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OWC SSDs and Sleep with MacBook Pro

See my March 21 entry on Hibernate mode and Sandforce/OWC solid state drives.

Some users have written to state that they have experienced sleep mode issues with their MacBook Pro, either internally or with Firewire.

OWC did make a parameter change to their SSDs in late January: “to address some reported sleep issues on mainly 5,1 MacBook pro models (late 2008), but also some up to 5,4 2009 as well. This eliminated the issues 100%”.

My Macs and experience

I have the 2009, 2010 and 2011 17" MacBook Pros (three of them). I did not and am not experiencing any issues with OWC SSDs in them. None of my SSDs have the latest March 18 firmware update.

A 240GB OWC SSD is in my 2010 model, a 200GB in my 2011 model. I tested with a 240GB SSD in the 2011 model for my report on the 2011 Macbook Pro. I also tested with a 240GB SSD in an OWC Mercury Elite AL-Pro Mini Firewire enclosure.

Last night, I made a digital infrared photography presentation in San Francisco. The MacBook Pro (not mine) locked up using an external hard drive (not an SSD). So I am certain this is not a sleep issue with OWC SSDs. OK, I'm being cute— but the point is that something as simple as a flaky Firewire cable connection can lock the system up and yield that spinning rainbow beachball.

Components and tolerances

When a computer, drive or any component is sold by the tens of thousands or more, there are always odd things that happen to some people. That‘s true whether it’s a computer, a drive, a display, etc.

Components have tolerances, and sometimes some parts just don’t play together. If that were not true, one would never need a warranty for any computer— it would always work perfectly forever. But in the real world, things happen. One need only look at Apple’s own recalls of various Mac, Apple TV issues, frozen iPhones, etc. All sorts of things can happen.

Individual issues should not be used as an indictment of any particular product unless there is a consistent issue. And sometimes that issue is related to a narrow slice of models with specific firmware or batch (Mac or component), making it very hard to sort.

Model differences

Some computers have firmware differences; sometimes Apple silently makes changes to models. For that matter, there can be bad batches of anything, including capacitors, cables and components in computers and drives.

Readers who do have a sleep issue (which I fully accept as possible) and then leap to a conclusion are in potential logical error as to its cause, which could be caused by a complex interaction with a particular hardware configuration, a particular firmware version of the Mac itself, etc. When it rises to the level of a general defect, or I experience it firsthand, then I report on it.

One need only read my report on the 2010 MacBook Pro SATA speed to note just how strange Apple’s implementations can be. For that matter, I’ve had highly credible reader reports of electrical-short problems with the ExpressCard/34 slot with some MacBook Pros that causes a kernel panic. Neither of those issues are SSD related, but they do show the less than fully robust design with some models.


Buy from a company that will work with you to resolve resolve issues.

But expecting a miracle cure with one phone call (which some readers apparently do), is unrealistic for any product. In every case I’ve dealt with, I’ve seen OWC follow up and go above and beyond what you’re going to get with the vast majority of vendors out there. One always wants an instant answer, a contact that knows everything about every possible issue. If you want perfection, read resumes.

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