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?

Here is how they are supposed to fare:

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Our real world results were not quite as spectacular due to write speeds only hitting 700MB/sec and Read speeds debuting in the high 600s.

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Like any SSD, these ran cool without the use of a fan. Therefore, you will not notice any extra heat or noise coming from your machine. In fact, you will notice the quiet if replacing other Hard drives.

Overall, this is a great piece of hardware. If you are a Mac user without Thunderbolt access, we would recommend getting one of these to speed up your system in one fell swoop.

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Seth Weintraub's favorite gear