I was pleasantly surprised to drop by OWC's booth at CES to see a mechanical sample of its forthcoming LSI SF3700 based PCIe SSD. OWC plans on offering aftermarket SF3700 SSD upgrades for all Haswell Macs and the late 2013 Mac Pro. Unlike OWC's SF-2xxx based upgrades, I'm hoping/expecting the SF3700 drives will be competitive in idle power consumption with the drives you get directly from Apple.

OWC will be producing these drives with the right proprietary connector for all of Apple's 2013 Macs with PCIe SSDs. We'll see x2 and x4 versions, just like what Apple offers today. As with other SF3700 vendors, we'll likely see Toshiba 19nm NAND used although OWC reminded me that they still buy some Micron NAND. 

It's too early to talk about pricing, but I'd expect something a bit cheaper than Apple's upgrade costs (plus the fact that you get to keep the drive you bought your machine with). 

The bad news is you'll have to wait until sometime in Q3 of this year to get the drives. OWC has historically been able to deliver SandForce based SSDs very quickly, so as soon as the firmware is production worthy I'm sure we'll see these drives on the market.

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  • MScrip - Friday, January 10, 2014 - link

    "All Haswell Macs..."

    Finally an upgrade for the 2013 Macbook Air!
    Reply
  • SirKnobsworth - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - link

    Which of the new macs actually support x4 SSDs? The only one I know ships with one is the Mac Pro. Reply
  • migs647 - Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - link

    The new MacBook pros do as well. Mine came with 512, but 1tb would be nice. Reply
  • Pneumothorax - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - link

    Sandforce, no thanks! Too bad greedy Apple won't let their OEM's like Samsung sell these PCIe SSD's in the aftermarket. Reply
  • jameskatt - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - link

    Apple isn't stopping OEMs like Samsung from selling PCIe SSDS in the aftermarket at all. After all, Samsung sells SATA SSDs to Mac users. And Samsung already SELLS PCIe SSDs.

    The problem is that Apple's Mac Pro uses FOUR PCIe 2.0 lanes, not TWO lanes as on existing PCIe SSDs. This gives the Mac Pro a maximum of 2GB/s bandwidth, twice what existing PCIe SSDs have. Since Apple is the only one doing this, and since the Mac Pro is a low volume seller, Samsung is simply not interested in creating a low volume product. If other PC Makers also would use FOUR PCIE 2.0 lanes for their SSDS, then Samsung may be interested. Otherwise, not.

    OWC is great in supporting Apple's customers. And they are able to do low volume custom products.
    Reply
  • SirKnobsworth - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - link

    x4 SSDs aren't unheard of. Most of OCZ's PCIe lineup seems to be x4. Kingston demoed an x4 board at CES. The M.2 products we've seen so far seem to be of both varieties, but M.2 isn't even fully adopted yet. The SF3700 (what these upgrades are going to be using) allows four lanes. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - link

    Samsung's XP941 based PCIe SSD used by Apple and several other PC OEMs (such as Sony) is x4 but many have chosen to run it at x2. Reply
  • jameskatt - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - link

    What I would love is a DUAL DRIVE PCIe SSD for the new Mac Pro that you can arrange as a RAID-0. The reason is that despite the speed of the existing single-drive 4-lane PCIe SSDs from Apple, it wastes the even faster 2GBs bandwidth of the Mac Pro's SSD slot. Reply
  • jerrylzy - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - link

    I am interested in the new SF controller performance. Reply
  • swat671 - Saturday, January 11, 2014 - link

    This might be a stupid question, but is it even possible to use multiple SSD's in the new Mac Pro and set them up in a RAID set up? Or would you have to use an external solution via Thunderbolt/USB? Reply

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