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Accelerate Your Mac! Performance News, Reviews, DIY Articles and Tips
Mac SSD, NVMe, HDD and Controller Articles, Tips and Reviews
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SSDs/Hard Drives | Controllers/Adapters | RAID | Blu-Ray/DVD/CDRWs | Tips/Misc
SSD and HDD Related Articles and Firmware Updates
I/O Crest Syba Dual M.2 NVMe SSD PCIe card in Mac Pro 5,1 with Mojave
Review with benchmark speed tests of a bootable Dual NVMe SSD PCIe Card using Samsung 970 EVO M.2 500GB Blades in a Mac Pro 5,1 running macOS Mojave. Includes Amorphous Disk Mark, Blackmagic and AJA Disk Speed test results, notes on RAID 0 performance, and other overall System benchmark scores.
Tip to Prevent Kernel Panics with SSD PCI Card
in 2019 Mac Pro
(See link for OWC info and tip.) "We determined that the kernel panic occurs when the 2019 Mac Pro sleeps. More importantly, we figured out that the problem only occurs when the OWC Accelsior 4M2 is installed in slots 4 or 5, and only if those slots are configured to use pool B of the PCIe lanes. If OWC Accelsior 4M2 is in any other slot, or if it is configured to use pool A, no kernel panics occur. The teams also found other cards, which, when installed, result in a kernel panic. One example is the Highpoint SSD7101A."
Sleep Wake failure in EFI
Failure code
0xffffffff 0x0000001f

