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OWC Mercury Extreme SSD's

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Last response: in Storage
February 1, 2010 1:39:18 AM

I ran across this OWC Mercury Extreme trying to narrow my search for a really fast and reliable SSD.

I have ordered the Patriot Convoy 3.5 IDE for my Cooler Master HAF 932.

I think I'm on the right path, just need a little advise. Intel, Kingston and OCZ are also a SSD's I have been looking at.


More about : owc mercury extreme ssd

February 1, 2010 2:06:12 AM

nice find - that OWC looks pretty interesting.

Not seen it for sale here in the UK yet though.

So will probably, all things looking as good as they do so far, go with the upcoming Crucial C300 which is similarly priced.
February 1, 2010 2:26:54 AM

The main reason I have been so patient in waiting to buy the SSD upgrade is reliability. It seems the market still has issues with the recycling of space. There is no doubt they are fast. The question is how long will they last. For this kind of $$$ I want want some assurance to their durability. I have a couple of Maxtor's from 1998/1999 w/Win XP on them banging away in an older PC. That's Durability! My new rig is AMD/NVIDIA Hybrid I built for 2010.
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February 1, 2010 9:15:23 AM

Tell you what, they ship to UK and atm have a special $1.99 shipping offer
That combined with import tax still leaves the price good enough for me :D 

You have any links to some good reviews ??

February 1, 2010 11:18:16 AM

seems good but
We compared our 100GB OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD against Industry Leading SSD's from Intel and Crucial. All drives tested in Mac Pro 2.93GHz Quad-Core with 8GB RAM. Faster times are better.
. Read and writes don't mean a lot for ssds, intel will dominate in access latency.
Read/Write Latency: >0.1 microseconds
0.1ns>0.1ms. Unless you do like photoshop and need the speed from transfering files to another harddrive this isn't as good as intel but still good
February 1, 2010 11:34:03 AM

I wasn't sure myself - so just looked up. Shared Info :) 

A microsecond (1 μs) is equal to 1000 nanoseconds or 1/1000 millisecond.

A nanosecond (1 ns) is equal to 1000 picoseconds or 1/1000 microsecond.

ms = millisecond
February 1, 2010 6:44:29 PM

OCZ will release the Vertex Pro 2 using the SandForce controller soon (SF-1200 consumer and SF-1500 Enterprise). It looks real good as well. Prices....Uggggg.
February 1, 2010 9:30:18 PM

The Crucial Real SSD C300 is faster and a Lot cheaper and due out a month sooner I think...

See this Anand Preview
a c 280 G Storage
February 1, 2010 11:31:05 PM

How much capacity do you need?
How much are you willing to pay for it?
How much do you value random or sequential speed?

Most SSD's in the mass market today are MLC based because they are more affordable.
SLC based cards are faster and have longer write longevity.
Compare the Intel X25-M with the X25-E.
The X25-E 64gb has a random write life expectancy of 2 petabytes. That is 10 with 15 zeroes after. In normal use, it will be obsolete long before it wears out.
I expect that the same can be said for the X25-M.
February 2, 2010 1:18:12 AM

Well, when you put it like that it makes it seem less of an issue for me. I know waiting around for the next best thing to get better, cheaper, more efficient will only keep me from enjoying the technology that I have available to me now.

My personal needs lean more towards random speeds. I definitely want to install Windows 7, Microsoft Office and a few other applications. The rest (Music, Movies, Games, etc...) will have to go on my Western Digital 1TB HDD. I found 2 more for $100 locally and thought I might have a good start on building a RAID.

