OWC Mercury On-The Go Portable Hard Drive
160 GB SATA Model reviewed
I’m a bit of a nut when it comes to external computer storage, I can’t seem to have enough. I have 6 OWC Mercury Elite Pro HD enclosures, as well as an OWC Mercury Elite AL Dual enclosure. In addition, I also own an OWC Mercury On-The-Go 2.5” SATA enclosure, and finally, a MacAlly 2.5” IDE enclosure.
Yeah, I’ve got lots of storage. Maybe we’ll go into “why” I have that much in another article. For now, let’s take a hard look at the OWC 160GB SATA Mercury On-The –Go (MOTG) portable.
I think the stuff you get with the drive is rather impressive, so let’s take a look at what’s in the box other than the drive:
One Firewire (FW) 800 to 800 cable
One Firewire 800 to 400 cable (Short)
One USB 2 cable (Short)
One AC power cable
One carry pouch
One OWC Software bundle CD-that includes the following software: Prosoft’s Data back up 3 ($59 value), Intech’s Hard Disk Speed tools for OS 9 and OS X ($89.95 value), and if you are so inclined, a Windows program from Nova store called “NovaBACKUP” ($49.95 value).
So essentially, you have everything you need to operate the drive either bus powered or on AC, with FW 400, 800, or USB 2 connections and the software to use the drive as a back up or just for data.
The back of the drive has the following connections: two FW 800 ports, one USB 2 port, a power switch, and a DC power input jack.
The front side of the drive has a blue light that glows when the power in on, brighter when the drive is reading or writing and a red power-on LED. The case is translucent. You can see the HD inside. Seagate manufactured this particular drive. As I mentioned earlier, I bought a MOTG empty case for a 2.5” hard drive I had and it’s fairly easy to replace the drive in these cases by your self.
I plugged the drive into the FW 800 port on my G5 tower using the supplied FW 800 to FW 800 cable and the drive icon immediately popped up on my desktop.
My Mac is a Dual 2.0 G5 running OS X 10.4.8.
I proceeded to copy a 2.94 GB file to the MOTG, then copied the same file with the FW 800 to FW 400 cable and finally the USB 2 cable all using the bus power option.
Using a stopwatch, this was how long it took to copy the files using the various connections:
FW 800 to FW 800 – :58 Seconds
FW 800 to FW 400 – 1:38 seconds
USB 2 – 36 minutes 14 seconds
You can see by these numbers that the FW connections clearly beat the heck out of the USB 2 connection for data throughput.
An interesting thing to note: while I was copying the file via the USB connection the drive ran for over 30 minutes but was only warm to very warm to the touch, not hot. The drive is whisper quiet. These drives will connect to any Mac that has the correct connections from Mac OS 8.6 and above as well as Windows 98 and above.
There is a folder called the “OWC Shareware Collection” on the drive when you first plug it in that contains the following items:
Apple Commercials-A collection of Apple commercials in QuickTime format
Apple software updates- A collection of updates from OS 9 through Tiger. There are a few for each operating system—certainly not all of them.
A folder of pictures for your desktop, a set of OWC drive icons and a shareware collection of programs. All in all, a nice 1.62GB of free stuff to play with.
This drive with it’s Oxford 924 chipset, software and shareware bundles, and FW/USB connect options is a really great deal. The only thing I can knock them on is how short the included USB and FW 400/800 cables are. Otherwise I highly recommend these drives.