Review: OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G 480GB SSD (Verdict: sick!)

OWC makes the fastest SSD on the planet for the MacBook Air and if you need to have the most performance possible, it's the only game in town.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

Back in February 2011 I called the OWC 3G Mercury Aura Pro Express Solid State Drive (SSD) upgrade for the 2010 MacBook Air the best upgrade that you can get because it bested the performance of the stock Apple SSD by a considerable margin and pushed data rates to over 275MB/second -- or up to 68 percent faster than the Apple OEM SSD.

This year OWC's outdone themselves. Again.

The 2011 MacBook Air comes with an unadvertised feature: support for the SATA 6 Gb/s interface -- which has twice the bandwidth of the 3 Gb/s SATA bus in the 2010 MacBook Air. This means that the 2011 MBA is capable of pushing data rates to over 500MB/s -- if you have the right SSD, that is. Apple basically hobbles the MacBook Air by shipping it with a SATA 3 Gb/s SSD.

OWC's 6G Mercury Aura Pro Express uses a screaming SandForce SF-2281 controller and Toshiba Toggle NAND and when combined with the 2011 MBA's SATA 6 Gb/s interface pushes 511 MB/s read speeds and 448 MB/s write speeds according to OWC's benchmarks.

All I can say is that the thing is fast. If you like benchmark porn, check out StorageReview.com which is loaded with the stuff. Here's a sample:

The 6G Merc from OWC fully leverages the 6G SSD bus and cranks data rates to over 500MB/s -- which is scorching fast. OWC's 6G SSD's were capped at 240GB in capacity until January when it released a 480GB model ($1129) which is simply the biggest and fastest SSD that you can put in the 2011 MacBook Air.

If you need raw drive speed and the capacity to store a hefty photo, video or music library the 6G Mercury Aura Pro Express is the only SSD to get.

Editorial standards