OWC Mercury Electra MAX 3G 960GB SSD Review – Imagine a 1TB SSD in Your Notebook!

TEST BENCH AND PROTOCOL

Article-View1Our analysis today will be conducted with our Asus Z77 Premium Test Bench. Clicking on any pictures or benchmarks will bring up a more easily viewable high resolution image.

In testing, our main objective is to obtain results as pure and as accurate as possible and we want to ensure that no anomalies slip through. Simply put, we want to provide you with the absolute best results the tested hardware can provide.

Repetition in testing is standard and, if necessary, we may conduct specific tests in Windows 7 safe mode to ensure the OS has little to no influence on the end result.

In order to validate and confirm our findings, testing is supported by industry accepted benchmark programs. All results are displayed through capture of the actual benchmark for better understanding of the testing process by the reader.

Chassis

We would like to thank ASUS (P8Z77-V Premium), Intel (Core i7-3770K), Crucial (Ballistix), Corsair (H100) and Be Quiet (PSU/Fans) for supporting the build of our Z77 Premium Test Bench.

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software we will be using for todays analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal DiskMark, Anvil Storage Utilities and PCMark Vantage.  We rely on these as they each have a way of supporting one another yet, at the same time, adding a new performance benchmark to the total picture.  Much of the software is free and can be downloaded simply by clicking on the linked title.

SSD COMPRESSION AND TESTING FLUCTUATIONS

All SSDs are not created equal and many new SSD enthusiasts realize that when they test their new drive to confirm specifications and ensure all is in order. SandForce controlled SSDs, as in the OWC Mercury Electra MAX 960GB SSD we are testing today, use compression techniques in storage whereas many others do not. This creates a bit of confusion when enthusiasts test the drive with random data through benchmarking programs such as AS SSD and Crystal DiskMark. The results seem to be lower than the listed specifications.

The results actually present a false portrayal of the drives ability when compared to other drives such as Samsung, Crucial or Intel. It is for this reason that all of our comparison testing is done through PCMark Vantage. PCMark Vantage HDD Suite simply provides evaluation results based on transfer speeds reached through typical user patterns. Vantage provides a better testing medium, in that, it sees through the typical synthetic benchmarks and provides us with true to life results of the drive.

ATTO DISK BENCHMARK VER. 2.46

ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.

ATTO results of 250MB/s read and 243MB/s write are very close to listed specifications and ideal results for the overall configuration.  As well aware as I am that there are those who have become so fond of those SATA 3 speeds, none can can be had in a 1TB 2.5″ notebook form factor SSD.

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Zaxx
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Zaxx

$1100 based solely it’s size…can’t be performance, it’s sub par at best. I just don’t see this one selling very well. ~$1 a gig for sata2 performance with even slower 4ks…never could I pull that trigger.

GaLuburt
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GaLuburt

Awesome about time some one made a large capacity SSD drive for laptop and ultrabook users. we need capacity NOW! Ill be buying this. sure sata3 would be great but sata 2 is good enough for now. besides who is going to match that capacity and speed for less. not many if any at that price.

Anon
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Anon

OCZ Octane 1TB

alan1476
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alan1476

I need the space but I am almost getting those speeds with a much cheaper spinner.

Terri Carr
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Terri Carr

Where can I get both speed and capacity besides the OWC Mercury Electra? Not ready for a new laptop at this time. I do heavy video and photo editing. Thank you!

Trane Francks
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Trane Francks

The OWC is still a rarity when it comes to high capacity in a SATA 2 drive. I’ve got an Intel Series 320, which I like, but its maximum capacity is 600GB. Intel has a few SATA 3 800GB drives now, but they’re outside the consumer range and command a higher price/GB.

Dan Valentin
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Don’t like the idea of usind SATA II with SSDs.