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Community Manager
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Intel 330 SSD 180GB - can't change MacBook Pro from 1.5 to 3.0 negotiated link speed

Hey everyone,

I have a mid-2009 13" MacBook Pro. I recently replaced the factory 160GB HDD with the Intel 330 SSD (180GB). For the life of me, I can't figure out how to get the negotiated link speed from 1.5 Gigabit to 3.0 Gigabit, even though this version of the MacBook Pro is new enough to support 3.0.

I've been doing some research and it seems as if this is a recurring problem with the Intel 330 SSD and the MacBook Pro. Has anyone found a solution to this problem?

Thanks!

Jay

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Community Manager
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Isn't the problem the Nvidia MCP79 SATA chipset, that does not know what a SATA III SSD is, and changes to SATA I speed to be "safe"? That is a very common issue with MacBooks with the Nvidia chipset, you'll find other threads on this topic in this forum. Why Apple used them in their products is shocking IMO.

This is not a 330 issue, it is a Nvidia chipset issue, which is no longer supported by Nvidia, they are out of that business. What does Apple say about this? Not a fair question, since we already know...

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I believe you're right. The problem is, many of the other SSD manufacturers have updated their firmware to fix this problem, but it seems that neither Apple nor Intel has done anything about this particular drive so far. I was wondering if there was any other workaround I didn't know about?

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I just purchased a 335 240 GB SSD. I had thought that the newest generation wouldn't have this problem, as most other SSD manufacturers using SandForce have updated their firmware.

I am experiencing the same issue. I have a late 2008 MacBook (Aluminum Unibody), that does have Link Speed 3.0, thought with the 335 I am getting a negotiated link speed of 1.5. I tried a firmware update, thoguh the utility could not find the Intel SSD. Probably not an issue a the box indicates I already have 335s firmware (which is current).

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I must disagree about the "most other" manufactures updating their firmware to fix this issue, that is not the case. The only manufacture that is currently doing this is SanDisk, and it is the standard work around for this issue with the Nvidia SATA controller and driver. The firmware update sets the SATA protocol information from SATA III to SATA II, which the outdated Nvidia controller and driver recognizes, and does not shift into SATA I mode. But then the SSD has been turned into a SATA II drive on ANY PC it is used with. Yet another firmware update is needed to set it back to SATA III.

The issue is the obsolete, unsupported Nvidia SATA chipset and driver, not the SSDs. If Nvidia or Apple would fix the driver software, then these PCs would work with any SATA III SSD. They won't do that, period. But people expect the SSD manufactures to somehow support a product the chipset and PC manufacture refuse to support, will never be used in a PC again, and haven't been used for several years. Given these circumstances, and others I have not mentioned, if anyone has the right to say, "not my problem", it is the SSD manufactures.

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I have the exact same problem with my late 2008 Unibody MacBook with NVidia MCP79 AHCI and Intel 330 240GB SSD. Is there anything we can do to get Intel to fix the 1.5 negotiated link speed?

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OCZ also has patched their firmware. I have to disagree about responsibility. The nvidia chipset was released before sata III. so a company making a new product should not concern themselves with compatibility issues with their product, if they believe it is not their issue? The company no longer selling the original product should?

I did not see in the product literature that some Nvidia chipsets may not be able negotiate with the drive at the PCs peak capabilities.

Maybe it is an Nvidia issue, but I have not found any information on other SATA III drives (non-SandForce) having this problem. It is isolated to SandForce, and others have workarounds. OCZ doesn't reduce performance for SATA III connections with their fix.

i just don't understand why Intel wouldn't want satisfied customers. i suspect there are a lot of people with older system looking to upgrade to SSDs.

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I found a solution.

I have a June 2009 MBP, and an Intel 330 240 GB. Exact same issue, link speed showing up as 3 Gbps, but negotiated link speed only at 1.5 Gbps.

Here's how I fixed it:

1. Reset SMC -> No change

2. Reset PRAM -> No change

3. Downgraded EFI to version 1.6 -> No change

To downgrade, follow this ->

http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=13915069&postcount=708 http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost...&postcount=708

4. Ran Software Upgrade to upgrade EFI to 1.7 -> Worked! 3 Gbps!

My Read/Write speeds have doubled. From 100/120 to 180/220

I'm a happy camper now. I think the forced downgrade/upgrade was what did it, though the prior PRAM and SMC resets may have had something to do with it.

I'm running Mountain Lion, in case that has anything to do with this. Hope this works for you too.

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First of all, thanks for the help! I really appreciate it.

However, I just went through all your steps in order and it's still listed as 3.0 with a 1.5 negotiated link speed. (I even verified as I went through the steps to make sure the EFI had been downgraded and then subsequently upgraded.)

