Mercury Elite–AL Pro 800 RAID Stripe FireWire 800/400 Review
June 15, 2006
If you need incredible
amounts of data storage space, you are living in a great age and
it’s pretty darn cheap to boot. We all marveled
10 – 12 years ago at the price per MB of HDD storage and that
drives had gotten to 100, 120 200 Gigabytes! OEM External drives
in USB 2.0 and Firewire 400 were a miracle too.
We’ve been luckier on the Mac side than our Win PC cousins at
having Firewire 400 external drives before USB 2.0 finally became common
place. Now we have Firewire 800 from a few manufacturers, despite Apple’s
obvious lack of aggressive marketing of the blazingly fast port format.
One long time major
staple retailer in the Mac market found both online and at their
mega store in beautiful Woodstock Illinois, is Other
World Computing, or as most of us Mac heads know them,
OWC (macsales.com). OWC has just about anything you could possibly
from new Macs
and G3/G4 Upgrade
Kits to nearly any Mac accessory made.
OWC also has their own line of external Hard Disk Drives called Mercury
Elite Pro and Elite Aluminum Pro, along with others made by well-known
brands. OWC has thoughtfully designed their Mercury Elite series to
compliment various models of G4 and G5 Power Macs.
The One (1) Terabyte Mercury Elite–AL Pro 800 RAID Stripe FireWire
800/400 which is the subject of this review, is particularly designed
to be parked right next to the all Aluminum G5 Power Mac.
It comes complete
and ready to use with AC Power brick, both FireWire 400 and 800 cables,
and backup software CD. If you have
a pre G5 Power
Mac without a FireWire 800 port, OWC carries their own branded PCI
three port 800/400 card (OWCFW800PCI)
that is an incredible bargain at $49.99. We tried it with the Mercury
Elite–AL Pro 800 RAID, installed in
just a minute and it worked flawlessly.
Judge a book by it's cover -
Mercury Elite–AL Pro 800 RAID made completely of machined
thick walled Aluminum stock and the quality of the highest quality
equivalent to the G5 enclosure. Etched into the side of the unit is
OWC logo and system designation. It’s very a very professional
Click on most images
The front has the same type of porous grill found on the
G5 PPC and on the rear are one FW400 and two FW800 ports with a rocker
Behind the front grill is a subdued blue LED that lets you know the unit
is powered up. The power switch is important, making powering off the
unit simple when unused for any extended amount of time. We don’t
recommend any external drive, which does not offer a power switch and
forces you to unplug it to turn it off.
Mercury Elite-AL Pro is twice as wide because of the 2 matched Seagate 7200
RPM 500GB drives
review panel technicians were enthusiastic to find two matched Seagate
Barracuda 500GB 16MB Cache 7200 RPM drives inside ...."
on the back panel is the exit port for the internal fan that pulls a
cooling air stream from the front grill across the paired hard drives
and out the back. While the Mercury Elite–AL Pro 800 RAID STRIPE
FireWire 800/400 is not as quiet as the Maxtor OneTouch III essentially
silent fan, the sound from the fan is completely acceptable and nothing
compared to the noisy racket any G5 makes. Even next to a very quiet
G4 Dual Processor 1.25Ghz we also have, you won’t notice the fan
sound of the Mercury Elite–AL Pro 800 RAID unless you specifically
listen for it.
mentioned earlier, this review unit is a One Terabyte (TB, or 1000
Gigabytes) RAID 0 unit and employs two
also announced a 1.5 TB unit, which now tops out this Mercury Elite-AL
PRO product line which runs from 80GB ($119.99) through 1.5TB
Stripe + Mirror ($2,339.99). The 1TB Mercury Elite–AL Pro 800 RAID
Stripe FireWire 800/400 lists for $589.99
I’m not happy unless we can take products apart to
see what makes things tick and see what’s inside. Simply removing
the four screws on the bottom allows you to slide out the internal framework
holding the dual HDD’s.
for air-flow and very clean inside
review review panel technicians were enthusiastic to find two matched
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 16MB Cache 7200 RPM drives inside,
our absolute favorite rugged endurance data keepers. Seagate and Maxtor
drives top our choices for long term reliability and speed, and are favorites
of IT (Seagate) and Gamers (Maxtor) in most rating poles.
Also inside the chassis is a very clean and well-designed
controller PCB (printed circuit board) employing the Oxford 912 FireWire
Bridge tucked against the back wall and the cooling fan in the rear panel,
which pulls air past and between both HDD and the PCB.