fixed : update Seagate Momentus XT firmware from TD27 to SD28

Question :

To keep my aging MacBook Pro up-to-date and up-to-speed, I’ve replaced the internal harddisk with a Seagate Momentus XT hybrid-harddisk. I’ve found on the internet that Seagate’s SD28 is the latest firmware for the Momentus XT, and since Seagate claims it’s an essential upgrade, I would like to install in also. I’ve followed the instructions from Seagate, but when I run the firmware update, it refuses with a “Specific model not found”-error and quits…

In “About This Mac”, I’ve found that my version of the Momentus XT is the ST95005620AS and the current firmware is TD27. I’ve searched the internet and can only find info on firmware versions SD24, SD25, SD26 and SD28, but not on SD27 (or TD27, what’s the difference anyway ?)…

Is there any way to upgrade my Momentus XT to the SD28 firmware ?

Answer :

Yes !

First a little background info :

The Momentus XT hybrid-harddisks have not only been released by Seagate, they have also been issued by Toshiba as OEM-harddisks. Where it gets confusing is that the Toshiba issued ones still have “Seagate”-branded info stickers on them… The main thing Toshiba seems to have done is install a Toshiba-version of the firmware named TD27… (TD seems to mean Toshiba Drive, as opposed to SD for Seagate Drive…)

Seagate itself has skipped version SD27 of the firmware for unknown reasons, but Toshiba has (only ?) issued their version of exactly that skipped firmware revision : TD27…

More info can be found here :

Momentus-XT-Secret-Code-Names-Model

So much for the confusion…

Now let’s get to the solution…

Here’s how to upgrade your Momentus XT from TD27 to SD28 firmware on a Mac :

[ NOTE : doing firmware updates is potentially very risky for your hardware, software and data !! not following the instructions to the letter is even more risky !! every thing you do is at your own risk !! ]

– download the SD28 firmware upgrade (in .ISO format) from Seagate :

 Momentus XT firmware upgrade SD28

– after the download, find the “MomentusXT-ALL-SD28.iso” disk image and mount it on your Mac

– burn the (Windows/DOS) files that are on the disk image onto a CD-r

– eject the freshly burned CD-r and label it “Seagate Momentus XT firmware upgrade SD28”

– now back-up the entire current contents of your Mac’s harddrive (= your internal Momentus XT) ; the easiest way to do this is to choose “Back Up Now” from the Time Machine menu (assuming you have Time Machine back-up installed)

– now print this manual for reference during the actual firmware upgrade

– when the back-up is finished, re-insert the CD-r (with the SD28 firmware installer), disconnect all cables (USB, Ethernet, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, FireWire, etc.) from your Mac, only to leave the power-cord in (that’s essential !) and reboot your Mac while pressing the [ALT]-key

– once you see the Apple logo with the spinning gear, you can release the [ALT]-key

– now you will see about three tiles of possible startup-drives to choose from, select the CD-rom (that will probable be titled “Seagate” of “Windows”) and click [ENTER]

– now your screen will go entirely black and then display Windows/DOS-like white texts (if you do not see white text appearing and you are on a MacBook, open your MacBook and look on the MacBook’s own screen ; this would mean you did not follow the instructions to unplug your second screen… as mentioned before : doing firmware upgrades is potentially very risky and completely at your own risk !! do yourself a favor and follow the instructions to the letter to minimize your risk !! )

– just follow the on-screen instructions (press [ENTER] when suggested, and press the [D]-key to select the firmware upgrade)

– everything will seem to go fine, until you get this text :

“Error: Specific model not found. Various expected   ************************   Turn off the power now.”

– if you see that, don’t power down your Mac, but press the [CTRL] + [C] keys on your keyboard instead, and you will get this text :

“Control-Break pressed. Terminate batch file ‘C:\FLASH-M.BAT’ (Yes/No/All) ?”

– then, press the [CTRL] + [C] key-combo again, and you will get this text :

“(Seagate boot) C:\>”

– that’s your command-prompt (just like in DOS or in OSX’s Terminal-app), now type [exactly as shown here, but without the quotes] the following command :

“FDL497A -m ANAK -f ANSD28.LOD -i Seagate -s -x -b -v -a 20”

– then press the [ENTER] key, and the firmware upgrade process will start

– during the upgrade process, a text like this will display :

“Model SEAGATE ST95005620AS SN xxxxxxxx FW TD27 on Generic PCI ATA Bus 0 Device 0

Model SEAGATE ST95005620AS SN xxxxxxxx FW SD28”

– after about 1 minute, the word “SUCCESS” will be displayed in big blue letters, followed by “(Seagate boot) C:\>” in regular white letters

– now, the firmware upgrade is complete and you can reboot your Mac

– when your Mac has restarted in OSX, eject the CD-r and have a look in “About This Mac”, there you will find that the firmware of your internal harddisk is now SD28

…that’s it

Enjoy !

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fixed : upgrading the firmware on a Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive

Question :

I’ve heard that upgrade in the firmware on my Seagate Momentus XT hard drive will vastly improve the drive’s speed and stability. But… how do I do that ?

