The OWC Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G 240 GB drive has 256 GB of NAND physically on board but after 7% overprovisioning and Windows taking its meager share, the user is left with 223GiB of available capacity which is pretty much what we’re seeing with nearly all drives in this size category. Plenty big for all but the most resource demanding users assuming media files are stored on a secondary platter drive as they can suck up some serious drive capacity.
The high performance SSD market is really heating up, as is the competition for your hard earned dollars. OWC, not especially renown for their SSD products, has put out a very nice line of drives with the Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSDs. As far as the 240 GB drive is concerned, overall performance was outstanding and we were a little surprised to see it to outperform (albeit slightly) the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS drive of the same capacity. Competition is good! Their prices for the 120 GB, 240 GB and 480 GB drives run $279.99, $549.99 and $1279.99 respectively and are right inline with the aforementioned Vertex 3 MI drives although the OWC drives are sold directly though OWC so there aren’t as many places to pick them up. This is a small consideration though. That’s a cost per usable GB around $2.46 which is a premium price but this is a premium drive with commensurate performance.
The SandForce SF-2200 controller does all the heavy lifting, pushing out listed reads of 559MB/s and writes of 527MB/s. This is almost exactly what we saw on the benchmarks in terms of max performance so OWC was true to their specifications. Not only does it have great performance but it comes with an very generous five year warranty. OWC only uses Tier 1/Grade A NAND flash in their drives and which are all proudly made in the USA so that might have something to do with the warranty and excellent performance.
So what else can we say other than this drive is a keeper and our hats are off to OWC for seemingly coming out of nowhere with such a solid offering. Fresh off of testing the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240 GB drive we felt others would have a tough time topping its performance but OWC came through with a drive that eked out better scores more often than not. The additional good news for you Mac users is that these are certified to work with Mac computers and with OS X Lion releasing soon and reported native TRIM support, opportunity is knocking at your door. However, if you only have SATA II ports, you may be better off with a SATA II based drive as it would simply be overkill to drop one of these in there.
Legit Bottom Line: OWC is going to garner a lot of attention if they keep putting out products like the 240 GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6g SSD as we found it to be the best overall performing SATA III drive we have tested to date. The bar is set – who will step up next?