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OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G is proved to be faster than default Macbook Air SSDs

The OWC Mercury Aura Express 6G SSD is completely dominant over the existing SSDs provided with MacBook Air, leading to a great enhanced performance

Earlier we have reported about the latest Mercury Aura Express 6G SSD for the MacBook Air, which has been made available to replace the existing factory SSDs in the 2010-2011 line up of MacBook Air. Earlier MacBook equipped their Air models with Toshiba SSD’s and later they shifted with Samsung SSD.

But with this Other World Computing (OWC) SSD MacBook Air owners, if they chose to, can now experience the full performance capabilities of their Macbook’s. The OWC SSD comes each in two capacities of 120GB and 240GB.

2010 has the same story

OWC had also offered a SSD in late 2010 when for that year’s MacBook air that offered a SATA 3Gb/s interface. Even that model of SSD was reported to have proven its mettle by providing 40-70% speed enhancement over the Toshiba SSD, earlier equipped in the MacBook Air. But this 6G model seems to be providing a faster performance even over that 3G interface. The Express 6G is also reported to be 243% faster than the Samsung SSD and also 361% faster than the Apple stock Toshiba drive.

6G specs

According to the specifications provided for the Express 6G it has the Toshiba 3X-nm MLC NAND, SandForce 2281 Series Processor with 7% Over Provisioning, SATA 6Gb/s interface, an outstanding 507 MB/s read speed, 454 MB/s write speed, 4K Read Up to 60,000 IOPS, Random 4K Write Up to 60,000 IOPS and is provided with a 3 years of OWC Warranty. Power consumed by the device is said to be active less than 3000mW (3.0W) expected maximum draw and Idle Power Less than 1200mW (1.2W).

Only for Apple

OWC has engineered this SSD only for to match the Apple interface to make it a direct replacement for the stock drive. For this replacement they have also provided two screwdrivers, which will be required during the process. They have video and other supporting documents for helping out the users for replacement.

Storagereview likes it

According to a review by, Aura Pro uses an identical stick of gum design as of the Toshiba and Samsung SSD. The slim blue PCB is equipped with all the eight 32GB Toshiba TH58TAG8D2FBA89 NAND pieces along with the SandForce SF-2281 processor with thermal pad. The 240GB SSD has four NAND pieces on top and bottom sides while the 128GB SSD has four on the top and the bottom having a small thermal strip only.

They also have put a comparison of the OWC SSD with the Toshiba 128GB SSD and the Samsung 128GB SSD. While comparing them for sequential 2MB transfer of 4K blocks, the OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G  peaked at 499MB/s read and 448MB/s write, with repeating data which changed to 503MB/s read and 241MB/s write with fully-compressed random data. While the Samsung Peaked at 247.75MB/s read and 234.05MB/s write, and the Toshiba SSD had 223.40 MB/s read and 190.58MB/s write speed.

Again while comparing for 2MB random transfers with 4K blocks the OWC SSD was having quite the same speed as 502MB/s read and 448MB/s write while random data read speeds reduced to 493MB/s and write speed to 238MB/s. The Samsung SSD showed a speed of 233MB/s while reading and 237MB/s while writing. Toshiba SSD had a low speed in reading with merely 191MB/s and writing with just 60MB/s.

To check out on how the SSD’s perform with moving around tons of files they also checked for 4K random transfer. Even during this comparision OWC peaked 24MB/s read and about 75MB/s write while Samsung had 14.75MB/s read and 57MB/s write, and Toshiba had 19MB/s read and 33MB/s write speed.

Even while comparing for latency, the OWC Express 6G SSD led the pack with the lowest average latency - scoring 0.049ms with repeating data and 0.052ms with fully random data. The Samsung drive was next, measuring 0.068ms, with the Toshiba measuring 0.117ms.

They have lastly compared them in terms of the database, Web server, Workstation, and Fileserver scenarios. In all these comparisons the OWC SSD has almost the same dominating performance over the other two SSD’s.

Performance comparison

Other than these technical comparisons they have further compared these SSD’s with the level of performance, they will provide while performing real world applications such as HTPC, Productivity and Gaming.

The OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G powering through HTPC trace provided an average transfer speed of 412MB/s compared to just 170MB/s with the Samsung SSD or 113MB/s from the Toshiba.

Again comparing for productivity, the OWC Express 6G measured 327MB/s average compared to 157MB/s from the Samsung-powered SSD or just 69MB/s from the Toshiba SSD. In an average day-to-day usage profile the OWC SSD scored 3.75x faster over the others.

 For gaming conditions also it was at the leading end with an average speed of 457MB/s from the OWC SSD, up against 204MB/s from the Samsung model or 150MB/s from the Toshiba.

Final words

The OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G is really impressive with its high performance and leading in every comparison storagereview has made. So we can really say that this SSD is really a great boost in the MacBook Air notebooks, and the performance of the notebook with this SSD is seems really worth experiencing.


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Pallab Jyotee Hazarika, 2011-10-16 (Update: 2012-05-26)