Answer :

Here’s a little tutorial :

– put OSX Lion installer on a 4GB USB stick, instructions can be found here :

http://blog.gete.net/lion-diskmaker-us/

– burn the Seagate firmware update on a CDrom and printout the instructions :

http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/215451en

– shut down and completely unplug
– plug in the USB stick
– put the firmware upgrade CDrom in the drive
– startup pressing the ALT key and choose the “EFI Boot” (USB installer) to boot from
– then install the basic OSX EFI
– continue and open Disk Utility
– select the 500.11 GB Seagate disk and Erase to a “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” format (to get a one-partition OSX HFS+ formatted drive)
– then click on the “Info” button and write down the name exactly and completely (e.g. “Seagate ST…..AS Media”)
– exit and restart pressing the ALT key
– now choose the CDrom called “Windows” to reboot from
– when you’re done reading the README, press the ESC key
– press the right key on your keyboard to install the firmware that is right for your model (as outlined in the instructions you’ve printed)
NOTE : in my case the firmware is refusing to upgrade because I have TD27, and that can’t be upgraded to SD28… [*]
– restart normally (booting from the internal drive) ; done !

[*] update : I found a way to upgrade in that case also, go here for more info :

fixed : update firmware TD27 to SD28

 

Some extra info on the firmware revisions :

v28 is the newest, fastest and most stable to date (June 2012)

v27 was never released as an upgrade, it just came preinstalled on some drives ; since it cannot be upgraded to v28, chances are that is nearly the same as v28

v26 wasn’t released as an upgrade either, it also came preinstalled on some OEM-drives (OEM = Original Equipment Manufacturer ; which in this case means “separately sold as a spare part”)

v25 was also never released as an upgrade ; it is even doubtful if it was even preinstalled on any OEM-version

v24 was the previous upgrade version, but it turned out to be problematic in some cases

v23 was the upgrade version before that, which also had stability problems and erratic behavior

about firmware versions v22 and earlier very little is known

info : Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive – is it a good upgrade to your Mac ?

Question :

I’m thinking about upgrading the internal HD of my MacBook Pro. At this moment I have a 2.5″ 250GB HD 5400rpm SATA-1.5GBps, and I would like something that’s preferably both faster and bigger. Is the 500GB Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive my best choice ?

Answer :

The jury’s still out on that one…

Expericences with the Seagate Momentus XT vary, though most bad experiences are from people that have firmware versions older than v24 (the current version is v28).

Let me start out by saying that, when your older MacBook Pro is at least a ‘late 2008’ model (which has a 2.5″ SATA II / SATA-300GBps transfer rate) your options are pretty much these :

1- a regular 2.5″ 500GB 5400rpm SATA II harddisk, will go for about €65 (so about €0,13 per GB)

– This is probably your best choice if low noise level and low(est) price are your main reasons to buy. And it will be slightly speedier than your old one, because this SATA-interface is twice as fast

2- a regular 2.5″ 500GB 7200rpm SATA II harddisk, will cost you about €75 (so about €0,15 per GB)

– This is probably your best choice if you primarily want a low price and secondarily the highest speed. Even though these could be a little noisier than 5400rpm drives, the 7500rpm drives are more interesting if have a more intensive usage, like doing a lot of video editing for instance.

3- a hybrid 2.5″ 500GB 7200rpm + 4GB SSD (Flash-memory) SATA-3GBps like the Seagate Momentus XT will cost you €100 (so about €0,20 per GB)

– This is probably your best choice if you primarily want high speed and secondarily the lowest price. The noise level is about the same as a regular HD, and the speed is notably faster (but still no way near SSD-speeds)

4- a 2.5″ 256GB Solid State Drive (a.k.a. SSD ; Flash-memory only) SATA-6GBps like the Crucial M4 will cost you about €210 (so about  €0,82 per GB)

– These ‘drives’ are way faster than any hard disk, and also completely silent, but they’re completely overpriced compared to regular hard disks, so this is only a good solution if you have money to burn… (mind you, this one doesn’t gain any storage capacity compared to your old HD, and the 6GBps SATA-speed has to be geared down to 3GBps since the ‘late 2008’ MacBook Pros don’t support this latest SATA-speed)

To have an indication of the speed increase I herewith include my test scores, based upon benchmarking results from two different benchmarking program.

The benchmarking softwares I’ve used are iBench and NovaBench. They can be downloaded for FREE here :

http://ibench.sourceforge.net/

http://novabench.com/

(NovaBench can also be downloaded from the Mac App store)

the benchmarking-scores I’ve measured are :

the original version : MacBook Pro 15″ ‘late 2008’ with 4GB RAM and 250GB @4500rpm ; iBench score = 3.31 ; NovaBench score = 346

the same, only with doubled RAM-memory, MacBook Pro 15″ ‘late 2008’ with 8GB RAM and 250GB @4500rpm ; iBench score = 3.37 ; NovaBench score  = 389

the same, but both with doubled RAM and doubled HD-capacity (using a Seagate Momentus XT) ; iBench score = 3.38 ; NovaBench score = 402

so… the Momentus XT is a really good step forward from the old internal hard drive, but it’s speed increase is not dramatic.

NOTE : if you need to upgrade the firmware on a Seagate Momentus XT disk from MacOSX, look here :

https://macmanusnl.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/upgrading-the-…t-hybrid-drive/