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MacBook Air SSD upgrades to ship next week from OWC

Other World Computing (OWC) wowed us today by announcing its Mercury Aura Pro Express Solid State Drive (SSD) line, an SSD upgrade option for all 2010 MacBook Airs. They offer greater speed than Apple's factory offerings and much more storage.

OWC claims peak data rates of 275 MB/s, making them up to 22 percent faster than what's currently available. There are four models to choose from: the 180 GB model sells for US$499.99, the 240 GB costs $579.99 and the whopping 360 GB model bears an equally staggering price - $1179.99. That's more than a stock 11.6" Air. Each comes with a three year warranty. Pre-orders are being taken now, and OWC hopes to start shipping "...on/around Wednesday, January 12th."

You'll remember that Apple recently ended PhotoFast's intention to sell SSD upgrade kits for the MacBook Air, but that could have been due to PhotoFast's affiliation with Apple's MFi Program. If you get one of these kits, please let us know how it goes.

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January 5, 2011, Las Vegas, NV -- Other World Computing (OWC®) http://www.macsales.com, a leading zero emissions Mac® and PC technology company, announced today its new Mercury Aura™ Pro Express Solid State Drive (SSD) line is the first high performance SSD available on the market for pre-ordering for all 2010 Apple MacBook Air models. This announcement establishes OWC as the most comprehensive U.S. manufacturer of industry leading SandForce® processor based SSDs available today with OWC Mercury Pro brand SSD models available for nearly every Mac and PC produced over the past decade. OWC will be demonstrating the new Mercury Aura Pro Express and other first-to-market OWC Mercury Pro SSDs in booth #3935, LVCC North Hall, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which begins tomorrow in Las Vegas, Nevada.

More Speed, Capacity, and Options Than Factory SSD
The OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express offers owners of and those interested in the 2010 MacBook Air models a SSD upgrade path that delivers higher performance, functionality, and reliability. With peak data rates of 275MB/s, the Mercury Aura Pro Express offers 22% higher speed than factory installed SSDs. The OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express is available in three sizes -180GB, 240GB, and 360GB – for more upgrade choices and nearly 3X higher data storage/backup capacity than factory SSD options when compared to 11.1" model factory options up to 128GB and 13" model factory options up to only 256GB.

Three Models Starting At $499.99 MSRP
The new OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express is available immediately for pre-ordering in three capacities compatible with all 11.1" and 13.3" 2010 MacBook Air models:

180GB Mercury Aura Pro Express with 7% over provisioning & three year warranty - $499.99
240GB Mercury Aura Pro Express with 7% over provisioning & three year warranty - $579.99
360GB Mercury Aura Pro Express with 7% over provisioning & three year warranty - $1179.99
OWC is planning initial retail shipments of Mercury Aura Pro Express orders to begin on/around Wednesday, January 12th. For more information on the OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express line, including reseller inquires, visit: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Aura_Pro_Express. For more information on the complete OWC Mercury Pro SSD line, visit: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/

Doesn't Slow Down With Use Like Ordinary SSDs
Ordinary SSDs offer fast read/write performance during first initial uses, but then experience significant write speed degradation over repeated usage. Independent simulation tests by leading drive performance experts (http://macperformanceguide.com/SSD-RealWorld.html) confirm OWC Mercury Pro brand SSD's ultra-efficient Block Management & Wear Leveling technologies are able to eliminate virtually any reduction in data transfer speeds over heavy long term usage of the drive and without dependency on less than effective OS TRIM management.

Up To 100X Greater Data Protection
Utilizing SandForce DuraClass™ technology, the OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express is able to provide up to 100X higher data protection than provided by ordinary SSDs as well as leading enterprise class hard disk drives. By combining the highest level of Error Correction Code (ECC) and SandForce RAISE™ (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology along with 7% over provisioning, the Mercury Aura Pro Express provides RAID like data protection and reliability without loss of transfer speed due to parity.

"It's very satisfying to continue a storied tradition of being the first manufacturer to offer Mac users an upgrade path to get the most from their machine," said Larry O'Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing. "Now thanks to the Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD, 2010 MacBook Air owners and those interested in buying this machine can upgrade for higher capacity and performance when they need it."

OWC Mercury Pro: Most Comprehensive Industry First SSD Line For Macs And PCs
In addition to new Mercury Aura Pro Express being announced as the first high performance SSD available on the market for pre-ordering for all 2010 Apple MacBook Air models, OWC is also unveiling four other industry first Mercury Pro SSD model lines at the CES show:
• OWC Mercury Aura Pro MBA, the first high performance SandForce processor based SSD available for all 2008-2009 Apple MacBook Air models.
• OWC Mercury Aura Pro 1.8", the first and fastest SandForce processor based SSD available for netbooks, subnotebook, and other computers that utilize an internal 1.8" sized SATA drive.
• OWC Mercury Legacy™ Pro, the first and fastest SandForce processor based IDE/ATA SSD available for pre-Intel PowerPC based Mac notebooks, PCs, and other notebook/laptop computers.
• OWC Mercury Extreme™ Pro Legacy Edition, the first and fastest SandForce® processor based IDE/ATA SSD available for pre-Intel® PowerPC® based Macs, PCs, and other desktop/tower computers.

For more information on the complete OWC Mercury Pro SSD line, visit: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/.

About Other World Computing (OWC)
Other World Computing (OWC) has been providing quality hardware products and support to the computer industry since 1988 and features one of the largest online catalogs of computer, iPod®, iPhone®, and iPad™ enhancement products through its e-commerce portal www.macsales.com. As an Apple Certified Developer, OWC also provides extensive US based technical support for Macintosh users around the world as well as Internet access via www.fastermac.net and www.owc.net

OWC's industry awards and recognition include: Crain's Chicago Business 2009 "Fast 50" List of 50 Fastest Growing Companies in the Chicago Area; Inc. 5,000 "Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies in America" list honoree 2007-2010; Reseller Ratings Elite Member 2009 & 2010; Better Business Bureau Top Rating of A+ 2010; Reflex Packaging Commitment to Excellence Recycling Award 2009; Computerworld MagazineTop Green-IT Companies for 2008; and McHenry County Economic Development Corporation 2008 Business Champion Award.

In March 2010, OWC's corporate campus was designated as LEED Platinum by the Green Building Certification Institute (http://eshop.macsales.com/green/index.html). Platinum is the highest achievable LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Program level, which began in 1998. Out of more than 14,000 LEED projects engaged worldwide since the program's inception, OWC is one of less than three hundred to achieve the Platinum standard. In September 2010, OWC's headquarters earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR rating for building operations that perform in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency.

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