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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 01 August 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD
Closer Look: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G
Features and Specifications
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
PCMark Vantage HDD Tests
OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G Conclusion

OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G Conclusion

IMPORTANT: 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 specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.OWC-Mercury-Extreme-Pro-6G-SSD-Corner.jpg

SandForce SSDs have taken the market by storm, which has helped companies like OWC expand their reach deep into the high-performance storage hardware segment. Not only are these SandForce-driven solid state drives extremely fast, but more importantly they're capable of SLC-level operational performance I/O and NAND durability. The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD builds from the powerful SandForce SF-2281 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. If you're price shopping, a quick stroll through our Storage Section reviews will reveal how other SSD options compare.

Our performance rating considers how effective the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G solid state drive performs in operations against direct competitor storage solutions. For reference, SandForce specifies the SF-2281 with 500 MB/s read and write, which OWC increases to a very specific 559 MB/s read and 527 write maximum speed for the OWCSSDMX6G120T model. In our storage benchmark tests, the 120GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G performed at this speed, and surpassed several other SATA-based SSD's. Our test results proved the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD was good for delivering 558/517 MBps peak read and writes speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark SSD speed tests. Everest Disk Benchmark produced 483/460 MBps.

The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD SSD sent to us for testing is advertised to deliver 60,000 maximum combined IOPS; although it is unclear what tools and configuration were used to produce this particular figure. Using a SandForce-provided configuration for our own Iometer operational performance tests, we used a queue depth of 32 outstanding I/O's per target that measured 72,890 combined IOPS performance... nearly 13,000 IOPS beyond what's promised. In this test, the formatted OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD outperformed several other SandForce SF-2200 products, and competed directly against the OCZ Vertex 3. In the 4K 32QD tests with AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark, the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G continued to surpass most other competing SSD storage solutions and kept pace with SandForce SF-2281 products.

Solid State Drives are low-visibility products: you see them just long enough to install and then they're forgotten. Not unlike their Hard Disk Drive counterparts, Solid State Drives are meant to put function before fashion. For most, anything above and beyond a simple metal shell is already more than what's expected in terms of the appearance. Keeping with their previous designs and offering a swift departure from the mundane black finish of other manufacturers, OWC uses a blue anodized aluminum finish of their eye-catching Mercury Extreme Pro 6G series. As solid state storage 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. This isn't the case yet, and a metal chassis suits SandForce SSDs nicely.

Construction is probably the strongest feature credited to any solid state product line, and the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 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 5-year product warranty, the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD 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.

As of August 2011, the following models and prices were available:

120GB (OWCSSDMX6G120T) $280 at MacSales.com
240GB (OWCSSDMX6G240T) $550 at MacSales.com
480GB (OWCSSDMX6G480) $1220 at MacSales.com

Based on the SandForce SF-2281 SSD processor, the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD solid state drive delivers native TRIM garbage collection and basic SMART support with impressive 558 MB/s read transfer speed and nearly 73,000 IOPS. 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 could last up to five times longer with less wear on NAND flash modules. While the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD has offered impressive performance rivaling the OCZ Vertex 3 and Patriot Wildfire series, price and warranty coverage are better with the Mercury Extreme Pro 6G. So far as we can find, Other World Computing is the only SSD company willing to offer a 5-year warranty on a second-generation SandForce storage products. That makes it the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD a worthwhile buy for both notebook and desktop computer users, and helps earn our Golden Tachometer Award.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

+ Outstanding 558/517 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
+ TCG OPAL security with 256-bit AES encryption
+ SandForce SF-2281 processor supports TRIM, SMART, and RAISE
+ DuraWrite technology extends NAND lifetime
+ Top-level enthusiast operational I/O performance
+ 5-Year OWC product warranty support
+ 120/240GB high-speed SSD storage capacities
+ Lightweight compact storage solution
+ Resistant to extreme shock impact
+ Low power consumption may extend battery life

Cons:

- Expensive enthusiast-level product
- Lacks drive adapter tray

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.75
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.50
  • Value: 7.50

Final Score: 9.05 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback below, or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.


