Review: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD WIth Data Doubler Kit

Posted in Mac on 16/02/2011 by J. Glenn Künzler

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With all of the recent discussion about SSD’s, and whether maybe even MacBook Pro’s may be getting them in the future, I began to ask myself the “SSD Question.”  Will this really speed up my Mac?  And if so, how significant would the increase be – enough to justify the cost?  It was in that realm of thinking that I decided to jump in feet-first and give an SSD a try – and not just any SSD, an OWC Mercury Extreme Pro – often said to be one of the best SSD’s currently available.

While browsing options, I noticed that perhaps the most cost-effective balance for size would be the 240GB version, offering a reasonable amount of space for the cost.  But even as I was contemplating that, I remembered that I had way more than 240GB of material on my hard drive…  What to do?   So I opted to try out OWC’s kit that includes a Data Doubler with the SSD, enabling me to replace my optical drive with the SSD and keep my original hard drive.

My MacBook Before The Surgery

The kit arrived very quickly, and I wasted no time in opening the boxes, reading the manual, and proceeding to install the kit.  I’m happy to report that the surgery was quite successful (and much simpler than I figured it might be), and that I now have a shiny blue piece of hardware living in my 15″ MacBook Pro.

The kit included everything I needed, even tools, to install the SSD and Data Doubler enclosure into my MacBook Pro. and came with detailed instructions, which included a lot of images that you could use as a reference point.  Instructions were included for all of Apple’s notebook models that have optical drives.

The installation process was very simple, and the instructions were extremely easy to read and follow.  I completed the entire process in about 40 minutes.  The shiny blue object with no moving parts was finally in union with my MacBook Pro.  Then it was time to test the device out, and see what it was really capable of.

After installing the SSD, I transferred all of my data (expect my huge iTunes library) to it, and allowed my original hard drive to store my movies, music, pictures, and iPhone apps.  This was an ideal arrangement.

So, you may be asking at this point: So, did the SSD make a difference?  Allow me to answer that with numbers rather than mere words.  Below are my load times before the SSD, and after.

Booting Pre-SSD: 47 seconds.  Booting Post-SSD?  17 seconds.

Loading Photoshop CS5 Pre-SSD – 12 Seconds.  Post-SSD? A mere 2.5 seconds.

Converting a video file from MKV to iTunes-friendly MP4 Pre-SSD? 34 minutes.  Post-SSD (and this one surprised me alot)? 17 minutes.

It truly amazes me to see how much of a bottleneck my old hard drive really was – my entire computing experience is much quicker in general, and I rarely find myself annoyed to be waiting for program X to perform function Y.

My MacBook Directly After The Surgery

All in all, if you have the money to throw down for an SSD, and you’re sitting on the fence about purchasing one, let me be the first to try to push you over the the other side.  It truly does make a tremendous difference in the speed and feel of your computer.  And as for my optical drive?  It’s sitting in an external enclosure, and I haven’t missed it even once.

To learn more, or to purchase one of OWC’s fine line of SSD’s, or to purchase the same 240GB Data Doubler kit that I just reviewed ($549), please visit OWC’s product page directly.


Author

J. Glenn Künzler

Glenn is Managing Editor at MacTrast, and has been using a Mac since he bought his first MacBook Pro in 2006. Now he's up to his neck in Apple, and owns an old iBook, a 2012 iMac with an extra Thunderbolt display for good measure, a 4th-generation iPad, an iPad mini, 2 iPhones, and a Mac Mini that lives at the neighbor's house. He lives in a small town in Utah, enjoys bacon more than you can possibly imagine, and is severely addicted to pie.