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Apple Releases Performance Update, Fixes Hard Drive Stalls


Apple has released what it calls “Performance Update 1.0,” an update to its Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and 10.6 (Snow Leopard) operating systems for selected iMacs and MacBooks.

As Apple describes it — in typically brief fashion — in its Support pages, “This update addresses intermittent hard drive related pauses reported by a small number of customers.”

Gotta love those detailed descriptions!

The update may be related to an EFI Firmware Update in June that some MacBook owners suspect was the cause of intermittent crashes and system freezes. This latest update may well put these problems to rest once and for all, except there’s something interesting about the name…that 1.0 suffix hints at the possibility of further revisions to come. A “Performance Update, Update” perhaps?

The update isn’t for everyone, however. It applies only to the following Mac models.

MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008)
MacBook (13-inch, Early 2009)
MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009)

MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53GHz, Mid 2009)

MacBook Air
MacBook Air (Late 2008)
MacBook Air (Mid 2009)

Mac Mini
Mac Mini (Early 2009)

iMac (24-inch, Early 2009)
iMac (20-inch, Early 2009)
iMac (20-inch, Mid 2009)

13 Responses to “Apple Releases Performance Update, Fixes Hard Drive Stalls”

  1. Just thought I’d add that I contacted the OWC tech support and after running through what has been happening they have done an RMA of the drive, sending it in this week to get a replacement (no firmware updates from Seagate that I could see)

  2. I bought the Mid2009 15″ MBP for Christmas last year with a 128GB SSD.

    While insanely fast and reliable the 128GB size restriction was just too much, so in the last few days I ordered and installed myself a Seagate Momentus 500GB 7200 RPM drive from OWC (US store)

    Straight away I was having issues with stalls (not beeping and ticks as other users describe)

    It does it on a fresh install of Snow Leopard and also after a full update. I am now trying to copy music from my external 500GB drive to the internal via USB2.0, and I’m watching the amount of files go down for about 30 seconds, then stop… 30 seconds later it starts transfering again. rinse and repeat.

    I had a video playing from the internal hard drive at the same time to see if it was just the external in this case, but sure enough as the copy seemed to stall, the video also stopped and beachballing ensued.

    Is there any way to contact Apple support other than ringing? I would really like to talk to someone about this and get an honest answer without waiting for 2 hours on hold…

  3. I have the Macbook pro 13 mid 2009
    I used to get the spinning wheel that last for 3 to 5 sec
    suddenly I got this update on my “software update”

    but after the update, the freeze last for 30 to 40 sec!
    the whole system freeze with only mouse pointer moves and the spinning wheel!

    OK, the update delayed the freeze so its every 4 to 5h not like before every hour or less.. but now its creazy! almost a minute!

    why don’t apple call the owners of those machines and replace the defect! even if the ask me to pay up to a 100$ I wont mind!

  4. I also had issues with my Pro 15″ Just installed update and we’ll see – My Apple Techie was great in trying to find out the problem and getting back to me promptly to tell me to watch for this update. Fortunately we were only slowed down for about a month. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

  5. I have a system that is not on this list, and the fix did not appear in my recent system updates.

    Since Snow Leopard I have noticed that my hard drive sometimes spins down and can not be revived. This takes down the applications one-by-one and only a reboot can fix it.

  6. Mantvydas

    Superb piece of news!!! I have a MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008) and I was already planning to report a bug about it being sluggish. Because for me, my Mac became much slower with Snow Leopard compared to when it originally had Leopard.

    Switch User was always choppy, login was slow. Will see, how this update would help my situation.

  7. I’m so glad they came up with a fix for this, but the “small number” is a filthy lie. I have two friends who also have Macbooks from the list above, and both of them also get persistent beachballs like I do.

  8. Well.. I’m one of the “small number of” clients who’s looked a lot of times at spinning beachballs in Safari and Spaces…

    I’m curious how small this number of systems actually is, that was affected. Almost every laptop they sold for the last year is on that list!

    Still: Thank you Apple – you made me happy again!