Be ready to work anywhere with this universally compatible external storage.
Space – both literally and figuratively – is always at a premium in my workspace. My 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro is equipped with a 250GB SSD, which has gotten the job done for the past 4 years, but I always find myself at a loss when it comes to media storage for photos and videos. I’ve tried to keep them on my computer, but they clog everything up and then my computer slows down. External storage has always been a way for me to go when it comes to media storage. In fact, I would recommend it for anyone who deals in creative content creation – like photography or video editing. OWC has some great options for external storage and since I’ve always trusted them with my connectivity needs (docks, etc.), I am happy to be able to review the Mercury Elite Pro Dual with 3-Port Hub.
The Mercury Elite Pro Dual with 3-Port Hub is a universal USB compatible storage solution for workspaces. It offers pro-grade storage with real-world tests performance. With this drive system you can connect up to three external USB-driven devices through the built-in USB Hub. The unit can hold up to 32TB of storage and it features plug and play functionality. It’s designed to be whisper-quiet and is built with a heat-dissipating aluminum high-efficiency cooling fan. The front panel includes LEDs that provide status updates for the drives. The device comes with a 3-year OWC limited warranty with 1-year level 1 data recovery and lifetime US-Based support. The system can be configured with either 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SSDs or HDDs.
|System Requirements||Compatible with any Mac or PC running MacOS, Windows, or Linux with an available USB port. Also compatible with tablets and mobile device such as iPad Pro with an available USB port|
|Hardward RAID Modes||Preconfigured RAID 0 RAID 1 Span JBOD/independent|
|Computer/Host connection||1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gb/s Type-C up to 1250MB/s (USB 2.0/3.0 backwards compatible)|
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gb/s Type-C up to 1250MB/s (USB 2.0/3.0 backwards compatible) 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gb/s Type-A ports up to 600MB/s
|Hub||1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gb/s Type-C up to 1250MB/s (USB 2.0/3.0 backwards compatible)|
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gb/s Type-A ports up to 600MB/s
|Speeds (This device will connect at the maximum speed supported by your computer)||10Gb/s speed: Most Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 equipped 2016 or later computers|
5Gb/s speed: most USB 3.0 or 3.1 Gen 1 USB-A or USB-C equipped 2015 and earlier computers
480MB/s: most USB 2.0 equipped 2011 and earlier computers
|Device Supported||(2) 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA HDDs or SSDs|
|Data Transfer Rates|
(Notes: Speeds will vary based on drives used, RAID configurations, and other factors)
|SSD: Read: 825MB/s and Write: 1026MB/s|
HDD: Read: 567MB/s and Write: 503MB/s
|Power Supply||DC output: 12V 6A - 25W (slot)|
AC input: 100 ~ 240V, 50/60Hz
External, UL-listed, universal auto-switching
|Dimensions||5.8 x 3.3 x 9.4 inches|
|Weight||3.1 lbs (without drives)|
The external drive comes in an OWC-branded box. It has an image of the product on the front as well as the back. On the back, there different parts highlighted on the images to shows the different features of the device. Inside the box, the storage drive is encased in some pretty thick cardboard-style crate packaging. It comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable as well as a USB-C to USB-A cable. The power cable connects to a brick, which connects to the device. There is no power switch on the drive. You simply plug the drive in and connect it to your computer using a provided cable. Once the drive is connected to the computer the other ports on the rear of it act as a hub for you to be able to connect other external devices to your computer. In total, there are 2 USB-C and 2 USB-A ports. Each port is compatible with USB 3.2 data transfer speeds so they can transmit up to 10Gbps.
The external storage is incredibly quiet (my unit came with 2TB SSDs). I couldn’t hear or feel its rumble as the drives worked. I could, however, feel the cooling fan operate when I put my hand over the fan’s vent. OWC makes formatting the unit very easy. To get started, you just connect the device to your computer and double-click on the OWC logo that appears on your desktop. Then, you select the proper startup software icon for your operating system. In my case, it was the macOS version. The utility app asks a few simple questions for configuring your device and then formats it. After the formatting is completed, you can start using it.
Once I got the unit set up, I ran a couple of tests to try out its data transfer speeds. The first test was a Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. This test is a tool used to measure disk performance specifically for working with high-quality video. I selected the OWC device as my target drive and chose 5GB as the stress test option. After the test ran, the results were 884.8 MB/s Write and 707.4 MB/s Read. The next test I ran was the AJA System Test Lite, which also tests disk performance with media, but this utility specifically looks at the capabilities of recording and playing back various resolutions that you can select before you run the test. I will typically select 1080p HD, 4K HD, and 5K Red as the resolutions I test. The screenshots below show the results of the tests.
The last test I ran was a real-time drag-n-drop test. With this test, I select a file (or files) to copy to the external drive and then I time how long it takes for that data to transfer. I selected a file folder that contained a variety of files to copy over to the OWC unit. The folder size was 4.97GB. It only took 6.91 seconds to transfer that from my computer to the drive using the USB-C to USB-C connector cable. That is a data transfer rate of 0.72 GB/s.
The OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual with 3-Port Hub is a great asset to any workspace. It’s easy to get started and it’s great to work with. I really like that the ports on the back are actually functional when the drive is being used. The device isn’t very small – in fact – it’s a fairly standard size for RAID systems capable of its capacity. That said, being able to use it as a hub means that something else can be removed from my desk space and my cables can still be managed easily. This is a cost-effective solution that takes care of your storage problems.