90GB OCZ 90GB Agility 3 SATA3 SSD for $100

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, Amazon offers the OCZ 90GB Agility 3 2.5″ Serial ATA 6Gb/s Internal SSD, model no. AGT3-25SAT3-90G, for $99.99 with free shipping. That’s the lowest total price we could find by $30. This Sandforce-controlled drive advertises 500MB/s+ read write times when connected to a SATA3 controller.

While OCZ’s drives are certainly fast, we’ve had a better experience with Samsung’s 830 series SATA3 SSDs which should soon be entering production on Apple’s MacBook Air/Pros.  The 128GB is listed at $199 while the 64GB variety is $109.

Update: previously mentioned rebate had expired last week.

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Intel’s new 520 Series SSD benchmarked: Easy on the battery, great data protection and compression features

Intel announced today the new 520 Series solid-state storage code-named “Cherryville” and a number of tech websites and blogs already have their reviews up. The Verge has a nice review round up, and MacWorld’s own review provides an extensive overview of the pros and cons of the device. Fabbed on Intel’s 25nm Multi-Level Cell process, the 520 boasts sequential read/write performance of 550/520MBps when using a system with a SATA 3.0 6Gbps interface. The spec sheet positions the 520 Series as a solution for media creators and tech enthusiasts.

Still, Samsung’s comparable 830 Series came in fastest during Tech Report’s review (see the chart below the fold), with sequential read/write speeds of 500/350MBps on a SATA 3.0 6Gbps interface. We reviewed the Samsung 830 and found it to be the fastest available. In addition, the 830 SSD is almost $150 cheaper and it is going into MacBook Airs soon, unlike the 520 Series that comes in a 2.5-inch form factor—so it only fits inside MacBook and MacBook Pros.

MacWorld’s review achieved read-writes of 303/324MBps (sequential) and 303/338MBps (random) with Xbench 1.3 and 456/241MBps in read/writes using Blackmagic benchmarking software with 4K blocks. The 520 Series also has lower-than-usual power requirements and delights with strong data protection and compression features…

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OWC puts together Mac Mini Stack Max: USB 3.0, 4TB 3.5 inch drive, eSATA and more

We love this add-on to the Mac Mini that turns it into more of a pro-device (and a cube!).  The business up front is a DVD-R drive (not sure about BluRay) and an SDXC card reader that complements the one on the back of the mini. On the rear, you get a high power USB source for quick-charging an iPad as well as a few USB 3.0 ports that require separate drivers.  Also on the back is an eSATA port for fast external peripheral support as well as two Firewire 800 ports. Inside, there is room for up to a 4TB 3.5 inch hard drive which you can order with the Mini Stack Max or you can bring your own.

This is interesting because it is moving the Mini more toward a pro-like setup.

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OWC has not put a price on the Mac Mini Stack Max but expects them to be available in March. Read more

Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G SSD upgrade boosts MacBook Air speed more than 3X

If you really want to turn your new MacBook Air out, OWC is offering up a new SSD upgrade option that promise up to 4X read/write performance (>500MB/s) over Apple’s factory installed SSDs. The SSDs, priced at $350 for 120GB and $600 for 240GB use a Sandforce 2200 controller.

• Tier 1/Grade A Toggle Synchronous NAND
• SandForce 2200 Series Processor
• Offers nearly 4x factory SSD capacity.**
• Compatible with 2011 MacBook Air
• Utilizes 6G SATA bus in 2011 MacBook Air to deliver over 500MB/s data rate performance

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In other OWC news, they mention that yesterday’s MacBook Pro update fixed lingering issues with the 6GB SATA port on the MacBook Pros (not to be confused with the 3GB Optical port.)

See performance benefits, below:
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Kingston 256GB Internal 2.5″ SSD: $280

From 9to5Toys.com

Amazon offers the Kingston SSDNow V-Series 256GB Serial ATA 3Gbp/s 2.5″ Internal Solid State Drive (SSD), model no. SV100S2/256GZ, for $299.99. The $20 mail-in rebate cuts it to $279.99. With free shipping, that’s $1.09/GB, and the lowest total price we could find by $128. (It’s also the best price we’ve seen for an SSD of this size since Black Friday) Rebate expires July 31.  Reviews here and here.


AnandTech benchmarks
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Lifehacker posts guide to building a Mini Hackintosh

Lifehacker has posted a nifty guide to building a Hackintosh, Mini style. This Hackintosh is very similar to Apple’s Mac Mini in price but more burly in specs. Hackintoshes offer a great way to learn about the innards of computers and how they work.

The end product ran up a price tag of $599.65, which is a very fair price for what you’re getting.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 Motherboard $104.99
  2. Intel Core i3 Processor i3-540 3.06GHz 4MB LGA1156 CPU $110.00
  3. ZOTAC nVidia GeForce GT240 512 MB DDR3 DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card $84.99
  4. 2x2GB Corsair PC3-10666 1333Mhz Dual Chanel 240-pin DDR3 Desktop RAM $43.99
  5. Western Digital 1TB SATA III 7200 RPM 32MB Cache Desktop Hard Drive $59.99 (2TB: $79)
  6. SilverStone SG05BB-450 ALL Black Plastic/SECC Mini-ITX Computer Case with SFX 450W 80+ Bronze Certified/Single +12V rail Power Supply $119.99
  7. Sony Optiarc 8X SATA DVD+/-RW Slim Drive $34.99
  8. StarTech.com MCSATAADAP Micro SATA to SATA Adapter Cable with Power $11.71
  9. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard $29.00
  10. OPTIONALOCZ Agility 120GB SSD $199.99 (note: this is optional and not included in the total cost of the machine)

The squad over at Lifehacker used tonymacx86’s CustoMac Mini tool and a good suite of hardware. While this isn’t as small as a Mac Mini, it is very close and is a lot faster. Check out Lifehacker’s video above on how to set this up and visit their post for a list of hardware. We have to warn you, this isn’t for every computer user, because you need to know how to build your own computer and do a little tinkering.

If a Hackintosh Mini isn’t for you, check out tonymacx86’s guide to making a Sandy Bridge Hackintosh. Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor is rumored to be included in many of the new Macs. Why not go ahead and build one on the cheap? Tonymacx86 has all the answers.

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