OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD incorporates quality components, enables 4K/30p video recording

I tested a 480GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD with an Atomos Shogun Flame as well as with an iMac. The Mercury Extreme Pro 6G has been certified for use in Blackmagic Design equipment and has a maximum read speed of 559MB/s and write speed of 527MB/s. My own tests revealed slightly lower, although pretty impressive figures.

The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD uses Tier-1 3D NAND in the 480GB and 1TB models. 3D NAND is faster and denser than traditional flash storage. OWC also uses the Silicon Motion controller, a 4-channel SATA design. This controller is AES 128/256 capable and conforms with the TCG (Trusted Computer Group — a not-for-profit international standards organisation) Opal protocol. Opal works with any OS and has the benefit of storing the encryption/decryption keys in the hard drive controller (cold-boot attacks won’t work).

The technology inside this SSD makes it extremely well suited for use as an internal startup disk for any Mac, but I set out to test this disk for more demanding applications, such as 4K video recording. But first things first: When I received the test unit, the first thing I had to do was initialize the disk. OWC ships the disks blank.

I first ran the Blackmagic Design Speed Test and AJA System Test and the Mercury Extreme Pro 6G on my Mac achieved 460MB/s write and 550MB/s read speeds. On newer Macs, the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD should be capable of achieving its maximum performance.

For video production, the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD seems like a winner. These SSDs are certified not only by Blackmagic Design but also by Video Devices, Sound Devices and Atomos. On the Atomos website, the 480GB model is rated for up to 4K/30p and HD 120p video. Now, to be honest, Atomos’ supported media list isn’t as accurate as it should be. For example, a Kingston HyperX Fury 120GB SSD still lists as supporting the same video specs as others, while my own tests show it doesn’t perform well with 4K — Atomos’ infamous Kangaroo never pops up, but when you check the recording on the Mac, it always requires fixing by re-inserting and letting the Shogun perform its rescue magic.

I’ve never experienced such below par performance with the Crucial MX300 and certainly not with the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro. Video recording performance was excellent. The SSD never got hot and there were no problems at 4K nor at any of the lower resolution recordings with higher numbers of frames per second. A nice addition that comes in the box with the SSD is a full surface plastic adapter plate. Other SSDs come with a frame, but that doesn’t prevent your Atomos Master Caddy denting when you press on its top surface. With the Mercury Extreme Pro, that’s not an issue.

I also tested the SSD as the source medium while editing a 4K/30p movie of half an hour in Final Cut Pro X. That too went without stuttering or any other glitch due to the disk not being able to feed the NLE with frames at a high enough speed. I tested this on my old iMac as well as on a MacBook Pro 2016.

After a good week of using the Mercury Extreme, I for one am confident it will keep living up to its promises for a long time. Its controller and 3D NAND memory guarantee a long active life at the highest possible speed, while its security features offer peace of mind for those who want to trust their data to it.

The OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD 480GB costs $274.75. The 1TB model is yours for $419.75.

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