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If you have a Macbook Pro and you decided to upgrade to Crucial memory and solid-state drive (like mine), then I believe you should read my experience through-out this journey to avoid being upset !

Macbook Pro:
Model Identifier: MacbookPro5,5
Processor: 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Due
Memory: 4 GB 1066 MHz DDR3
Storage: 250GB Hitachi 5400 rpm HDD
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB
Boot ROM Version: MBP55.00AC.B03 (EFI 1.7)
Software: Mac OS X Lion 10.7 (11A511)

Crucial Parts:
Memory: 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3
Storage: 256GB M4 SSD

Hardware Upgrade:

If you like to have a bootable version of OS X Lion follow this tutorial.

OS X Symptoms:

  • System freeze after wake-up from sleep state (open/close LED) or else with Beach Ball rotating forever.
  • Start-up flashing Question Mark with Folder, or Circle/Slash.
  • Apple Logo with Spinning Gear rotating forever.
  • Apple Logo with progress bar followed by sudden power-down.
  • Kernel Panic with the message “You need to restart your computer.”.
  • Fresh installation failed due to write errors (SystemCache or Recovery HD creation error)

Research Synopsis:

  • Enabled TRIM support is NOT the issue, however, if you did enable TRIM support using this tool, then you should know that it’s just a software command, a new OS X installation will get that back to default state anyway.
  • Zero Out erase will NOT do any harm to your SSD, it’s not necessary due to the new write technology, instead you might need to perform an ATA Secure Erase, it’s an internal procedure literally write nothing to the entire drive, best way to do so is using Parted Magic Boot CD by following this tutorial.
  • Crucial DDR3 ?memory kit are NOT the issue, they are working just fine with original HDD.
  • Resetting PRAM and SMC are not going to help in our case.

Solution:

  1. Downgrade Macbook Pro EFI to version 1.6 (only if you have version 1.7 installed via Software Update).
  2. Upgrade Crucial M4 SSD firmware to version 0002.

Step-by-Step:

  1. Make sure that you have a higher EFI firmware version 1.7, you can find out from System Information, where “Boot ROM Version: MBP55.00AC.B03″.
  2. Download this DMG.
  3. Open DiskUtility and drag the above image to the left.
  4. Plug-in any USB flash drive (no need for large capacity).
  5. Click the USB from the left and erase with “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”??.
  6. Click the image and choose restore.
  7. In the destination drag the USB drive.
  8. Click restore.
  9. Reboot while holding the option key to select the USB drive from boot menu.
  10. Apple logo will come up and a dark gray bar will start to move right under it.
  11. Sit relax and wait for the process to be done.?
  12. Macbook Pro will reboot automatically.
  13. Open System Information and make sure that Boot ROM Version is MBP55.00AC.B00?.
  14. Now perform Crucial firmware update following their official guide.

Tips on Note:

  • If you’re going to use iStat Pro widget, disable the polling of S.M.A.R.T status, it may cause SSD freeze according to other users experiences.?
  • If your Keyboard Backlight went dead after replacing new hardware, you might accidentally slipped the ZIF Ribbon Connector next to memory banks, shutdown your Macbook Pro and use a plastic tiny tool to manually fix that ribbon, do it carefully, it’s a bit hard to put back in place.

Conclusion:

  • EFI 1.7 is a disaster for Macbook Pro with third-party SSD !
  • EFI 1.6 limits data transfers to 1.5 GB/s.
  • An OptiBay can increase data transfer to 3 Gb/s with EFI 1.7.
  • Apple is pushing hard to prevent third-party hardware upgrades, in other words, they probably won’t release any future EFI firmware updates to resolve any of these issues !
    If the impossible happened and Apple did release EFI 1.8 for MacbookPro5,5 I will make that update and perform all necessary testing to post back here, meanwhile I think it’s better to live with 1.5 GB/s (EFI 1.6).
  • Crucial seems to care more about us, hopefully the next M4 SSD firmware update resolves my issues without the need to downgrade Apple’s EFI firmware !



Social Comments

9 Advanced Comments

jim
December 5th, 2012

What speed do you get on your drive? Thanks for the tutorial!



December 6th, 2012

@jim

Read Speed: 135.6 MB/s
Write Speed: 107.0 MB/s

Test results using “Disk Speed Test v2.2″, which are much less than my crucial potential yes (crucial should be able to reach 400 MB/s read speeds), but that’s the best I get so far with EFI 1.6, and to be honest, I feel extremely comfortable with the above results so far ..
You’re most welcome anyway ..

Mark
February 16th, 2013

Have you tried using the latest firmware, 04MH, with EFI 1.7 ?And, how does using the OptiBay enable 3Gb/s speeds ? Is that with EFI 1.7 ?Thanks!

Mark
February 16th, 2013

I meant 040H…I also realised you said you were on 0002 firmware for the drive.Is that still correct. A lot of Mac users are recommending 0309



February 17th, 2013

@Mark

Right now I do have Crucial firmware 040H and still on EFI 1.6, read/write speeds still the same, I did not try EFI 1.7 after upgrading the firmware, the whole process is very exhausting to repeat again just to test that, on the other hand, Crucial did not mention resolving this particular issue at any of the firmware updates.May be I would sometime, will let you know for sure.
For the OptiBay, the device itself does not increase the data transfer speeds, what I meant that it should resolve this issue and work at 3Gb/s speeds on EFI 1.7, may be because it won’t be the master drive anyway, which means the Mac OS will find its original drive in place during boot/installation process (didn’t try it myself).



February 17th, 2013

@Mark

Good news, I took the risk by upgrading to EFI 1.7 on the latest Crucial firmware 040H, Mac OS X Lion booted normally and I have much better disk speeds now !
Read Speed: 266.9 MB/s
Write Speed: 203.4 MB/s
Thanks for the heads-up.

Mark
February 18th, 2013

Thanks for the info.I’ll give it a go!



February 19th, 2013

@Mark

Terribly bad news !
After 48 hours of usage on EFI 1.7 and Crucial firmware 040H, Mac OS X Lion just hanged then stuck at boot, then I couldn’t even install it again (same exact issue which led me write this article).
I did downgrade to EFI 1.6 again, my recommendation just do it if you have Macbook Pro 13-inch mid-2009 just like mine.

Mark
February 20th, 2013

Ok. Thanks for the update. I have a mid-2009 15″, so i think i’ll downgrade like you!