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Samsung EVO 870 Still Being Sluggish in Mid-2012 13” MacBook Pro

I am using a mid-2012 13” Unibody MacBook Pro, running OS X El Capitan (10.11.6), and my system has 8 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM, an Intel Core i7 processor, and the original 500 GB 5400 rpm Hard Disk Drive (yuck). Pretty standard and outdated setup. I recently purchased a brand new 1 TB Samsung EVO 870 SSD for a substantial speed and storage upgrade. Currently, my 500 GB HDD has a little over 400 GB of content on it. (I’ve already posted about this problem here, but this is an update to my original post.)

 

When I first got the SSD, I formatted it for macOS using Disk Utility, cloned my HDD to it, and installed it in my MacBook Pro. It managed to boot and load my desktop and even open a couple programs, but it was running very slowly—notably worse than my slow HDD. It felt similar to an EVO 850 I’d previously used with this laptop that had become corrupted and started performing erratically.

 

I put this on the backburner for about a month because it’s such a headache and feels like a wasted investment. I started working on it again in the past couple days and still feel like I’m slamming my head against a wall.

 

I wiped the EVO 870 clean and did a fresh install of OS X El Capitan using a USB installer I prepared. The install was successful, so I went forward with setting up my Mac as a new user without opting to migrate any data over right away. And again, the performance was just as slow and periodically interrupted as before.

 

Once I logged in, the first thing that happened was the Keyboard Setup Assistant automatically ran. I was prompted to press the key immediately to the right of the left Shift key (the letter “Z”). I pressed “Z” on the built-in keyboard, but was met with the error message, “Your keyboard cannot be identified. You have pressed a key on your Apple keyboard. Please press the keys on the keyboard that can't be identified.” Nothing I did seemed to do anything; every keystroke resulted in the “nope” error sound macOS makes when you try to do something you can’t, so I quit that application. Then, everything I did with my keyboard—like trying to open Spotlight Search using ⌘ + Space—resulted in no response from macOS. This also seemed to include trackpad clicks, although that may have just been the system lagging.

 

I don’t know what to do. I’ve taken every step I’ve been advised to take. I tried cloning my HDD to the SSD. I tried a fresh install of OS X on the SSD. Samsung’s Magician software is only compatible with Windows, so that was never an option for me. I even bought a 2 TB backup hard drive to help keep my data safe in case anything goes wrong with my original HDD. This 1 TB Samsung EVO 870 SSD was purchased brand-new from Amazon in January and has yet to work properly. SSDs are supposed to be snappy and responsive, yet this has been anything but.

 

The 30-day return window for Amazon has passed, so I think at this point I might contact Samsung about getting a replacement drive. If that doesn’t work out, I think I’m gonna say the hell with it—time to just buy a new computer. I’ve been stuck using a slow laptop since 2014 and I’m beyond sick and tired of it.

 

If anyone has any ideas about what the problem might be, or if there might be any compatibility issues, please let me know. I’m feeling exasperated at this point.

232012914_KeyboardSetupAssistantErrorMessage.jpg

1 - Overview.png

2 - Storage.png

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Guessing it has something to do with the SATA connection or port choice due to the age of the machine, such as discussed here. Be sure to read all the comments, for example the one saying the caddy option worked properly.

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The 2012 MBPs were known to have bad HDD cables, and they can cause issues like this. I'd recommend replacing the cable and see if that helps. 

As for the keyboard issue: did you have anything plugged into a USB port or connected through Bluetooth?

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On 4/2/2021 at 5:48 PM, ProjectBox153 said:

The 2012 MBPs were known to have bad HDD cables, and they can cause issues like this. I'd recommend replacing the cable and see if that helps. 

As for the keyboard issue: did you have anything plugged into a USB port or connected through Bluetooth?

Ohhhhhh yeah, now that you mention it, I remember I had my wireless mouse receiver plugged into one of the USB ports cuz it’s tiny and I kinda forgot about it. Maybe that was my keyboard issue. Thanks!

 

and yeah, I might also look into a hard drive cable. I’m just confused cuz the laptop runs fine with the original HDD, unless just the speed is hampered and I don’t know it. It’s only when I install the SSD that I experience serious degradation in performance.

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On 4/2/2021 at 5:33 PM, NewMaxx said:

Guessing it has something to do with the SATA connection or port choice due to the age of the machine, such as discussed here. Be sure to read all the comments, for example the one saying the caddy option worked properly.

Thanks for sharing this! I’m not sure this quite fits my situation though. I’m already trying to replace my original HDD with the new SSD in the original hard drive caddy position (leaving my optical drive intact). As far as I know, the mid-2012 MacBook Pro is compatible with SATA III.

 

Additionally, I’m skeptical as to whether my hard drive cable needs to be replaced, because every time I use this laptop with the original hard drive, it performs as expected. It’s only when I use the SSD that the performance becomes crap. Is that a sign of a hard drive cable malfunctioning or being overpowered by the SSD? When I put the HDD back in place, it’s like nothing ever changed. Very weird.

 

It’s just frustrating cuz I’ve seen people like Luke Miani install SSDs in dozens of old MacBooks and gotten them working just fine practically every time. Yet here I am, trying to do the exact same thing with one computer, and it isn’t working for some mysterious reason.

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1 hour ago, br1an_b said:

Ohhhhhh yeah, now that you mention it, I remember I had my wireless mouse receiver plugged into one of the USB ports cuz it’s tiny and I kinda forgot about it. Maybe that was my keyboard issue. Thanks!

 

and yeah, I might also look into a hard drive cable. I’m just confused cuz the laptop runs fine with the original HDD, unless just the speed is hampered and I don’t know it. It’s only when I install the SSD that I experience serious degradation in performance.

Yep, I figured you probably had a USB dongle attached. Definitely look into a replacement cable. iFixit has them available, and I'm sure you can find them elsewhere. 

York (NAS/Secondary Desktop): Intel Core i7-2600 (4C/8T), 24GB 1333MHz DDR3, Zotac GTX 550 Ti AMP! 1GB, HP OEM GTX 680 2GB, 500GB Crucial MX500, 2x 3TB HDD + 3x 2TB HDD (12TB total), Windows Server 2019

 

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