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SSD & Fusion drives & related issues
 


2017-12-16 at 00:16 #30172   (321)
(2017-12-14 at 19:07)Ric Ford wrote:  
(2017-12-14 at 18:39)Simon Wagstaff wrote:  Maybe also System Information > Hardware > SATA/SATA Express > device > Revision
That does seem to provide firmware version for internal SSDs (just checked a Crucial SATA SSD inside a 2012 MacBook Pro) but doesn't seem to work for SSDs in an external USB enclosure, where SMART Utility and DriveDx did provide the info.
The method works but is dependent on the external enclosure. My two 850 EVOs show revision and other info when inside an Akitio Thunderbolt 3 enclosure.


2017-12-16 at 12:20 #30179   (322)
(2017-12-14 at 16:14)Ric Ford wrote:  
(2017-12-14 at 15:55)goldenthal wrote:  Can anyone explain how to determine which firmware an 850 Evo is currently using and how to find out when Samsung issues an update?
SMART Utility will tell you (click More Info button), as will DriveDx. I see one of mine shows "EMT02B6Q".
Is anyone else getting a higher firmware version number? For my recently purchased (12/2/17) 850 EVO I’m getting EMT03B6Q, while in my older one, EMT02B6Q. I wonder why the “03” is not showing up on the Samsung page? Could it be an older version? Surely one would think that the higher number implies a newer version.


2017-12-16 at 14:41 #30182   (323)
(2017-12-16 at 12:20)tonyaguila wrote:  Is anyone else getting a higher firmware version number? For my recently purchased (12/2/17) 850 EVO I’m getting EMT03B6Q, while in my older one, EMT02B6Q.
My two 850 EVO units, purchased Oct. 27th, 2017, have the EMT03B6Q revision. "T03" seems like it should be a later revision than "T02" but I have no evidence or authoritative information to substantiate my assumption.


2017-12-16 at 16:08 #30187   (324)
Guest
(2017-12-16 at 12:20)tonyaguila wrote:  Is anyone else getting a higher firmware version number? For my recently purchased (12/2/17) 850 EVO I’m getting EMT03B6Q, while in my older one, EMT02B6Q. I wonder why the “03” is not showing up on the Samsung page? Could it be an older version? Surely one would think that the higher number implies a newer version.
(2017-12-16 at 14:41)Brian S wrote:  My two 850 EVO units, purchased Oct. 27th, 2017, have the EMT03B6Q revision. "T03" seems like it should be a later revision than "T02" but I have no evidence or authoritative information to substantiate my assumption.
Technically, EMT03B6Q is not an available firmware upgrade. It is the new version of firmware needed by the 64-layer TLC 3D NAND editions of the Samsung 850 EVO. If you have recently purchased, you more than likely have the new form factor.

Startlr Tech wrote:The third version of Samsung 850 EVO: now on 64-layer TLC 3D V-NAND
Understand exactly which version of Samsung 850 EVO in front of you is quite simple – you need to refer to the serial number indicated on the box, on the drive or in SMART. 48-layer TLC 3D NAND of the third generation began to get into the drives when their serial numbers reached S2M000000000000. The same that the latest 64-layer TLC 3D NAND of the fourth generation is installed in a particular SSD, it can be recognized by the value of the serial number exceeding S3L000000000000.
Would guess, tonyaguila, that your serial numbers are of the two different ranges.


2017-12-17 at 15:31 #30216   (325)
Using DriveDX, my Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 1TB reports firmware version EMT21B6Q.

This SSD is working wonderfully for me in a StarTech USB-C enclosure that supports both TRIM and SMART status.


2017-12-19 at 02:54 #30288   (326)
(2017-12-16 at 16:08)Guest wrote:  Technically, EMT03B6Q is not an available firmware upgrade. It is the new version of firmware needed by the 64-layer TLC 3D NAND editions of the Samsung 850 EVO. If you have recently purchased, you more than likely have the new form factor.
It's possible that the three different firmware versions are for the three different versions of the 850 EVO. Samsung doesn't make this clear anywhere, but could explain why my Gen 1 drive won't take the T02 firmware.


