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Installing an 18TB Hard Drive into the OWC Mercury Elite Pro USB 3.2 Enclosure

re: Installing an 18TB Hard Drive into the OWC Mercury Elite Pro
re: Formatting a new Hard Drive or SSD in Apple Disk Utility
re: TESTED: Western Digital 18TB Ultrastar DC HC550 hard drive in OWC Mercury Elite Pro USB 3.2 enclosure

Hard drives still have a huge price advantage over SSDs, so they are great for those with high capacity needs on a budget, or for backups or really massive storage requirements. For my everyday main storage, I use a 16TB OWC Mercury Accelsior 4M2 (fantastic!) in my 2019 Mac Pro, but for backups it’s hard drives for the foreseeable future (for cost reasons).

With four OWC Thunderbay 4 units I have plenty of backup storage, but it is always handy to be able to backup everything onto a single hard drive that I can easily take along in the field in my Sprinter van on my photography trips. Enter 18TB hard drives....

CLICK TO VIEW: Recommended Storage

18TB in a single easily transported enclosure

Test results to follow, but partial results show the highest hard drive performance yet tested by MPG.

I bought an 18TB Ultrastar DC HC550 hard drive to install into the OWC Mercury Elite Pro USB 3.2 enclosure, as shown below. It is just amazing to have a compact high-performance drive of this capacity compared to what we had only a few years ago!

18TB Ultrastar DC HC550 hard drive

  • CMR technology works with all capacity enterprise applications & environments
  • Reliable, field-proven, 6th generation design
  • Industry’s first HDD with Energy-Assisted Magnetic Recording technology
  • HelioSeal® design delivers outstanding power efficiency
  • 2.5M hours (projected) MTBF2 rating

The OWC Mercury Elite Pro enclosure is fanless, relying on its all-metal heat-dissipating design. So it does not create any noise of its own above the hard drive—and I am happy to report that the Western Digital 18TB drive is very quiet. It can be positioned in the orientation shown (flat) or upright using the included metal bracket.

Most users will probably want to purchase with a pre-installed hard drive.

But the enclosure can be bought empty for a DIY install-your-own hard drive. If you already have hard drives that need a home, then the DIY option may be just what you need. See the extensive OWC install videos for various DIY options.

Should you go with DIY, installing a hard drive into the OWC Mercury Elite Pro USB 3.2 Enclosure is about as easy as it gets for DIY computer stuff: two small screws open the enclosure, and then 4 larger screws go into the drive from two side. Insert things into the outer aluminum surround, screw in the two small screws and you’re done! Then erase the drive and put it to use.

18TB Western Digital Hard Drive alongside the OWC Mercury Elite Pro USB 3.2 Enclosure

18TB Western Digital Hard Drive installed in OWC Mercury Elite Pro USB 3.2 Enclosure

(outer cover removed)
OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD
6000 MB/sec!
Mac or PC.


Ideal for Lightroom, Photoshop, video.
Capacity up to 16TB!

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