OWC Aura 1TB PCIe SSD Review (mid-2013 & Later) – The Wait Is Over

WHY CHOOSE THE UPGRADE KIT?

There is a price increase of about $50 between the Aura SSD alone and the Upgrade Kit.  If your intentions are cloning/migration, or the transfer of data from the Apple SSD later on, the Upgrade Kit is a necessity.  The kit consists of a very well built aluminum external case matching the feel and color of the MBA, and this is of a very simplistic design.

OWC Aura PCIe SSD (mid-2012) External Case

The external adapter WILL NOT work with the included OWC Aura SSD and will only work with the Apple SSD, installation of the Apple SSD being very simple and only requiring a screw to secure the SSD, and two for security of the case.

OWC Aura PCIe SSD (mid-2012) Exterior Case with OEM SSDWe thought we might test USB 3 speeds of this device and obtained decent highs of 323MB/s read and 258MB/s write as shown here:

OWC Aura (mid-2013) PCIe SSD External Carrier Benchmark

OWC AURA PCIE SSD INSTALLATION

OWC has always had a particular strength in customer support and these efforts make installation of this SSD pretty much foolproof.  It is that easy and they even supply all needed tools with the complete upgrade kit.  Turn the MBA off, remove the base screws, remove and replace the SSD inside via a single screw,  replace the back, turn on while holding down ‘COMMAND + R’, format and re-install the system.  Complete instructions can be found here as well as instructions on cloning here.

Mid-2013 MBA Open2

Enough cannot be said with respect to the choice of a fresh installation of OS X vice cloning the system for an exact migration.  As easy as cloning should be, it has been a point of frustration for many.  We have fielded hundreds of pms and e-mails from people asking for help with migrations that have gone wrong, the vast majority having to do a fresh install at the end of the day.

 

OWC Aura PCIe 1TB SSD (mid-2012) In MBA

Apple makes it easy to complete a fresh install. All of your purchased software can simply be downloaded onto the system and re-installed through a single click in the App Store under the Purchased menu.  Data can simply be moved over.  Installing a ‘fresh’ system guarantees that your system is in top shape for the new Aura SSD that was just installed.  OWC even provides an easy to follow installation video:

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Gunnar Lindberg Årneby
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Finally! But … its also worth noting that you can get affordable original Samsung, Toshiba and SanDisk MBA compliant SSD sticks on AliExpress these days. 256GB for less than $400 including free shipping worldwide. 1TB approx $800. Or buy them in bulk at Alibaba for even better prices (taxes and customs not included though).

Les@TheSSDReview
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Yes that is true but, even on Alibaba the price for same capacity is higher and without the comfort of that support and warranty. Thanks!

James5mith
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James5mith

Still a bit wary of any drive that uses RAID0 internally.

LiveJoX
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LiveJoX

Exactly. If one drive or the controller fails, all is lost. Not good.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

We speak as if a RAID volume is something new…. lol. I wouldn’t hesitate to run any system with this, keeping in mind the same safeguarding of data as should be considered for any system.

In fact, it is the main drive of my MBA right now so I guess that speaks volumes in itself.

foljs
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foljs

Whether it’s new or old technology is irrelevant. The question, as the parent commenter put it, is whether this makes it doubly likely for the drive to go crap itself. > In fact, it is the main drive of my MBA right now so I guess that speaks volumes in itself. No, it doesn’t say anything to answer the question really. A drive with twice the error rate or half the self life as another can very well be the main drive to a laptop. That doesn’t change its shortcomings. Not does the fact that we should backup our stuff… Read more »

disqus_13eAbPMvnO
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disqus_13eAbPMvnO

Transend makes an SSD for my MBP 10,1 early 2013. So OWC is not the only player in town. I’d like to see a review of that drive on here as well.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Yes this is a 6,2 replacement which I am not aware of Transcend having out just yet. I could be wrong but haven’t seen it….hence the mid-2013 and later notation. We are always here to review all that comes along though! Tx!

mbpjedi
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mbpjedi

You mentioned 960GB formatted capacity but looking at the QuickBench images it says Volume Size 893GB which jives with OWC’s own stated spec of formatted capacity of 894GB. Which is it? And if it is the lower that’s a hefty hit of over 10%. 894GB of usable capacity for something marketed as a 1TB drive? That’s pushing it.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

There was an err in the report which has been amended and you are correct; it is 893GB formatted. I also understand your thoughts on this available volume being a bit short to advertise as a 1TB drive, however this is the industry norm and has been since SSDs were first released. I don’t think you can find a single report that we have ever done where the advertised capacity matches that of the final formatted volume. For the most part, advertised volumes follow the volume before formatting, and even follow that of the total RAW memory volume in many… Read more »

Humbert Medeiros
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Humbert Medeiros

You mentioned that Boot Camp is not supported for these drives yet OWC shows a Dual Boot Enabler for Apple Boot Camp on there site. Any explanation to this? I really need to have a dual boot system on my Mac.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

This was released after our report.