Trying to upgrade SSD on an old MBP... and failing
I usually take good care of my electronic stuff and they last me a bit. So it is no surprise I am writing this post on my 7 years old Mid 2015 MacBook Pro. This is a Core i7 with 16Gb memory and (unfortunately) 256 Gb SSD. I can go to certain lengths for Apple h/w for their quality but pay 3-5x markup for storage capacity was where I drew the line.
Incidentally this MBP model had a battery recall. I've been getting battery recall notices since 2019 or thereabouts. Apple store said 3 weeks downtime when they announced it. I didn't really care for that much downtime and my battery was working fine, so I kept delaying it until recently when I noticed the touchpad woudn't depress which meant the battery had probably swollen up. Dug up the last email from Apple (August 2022) and double checked if I could still request battery replacement, yes, great; Found a Western Computer nearby, dropped off the laptop, less than a week later, I had it back with new battery (keyboard and chassis were replaced too, because it is to dangerous to rip out a swollen, glued up, LiPo battery apparently). Lost my Github and a few other stickers on the palmrest, but I am not complaining. With a new battery this laptop was good for another 5 years technically. Onwards and upwards.
The SSD Upgrade attempt
So with the laptop good as new, all I needed was to be able to use the laptop like one. Unfortunately thanks to Apple's insistence on hiding everything and not allowing changes to default install folders, I had all but run out of space. 1Tb M.2 SSDs were cheap. After a bit of research I landed on this page on MacRumors Brilliant forum post with loads and loads of details. Looked like a rock solid option, so I bought a Crucial 1TB P2 NVME SSD It looked like a good compromise of speed and energy consumption. I also bought a so-called Sintech adapter. Followed this video tutorial to install OS and restore from Backup. All worked flawlessly. I was a happy puppy, but not for long. About 2 weeks in, I started noticing Kernel panics everytime I shut the lid of the laptop and left it for a period of time (like overnight). Most of the time it was the following error
panic(cpu 0 caller 0xffffff801b3866a2): nvme: "3rd party NVMe controller. Command timeout. Write. fBuiltIn=1 MODEL=CT1000P2SSD8 FW=P2CR048 CSTS=0x1 US=0x0 US=0x1 VID=0xc0a9 DID=0x540a CRITICAL_WARNING=0x0.\n" @IONVMeController.cpp:6090 Panicked task 0xffffff8b6573f670: 167 threads: pid 0: kernel_task Backtrace (CPU 0), panicked thread: 0xffffff99caa1e000, Frame : Return Address 0xffffffffa974ba20 : 0xffffff8018a7de9d 0xffffffffa974ba70 : 0xffffff8018be0556 0xffffffffa974bab0 : 0xffffff8018bcf8c3 0xffffffffa974bb00 : 0xffffff8018a1da70 0xffffffffa974bb20 : 0xffffff8018a7e26d 0xffffffffa974bc40 : 0xffffff8018a7da26 0xffffffffa974bca0 : 0xffffff80193145e3 0xffffffffa974bd90 : 0xffffff801b3866a2 0xffffffffa974bda0 : 0xffffff801b3697cb 0xffffffffa974bdd0 : 0xffffff80192498e5 0xffffffffa974be40 : 0xffffff80192497e8 0xffffffffa974be70 : 0xffffff8018ad0f15 0xffffffffa974bee0 : 0xffffff8018ad1fe2 0xffffffffa974bfa0 : 0xffffff8018a1d19e Kernel Extensions in backtrace: com.apple.iokit.IONVMeFamily(2.1)[DD1246CA-DCEA-310E-A5EF-D93F9E3160E0]@0xffffff801b361000->0xffffff801b38dfff dependency: com.apple.driver.AppleMobileFileIntegrity(1.0.5)[6A4C9635-1909-3C7E-A67E-4A1A31F7CA60]@0xffffff801a1b1000->0xffffff801a1d2fff dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(2.9)[F4541C1C-CF87-39BB-B39E-FFF1E15F61CE]@0xffffff801b636000->0xffffff801b662fff dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOReportFamily(47)[B345BB34-190D-36D1-89D3-7904BBDBC2E9]@0xffffff801b674000->0xffffff801b676fff dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily(2.1)[58C6FBAD-E214-3CCD-A845-FAC6E5F3958C]@0xffffff801b779000->0xffffff801b78ffff Process name corresponding to current thread (0xffffff99caa1e000): kernel_task Mac OS version: 21G217 Kernel version: Darwin Kernel Version 21.6.0: Thu Sep 29 20:12:57 PDT 2022; root:xnu-8020.240.7~1/RELEASE_X86_64 Kernel UUID: 54B44BAE-1625-30CC-80B0-29E4966EFFDC KernelCache slide: 0x0000000018800000 KernelCache base: 0xffffff8018a00000 Kernel slide: 0x0000000018810000 Kernel text base: 0xffffff8018a10000 __HIB text base: 0xffffff8018900000 System model name: MacBookPro11,4 (Mac-06F11FD93F0323C5) System shutdown begun: NO Panic diags file available: YES (0x0) Hibernation exit count: 0 System uptime in nanoseconds: 6832382844472 Last Sleep: absolute base_tsc base_nano Uptime : 0x00000636c9c0a5fc Sleep : 0x0000062539b31e1f 0x0000000060138096 0x0000060c7fed6b49 Wake : 0x000006254dbdbeb4 0x0000000060c9e17a 0x000006254170b04d Compressor Info: 0% of compressed pages limit (OK) and 0% of segments limit (OK) with 1 swapfiles and OK swap space Zone info: Zone map: 0xffffff8030fbb000 - 0xffffffa030fbb000 . PGZ : 0xffffff8030fbb000 - 0xffffff8032fbc000 . VM : 0xffffff8032fbc000 - 0xffffff84ff7bb000 . RO : 0xffffff84ff7bb000 - 0xffffff8698fbb000 . GEN0 : 0xffffff8698fbb000 - 0xffffff8b657bb000 . GEN1 : 0xffffff8b657bb000 - 0xffffff9031fbb000 . GEN2 : 0xffffff9031fbb000 - 0xffffff94fe7bb000 . GEN3 : 0xffffff94fe7bb000 - 0xffffff99cafbb000 . DATA : 0xffffff99cafbb000 - 0xffffffa030fbb000 Metadata: 0xffffffffb9fee000 - 0xffffffffd9fee000 Bitmaps : 0xffffffffd9fee000 - 0xffffffffdffee000 last started kext at 36530783870: >driverkit.serial 6.0.0 (addr 0xffffff7fb1cb5000, size 28672) loaded kexts: >AudioAUUC 1.70 >!APlatformEnabler 2.7.0d0 >AGPM 129 >X86PlatformShim 1.0.0 @filesystems.autofs 3.0 >!AUpstreamUserClient 3.6.9 >!AHDAHardwareConfigDriver 340.2 >!AHDA 340.2 >eficheck 1 >!ALPC 3.1 >!AGraphicsDevicePolicy 6.5.7 @AGDCPluginDisplayMetrics 6.5.7 >pmtelemetry 1 |IOUserEthernet 1.0.1 >usb.!UUserHCI 1 >AGDCBacklightControl 6.5.7 >!AHV 1 >!ADiskImages2 126.141.2 >!ABacklight 180.8 >!A!IHD5000Graphics 18.0.8 >!ACameraInterface 7.9.1 >!AMCCSControl 1.16 >ACPI_SMC_PlatformPlugin 1.0.0 >!AFIVRDriver 4.1.0 >!AMuxControl 6.5.7 >!ASMCLMU 212 >!A!IFramebufferAzul 18.0.8 >!A!ISlowAdaptiveClocking 4.0.0 >!AThunderboltIP 4.0.3 |SCSITaskUserClient 456.140.3 >!ATopCaseHIDEventDriver 5450.8 >!UTopCaseDriver 5450.8 >!UCardReader 533.120.2 >AirPort.BrcmNIC 1400.1.1 >!AFileSystemDriver 3.0.1 @filesystems.tmpfs 1 @filesystems.lifs 1 @filesystems.apfs 1934.141.2 @filesystems.hfs.kext 583.100.10 @BootCache 40 @!AFSCompression.!AFSCompressionTypeZlib 1.0.0 @!AFSCompression.!AFSCompressionTypeDataless 1.0.0d1 @private.KextAudit 1.0 >!ARTC 2.0.1 >!ASmartBatteryManager 161.0.0 >!AACPIButtons 6.1 >!AHPET 1.8 >!ASMBIOS 2.1 >!AACPIEC 6.1 >!AAPIC 1.7 @!ASystemPolicy 2.0.0 @nke.applicationfirewall 402 |IOKitRegistryCompatibility 1 |EndpointSecurity 1 @Dont_Steal_Mac_OS_X 7.0.0 @kec.!AEncryptedArchive 1 >driverkit.serial 6.0.0 |IOSerial!F 11 @kext.triggers 1.0 >DspFuncLib 340.2 @kext.OSvKernDSPLib 529 >!UAudio 416.2 >!AAudioClockLibs 140.1 >!ASMBusPCI 1.0.14d1 >!AHDA!C 340.2 |IOHDA!F 340.2 |IOAudio!F 340.2 @vecLib.kext 1.2.0 |IO!BSerialManager 9.0.0 |IO!BPacketLogger 9.0.0 |IO!BHost!CUSBTransport 9.0.0 |IO!BHost!CUARTTransport 9.0.0 |IO!BHost!CTransport 9.0.0 >IO!BHost!CPCIeTransport 9.0.0 |IOAVB!F 1040.6 @plugin.IOgPTPPlugin 1040.3 |IOEthernetAVB!C 1.1.0 |CSR!BHost!CUSBTransport 9.0.0 |Broadcom!BHost!CUSBTransport 9.0.0 |Broadcom!B20703USBTransport 9.0.0 >!AIPAppender 