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

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SSD in optical bay recognition problem

Hey there,

I put a SanDisk SDSSDHP256G in the optical bay SATA hard drive enclosue in my late 2011 MBP.

(1) On start up there is a error massage that the drive couldn't be initialized. So in the disk utility I format the SSD to journaled (extended) and when I restart, the same problem occurs and the SSD is unformatted again.

(2) When I use the Partition Tab and apply one partition, after a restart the SSD isn't being recognized and even won't show up in the Disk Utility!

With a SMC + a PRAM/NVNRAM reset the SSD will be in state (1) again.

Any help or suggestions?

I run Mountain Lion with the latest updates.

P.S. I put the same SSD model into an early 2008 MacBook and that just works fine.

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Okay, so I took the optical bay with the drive out of the MBP started up the computer, connected the SSD via USB. Everything was fine. Could format, restart, the SSD of course would stay formated, then I installed OS X Mavericks onto the external SSD and even could start from the SSD plugged in via USB.

Guess what happened when I put the SSD into the laptop again? Yeah, you're right: The SSD wouldn't show up in the Disk Utility.

I have the idea that maybe the SATA cable from the laptop went a little to easy into the SATA connection from the optical bay hard drive enclosure.

Should I report it to iFixit and just get a new one? Or what's the deal?


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This series of system has a PATA optical drive so the I/O through it will be slow. You have the best configuration for this system now.

As to why it wouldn't boot up the other way around was due to the SSD being too fast for the firmware boot logic when you had it in the optical bay carrier.

The SATA link speed being reported is what the I/O is to the converter logic within the carrier not the link as a whole. In fact it's lying to you as the links limit is the PATA ports limit (slowest part of the total link).

It is what it is here, sorry. But look at the bright side of things you have quick loading OS & Apps! From the SSD.

As for TRIM that doesn't effect speed only how the OS recovers space on the SSD (a good thing!)

I would cleanup the HD in any case as a drive that full tends to frag up more. Do you have a defrag app like Drive Genius? if not I would get one. I like Drive Genius as it offers more than just defrag it's my swiss army knife when it comes to HD & SDD storage maintenance.

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Okay Dan, thank's a lot for your help!


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Put the new drive into the 2008 machine and do your formatting and partitioning. Let us know if your problem persists.

From SanDisk:

Formatting on a Mac computer

How do I format my device using a Mac computer?

WARNING: Formatting will erase all data on the device. Back up all your data before proceeding.

NOTE: When using a memory card, it is recommended to reformat the card in the camera instead of formatting it through your computer.

To format a device on your Mac OS X:

1. Double-click on Macintosh HD - or in the Finder menu click File > New Finder Window

2. Click the Applications folder - if using a Finder Window Applications will be in the left side menu.

3. Click the Utilities folder.

4. Double-click Disk Utility.

5. On the left side of the window are the drives connected to the computer. Select the capacity of the drive respective to the one containing the device you wish to format then click the Erase tab.

Example: If the drive is called "NO NAME", directly above that, you should see the drive capacity of "XXXX". Select this capacity.

6. Verify Volume Format is set to MS-DOS file system or exFAT, then click Erase.

NOTE: exFAT can be used on flash drives to transfer files larger than 4GB. exFAT is used on SDXC card (64GB and higher).

NOTE: MAC OS 10.6.2 or higher is required for exFAT file system. Some older operating systems must have a patch installed before they can use the exFAT file system.

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Thank's for the quick response. Will try that tonight...


Posted my result as a comment on the original question. In short: Yes, problem still persists...


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You must know if your optical bay kit Supports: SATA 6G Interface because that's the transfer speed of that drive. If your kit doesn't you'll get read/write/formatting errors... sounds like yours doesn't so either you must find one that will, or use a drive with a SATA speed it can handle.

If this Answer is helpful please remember to return and mark it Accepted.

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Well I bought the one from the ifixt store that should have been compatible. Unibody Laptop Dual Drive


Aha ... that nasty word 'Compatible' Well it is from the system side of the connection your device interface on the optical bay tray is only SATA II (3.0 Gb/s). Your device (SSD) is the root issue here and yes it is not compatible with the optical bay tray (systems SATA I/O limit). Review this Everymac systems specs


I'm not too sure if the we're talking about the same thing here. Did you read my latest comment on my original question?

So the optical bay tray does work fine when I connect it via SATA/USB cable to my MBP. Installed Mavericks, could start up. Great. But internally there's nothing happening.

I have to admit that the iFixit shop doesn't specify whether the enclosure is for 3.0 GB/S oder 6.0 GB/s. But the related products are drives with 6.0 GB/s.

Thanks a lot!


No, the optical bay tray is not the issue here. In its self it doesn't have a limit as it just passes the SATA data through (passive). The SATA I/O limit is your system (review the link above HD section, which uses the same SATA controller for the optical drive).


Yup, this is a known issue. You see the I/O speed of the SATA interface is the issue: your SSD is SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) where your systems I/O is SATA II (3.0 Gb/s). Your SSD is like a Ferrari rase car trying to run on a dirt road when you really need is a Jeep. While some SSD's can auto sense the speed difference some just don't (or you need to set it). Get a SATA II SSD and try it out.


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I just installed a SATA III SSD (Samsung EVO 850 1 TB) into my MBP late 2011 17” optical drive bay with the Highfine data doubler ($8.99 on Amazon). It works like a clock so far - it’s been a week of booting from the optical drive at SATA III speeds. All discussions say this is impossible. It’s not! I’m getting 450 MB/s write and 500 MB/s read. The word on the street (which is apparently not correct in my case or the Highfine case) is that the optical drive bay can only handle SATA II (3 Gb/s = 375 GB/s). Obviously with my read/write speeds above, I'm connected at SATA III speeds.

Here's the link to the Amazon Caddy:

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I believe you!

The rub here is Apple had both a Core2Duo (SATA II) and as well as an i7 (SATA III) CPU in this design series. If you look I even raised that in my 2nd response on 10/25/2013. The still older 17" model has a PATA optical drive to add still more confusion!

So unless you get clarity on which system being discussed its thick as mud ;-}


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smutjehannes will be eternally grateful.
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