OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual Mini RAID Data Storage/Backup Review
OWC has a great range of external storage solutions for both Mac and PC users.
With the Elite Pro offerings addressing the desktop solutions, in quad, dual and single Bay formats, there is a need for that “portable” offering that can come in so handy for users on-the-go.
This is the slot that the Mercury Elite Pro Mini looks to fill and, with room for 2 HDDs or SSDs, it certainly makes for an interesting enclosure.
When first checking out the OWC Mercury Elite Pro, there are several options available to the user with respect to actual data storage itself.
Our first option is the NRAID Mode, which encompasses both Span and Independent modes. The Span Mode effectively combines the capacity of both drives into one large pool of data that has the aggregated capacity of both devices. The Independent Mode allows for each internal drive to be accessed separately.
This enclosure has also RAID 1 functionality which is essentially a carbon copy of the users data that is spread over two hard drives, be it SSD or HDD. In the event of a drive failure, the enclosure will automatically copy over the data upon insertion of a new drive. This type of functionality gives the user some peace of mind that their data is protected if there is an issue with a HDD or SSD.
RAID 1 does provide ultimate data security, but at a cost of capacity. There is a carbon copy of all data, so the capacity of the useable volume is only going to be the total space of one disk, provided that the disks are of matching capacity. The user also loses the performance scaling that can be accomplished with multiple drives.
Utilizing two devices can create double the performance in some configurations with RAID 0 which allows the user to use both volumes with data striped across them. This results in double the speed of one drive, and the doubling of capacity as well. The user does sacrifice data redundancy in this scenario.
There are drawbacks to each type of usage, but also benefits. The great thing about this device is that the user is allowed to configure it in either RAID o for ultimate performance, or RAID 1 for maximum data protection.
- Uses two 2.5 SATA type hard disks or solid state drives
- Hardware RAID Modes: 0, 1, or NRAID (Span & Independent)
- System status LEDs
- Near silent fanless operation
- Anodized aluminum enclosure
- Ultra-protective Shock Isolation System
- Bus Powered Design through FireWire ports
The Elite Pro Mini comes to us in a standard box which is sturdily packaged with foam protecting the enclosure itself. Once the box is opened the user is greeted with the manual and the CD that contains the software bundle that is included with the package.
The software bundle really provides some added value for the end user, as there are plenty of useful utilities and programs that will enhance the use of the product;
- Intech SpeedTools Utilities OEM
- Prosoft Engineering Data Backup
- NovaStor NovaBACKUP
- Carbon Copy Cloner from Bombich Software
Once the device is removed the additional connections that come with the unit can be found beneath the device, including an 18″ USB 2.0 connection, a 18″ Flexibile eSATA cable, 18″ FireWire 800 (1394B) cable, and a 18″ FireWire 800 to 12V Power cable.
And finally we pull the enclosure itself out. Made of sturdy aluminum it is surprisingly small, but very solid in construction. There is a bit of reassuring heft to it as there are enclosed HDDs inside the device, and there is no doubt that this is an extremely strong enclosure that can stand up to the rigors of being used as an portable device.