m500 issues on Macbook Pro early 2011 - Delayed boot after prohibited sign?

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Kilobyte Kid

m500 issues on Macbook Pro early 2011 - Delayed boot after prohibited sign?

So...recently ordered an m500 from Amazon and have been attempting an install and troubleshooting for the past 2 weeks based on everything I could find on web.  

 

Hardware: Macbook Pro Early 2011 2.3ghz i5, attempting to install 480gb m500 replacing internal HDD.  

 

Problem:

When connected via internal serial cable, m500 provided inconsistent boot.  Sometimes boots fine (~20% of the time) in 10-15 seconds, but most of the time boot begins with Mac "prohibited" sign (circle w/line), brief flashes of Apple logo, back to prohibited, repeat for ~30 seconds, then Apple logo with normal boot (~70% of the time), or sometimes kernel panic, no-start or other issue (~10%).  This boot was from a clean install of Mavericks OS X (but also tried a clone using Carbon Copy Cloner).  Details below relate to "purest" software instance, the clean install of Mavericks.  

 

Even on successful boot on SSD, I get "beach balls" occasionally for ~20 seconds in duration (once every 30 minutes or so).  

 

m500 boots fine 100% of the time connected via USB and internal enclosure, no beach balls.  This suggested a cable issue so I ordered a replacement SATA cable, installed it, same issues remain.     I even got a replacement SSD sent from Amazon, and the problems persist on both drives.  

 

Run-down of efforts:

-Boot externally in usb/external enclosure.  Boots fine 100% of the time

-Replaced SATA cable - old HDD boots fine with old and new, new SSD boots with issues above on both old and new 

-Firmware is up to date

-Selected drive in "Startup Disk" option in OS X

-Properly formatted drive (few times)

-Tried cloning using Carbon Copy Cloner once (no success), before re-formatting 

-Tried connected to power and not (no difference)

-Got a replacement m500 drive from Amazon - no difference

-Restarted many many times

-Secured cable connection many times (disconnected battery each time to be safe)

 

Other considerations

-Before install, replaced factory 4gb ram with 16gb crucial ram (worked flawlessly with HDD)

 

I'm about to give up and try another brand altogether, but have heard such positive things about the m500....please help!!!

10 Replies
JEDEC Jedi

Re: m500 issues on Macbook Pro early 2011 - Delayed boot after prohibited sign?

I guess that for the past two weeks you have propbably tried everything that user could try anyway. I am not Mac user but I would check for EFI/SMC updates for your Mac (you didn't mention that step in your description) - http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1237

Also I thnk that some users were refering to EFI/SMC reset? I am not sure about that but there was some kind of reset and I think it was related to EFI/SMC.

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Kilobyte Kid

Re: m500 issues on Macbook Pro early 2011 - Delayed boot after prohibited sign?

thanks bogdan...I was going crazy trying literally everything.  There were actually a bunch of things I tried outside of the original laundry including checking firmware (on mac and drive), resetting pram and smc, all the standard mac tricks.  

 

I got desperate so started playing amateur transplant surgeon by forraging for parts from a loaner mac I happened to get at work while my main mac was getting some software installed. After I transplanted my work mac sata cable in my home mac, the drive seems to be working now.  After 10 consecutive resets no prohibitory sign, and super fast <10 second boots on clean install of mavericks.  

 

Interesting that the drive is so picky with the cables - all of the three I tried (original home, new replacement, work transplant) worked just fine with the hdd, but only the lucky one worked with the ssd.   Frustrating but glad the saga has ended.  

JEDEC Jedi

Re: m500 issues on Macbook Pro early 2011 - Delayed boot after prohibited sign?

Good to read that you have sorted it out. And thanks for an update, your post may be helpful for someone else with similar issue Smiley Happy

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Dual Channel Surfer

Re: m500 issues on Macbook Pro early 2011 - Delayed boot after prohibited sign?

There seem to be quite a lot of these problems with Macbook Pro and SSD's that are SATA cable related.

The original design was for SATA-II spinning disks, so when installing faster storage, interference/shielding issues are not unknown.

 

But the cable can be good enough for the slower HDD and perhaps it works well enough with some models of SSD, but if the SSD works with USB but not when installed in the Mac, then that tends to point to cable or cable termination related issues.

 

Good to see you got it working and as bogdan mentioned, thanks for the feedback that might help others.

 

Kilobyte Kid

Re: m500 issues on Macbook Pro early 2011 - Delayed boot after prohibited sign?

