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OWC announces Mercury Aura Express 6G SSDs for MBAs

The SSD lineup offers 2011 MacBook Air owners up to 507MB/s read, 454MB/s write, 256-bit AES encryption and up to 240GB of space, all for $599

Other World Computing (OWC), a component supplier that specializes in Apple products, has made available dedicated SSDs designed to replace existing factory SSDs in the 2010-2011 lineup of MacBook Airs.

Called the Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G, the new NAND drive incorporates a SandForce 2281 controller, supports SATA III speeds for up to 6Gb/s (2011 MBAs only) and is AES-compliant for 256-bit data encryption. According to the manufacturer, the drive is “the industry’s first 6G SSD upgrade for the 2011 Apple MacBook Air 11.1” and 13.3” models.” Overall, the listed maximum sustained read and write speeds are at 507MB/s and 454MB/s, respectively, which AnandTech mentions is around 2x as fast as the Samsung SSDs currently found in many of the new MBA models.

The new Express 6G lineup succeeds the original Express lineup, which lacks 256-bit data encryption and has been built to take advantage of SATA II speeds at the most.

The OWC SSDs can now be bought online, but be prepared to pay a bit more compared to other common notebook-sized SSDs. The 120GB model currently retails for $349, while the 240GB model runs for an even heftier $599. The premium price may be worth upgrading for users constantly running disk-intensive tasks and could use the additional capacity, but is likely not worth the purchase for regular users running everyday tasks.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-09-17 (Update: 2012-05-26)