Of all the e-mail we receive, perhaps the most surprising are the number that are dedicated specifically to PCIe SSD Cards. Which has the most capacity? Will this work for such and such? Would you trust this for the long-term? What is the best bang for the buck? Questions with respect to PCIe SSDs continue to hit our inbox daily, so much so in fact, that we thought we might answer the most frequent question that we see. That is what we might select if we were to be looking at a consumer level PCIe SSD, bordering on enterprise, with great power yet at a great price. Quite frankly,the SSD that fits the bill here is definitely the OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2 PCIe SSD.
The OWC Mercury Accelsior line were first introduced by OWC way back in May of 2012 where it became the first upgradeable PCIe SSD to hit the streets. That SSD was the first to put two LSI SandForce SF-2281 flash processors to the test in RAID 0 and our testing resulted in speeds up to 749MB/s that broke the SATA barrier. Believe it or not, that SSD continues to have enormous success and, checking the OWC website at the time of this report, the Mercury Accelsior is available for the lowest we have seen it yet at $549, discounted $200 from its regular price. Quite frankly, that is a wicked price for this SSD.
In early 2013, OWC improved upon the success of their original design by adding dual eSATA ports for additional storage, up to 32 TB of additional storage for that fact. Much the same as the original release, OWC tried to hit key points that would ensure that this SSD stood above the rest. The first obstacle they were able to tackle was that of installation, something that can intimidate just about anyone. Good news for all was the fact that the Mercury Accelsior family is pretty much as plug and play as you can get; no driver installation is required. Simply plug the Mercury Accelsior into an empty PCIe X4 slot, reboot and that’s it.
Next up on deck was the fact that the Mercury Accelsior needed to be bootable for it to succeed and OWC seem to have done one better. The Mercury Accelsior takes only seconds to boot into the OS and working in just about any software provides an instant response. It will boot into Mac or PC’s without effort and compatibility also includes Linux. Top that with a 3 year warranty to boot (small play on words).
Performance of the OWC Mercury Accelsior PCIe SSD has been solid since its first release. Using ATTO, we are able to reach as high as 749MB/s and the steady increase of performance while file size increases is the mark of a solid SSD.
The tale of the tape for media professionals, however comes from the transfer of incompressible data. Our AS SSD testing displayed some great throughput and IOPS for the Accelsior_E2 we had on hand:
We were so impressed by these speeds that we thought we might do some media file transfer speed tests of our own. For our test, we placed a number of media files on the Accelsior and copied them from one folder to another:
If you think moving a 25.5GB folder in less than a minute and a half is fast, try keeping track of the time for a HD movie. It took us 6 tries before we trusted our own accuracy as it was so fast.
Checking out the OWC website, we can see prices at $159 for the Mercury Accelsior_E2 alone (without SSDs), $299 for the 120GB, $391 for the 240GB, $569 for the 480GB and $1029 for the 960GB and these are excellent prices especially considering all that has gone into this SSD. There is no question whatsoever why both versions of the OWC Mercury Accelsior earned our Editor’s Choice Award. These are amazing PCI Express SSDs.