The Mercury Extreme Pro 6G solid-state drive (SSD) is similar to the OCZ Vertex 3 in more ways than one. It's fast, supports SATA 3 (6Gbps), comes with advanced features, and also takes a long time to be formatted.
Unlike the Vertex 3, however, the Extreme Pro 6G showed mixed performance in our testing and doesn't come with a drive bay converter to fit well into a desktop computer. At prices of $550 and $295 for the 240GB and 120GB capacities, respectively, the Extreme Pro 6G is also noticeably more expensive than the same capacity models of the Vertex 3. Its 480GB capacity, on the other hand, costs only $1,280, which is significantly less expensive than the same-capacity Vertex 3, which costs around $1,800.
Despite its mixed performance, the Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD makes a very fast internal storage device and will definitely improve a computer's performance a great deal when used as the main drive. Even with the expensive prices, it still makes a very good investment. Budget-conscious users, however, should check out the Vertex 3 and the Agility 3 from OCZ for similar performance gains without breaking the bank.
Design and features
|Drive type||2.5-inch solid state|
|Connector options||SATA 3Gbps, SATA 6Gbps|
|Available capacities||120GB, 240GB, 480GB|
|Product dimensions||9.5mm, 2.5-inch standard|
|Capacity of test unit||240GB|
|OSes supported||Windows, Mac, Linux|
The Mercury Extreme Pro 6G shares the same shape, dimensions, and port design as the OCZ Vertex 3, which is the same design as a standard 9.5mm, 2.5-inch internal hard drive. Unlike the Vertex 3, however, the Mercury Extreme Pro 6G doesn't come with a drive bay converter, meaning it will be a little tricky if you want to use it with a desktop computer. In our experience, however, as an SSD has no moving parts and is very light, you can probably get away with leaving it inside the computer's chassis without screwing it tightly to a drive bay.
According to OWC, the Mercury Extreme Pro 6G offers similar advanced SSD technologies to those found in the Vertex 3. Examples of these include a wear-leveling algorithm and SandForce RAISE. The former ensures that the entire drive's memory cells have the same level of wear, and the latter offers RAID 1-like redundancy for data integrity. Like the Vertex 3, the Extreme Pro 6G also supports RAID configurations.
Similar to the latest SSDs we've reviewed, the Mercury Extreme Pro 6G supports SATA 3 (6Gbps) and is backward-compatible with previous generations of the SATA standard. This means it'll work in any SATA applications. To take advantage of the drive's top speed, however, you'll want to use it with a SATA 3 controller, such as that of a computer powered by Intel's new Sandy Bridge chipset.
We tried the Mercury Extreme Pro 6G in a few different computers, running Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux, and it worked well with all of them, just like any regular SATA hard drive. As with the Vertex 3, the Mercury Extreme Pro 6G took a significantly long time to be formatted in our trials, about 7 minutes to be quick-formatted using Windows 7. Other drives, including the Seagate Barracuda XT, took just a few seconds to be quick-formatted.
Cost per gigabyte
The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G's 240GB version is currently the most expensive among recent SATA 3 (6Gbps) solid-state drives we've reviewed, costing around $2.29 per gigabyte. The second most expensive is now the Vertex 3, which is about 12 cents per gigabyte less. If you want to opt for the top-capacity version, however, the 480GB Mercury Extreme Pro 6G is much less expensive, at just $2.67 per gigabyte; the 480GB Vertex 3 costs $3.76 per gigabyte.
Compared with regular hard drives, however, the Mercury Extreme Pro 6G, like all SSDs, is much more expensive; most hard drives cost just a few cents per gigabyte.
We test SSDs in real-world usage, both as the main drive that hosts the operating system of the test computer, and as a secondary drive, which is used only to store data. Some of our tests gauge the performance of the system as a whole and see how the drive affects its performance. Our data copy tests, however, show the drive's raw data transfer speed when used in real-world scenarios after all overheads.