OWC ships Aura Pro X PCIe SSD flash storage upgrades for 2013 and later Macs

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited October 2017
Mac upgrade supplier OWC has released its newest SSDs, the Aura Pro X, with the flash-based PCIe storage said to be the fastest the firm has ever produced, claimed to offer up to 2.3 times better performance compared to the stock storage used by Apple.

OWC Aura Pro X SSD


The Aura Pro X series is built around an advanced NVME controller combined with 3D MLC NAND flash memory, which allows for read and write speeds of up to 1352 megabytes per second and 1066 megabytes per second respectively. According to the product pages, these speeds are identical across the range, regardless of its capacity.

The drives are designed to support technologies used in macOS 10.13 High Sierra, including advanced features in APFS, such as strong encryption, space sharing, file and directory cloning, copy-on-write metadata, fast directory sizing, snapshots, and improved file system fundamentals. A more efficient power management system is also included, to help increase the host MacBook's battery life.

The Aura SSDs provide three layers of error correction and a global wear-leveling algorithm to extend the SSD's life. OWC also overprovisions the drives by 7 percent, permanently allocated as free space and used by the SSD to perform maintenance tasks in the background to optimize performance and overall drive health.

OWC claims to have engineered the flash storage specifically for Mac, so users can install the hardware without requiring any complicated changes to the operating system or TRIM-enablers.

OWC Aura SSD


To simplify the installation process further, OWC offers an upgrade kit alongside the SSD blade, which includes the tools required to open up the Mac or MacBook, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A to Micro-B cable, a user guide, the OWC Envoy Pro enclosure, and a carrying case for the enclosure. The Envoy Pro enclosure can be used to house the factory-installed SSD, effectively turning it into a USB external drive.

Backed by a five-year limited warranty, the range consists of four drive capacities: 240 gigabytes, 480 gigabytes, 1 terabyte, and 2 terabytes, though the last model is expected to ship in mid-November 2017.

The blade-only versions cost $279.99, $419.99, $649.99, and $1,279.99 respectively, depending on capacity. Two different kits can be acquired for the three available capacities at a higher cost, providing instruction and tools for select 2013 and later MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models, as well as the Late 2013 Mac Pro.

OWC advises the Aura Pro X SSDs support the Mid 2013 and later MacBook Air, the Retina and Late 2013 to Mid 2015 MacBook Pro, the late 2014 Mac mini, the Late 2013 and later iMac, and the Late 2013 Mac Pro.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    I'd be more comfortable with OWC products if the current Aura SSD in my Macbook Air didn't prevent me from upgrading to High Sierra.  I've learned my lesson in trusting second party parts in my Apple products.
    racerhomie
  • Reply 2 of 13
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,584member
    Now how nice would it have been if the Apple internal storage units were plug and play and these upgrades could have been easily installed internally by end-users just like hard drives used to be replaceable by removing a cover and a few screws.    The whole point of a laptop, IMO, is to have all one's files with you.   And if one is going to store everything in the Cloud, then upgraded local storage isn't needed anyway.  
    wisey
  • Reply 3 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    I've stuck with MCE Technology for my late 2013 Mac Pro internal SSD.  According to the MCE tech specs theirs was faster as 4 lane, seen as an internal and a few other things I forget.  It specifically states that the previous OWC version was 'seen' as an external so would be fraught with issues for many things not least of which is Boot Camp.  This could be a new version from OWC that is the same as MCE for all I know.  I know not if this being seen as an external is true of the previous OWC model to be honest but since the MCE version cost less and was apparently faster I stuck with theirs.  Plus MCE have both 1TB and 512 GB models for the new Mac Pro.  MCE also offer the external case for the removed drive.
    rezwitsracerhomie
  • Reply 4 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    zoetmb said:
    Now how nice would it have been if the Apple internal storage units were plug and play and these upgrades could have been easily installed internally by end-users just like hard drives used to be replaceable by removing a cover and a few screws.    The whole point of a laptop, IMO, is to have all one's files with you.   And if one is going to store everything in the Cloud, then upgraded local storage isn't needed anyway.  
    I hear you although a Mac Pro is easy.  

    First thing this morning I upgraded my new Mac Pro late 2013, both RAM and internal SSD.  Total time ... not long enough to drink my coffee.  

