Benchmarking the OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2

The original OWC Mercury Accelsior has been a phenomenal product. To put it simply, those who’ve used it – they never look back. However, we wanted to improve upon the Accelsior’s design by offering both internal and external storage capability, so earlier this week we announced the OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2.

This new Accelsior model again offers extremely fast internal storage and adds fast external storage capability with the addition of two 6Gb/s eSATA expansion interfaces. Now you truly can have the best combination of speed, capacity, and connectivity for simultaneous internal and external storage performance.

And you aren’t limited to needing to have an available PCIe slot in a Mac Pro or PC to benefit from the Accelsior_E2. By installing it into an OWC Mercury Helios Thunderbolt expansion chassis, you can turn the Accelsior_E2 into the ultimate external SSD for Thunderbolt technology enabled Mac mini, iMac ,and MacBook machines.

“So, how does it perform?” you might be asking yourself. We’ve put the OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2 through its paces here at the OWC Test Lab and here’s what we’ve come up with:

As this QuickBench result shows, when using the internal drives on the 480GB OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2 by themselves in a Mac Pro, speeds are just as fast as the original OWC Mercury Accelsior:

QuickBench results of the 480GB OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2 PCI Express SSD installed in Mac Pro with no external drives.

Next, we wanted to see the external speeds of the 6Gb/s ports.

Test 2 shows a single 240GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD (as found in our 240GB OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini Portable SSD USB 3.0 + eSATA Storage Solution or docked through a Newer Technology Voyager Q)  running off one of the eSATA ports provided 478MB/s read and 477MB/s write speeds.

QuickBench results of a 240GB OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini SSD as run through the 480GB OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2 PCI Express SSD installed in Mac Pro.

With Test 3 we wanted to see what a RAID 0 as connected via both external ports would yield. So we attached a 480GB OWC Mercury Elite Pro 6G SSD Dual Drive eSATA External Solution to our Accelsior_E2 to find out. We were quite pleased to see average speeds of  700MB/s read speeds and 717MB/s writes. Basically, whatever you add via eSATA, the performance is only limited by what you add and really not by the ports as they are fast. So attach your Mercury Pro Qx2, Mercury Rack Pro, or any other external storage solution with confidence.

QuickBench results of a 8.0TB OWC Mercury Elite Pro eSATA Dual Drive External Solution as run through the 480GB OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2 PCI Express SSD installed in Mac Pro.

Just to compare, we did take a traditional hard drive based RAID solution, the 8.0TB OWC Mercury Elite Pro eSATA Dual Drive External Solution, and gave that a whirl too. And for platter-based drives we received a very respectable 459MB/s read speed and 406MB/s write speed average.

And just for a bit of fun we wanted to see what happens when all drives are fully taxed at the same time – not that it would happen often under normal computing conditions, but we really like to send our products through their paces to see how much abuse they  really could endure. We started filling the internal drive and then started filling two separate SSDs externally.

For these tests we had to benchmark with Diglloyd’s DiskTester DiskFill test as running multiple instances of QuickBench was found to skew some results. Intech is planning a future update to QuickBench should be addressing this issue for those who are interested.

The first chart shows the first external 240GB SSD, the second chart shows the second external 240GB SSD, and the third chart shows that internal 480GB SSD. The external SSDs ranged from 207-245MB/s write speeds and 188-246MB/s read speeds while the internal drive performed at  338-348MB/s write and 249-363MB/s read speeds – essentially distributing throughput across all the drives with the internal SSD taking precedence over the external ports

240GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD via eSATA port 1

240GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD via eSATA port 2

480GB OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2 PCI Express SSD – once the external drive tests are finished, all the available throughput is given back to the internal drive.

Remember we were using a 480GB Accelsior_E2 with two 240GB Mercury Extreme SSDs – meaning the external tests completed before the internal drive was completely full. That last chart shows that once the external drives are no longer being written to all the throughput is again available to the internal drive. It is important to note that the sustained speeds are very consistent, which translates to less data corruption and fewer dropped frames in video production.

But what about Thunderbolt?

As this card really handled everything we’ve given it so well in the Mac Pro, we wanted to see how well it fared over Thunderbolt so we installed the same Accelsior_E2 in our OWC Mercury Helios Thunderbolt PCIe Expansion Chassis and attached it to a 2012 iMac and repeated a couple of the tests.

The first chart shows that via Thunderbolt, the card by itself provided an impressive mark of 617MB/s read speeds and 524MB/s write speeds.

Attaching a 480GB OWC Mercury Elite Pro 6G SSD Dual Drive eSATA External Solution in a RAID 0 configuration yielded 690MB/s read speeds and 595MB/s write speeds. It only proves that with the combination of the Accelsior_E2 and the OWC Mercury Helios, you really can achieve some blazing fast throughput on any Mac equipped with a Thunderbolt port.

The bottom line? With its simultaneous internal and external storage performance, the Mercury Accelsior_E2 offers the the best combination of speed, capacity, and connectivity available today.


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