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OWC Mercury Electra MAX 6G 2TB SATA III SSD Review

OWC Mercury Electra MAX 6G 2TB SATA III SSD Review
Looking to service Mac users that need a high capacity SSD, OWC has launched their brand new 2TB Mercury Electra MAX 6G SATA III SSD.
By: Jon Coulter | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Apr 22, 2016 1:16 pm
TweakTown Rating: 50%Manufacturer: OWC

Introduction

 

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Other World Computing (OWC) has been providing quality hardware products and support to the computer industry since 1988. OWC is THE go to e-commerce portal for upgrading, enhancing, or purchasing Apple products. OWC caters to media creation professionals, which is a niche area where Mac's have a substantial presence. OWC storage products are designed and assembled in the USA. OWC is very proud that their Woodstock, IL corporate headquarters is the first technology manufacturer/distributor site in the U.S. to become 100% on-site wind powered.

 

 

As resolutions have increased to 1080p and now 4K content, the need for ultra-high performance, high capacity storage is hitting a fever pitch. Samsung was first to respond to this need with their 2TB 850 Pro and EVO SATA III SSDs. Now, OWC is looking to tap into this market by catering to Mac-based media professionals and everyday Mac users who are looking for more capacity from an SSD that is built by an Apple certified developer.

 

OWC states that their Mercury Electra MAX 6G 2TB is designed for Mac first. The Mercury Electra MAX 6G 2TB SSD undergoes OWC's rigorous 7-Stage testing procedure including 100% burn-in testing to assure dependability. Just to be clear; OWC SSDs are Mac first, but they are also fully PC compatible.

 

While at CES earlier this year, we caught a glimpse of an interesting prototype drive configuration. This design featured dual SM2246EN controllers bridged by a RAID controller chip to create a 2TB 2.5"x7mm SATA III SSD. This design was one of those that had us asking ourselves, "WHY?" Why would anyone pursue this path to more capacity?

 

This configuration didn't offer any performance advantage; in fact, the numbers we saw displayed a performance disadvantage in comparison a standard SM2246EN controlled SSD. Also, the onboard RAID controller likely meant there would be no TRIM support. As we see it, if you are giving up a significant amount of performance and TRIM support for capacity, then that additional capacity is not worth it.

 

Today, we are going to get a chance to see firsthand if our initial thoughts on a dual controlled SM2246EN SSD were correct or not, because the OWC Mercury Electra MAX 6G 2TB SSD turns out to be a similar configuration.

 

 

Specifications

 

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The OWC Mercury Electra MAX 6G 2TB SSD is currently selling for $599 direct from MacSales.com. Sequential read/write performance is listed as up to 490/471 MB/s. Random 4K read/write performance is listed at up to 60,000 IOPS. OWC backs the drive with a limited three-year warranty, and no TBW is given or implied.

 

OWC states on the spec sheet that the NAND utilized is "Tier 1 Major Multi-Level Cell (MLC) High-Performance Sync-NAND Flash." However, on OWC's website, we also found a reference to the NAND utilized as "premium-quality tier-1 async NAND." The keyword here is "async" meaning lower performing asynchronous NAND.

 

Judging by the performance specifications listed, we believe the NAND flash utilized is 16nm Micron asynchronous. Power consumption is listed as less than 2.0W active, 0.7W idle. TRIM is not supported, and although not listed, neither is secure erase. Capacity breaks down as follows: 1920GB useable capacity, Total Flash Memory Components - 2048GB, 128GB allocated to real-time data redundancy and error correction. Formatted capacity in Windows is 1788 GiB.

 

OWC states the following: "With exceptional wear-leveling and block management, gold-standard compression and data distribution, best-in-class error correction, intelligent recycling, and requiring no external TRIM support, the 2TB Mercury Electra MAX 6G SSD delivers incredible performance and dependability." We see this as OWC's explanation of why this drive does not need TRIM functionality. We, however, do not agree. TRIM functionality is so important that it is built-in to modern operating systems.

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