Model A1297 Unibody: Early 2009, Mid 2009, Mid 2010 & Late 2011

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Momentus XT 2nd Gen Causes System Freezes

I replaced my HDD in my Mid-2009 (A1297) 17" MBP as soon as the 750G Momentus XT was released into the stores. I was hoping the problem with my old Momentus XT 500G had been fixed. Sadly not.

According to Seagate the problem is because the MBP SATA bus is SATA 1 (150) and the XT is SATA 2 (300) which causes a clash.

According to other postings around the web, it could also be the auto-spin-down feature on the drive. Yet another says it happened when Apple upgraded the EFI from 1.6 to 1.7

There have been several solutions posted around the net (trust me I've been looking for nearly 2 years).

The solutions include:

1. From Seagate - add a jumper to the disk which effectively makes it a SATA 1 (150) drive, others have said that doing this also disables the SSD portion of the drive, so that seems pretty pointlesss

2. Downgrade the EFI to 1.6 (sadly the 1.6 and 1.7 EFI's are specific to the 13" and 15" models (I can find no empirical evidence of anyone successfully downgrading a 17" EFI to solve the problem, or the versions needed)

3. Change the SATA cable for a later model, they claim that the Mid-2009 model came with a SATA 1 cable and the later models with SATA 2 cable, and swapping the cable solves the problems and creates a performance boost overall

4. Use a piece of software like "Crystal Disk" (Windows Only) to turn off the auto-spin-down on the hard disk drive itself.

So that's the background. So with regards to the solution, I see solution 1 as pointless. Solution 2, is potentially dangerous and getting it wrong could potentially screw the pooch on my system board

I'd like to try solution 3 most of all, it's a $30 solution but how can I tell if I have a SATA 1 or a SATA 2 cable, the people that have performed this switch-out on 13"/15" give part numbers which obv don't tally to the 17".

Solution 4 is possible if only I could find a mac equivalent to Crystal Disk (I don't have bootcamp, and VM's abstract the hardware layer.)

All help gratefully received.

UPDATE: The Jumper addition does not improve stability at all.

UPDATE 2: There is a 16 page discussion on Apple Communities here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/385...

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Hi Tony,

Which MacBook Pro do you have? I saw mention of a Mid 2009. Those were SATA II. The Early 2011 17" went to a SATA III and the Late 2008 and older Non-Unibody was SATA I

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It's a mid-2009 17" Unibody ... my major concern is that there's a lot of life left in it yet for my needs, and I'd gladly spring for an SSD on the thing, but I want to know that it's not gonna have exactly the same issues.

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Well so that's a SATA II interface which clearly deems Seagate's response incorrect.

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Hey Scott, thanks for the feed back, upon review of the disk specs I suspect there has been a factual error on my part. The 2nd Gen Momentus XT is a SATA 3, I suspect that the vendor may be referring to the SATA 3 -> SATA 2 mismatch. Either way, adding the jumper drops it back a level, and allegedly stops the crashing (according to Seagate). Any help gratefully received, beyond shackling my drive with a jumper.

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Try adding a jumper and see if you notice a performance difference.

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OK lets review things a bit here so we're not overlooking things and what has been tried:

First your MacBook Pro is a Mid '09 Unibody 17" (If you can give us the last three digits to confirm that would be useful)

You had a Seagate 500GB Momentus XT drive and had problems with it. Since then you have upgraded to a 750GB Momentus XT drive and are still having problems.

You replaced out the SATA cable and you lowered the SATA jumper from SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) to SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) on the 500 GB unit and noted no difference (system still freezes up).

You upgraded both the systems EFI firmware Apple TN on how to check & update to the most current for the system and you likewise did the same for the Momentus XT 500 GB drive Seagate TN (in any case checking both).

Update

In reviewing the Seagate Momentus XT Datasheet. We see the 500GB drive is a SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) drive and the 750GB drive is a SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) drive so the 750 will need to be slowed. The newer 500 & 750GB drives use auto-negotiation and have no jumpers.

Here's Seagate's TN on the jumper for the older 500 GB HD SATA II to SATA I jumper.

We only used the 500GB drive in the older MBP 15" Santa Rosa and first generation of the unibody models we have. Apple used the exact same I/O logic on these models with the 17" versions so I would find it hard to believe they would react differently.

As to the Apple threads you pointed to I am aware of some early issues Seagate had which is why I aimed you to the firmware updates. As long as you have the latest for both the system and the drive you should be OK. The firmware issue stung a few people as Apple was able to up the SATA I/O speed in some models from SATA I to SATA II via firmware. What people forgot was not all of the models got the benefit and in some cases the HD's auto-negotiation messed up (which is why the firmware needed upgrading).

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We don't have any of the 17" models, but I can tell you we have used quite a few Seagate Momentus XT drives in older 15" MacBook Pro's and have not encountered system freeze-ups due to the HD. We have had our fun with the NVIDIA GPU's causing freeze-ups and general stability issues besides odd screen behavior.

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Have you installed any temperature monitoring software which logs? Have you run Disk Utility on the drives as well as defragmented the drives if you do a lot of file alterations? Have you installed the newest version of your applications? Have you made sure you don't have any malware, viruses running, or have been rat'ed by someone. Review your processes using Activity Monitor. did you ever get your logic board exchanged out due to the NVIDA GPU problem. Have you clean out the dust buildup in your system as well as apply fresh thermal paste on the CPU & GPU?

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Hi Dan,

Here's your points with answers:

First your MacBook Pro is a Mid '09 Unibody 17" (If you can give us the last three digits to confirm that would be useful).

MacTracker says it's a A1297 Mid-2009 17" with 2.8GHz Processor

You had a Seagate 500GB Momentus XT drive and had problems with it. Since then you have upgraded to a 750GB Momentus XT drive and are still having problems.

* Yes, I started out with the standard drive that shipped, once the the 512G 7200RPM Momentus was available, I upgraded.

* I then upgraded to the 7200 512GB XT (hybrid)

* When the 7200 750GB XT Hyrbid 2nd Gen was released. I then upgraded to that. That is my current drive

You replaced the SATA cable

Not yet, the cable is on order from iFixIt, I will replace it when it arrives this week.

-- continued in next comment

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'you lowered the SATA jumper from SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) to SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) and noted no difference (system still freezes up).''

I Jumpered the drive according to instructions online which maybe incorrect. Today I changed jumper to the information Seagat sent me for Maxtor SATA drives to handle "buggy"(?) Nvidia SATA chipsets, which is described here: http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en...

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There is no firmware upgrade for the 2nd Gen 750GB Momentus XT.

This problem is specific to the combinations of faster drives and the Unibody Mid-2009;

I too can show a gazillion examples of this drive working in many other places, however if you follow the thread I posted above of the Apple Discussion Forums, you'll see that with the Mid-2009 Unibody MBP, there is an issue, that is by no means isolated, there is 16 pages of "me too" on that thread and at least 10 other related threads complaining of the same problem. Similar threads can be found all over the web for the Mid-2009 model.

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tonyholmes will be eternally grateful.
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