In 2010 we were introduced to Other World Computing (http://www.macsales.com), a reseller specializing in Macintosh products. At the time OWC was moving beyond that of a simple retail / e-tail outlet and venturing into manufacturing their own solid state product line. Over the last few years we've seen many companies manufacture their own SSDs; some have been established in the SSD market and others have been a one product wonder. You would think those with history in the SSD marketplace would be the first to market when a new controller becomes available, but OWC proved that theory wrong when they released the SandForce SF-1200 based Mercury Extreme right at the beginning of the product cycle. To show that OWC was serious about their solid state product line, they also priced the Mercury Extreme at a competitive point and even held the crown on and off in 2010 as the lowest priced SandForce SSD on the market.
It's now 2011 and we've started a new season for solid state drives. Take me out to the ball game; OWC is in the batter's box. OWC has kept their SandForce partnership and once again amazed us with their ability to get a product to market so quickly. To date only OCZ Technology has been able to sample us with a SandForce 2000 Series product and that was an engineering sample that can't use the same mass production firmware found in the retail drives. We've already covered the SandForce 2000 Series lineup in detail. For a full break down of what's to come, be sure to check out that article.
When the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G arrived I was fairly certain it was the first retail SandForce SF-2281 product we'd review, but unfortunately that line is blurred again this year. Upon closer inspection we found that the internals were very close to the final product, but not what you will be purchasing in the coming weeks. The firmware on the drive we are looking at today is also a pre-release (RC-1) version, but we did find it to be more refined than the Vertex 3 firmware. Before I start spilling the beans too quickly, let's take a look at the specifications and get into the testing results.