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Comments 

 
# suggestionmanup85 2011-08-01 23:49
now im confuse if is better to buy this one or ocz vertex 3! any suggestion?
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# RE: suggestionOlin Coles 2011-08-02 08:01
Compare the prices and warranty between these two models, as everything else is nearly the same.
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# HG3fresc0 2011-08-09 01:01
What happened to HG3 drives?
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# RE: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD OWCSSDMX6Garklab 2011-08-09 21:46
I'm disappointed by several things in this review.
First, the comparison of a OWC 120GB drive to OCZ's 240GB drives.
In this class 240GB drives are always faster.

Second, by not testing (or mentioning) the OWC extreme6, you completely missed that it now uses a different Sandforce controller! It uses the 2282, and is (as of now) the only drive to do so.
From your SandForce SF-2000 Series SSD Processor Overview:
"High-IO consumer systems will be well suited for the flagship consumer SSD processor: SF-2282. The SandForce SD-2282 is virtually an eight-channel/sixteen lane enterprise drive with MLC NAND, and won't be produced in the same quantities as other controllers."

What a shame to miss such a useful and helpful opportunity.
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# RE: RE: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD OWCSSDMX6GOlin Coles 2011-08-09 21:51
Explain to me how I am to compare other products OWC chooses not to send us, and compare against capacities that aren't offered to us? You seem to know how this should be done better than we do, so please explain how to overcome these obstacles.

Had OWC offer other products or capacities, we'd use them. Besides, the difference would be less than 5% max.
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# RE: RE: RE: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD OWCSSDMX6Garklab 2011-08-10 04:53
Wow, I wasn't attacking, just explaining my disappointment as I have both drives.

As OWC seems to be a very customer friendly small shop, maybe you could just ask your contact?
This is a potential major difference in hardware, as your site had highlighted in your SandForce Processor Overview.
Kudos on even having that bye the way.
Hadn't seen that elsewhere, even the SandForce site.

I'm like many, who need experts to help find the differences.
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# RE: RE: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD OWCSSDMX6Garklab 2011-08-09 22:02
Opps...

I refer to the OWC 240GB and 480GB extreme6 drives with a "-T" part number as using the 2282 controller.

The OWC 120GB extreme6 drives with a "T" part number suffix still use the 2281, as you state in the review.

I should also mention that I have both a OCZ 120GB max IOPS, a OWC 120GB extreme6, and a pair of OWC 240 extreme6 drives.

I cloned my old HD (with Intel RST 10.6) onto all four drives and ran AS SSD benches, which I'll post later.
In brief OCZ 120 max IOPS was slowest, OWC 120GB extreme6 was quite a bit faster, and a OWC 240 extreme6 flat blew the others away.
Mind, this was just a quick test of just my drive set-up, but every thing was at least equal.
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# RE: RE: RE: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD OWCSSDMX6GOlin Coles 2011-08-09 22:07
Come on now. If you read any number of SSD review you should know that we ensure these drives are as apples-to-apples as possible, and that to test fairly each SSD must have NAND in the exact same condition (normally clean/SE) and benchmarked as secondary drives. A cursory test won't tell you very much on SSDs because the NAND condition changes performance so dramatically.
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# RE: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD OWCSSDMX6Garklab 2011-08-10 05:11
I never intended to infer that you didn't test fairly or well.
I just took the SSDs as shipped, cloned a HD and ran a canned test.

My results were:
OCZ 120GB Vertex 3 MI Overall = 356

OWC 120GB Mercury Extreme6 Overall = 373

OWC 240GB Mercury Extreme6 Overall = 489

Is that much of a difference that I might notice in doing video transcoding?
Thanks
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# RE: RE: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD OWCSSDMX6GOlin Coles 2011-08-10 07:16
Video transcoding is a very BAD test to compare storage devices. It depends primarily on CPU/RAM/GPU, and have almost no relative need for storage performance. If you want to run a test, try ATTO Disk Benchmark. It's free, and very easy to understand. You can even match to our test settings in a few clicks.
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