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

By: Jon Coulter | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Apr 22, 2016 1:16 pm
TweakTown Rating: 50%Manufacturer: OWC

Moderate Workload Model


We categorize these tests as indicative of a moderate workload environment.


PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests


Version and / or Patch Used:


The reason we like PCMark Vantage is because the recorded traces are played back without system stops. What we see is the raw performance of the drive. This allows us to see a marked difference between scoring that other trace-based benchmarks do not exhibit. An example of a marked difference in scoring on the same drive would be empty vs. filled vs. steady state.


We run Vantage three ways. The first run is with the OS drive 75% full to simulate a lightly used OS volume filled with data to an amount we feel is common for most users. The second run is with the OS volume written into a "Steady State" utilizing SNIA's guidelines. Steady state testing simulates a drive's performance similar to that of a drive that been subjected to consumer workloads for extensive amounts of time. The third run is a Vantage HDD test with the test drive attached as an empty, lightly used secondary device.


OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used





OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State




Secondary Volume Empty - FOB




There's a big difference between an empty drive, one that's 75% full/used, and one that's in a steady state.




The important scores to pay attention to are "OS Volume Steady State" and "OS Volume 75% full." These two categories are most important because they are indicative of typical of consumer user states. When a drive is in a steady state, it means garbage collection is running at the same time it's reading/writing. This is exactly why we focus on steady state performance.


Initial real-world testing results are better for the Electra Max than what we saw from synthetic testing. However, when we look at the drive's steady-state performance, it's obvious that the drive's garbage collection is unable to keep up. We see a rather odd result in that the drive's 75% filled performance is better than its empty secondary performance. This is because the drive did not clean itself up even when cleaned with diskpart, formatted multiple times, and given an hour of idle time.



PCMark 7 - System Storage


Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4.0


We will look to Raw System Storage scoring for evaluation because it's done without system stops and, therefore, allows us to see significant scoring differences between drives.


OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used






The Electra Max can muster a score that is not entirely embarrassing, but in comparison to the rest of our test pool, the Electra Max is significantly overmatched.



PCMark 8 - Storage Bandwidth


Version and / or Patch Used: 2.4.304


We use PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.


OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used






PCMark 8 is the most intensive moderate workload simulation we run. With respect to moderate workloads, this test is what we consider the best indicator of a drive's performance.


Synthetic testing was not kind to the Electra Max, and neither is our moderate workload testing. 172 MB/s storage bandwidth is by far the lowest bandwidth we've ever recorded with this test.

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