Incidentally, I have ordered the Intel. I just wanted to make a decision and move on. It's hard to drop that kind of $$$ when my PC boots in 51s as is. Of course, I am enjoying the benefits of a fresh install.
a c 280 G Storage
February 2, 2010 2:27:52 AM

Let me assume you bought an intel X25-M gen2. Good choice; I love mine.
Excluding bios initialization, I think you will be looking at 15 seconds to boot.
Here is some unsolicited advice:

1) Update the ssd to have trim capability if it is not already there.
2) Set sata mode to AHCI in the bios before you load windows-7. You can't change it later without a windows reinstall. That will let windows-7 pass on the trim command to the ssd.
This will preclude chipset raid which is a superset of AHCI. The reason is that windows-7 includes trim capable sata drivers. For raid (or IDE) you will get the intel chipset drivers which do not currently support trim.
3) Windows-7 will determine that you have a ssd by it's speed and deactivate defrag. defrag is useless, and even harmful to longevity on a ssd.
It would not hurt to turn it off yourself anyway.

If you are considering raid-0 for performance, don't bother, it's value is overhyped, and isn't worth it.

If you are considering some form of protective raid such as raid-1, then defer those plans until you have implemented external backup first.
The value of raid-1 and it's variants like raid-5 for protecting data is that you can recover from a hard drive failure quickly.
It is for servers that can't afford any down time.
Recovery from a hard drive failure is just moments.
Fortunately hard drives do not fail often.
Mean time to failure is claimed to be on the order of 1,000,000 hours.(100 years)
Raid-1 does not protect you from other types of losses such as viruses,
software errors,raid controller failure, operator error, or fire...etc.
For that, you need EXTERNAL backup.
If you have external backup, and can afford some recovery time, then you don't need raid-1.

---good luck---
February 2, 2010 3:22:24 AM

Thank you for your time. The members here are friendly and knowledgeable. I like how you kick each other around and keep the disseminated information right on target. That's pretty cool in my book. No one seems to get bent out of shape (Too Much) over corrections.


a b G Storage
February 21, 2010 12:23:12 AM

Hello to all,
Just wanted to add a couple quick thoughts. First off I just received an OWC Mercury SSd (50gb) yesterday. Was like christmas again! Fired it up right away for some tests. SiSoft Sandra came up with 265mb reads/ 235 writes. Triple checked and was consistent. Then HD Tune Pro gave me consistent reads of 270'ish. ran the Random Access tests and got over 16,000 iops at .5 kb's and similar at 4 kb's. I was amazed and knew I had a winner. Then it happened. I ran write tests in hd tune + random access write tests and it fell flat on its face! Thought maybe error so tested and retested. Also checked known discs to compare prvious tests on them and turns out something is up with my OWC ssd. Reads are now 220's in sandra and 230's in hd tune. Writes are now 170's in sandra and 205's in hd tune. iops are now a little more than 6000. Now im disgusted that I may have jumped the gun here. Read a review from anandtech about thier OCZ Vertex 2 pro (which is scraped now) sample taking a dump after 2 weeks when researching last night. Also found out that early models including the vertex limited editions which are coming soon (200 gb on newegg now for $900) are hybrids. This means that they are using the sandforce 1500 controllers but with a 1200 firmware. WTF! These ba..ards shouldnt even be releasing this crap yet. I normally wait for tech to work the bugs out, before adopting but took a chance. Now I will return this POS and I guess let others be the guinea pigs. 15 % restock fee + shipping losses. Oh well, $60 loss is better than all the future hassles I guess. Too bad though I was going to buy a couple more for a raid 0 in the future. BTW whoever said that raid 0 isnt worth it has not experienced ssd's in raid 0! Or even reg hard discs for that matter as I get 500mb's reads + 350mb's writes with 4 seagate 500's! $59 apiece on sale x 4 = way faster than $400 worth of velociraptors ($200 x 2). I have 3 vertex 30's in raid 0 onboard with intel storage manager (be sure to enable write back) and I pushed reads over 600 mb's + writes upto 500 mb's. Tried 4 but ran into the boards/processors bottleneck at 650 mb's reads/writes, so returned it. Need dedicated raid card after 3 of these things! Just be good about imaging/backing up and it is well worth the time savings with larger files. Just wanted to warn some considering jumping at these new sandforce controllers. Im sure they will get firmware updates and heck, maybe I just got a bum drive. :pfff:  Good Luck.
a c 280 G Storage
February 21, 2010 1:11:25 AM

