OWC Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis Review – Imagine 800MB/s and 150,000 IOPS


So I guess we cheated a bit by throwing the Intel 910 Series 800GB PCIe SSD into the OWC Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis but, along with this, came a few realizations that we might not have realized prior.  We never would have imagined that we could simultaneously access four logical drives through the same cable unless we experienced it first hand and pushing upwards of 836MB/s and just under 150,000 IOPS just seemed to good to be true.  Actually, we were able to pull the IOPS up to 157,000 when we increased random read to 4K-QD128. This is coming from a single external storage source (for our purposes) utilizing a single data cable, albeit the Helios and Thunderbolt come together like fish in water.

It is actually a bit amusing to think that, at this moment, we can probably recognize the Helios with Intel 910 configuration as being the first of its kind in the world.  With a price tag of over $4000 for this specific configuration, that will most likely remain as such.

Examining the price of only the Mercury Helios without an included PCIe, we think that the price tag of $379 for a standalone might be rather high but, with such new technology comes a premium.  We have no doubt that the sheer performance capability of the Helios, along with potential storage capacity, will be a welcome purchase for many who need just that, a compact external source that can provide the characteristics of system performance. It is worth mentioning once again that storage is only a small piece of what the Helios is capable of.


Combining the OWC Mercury Helios with the Mercury Accelsior is also a given, especially when companies not only have the ability to achieve 960GB capacity right off, but also, can increase capacity gradually through replacement of the blade SSDs as needs increase. The other advantage to this is that this configuration is OWC born and bred and any future need for assistance or warranty falls in place with one of the best warranty programs in the industry.

The last consideration that we need to address is that this is presently only supported as a Mac solution and validation testing (other than this review of course) has not been completed for the PC environment or many PCIe cards.  As much as I would like to say that any PCIe card would work, I’d like to do some testing on cards such as the OCZ RevoDrive 3×2 that require initialization of drivers and their own separate BIOS on system boot.  For now, however, OWC has provided a list of approved configurations here to get things started.

Without a doubt, the OWC Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis is deserving of our Innovation Award!



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  1. blank

    800 GB/s or MB/s in the title?

  2. blank

    While prices remain high, Apple itself sells thunderbolt cables at $10 cheaper than the one you used: https://store.apple.com/us/product/MC913ZM/A/apple-thunderbolt-cable-20-m

  3. blank

    hi there be fun having quadrupple 800 mb/s ssd in a ps4 xbox 720 or wii u 2

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