I'm wondering if I missed some small thing along the way? For example, when you say you ran "Software Upgrade," do you mean you just went on Apple's site and downloaded the EFI 1.7 after downgrading to 1.6, or was the old version automatically detected so that Software Update just downloaded and installed the new one without you having to go to the Apple web site manually? (I had to get it manually. Software Update didn't detect that I'd downgraded to the old EFI version.)

Thanks again!

Jay

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I get the feeling that your downgrade didn't happen. When I did it, I used Software Update and it instantly pulled in the 1.7 EFI. I didn't have to manually update.

The first time I tried downgrading, I didn't have the power plugged in, and it seemed to downgrade, but didn't actually do anything. Maybe that's what you did?

Might be worth downgrading again and verifying that your Boot ROM Version ends in B00. B03 is the 1.7 EFI.

Boot ROM version is at System Information -> Hardware

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Thanks again for the help! To be completely sure, I just went through the whole process again -- in order: resetting SMC --> resetting NVRAM --> downgrading to EFI 1.6 --> upgrading to EFI 1.7. Same result. I even double-checked System Info again just to be 100% sure that the downgrade had gone through (see two screenshots below).

The only difference from my last attempt is that, this time, the Software Update feature (in the App Store) discovered that I needed an upgrade to EFI 1.7. But then, even once I'd clicked on the Update button, it downloaded it and said it was installed (see screenshot below) but nothing else happened. So I switched to another tab in the App Store and switched back to the Updates tab, where it told me to update again. This happened once or twice, with me pushing Update, then it saying it had been installed.

Finally I just went to my computer's Applications --> Utilities folder, loaded the EFI 1.7 installer, and followed the instructions (letting the computer shut down, then turning it back on, waiting for the gray progress bar under the Apple icon as it updates, etc. The whole works.

Still nothing. I'm back on 1.7 but with a negotiated link speed of 1.5 (see screenshots below).

Is anything about this process different from what you did? The only part that seemed off to me was the way the Software Update worked; I wasn't sure if the installer should have just come up automatically or if I was actually supposed to go to the Applications --> Utilities folder and manually launch it (which is what I did).

Thanks again for all the help! Really appreciate it.

Jay

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I did exactly this, with one last step.

Shut down the laptop. Wait 30 seconds. Turn it on.

I did that based on what I'd read on some forum.. apparently just doing a warm reboot doesn't kick the SSD into 3 Gbps mode. The guy who tried it said he had to do the whole shut down-wait-restart three times before it kicked in for him; for me, it worked on the first try.

If that doesn't work.. well, I'm out of ideas

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Also, is your Intel firmware version 300i (for the SSD)? If not, you may need to upgrade the firmware first.

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Here's an update: I restarted, and my link speed dropped back to 1.5 Gpbs. And now it's stuck there .. I'm trying various combinations of SMC, PRAM, etc.. will let you know if I sucessfully get it back up to 3 gbps

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Well.. I give up It's stuck at 1.5. I downgraded, upgraded, did it with my left hand, right hand, stood on my head, typed with my feet.. I tried everything. Who knows why it went to 3 to start with.

Even at 1.5 it's much faster than my HDD, so I guess I'll shut up and wait till I buy a new machine next year. Or I'll return the Intel SSD and get an OCZ/Samsung

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Yikes! Man, this is ridiculous. Intel and/or Apple should really be doing something about this.

Will retry again soon! Thanks again, and good luck to you as well!

Jay

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OCZ created a firmware "kludge" for the Vertex 3 series, that is all. You are wrong about those OCZ SSDs not being locked into SATA II mode, when they apply that workaround. The SanDisk SSD workaround for the Nvidia controller is exactly the same.

The new OCZ Vertex 4 does not use a SandForce controller, but reacts the same way when connected to the Nvidia SATA chipset, it runs at SATA I speeds. Posts about that in the Vertex 4 forum.

The problem is the Nvidia SATA controller and driver, not a new discovery or revelation.

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Any news regarding this? Should I return my Intel 330 SSD saying that it doesn't work properly?

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im a mac & intel user for a long time, having the same problem,

i just bought the intel drive because the "great co-op" between intel and apple products.

having the same problem and can't find any solution.

i came to an understanding that i wont find one either...

one thing i know for sure...

as a software engineer, i will not recommend intel products anymore if this annoying issue will not solve, starting today...

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After several months of searching for a solution for this, I found a post where a guy wrapped the SATA cable with aluminium foil, and that solved the problem. I tried this and now i always get 3.0 negotiated link speed! This solution is worth a try, it solved the problem for me.

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