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Solid State Drives — Brand Caveat Emptor

Mac Pro memory prices for 24GB 1333MHz kit through June 8, 2011
OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD

I’ve been recommending Other World Computing (OWC) solid state drives (SSDs) for 16 months now.

For example, in my working Mac Pro, I have used a RAID-0 stripe (600GB as 3 X 200GB) for about a year now, with flawless operation and high performance that entire time. I also use OWC SSDs in my various laptops.

Why do I use only OWC SSDs, and only recommend OWC SSDs? Because they work, and I can rely on the product and the company.

Everything else I’ve tried has disappointed in various ways, ranging from mediocre performance but up to and including failure and data loss with multiple drives. I don’t have time to waste or data to lose— I want a vendor I can trust to get it right. Recent events have only affirmed the wisdom of avoiding several other popular brands, which have proven themselves to be not only unreliable, but in some cases, unethical companies. Such companies do not change or improve; they slowly implode as the supply of suckers runs out, though sometimes supply is ample.

OWC maintains a large test lab of Macs, tests on Macs, offers free high quality support for Macs, maintains high ethical standards for the quality of their products including stuff that might not be visible to the end user. I know this from asking hundreds of questions of OWC over the past few years, and the answer and how it’s answered are consistently about Doing the Right Thing. I have good bullcrap meter, and I use it with every company I deal with, and I’m not about to risk my reputation on just any vendor.

OWC isn’t perfect in hardware design (neither is Apple), they cannot catch everything, but when something does go awry, they don’t pass the buck or lie about it, they stand behind their product and fix it. Which is not to say that OWC can fix Apple’s issues too.

Some readers have inquired about recent delays in OWC shipping new SSD models. The answer is simple: unlike the skanky vendors out there, OWC wants to take the time to get it right. Every time I’ve asked “when” can I test a new model (and I ask a lot), the response has been in essence “when we get it right and fully tested”.

OWC’s recent retroactive warranty extension is a case in point of a vendor that believes in their product: OWC extended the warranty to five (5) years for their Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD. Add in the 30-day money back guarantee, and a picture emerges of a company that takes pride in their products and is willing to back that up. That’s the only kind of company I want to buy from.

Meanwhile, other SSD vendors are busy shipping problem products, issuing recalls and generally bullsh*tting their customers as to why things went wrong (because they rush products to market with out-of-spec or marginal parts and fail to adequately test them and don’t want to ’fess up to that). Lately, there have even been insinuations of defective Sandforce controllers, which based on my information appears to be 100% bull poop, misinformation hinted at by unethical vendors as a way to evade the problems of their own making.

Building an SSD is not soldering a controller chip to some flash memory chips. Anyone who buys an SSD on specs or the controller type or to save a few bucks from vendor X is making a big mistake.

There is one and only one brand I recommend: OWC. I have to pay for my SSDs like everyone else, and that’s the only brand I’m willing to spend my hard-earned cash on. And it’s the only brand I recommend for the MPG Pro Laptop and MPG Pro Workstation, because I want repeat customers wholly satisfied with a rock-solid purchase.

Disclosure: OWC is an advertiser on this site. I have also chosen OWC as the vendor that provides the upgrade service for the diglloyd MPG Pro Laptop and diglloyd MPG Pro Workstation upgrades, because I trust them to do the job right and stand behind it. Other than loaners for review, I pay for the products that I keep for my own use. I recommend OWC because I personally use and like their products, as should be obvious from the above.


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