OWC Announces 480GB SSD Upgrade for MacBook Pro with Retina Displayby Anand Lal Shimpi on August 14, 2012 12:51 PM EST
In our review of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display I mentioned that the base $2199 configuration is near perfect, save for its 256GB SSD. With no room for internal storage expansion, you either have to be ok with only having 256GB of internal storage or pay the extra $500 for the BTO 512GB SSD upgrade.
Today, as expected, OWC announced its 480GB Mercury Aura Pro upgrade for the Retina MacBook Pro. The SandForce SF-2281 based SSD is priced at $579.99, which actually doesn't save you any money compared to buying the upgraded configuration directly from Apple. OWC's route does offer a couple of benefits however: 1) customers who order before September 30th will receive a USB 3.0 enclosure that will let you use your old 256GB SSD as an external drive (the enclosure costs $60 separately, and you still get to use your 256GB SSD), and 2) if you've already purchased a 256GB rMBP and later discover that you need more storage simply buying the $2799 model isn't an option, making the Mercury Aura Pro a viable option.
A quick search of 480GB SF-2281 based drives reveals that many are still priced over $500, although it's still possible to get some drives at lower price points. NAND pricing tends to be highly volatile, not to mention the benefits that having a direct relationship with a fab offers, both of which contribute to the wide spread.
The other thing to keep in mind with any SF-2281 based SSD is the difference in performance between compressible and incompressible data. If you're running FileVault on your rMBP you will see lower performance from anything SandForce based compared to the standard Samsung PM830 used in the stock rMBP.
All of that being said, it's great to see OWC offer an upgrade path for the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Pre-orders for the Mercury Aura Pro are available immediately, with first shipments going out on or around August 21.