OWC has been around for quite a while and is usually on the ball when it comes to creating flash products for Mac systems. They have robust storage portfolio for any media creation workflow with products designed and manufactured in the USA. Back in 2012 they pushed the envelope by designing a dual PCB SATA SSD with a capacity of 1TB, while that isn’t that impressive anymore, it was quite a feat. Moving on in time and the introduction of Ultra HD (4K) video, media creators are now demanding higher capacity, high-speed storage. These users are willing to pay a premium for high capacity, high-speed storage because when working on large media projects, time is money. Samsung took note of this last year with the release of their 2TB 850 EVO and Pro models, however, OWC started to look into delivering an alternative. Today, we get to take a look at the fruits of their labor, a new 2TB SATA SSD competitor in the market, the OWC Mercury Electra MAX 6G.
SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY
The OWC Mercury Electra MAX 6G is a 7mm 2.5″ form factor SATA 6Gb/s SSD and is available in a capacity of 2TB. Current pricing puts it at $690. Read speeds are rated for up to 490MB/s and writes for up to 471MB/s. In terms of IOPS these SSDs can deliver up to 60K IOPS read/write. On top of this it holds a 3-year warranty.
Global wear leveling algorithms automatically distribute data evenly and manage program/erase count, maximizing SSD lifespan. Static Data Refresh technology manages free space, gradually refreshing data across the SSD over time, limiting data corruption. Hardware BCH ECC corrects errors up to 66-bit/1KB for superior data retention and drive life. Advanced security protocols support 128/256-bit-AES and TCG Opal full-disk encryption. Sadly, TRIM and Secure Erase are not supported due to its internal architectural design, which we will be going over next.
PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
The packaging is simplistic and follows the same color scheme as the SSD itself. Within the blister packaging, we can see the SSD, both front, and back. On top of the drive itself, we can see that OWC has also included a full-size 2.5mm spacer.
The SSD has a quality painted blue type finish. This is similar to their many other 2.5″ SATA SSDs. On the top is a label that states what the product is itself, while on the backside it lists more detail such as the serial number and actual capacity which is 1.92TB. 128 GB allocated to real-time data redundancy & error correction.
Looking at the overall design of the SSD one can see that this isn’t your standard component layout. What we see here are actually two SM2246EN controllers paired together in RAID 0 with a JMicron 562 Series RAID controller ship! However, because of this there is no support for TRIM or Secure Erasing. Therefore, after heavy workloads, this SSD’s speeds may end up degrading over time if its garbage collection algorithms aren’t able to keep up.
Another surprise is that the Mercury Electra 6G MAX simply utilizes 8 NAND chips in total for its nearly 2TB capacity! The NAND itself is stated to be synchronous MLC and it is overprovisioned by 7% to ensure high-speed transfers for most media workloads. Finally, we can see there are 4 DRAM chips as well. Each is 512MB in capacity for a total of 2GB cache.