2017-12-20 at 17:14 #30431   (327)
The odd thing about MX 500 versus BX 300 is that the BX 300 actually uses MLC flash.
It looks like Micron (Crucial) took a step back to move two steps forward. (BX was suppose to be 'budget" and MX the better than budget performance.)

BX 200 went TLC (6nm 128Gbit TLC).

MX 300 went 3D and TLC (but odd bit density: 384Gbit 32-layer 3D TLC).

BX 300 went back to MLC but still 3D but back to "power of 2" density ( 256Gbit 32-layer 3D MLC).

MX 500 went back to TLC (256Gb 64-layer 3D TLC).

My guess is that there won't be a "BX 500" product - that the 2.5" SATA drives are on path of "just cheaper, not much faster" going forward, that Crucial might later come with a NVMe M.2 format-only drive to the top range of performance market, but not going to try to put it in a 2.5" box in any way.

The iterative cost saving seems to be making the power loss aspect narrower and narrower on each MX iteration (plus a tinge of phrase perhaps a bit too broadly for marketing effect in the initial version). It can finish off a multistep single block write, but the metadata state of the controller doesn't seem broadly protected.


2017-12-20 at 17:22 #30434   (328)
AnandTech has a useful review of the new Crucial MX500:

Billy Tallis/AnandTech wrote:The Crucial MX500 1TB SSD Review: Breaking The SATA Mold
... The MX500 is a more well-rounded product than its predecessor, the Crucial MX300. The MX300's performance takes a serious hit when it is full or subjected to heavy write loads, but the MX500 retains much more of its performance and does a better job of keeping latency under control. It is still subject to some of the pitfalls of TLC NAND with SLC write caching, but they are mitigated about as well as on any of its competitors.
   Several of our synthetic benchmarks returned results for the MX500 that are far above any previous SATA SSD we've tested. The Crucial MX500 is faster at handling short bursts of I/O than any of its competitors, and even outperforms some NVMe drives with MLC NAND. This is exactly the kind of performance that a consumer SSD should focus on: increasing responsiveness, rather than trying to get a high score on a benchmark of throughput with queue depths that consumer workloads never hit.
   These optimizations translate into some of the highest average data rates on our ATSB Heavy and Light test that we've seen from a SATA SSD. In favorable conditions (which also happen to be the most common and realistic) of a drive that isn't full and does get TRIM commands from the OS, the MX500 will generally hold its own against any other SATA drive. It isn't at the top of every benchmark—under sustained I/O it isn't any faster than most of its current-generation competition. But for most users, there's no need to pay any extra for the performance of a Samsung drive.


2017-12-20 at 22:06 #30446   (329)
OWC/Macsales.com wrote:Aura SSDs: Firmware Update
This article describes the process for applying a firmware update required by the Aura SSD. The update applies to the following MacSales part numbers…
  • OWCSSDAB2MB02(K)
  • OWCSSDAB2MB05(K)
  • OWCSSDAB2MB10(K)
… and resolves the following issues…
  • 10.13 EFI host update requirement
    • Previously the host computer required the 10.13 upgrade be installed via the original SSD as a first step. This firmware update allows the host and the Aura SSD to receive their respective 10.13 updates at the same time (i.e. a single installation).
  • Hibernation issues
  • Cold boot issues


2017-12-21 at 10:11 #30464   (330)
(2017-12-20 at 22:06)OWC/Macsales.com wrote:  Aura SSDs: Firmware Update
This article describes the process for applying a firmware update required by the Aura SSD. ...
I left a comment on that blog, as I suspect this is only for the Aura SSD, and not the Aura Pro X:

A comment and a question – you should tell us where the Firmware Utility is installed and what it’s called! It took me a while to find ‘Marvell Tray.app’.
Second, having just bought and installed an Aura SSD and an Aura Pro X SSD on a couple of MacBook Airs, I tried this out on the one with the Aura Pro X, and ‘Device’ in the sidebar shows no devices. Is this only for the Aura and not the Aura Pro X?
I can't try it out just yet on the MacBook Air with the older Aura SSD, as it's travelling until the new year.


