RAID-1 Mirror in Hardware vs Software
For an internal RAID-1 mirror, I’d much rather use SoftRAID than a hardware RAID card; it’s much less expensive, more flexible.
For an external software RAID-1 mirror, it makes sense to stick to a single enclosure for convenience, but it’s perfectly fine to use two single drives.
Hardware options for a RAID-1 mirror
Hardware RAID-1 mirroring means one of these options:
- An external drive enclosure which internally provides RAID-1 capability;
- Use a hardware RAID card for an internal RAID-1 mirror;
- Use a hardware RAID card for an external RAID-1 mirror with various types of external drives.
Option #1 is the only hardware option available to most Mac users, since only the Mac Pro can accept a PCIe RAID card.
Option #1 is also, by far, the most convenient, since the enclosure itself takes care of the RAID issues, presenting itself as if it were a single drive.
Suggested external RAID-1 mirror enclosures
The Guardian MAXimus Mini or OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual Mini are both excellent choices for portability and/or for desktop use. There are full-size versions of both units available, which offer higher capacity.