USB 3.1 Gen 2 SoftRAID Controlled RAID Box with Above-Average Performance

Review by Erik Vlietinck

Lately, OWC has been making devices that are blazingly fast at a price that’s hard to compete with. Perhaps a bit naively, I expected the same from the Mercury Elite Pro Quad, but with hard disks at its core and SoftRAID 5.6.5 as the controller (nothing to sneeze at, but it can’t quite keep up with the fastest hardware RAID controllers out there), it’s only slightly better than an averagely performing RAID box.

The Mercury Elite Pro Quad is a typical OWC RAID drive with four Toshiba hard drives mounted on their sides. In my test version, these were four 1-TB disks, which had, according to Toshiba’s own site, won several awards in the past few years. The OWC enclosure is made of aluminum and has a front door that opens with a key, which hides the four drive mounts that you can easily unmount by hand. The back of the unit reveals one USB-C type interface, a Kensington lock slot, and a huge ventilator.

It’s a bit of a pity there isn’t an extra USB-C port, so that you could use the unit as a one-port hub as well. The size of the ventilator made me expect the worst, but the drive is silent with the fan generating a gentle hum that becomes a little louder in cycles. The highest sound pressure I measured was 45 dB at a 30-cm distance, with only 36 dB at 60 cm.

The 4-TB model OWC sent me performed well with 600 MB/sec write and 630 MB/sec read speeds as reported by Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test app. I checked the performance ratings of the higher capacity Toshiba disks and they should deliver even better throughput with a theoretical maximum of around 947 MB/sec. That makes the Quad the perfect backup RAID device. ■