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OWC Announces Mercury Aura Pro As Industry’s First Available High Performance Solid State Drive For All 2012 MacBook Air Models

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 | Author:

Other World Computing announced today the OWC Mercury Aura Pro as the industry’s first high-performance Solid State Drive upgrade for 2012 MacBook Air computers. Available in four sizes — 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, and 480GB capacities starting at $167.99 — the Mercury Aura Pro utilizes award-winning SandForce technologies and Tier 1 Synchronous NAND to deliver sustained data rates over 500MB/s.

Provides Future Upgrade Path

The Mercury Aura Pro offers owners of and those interested in the 2012 MacBook Air models the ability to upgrade the SSD when they need more storage and backup capacity. This flexibility is especially important for owners of the base model 11″ MacBook Air with the factory 64GB SSD and the 13″ model with 128GB capacity SSD. Now, instead of being “factory locked” at the base model capacity configurations, owners can add up to 8x more capacity with a 480GB Mercury Aura Pro SSD.

Lower Cost Immediate Upgrade

For 2012 MacBook Air owners wanting to immediately upgrade their machines to the maximum capacity, the OWC Mercury Aura Pro offers cost savings up to $255 compared to similarly sized factory options. For example, there are two choices for upgrading the 11″ MacBook Air to maximum capacity:

Factory upgrade:

Add the $800 factory 512GB (500GB usable space) option to the $1099 128GB MacBook Air model. Total cost $1899 and no ownership of the stock 128GB flash module.

OWC upgrade:

Add the $644.99 480GB Mercury Aura Pro to the $999 64GB MacBook Air model. Total cost $1643.99 and continued benefit of re-using the 64GB factory flash module as an external drive with a sleek USB 3.0 bus-powered OWC Envoy enclosure to be released at a future date.

Four Models Starting At $167.99 MSRP

The new OWC Mercury Aura Pro is available in four capacities compatible with all 11″ and 13″ 2012 MacBook Air models:

The Mercury Aura Pro is available immediately in the 240GB capacity; while the 120, 180, and 480GB models can be pre-ordered with shipping expected on/around August 6. All Mercury Aura Pro SSDs come complete with all required installation tools and instructions to make this an easy DIY upgrade.

The Fast SSD for Everyday Use

Several leading technology sites have noted the Mercury Aura Pro’s outstanding performance potential compared to the Apple factory SSDs. Electronista.com pointed out the “new and improved” Apple SSDs reach read speeds of 461MB per second and write speeds of 364MB per second, while the Mercury Aura Pro is rated at up to 500MB/s. Expert SSD industry source TheSSDReview.com found LSI SandForce Driven™ based SSDs offer “excellent performance” over 500MB/s and that these SSDs “excel in highly compressible data testing which is the bread and butter of typical consumer use.”

Doesn’t Slow Down With Use Like Ordinary SSDs

Ordinary SSDs offer fast read/write performance during first initial uses, but then experience significant write speed degradation over repeated usage. Independent simulation tests by leading drive performance experts confirm OWC Mercury Pro brand SSD’s ultra-efficient Block Management & Wear Leveling technologies are able to eliminate virtually any reduction in data transfer speeds over heavy long term usage of the drive and without dependency on less than effective OS TRIM management.

Up To 100X Greater Data Protection

Utilizing SandForce DuraClass™ technology, the OWC Mercury Aura Pro is able to provide up to 100X higher data protection than ordinary SSDs as well as leading enterprise-class hard disk drives. By combining the highest level of Error Correction Code (ECC) and SandForce RAISE™ (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology along with 7% over provisioning, the Mercury Aura Pro provides RAID-like data protection and reliability without loss of transfer speed due to parity.

OWC was the first independent manufacturer of SSD upgrades for the MacBook Air and we’re pleased to once again be the first and only upgrade option for the new 2012 machines,” said Larry O’Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing. “Beyond being the only upgrade available, the Mercury Aura Pro SSD carries on the OWC tradition of offering best in class performance with significant cost savings compared to similar capacity factory options.”

Editor’s note: The press release does state that the accompanying OWC Envoy enclosure will be released at a future dateit is not available at this time. The product’s development is a top priority of ours and we are anticipating that they will be available before end of year.

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    1. Brandon Schneider says:

      I also am wondering the same thing as David. Although this feels like a Necro bump, I feel it’s still a valid question.

