How is it that a company that’s been in business for nearly two and half decades and now makes some of the fastest consumer SSDs manages to fly under the radar of so many power users? Those of you already familiar with Other World Computing (aka OWC) already know the answer.
See, OWC, which is headquartered in Woodstock (Illinois, that is, not that Woodstock) is one of the leading online Mac retailers. In fact, OWC’s URL is www.mac sales.com. Mac fanatics know that OWC is a veritable one-stop shop for all things Mac—software, accessories, component upgrades, etc. That said, even the PC faithful owe it to themselves to get acquainted with OWC; as we mentioned, OWC has an impressive line of solid-state drives. The Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G just happens to be one of the fastest SSDs we’ve ever tested.
The cheetah’s out of the bag, as it were, but let’s take a closer look at what makes this animal so wickedly fast. SandForce’s SF-2200 controller, which needs no introduction at this point, is the Hemi under the Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G’s hood. The SF-2200 is the controller of choice for the vast majority of today’s cutting-edge enthusiast SSDs, so we’re not terribly surprised to see it here. The Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G is also outfitted with synchronous NAND flash, which gives it a nice boost when you’re dealing with data that’s already compressed.
As you can see in the accompanying chart, the numbers speak for themselves, but a little additional context is worthwhile in the Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G’s case. OWC advertises 479MBps and 282MBps peak read and write speeds, respectively, with a workload of incompressible data. Over the years, we’ve all been conditioned to take numbers like this with a grain of salt, because most companies obtain their numbers in secret underground labs staffed with Albert Einstein clones. But look at our CrystalDiskMark and AS-SSD (which both test with incompressible data) results. Our sequential writes were between 87% and 95% of OWC’s reported results, and our sequential reads actually exceeded OWC’s numbers. In other words, believe every last word of the hype.
The Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G’s performance alone makes it a legitimate contender, but OWC has a few more tricks up its sleeve. For starters, OWC lets you take this SSD for a 30-day spin around your own personal test track, and if you don’t like it, OWC will take it back and give you a full refund. Because we can’t imagine a sane person actually returning this drive,
what type of warranty are we looking at, OWC? What’s that you say, five years? Why, thank you—you really are too kind.
In a ridiculously crowded, unbelievably competitive SSD market, OWC stands out as one of the leaders. Keep a close eye on this company. We’re guessing the bestkept secret in solid-state storage won’t be a secret much longer.