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OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini USB-C

Last updated 2017-05-05 - Send Feedback
Related: Storage, USB, SSD, storage

MPG tested the about $397 480GB Elite Pro Mini Dual SSD.

OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini

The OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini is an ultra high performance mini hardware RAID portable drive with two bays for 2.5" laptop drives, which can be any hard drive, hybrid drive or SSD.

Capacities available from OWC with SSD drives range from 240GB to 2TB, and from 1TB to 4TB with hard drives. It is also available without drives for about $95.

The huge plus for over previous generation units is its use of USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), which doubles the speed of USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps). The port at unit rear is a USB-C port; OWC supplies two cables one of which is USB-C and the other is USB-C to USB-A.

Compatible with existing Macs, it delivers double the performance on newer Macs with USB-C, such as the 2016 MacBook Pro—see the test results.

OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini capacity for hard drive and SSD models

Overall

The Elite Pro Dual Mini sits flat, measuring 6" X 5 5/8" (155mm X 144mm). Height is about 3/4" (24mm). The high-grade aluminum case looks to be stackable should more than one unit be needed.

  • USB 3.1 Gen 2, backward compatible with USB 3.1 Gen 1.
  • High-grade aluminum case.
  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Hardware RAID-0, RAID-1 or SPAN modes, or two independent drives. Boots in RAID-0, RAID-1 or SPAN modes without limitation. Booting in independent mode from one drive only.
  • Most Macs power the Elite Pro Dual Mini via bus power, but Supplied with a separate power supply for Macs lacking a high power USB port.
  • Silent operation with SSD drives.
  • OWC 3 year limited warranty and 24/7 customer support
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini, front and rear layout

Tested: Sustained Transfer Speed Across Capacity

OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini 480GB SSD model tested in RAID-0 mode using diglloydTools DiskTester. Speeds shown are real world performance through the macOS file system.

Since the unit was tested in RAID-0 stripe mode, it ought to perform at high levels.

Performance is excellent on USB 3.1 Gen 1, achieving about 442 MB/sec for reads and writes which is considerably faster than the OWC Envoy Pro EX 1TB and represents the practical limit for USB 3.1 Gen 1 performance (limited by the USB bus).

Using USB 3.1 Gen 2 via the USB-C port on the 2016 MacBook Pro, performance nearly doubles. This is a fantastic very high speed performance sure to make any laptop user delighted.

USB 3.1 Gen 1: 422/412 MiB/sec = 442/441 MB/sec
USB 3.1 Gen 2: 835/813 MiB/sec = 876/852 MB/sec

disktester fill-volume --xfer 128M
MB = 1000*1000, MiB = 1024 * 1024

disktester fill-volume drive speed across the drive capacity
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini

Tested: Speed vs transfer size

OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini 480GB SSD model tested in RAID-0 mode using diglloydTools DiskTester. Speeds shown are real world performance through the macOS file system.

Gen 2 is a major advance across the board for performance whether the transfer size is small or large, as the charts show at a glance. Even at 32K transfer size, Gen 2 performance is 34% faster for reads than Gen 1.

A compact bus powered dual-SSD unit that outperforms the fastest 4-bay hard drive system via a single USB-C cable is highly attractive for any user that wants small and quiet (assuming the up to 2TB limit is not an issue). Even when throttled by USB 3.1 Gen 1 (late 2015 iMac 5K), its performance is ample for most all computing tasks.

disktester run-sequential-suite --iterations 5 --test-size 4GB

disktester run-sequential-suite — speed vs transfer size
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini

USB 3.1 Gen 1 on different Macs

USB 3.1 Gen 2 is far superior to USB 3.1 Gen 1 but as of May 2017 the 2016 MacBook Pro is the only Mac to support Gen 2, via its USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port. Even the MacBook with USB-C does not support Gen 2.

Some Macs are faster than others. While USB 3.1 Gen 2 is rip roarin' fast on the 2016 MacBook Pro, the 2013 Mac Pro is notably slower than the 2015 iMac 5K and the 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro (not shown, but very similar to iMac 5K). Presumably there are different chipsets in these two Macs that account for the difference.

Bottom pair of lines (orange + blue) is 2013 Mac Pro, top pair is late 2015 iMac 5K. The late 2015 iMac 5K offers up to 20% faster performance for large transfers and for smaller ones, it is 39% faster for 32K writes, a huge difference. The Mac Pro really is looking stale.

disktester run-sequential-suite --iterations 5 --test-size 4GB

disktester run-sequential-suite — speed vs transfer size
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini

 

OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini attached to 2016 MacBook Pro
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