Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina Display, a.k.a. “least repairable laptop ever,” just became slightly more upgradeable with the release of the Aura Pro SSD from Other World Computing. The 480 GB SSD grants users the option of upgrading their storage post-purchase for reasons of both capacity and speed.
Priced at $579.99, the Aura Pro isn’t cheap, but the 6G SATA III drive, custom designed to fit Apple’s proprietary hardware design on the tightly-integrated Retina MacBook Pro, promises speeds faster than Apple’s stock offerings. The Apple SSD in the Retina MacBook Pro reaches 461 MB/s reads and 365 MB/s writes compared to OWC’s claims that the Aura will reach 500 MB/s in both categories.
Another advantage of OWC SSDs that the company likes to tout is enhanced wear leveling, a crucial factor in solid state technology and something that makes OWC hard drives maintain their long-term performance better than some competing options.
Apple offers customers the option to upgrade their Retina MacBook Pro SSD at the time of purchase, with 512 GB and 768 GB options for an additional $500 and $1,000, respectively.
While the Aura Pro at $580 gets the user only 480 GB, less than Apple’s 512 GB option, the user does get to keep the stock 256 GB SSD if they purchase an upgrade from OWC. To make use of this extra SSD, OWC is including its Envoy Pro USB 3.0 external enclosure, compatible with the stock SSD, for free with the purchase of an Aura Pro until September 30.
The OWC Aura Pro does indeed provide a theoretically faster drive (we’ll post some real-world benchmarks as soon as we can get our hands on one) but its high cost should limit it only to professional users who need the absolute fastest speed. Most users won’t notice the difference in performance with non-disk intensive tasks.
If you were interested in the base Retina MacBook Pro but were worried about the options for future upgrades, however, OWC’s Aura Pro should at least put your mind at ease (just don’t count on seeing RAM upgrades any time soon).