Tip for NVMe SSD
Standby Mode Issue
Crash Report shows "Sleep Wake failure in EFI. Failure code: 0xffffffff 0x0000001f" (macOS Catalina)
Reports on some Macs with NVMe SSDs Crash on Wake from Sleep/Standby Mode in macOS Catalina. Linked OWC support article has a workaround for Kernel Panics seen when waking from deep sleep "Standby Mode". (Some Macs after sleeping for 3 hours or more go into Hibernate mode, where the macOS system state is written to the drive.) The workaround noted is to enter this command in the Terminal App:
- sudo pmset -a standby 0
then press return and quit Terminal app. (There's a post/note below from 2013 on "Why Mac Powers Off after Hours of Sleep - Hibernates/Turns Off", where even later desktop Mac models go into Hibernate after hours of sleep. Hibernate was originally designed as a safety feature for Laptops on battery power.)
Analysis of APFS Performance on Rotational Hard Drives
A Carbon Copy Cloner article with a detailed analysis of APFS enumeration performance on rotational hard drives (vs SSDs) that explains the much slower performance of APFS formatted HDDs vs SSDs, and how that performance degrades quickly. A must read for anyone using an APFS format boot Hard Disk Drive.
Disk Benchmarks with NVMe SSD Upgrade vs SATA III SSD
Bill sent Disk Benchmark scores of an NVMe Samsung 970 PRO 500GB SSD Upgrade vs previous Crucial M500 SSD in his mini-ITX Hackintosh. (He includes a summary list of hardware components and software used, as he did with his previous video and system benchmarks.)
SSD Service Program
for 13-inch MacBook Pro
(non Touch Bar)
(Nov 2018) "Apple has determined that a limited number of 128GB and 256GB solid-state drives (SSD) used in 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) units have an issue that may result in data loss and failure of the drive. 13-inch MacBook Pro units with affected drives were sold between June 2017 and June 2018. Apple recommends having your drive serviced as soon as possible. Apple will also send an email to customers who registered their device with Apple to let them know about this program..." (Linked page includes a serial number checker.)
Firmware Update
for OWC Aura SSDs
(Feb 2018) Firmware update for certain Aura SSD models - see page for list of part numbers.
- Firmware Update lists fixes for macOS 10.13 EFI Update, Hibernation Issues, and Cold boot issue.
(The linked page appears to be a duplicate of this firmware update page.)
FYI: A 2015 MacBook Pro owner said this update helped with his macOS 10.14 Mojave install problems.
The above update is not for 2013 Mac Pro SSDs, but they posted a support page on Aura for 2013 Mac Pro: 10.13.4 and Later Install Issue that includes 2 workarounds for the 2013 Mac Pro Aura SSD models OWCSSDA13MP1.0(K), OWCSSDA13MP2.0(K), and OWCSSDA13MP4.0(K).
Other Firmware Updates: - See OWC SSD Firmware Updates page for current info.
If You Can't Boot from
External Drive after
a macOS update
See post for info about the macOS Sierra 10.12.2 (and later) update disabling loading external device Option ROM firmware, which prevents being able to boot (or even select an affected ext. drive as a startup disk), unless using a specific keypress workaround at boot time. Post also has a terminal command for "Early 2015 and older Macs" to restore function with needing special keypresses at every boot. (Apple refers to 'external devices', so wondering if this could also affect function of some other devices like Docks, etc., but not sure which if any use Option ROM firmware.)
Why Mac Powers Off after Hours of Sleep (Hibernates/Turns Off)
Info and Tips on why 2012 and later mac mini, iMacs, (and notebooks) shut down after hours in sleep mode. Includes reason why (a 'feature' first added in OS X 10.8.2 supplemental update 2.0, for compliance with EU Energy standards) and includes some PMSET mod tips that have worked (at least for some users - ymmv). Originally written after what i saw with a new 2012 Mac mini, but the linked apple article notes specific late 2012 and later models affected. (The listed PMSET mods to avoid hibernate mode were used with a desktop mac then - not a notebook that needs to hibernate when its battery runs low.)
Enabling TRIM in OS X
using Utilities or Manually
(FYI - macOS 10.10.4 and later includes Apple's 'trimforce' (terminal command) to enable TRIM on non-Apple shipped SSDs.) Mac OS X user reports and tips on enabling TRIM for SSDs that do not have it enabled by default. Includes Mac OS X reports on Cindori's Disk Sensei and Chameleon SSD Optimizer Trim Enabler apps, and also info on terminal commands to enable TRIM in OS X manually without using 3rd party software. (Includes Sandforce SSD and Samsung SSD users, along with troubleshooting tips. I enabled TRIM manually on a Intel 520 Sandforce SSD in a mac Mini.)
Reminder on SATA2 Macs that Run SATA3 (6Gbps) Drives at SATA1 Speed
Mentioned several times over the years (including a note on my 2nd SSD swap in a 2012 Mac Mini) but after seeing a recent post in Apple's forums from a 2009 Mac Mini (mini3,1) owner that his new Samsung 840 EVO SSD shows a 1.5Gbps link rate (despite having a SATA2/3Gbps interface), wanted to post a reminder on the Mac models that have this problem.
DIY OS X Fusion Drives in Mac Pros, MacBook Pros, iMacs & Mac Minis
Reader reports on Do-It-Yourself OS X Fusion drives in Mac Minis, MacBook Pros, Mac Pros and iMacs. Includes tips on partitions, warnings on Fusion Drive repairs as well as links to DIY OS X Fusion drive Guides.
Late 2012 Mac Mini SSD swap (Intel 520) & Drive Cloning Notes
Notes on swapping my SATA2 Toshiba 512GB SSD in a Late 2012 Mini (2.3GHz core i7, ram upgraded to 16GB) for a SATA3 480GB Intel 520 series. It turned out fine with a significant performance increase.
Info on iMac's HD + SSD Option w/service part info
2010 iMac owner's notes with Apple P/Ns on cables for adding a SSD to a 27in Mac with Hard Drive.
(FYI: Post Updated to include DIY Kits for adding internal SSD in 2010 and 2011 iMacs)
Jumper Settings for SATA3 Drives in older Macs with SATA1 (1.5Gb/s)
Jumper Setting Tips for Seagate and Western Digital SATA3 drives in Macs with SATA I interfaces, such as the early Intel-Based Macs and PowerMac G5 models. Without forced SATA mode reduction, the drives were not usable/recognized. SATA3 drives usually will auto-sense SATA2 interfaces but not SATA1. (FYI: There are also some SATA2 Mac models that run SATA3 Drives at SATA1 speed.)
2010 Mac Mini Server Drive Temperature Sensors Info/Pix
A past news page had some comments on special drive cables/thermal sensors in the new 2010 Mac Minis (and reminders on HD brand specific/temp sensor cables for late 09 iMacs). The takeaparts of the new 2010 Minis didn't include any info on that (but I suspect may be revised later). However a reader with a 2010 Mini server sent notes/pix on the cables/termal sensors during his dual SSD upgrade/drive swap.
Using WDidle3 to disable Head Parking w/WD Green Hard Drives
A 2008 Mac Pro owner with four 2TB WD Green HDs sent a guide on Using WDidle3 to disable Head Parking w/WD Green Hard Drives. (Personally I would not have bought Green drives for my Mac Pro internal bays...)
SSD Tips on Disabling Hibernate mode/deleting sleepimage file
Reminders on past tips here for SSD/Notebook users on disabling hibernate mode and deleting the sleepimage file which saves GB's of (expensive) SSD space. (i.e. 4GB ram machines saves 4GB space, etc.) Also includes a recap on disabling SMS (sudden motion sensor - not needed for SSDs) and disabling LidWake. (Update: See later article for Trim/SSD utilities.)
WD Caviar Black 1TB Benchmarks (single drive and dual-drive/RAID0)
Just a FYI that my tests of the low cost (under $60 MSRP) NewerTech 6Gbps eSATA PCIe controller card includes Drive Genius 2.2.1 BenchTest bechmark results with WD Caviar Black 1TB drives (single drive and dual-drive RAID 0). Benchmarks were run with both the NewerTech 6G card and a Sil3132 based eSATA card.