2017-12-21 at 10:28 #30467   (331)
(2017-12-20 at 22:06)OWC/Macsales.com wrote:  Aura SSDs: Firmware Update
This article describes the process for applying a firmware update required by the Aura SSD.…
I just wanted to note that I installed this firmware update on the Aura 1TB SSD I installed a year ago in a then-new MacBook Pro Retina (2015 model). I've held off updating to High Sierra because of the known bug. (I didn't want to go through the hassle of re-installing the original SSD, etc) The firmware update installed without incident, so my next step is to try updating to High Sierra in the next few days.

Thanks, Ric, for posting this update notice from OWC!


2017-12-21 at 10:30 #30468   (332)
Further to my last comment, it seems this firmware is all for older Aura SSDs - the Aura Pro 6G I bought for my wife's 2012 MacBook Air and the Aura Pro X I got for my 2013 MacBook Air have different OWC part numbers to those in the MacSales blog post, though the former also has the firmware problem (which I solved by updating to macOS 10.13 before installing it).


2017-12-21 at 11:10 #30473   (333)
(2017-12-21 at 10:30)Christopher Moss wrote:  Further to my last comment, it seems this firmware is all for older Aura SSDs - the Aura Pro 6G I bought for my wife's 2012 MacBook Air and the Aura Pro X I got for my 2013 MacBook Air have different OWC part numbers to those in the MacSales blog post, though the former also has the firmware problem (which I solved by updating to macOS 10.13 before installing it).
As an addendum to my above comment - from my OWC RMA order (yeah - the original SSD had issues) - the part #/description from my order was "OWCSSDAB2MB10 - 1.0TB OWC Aura PCIe SSD".

This SSD did have the firmware version noted in the OWC tech article and updated without incident. As I noted earlier, I haven't tried the High Sierra update yet - but will post about my results when I do it.


2017-12-21 at 12:39 #30479   (334)
(2017-12-20 at 22:06)OWC/Macsales.com wrote:  Aura SSDs: Firmware Update
This article describes the process for applying a firmware update required by the Aura SSD....
Ric,

The link you posted (and the one on the OWC blog page) are both dead. And I can’t find anything regarding the update on the OWC support pages…

Cheers,
Jon


2017-12-21 at 12:47 #30482   (335)
(2017-12-20 at 22:06)OWC/Macsales.com wrote:  Aura SSDs: Firmware Update
Broken link for me and a search doesn't bring up an article.


2017-12-21 at 12:55 #30484   (336)
(2017-12-21 at 12:39)j.a.duke wrote:  The link you posted (and the one on the OWC blog page) are both dead. And I can’t find anything regarding the update on the OWC support pages…
Confirmed here. Looks like they took down the page about the firmware update, which raises questions about whether it might have problems....


2017-12-21 at 17:22 #30514   (337)
(2017-12-21 at 12:55)Ric Ford wrote:  
(2017-12-21 at 12:39)j.a.duke wrote:  The link you posted (and the one on the OWC blog page) are both dead. And I can’t find anything regarding the update on the OWC support pages…
Confirmed here. Looks like they took down the page about the firmware update, which raises questions about whether it might have problems....
Weirdly, I left a tab open all day to see if they would actually publish my comment (they haven't). The page still refreshes. I'm using:
   https://blog.macsales.com/43219-aura-ssd...ent-103058

But if I saw off all of the URL after
   https://blog.macsales.com/43219-aura-ssd...re-update/
then nothing is found.


Barry Trudell Show this Post
2017-12-22 at 09:58 #30560   (338)
Barry Trudell
(2017-12-21 at 12:55)Ric Ford wrote:  
(2017-12-21 at 12:39)j.a.duke wrote:  The link you posted (and the one on the OWC blog page) are both dead. And I can’t find anything regarding the update on the OWC support pages…
Confirmed here. Looks like they took down the page about the firmware update, which raises questions about whether it might have problems....
On another firmware update note on an OWC product: their USB C HDMI dock requires a firmware update that can only be applied through Windows... not any MacOS!!. Had to ship mine back to OWC through an RMA process and they say they did it... no way to tell though.


