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It wasn’t that long ago that a terabyte seemed like an impossibly huge amount of data. But oh how things change. iTunes Match supports large music libraries of up to 25,000 tracks, and with Apple TV’s new support for 1080p HD content, we’re regularly adding Mad Men episodes to our libraries that can be nearly 2GB each. Thankfully, the Mercury Elite Pro offers plentiful storage in a sturdy, versatile package that fits the needs of even the most voracious media consumer.
The drive’s sturdy aluminum enclosure echoes the simple design of late-model Macs. There’s a bit of the Mac Pro’s ”cheese grater” detailing on the front, which also sports a blue LED activity light. But don’t let the minimal design fool you—the Quad version we tested includes both flavors of FireWire, a full-size USB port, and even eSATA connectivity. The heavy drive is meant to live on a desk, but it’s nice to have all those connectivity options in case you do need to shuttle between multiple machines.
When it comes to performance, the Mercury Elite Pro lives up to its name. In read and write tests, we achieved speeds of up to 77.3 MB/s and 65.2 MB/s respectively when connected to a Core i5 MacBook Pro via FireWire 800. Our 4TB review unit featured a 5400-rpm, 3.5-inch mechanism, but lower-capacity models feature faster 7200-rpm drives. [UPDATE: The OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad External 4TB came with a 5400-rpm hard drive when it was reviewed, but it has since changed over to a 7200-rpm hard drive, the same speed as all the others in that line.]
Out of the box, the drive came formatted for Mac, and includes copies of Data Backup 3, Carbon Copy Cloner, and InTech Speed Tools on a CD.
The bottom line. When your data needs outgrow your Mac’s internal drive, OWC’s Elite Pro has plenty of options for storing all your digital goods.
Mercury Elite Pro Quad Interface
USB, FireWire 400, or FireWire 800 port
Large capacities. Fast 7200-rpm mechanisms in all but the 4TB version. Fanless design is quiet. Includes vertical stand.
Big, bulky enclosure. No Thunderbolt port.