Hard Drive in Mac Pro's
Optical Drive Bay article

A reader from the UK sent notes and pix of his (pre-2009) Hard Drive in a Mac Pro's Optical Drive Bay using a heatsinked and rubber isolated drive bracket vs the X-Swing that Oliver used in his previous articles on HDs in Mac Pro Optical drive bay here. (BTW - This article and others on the subject here (since 2007) used brackets with rubber isolation for reduced noise. And the bracket this reader used also had a heatsink feature but I doubt that really matters much (but they were relatively cheap). Of course if you don't care about any of that you can do this very cheaply with the all metal 5.25in bay adapter brackets, which used to come free in retail box 3.5in HDs in the past.)

FYI on WD Passport 1TB (and others) NOT having SATA HD inside

Just a warning/FYI to any other reader thinking they could open up the 1TB WD Passport USB drive and use the HD inside a notebook (MacBook/MacBook Pro, etc.) - the drive inside is USB only. (Replies noted other capacity USB Passport drives were the same way - buyer beware.) I swapped it for a Toshiba USB 640GB Portable drive, which had a 9.5mm high SATA HD inside but I wonder if other mfrs will change that practice now.

OS X Notebook HD Load Cycle Counts (from SMART Utility)

Page on using SMART Utility for OS X (shareware) to check notebook drive "Load Cycle Counts" as well as notes on other drive SMART attributes/failing warnings, etc. (Page posted after the topic came up again recently on some drives frequently parking heads/cycling at a rate that would exceed the mfr's max cycle rating within a few months. Includes feedback from OS X users on their drive model readings with various models of Fujitsu, Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate and Toshiba 2.5in hard drives.)

Installing a SSD
in a 2008 Mac Pro

Guide with Photos on installing a SSD drive in a 2008 Mac Pro system. (Also includes link to benchmark tests vs three 1TB SATA Hard Drives.)
Mac SSD/HDD Controller Card Reviews and Related Articles
Review of I/O Crest Dual M.2 NVMe SSD PCIe card in a Mac Pro (Mojave)
(Jan 2019) Review with benchmark tests of Dual NVMe SSD I/O Crest PCIe Card with 2 Samsung 970 EVO M.2 500GB SSDs in a Mac Pro 5,1 running macOS Mojave 10.14.2. Includes Amorphous, Blackmagic and AJA Disk Benchmarks and note on RAID 0 performance. (Some Benchmark rates over 2000 MB/sec, much higher than earlier PCIe SSD cards and many times the performance of the onboard SATA 2.) Card is bootable with Mac Pro 5,1 bootrom version (from macOS Mojave update).
Review of NewerTech
eSATA 6G PCIe Controller

(No Drivers Reqd/Low-Cost)
My tests of the low-cost NewerTech 6Gbps eSATA PCIe controller card with native support, no drivers required in OS X 10.5 & later (including 64-bit support).
[Update/FYI: per OWC card is bootable with OS X 10.6.8 & Later.]
Review has benchmarks with 1TB WD Caviar Black hard drives in single-drive and dual-drive RAID 0 configuration and comparison to my previous eSATA Sil3132 PCIe card that requires a driver install. (NewerTech 6G card also supported in Windows/Bootcamp.) If you don't need PM support, the NewerTech 6G eSATA card is worth a look.
(OK) Reports from OS X users of eSATA cards w/Port Multipler cases
After getting another mail from an eSATA card owner that didn't notice data corruption until months later I posted a request for reports from readers with reliable eSATA card/Port Multiplier cases.
Combo USB 3.0 + eSATA 3
Card with OS X 10.7.5
(& 10.8 w/driver update)
Reader feedback on Caldigit's Combo eSATA III (6Gb/sec) + USB 3.0 PCI express card compatible with OS X 10.7 (10.7.5 used) and info on USB 3.0 driver update for OS X 10.8/Mountain Lion. He noted Native eSATA support but a driver install required for USB 3.0 use. (We also had several reports with Feedback on PCIe USB 3.0 Cards with Macs/OS X)
SI3132/eSATA Cards with OS X Lion (Revisited)
Most still seem ok with using Silicon Image's 3132 drivers from mid-2010 (10.6.x release) with OS Lion (10.7.3) based on feedback in March 2012. Includes tips on reinstalling drivers after initial OS Install/upgrade and more.
iMac eSATA Mod
(using Mini-PCIe Card)

iMac (intel-based) notes and pictures on swapping out the Airport card with the same 2-port SATA card for eSATA used earlier by Mini owners. (See article link below.) Another iMac owner sent a Photo Gallery/Guide to iMac eSATA Card Install/Mod
2006-2007 Mac Mini
eSATA Card Mod
(using Mini-PCIe Card)

