Fast, Portable USB-C RAID Drive

Review by Erik Vlietinck

It’s small, it’s flat, and it’s fanless, and there are two 2.5″ hard disks or SSDs inside. It’s Otherworld Computing’s (OWC) Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini, which is a mouthful for a small unit that isn’t much bigger than its two internal disks put next to each other. OWC sent me an SSD version with 1 TB of space on its SSDs in RAID 1 mode (priced at $549.99).

This OWC device offers USB 3.1 Gen 2 performance and can be bus-powered. OWC installs its top-of-the-line SSDs inside the SSD versions of the Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini, so you get the highest possible speed. OWC speaks of 800MB/sec throughput rates, but on my old system, I didn’t get much further than about 600MB/sec. The HDD versions will offer up to 4 TB of storage space, while the SSD versions will stop at 2 TB.

As with all OWC external disk drives, the Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini is made of aluminum with a nice, unobtrusive design. The unit’s back panel has a tiny On/Off switch, a RAID selector, a power-in port, and a USB-C port. Hooked up to my mid-2011 iMac, it worked splendidly with both the two SSDs and with two WD Scorpio drives I had lying around.

I wouldn’t recommend taking the Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini with you for shooting the great outdoors, but for anything else—from a warm and cozy library to the city streets—it would do perfectly as an offload station.

This drive is also an efficient small companion to use as a Time Machine on a Mac. For those of us who don’t need or want Time Machine to run at its default interval, you can just plug in the OWC Mini when you feel like it, hit the Backup Now button, and unplug it when Time Machine has finished.