Other World Computing (OWC) is synonymous with SSD upgrades and has been for quite a while for hardcore Mac and PC users. At the recent International CES in Las Vegas, we stopped by the OWC booth to talk to Grant Dahlke, the Marketing Manager for a quick demonstration of their new line of SSDs and a demonstration of the latest and greatest as captured on camera from the show floor.
Sean Gibson (GI): Sean Gibson, CES 2013, here at the OWC booth. Grant, could you introduce yourself and what you do?
Grant Dahlke (OWC): Sure, Grant Dahlke, Marketing Manager for Other World Computing.
Sean Gibson (GI): It’s great to see you guys here and the first thing I happened to see is the thing you happen to be most excited about, it’s the Viper SSDs and I’m seeing performance that I have not seen anywhere else, 60MB/s. I’ve been seeing drives that I’ve been testing out personally, that top out at 520. I almost want to call shenanigans on you and say, “Could you prove this?” so could you talk a bit about this Viper drive and what makes it so special, and how you’re seeing these speeds?
Grant Dahlke (OWC): Sure, from the very beginning, when we introduced our first SSD in 2010, we’re all about performance, and we’ve been about performance since 1988, when the company was first founded. Whether it’s Mac or a PC, we’re always looking to provide a solution to a user to get the most out of their technology investment. Viper’s going to do just that. We’re going to come out with our first three and half inch drive. We’re not going to introduce our products in just a “me too” way, we’re going to push the envelope and Viper truly will do that, it will deliver near the threshold of 600MB/s and the other big thing is, is that it will be in a huge capacity, up to two terabytes.
Sean Gibson (GI): What? Two terabytes?
Grant Dahlke (OWC): Right. This is not going to be a drive for the everyday user, and I’m glad you showed up, because one of the key markets we’re going to be looking at are gamers, and my philosophy is for this particular product, and OWC’s philosophy is, this is going to be for uncompromised performance. It’s not a matter about money, it’s about when only the best and the fastest will do, and Viper will be certainly something that your listeners and readers should look into.
Sean Gibson (GI): For a lot of us, the biggest road block that we have for performance is throughput. It seems like we’re not really dependent so much on these amazing chips that Intel and AMD are producing, we’re really dependent on throughput, and that seems like where your company comes in and saves the day.
Grant Dahlke (OWC): Right. Again, we’re all about performance, and from the beginning, we’ve utilized Sandforce LSI processors, we use top tier NAN from suppliers like Micron, and we’ll look at any type of performance capability we can put into it, to where it will deliver the expectations of our customers. On that point, sometimes things do happen, and the beauty about OWC also is that we have lifetime 24/7 tech support. The only time we’re closed is on a national holiday, so if a customer calls and has an issue, we’re there for them. We’re there for them night and day.
Sean Gibson (GI): For the gamers building a new rig, they want fastest possible boot times on Windows or LINUX. What can you recommend for them as a consumer, what should you be shopping for, what you should be looking for, and what makes your products better than the competitions?
Grant Dahlke (OWC): Starting maybe from reverse order, as far as what makes us better is that we’re a proven entity. We’ve been doing this now since 2010, we were at the beginning of when SSDs really started gaining in popularity, our customer support and service for our SSDs. As you can see, we’re running a demo here, it would be hard for your listeners to see this, but we’re running a demo with our Excelsior PCIe SSD card, and we’re getting over 900MB/s on the write and over 1200 meg on the read, so we can start the test and run it again, and we can run it all day long, and that’s what our products are designed to do. They’re designed to deliver the highest performance and the highest reliability.
Even going back to our two and a half inch drives, we were the first in the industry to offer a 30-day money back guarantee. That’s how much confidence we have, and if you’re not happy with it, we’ll gladly refund your money. We don’t want an unhappy customer. We were the first in the industry to offer up to five-year warranties, because we just have that much faith in the design and the performance of our products.
Sean Gibson (GI): Gamers are jaded at this point with some SSD vendors. I won’t say who, but they come out with a new drive, gamers buy it, and the drive dies in 30 or 60 days. Reliability with SSD is big, so please speak about what specifically a gamer should be shopping for right now.
Grant Dahlke (OWC): Sure, you mentioned it, reliability, and I think what the gamers should do is come to our site, macsales.com, and click on the SSD tab and look at all the reviews. I’ll let the reviews speak for themselves, and the other thing I’ll point out is we don’t advertise in any of those publications. We do very little advertising, actually, because we put a lot of our time and money into the actual products, so check out the reviews, listen to what other people are saying, go on social media and ask people, “What do you think about OWC and what do you think about their products?” and I’ll let the products speak for themselves.
Sean Gibson (GI): It might be macsales.com, but definitely power PC users as well.
Grant Dahlke (OWC): Yes, because we began in the industry with a Mac focus, but now, in fact, I’ll tell you honestly, you can click on pcsales.com and that directs right back to macsales.com, because we’re going to actually make a big push into the PC market in the next year or so.
Sean Gibson (GI): To conclude this interview, what’s some of the better feedback you’ve been getting here at the show, maybe some of the wow factor that you’ve been seeing from the people that come to your booth?
Grant Dahlke (OWC): Specifically on our SSDs, it’s just the full breadth of products that we offer, and again, I know, that’s not for PC users, but we’re the only manufacturer, other than Apple, to create an SSD for the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro Retina, so that just shows the design capabilities we have. No one else out there has an SSD option for them, and then we even say “Once we take that factory module out, what do we do with it?” We create an external enclosure so you can reuse that factory flash module.
Coming back to Viper, everyone’s really wowed by that two terabyte. They go “Wow, three and a half inch drive, two terabyte, that’s just going to be awesome.” We’ll have pricing and availability announced in the next month and we’re just going to take it from there.
Sean Gibson (GI): Awesome, Grant, thanks so much.
Grant Dahlke (OWC): Thank you.
A special thanks goes out to Grant Dahlke, Andy Marken and the rest of the OWC team at CES 2013.