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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 01 June 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE SSD SSDMXRE100
Features and Specifications
OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE SSD
SandForce SF-1200 SSD Controller
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
SSD vs Hard Disk Drive
OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE Conclusion

OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE Conclusion

Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating for the sample received which may differ from retail versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

Our performance rating considers how effective the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE SSD performs in operations against direct competitor SATA storage solutions. For reference, SandForce specifies the SF-1200 at 260 MB/s read and write, and Other World Computing increases performance expectations to 285 MB/s read and 275 write. In our benchmark tests, the 100GB OWC SSD performed at or above this rating. The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE SSD delivered 286/276 MBps peak read and writes speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark. Using Everest Disk Benchmark the Mercury Extreme Pro-RE produced 256/251 MBps in the linear tests, making this one of the fastest SATA-3GBps MLC SSD's Benchmark Reviews has ever tested. Operational performance was extremely good in Iometer, as SandForce SF-1222 based SSDs continue to outperform even SLC SSDs. Based on these results, enthusiasts can expect high operational speeds and functionality for demanding applications.

OWC-Mercury-Extreme-Pro-RE-Splash.jpg

Solid State Drives are low-visibility products: you see them just long enough to install and then they're forgotten. Like their Hard Disk Drive counterparts, Solid State Drives are meant to place function before fashion. Anything above and beyond a simple metal shell is already more than what's expected in terms of the appearance. Other World Computing has created an unique look with their Mercury SSD series, and the cool blue brushed aluminum metal chassis sets this storage product apart from the rest of the industry. As solid state controllers become faster and more advanced, heat dissipation through the enclosure walls may demand that chassis designs become more beneficial than they previously needed to be.

Construction is probably the strongest feature credited to any solid state product line, and the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE series is no exception. Solid State Drives are by nature immune to most abuses because of their architecture and technology, but the hard metal shell adds a superfluous level of protection. Boasting an industry-leading five-year product warranty, the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE offers consumers the highest level of protection for their premium investment. If any Mercury (RE) storage product does happen to fail during the 5-year warranty period, end-users can take advantage of free tech support by calling 1-800-275-4576 in North America, or 815-338-8685 Internationally. Additionally, an advance ship option is offered for failed SSDs within the first 30-days from date of purchase.

Other World Computing offers a firmware update page, and several tech support resources on their website. These resources include: live chat, tutorial videos, several performance tips, and a FAQ. The customer resources OWC offers for free are more robust than nearly every other SSD manufacturer, further adding to the product's value.

Benchmark Reviews has tested the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE SSD against many of its closest competitors, and the performance results were impressive. In fact, the Mercury Extreme Pro-RE outperformed several other SandForce-based SSDs in a few tests. High-performance enthusiasts will enjoy the a noteworthy 0.16 ms response time, which assures a nearly-instant reactions when called upon. Based on the SATA-3.0 SandForce SF-1222TA3-SBH processor, the Mercury Extreme Pro RE-series delivers native TRIM garbage collection (in Windows 7) and SMART support with impressive transfer speeds. More importantly, SandForce DuraClass technology adds their proprietary RAISE and DuraWrite features not available to other SSDs, and the end result is a product that lasts up to five times longer with less wear on NAND flash modules due to 28% over-provisioning.

As you might expect, Other World Computing sells their OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE directly for the macsales.com website. As of June 2010, OWC SandForce-based SSDs are sold at a lower price than most other SandForce-driven SSDs. The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE is available in four capacities:

  • 50GB model OWCSSDMXRE050 for $219.99
  • 100GB model OWCSSDMXRE100 for $399.99
  • 200GB model OWCSSDMXRE200 for $719.99
  • 400GB model OWCSSDMXRE400 for $1679.99

SandForce SSDs are taking the storage market by storm, which could help the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE dominate the high-performance PC hardware segment. Not only are SandForce-based Solid State Drives extremely fast, but more importantly they're capable of SLC-level operational performance I/O and durability. The Mercury Extreme Pro-RE series builds from the powerful SandForce SF-1222 solid state processor, which brings innovation to the SSD industry by prolonging MLC NAND flash module lifetime and delivering RAID-like data redundancy. When one SandForce product is physically identical to another, the overall value depends on price, warranty, and customer support. Perhaps we have Apple customers to thank for this, but Other World Computing ranks significantly higher than nearly all other manufacturers offering SandForce-based SSDs.

