OWC Mercury Accelsior PCI-SSD benchmarked

For those of us still with pre-Thunderbolt Mac Pros or Xserves (or Hackintoshes), there are not a lot of inexpensive choices for getting super fast data access onto our machines. Sure, you can buy a SATA 3 hard drive like my favorite Samsung 830 series, but the built in SATA 2 on these old machines is a bottleneck that will “only” yield 250 MB/second read speeds.

Along comes OWC last month with its first-ever Mercury Accelsior Mac-bootable PCI SSD card that is actually a PCI-to-striped RAID SATA array. The two SATA3 cards you see above actually look like (but aren’t – don’t try it) the same super high-speed Sandforce 3 drives that OWC sells as MacBook Air updates.

By the way, the cards are a snap to install and configure. If you have ever added a PCI video card, this is the same thing. Even better, there are no drivers to install, and the drive automatically shows up as a mounted disk that can (and should!) be booted from.

How did they compare to the single MacBook Air SSDs?

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New Apple Mac Mini $530 at MacConnection

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, MacConnection has the Mac Mini base configuration for $529.95 with free shipping. That’s $70 off retail and the lowest price we’ve seen (refurb is $519 at Apple).

Add 8GB of Corsair RAM from Amazon for $41.99 and you are still $30 below Apple’s original retail price.

Get a little tricky by adding a super speedy Samsung 830 SSD (review) via iFixit’s second drive kit.

We have other Mac Desktops at lowest available prices here. Read more

Here’s a rare prototype translucent Apple hard drive circa 1985

Apple and its cofounder Steve Jobs certainly helped design and popularize storage devices throughout computing history. For example, the Mac mainstreamed Sony’s 3.5-inch floppy drive in the 1980s, but Apple was working on its own storage devices even before the Mac debuted. One of our buddies discovered this eBay listing advertising for what appears to be a prototype of a previously unknown NISHA hard drive adorned with the colorful Apple logo. It comes in a translucent case, and it could easily be the first Apple product we have seen like this, even though it never shipped. It is neither a Hard Disk 20 drive Apple introduced on Sept. 17, 1985 specifically for use with the Macintosh 512K nor is it a Hard Disk 20SC.

The latter product was the first SCSI drive Apple manufactured and deployed on the Macintosh Plus in 1986, effectively obsolescing the Hard Disk 20 unit. It is a safe bet that this unit represents an early prototype of one of Apple’s hard drives, but it could also be a new hard drive design that never saw the light of day. The seller could not tell either, as the drive did not power up. Eagle-eyed readers are aware that Apple of the past had been designing its own storage devices and the aforementioned Hard Disk 20 serves as an illustrious example of the company’s closed approach to hard drives.

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Apple ends its buy a Mac, get $100 off a printer promotion

Apple, effective today, ended its buy a Mac, get a $100 off of a printer promotion. The promotion typically runs yearly, so we are not sure why Apple stopped it. Apple sells a few $100 printers, so they typically advertise the promotion as “Buy a Mac, get a free printer.”

Although Apple is putting a stop to the program, they will continue to sell printers in their physical retail stores and online stores, according to the internal memo posted above. Customers who bought a printer within 90 days of Jan. 16 can still claim their $100 rebate from Apple.

Apple still has the rebate page up, below:

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OWC gives Mac Pro users the first PCI Express SSD option

The easiest way to upgrade your Mac Pro’s everyday performance is to replace its slow internal hard drive units with pricier and much speedier solid-state storage (SSD), as it typically provides many times faster access times compared to HDDs and way greater sustained transfer rates. The problem is, you can only put flash storage inside the Pro’s hard drive bays that connect to the SATA interface.

Unfortunately, your super-fast SSD is limited to transfer rates of the Mac Pro’s SATA controller.

Enter OWC’s upcoming PCI Express-based SSD solution for Mac Pros, due for release “in the very near future.” Why does it matter? Well, for starters, it is a dream come true for the Hackintosh community. However, there is more to it than meets the eye…

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