1.0 >!ABacklightExpert 1.1.0 |IONDRVSupport 597 >!ASMBus!C 1.0.18d1 >IOPlatformPluginLegacy 1.0.0 >X86PlatformPlugin 1.0.0 >IOPlatformPlugin!F 6.0.0d8 >!AGraphicsControl 6.5.7 |IOAccelerator!F2 462.8 @!AGPUWrangler 6.5.7 @!AGraphicsDeviceControl 6.5.7 |IOGraphics!F 597 |IOSlowAdaptiveClocking!F 1.0.0 >!AThunderboltEDMSink 5.0.3 >!AThunderboltDPOutAdapter 8.5.1 >!AActuatorDriver 5460.1 >!AHS!BDriver 5450.8 >IO!BHIDDriver 9.0.0 >!AMultitouchDriver 5460.1 >!AInputDeviceSupport 5460.1 >!AHIDKeyboard 228.2 >usb.IOUSBHostHIDDevice 1.2 >usb.cdc 5.0.0 >usb.networking 5.0.0 >usb.!UHostCompositeDevice 1.2 >!AThunderboltDPInAdapter 8.5.1 >!AThunderboltDPAdapter!F 8.5.1 >!AThunderboltPCIDownAdapter 4.1.1 >!AXsanScheme 3 >!AThunderboltNHI 7.2.81 |IOThunderbolt!F 9.3.3 |IO80211!FLegacy 1200.12.2b1 |IOSkywalk!F 1.0 >mDNSOffloadUserClient 1.0.1b8 >corecapture 1.0.4 |IONVMe!F 2.1.0 >!A!ILpssGspi 3.0.60 >usb.!UXHCIPCI 1.2 >usb.!UXHCI 1.2 >!ABSDKextStarter 3 |IOSurface 302.14 @filesystems.hfs.encodings.kext 1 >usb.!UHostPacketFilter 1.0 |IOUSB!F 900.4.2 >!AEFINVRAM 2.1 >!AEFIRuntime 2.1 |IOSMBus!F 1.1 |IOHID!F 2.0.0 |IOTimeSync!F 1040.3 |IONetworking!F 3.4 >DiskImages 493.0.0 |IO!B!F 9.0.0 |IOReport!F 47 $quarantine 4 $sandbox 300.0 @kext.!AMatch 1.0.0d1 |CoreAnalytics!F 1 >!ASSE 1.0 >!AKeyStore 2 >!UTDM 533.120.2 |IOUSBMass!SDriver 210.120.3 |IOSCSIBlockCommandsDevice 456.140.3 |IO!S!F 2.1 |IOSCSIArchitectureModel!F 456.140.3 >!AMobileFileIntegrity 1.0.5 $!AImage4 4.2.0 @kext.CoreTrust 1 >!AFDEKeyStore 28.30 >!AEffaceable!S 1.0 >!ACredentialManager 1.0 >KernelRelayHost 1 |IOUSBHost!F 1.2 >!UHostMergeProperties 1.2 >usb.!UCommon 1.0 >!ABusPower!C 1.0 >!ASEPManager 1.0.1 >IOSlaveProcessor 1 >!AACPIPlatform 6.1 >!ASMC 3.1.9 |IOPCI!F 2.9 |IOACPI!F 1.4 >watchdog 1 @kec.pthread 1 @kec.Libm 1 @kec.corecrypto 12.0
Quite obvious OSX wasn't playing ball with the NVME drive.
Went back to the forum page, tried everything listed, reseating, disabling power savings even changing the adapter, but nothing worked. I even looked for SSD firware upgrade, but my firmware version is far ahead of what Micron offers on its site. They offer 33 something, while mine show 40 something. So could be the SSD isn't quite compatible with OSX anymore.
Worried that I was ruining the SSD (some forums said, continuing with the Kernel panic would eventually corrupt the entire SSD), I broke down and reverted to the old Apple SSD. For a very long time I had used a 256Gb Samsung USB stick. It is super tiny and was absolutely unobtrusive. But an USB stick is a USB stick, you always have the 'threat of failing' hanging over your head!
So in the end I bought a case for NVME M.2 drive and started using it as a USB drive. Hoping it lasts longer than the USB stick, though I can't quite wrap my head around, why that would be the case.
A possible way forward
Why do I need more storage:
- Hobby projects
I can move Hobby projects to the external drive no issues. But the thing about OSX is you can't beat the system, so you have to join the system. So everything goes in folders that the app decides. iCloud Drive has it's own location and you can't really change that easily. iPhotos, ditto, Music same you get the gist.
I did a bit of research and so far I've found you can move System Photo Library in Photos. You can also move the Music App folder. Still looking how I can move iCloud Drive folder elsewhere.
I haven't tried any of this yet, because I also found I could boot from the USB drive, so I am a little conflicted if I want the laptop to boot of the USB connected drive.
Eitherway, that was my attempt at upgrading my 7 year old laptop. Hopefully it saves you some hair pulling.