OWC Mercury On-the-Go External Drive

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OWC Mercury On-the-Go External Drive

There are three schools of thought concerning external storage solutions: build an oversized bookend that rocks out with huge amounts of storage, sculpt a supremely portable device that you’d actually want to carry around, or just make a plain-vanilla enclosure. OWC’s Mercury On-the-Go drive is a surprise contender in the second category, as it’s a delightful combination of portability and speed.

OWC has a number of models available; the one we tested features USB and FireWire connections, with an included Seagate Momentus 7200.2 SATA drive as the main source of storage. Firing up our tried-and-true HD Tach tests, we were pleased to see the device performing admirably on both its USB and FireWire 400 connections.

In essence, the Seagate drive fills the pipe. Connecting the clear external device via USB supplied us with an average read speed of 35.7MB/s, which is very near the maximum real-world throughput for USB 2.0. We saw a small boost in speeds when using the FireWire 400 connection, but the mere increase of 5MB/s for the average read speed is nothing to write home about.

That said, our biggest complaint with this particular model is that there’s really no way to maximize the 7,200RPM drive’s capabilities. Sure, you can connect to the enclosure via FireWire 800, but who has a FireWire 800 connector on their PC? We don’t even have one in the Lab. An eSATA connection should be a staple for all enclosures like this; why bother with FireWire 800?

The drive is geared for people on the go, which we’re assuming means “people of the laptop variety.” Still, we were a bit taken aback by the short length of the included transfer cords. Details are important, OWC; the Mercury On-the-Go is great, but a little tweaking would a Kick Ass make.

Freddie Mercury

About as fast as a USB 2.0/Firewire device can be; very portable.

Mercury Poisoning

Where's the eSATA? And longer cables would be nice.

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