I initially had two intel X25-m 80gb g1 drives in raid-0. Primarily to get a single 160gb image. Synthetic benchmarks were impressive. I changed to a single gen2 X25-M 160gb to get the trim suport under windows-7 and found it to work at least as well, and perhaps even better. That is for a basic OS and browse workload.
For what it is worth, I found the same experience with hard drive raid-0. Your mileage may vary.

Go to at this link:
There are some specific applications that will benefit, but
gaming is not one of them. Even if you have an application which reads one input file sequentially, and writes
it out, you will perform about as well by putting the input on one drive, and the output on the other.
February 21, 2010 1:12:24 AM

That's too bad. The SandForce controllers looked good too. I did buy the Intel X25 SSD for now and glad I did. It would have been a huge mistake had I spent several hundreds of dollars on consumer testware. I will wait another generation or two before I drop the big $$$ for a large SSD. Thanks
February 21, 2010 11:17:48 PM

groberts101 said:
Hello to all,
Just wanted to add a couple quick thoughts. First off I just received an OWC Mercury SSd (50gb) yesterday. Was like christmas again! Fired it up right away for some tests. SiSoft Sandra came up with 265mb reads/ 235 writes. Triple checked and was consistent. ... Reads are now 220's in sandra and 230's in hd tune. Writes are now 170's in sandra and 205's in hd tune. iops are now a little more than 6000. Im sure they will get firmware updates and heck, maybe I just got a bum drive. :pfff:  Good Luck.

This sound exactly like the expected difference between "new drive" and "partially or fully filled drive". As the drive fills up the controller has to move data around to have completely empty blocks to erase. Read any of the articles explaining TRIM.

There are typically utilities that refresh the disk to "like new" state. Windows 7 trim support attempts to keep the drive continually in the "like new" state by telling the drive when data is no longer needed so the drive can lose data rather than move it when erasing blocks.
a b G Storage
February 26, 2010 5:01:03 AM

Hi again guys, Just wanted to explain a few more details on this OWC Mercury Extreme SSd problem. I thought this was the greatest drive initially. Tested in raw state, and got over 265 seq. reads/ 240 ish writes. On about the 6th test in HD Tune numbers took a major dive! Tried it on laptop as well as other pc since then and it progressively worsens. I have 3 vertex 30 gb raid 0 in pc and am familiar with ssd utilities and maintenance, tony trim, as clean, etc., etc. I have tried everything I can to bring speeds up and it gets worse every test and with each passing day. I could understand some drop with usage, OS install and all that. Now after running this drive for the week reads are 170+ and writes are 120+ ? Obviously this thing has some issues! Iops are almost a third of the original 16000+ 4kb tests. SiSoft Sandra ranked this unit almost higher than any other single SSD ever tested including all the slc stuff. Am working on resolution with OWC for replacement, but I am hesitant on going on that rollercoaster ride. If the unit works out I will do raid 0 config. If not I will return it, take my lumps and wait for sata 3 stuff to mature a little more and take advantage of raiding my onboard sata 3 ports. :bounce:  Take Care All, Greg
March 7, 2010 2:26:57 PM

You got yours pretty early, even before Anand!
Perhaps they weren't ready yet, OWC's new to this bigger playing field.

