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OWC Dual-drive Conclusions

Last updated 2011-01-31 - Send Feedback
Related: backup, hard drive, Other World Computing, RAID, SSD, storage
NewerTech Guardian MAXimus Mini

Both the NewerTech Guardian MAXimus Mini and OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual Mini offer about as high a level of performance as you’ll get in this form factor, but that performance depends on how you connect them to your computer, and to which computer. (That applies to any external hard drive).

The ability to choose between a RAID-1 mirror for fault tolerance or a RAID-0 stripe for performance is a great feature should needs ever change. Also, both units are easy to upgrade at any time by swapping drives out with a screwdriver.

Even more appealing is the dual solid state drive (SSD) version of either unit, which draws much less power, is totally silent, and offers both superior performance and far more resilience to bangs and bumps when traveling. The SSD version makes sense when both performance and reliability must be as high as possible.

My preference

OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual Minis

I developed a preference for the Guardian MAXimus Mini for its LED readout for status and menus, as well as its audible alarm and more compact form factor (but form factor is a toss-up, depending on how one transports it).

In use, there is little practical difference, except that the Elite-AL Pro Dual Mini is much better suited for stacking, and it actually performed slightly better, and it costs a bit less.

If you don’t need the functionality of dual drives, the single-drive OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Mini is a great choice.

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Recommendations

Highly recommended, both units! Click either picture to see pricing and capacities.

The best value is the 750GB + 750GB configuration,.

For hard drive versions, I would urge most users to stick to RAID-1 mirror, for reliability reasons, especially when traveling.

I personally would prefer not to use RAID-0 striping with a portable hard drive drive, since failure of one drive means all is lost. But I am comfortable doing so with the SSD version. So for those on the go, the 200GB + 200GB SSD version makes a very fine 400GB drive.


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