Thanks again bogdan, alex...just serves as a great reminder than there is almost always more than meets the eye, and systematic diagnosis process is always worth it. I originally thought it was a Crucial problem, but turns out to be an Apple problem via non-high profile part manufacturer...but to be REALLY fair, not necessarily a problem given it worked with stock HDD without issue 100% of the time. Begs a much more fundamental question - should a brand like Apple assume/preempt upgrades or assume the stock load is more than enough?? Bottom line - if SATA cable is suspected for MBP owners with SSD problems, not a bad idea to order a few extra cables and send back whatever doesn't work (return policy allowing). Or perhaps try thin insulation between cable and metal shell (read from another post). Trust me - when you finally get it working the few extra return shipping bucks more than pay for the CRAZY fast boot/load times! . .....or just 'borrow' from work Smiley Happy
Kilobyte Kid

Re: m500 issues on Macbook Pro early 2011 - Delayed boot after prohibited sign?

I came across this post looking for the same issue. I just bought a M500 crucial 250 GB SDD for y mackbook pro early 2011 and no way I can have it working. It hangs all the time trying to install mac from fresh install. The first time it almost got done. Afterwards, it doesn't even get to the installation window after downloading the files from internet. I have tried like 7 times.

Can you share some lights about the exact cable you used? Was it from another early 2011 mackbook pro?

I was thinking to try it in another macbook pro 15 early 2012 where the same SDD is installed and disregard sdd malfunction.

 

Thank you for any help you can give.

Kilobyte Kid

Re: m500 issues on Macbook Pro early 2011 - Delayed boot after prohibited sign?

I'm having a similar issue with a MacBook Pro 13" Early 2011: I run for 5 months OS X 10.9 (no TRIM enabled) on Crucial SSD M500 240GB firmware MU05 and I had no issue, until SSD crashed and I could not boot Mavericks anymore.

In external USB enclosure, I was able to recover data and switched back to standard HDD. 

 Then I had 2 attempts to run clean Yosemite or clean Mavericks back on SSD drive and each time I was keep seeing the colored spinning wheel when computer was doing literally nothing, weird HFS errors after clean install, frequent computer hanging. With Yosemite I've got randomly the forbidden sign at boot. Everything is ok when running with standard 5400 RPM HDD.

 Using a trial version of DriveDX I've found some UDMA CRC errors  (SSD installed) which makes me think the SATA cable is the problem and I'm looking to replace the cable. Using the HDD does not give the same UDMA CRC errors.

Can someone advise on the right "lucky" Apple SATA cable part number for MacBook Pro 13" Early 2011 ? Is it 821-1226-A ? The manufacturer (i.e. FoxConn) or manufacture date matters ?

 

PS:  I think Apple should replace for free these cables. It's not acceptable to have cheap failing components for the amount of cash payed for MacBook Pro's. Just my 2 cents.

 

Update: Macbook PRO has latest updates SMC/EFI, tried already all the SMC/PRAM Reset and other tricks.

Dual Channel Surfer

Re: m500 issues on Macbook Pro early 2011 - Delayed boot after prohibited sign?

If you want to make sure you are getting the right SATA cable, you are probably better off searching or asking on the IfixIt site than here. It appears that the 13 inch and 15 inch Macbook Pro cables are different.

 

If you do a google search on that part number 821-1226-A and site:ifixit.com you might find more info.

 

In some ways I agree with you about the quality of SATA cable from Apple, but of course Apple don't guarantee the cables work for every drive, just the drives that they supply. I'm told that even though there was an SSD option on many of the Unibody Macbook Pro, most of the SSDs supplied by Apple were SATA-II even if the Sandy Bridge chipset was able to support SATA-III.

 

In any case, SATA cable problems seem to be far too common. I've been lucky, but my late 2011 model 13 inch Macbook Pro was manufactured on 2012-02-06 according to the coconutBattery app, so perhaps the cables were improved in later production runs.

 

 

Kilobyte Kid

Re: m500 issues on Macbook Pro early 2011 - Delayed boot after prohibited sign?

Thanks! My MacBook Pro was October 2011 manufactured. Also, I already have iFixIt part number 821-1226-A for this model. However, I noticed that these parts are marked different: Apple  2009, FoxConn, etc. and I was trying to find if there is a particular model of cable to avoid when buying replacement.

 On the other side, if Sandy Bridge is not able to match SATA3 performance, the Crucial M500 drive is backward compatible with SATA2, as I read in the specifications. 

 Since I was able to have it working fine for a few months and then it suddenly stopped working, I'm hoping that SATA cable is the problem and replacement would fix the issue. I really do not want to return to HDD or buy another SSD for tests.