Anand's fairly impressed, but he recommends it only if you're happy to be an early adopter.
Although apparently pricing could be a bit better, then it would be serious competition for X25-M G2.
March 9, 2010 4:53:44 PM

Groberts, how's it going now?
Have they fixed your problems or are you still unhappy?

a b G Storage
March 11, 2010 5:41:44 PM

Hi Again Guys,
Just a final update for those interested. Where to begin. First off, after several emails + new suggested crystaldisk benches it was determined that I have an issue and unit was returned for exchange . OWC was very helpful and professional on the matter, and I got the vibe they are concerned for reputation and investment into these drives. After being told I would receive a new drive asap and shipped in the original 1 day order time, I received a call from Jose at tech support telling me they are going to hold off shipping (3-5 days) until they test ALL drives. Fine, credit my $229 not including shipping and we'll call it a day. Thanks anyways, now back to basics of only buying trusted name brands. Okay, now I'm still interested in this new sandforce stuff, so I go to Micro Center and they just received the new OCZ Vertex LE (Limited Edition) on the truck. I get a little compulsive and buy 2 thinking if I like them I will raid 0, if not have 30 day return option. $399 BTW. I get home and hop to it again. HD Tune, Atto, CrystalDisk, Si Soft Sandra, Etc. Reads = 255 / Writes = 215 on average. IOP's are excellent at almost 20,000 in 4 kb! A little disappointing with speeds but iops are great, so happy overall. Did not get to raid setup because it happened again! WTF is it my system here or what ? Reads dropped slightly at first and writes dropped to 170. Raw state tests here, so please no input on slowing with tests/filling drive etc. Try to format, Tony Trim, AS Cleaner, Blah, Blah, Blah. Nothing! Drive was reading at 170/writing 150 when I took them back. Now I don't claim to be highly expereinced with ssd's so take it all with a grain of salt, but I am finding these new sandforce controllers to be a hassle! Can't see how my testing is stressing them that much either, as all reviews for these products will push them much more. All I can say is that all (different brand) Indilinx controllers I have tested remained very consistent through testing and with OS installs with less than 15% degradation. Have now decided to just buy a small truckload of 30 gb vertex's and run raid 10. At $90 apiece with tax ( after sending everyone I know a rebate check ) I will eventually have 8 on my adaptec 5805 raid card (4 so far). 240 gb of speed for $720 is'nt bad gb/$ at all! Would have liked to wait for sata 3 stuff to mature alittle more, but evrythings always about product placement, so good luck finding SMALL affordable drives in that segment. My guess is they will only opt for midrange on up capacities in the performance ssd market. My feelings are this, buy what you can afford now and enjoy the technology today. We all know 2 or 3 years makes all the difference with computer tech. Eventually there will be alot of pci express ssd's and speeds will skyrocket. But in the meanwhile I will enjoy cloning and file transfers in mere seconds compared to minutes. When you transfer gb's in the same time it took to transfer mb's it makes for much better productivity and becomes alot more enjoyable to sit in front of a computer for work. And if you have a laptop with hdd, do yourself a big favor and exchange it for an ssd as this will be the biggest single improvement you could make. I have a $5000 Dell Precision Laptop and the ssd install took it to world class for $200 more! I have no doubt the sandforce stuff will mature nicely, but Indilinx is already there. Hope you all can learn from my mistakes of early adoption methods and have better luck. This will be my last post on this thread. Thanks to all who provided input. Greg
March 11, 2010 5:55:12 PM

Aw man why didnt you stick wiith OWC...
Wanted to see what they could do for you in the end! ;-)
a b G Storage
March 11, 2010 6:02:53 PM

Hey jalyst,
Just remembered I wanted to quickly comment on your previous post about anands review. I also read it after postsearching into my ssd problem. I had issue with the fact that OWC rates the 50 gb version at the same speed as the 100 gb model. Anands testing does not confirm that. Again with the advertising thing. I wish it was'nt so hard to weed through the hype and advertising bu----it. But hey, when suckers are'nt born everyday anymore, maybe it will stop paying off for the advertisers! Anyhow, hopefully point this raises a red flag with others as well and forces them to re-rate smaller version if needed. Nuff Said.
March 11, 2010 6:23:03 PM

smaller SSD's of the same architecture are never the same speed as the equivalent but larger SSD.

