Thursday , 24 April 2014
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OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G SSD Review – MBA Owners Get an Upgrade Storage Choice

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

Perhaps the thing that astounded us the most, with respect to the OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G 240GB SSD, was the fact that it’s performance of 91,273 IOPS was the highest we have ever achieved from a typical SSD.  A straightforward comparison against the stock Samsung Apple SM256E SSD shows that, although the Samsung may be faster when transferring incompressible data at high sequential levels, the OWC Aura Pro walked away with every other performance comparison thrown at it. Even comparing the Aura Pro to the Toshiba Apple TS128E SSD which is also ‘LSI SandForce Driven’, the Aura Pro had no problem showing its colors as the best performing SSD on the market for the 2012 MBA.

Pricing is also an important factor to consider and the OWC Aura Pro is available at prices of $167.99 (120GB), $224.99 (180GB), $319.99 (240GB) and $644.99 (480GB) at OWC.   If we look on the Apple website, it appears that upgrade prices may be reasonable as the difference when choosing a 128GB system rather than 64GB is only $100, 256GB rather than 128GB is $300 and 512GB over 256GB is $500. The most important thing to note here is that these prices only reflect prebuilt systems at the time of purchase.  So what if I need to upgrade my 256GB SSD to a 512GB SSD after the fact?

To get this answer, we spent over an hour on the phone with Apple directly and followed by two authorized Mac dealers and boy were we in for a shock!.  First off, the ONLY way to acquire a SSD upgrade is through the authorized dealer and ONLY if they conduct the migration.  This means you are paying, not only for the SSD and their switching the SSDs over, but also the complete OS migration that needs to take place and will take considerably more time.  To add to that, we could only find the price of the upgrade by supplying our system serial number and the price to move up to a 512GB SSD from a 256GB, as authorized by Apple, is $1100 for the SSD alone and not including the labor.  As if this wasn’t bad enough, your original SSD is retained and sent back to Apple!

To think that the 512GB upgrade alone will total roughly the same as a new 256GB MBA system purchase ($1529.99) once hardware cost, labor and taxes are factored in is unbelievable.  Apple shake your stem!

Last but not least, there are some companies that go a step further and OWC is one of them.  They are the only that we know of to have a 21 day ‘no questions asked’ return policy and that means that you get 100% of your money back if not completely satisfied.  This stands above the Aura’s standard three year warranty. Add to that the fact that each Aura Pro SSD includes pentalobe and torx screwdrivers that are necessary for hardware replacement and that they are available to assist in your MBA SSD migration and it is a win win all around.

Performance, price, warranty, no questions asked return policy and unbeatable customer service are something we see very seldom and definitely a business practice other SSD manufacturers should consider.  The OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G SSD has earned our Editor’s Choice Award for so much more than being the best MBA SSD available.

Watch for 2012 OWC Mercury Aura Pro prices at Amazon!

DISCUSSION THREAD

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+
  • renosablast

    “there have been times when I just wanted to introduce them to my 20 oz. straight claw rip hammer” — 20-oz. claw hammer = adjustment tool / 5-lb. sledge hammer = FINE adjustment tool

  • Cape Dave

    Those pentalobe screws turned me off big time. Les, I truly hope you have not gone over to the dark side :) I am back with Lenovo with their keyboard that is 3 times better than a flat key keyboard. Looking hard at the upcoming Carbon X1.

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

      Yes th X1 is very attractive. I have to admit that I do find myself using both the MBA and iPAD quite a bit, however, even though the mainstay of my work is on our main benches. Tempted to grab a Thunderbolt Display though….patience…

  • Cape Dave

    I use the iPhone and much less often the ipad. But I really do not consider them macs. I love them both. But the flat keys on the mac laptops compared to the beautiful new keyboard on the Lenovo’s is no contest for me. The coming soon Lenovo 430u is also very interesting. I will be selling my current X1 to get one of the new Lenovo’s. And then, of course, slap a nice 240gb SSD in it.

  • leonsk

    My new Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-DB51 has 128GB mSATA but I need larger one. Will this OWC fit? The UX31 SSD is also a “blade” type with one screw at the end eg. AnandTech 6/3/2012 teardown of the UX21A (looks like twin of the 31A). Really have a need for the larger mSATA.

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

      The OWC drive is made specifically for Macs. It will not work.

      • http://www.facebook.com/fmarchesano1 Francis Marchesano

        Are you certain? Have you tried this? I have been looking at the pinouts for this drive and it looks exactly the same (18-PINS). “Other” MB AIR drive, like the Toshiba, Samsung, etc. have (20-PINS) the outter (2-PINS) look as is they would prohibit the drive in being used in another NON-MB AIR system, but the OWC Aura PRO doesn’t have these (2) extra PINS (they act like blockers).

        Has anyone else tried installing this OWC Aura PRO SSD in an ASUS Zenbook MOBO? Please advise. Can’t find the SanDISK U100 or the ADATA XM11. Need help!

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

        The ONLY thing we can suggest is to follow the manufacturers compatibility listing.

  • artworks

    Hi How reliable are these ssd’s? amazon customer reviews were not good … poor quality after repeated replacements…not sure i want to take the risk.

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      We can only speak for our own experience and have one installed in one of our bench systems without any problem whatsoever.

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