Professional Drive for Backing Up to M-DISCs

Review by Erik Vlietinck

Ever since the late Steve Jobs declared war on optical discs for distributing music and movies, the industry and media have been telling us that the optical disc is dead. Far from it, I’d say. Backing up to optical media has its benefits: with the right equipment, software, and the media to match, your risk of data loss and breach of privacy are considerably lower than with cloud backup.

The OWC Mercury Pro Optical Drive is a professional external USB 3 Gen.1 optical drive. It has an all-aluminum enclosure, a robust external power supply unit, and an LG WH16NS40 drive mechanism inside. That LG burner is one of the few that can write M-DISCs, and those are exactly the discs onto which you want to back up.

I tested OWC’s optical flagship drive with 12-year old Verbatim Archival Grade DVDs and with new Verbatim-made M-DISC Blu-ray discs of 25 GB and 100 GB (BDXL). I also tested the Kodak Professional Gold brand. Advice number one: Never use cheap media if you care for your data.

The OWC Mercury Pro Optical Drive, combined with the brand-new Toast 16 Pro, burned all of my discs without creating a single coaster. It connects to the Mac with an included robust USB 3 cable. It’s silent and the aluminum enclosure is very good at dissipating the heat from the burning process. All the discs I burned did so at a speed above their official rate.

The OWC Mercury Pro Optical Drive is great to burn photographs, presentations, and videos, and take them to a client for screening on location. Most PCs still have a reader, but if they don’t, OWC has a portable one, and if the Pro Optical Drive is anything to go by, it will perform brilliantly. ■