have fun w the vertex's...
im still prolly going to get a 50gb owc, but not in any rush, prolly another mth.
a b G Storage
March 12, 2010 2:31:15 PM

Hey again jalyst,

That is true of all previous controllers. But not supposed to be the case with sandforce's archetecture. OWC rates them exactly the same, which does not seem to be the reality and is misleading for buyers. Now I would think since you can fill a smaller drive quicker that would limit speeds more quickly on said drive, though sandforce sets alot of gb's aside ( they actually have 64 gb inside) to reduce the tendency. If you research the new drives w/ sandforce stuff you wont see the speed ratings change between models as you mentioned previous. As for the vertex's, you can not beat thier bang for buck atm. Also you should be aware your OWC drive is not going to be more than 45 gb installed compared to vertex's 29.8. If you consider the $90 price after rebate for the vertex ($110 before), you could have approx. 2.5 drives in raid with 75 gb compared to 45 gb at same OWC cost. And speed would be alot higher in a raid setup. Obviously you cant buy 1/2 of a drive, but just comparing gb and cost here. Thanks to great return policies from local venders and slight abuse of them, I have tested , tested and tested some more. Out of 4 big brands I arrived at the vertexs. Also worth noting they now have firmware 1.5 which is gc and trim, so raid or not you are covered (win 7). If you are waiting for a bit, I would suggest looking at Corsairs new faster Force ssd's which are not hybrids. If you do not know the hybrid deal, here's a quick overview. Sandforce has 2 controllers, 1200 and 1500. Vertex LE's are 1500 controllers with modified 1200 firmware. Not sure about OWC's as they were understandably tight lipped. I don't expect many of these hybrids to live long as manufacturers will be tuning thier own firmware for the chosen controller. Corsairs is 1200 with newer 1200 firmware tweaks. Now if companies using faster 1500 controllers cant meet corsairs speed with a slower 1200 controllers I would assume its all firmware related. Once sata 3 and usb 3.0 progress it will change again, but for now I would'nt experiment with new tech. Get matched components and I think you will be ahead of others for a bit. It's not that I'm against OWC or its products, as I would buy from them again. Just not a new product that they scurried to get into a hot market segment to make money asap. This is where bigger brands have the upper hand with huge budgets and reputations on the line. Not that they don't get a little greedy also, but don't want to deal with 10's of thousands in returns or issues, compared to OWC's hundreds or thousands. If you do go for it anyways, I would re-read anands review on the 50"s again and bite the bullet on the 100 instead. Hope you can appreciate the time taken to give input. Was sick of working anyhow. Anyways, good luck whatever you decide. Greg

BTW- Speeds for 30 gig vertexs in raid 0 raw.

Single (non-raid of course) = 210 r / 140 w
2 = 335 r / 225 w = $180
3 = 500 r / 350 w = $270
4 = 650 r / 485 w = $360
5 = 680 r / 600 w ( limited by Ich10r ) = $450
8 = waiting to purchase more for adaptec 5805 controller w/ raid 5 or 10, but if I had to guess 800+. Yeehaa!
If you consider the prices of pci-e raided ssd's you can see how $720 for 240 gb with faster speeds is not bad.
March 12, 2010 2:34:38 PM

Pretty sure that is the case with sandforce, but I'll review Anand's article.
I'd say OWC have just got their rating slightly incorrect, no doubt it'll be fixed.

Yeah there's no hiding that the OWC far from best $/GB.
Where it's handy is for OS + core apps...
So long as 45GB is enough space, & RAID is not an interest.
Then it's good value, as it's the fastest consumer SSD atm.
For my intended use (HTPC/PVR) 45GB is plenty, & I have no interest in SSD RAIDs, yet.

I will investigate your other [sandforce] suggestions, as I'm not in a rush, one of them may be my choice.
Thank for your advice/thoughts, tis greatly appreciated!