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

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  • zanon - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - link

    The best read speed is actually slightly better than the advertised 1500MB/s, so “figures meant for advertising” or not it is a lot better in real use than the OWC claim.

    Yep. The OCZ is also about 25-30% more expensive, but it is significantly faster then the price margin. That means, by pure advertised numbers at any rate (which doesn't seem entirely unreasonable in this case since they're both SF2000 based), that it's about 50-60% more bang-for-buck. Absolute pricing will probably matter to some people, who may prefer to pocket the extra $130 rather then pay more for better performance. But it certainly looks like the primary value is the AHCI compliance.

    Hopefully that becomes the standard practice for everyone going forward.
  • vectorm12 - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - link

    Considering there's still a significant problem with SF-controllers and dealing with uncompressible data I'd rather hold out for the Revodrive 4 which will likely feature similar controllers to the Vertex4.

    In my mind I'd find it hard to believe anyone looking for a boot/software device would go PCIe at this point. Seems to me these drives would be aiming towards active workspace considering the added cost.

    I doubt you could measure much of a performance increase from booting/loading software off of one of these compared to a Vertex3/4 of the same size.
  • johnsmith9875 - Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - link

    They should put heatsinks on the chips. Not because it needs them, but at that price I want something neat looking other than a PCB with some boring black chips on it.

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