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Severe Duty: OWC Extreme Pro vs Intel 160GB G2

Last updated 2010-05-27 - Send Feedback
Related: Other World Computing, RAID, RAID-0, SSD, storage

Please see the previous page for details on this test.

OWC Mercury Pro 240GB SSD

The 240GB Mercury Pro is a new model (May 2010), very similar to the 200GB Mercury Pro RE.

The main difference is 28% over-provisioning for the Pro RE model, and 7% over-provisioning for the Pro model, the idea being that intensive RAID use under 24 X 7 heavy duty applications deserves more set-aside for error correction and bad blocks.

For the vast majority of users with a single SSD, 7% over-provisioning is ample, yielding 20% more usable capacity at a slightly lower price. Remember, 7% over-provisioning is 7% more than most SSDs.

Mercury Pro : 120 / 240 / 480GB, 7% over-provisioning
Mercury Pro RE: 100 / 200 / 400GB, 28% over-provisioning (enterprise use, and for RAID-0)

OWC does not support or warrant the 7% Pro model for RAID-0 striping use, taking a very conservative and commendable stance, though you can use it in RAID at your own discretion.

More on all models of the OWC Mercury Pro. Either the Pro or the Pro RE models are great choice for the MPG Pro Workstation or MPG Pro Laptop, depending on workload and/or whether RAID-0 striping is used.

Intel 160GB 2nd Generation (“G2”) SSD

This unit is Intel’s second generation product, with improved algorithms for maintaining performance. Its maximum performance is well below that of the OWC Mercury Pro, especially for writes.

Test results

The graph tells it all at a glance: the red and green lines at the top are the OWC Mercury Pro.

The Intel 160GB G2

The Intel 160GB G2 performed better than I expected it to: it did not degrade horribly as did the Crucial offerings. its behavior is a huge improvement over the pathological behavior of the first generation units.

However, the Intel G2 develops some severe write performance dropouts right down to 10MB/sec as seen in the orange lines in the graph below. This makes it unsuitable for use where consistent write performance is needed. Its read speed remained high, and read speed matters more than write speed for many (but not all) usage scenarios.

The 240GB OWC Mercury Pro was unfazed, running at astonishingly high speeds for reads and writes. An amazing performance. Its performance marks an important milestone with solid state drives, that of consistent performance under heavy use, and OWC deserves huge credit for bringing this high quality product to market.

The OWC Mercury Pro is so fast, that it’s right at the limits of the SATA bus for reads, and only a tad slower for writes.

Intel 160GB G2 average write /  read speed:    93.6 / 215.6 MB/sec
OWC Mercury Pro average write / read speed:   258.9 / 269.8 MB/sec
Speed across the volume
Top red (write) and green (read) lines are OWC Mercury Pro 240GB
Blue (read) and orange (write) lines are the Intel 160GB G2 read/write

*Crucial and RealSSD are trademarks of Crucial

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