While the Mercury Extreme Pro-RE proved to be the best choice for combined speed and operational performance, new SSDs coming to market are expected to be compliant with 3rd-generation SATA 6Gb/s standards. The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE SSD produced 286/276 MBps read and write speeds fast enough push the envelope of second-generation SATA-3Gb/s performance. Like other brands, Other World Computing has made a wise decision to partner with SandForce, but unlike the others OWC delivers more on the back-end and the five-year warranty is second to none. SSDs still belong to the premium storage category for elite consumers, but after considering the warranty and after-sales support OWC's current retail price ($399) is competitive with other products sharing a similar design.

In summary, the Mercury Extreme Pro-RE has proven itself among the best SandForce-based SSD we've tested. The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE easily outperforms all other Multi-Layer Cell (MLC) SSDs, and competes head-on with Enterprise-level MLC storage solutions. Other World Computing offers a full-range of capacities, from 50-400GB, with their 200GB model offering the best price per gigabyte. For high-performance PC hardware enthusiasts and hardcore gamers, the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE represents an excellent total package.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

+ Outstanding 286/276 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
+ SandForce SF-1200 processor supports TRIM, SMART, and RAISE
+ DuraWrite technology extends NAND lifetime
+ Top-level enthusiast operational I/O performance
+ 5-Year OWC full product warranty
+ 50/100/200/400GB high-speed SSD storage capacity
+ AES-128 Automatic encryption and password data protection
+ Lightweight compact storage solution
+ Resistant to extreme shock impact
+ Low power consumption may extend battery life
+ Impressive customer support and technical library

Cons:

- Lacks integrated USB Mini-B data connection
- Not 3rd-Generation SATA-6.0 compliant

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.75
  • Appearance: 9.50
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.50
  • Value: 7.00

Final Score: 9.05 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

Comments? Questions? Benchmark Reviews appreciates constructive feedback, so leave your comment below are ask questions in our Discussion Forum.


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Comments 

 
# RE: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE SSD SSDMXRE100David Ramsey 2010-06-01 20:31
It's true that OWC has supported the Mac for many years; and it's also true that the very latest Snow Leopard operating system does not support TRIM. This is especially annoying when you consider that Apple was one of the first (if not the first) company to ship an SSD in their computer-- the original MacBook Air.
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# RE: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE SSD SSDMXRE100v_lestat 2010-06-02 02:57
not sure how you can say its one of the most affordable when clearly it is not.
the agility 2, Vertex 2 and, i might be wrong, but the corsair are all cheaper.

the mistake here being that it is sold on a MAC website, which, instantly means you will pay more for it, because it is pushed as a MAC product.

she's fast, or dear is she fast, but its not the cheaper of the SF-1200 controllers.
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# Apples and orangesJohn 2011-01-01 14:12
You are comparing to lower end drives. If you want a price comparison, you should compare to the Vertex 2 pro which is closer is specs, etc... If you compare to drives meeting similar specs you will find this is fairly attractive for entry level enterprise. The drives are you are comparing to will not last for high-abuse data server systems. Drop the RE from the product and you will get a lower cost model that closer compares.
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# ChiefGlitchJames Yafchak 2010-07-07 14:18
I?m exceedingly satisfied with my 60GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD drive. It replaced my 250GB MacBook HHD.

Boot up time is more then twice as fast as before. Prior boot up average 52.6 seconds. Boot up average now 22.1 seconds. Applications even faster !


AS of 7/05/10 23.79gb Used 35.89gb Free Total 59.68gb.
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# Grobius MalverannoGosmond 2010-07-19 13:39
I second that -- just installed the 60GB OWC Mercury Pro Extreme SSD in my Mac Mini 3,1 (late 2009), and am impressed with the overall improvement in real-world performance.

Boot time reduced by about 40 to 50%.
At start up, the 7 or 8 apps I have set to auto-launch ALL open together within one or two bounces. I never used auto-launch at login before because it used to be so slow.
Even apps like OpenOffice 3.2 and Filemaker Pro 11 launch within 1 or 2 dock bounces. Mail launches and is usable within .5 second of clicking on it. Paging through large PDFs in preview is smooth and almost seamless, as is Coverflow or iPhoto preview of large groups of photos or PDFs.

Best upgrade I've made to any computer I can ever recall owning; been using them since the Timex Sinclair 1000 in 1980.
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# Wrong PerceptionRebert 2011-09-21 02:58
through the years, What I know memory ram and cpu are the most important to open fast and load the windows...now i know it's the SSD !! Geez hw many years wasting time for memory and cpu ideology!
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