You may have read my previous review on the Seagate Momentus XT hybrid SDD/HDD and even bought one for your MacBook (Pro). Mine is running fine and I’m still very pleased with its performance after 5 months now. No freezes or lockups or crashes though I noticed periodic spin-downs every once in a while. Not a real SSD but still pretty fast, especially on regularly used files and apps. And that’s where it counts most.
Apparently the first revision SD22 had some issues with power management/spin down cycles. I haven’t had any problems with my drive which already came with firmware revision SD23. There are still some users reporting problems (mostly Windows users ;-)) with intermittent OS hanging/freezing and crashing with SD23.
In December 2010 Seagate released the firmware SD24 but hasn’t published any further details yet. Even tech support won’t tell you anything on the changes in this revision. So far every user who performed the update is happy and therefore I gave it a shot.
It’s always strongly advised to perform firmware updates on your hard drives if available. Not every drive gets (or needs) an update during its lifetime. Sometimes an update only maintains compatibility for newer controller chips or management/monitoring features. If there are known problems with a drive and a manufacturer publishes an update it usually addresses serious issues like possible data loss or power management issues which can reduce the life span.
First you should check if your drive qualifies for the update. Open System Profiler (Lion 10.7: System Information): e.g. click Apple logo > About This Mac > More info… in Snow Leopard (Lion users click System Report… button) and go to Hardware > Serial-ATA. Then select your HDD (entry like ST9xxx6x0AS).
Your model should be one of the following:
- ST92505610AS (250GB model)
- ST93205620AS (320GB model)
- ST95005620AS (500GB model)
The Revision key shows your drive’s current firmware version (e.g. SD22, SD23, SD24, SD25, SD26, or SD28). If you’re on SD28 then skip the rest, you’re already running the latest firmware. (I only did the screenshot after the update.)
The Serial Number can be checked online. I tried it with Safari and Firefox from my Mac with several Seagate S/N from other drives but still no result. This online tool seems to be broken right now.
Download firmware update SD28
Note: The update procedure hasn’t changed since SD23. Just go for the 1st link in the Links section and download the latest available firmware revision (currently SD28). Then continue with the procedure as described and ignore any different version number in the text. I’m tired of constantly updating the article for each new revision.
The automatic firmware checker (Drive Detect software) and update tool (firmware update utility) are only available as Windows executable. Mac/Linux users have to go the ugly (DOS) way via an ISO image of a bootable CD.
- Download the
SD24 ISO imageSD28 ISO image (or look for latest revision)
- Burn it onto a writable CD (get free SimplyBurns if you don’t know how)
Alternatively you could also copy the image file to an USB device but you’d have to know how to make it bootable. Keep in mind that some old USB keys cannot be made bootable.
When the CD is ready put it into your CD-ROM drive and shutdown your Mac. Oh, wait, continue reading the next step before you do this!
Update firmware with DOS CD
To boot from CD you have to hold down the option key (<alt>) during startup. A HDD icon and a CD should appear on the gray screen. The HDD has the volume name written below and the CD is named Windows. Select the CD and boot to DOS.
- Hit <ESC> to skip the README.TXT
Use PG UP/DOWN keys on an external keyboard to scroll through the readme, using arrow keys may lock DOS.
SeaFlash offers some options you should explore before performing the update. If you just want to do it ASAP then hit <D>.
- Hit <L> to list compatible drives and FW version. (Column New FW version should state SD24, hit <ESC> to go back to main menu.)
- Hit <S> to scan your drive(s). (Shows your model and FW, <ESC> for main menu)
- Finally hit <D> to update your Momentus XT to SD24. (takes about 15s to update)
- Power off your Mac.
Now you’re all done. You can boot up your Mac and check the new firmware revision in System Profiler.
Problems booting from CD
There are few reported cases where the DOS CD won’t boot. It worked for me on a MBP (late 2008) with 4GB RAM but if you’re the unlucky guy try the following options:
- Try another CD or at least make sure your Mac can read the disc in OS X.
- Make sure the CD is bootable. Test in another computer.
- DOS may not boot on MBP (early 2008 and before) with +4GB RAM installed. Remove one memory module and try again.
- If you can’t remove RAM try fdxms.sys or himem.sys in CONFIG.SYS. (Don’t do this if you’re not familiar with DOS!)
- Remove the drive and connect it to a Windows machine then use the Windows updater. (Direct S-ATA connection preferred, USB-to-S-ATA adaptors also possible but some adaptors won’t allow firmware updates!)
- Install Windows in Boot Camp and use the Windows updater. Boot directly to Windows after the update, not into OS X!
There’s always a solution!
Same procedure as for every release… now on version SD28 and still no changelog (probably company policy). Recent models shipped with SD26 pre-installed but it never made it to the official download portal. Though some beta testers leaked it to filesharing sites (see comments below). SD27 was skipped completely, it hasn’t even been mentioned on the forums. Then right out of nowhere: SD28!
- Latest Seagate Momentus XT Firmware Update (Knowledge Base, links to current version: SD28)
- Seagate serial number checker
- Seagate Momentus /XT forums
Seagate Momentus XT firmware revision SD24 Seagate Momentus XT firmware revision SD25
- Seagate Momentus XT firmware revision SD28 (bootable ISO image)
- SimplyBurns (free CD/DVD burning tool for Mac, rev416 works on Mac OS X Lion 10.7)