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Intel 510 SATA III 6 Gbps SSD Fails to Format in 2011 Apple MacBook Pro

I ordered the Intel 510 250GB 6Gbps SSD for about $650 from Amazon. See Monday’s notes.

The Intel 510 is a SATA III 6Gbps SSD, which in theory should provide womping-fast performance on the 2011 MacBook Pro, which has a SATA III port in the standard bay.

The only problem is the Intel 510 will not even initialize (erase) on the 2011 MacBook Pro— complete failure to work at all. After failing and then rebooting, the Intel 510 SSD was no longer even recognized as being connected.

There is a suggestion that replacing the Apple cable with this cable from MacFixIt might resolve the issue, but I have not tested that yet. Seems a little weird to me, since I have been swapping three different SATA II SSSs, and all working fine. But perhaps Apple has put in a cable fine for SATA II, but a problem for SATA III.

One reader reports that after doing an SMC reset and partitioning that the drive works OK, but this solution doesn’t fix anything for me— the Intel 510 still hangs the machine and/or generates I/O errors. If I format the Intel 510 in a Mac Pro, then install in the MacBook Pro, it generates I/O errors (-36).

With the Intel 5120 on the 2010 Mac Pro, which has a SATA II port, performance is a fraction of rated speed, even with all-zero data: 152MB/sec writes and 215MB/sec reads, about 40% of what Intel says the drive should do on SATA III (the SATA II connection would limit it to about 270MB/sec real speed).

The lesson here: the bleeding edge isn’t alway a good plan.

I’ll count on OWC to deliver a Mac-compatible 6Gbps SSD that works. I already use six of their excellent Mercury Extreme Pro SSDs in my various Macs.

Intel SSD 510 Solid State Drive cutaway

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