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Severe Duty: OWC Extreme Pro vs Apple 512GB SSD

Last updated September 03, 2010 - Send Feedback

In August 2010, Apple began offering its 500GB SSD, which is a Toshiba unit. I did not have the OWC 480GB unit available, so I compared it to the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 240GB unit (I expect to have a 480GB unit with the latest firmware at some point).

Capacity

The Apple 512GB SSD is actually 500.28GB. The difference is only 2.3%, and perhaps there is some “set aside” known as over provisioning, but this smells of a potential class action to me, knowing how people love to litigate these days. By my count, 500 is not 512, and Apple ought to correct this in their marketing and sales literature.

Real world performance of solid state drives SSDReal world performance of solid state drives SSD
Real world performance of solid state drives SSD
Apple 512GB drive is not 512GB!

The OWC 240GB is true to its advertised capacity (and so is the 480GB model):

Real world performance of solid state drives SSD
OWC 240GB is really 240GB, as advertised

Performance brand-new and after seasoning

OWC Mercury Extreme Pro: green for reads, red for writes, these are the two lines at chart top. The orange and blue lines are the Apple SSD (blue for reads, orange for writes).

To its great credit, the Apple (Toshiba) SSD held up well, even after the severe duty test—very impressive given that no other SSD I’ve tested (other than Sandforce-based ones) can hold up to this test without severe breakdown.

Performance of the Apple SSD is well below that of the Mercury Extreme Pro SSD, so it’s no contest in terms of raw speed. Casual users won‘t care, but if the goal is high performance for Photoshop or similar applications, there’s no choice here— the OWC model easily outperforms.

Click for a larger graph. Note that the scales are mixed—240GB for OWC and 500GB for the Apple SSD.

Real world performance of solid state drives SSD
Average speed across the volume

The Speed You Need

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