One Week with the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD

It is difficult to do a one-size-fits-all review of the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G. Without getting into a huge amount of technical minutia, which can actually be misleading will call this drive “middle of the road” in terms of performance.

Whether it is the right drive for you, or not depends on factors outlined next.

When I got this drive, I installed it in a few different notebooks, including my , my older HP G60, and a Dell Lattitude. I even gave it to a friend to use it in some special equipment. Each test brought pretty nice results. The OS would load about 10-20% faster (depending on the machine), the performance would improve (as best it could in an older machine), and I could get work done faster.

Pricing the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G

Based solely on the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (), among the different drive manufacturers, this one is a fair deal. Picking up one with a vendor rebate can mean a steal.

Another area to consider is what type of work you are doing. Audio video production uses very long sequential reads and writes. Again the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G hangs in the middle of the pack.

I connected this drive to a Firewire 800 connector, and ran it as a scratch drive for video editing. The OWC performed better than a 7200 RPM Seagate for calling up video. It made editing work a lot smoother.

Other people like to focus on small 4 kB random reads and writes. This works much better for standard office productivity functions – such as word processing. Once again this SSD cannot claim to be the performance King. Nor does it hang its head in shame.

Looking solely at benchmarks however does not tell the entire story. An SSD performance, either on the test bench or in the real world has much to do with the controller that is driving it, as well as any firmware updates manufacturer may do over the life of the drive.

OWC in a Server

I have a friend that is using OWC SSD drives in his servers at work. Although it is not recommended for an Enterprise server, being used as a primary drive to boot up an OS can really improve quality. And the word Server can now mean a vast array of different configurations. They could be found virtually anywhere, including a living room as a media server. If you have a machine that simply backs up and restores data, the only limitation would be the speed of your network.

It is also a good idea to not get too hung up on squeezing the maximum amount of performance criteria when looking at your SSD choices. The difference between a spinning platter hard drive and an SSD drive is nothing short of night and day. If you’re waiting for an application to load for 30 seconds, does it really matter if it now loads in 2 seconds, instead of 1.4 seconds because of your choice of SSD?

Tips to using an SSD

Turn off disk defragmentation. It’s not a mechanical drive, so does not suffer from that issue. Leaving it on will only produce unnecessary heat and wear, and may even burn your drive out.Also if you have been using a USB flash drive for ReadyBoost, remove it. ReadyBoost is there for the swap file to speed performance on a spinning platter drive.The I/O of the drive subsystem in your computer is faster than the I/O of USB. Since USB flash memory and SSD’s are flash memory, ReadyBoost on USB would only be slower.

An SSD doesn’t have any moving parts, so it stays pretty cool. It’s pulls less power than a regular Hard Drive. This is perfect for machines that have to be on 24/7.

Bottom line – an SSD can really improve performance. As a secondary drive, it can move data over faster and easier. You only have the limitations of the rest of the machines.

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