Recently, OCZ introduced its line-up of products for Apple platform, as we covered it in our news story. What was weird was the fact that the Vertex Mac Edition SSDs come with different speeds compared to its PC version. If you compare the PC Version of Vertex SSD to a Mac-certified one, you will see that unfortunately, Mac SSDs endured a spec-down by 10MB/s, both in the areas of read and write.
I am a PC - I can handle speed. I am a Mac - I am cute and cuddly, but fast hard drives can break my soft soul.
Now, this is quite unusual, and we decided to ask OCZ directly. We received an unexpected answer from Mr. Tobias Brinkmann, OCZ's Director of Marketing EMEA: "The Mac version has different read and write specs due to Mac OS limitations. The product was tested by Apple's ADC but works on other systems as well."
You might be wondering, "what limitations?"... we conducted some research and discovered a reason. Folks, Mac OS X has an issue with couple of things, and this was bound to happen - the Apple-written SATA controller driver can get saturated by a single SSD drive on ocassion, but two will definitely saturate the bus. The underlying issue is the fact that Mac OS X comes with journaling filesystem, a feature not present on Windows-based file systems.
Regardless of this, OCZ had to modify the specifications their Vertex drive in oder to qualify/certify the part for usage on Macs. If you use a latest-gen, SATA 2.0-spec busting SSD and the drive manufacturer didn't qualify the parts, you might experience some technical difficulties over the course of time - nothing radical, though. We thank Tuan for this clarification.
The only way to avoid this is by buying an external RAID controller that comes with its own drivers, independent of the built-in SATA drivers. Now, brace for impact - upcoming Mac OSX Snow Leopard WILL NOT fix this one in its initial release, we will have to wait for an Apple Update, if it ever comes out. The issue is present in all Mac OS X releases with SATA drive support, so you lose 10MB/s if you use a very fast SSD drive.
Bear in mind that OCZ's Mac drives currently are the fastest certified SSDs you can get for your Mac, so they had to be slowed down by 10MB/s in order to avoid saturation on the software side.