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Overview of OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual
This review is based on an early unit just prior to production shipments.
The OWC Mercury Elite Pro houses two hard drives in a high-grade aluminum case and offers Thunderbolt + USB3 connectivity, both excellent performance choices affording connection to all current Macs.
RAID made easy
A user-selectable drive mode switch is found at the rear of unit:
It’s a great feature to be able to choose a RAID mode this easily! The first three RAID modes result in the system seeing a single “drive” (not two drives), thus offering RAID without needing to know anything about it. The independent drive mode presents two drives to the system, just as if two hard drives were connected in two cases.
Changing the drive mode necessarily means an internal reformat, and thus once chosen, a change means a backup and restore.
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Why choose a dual bay unit?
- Double capacity and double speed at relatively low cost using dual hard drives*.
- Mirror solution for fault tolerance.
- Primary data with backup in same enclosure (similar idea to mirror).
- One footprint for two drives.
* For clone backup purposes, recommended to partition a striped unit into no larger than 4TB volumes for cloning to 4TB backup drives, or simply go for speed and use 4TB or less of the capacity.
OWC supplies 1m Thunderbolt and USB3 cables—a significant value given the cost of a Thunderbolt cable.
Let’s start with the visuals, the analysis starts further below. The unit is an attractive black finish to match the 2013 Mac Pro.
Dual Thunderbolt ports to allow daisy-chaining. Note that the USB3 port uses the robust USB3 connector variant—highly preferred for reliability.
I used the OWC Drive Guide software to partition the unit initially; it is a very nice “wizard” that for most users will be a welcome and more friendly way to do initialize the unit, including setting up a dual-partition (dual volume) configuration for clones a Boot and Master drive, e.g., cloning as a backup strategy. Or of course, a “master” volume or volumes.
Later I erased for another series of tests; show below is Apple’s DiskUtility view of the unit in a 6TB (2 X 3TB) RAID-0 stripe configuration.
View as: RAID-0 stripe, RAID-1 mirror, independent drives.