OWC's Low-Cost SSD Drive Shines, As SATA Express Looms On Horizon

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OWC Mercury

The Serial ATA International Organization announced this week that it is developing SATA Express, a new hard drive interface that it says will increase transfer rates to as much as 16Gbps and do so more affordably than PCIe-based storage systems.

SATA-IO described the new specification, In a press release issued on Aug. 9, as a combination of existing SATA specs and PCI Express bus technology, and said it will maintain compatibility with existing SATA applications and infrastructure.

SATA-IO also this week released SATA SSD, a specification that for the first time permits solid state drives (SSDs) to connect directly to the main logic board of a device via ball-grid array instead of modular connectors and cables.

The single-chip spec is intended to further reduce the size and footprint of ultra-portable and embedded devices such as Intel's forthcoming line of Ultrabook computers.

Among the first to announce a SATA SSD device is SanDisk, which will offer 64-GB and 128-GB SSDs with theoretical transfer rates of 6Gbps.

While postage-stamp-sized drives are surely coming, there still will be a need for conventional SSDs for years to come. Nicely filling that void at a variety of price points is Other World Computing, a distributor of hardware and accessories based in Woodstock, Ill.

Specializing in products for Apple computers and devices, OWC sent the CRN Test Center a Mercury Electra 6G 240GB SSD, one of its latest value-priced solid state drives.

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