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OWC Mercury Electra 6G 960GB SSD: Zeroes vs Incompressible

OWC Mercury Electra 6G SSD

OWC Mercury Electra 6G 1TB about $449. Thunderbay Mini starting at about $379 without drives. Thunderbay Mini with 4 X 1TB SSD about $2399. RAID-5 edition optional.

Incompressible data and SSDs

To increase the lifespan of the flash memory, Sandforce-based SSDs compress data and this impairs write performance as seen in the tests with the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G; data compression in an SSD reduces write performance when the data is incompressible (JPG, compressed PSD or TIF, most video, encrypted data, etc).

But the OWC 960GB Mercury Electra 6G SSD is not Sandforce based.

According to OWC, it uses a Silicon Motion controller optimized for Mac (but also benefits PC) that specifically addresses Mac aspects with tuning and design to avoid TRIM issues/dependencies. The 960GB model also benefits from internal DRAM and copious flash to handled difficult write loads.

Test results

disktester fill-volume --xfer 128M --pattern randomblock

As can be seen, incompressible data exerts essentially no penalty—fantastic!

Write/read zeroes: 365 / 393 MB/sec
Write/read incompressible: 362 / 393 MB/sec

Note that the top speed is limited by the Thunderbolt to SATA chipset. Theoretical max is 400 MB/sec per lane, but there is always a little latency and overhead. So 393 MB/sec is excellent for this type of device (e.g., 4-bay Thunderbay Mini).

OWC 960GB Mercury Electra 6G SSD: zeroes vs incompressible data

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