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Mercury Accelsior Gives Mac Pro Major Boost

While the world continues to wait for the first major update of Apple’s Mac Pro line since 2010 (CEO Tim Cook has said it will be sometime this year), others are taking matters into their own hands, opting to give their current machine a boost. And of course, Other World Computing has the perfect upgrade to help you get most out of your current Mac Pro

As outlined recently on his blog, technology enthusiast Randy Noland installed an OWC Mercury Accelsior PCIe SSD in his 2010 Mac Pro to get faster throughput when editing video. And not only does his speed test show his Mac Pro gets the boost it needs compared against two platter-based 7200 RPM drives or a SSD, it gives him “incredible” results.

That’s because the the Mercury Accelsior uses the fastest data interface available in a Mac Pro or PC — the PCIe slot — for speeds that go well beyond even 6Gb/s. This allows nearly 3x the performance vs. a SSD in a SATA 2.0 3Gb/s drive. In fact, the Mercury Accelsior can deliver up to incredible 820MB/s read and 763MB/s write speeds! This blazing speed makes the Mercury Accelsior ideal for I/O-intensive apps like Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, or Avid Pro Tools to render, capture or process, and it makes booting and application launches become nearly instantaneous.

Additionally, as Lloyd Chambers of Mac Performance Guide points out, the Mercury Accelsior is bootable, while all four of the Mac Pro drive bays remain available for high capacity hard drives!

And since its PCIe-based and compatible with both Macs and PCs, you can still use your Mercury Accelsior when you get a new machine  — whether it’s that much rumored 2013 Mac Pro update or not.

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  • Hey Guys, I am ready to upgrade my Accelsior 240 to 480. When is that going to be available? Wanna give me a good deal on a swap?

    The product is outstanding. Please deliver on the promised upgradability soon!

    • So far, we haven’t introduced the higher capacity blades; the Mercury Accelsior SSD is still available in its original configurations / capacities. We’re likely going to see the release this year, although we do not currently have a more accurate ETA.

  • Jason’s “rant” above is the most eloquent single statement of Apple’s decline that I have read. In the early years of this century, Apple behaved like their customer’s best friend. Mid-2007 I first noticed the shift to viewing their customers as a cash cow to be used and abused. Rather than dwell on my stories like Apple design defects causing total loss of my data, I’ll mention what’s in my future.

    Back in 2004 I cleaned all the Windows machines out of my consultancy’s offices, relying on only a couple of OS X/Fusion hosted VMs running XP to run engineering tools not available on OS X. Life was good. I could sit down and get work done, instead of sitting down, doing interminable updates, and then getting down to work.

    Fast forward to 2013. My Mac platforms are aged. I have not and will not upgrade beyond OS 10.6x, because I need everything to keep on working. I don’t need another Vista experience. I’ve started migration to Linux, using Linux apps wherever I can, learning to use VM and Virtual Box to host the Windows only tools.

    Apple could have bifurcated its business with one division catering to heavy workstation users, the other to the blingy mobile business, leveraging commonly applicable hardware. They could have remained good friends with their high-end users, listening to us and acting on our concerns. As is happening in the server market, where HP, IBM, and Dell (who don’t listen to their customers) are steadily loosing share to upstarts who value their customers (Quanta, Penguin) — Apple’s disregard is creating an opportunity for customer-aware third parties.

    Don’t get me started on Apple Care not being renewable as an enticement to buy a new Mac every 3 years — that is just evil.

    So OWC, bring it on! I would be seriously interested in a Hackintosh backed by OWC warranty, running old reliable 10.6.8. I could be swayed to 10.8 if you folks could pre-configure to minimize bling and make it as stable as Snow Leopard (I don’t know if that is possible). With option for extended warranty.

    I’d also be very interested in a Linux box, not a laptop, probably shuttle sized, with external NAS RAID, running Ubuntu 12.x or CentOS 6.3, backed by your warranty. Are you up for that challenge? I hope so.

  • I wonder if the rom hack to make the machine emulate a MacPro 2,1 would help the person above? Does it let the machine see the slot differently or is it just cosmetic?

    Second question, and I know to you the answer is easy, but to me, for the very first time in 20 years, it is not. Why should I give Apple my hard-earned workstation money when they keep treating creative professional users to sloppy seconds and subpar prosumer os and software? Mac OS 10.7 and up are a mockery of the Mac OS. They are more about bling and effects than real world efficiencies and effective solutions. Thy pull out things used every day and throw in cheesy drag effects, gimmicks of the day and leave out bug fixes that have gone on for years. Every seven years, they have an itch and force us all to endure another platform or similar change, making developers have to restart everything and lose one to two years making their software re-work. They give consumers 2GB video cards, refuse to give a Thunderbolt option and leave us with five-year-old technology, meanwhile our counterparts have dang near every option under the sun on Windows or linux. They take our beloved 17″ MacBookPro and tell us there is no reason for a large screen on a laptop. Ever have to do movie editing or layout a double-truck ad in the field? Sure, I want to haul around multiple monitors with my laptop.

