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Mercury Accelsior 'E2' Upgrade Process (Module Swap)

Last updated 2013-04-06 - Send Feedback
Related: how-to, Storage, SSD, eSATA, storage

OWC will be offering a cost effective upgrade program with the return of the original PCIe board.

The process is simple: swap the flash modules on the existing card to the new Accelsior E2 card, then return the original card to reclaim a good portion of the upgrade cost (rebate).

This upgrade path is a terrific customer value, and OWC deserves praise for making it available.

Painless upgrade

It would be foolish to not backup ones’s data on the Accelsior card before upgrading— two backups strongly advised.

However, my upgrade experience was absolutely painless. I upgraded a total of three Accelsior cards. Use the usual static electricity precautions when handling any computer memory.

  • One 480GB Accelsior with one partition/volume.
  • A pair of 960GB Accelsior cards with two volumes including one RAID-0 stripe across the two cards and my boot volume on both cards (non-striped, but two volumes, one a clone of the other).

To my delight, after upgrading the RAID-0 pair of 960GB Accelsior cards to the E2 version, my Mac Pro booted up just like before and the RAID-0 volume was fully intact. Wow! As a bonus, I observed a small performance increase after the update (640 MB/sec vs 630MB/sec).

I did take care to reinstall each of the two modules in the same slot on the new card; it’s not clear if the position matters, but it seemed unwise to risk swapping module position, since the Accelsior card itself is internally a RAID-0 stripe (thus my RAID-0 striped volume is really a stripe of stripes).

Details follow below.

OWC Mercury Accelsior E2 PCIe SSD (with flash modules), and prior Accelsior (without flash modules)

About the image above

The Accelsior E2 is shown without the heat sink above; the CPU is visible inside the white square outline. Later, I transferred the heat sink (production models will already have the heat sink in place).

Shown above is the OWC Mercury Accelsior E2 PCIe SSD with 2 X 240GB flash modules installed (480GB version). The dual eSATA ports are visible at left. Above it is the original Accelsior from which the flash modules were removed.

Blazing-fast PCIe storage for Mac Pro Tower

The module swap process

Swapping the was easy:

  1. Remove the PCIe card from the computer.
  2. Gently pry up the flash modules from the original card (release them from the small white plastic retaining pins).
  3. Insert the flash modules into the new card and gently snap into place onto the small plastic pins.
  4. Reinstall the card into the computer.

Each card takes under ten minutes, including the time to open up the Mac Pro and remove the card, perform the upgrade and reinstall in the Mac Pro.

Perfect data integrity

For the 480GB Accelsior and the pair of RAID-0 striped Accelsiors, I used the command line version of IntegrityChecker to verify perfect data integrity before and after the swap.

The RAID-0 stripe of the two Accelsiors delivered a satisfying 1128 MB/sec over the 337 GB data set. That’s real-world multi-core computing with 400% CPU usage while doing 1128MB/sec! (IntegrityChecker is so multi-threading efficient that it can use several GB/sec of bandwidth on a 12-core Mac Pro).

diglloyd:~ lloyd$ ic verify Scratch
IntegrityChecker(tm) v1.2 64-bit, diglloydTools 2.2.0, 2012-12-15 18:05
Copyright 2006-2012 DIGLLOYD INC. All Rights Reserved
Use of this software requires a license. See http://macperformanceguide.com/Software-License.html
OS X 10.8.3, 24 CPU cores, 81920MB memory
Friday, April 5, 2013 10:19:41 PM Pacific Daylight Time
ic verify Scratch
Using threads = 6, read buffer size = 4096K, num buffers = 36
Looking for files in "/Volumes/Scratch"...
1000...2000...3000...4000...5000...6000...7000...8000...8391 files found in 0.20 seconds.
Reading hash data from 2241 .ic files...100...200...300...400...500...600...700...800...
900...1000...1100...1200...1300...1400...1500...1600...1700...1800...1900...2000...
2100...2200...2238 hash-data files read in 0.52 seconds.
Selecting files for hashing...
Preparing to hash 6127 files...
Files prepared, hashing 6127 files...
0%:      3 files @ 0.2MB/sec, processed 256.1K
1%:    243 files @ 1099.7MB/sec, processed 2.34GB
1%:    249 files @ 837.4MB/sec, processed 3.28GB
2%:    351 files @ 1098.9MB/sec, processed 5.37GB
.
.
.
99%:   6119 files @ 1131.4MB/sec, processed 335.9GB
100%:   6122 files @ 1131.7MB/sec, processed 337.6GB
Finished reading 6127 files of 6127
100%:   6127 files @ 1128.0MB/sec, processed 337.6GB
Processed 337.6GB in 306.5 seconds @ 1128.0MB/sec
...
============================================================
ic verify Scratch (summary)
Friday, April 5, 2013 10:24:49 PM Pacific Daylight Time
============================================================
# Files with stored hash: 6127
# Files missing: 0
# Files hashed: 6127
# Files without hashes: 13
# Files whose size has changed: 0
# Files whose date changed: 1
# Files whose content changed (same size): 0
# Suspicious files: 0
Blazing-fast PCIe storage for Mac Pro Tower

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