Review - OWC Mercury Elite Pro FireWire 800/400 + USB 2.0/1.1

Jul 8, 2003 |


Imagine 250GB of storage space on an external drive. Now add in the ability to connect the drive via FireWire 400 or 800, as well as USB 1.1 or 2.0. Make the drive a respectable 7200RPM with a 8MB Data Buffer, as well as Oxford922 chip-set, and you have one mean drive.

Coming in at a price-point of $479.99 US for the unit reviewed, you get a lot of drive for that price. You can, however, spend as little as $249.99 for a similar drive, with most of the features as the reviewed unit, but with 80GB if hard drive space and only a 2MB Data Buffer. Other World Computing has seven different drives in the Mercury Elite Pro line, so chances are you can find a price to feature drive to suite your needs.

We here at are in love with the Mercury Elite Pro! The read/write speeds are fantastic in real-world situations. Files under 50MB transferred in a blink of an eye when connected with both the FireWire 800 and 400 ports. Without a USB 2.0 port on our test Macintosh G4, we cannot comment on that aspect of the connectivity, though logic would suggest you would see similar transfer speeds as FireWire. Connecting the drive to a 1.1 USB port worked just fine, but transfer speeds were very slow. The fault, of course, is not the Mercury Elite ProÕs, but rather than USB 1.1 transfer speed.

The drive itself comes wrapped in a long, but thin, hard durable plastic sheath. It ships with four plastic clip-on legs, which will keep the drive either vertical or horizontal on your desk. If there was one item I had to pick that I disliked about the drive, it would be the very bright, almost neon blue light on the front of the drive. While computing at night, the blue drive light actually distracted me from my monitor often, which is saying something as I use a 23Ó Cinema Display. I would advise a less-bright light on future external drives, or at least the ability for the user to turn it off or dim it.

Ports, ports, and more ports. The Mercury Elite Pro comes with the following built-in ports:

(2) FW800 9-pin ports
(1) FW400 6-pin port
(1) USB 1.1/2.0 port. (Connectivity depending on USB on your computer)

The ports are located on the back on the unit, as well as the power port and power switch.

All Mercury Elite Pro models come with an impressive 2-year warranty. We would love to see more manufactures offer such a long warranty product. At the price of these drives, and their connectivity, an end-user should expect to get at least a few years service from these drives.

One feature we found surprisingly refreshing, after using many external drives over the years, was the quite operation of the Mercury Elite Pro. This cannot be understated, as users who require a lot of storage space, and connects multiple drives together as either stand-alone or RAID drives will attest, these units can become quite noisy. Compared to an EZQuest Firewire drive sitting right next to it, the Mercury Elite Pro was virtually silent.

The Mercury Elite Pro is compatible with all Macintosh operating systems from 8.5 ? OS X. We tested the unit under both Mac OS 9.2.2 and Mac OS X 10.2.3, and it worked flawlessly under both.

The Mercury Elite Pro ships with FW400, FW800, and USB cables.

All in all, this is a fantastic drive, one you or your company will be very happy with. Already compatible with the newly announced PowerMac G5, the Mercury Elite Pro should serve your storage needs for years to come.

MacMice Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Tim Robertson


About OWC

Other World Computing (OWC), founded in 1988, is dedicated to helping Mac and PC enthusiasts do more and reach higher. We believe in sustainability – OWC solutions are genuinely built to last, go the distance, and enable users to maximize the technology investment they have already made. OWC's operation provides leadership in business sustainability, with its headquarters among the first in the world awarded LEED Platinum certification. OWC features an award-winning technical support team and an unparalleled library of step-by-step DIY and informational videos. From the home desktop to the enterprise rack, the corporate backup to secure medical data, the recording studio to the motion picture set, and beyond, there should be no compromise. That is why OWC is here.

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