    Jarrod, I am sorry, but I am tired of just giving Apple the benefit of doubt that they know best. I have Microsoft calling me, asking what it would take to get me to consider Windows, and they are actually listening. Apple almost never listens. I have submitted dozens and dozens of bug reports/enhancement requests and only three have ever, and I repeat ever been resolved. Windows is definitely not the best solution, but at least they listen and appear to be working towards something better. All we are getting from Apple is another iMac/iPad with a $7500 price tag. Mac OS X has become serious bloatware, and it is not even beneficial bloatware. It is like Windows Vista. Let’s see how many gimmicks we can pile into a release, rush the beta test periods, ignore the bug reports and rush out a release to capitalize on Twitter’s popularity or whatever the gimmick of the day is. Does the entire desktop have to slide off the screen in order to load dashboard, or a screensaver, or go full screen (and not even show the second monitor)? The OS is a trailer queen — great for show, but likes to run at 55mph on a good day.

    Apple develops with a lap-rat mentality. When the upper echelons dream up solutions, they take into account that if there is a bug that affects them, they can task 50-100 people that day to fix it. The rest of the world has to just deal with all the other bugs that may not affect them because they live in an environment where everything is perfect. They have limitless resources, talent and money. We have real-world budgets, time frames, client expectations and frustration. I think they have forgotten how to look outside the Cupertino bubble, and until they do, I cannot easily give them any more money for workstations.

    I guess I would sum it up by saying I would rather give OtherWord Computing the same money to develop real-world professional solutions than I would Apple at this point. You have earned respect through action and building solutions for real problems. They just throw gimmicks and bling at them and hope it appeases us until the next round of being suckered. I trust you, not Apple. You’ve earned it. They’ve disgraced it.

    • The hack to make the MacPro1,1 emulate a MacPro2,1 (Chameleon) is a software solution only to get the machine to emulate the missing EFI64 and have the machine report as a newer model so that OS X 10.8 can be force-installed on the machine. It would not update the physical PCIe slots.

      • Any thoughts to my other comments and concerns?

        From a professional standpoint, I am looking for a good reason to keep buying Mac, when their focus is almost entirely consumer, and their attention to detail is clearly lacking of late. The only area they are not lacking is the industrial design. The rest just does not appear to have the same attention to detail and passion for perfection like it used to.

        • Ok, full disclaimer – my opinion does not necessarily match the official opinion of Other World Computing.

          That said and understood, I agree with many of your sentiments. I caused a bit of a ruckus invoking a reversal of 1984 back when the 2011 iMac was released and Apple introduced custom firmware to the iMac hard drives that made replacing them outside Apple near impossible – and that was on a workstation machine in a time when the 17″ MacBook Pro was still an option and we were expecting an updated Mac Pro shortly thereafter.

          The fact that the Mac mini is now a more powerful machine (in and of itself – I’m not getting into specifics on graphic processors, expandability, etc.) than the last Mac Pro released does leave much to be desired from Apple’s professional customer base. Complaining that the Mac Pro doesn’t even have Thunderbolt is a bit premature in my opinion, though. It has been two years since Thunderbolt’s introduction and the technology is still in its infancy. It is going to be great down the line when more products come to market – but it just isn’t that time yet.

          My personal machines haven’t been updated past 10.6.8 because that’s the last version of the OS that didn’t incorporate an iOS look and feel and I’m personally more comfortable computing there. However, I do keep my work laptop running Lion and, when I’m in the OWC Lab, many of our test beds are running Mountain Lion. I haven’t found that using the later Operating Systems have hindered me in any way – it’s just really a preference.

          But, call me optimistic, I’m really excited to see what Apple is going to come out with this year as their promised Mac Pro update. Given that a design change hasn’t been implemented in a while, I’m expecting a radical change to the line – and hoping that it is change for the better and substantial enough to make it worth the wait.

  • Dilemma? Help me out. This looks like the perfect upgrade to my MacPro, but my MacPro is an early 2006 version. Will this work on my early 2006 MacPro? Do I upgrade or do I sell and purchase a new 27″ iMac to replace my early 2006 MacPro. As I understand, I am unable to upgrade the OS any further, which is pushing me in the direction of selling, but if something like this Accelsior would keep it lively for another couple years, that would be nice. Any help much appreciated.

    • It will work, however the 2006-2007 Mac Pros utilize PCIe 1.0 slot which cannot be configured (even with the Expansion Utility in OS X) to address Accelsior as anything but as a first generation one-lane card. As a result, Accelsior performance will be limited to 190-200MB/s data rates.

      For your machine, I’d recommend the installation of a 2.5″ OWC Mercury SSD in an open Mac Pro drive bay instead, which would get you data rates closer to 285MB/s. That may give you the extra performance you need to hold out on upgrading for a while – or at least until we see what Apple unveils this year as their new Mac Pro model. :-)