OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini USB3 / eSATA SSD
The eSATA 6G +USB3 enclosure offers both offers both eSATA 6G and USB3 connectivity, and houses a fast 480GB Mercury Electra 6G SSD. Other SSD capacities are available (120/240/960GB), as well as hard drive versions in the same enclosure.
The OWC Elite Pro Mini SSD is clearly the drive I’d want to take with me for travel for a high-speed robust backup on the June 2012 Macbook Pro with USB3.
Connectivity to your MacBook Pro or Mac Pro
The USB3 interface is perfect for all the June 2012 MacBook Pro models, the first Macs to sport USB3 ports.
The eSATA 6G port is perfect for any Mac Pro with an eSATA card, such as the inexpensive NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe Card, or the FirmTek SeriTek/2ME4E Four-Port eSATA PCIe card. Use with eSATA requires an external power brick (optional).
As of July 2012, neither eSATA or USB3 is offered by Apple on the iMac or MacMini, though there are eSATA hardware modifications for the iMac and PCIe add-ons via Thunderbolt for the latest MacMini, so it can be done. However, USB3 is backward compatible with USB2, and so the drive can be used (slowly) on older Macs with USB2 ports.
Bus powered and low power draw
The Mini SSD is perfect for travel with a USB3 laptop: bus-powered with a very low power draw. Plug it in and get to work— no power cord and minimal impact on battery life.
There are many uses for an overflow drive this fast (more on that below):
- A clone backup or a Time Machine backup volume.
- Up to 960GB of very fast external “overflow” storage. Since the 15" June 2012 MacBook Pro has three USB3 ports, in theory three drives could be directly attached.
- An alternate boot drive (for another Mac OS and/or a Windows boot).
- A drive for fast file transfer or sharing between more than one computer.
Not only is it rockin' fast, but it’s hassle-free:
- Bootable — I cloned onto it and booted right up.
- Bus powered — no power cable needed; the USB3 cable supplies the power. This is *very* convenient while traveling.
- Silent — no fan.
- Comes with all cables.
- Backward compatible with (very slow) USB2.
- All metal enclosure, slips easily into a briefcase or similar.
- eSATA 6G support (think Mac Pro).
- Three year warranty.
This is a sequential transfer test, the most important performance metric for Photoshop, copying large files, and similar programs for real-world usage. Many web nerd tests focus on irrelevant 4K random transfer or similar tests, which are wholly irrelevant for the overwhelming majority of users.
The drive was tested completely empty. Results shown are from the 2nd test; the first pass is done to make the drive fully utilize its capacity, then the drive erased and 2nd test was run.
The speed blows-away the sluggish Firewire 800 port on the older MacBook Pros by a real-world factor of 3-7X. That’s a huge gain rarely seen with any upgrade. I tested on the Macbook Pro Retina, but the same performance should accrue any of the new 2012 MBP models with USB3 ports.
Read/write performance is a little slower with incompressible data than with highly compressible data (zeroes).
Speed in MB/sec is real-world, including operating system file system overhead (not unrealistic driver-level calls).