Shirley Sanderson Show this Post
2017-12-22 at 15:00 #30592   (339)
Shirley Sanderson
(2017-12-21 at 17:22)Christopher Moss wrote:  Weirdly, I left a tab open all day to see if they would actually publish my comment (they haven't). The page still refreshes. I'm using:
   https://blog.macsales.com/43219-aura-ssd...ent-103058
I can go to that page and see the Aura SSD firmware update that appears to be for the MacBook Pro judging by the serial numbers… nothing that I see here for the MacPro. This problem has been around since at least August when I bought my 4TB Aura SSD for my Mac Pro (2013). Would really like it if there were some attention paid by OWC to getting a firmware update for this [device].


David Humpage Show this Post
2017-12-22 at 20:06 #30618   (340)
David Humpage
(2017-12-22 at 15:00)Shirley Sanderson wrote:  Would really like it if there were some attention paid by OWC to getting a firmware update for this [device].
Or just ask for your money back, like I have, on the basis that the item sold does not work as described or as reasonably might have been expected (2TB Aura for 2013 Mac Pro, as per previous post). It would have been nice to have the convenience of storing my everyday user stuff internally; but hey, I'd rather have a system that works.


2017-12-23 at 23:28 #30672   (341)
(2017-12-22 at 20:06)David Humpage wrote:  Or just ask for your money back, like I have, on the basis that the item sold does not work as described or as reasonably might have been expected (2TB Aura for 2013 Mac Pro, as per previous post). It would have been nice to have the convenience of storing my everyday user stuff internally; but hey, I'd rather have a system that works.
Did they give you your money back?


2017-12-24 at 14:03 #30680   (342)
jmh
I'm confused (yes, as per usual, I suppose...).

OWC Aura pages clearly state: "No Hassles or Hacks".

Browsing their site reveals little or no firmware update info pertinent to the latest Aura drives for use in late model Macs... past 2012, anyway, as far as I can navigate to.

It is also my understanding that the trick (hack?) ... (and I don't think I am breaching any non-disclosure agreement here) in getting High Sierra onto a late-model Mac with Aura drive, is to reinstall the original Apple SSD, install High Sierra, install the upgraded Apple SSD drive into an external case and from there clone HIgh Sierra onto the Aura drive that has been installed back into Mac device. Please note: no mention of necessary firmware update as far as I recall with this "hack", er, I mean workaround - point being, for some of us aging types, er, um ... me, this seems pretty much a "hassle". I've been a die-hard OWC-nik for years, so I hope that a better, more clear solution is being worked out between OWC and Apple

P.S. I am not that keen on installing High Sierra, but as security and general support for previous macOS systems is on the wane, this will inevitably become necessary.


2017-12-26 at 11:44 #30700   (343)
(2017-12-22 at 09:58)Barry Trudell wrote:  On another firmware update note on an OWC product: their USB C HDMI dock requires a firmware update that can only be applied through Windows... not any MacOS!!. Had to ship mine back to OWC through an RMA process and they say they did it... no way to tell though.
Which "USB C HDMI dock" are you referencing? A search for "USB C HDMI dock" on macsales.com found two.


2017-12-26 at 13:05 #30703   (344)
Joe
(2017-12-24 at 14:03)jmh wrote:  OWC Aura pages clearly state: "No Hassles or Hacks"
Not to get off topic here, but I do have to laugh at the above line from their website.

I have purchased many items from OWC over the years and will continue to do so. But any claims of no hassles are way off the mark.

Many years ago I purchased a FireWire external drive for my daughter to use as a backup device on her iMac. So many problems with the drive unmounting, especially after the computer went to sleep. OWC blamed it on the Mac, claiming it was a known problem with FireWire at the time. They never stated this known problem during the sales process.

I purchased an eSATA card from OWC for my Mac Pro, along with some drives. From the day I installed the card, I have had intermittent issues with my wireless trackpad (odd tracking issues). Just enough to be annoying from time to time. I forget their answer to the problem, but the basically blew me off again.

There have been a few other situations where the OWC product required some sort of workaround or didn't work as smoothly as expected. While other purchases from them have worked fine "out of the box", I still consider much of their stuff a hit or miss proposition.

