a FW 800 enclosure (coolgear 2 HD enclosure) and a FW400 - FW800 cable (1 drive for iTunes - 22,431 songs, 91Gig & 1 for Data - way too many external Poser runtimes & Data backup).

    No sleep issues so far. The only issue I had was the fact that the card was recognized, but I couldn't push data until I got an external power adapter.

    The 1gen Macbook Pro I have only has 1 FW 400 port, which has my iPod. This was the key issue. If I had a FW 400 enclosure, I would have just daisy-chained everything.
    -Harry B."


    Seritek SATA Card: (not using latest updates/firmware)

    (7/28/2007)
    " I had the two port Firmtek SATA ExpressCard (SeriTek/2SM2-E?), I sent it back - kernal panics all around. Tech support was nice, but that doesn't fix buggy software. Plus what I had with the 2bay solution was kinda cumbersome. Two sets of cables was messy.
    (he later wrote)
    The KP's were mostly when you mounted the card or when you bumped the cable (card was very loose in the slot and could be pulled out). They did send a few updates and a utility called FSCAPP_Tiger. I gave it a shot for week or so, but it just wasn't stable. This was when it first came out so it may be better now.
    The drives where WD's I believe I ended up putting them in my Xserve later. The enclosure was the Firmtek 2 bay. Like I said it may be better now, but for the price I expected more.
    -Jason B."

    Per Chris' comments (see above), the later firmware/updates definitely addressed some previous issues.


    Merlin XU870 HSPDA Modem Problems (from 10.4.10 feedback page)

    (6/22/2007)
    "I updated my MacBook Pro (15in, 2.16ghz core 2 duo) to 10.4.10 and it seems to have messed up my Merlin XU870 HSPDA express card. (purchased from 3rd party and I use it with Cingular/ATT) I keep getting connection errors, and when I went into system pref and network prefs, it was no longer listed in the list of modems. I downloaded the drivers from the Novatel website, and it is listed in the modems now, but still no connection. Do you have any similar reports? -Scott S."

    A reader replied to the above with a Tip:

    (6/25/2007)"
    "About Merlin XU870 HSPDA Modem Problems (earlier report above)
    Was the same with 10.4.9
    Remove:
    /Library/Modem Scripts/WWAN Support
    /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras/WWAN.menu
    /System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleWWANSupport.kext
    /System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleWWANVerizon.kext

    Worked for me in .9 and now with .10
    Don't install any drivers, remove and reboot is enough!
    greetings from Austria
    -Bernd S."


    (6/21/2007)
    "I have some semi-good news. I've been having the sleep issue on my MacBook Pro when a Firewire ExpressCard was installed. (Didn't note card brand/model details)
    I just checked, and sleep does work if you first eject the card, and then put the system to sleep. Before if didn't matter. it would never properly sleep, whether a card was installed, or if you first ejected the card then put to the system to sleep. Sleep still doesn't work if you attempt to sleep and the card is inserted. When I tried, the screen went black (with the hard drive still running) and I was unable to wake it up. When I removed the card, the computer restarted by itself. I'm interested to see what others report.
    -Chris M."


    (copy of info from the 10.4.10 feedback page here)

    (6/21/2007)
    "Just applied the 10.4.10 update and the behavior regarding expresscards and sleep that I reported back in December (Dec. 1st, 2006 news post) is still present.
    A new wrinkle is that ejecting and powering off the card before sleep now seems to prevent the crash, but it's still not back to what it was back in 10.4.7. At least one other user is seeing identical behavior ( Apple forum post)
    Thanks, Marlon R."


    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.). Please include details on the card brand/model, any driver/versions used, info on external drive(s) and OS version you're using. Thanks.

    Older Expresscard related posts (from older news pages)





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