OWC has released their first PCIe SSD, the Mercury Accelsior. OWC has used SandForce controllers throughout its history in the SSD world and the Accelsior is no exception. It is equipped with two SandForce SF-228X controllers, which are the same controllers that can be found inside OWC's other SATA 6Gb/s SSDs. 

The actual design is pretty interesting. OWC has opted to build the SSD out of two blades, each with their own controller and NAND running. The blades run in RAID 0 by default but they can also be configured in RAID 1 mode. Oftentimes everything is intergrated on one PCB but OWC's approach is different, and there is actually a big advantage todoing things this way. Using blades allows the capacity to be upgraded without buying a totally new card. OWC does not sell the blades separately yet, but manufacturing new blades should be somwhat cheaper than manufacturing the whole PCB, so down the road this could result in a lower total upgrade price.

OWC Mercury Accelsior Specifications
Capacity 120GB 240GB 480GB 960GB
Controller Dual SandForce SF-2281 Dual SandForce SF-2282
NAND 24nm Toshiba Toggle-Mode MLC NAND
Interface PCI Express 2.0 x2
Form Factor Low Profile PCI Express
Sequential Read 758MB/s 762MB/s 780MB/s 756MB/s
Sequential Write 743MB/s 763MB/s 763MB/s 673MB/s
4K Random Read Up to 100K IOPS
4K Random Write Up to 100K IOPS
Price $360 $530 $930 $2096
Warranty 3 years

OWC's Mercury Accelsior is actually a very competitive drive. A quick look at NewEgg shows that OCZ's RevoDrive 3 is not significantly cheaper--in fact, it's more expensive at 480GB and above. OCZ does claim better performance but it's good to keep in mind these figures meant for advertising.

OWC is primarily an Apple focused company and here is the big deal: Mercury Accelsior supports booting under OS X. There are plenty of PCIe SSDs out there but OWC's is the first one that supports booting into OS X. No drivers are needed in OS X or Windows either--the drive is plug and play. Booting into Windows has not been a problem but it's understandable that a Mac user has little need for a PCIe SSD that only boots into Windows. Unfortunately Mac Pro is the only Mac that has empty PCIe slots and Apple has not shown much love for the Mac Pro lately.

Availability for the Mercury Accelsior line starts now, though only the linked prices above are currently showing up online.

Source: OWC

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • somedude1234 - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    The SandForce SF-228x are NAND->SATA controllers, which storage controller is getting you from SATA->PCIe?

    Some companies are using LSI, others Marvell. Does anyone know who OWC is using here?
  • joevt - Sunday, May 27, 2012 - link

    The Accelsior uses a MARVELL 88SE9230 Raid Controller which provides a PCIe 2.0 x2 link to the raid controller that can control up to 4 6Gb/s SATA SSDs.
  • Casper42 - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link


    Is that some newfangled interface?
  • zanon - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    Er, what? PCIe slots/devices can use different numbers of lanes, ranging from 1 to 16. These are typically labeled, sensibly enough, as "x1", "x2" etc. Graphics cards are typically x8 or x16. Other devices may need merely a single x1 or somewhere in between. Each lane in PCIe 2.0 provides 500 MB/s. For PCIe 3.0, that increases to 1 GB/s. PCIe 4.0 is slated to double that again to 2 GB/s per lane, spec is supposed to be targeted for release sometime around 2015.
  • Casper42 - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    Except there is no such thing as x2 on the physical interface.
    Its x1, x4, x8 and x16

    I guess they should have said something like x4 (x2 electrical)
    But then again, it sure looks like an x1 from the picture.

    And if it is an x1, how do you get 780MB/s through an x1 that supports only 500MB/s?
  • LordOfTheBoired - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    Hard to tell from that pic, but I'm pretty sure the back tab is too long to fit an x1 slot. But it's short enough that it doesn't fill an entire x4 connector, so x2 seems appropriate electrically, even if it's not a standard connector.
  • Penti - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    It is the Electrical interface of the Marvell SATA-controller. It's a two lanes physical card so it does require at least x4 PCI-e slot or more. Bigger hardware raid controllers with XOR, cache and all that usually is at least x4 PCI-e 2.0 or x8. But those also has more ports. I guess it would also work in an open ended x1 slot/port at half speed. Not sure if those are around anymore though. But x1 electrical x16 PCI-e slots still are. The Marvell controller can of course support and be configured for both.
  • SleepyFE - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - link

    PCIe infact goes up to x32. graphics cards have x16 physical connectors but usualy work in x8 mode if crossFire or SLi is used.
  • Penti - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    It's the controllers interface, http://www.marvell.com/storage/system-solutions/sa...
  • UltraTech79 - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - link

    If by 'newfangled' you mean nearly a decade old... then sure.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now