Saturday , 25 October 2014
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OWC Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis Review – Imagine 800MB/s and 150,000 IOPS

Our report today is going to take a look at the OWC Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis and we guarantee that is unlike any you will ever see. In fact, we don’t know of many others who could even pull this off!

In this report, we will not only cover the Helios as it was shipped to us with a OWC Mercury Accelsior PCIe SSD installed, but also, could we pull off a review of the Helios with the Intel 910 Series 800GB PCIe SSD installed in the same chassis?

To start things off, lets make it abundantly clear that the OWC Mercury Helios is not ‘yet’ supported for PC use, but rather, intended for those ‘Mac and Cheese’ nuts.  In all fairness though, we pulled off two rounds of amazing testing with the Helios in a PC environment, one with the supplied OWC Mercury Accelsior PCIe SSD and then simply because we had the urge, we got this baby up and running with one of the top enterprise SSDs on the planet.  If you are in for a bit of reading, we have previously reviewed both the OWC Mercury Accelsior and Intel 910 and you are welcome to check both articles out.

OWC MERCURY HELIOS

The OWC Mercury Helios is is a Thunderbolt expansion chassis that takes advantage of the latest and greatest Thunderbolt technology. It allows the use of any half-length PCIe 2.0 SSD to provide a significant boost to your work in any number of different environmental configurations as shown in their compatibility chart.  For our purposes today ti will be SSD storage and performance testing.

Although Thunderbolt popularity right now seems to be complementing the Apple environment, transfer speeds simply couldn’t be ignored and the perfect example is through use of our Test Bench today, the Thunderbolt equipped Asus P8Z77-V Premium motherboard. The Helios is capable of up to 10Gb/s data transfer, uncompressed HD video capture as well as 10 Gigabit ethernet connectivity, contains a variable speed fan for cooling and the Helios powers on and off with your system.

The only visible components at all, in fact, are found on the back of the unit and consist of a 12v power outlet and two Thunderbolt ports. Jumping ahead just a bit, we were surprised to learn during testing that, unlike a simple SATA cable, a single Thunderbolt cable could provide access to several separate volumes simultaneously.  This was discovered when we initially powered up the Helios with the Intel 910 installed and four 186GB drives appeared. Reading up a bit on Thunderbolt, a single port could daisy chain up to seven Thunderbolt devices, two of which could be DisplayPorts.

The Mercury Helios is available at Other World Computing for $379.99 as a stand alone unit for $679, with a 120GB Mercury Accelsior installed for $799 240GB for $1079.99 and the 480GB variation for $1819.99 for the 960GB version.  If it helps at all, total price of the unit as we are testing today with the Intel 910 would be somewhere in the area of $4179.99. Lets get a peek inside…

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • Cedric Yau

    800 GB/s or MB/s in the title?

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Thanks…you know I have been working all weekend when…

    • james braselton

      yes scintest have 800 gb/s laser hard drive not releasing too puplic haveing a 800 gb/s laser hard drive in future game consoles be very fun

  • http://twitter.com/madduffy Colin Chen

    While prices remain high, Apple itself sells thunderbolt cables at $10 cheaper than the one you used: http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC913ZM/A/apple-thunderbolt-cable-20-m

  • james braselton

    hi there be fun having quadrupple 800 mb/s ssd in a ps4 xbox 720 or wii u 2

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