Other World Computing’s new Mercury Accelsior PCIe SSD is a new entry in the consumer/prosumer storage market and will be the first such device that is bootable in both PCs and Macs.
Composed of a half-height PCIe card with two MacBook Air-styled SandForce powered SSDs in RAID, the Accelsior is capable of SATA III speeds up to 780MB/s read and 648MB/s write.
The Accelsior is saddled with a pair of SF-2281 (or 2282) controlled SSDs in a special form factor. Each of the two individual “blade” SSDs range from 64GB to 512GB and are connected via a special mini PCIe-style slot. Those blade SSDs are strapped with 24nm Toggle NAND, similar to the kind seen in the Plextor M3 and and SanDisk Extreme. This should give the Accelsior a fighting chance when dealing with both compressible and incompressible data. In addition, 24nm Toggle NAND uses less power than it’s 32nm Toggle predecessor.
OWC’s new PCIe card needs a 2.0 compliant x4 slot for maximum speed and can be used in older systems using PCIe 1.0, however the user will pay a performance penalty.
There are not so many PCIe SSDs geared towards the consumers at the momentd this could change as SATA III becomes a limiting factor in bandwidth. There are three models currently available: a 120GB (2x64GB), a 480GB (2x256GB) and a 960GB (2x480GB). The 240GB model should be available next month and pricing starts at $400 and reaches a high just shy of $2200 for the 960GB. All versions should be able to handle around 4K 100,000 IOPS in addition to similar sequential performance. With a modular design, the Accelsior could later be upgraded by fitting in two new blades, though no specifics have been provided as to cost or availability.
The Mercury Accelsior comprises of to two SSDs controlled by a hardware RAID processor. This hardware acceleration of striping calculations (either RAID-0 for performance or RAID-1 for redundancy) pays other dividends too. Most notably, this makes OWC’s first PCIe product bootable in both Mac Pro desktops or PCs without any configuration, unlike many enterprise PCIe flash storage devices. More client and workstation focused storage solutions are often times used as the system drive, and therefore need to be bootable devices. This also helps escape the SATA II limit on older Mac and PC desktops since it bypasses the motherboard’s storage controller.