Just a few months ago we had our first look at OWC’s Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G line of SSDs featuring the relatively new SandForce SF-2200. That was the 120 GB version which compared very well against the other 120 GB SATA III based drives we’ve tested. Other World Computing (OWC) was kind enough to send us over the 240 GB middle brother in the triumvirate of performance SSDs with the 480 GB version being top dog in terms of capacity. We were duly impressed with the performance of the 120 GB drive as OWC is not exactly a big player in the SSD market. As such, it didn’t come as a big surprise that their 240GB was even more impressive when we put it through our battery of benchmarks and tests.
OWC is well known in the Mac community for offering a wide variety of products that are designed to work with Apple’s computers and the Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G line is no exception. With OS X Lion reportedly offering native TRIM, this may be a good time for Mac users who have been thinking about upgrading to an SSD to pull the trigger. They are currently available in 120 GB, 240 GB and 480 GB capacities, their prices have dropped a bit at $279.99, $549.99 and $1279.99 respectively. This is a positive change as the pricing was one area we had a concern about since many of the competitors pricing was a little lower. OWC is proud to point out that their drives are made in the USA and only use only “Tier 1/Grade A” NAND flash, a fact that can’t necessarily be said for all manufacturers, especially as you move to the more value oriented drives.
If you recall on our review of the 120 GB version we received, the firmware was a release candidate version and OWC had told us that the production firmware was being tweaked to improve performance in some areas – namely 4KB random read/writes. By the sticker on the back of the drive, we can see that indeed the production version of the firmware is locked and loaded. The exterior shell is a metallic royal blue which is easy on the eyes but I’m not a fan of the front sticker design which appears to make the effort to look like brushed aluminum but to my admittedly aging eyes almost has the appearance of a low quality printed sticker instead. That’s just my opinion and who cares about the sticker, right?
Enough about stickers and colors, let’s have a look at the good stuff…