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OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 240GB SSD Review – 500MB/s Sets The New Standard

Perhaps one of 2011’s most memorable technology accolades will be the introduction of SATA 6Gbps to the computing environment and the flurry of activity as companies jump in feet first to stay abreast of the change.

In the SSD world, early entries were seen by Crucial and Intel with their Marvell 9174 controllers while the SandForce SF-2200 series was seen in products of OCZ and OWC who were first out of the gate.

There was a bit of confusion initially, as SandForce itself boasted of its parallel 500MB/s read and write speeds while the consumer was seeing lower from initial offerings not understanding that our movement to 25nm NAND create new barriers in write performance of these drives. Simply reaching the parallel read/write speeds of SandForces specifications isn’t cost effective to the manufacturer with respect to the cost of 25nm now in use which is why we will see lower write performance specifications with lower capacity SSDs.

Our review today is going to examine the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 240 GB SSD and falls on the heels of our report a few weeks back of the OWC 6G 120GB version as well as that of the OCZ a few weeks before that.

INTRODUCTION

The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 240 GB SSD is now available from Other World Computing for $579 and carries a 3 year limited warranty. Its specifications boast a high of 559MB/s high sequential read and 527MB/s write with 60,000 IOPS. Also described on the specs are the SATA 2 results which speak to 284MB/s read and 266MB/s write which are excellent considering that, with our move to the newer SATA 3 SSDs, many have discovered that some 6Gbps SSDs actually have lower performance results in SATA 2 systems than their 3Gbps predecessors.

The exterior packaging of the 6G was a pleasant surprise in considerations of how companies packaged them just a short time ago. Considering we have seen solid state drives run over, dropped from tall buildings, used as a hockey puck, and even taped to land rockets cutting the desert air, the initial packaging in large well cushioned cases was rather amazing. Even better yet was the fact that this wasn’t a one piece molded case where we risked cutting our hand off to get to the drive; just break the seal and separated the plastic easily.

MANUFACTURERS LISTED SPECIFICATIONS

  • Form Factor – 2.5″ SSD
  • Interface – SATA 6Gb/s, 3Gb/s & 1.5Gb/s supported, SATA 3.0 Compliant
  • Capacity – 240GB useable capacity
  • Total Flash Memory Components – 256G (16GB allocated to real-time data redundancy & error correction)
  • Formatted Capacity – 223GiB
  • NAND – Synchronous Tier 1/Grade A 2X-nm NAND Flash Storage
  • Controller – SandForce 2281 Series Processor with 7% Over Provisioning and Release Candidate (RC) firmware set
  • SMART Attributes – Standard
  • Manufacturer Model Number – OWCSSDMX6G240
  • RoHS Compliant – Yes
  • Format – Unformatted (Instructions on formatting here)
PERFORMANCE

  • Sustained – Reads 6Gb/s – 559MB/s
  • Sustained – Writes 6Gb/s -527MB/s
  • Sustained – Reads 3Gb/s – 284MB/s
  • Sustained – Writes 3Gb/s – 266MB/s
  • Random 4K Read- Up to 60,000 IOPS
  • Random 4K Write – Up to 60,000 IOPS
  • Read Latency – less than 0.1ms
  • Write Latency – less than 0.1ms

POWER

  • Active – Less than 3000mW (3.0W) expected maximum draw
  • Idle -Less than 1200mW (1.2W)
ENVIRONMENTAL (OPERATING)

  • Temperature (°F) – 32°F to 158°F
  • Temperature (°C) – 0°C to 70°C
ENVIRONMENTAL (NON-OPERATING)

  • Temperature (°F) – 67°F to 302°F
  • Temperature (°C) – 55°C to 150°C

RELIABILITY

  • Data Reliability – ECC Recovery: Up to 55 bytes correctable per 512-byte sector
  • Security – Chip Based Data Encryption: 256-bit & 128-bit AES-compliant
  • TRIM Support – OS Dependent
  • Nonrecoverable Read Errors – Less than 1 sector per 1016 bits read
  • Warranty – 3 Year OWC Warranty

Pg1 – INTRODUCTION

PG2 – INTERIOR COMPONENTS AND TEST METHODOLOGY

PG3 – ATTO DISK BENCHMARK SATA 3 SSD COMPARISON

PG4 – CRYSTAL DISKMARK SATA 3 SSD COMPARISON

PG5 – AS SSD BENCHMARK AND VERTEX 3 SIMILARITIES

PG6 – HDTUNE PRO TESTING

PG7 – PCMARK VANTAGE SATA 3 SSD COMPARISON AND FINAL THOUGHTS

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