Debriefing my update to Momentus XT firmware SD28, the process was a success. There were, however, some woes along the way of updating the firmware. Read more to see the whole journey.
For starters, I use the 500 GB Seagate Momentus XT in my MacBook 13-inch Late 2009 machine. This is a bit of an oddball in Macs, as it is one of only about two or three machines that purely uses the NVIDIA MCP79 chipset to power the entire system. The only Intel chip in this machine, is the Core 2 Duo CPU.
As such, the update process may differ starkly from other Mac models. For the previous SD24 and SD25 firmware updates, it was much more of a breeze than other Mac users, my Mac happily booted from the CD-R image, and ran the update.
One major configuration change that I made however was switching to a dual-drive configuration, with a SSD drive in the other drive bay, instead of my optical drive. Combined with FileVault 2’s EFI bootloader, my Mac decided it was not going to boot from the optical drive. At all. I couldn’t even boot a Windows install disc. Obviously, I’m going to be looking into that a bit more later.
But, realizing that firmware SD28 fixes a critical data corruption issue, I had to move to Plan B. Which, was to take my MacBook apart, and pull the hard drive out. I took it into a PC about seven feet away, and booted the install disc that I had just burned.
The entire install process took all of about two minutes. The firmware update downloaded to the drive without any issues, and I pulled the drive out of the PC, and put it back into the MacBook.
Then came the moment of truth: Would the MacBook boot from the drive with the updated firmware. If you read my most recent article on Momentus XT, you would know that with Momentus XT updates in the past this was no certain thing.
Thankfully, it booted fine. I am writing this post right from the drive, and haven’t had any issues with it since. It has passed a SMART self-test and I’m about to run a long drive self-test as well.
My biggest concern in the wake of the process is that Seagate continues to not have a Mac hard drive firmware update solution for their internal drives. Apple has the code to facilitate this; they have offered it on many Seagate and other HDD manufacturer-built drives when they shipped from the factory with this code. I implore Seagate and Apple to share the update binary for Mac so that Mac users can update any hard drive from inside Mac OS X. It does no goodwill to Apple to keep that code to themselves.
The lack of a Mac updater aside, the update hopefully, hopefully puts an end to Momentus XT’s woes, because the underlying technology is solid. It’s the best balance between the ideals of extremely-fast storage, and extreme capacity. I’m seriously afraid that the 1 TB version of the drive has been held up due to the marketing blunders that these firmware issues have caused. The only thing I can suggest to Seagate on that front is to give it a new marketing name, apart from Momentus XT…
… and to send me a review copy. I’d be happy to tear it apart and let people know it’s as solid as a standard hard drive.