For flat out "broken" items, their customer service is great. For products that work with some glitches, you either learn to live with it or hope they allow a return.


2017-12-26 at 13:12 #30704   (345)
(2017-12-26 at 13:05)Joe wrote:  I purchased an eSATA card from OWC for my Mac Pro, along with some drives. From the day I installed the card, I have had intermittent issues with my wireless trackpad (odd tracking issues).
I've been using Bluetooth (and WiFi) wireless keyboards and mice lately while backup drives are connected via USB 3. Mouse (and keyboard) operation is simply miserable with USB 3 working simultaneously. Missed keystrokes, unresponsive, jerky, flaky mouse movements, etc. It's absolutely tied to USB 3 use - turn off the drive, immediately OK. Use the drive, immediate problem. It sounds like the same thing is happening for you with eSATA cables.

We had some previous discussions about this (e.g. here), and it doesn't seem like a problem unique to OWC at all (if your eSATA problem is similar to the USB 3 problems).

(By the way, slight changes in cable configuration/orientation/etc. change effects with USB 3.)


2017-12-26 at 16:33 #30718   (346)
(2017-12-24 at 14:03)jmh wrote:  I'm confused (yes, as per usual, I suppose...).
OWC Aura pages clearly state: "No Hassles or Hacks".
It is also my understanding that the trick (hack?) ... (and I don't think I am breaching any non-disclosure agreement here) in getting High Sierra onto a late-model Mac with Aura drive, is to reinstall the original Apple SSD, install High Sierra, install the upgraded Apple SSD drive into an external case and from there clone HIgh Sierra onto the Aura drive that has been installed back into Mac device. Please note: no mention of necessary firmware update as far as I recall with this "hack"
Let's just call it a workaround, or a procedure.  ;-)

If I've understood the situation correctly, the problem with the Aura drive is that it's incompatible with the firmware updater part of the High Sierra installer and thus causes the rest of the system upgrade to abort.

Is there any reason the Mac couldn't be booted from the OWC external drive enclosure (comes with the kit) containing the original Apple drive card and loaded with a previous system, then conduct the High Sierra/firmware update from there? Or won't the firmware upgrade work from an external drive? This would avoid the hassle of swapping the original drive back in and then out again. Yeah, that's not difficult, but every time you do it, there's some kind of risk involved, even if it's only dropping those tiny case screws on the floor.

I'm interested because we have a couple of MacBook Airs with the affected early model Aura SSD cards that I'll want to upgrade before too long. I have enough external drives of all kinds to do whatever drive/content shuffling may turn out to be necessary, but it would be nice to figure out beforehand if there's a simpler way of doing the job.


Barry Trudell Show this Post
2017-12-26 at 18:24 #30727   (347)
Barry Trudell
(2017-12-26 at 11:44)James Cutler wrote:  
(2017-12-22 at 09:58)Barry Trudell wrote:  On another firmware update note on an OWC product: their USB C HDMI dock requires a firmware update that can only be applied through Windows... not any MacOS!!. Had to ship mine back to OWC through an RMA process and they say they did it... no way to tell though.
Which "USB C HDMI dock" are you referencing? A search for "USB C HDMI dock" on macsales.com found two.
At: https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/usb-c/owc/usb-c-dock
Not the Mini DisplayPort, but with HDMI.

I've reallv struggled with this product. Worked well with 12" MacBook. Sold the MacBook and got a 13" 2017 MacBook Pro... my external monitor has never worked properly since in clamshell mode, as it did with the 12" MacBook. Both MacBooks work flawlessly with the Apple "HDMI Display Dongle" and monitor in clamshell.

Have sent the dock back for "repairs" three times. No success. i live in Canada... costing me a fortune!
OWC support useless.


David Humpage Show this Post
2017-12-27 at 13:28 #30743   (348)
David Humpage
(2017-12-23 at 23:28)mecutler wrote:  Did they give you your money back?
Not so far. Have begun to mutter about lawyers; we'll see how it develops. The more folk demanding refunds when they've been sold something that doesn't work as described, the better for everybody.

