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First Test Results With OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G Solid State Drive (SSD)

OWC 6 Gbps/sec solid state drive (SSD)

Due to arrive for testing TODAY is the new OWC 120GB solid state drive (SSD), with a 6Gbps SATA III interface.

I’ll be testing this new unit in my 2011 MacBook Pro, which has a SATA III interface, and the 2010 Mac Pro, which does not.

The new OWC SSDs use the 2nd generation Sandforce controller, so in theory they should be faster than the prior generation even if used on the slower SATA II 3Gbps interface.

Three Capacities Offered

The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD line offers 7% over provisioning for long term reliability. No word as yet from OWC on 6G Extreme Pro RE RAID-ready models with ~28% over provisioning.

  • 120GB $319.99, expected to ship about April 15.
  • 240GB $579.99, expected to ship about April 22.

And around May 1st for the 480GB model:

  • 480GB $1799.99, expected to ship about April 25.

OWC also says: “any orders where price is reduced before we ship, the price will be adjusted to any new lower prior to invoice”. Read the OWC press release.

Performance

I installed the OWC 120GB Mercury Extreme Pro 6G in my 2011 MacBook Pro. It popped up immediately, I formatted (erased it), then proceeded to test. Good experience here, quite unlike the unusable Intel 510.

I then ran a fill-volume test using DiskTester, to gauge the speed across the drive capacity for writes and reads.

These speeds are real-world results using the Mac OS X file system APIs, which is what actual end-user programs will see (not theoretical nerd speed at the driver level, which is not what real programs realize).

Average write MB/sec: 477.6
Average read MB/sec: 455.3

These are never-before-seen single-drive speeds— awesome! Just yesterday, to get these speeds, I’d have to install two SSDs and use them as a RAID-0 stripe.

Reads do exhibit some brief dips in performance, but the average speed is phenomenal, and a perfect match to the new 2011 MacBook Pro 4-core CPU.

Update: see the April 13 results on the Mac Pro, which suggest that the read-speed dips might be due to the SATA port on the MacBook Pro or a flaky internal SATA cable (poor Apple OEM quality), not the drive itself.

Write and read speeds across entire capacity of OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD
(Disktester fill-volume test)
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