      Thanks!

    2. Jay says:

      Isn’t it 14% over provisioning? Or do you mean ~7% more overprovisioning than Apple?

      actual flash: 256 * 2^30 = 274,877,906,944 bytes
      advertised: 240 * 10^9 = 240,000,000,000 bytes

      @David: Definitely not incompatible but can be slower. Check out http://www.anandtech.com/show/6063/macbook-air-13inch-mid-2012-review/4.
      That said, from what I’ve seen elsewhere OWC’s “tuning” of SandForce may be a little better than Toshiba’s.

      • OWC Chris S. says:

        Your numbers is swap between base-10 and Base-2, so that may be the source of the confusion. We take the base amount of flash and remove ~7% (which is our standard over-provisioning setup) to arrive at the final capacity.

    3. Mike says:

      Any chance OWC is working on TB or USB 3.0 versions of the Envoy for both 2012 AND 2011 removed MBAir SSDs? I’m tempted to upgrade my 2011 MBAir but having the removed SSD external enclosure limited to USB 2.0 is disappointing.

      • OWC Michael says:

        The OWC Envoy enclosure that accommodates the 2012 MacBook Air drives will be released at a future date. The product’s development is a top priority of ours and we are anticipating that they will be available before end of year. Both the current version of the Envoy and the new version is/will be USB 3.0 compatible.

        • bricamac says:

          Do you have a date of the OWC Envoy enclosure that accommodates the 2012 MacBook Air drives ?

          • OWC Michael says:

            We we are still anticipating that they will be available before end of year.

            • Andrew says:

              So before the end of December, 2012? As in 2 weeks?

              Also, is there a way I can be notified (via email) when it is available? The day it’s available is the day I buy a 240GB SSD and the envoy for the stock 128GB one.

              • Andrew says:

                I should point out that I’m excited, and have been waiting for this since I cracked the screen on my old air and decided to buy a new one ($300 upgrade from apple to go from 128GB to 256GB, or $320ish upgrade from OWC, and I get a 128GB USB3 SSD? no brainer…).

                But if you think it’ll come out in the next two weeks, that’s perfect. I really need to reformat and reinstall on my 2012 air, because it’s getting unstable (imaged from my 2010 air). If this’ll be out in 2 weeks, I’ll just wait until I get it to do that stuff, it’ll be much easier and more smooth.

                If it’s gonna be a bit longer, I’ll reimage my computer tomorrow or the next day.

                • OWC Michael says:

                  Yes, the end of 2012 is within the next two weeks and e’re expecting to see the Envoy Pro for MBPr storage available on our website within that timeframe (sooner rather than later in that window actually). :-)

                  • OWC Michael says:

                    Ok, let me make a slight update to that. We’re still looking at an on-time release, but we’re gonna be taking this one right down to the wire. ;-) Most likely will be that week of the 31st.

    4. Hugh says:

      Even though the connectors are the same,I’m assuming this doesn’t work with the retina MBP.

      Is there a retina version in the not too distant future?!?!?!?

      • OWC Michael says:

        We are working on developing a retina version but we have no ETA on when or if will be available.

        • Hugh says:

          Thanks for the update. Seriously consider a TB version of the enclosure instead of/ including USB 3.0.

          For rMBP users who’d be upgrading their 256gb (at a minimum) you would cause quite a stir for the likes of elgato, LaCie etc!

          Just a thought.

          Thanks for continuing to provide upgrade options to Mac users worldwide

          • Andrew says:

            TB is a terrible abbreviation. I thought it mean TB as in terabyte, i.e. the current enclosures are limited to a size smaller than that, and that terabyte SSDs for the air exist. I was quite confused.

            maybe ThB?

    5. jake says:

      Nice to see how quickly you are able to release this. Any comment on why this new version is much cheaper than the 2011 version (even taking into account the cost of the Envoy)?

    6. Karsten Jensen says:

      But what about the rMBP?

      • OWC Michael says:

        The rMBP takes a different form factor drive – this model is for the 2012 MacBook Air models only.

    7. David Manne says:

      I have a question.
      I have recently had the fun experience of having my laptop stolen. Created all sorts of problems with passwords and other data.
      So I now want to use FileVault 2 as part of the protection.
      I had heard that SandForce base SSD’s don’t do so well with FileVault 2.
      Any comments?
      Regards
      David

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