In the UK we have the Sale of Goods Act for this kind of thing. Anyone know the US equivalent? (There surely is one.)


2017-12-27 at 13:34 #30744   (349)
(2017-12-27 at 13:28)David Humpage wrote:  In the UK we have the Sale of Goods Act for this kind of thing. Anyone know the US equivalent?
This may be helpful ("implied warranty of merchantability"):
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implied_wa...d_States_2


2017-12-27 at 14:16 #30749   (350)
(2017-12-27 at 13:28)David Humpage wrote:  In the UK we have the Sale of Goods Act for this kind of thing. Anyone know the US equivalent?
If you buy something with a charge card - MasterCard, Visa, etc. - and the purchase is defective, you can reverse the charges (get your money back) by writing the bank that issued the card. They will then reverse the charge to the merchant until the buyer is satisfied. I think the buyer has to do this within 90 or so days. You must look up the rules.


Barry Trudell Show this Post
2017-12-27 at 14:30 #30750   (351)
Barry Trudell
(2017-12-27 at 13:28)David Humpage wrote:  
(2017-12-23 at 23:28)mecutler wrote:  Did they give you your money back?
Not so far. Have begun to mutter about lawyers; we'll see how it develops. The more folk demanding refunds when they've been sold something that doesn't work as described, the better for everybody. In the UK we have the Sale of Goods Act for this kind of thing. Anyone know the US equivalent? (There surely is one.)
In my case for the $130 HDMI dock, they finally agreed to a refund, but I will have travelled nine times across the border if I agree to it. I have told them I refuse another trip back and forth. If they want to pick it up in Canada, so be it.
The point is, and I agree with David, this is not customer service at its finest... sticking to my guns.


2017-12-27 at 17:21 #30765   (352)
jmh
Back to some sundry hassles and hacks re: Aura Drives and system updates.
  • Has anyone here ever ventured to have a venue (purported authorized Apple service provider) such as BestBuy acquire for you, or perhaps install if they are required to do the 7-minute exercise, an Apple certified SSD blade? I am considering taking a late-ish model MacBook Pro in with a small capacity SSD, or perhaps even just remove the blade and request to purchase a certifiable Apple-friendly 1TB drive. I assume it will be pricey, but sometimes money solves other "costs".

  • As Apple keeps foisting the alert "install High Sierra", it would sure be nice, considering Apple and I both know High Sierra is, virtually, incompatible with the Aura SSD on the pertinent device, to have the option to saying "No, and Don't Show Me Again" in the interim, while Apple and OWC tussle things out and decide to start playing nice.


2017-12-28 at 04:41 #30788   (353)
Accelerate Your Mac has posted a link to an OWC Knowledge Base article with instructions on updating firmware for MacBook Air 6,1 and 6,2 with Aura SSDs. Using this method I have successfully installed macOS 10.13 with APFS and current beta. (17D25b)

OWC wrote: Aura SSDs: Firmware Update
Created on: November 22, 2017


2018-01-10 at 14:44 #31617   (354)
jmh
(2017-12-28 at 04:41)James B Porter wrote:  Accelerate Your Mac has posted a link to an OWC Knowledge Base article with instructions on updating firmware for MacBook Air 6,1 and 6,2 with Aura SSDs. Using this method I have successfully installed macOS 10.13 with APFS and current beta. (17D25b)
Might we hear from others on their experiences? The process seems simple enough, but it wouldn't hurt to get some more feedback, i.e. other success stories, or notable glitches before taking the plunge.


2018-01-17 at 13:33 #31892   (355)
We've discussed high SSD prices in the past, due to high demand and insufficient supply, but there are some signs that may ease going forward:

Reuters wrote:End of a chip boom? Memory chip price drop spooks investors
Last year’s explosive growth gave chipmakers cash to reinvest and boost output, analysts said. The supply of NAND flash memory chips, in particular, will grow 43 percent this year, up from last year’s 34 percent, causing prices to drop by about 10 percent, brokerage Nomura estimates.
   Nomura expects growth in output will be largely led by the likes of Western Digital, Toshiba Corp and Micron Technology Inc. as they seek to catch up with top-ranked Samsung, which controls about 40 percent of the flash memory chip market.


