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Other World Computing Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G 240GB ow is it that a company that’s been in business for nearly two and half decades and now makes some of the fastest consumer SSDs manages to fly under the radar of so many power users? Those of you already fa- miliar with Other World Computing (aka OWC) already know the answer. See, OWC, which is headquartered in Woodstock (Illinois, that is, not that Wood- stock) is one of the leading online Mac re- tailers. In fact, OWC’s URL is www.mac sales.com. Mac fanatics know that OWC is a veritable one-stop shop for all things Mac—software, accessories, component up- grades, etc. That said, even the PC faithful owe it to themselves to get acquainted with OWC; as we mentioned, OWC has an im- pressive line of solid-state drives. The Mer- cury EXTREME Pro 6G just happens to be one of the fastest SSDs we’ve ever tested. The cheetah’s out of the bag, as it were, but let’s take a closer look at what makes this animal so wickedly fast. SandForce’s SF-2200 controller, which needs no introduction at this point, is the Hemi under the Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G’s hood. The SF-2200 is the controller of choice for the vast majority of today’s cutting-edge enthusiast SSDs, so we’re not terribly surprised to see it here. The Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G is also outfitted with synchronous NAND flash, which gives it a nice boost when you’re dealing with data that’s already compressed. As you can see in the accompanying chart, the numbers speak for themselves, but a little additional context is worthwhile in the Mer- cury EXTREME Pro 6G’s case. OWC adver- tises 479MBps and 282MBps peak read and write speeds, respectively, with a workload of incompressible data. Over the years, we’ve all been conditioned to take numbers like this with a grain of salt, because most companies obtain their numbers in secret underground labs staffed with Albert Einstein clones. But H Benchmark Results look at our CrystalDiskMark and AS-SSD (which both test with incompressible data) results. Our sequential writes were between 87% and 95% of OWC’s reported results, and our sequential reads actually exceeded OWC’s numbers. In other words, believe every last word of the hype. The Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G’s per- formance alone makes it a legitimate con- tender, but OWC has a few more tricks up its sleeve. For starters, OWC lets you take this SSD for a 30-day spin around your own personal test track, and if you don’t like it, OWC will take it back and give you a full refund. Because we can’t imagine a sane person actually returning this drive, what type of warranty are we looking at, OWC? What’s that you say, five years? Why, thank you—you really are too kind. In a ridiculously crowded, unbelievably competitive SSD market, OWC stands out as one of the leaders. Keep a close eye on this company. We’re guessing the best- kept secret in solid-state storage won’t be a secret much longer. ¦ BY V INCE Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G 240GB $459.99 Other World Computing www.macsales.com C OGLEY Other World Computing 240GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G CrystalDiskMark 3.01* Sequential read 513.2 Sequential write 268.2 512KB read 477.1 512KB write 267.9 4K random read QD1 28.9 4K random write QD1 80.3 4K random read QD32 255.4 4K random write QD32 220.4 PCMark 7 Storage 5389 Windows Defender* 5.54 Photo import* 30.29 Video edit* 23.29 Windows Media Center* 8.25 Music add* 1.4 Application loading* 56.38 Gaming* 17.02 AS-SSD* Sequential read 503.86 Sequential write 246.45 4K read 17.48 4K write 64.5 4K-64Thrd read 248.16 4K-64Thrd write 203.29 *Results in MBps. Test system specs: Processor: Intel Core i7-3960X; Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-X79-UD3; GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 (2x, SLI); Memory: 8GB Kingston DDR3-2400; Storage: Kingston 240GB HyperX SSD Specs: Maximum read/write (compressible data): 559MBps/527MBps; Maximum read/write (incompressible data): 479MBps/282MBps; 4K random read/ write: 37MBps/98MBps; Five-year warranty 26 April 2012 / www.computerpoweruser.com