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RAID on the Road: OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual Mini

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Many of us who work remotely spend a lot of time traveling. While there are many solutions available for accessing files remotely and in the cloud, sometimes there’s just no replacing the speed and convenience of having files available on a local hard drive. I need the extra security of RAID, so I was interested in checking out the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual mini, a portable RAID storage solution.

Other World Computing provided a review unit for me to test. The company sent it to me pre-configured, so I just plugged it into my 13″ MacBook Pro, and it was ready to go. I connected the drive via FireWire 800, but the drive also includes eSATA, Firewire 400, and USB 2.0 ports, so it’s compatible with pretty much any Mac or PC system.

It’s available in a variety of sizes from 640GB to 2TB, and you can choose standard SATA or SSD drives. You can even provide your own drives if desired.

In addition, the drive features fanless operation, an aluminum enclosure to dissipate heat, a shock isolation system, and there’s no need for a power cord when it’s connected via FireWire. An optional power adapter is needed when connecting via eSATA.

I found the drive’s performance to be excellent and very quiet. The manufacturer says that maximum data transfer rate varies based on the method of connection:

  • eSATA: 1.5 Gbit/s (or 300MB/sec)
  • FireWire 800: 800Mbps (or 100MB/sec)
  • FireWire 400: 400Mbps (or 50MB/sec)
  • USB 2.0: 480Mbps (or 60MB/sec)
  • USB 1.1: 12Mbps (or 1.5MB/sec)

It’s reasonably-sized at 5.6?(D) x 6.1?(W) x 1.1?(H). And it’s sturdily built, too; in fact, it feels so sturdy that it’s a bit on the heavy side.

The Pro Dual mini is priced at $179.99 to $3,199.99, depending on configuration. It comes with a three-year warranty.

If you need convenience with the extra security of RAID while on the road, the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual mini is worth looking into.