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Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD

Last updated 2011-04-15 - Send Feedback
Related: MacBook, MacBook Pro, Other World Computing, SSD, storage

Please see the extensive review of the 2010 OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD line, which is based on the first-generation Sandforce controller and uses SATA II 3 Gbps.

The Mercury Extreme Pro 6G is one of the first of a new crop of SATA III 6 Gbps solid state drives providing nearly twice the performance of prior SATA II 3 Gbps drive.

Performance of SATA III 6 Gbps versus SATA II 3 Gbps

Gbps = gigabits per second.

Max real world throughput through the file system for a 3 Gbps SSD tops out at about 272 MB/sec, and about 510MB/sec for a 6 Gbsp SSD.

A 6 Gbps SSD is almost twice of a 3 Gbps SSD, but so many details come into play that this is not a realistic expectation; most programs cannot or do not require such high disk I/O speeds nor is the difference twice in all cases.

Any quality solid state drive (3G or 6G) eliminates key speed issues such as latency and seek time and requests per second. The 6G devices do offer higher requests per second, but this is irrelevant for many uses. And much of the time, the higher sustained transfer speed of a 6G SSD is just not used by many programs.

All that being said, the 2nd generation Sandforce controller in the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD is still a better choice, because it offers higher speeds with incompressible data than with the previous 3G 1st-generation controller.

Three Capacities Offered (as of April 2011)

The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G line offers 7% over provisioning for long term reliability (7% allocated to real-time data redundancy & error correction).

UPDATE: please check prices online at OWC — they have dropped considerably as of late 2014.

High performance design

According to OWC, all the capacities utilize a high performance design:

All OWC 60, 120, 240, and 480GB Mercury models as 16 channel design, and 40GB, 180GB, and 360GB capacities are 12-Channel design (all Mercury lines).

Power draw

Power draw is higher than the prior 3G models, though as the year progresses, it’s possible we’ll see lower power designs.

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Laptop use

Owners of the spiffy 2011 MacBook Pro (see my 24-page review) will find that the outstanding performance allows the 4-core CPU to spend the least amount of time possible waiting for disk I/O.

For my travel, the 240GB capacity is ample, so that’s what I’ll be stuffing into my MacBook Pro. Even the 120GB capacity is a good choice for many users, and the OWC Data Doubler or MPG Pro Laptop allow dual internal drives for even higher internal capacity.

A maxed-out MacBook Pro system for the demanding user:

* the 2nd internal MacBook Pro SATA port is 3 Gbps SATA II, but the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G should still perform at a higher level than the previous generation SSDs, due to its faster controller.

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