Reader reports on swapping out the Mini-PCIe Airport card with a 2-port SATA card used for eSATA. Includes card info and some initial real-world benchmarks. Reports are from OS X 10.6.4 and 10.5.8 mini users.
(NOTE: 2009 and Later Minis DO NOT have a Mini-PCIe Airport card and can't do this mod. PPC Macs also do not have Mini-PCIe Airport cards.)
OS X 10.6 Tests w/Cheap eSATA PCIe and ExpressCards
My notes on testing low-cost ($20-$25) eSATA Expresscard and PCIe cards in OS X Snow Leopard with an Early 2009 17in MacBook Pro and Early 2009 Mac Pro. (Sil3132 based Expresscard/PCIe cards and a natively supported JMB360 based expresscard.) Also links to updated Sil3132 drivers for Snow Leopard - and data corruption test results w/10.6.2. (JMB360 card often fails a file integrity test with many eSATA HDs I have.)
MacBook Pro user reports
on Express/34 Cards
A collection of MacBook Pro owner reports on Express/34 cards, including eSATA controllers although many other types also reported on there. (Updated with notes/tips for later OS X versions.)
Using the Mac Pro's 2 extra onboard SATA Ports with an External SATA Case Kit
A Mac Pro owner's article on using the spare 2 SATA ports on the Mac Pro motherboard with Newer Tech's SATA cable kit and an external dual SATA drive case. (FYI - Includes reports on compatible (and incompatible) external cases - some ext. case bridge boards (w/multiple interfaces) are not compatible.)
RAID Software/Hardware Related Articles
(See above for newer PCIe controller card reviews)


(Dec. 2020) Download version 6 Beta with support for M1 Macs and macOS Big Sur.

SoftRAID 5.8.4 Update

SoftRAID version 5.8.4 includes important bug fixes and changes to improve compatibility with macOS 10.15 Catalina. (See the release notes PDF for more details and known bugs.) For info on macOS versions supported, see the SoftRAID Compatibility Notes. (A Free 30 Day Trial is available.)

2009 Mac Pro RocketRAID 4320 vs Onboard SATA 4-Drive RAID0/1/10, Intel SSD Benchmarks

(Oct. 2009) Early 2009 Mac Pro benchmarks of a 4-drive Seagate 1.5TB RAID array using a RocketRAID 4320 PCIe card vs Apple onboard SATA RAID. Includes RAID0, RAID1 and RAID10 Benchmarks. (Also includes some Intel X25M SSD benchmarks.)

RAID0 Stripe performance w/2 WD RE4-GP 2TB HDs in Mac Pro

(Oct 2009) Post from a 2008 Mac Pro owner on RAID0 (stripe) performance with two WD RE4-GP (aka 5400rpm) drives. (These are not the 7200rpm RE4 models.)
DVD/CDRW and Blu-Ray Drive Related Articles
Mac Pro Blu-Ray & DVD Burner Upgrade reports
(May 2011) Mac Pro owner reports on Blu-Ray drives (Pioneer BDR-206, LG BH10LS30, ) and Multiformat DVD burners (LG GH22NP21, Samsung SHS222LBEBSL). The Mac Pro/Pioneer BDR-206 report includes notes/screenshots on problems seen related to drive going to sleep. (Deja-Vu.) Also has info from owners of 2006-2008 Mac Pros that used one of the 2 extra onboard SATA Ports for an optical drive. (There's a previous artlcle here on Using the 2006-2008 Mac Pro's 2 extra onboard SATA Ports.)
Tests/Tips on Mac Pro/Pioneer BDR-205 "Disappearing Drive" issue
(Nov. 2009) After getting a report from a 2009 Mac Pro owner that his Pioneer BDR-205 drive was "disappearing" after appx 30min of time in OS X (but not windows), I suspected a drive sleep issue. The Nov. 25th, 2009 news page has replies from several other Mac Pro owners and an update from the original reader to report the problem (disabling allow drive sleep in Energy Saver seems to have helped, but see posts.)
A/V & Home Theater
Firmware Updates & Tips
AV/Home Theater page with Firmware Updates for UHD/Blu-Ray disc players, 4K/HDTVs, and Receivers.
Also Tips for AVR, TV or Disc Player Problems and tips for some specific movie disc playback issues.
Tips/Misc. Other Drive Related Articles
Ext. Drive Troubleshooting Tips & Firmware Updates
A recap of tips on External/USB Drives disconnecting/sleeping (despite OS X Energy Saver settings) and mac firmware updates for some external (typically USB3) Western Digital and Seagate drive models and FYI on USB 3.0 HD dock firmware update affecting sleep support. (Plus reminder on past firmware update for Lacie Quadra D2 that added support for 3TB+ drives.)

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