    Then I did my 2012 Mac mini.  OMG ...  Time, two hours and counting ... it came apart as expected from video but boy do these 'how to' videos skip over the PITA rebuild.  Nothing quite fitted as it should as whoever (or whatever) built it had quite a few wires out of place and flattened down under other parts and must have used a lot of force. I don't see how a human could have done it.  Once freed up these wires were in the way of anything fitting exactly and don't get me started on getting the new SSD in and seated.  The so called rotating bottom didn't rotate and come off as it should have.  I am still waiting for the Loctite glue to dry on the repaired plastic lugs that were stuck fast and had to be cracked off.
    edited October 2017 racerhomie
  • Reply 5 of 13
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,635member
    "OWC advises the Aura Pro X SSDs support ... the Late 2013 and later iMac" I can't find anywhere on MacSales website, https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-aura-pro-x-ssd?_ga=2.78225108.1355310481.1508972809-1911931945.1500246493 where it says anything about supporting the iMac. 
  • Reply 6 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,254administrator
    rob53 said:
    "OWC advises the Aura Pro X SSDs support ... the Late 2013 and later iMac" I can't find anywhere on MacSales website, https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-aura-pro-x-ssd?_ga=2.78225108.1355310481.1508972809-1911931945.1500246493 where it says anything about supporting the iMac. 
    The press materials that we have specifically states 2013 and later iMac support. I'll ask.


    edited October 2017
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Odd they're still selling the old 1TB. The new one is a lot better priced!
  • Reply 8 of 13
    BittySon said:
    I'd be more comfortable with OWC products if the current Aura SSD in my Macbook Air didn't prevent me from upgrading to High Sierra.  I've learned my lesson in trusting second party parts in my Apple products.
    Well you have to admit, the advent of a new file system is a very irregular phenomenon and would have been extremely hard for OWC to prepare for.

    I've been using OWC products to upgrade old Macbook Airs for years, and they have always exceeded hopes and expectations. If the choice is between ~$200 to upgrade a max-ed out Air SSD, or $1200 for a new and frankly unwanted Macbook, I think the former is still a solid choice for many users, APFS or not.
    racerhomie
  • Reply 9 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,558member
    zoetmb said:
    Now how nice would it have been if the Apple internal storage units were plug and play and these upgrades could have been easily installed internally by end-users just like hard drives used to be replaceable by removing a cover and a few screws.    The whole point of a laptop, IMO, is to have all one's files with you.   And if one is going to store everything in the Cloud, then upgraded local storage isn't needed anyway.  
    Well speaking for myself, my portable notebook is not intended to have all of my files with me. My main data hub is my desktop with external storage additions. My portable is for field work, travel, etc. 
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,254administrator
    zoetmb said:
    Now how nice would it have been if the Apple internal storage units were plug and play and these upgrades could have been easily installed internally by end-users just like hard drives used to be replaceable by removing a cover and a few screws.    The whole point of a laptop, IMO, is to have all one's files with you.   And if one is going to store everything in the Cloud, then upgraded local storage isn't needed anyway.  
    As upgrades go, this one is light and easy. But, you're right, It's not "a few screws" -- I believe its 8 plus one for the drive.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    jdwjdw Posts: 993member
    BittySon said:
    I'd be more comfortable with OWC products if the current Aura SSD in my Macbook Air didn't prevent me from upgrading to High Sierra.  I've learned my lesson in trusting second party parts in my Apple products.
    You seem to be taking a shot at pretty much any non-Apple SSDs with regard to High Sierra compatibility.  Isn’t the incompatibility you’re experiencing specific to an older model OWC SSD?

    I have a 1TB Samsung Evo SSD installed in my late 2009 i7 quadcore iMac and I was able to install High Sierra without problem. 
  • Reply 12 of 13
    jdwjdw Posts: 993member
    Speed of the new OWC SSDs still can’t hold a candle to the stock Apple SSD in the 2015 15” MacBook Pro, as per the performance benchmarks stated in OWC’s own blog:

    https://blog.macsales.com/30725-owc-tests-speed-of-ssd-in-2015-15-macbook-pro-with-retina-display

    In light of the fact it is now late 2017, one would think that OWC could come up with SSDs using today’s technology that are faster than the SSDs Apple used back in 2015.
    racerhomie
  • Reply 13 of 13
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,170member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    BittySon said:
    I'd be more comfortable with OWC products if the current Aura SSD in my Macbook Air didn't prevent me from upgrading to High Sierra.  I've learned my lesson in trusting second party parts in my Apple products.
    Well you have to admit, the advent of a new file system is a very irregular phenomenon and would have been extremely hard for OWC to prepare for.

    I've been using OWC products to upgrade old Macbook Airs for years, and they have always exceeded hopes and expectations. If the choice is between ~$200 to upgrade a max-ed out Air SSD, or $1200 for a new and frankly unwanted Macbook, I think the former is still a solid choice for many users, APFS or not.
    Or just get an external drive .
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