by Fabian Chaundy | 23rd August 2016
The OWC Aura SSD is a neat little solution by Other World Computing that allows you to increase your MacBook Pro’s storage space… Wait, I thought you weren’t allowed to do that anymore…? Apple has become the de facto computer brand for people in creative industries such as ours, whether you like it or not. Someone starting out in video will almost undoubtedly be drawn to Apple computers when investing in new equipment. However, the sometimes hefty price tags often make people opt for base model laptops such as the 13 inch MacBook Pro rather than a full-fledged workstation such as the MacPro. The End of the User Upgradeable Macbook Pro Apple used to be nice people. Their old Macbook Pro models had a regular 2,5” drive and standard laptop RAM stick slots. If after a while you found your machine to be too slow, you could easily rejuvenate it by adding an SSD and more RAM for relatively little money. Heck, you could even remove the optical drive and add ANOTHER drive for even more storage. All you needed was a little courage to open your beloved MBP and a Torx screwdriver. I actually managed to keep a 2009 MBP alive and well until quite recently. Granted, it wasn’t a 4K editing beast, but it chugged along fine for day to day HD work. But a few years ago, Apple ruined it for everybody. Word on the street was that they had decided to integrate components onto the motherboard, and abandoned the widely available 2,5” drive in favour of smaller SSD modules. This meant that you had to choose your specs wisely when purchasing your machine: once you got it, that was it. Sad face. The OWC Aura SSD to the Rescue But the nice folks over at Other World Computing, home of all sorts of computer upgrade products, have a solution that can help you get more out of your MBP: the OWC Aura SSD. This PCIe-based flash SSD module is designed specifically to replace the one found in mid-2013 or later MacBook Pros. They come in capacities of 480GB and 1TB, greatly improving on the standard MBP storage sizes. Features of the OWC Aura SSD The OWC Aura SSD is designed to maintain a 7% wiggle room in its storage capacity in order to run maintenance tasks in the background and optimise performance. This means more stability for your system drive. Installation consists of a hardware swap only, without the need to configure the drive via software in any way. All the necessary tools to allow for an easy installation are included with the product, so no need to head to your local hardware store to hunt for obscure types of screwdrivers. Also included is the Envoy Pro Enclosure, which will accept your old drive and turn it into an external SSD USB 3.0 drive, which you can use to migrate your data to your fresh OWC Aura SSD. It is really great to see SSD prices coming down: a 1TB SSD would have cost an arm and a leg not too long ago. Today, the 1TB version of the OWC Aura SSD will set you back anywhere between $399.75 to $647.00, depending on the exact model of MacBook Pro you wish to upgrade and whether you include the Envoy Pro enclosure. DISCLAIMER: bear in mind, installation obviously means opening up your machine. If anything goes wrong, it may void your Apple warranty. Also, make sure your Macbook Pro model is compatible. Have you had any experience with the OWC Aura SSD module? Would you recommend it? Let us know in the section below!Read more
by Sebastian Wöber | 1st August 2014
OWC, known to manufacture affordable Mac hardware, just announced that they managed to break the speed record for affordable external thunderbolt RAID storage. [UPDATE]: We’ve received numerous e-mails with claims that the benchmarks by OWC are incorrect. The title of this article has been updated accordingly. Especially filmmakers and editors have been waiting for affordable and fast thunderbolt based storage solutions, a few of which we’ve finally seen hitting the market last year. Just a few months ago OWC introduced their ThunderBay line of 4-drive external RAID-ready storage solutions, recently refreshing it with Thunderbolt 2 connections. It is available in configurations from 4TB up to 16TB and also offered as a diskless enclosure that goes for $429. Mac Pro’s 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports boost speed Several of the OWC drives can be chained together using a combination of the two Thunderbolt 2 ports it has. However the great speeds described can only be achieved using a Mac Pro that sports 6 separate thunderbolt connections. This is how OWC achieved speeds of nearly 4,000MB/s. The benchmark testing showed 3,990MB/s read and 3,802MB/s write speeds, running an HDD array of 3x 12TB OWC ThunderBay 4 drives. They achieved similar numbers running SSD drives. [UPDATE]: numerous e-mails with claims that the benchmarks by OWC are incorrect. In different benchmark tests the maximum speed that could be achieved with the method described here would be 1902 MB/s. The 12TB OWC ThunderBay 4 drives used cost $939 each, making this the most affordable ultra-fast storage solution available. OWC says: The Mac Pro has a total of six Thunderbolt 2 ports connecting to three separate Thunderbolt 2 busses, with two ports to each bus. We connected one ThunderBay 4 to one of the two ports available for each bus to get the maximum performance. Those three ThunderBay 4 enclosures were made into a single RAID-0 array using the built-in software RAID-0 in OS X. We then fired up the benchmarking tools and watched in awe at the performance the ThunderBay 4 enclosures achieved. This combination of performance and storage comes at a fraction of the price of rack-based storage. The ThunderBay 4 enclosures generally got very good reviews. Other, less affordable, but proven solutions include the new G-technology external RAID drives and the Promise Pegasus RAID, both of which are now also compatible with Apple’s new Thunderbolt 2 standard. image via macsalesRead more
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