2018-01-18 at 21:58 #32002   (356)
Crucial's new MX500 SSD is now available in multiple capacities up to 2 TB at competitive prices with high performance, "Power Loss Immunity" and a 5-year warranty. (It was only available in the 1TB size last month.)

It looks like the M.2 package (250GB to 1TB) is still a month away.


2018-01-18 at 22:58 #32006   (357)
OWC's interesting (and fast!) new Thunderblade V4 SSD appears to use four M.2 NVMe slots. (Maybe that's where the odd "V4" name comes from, as I haven't found any 'V1', 'V2' or 'V3' models).

  https://eshop.macsales.com/imgs/ndesc/OW..._gall4.jpg

I'm wondering how the four SSDs are combined into one drive....


wstein25 Show this Post
2018-01-31 at 20:23 #32716   (358)
wstein25
I am considering upgrading the SSD in my MacBook Air (Early 2015, ID 7,2).

OWC has a number of drives at various capacities. I decided to look on eBay and found a vendor with a good reputation selling what appears to be a Samsung SSD that is claimed compatible.

In the seller's notes, he instructs that the MacBook Air must be upgraded to High Sierra before installing the SSD, or it will not be recognized.

The question then is, does the High Sierra upgrade perform a firmware upgrade on the Air? And, if so, would I still be able to boot from an external drive running El Capitan or Sierra?

Thanks to any or all who may have some insight as to what is happening.


2018-02-01 at 02:18 #32730   (359)
(2018-01-31 at 20:23)wstein25 wrote:  ... In the seller's notes, he instructs that the MacBook Air must be upgraded to High Sierra before installing the SSD, or it will not be recognized. The question then is, does the High Sierra upgrade perform a firmware upgrade on the Air? And, if so, would I still be able to boot from an external drive running El Capitan or Sierra?
[Corrected after initial post:]
This looks like the answer (below) - both the new firmware and new macOS are needed - but you'd hopefully still be able to boot an external drive with any OS X/macOS that worked previously, though you wouldn't be able to access the NVMe SSD inside the upgraded MacBook Air unless you were running High Sierra.

eGPU.io wrote:macOS High Sierra 10.13 NVMe Support
Besides eGPU, NVMe native support in High Sierra is a highly anticipated feature. This may not seem like much at first but for Thunderbolt 2 MacBooks (late 2013 to late 2015) that use Apple propriety PCIe SSD, this is a huge breakthrough. Instead of paying more than $1/GB for used Apple PCIe flash storage for these Macs we can now get brand new and faster NVMe M.2 drives for less money.
   I found the Samsung 960 EVO NVMe M.2 drive was able to boot macOS High Sierra through the AKiTiO Node a couple months ago when I was trying to saturate the bandwidth on this eGPU enclosure. Earlier today, I installed this same NVMe drive inside a 2015 11″ MacBook Air using a 12+16pin to M.2 NGFF M-Key adapter. This adapter makes the Samsung 960 EVO physically compatible with the connector on the logic board.


wstein25 Show this Post
2018-02-01 at 04:05 #32739   (360)
wstein25
(2018-02-01 at 02:18)Ric Ford wrote:  This looks like the answer (below)...
   macOS High Sierra 10.13 NVMe Support
Thanks Ric - I followed your link, and it looks like further down in the article it does appear that there is a firmware upgrade:

I was holding my breath at first boot after installing the NVMe M.2 drive. The MacBook Air was not able to boot. I could not get to the Boot Selector screen either by holding OPTION key. After an hour testing the 12+16pin to M.2 NGFF M-Key adapter through another PCIe adapter inside my Mac Pro to verify it’s working, I determined it must be something with the firmware of the MacBook Air.

I proceeded to perform a clean installation of macOS High Sierra Beta 9 on the original drive so that the latest firmware for this MacBook Air can be applied. That did the trick. My mid-2015 11″ MBA is now running Boot ROM version MBA71.0170.B00. I did another clean installation of 10.13b9. This time on the Samsung 960 EVO NVMe. Here’s the final results.