The Mercury Elite Pro FireWire 800 hard drive from Other World Computing (OWC) is built around a snappy 180GB 7200 rpm IBM Deskstar drive coupled with an Oxford 922 bridge that feeds two FireWire 800 ports. A FireWire 400 and a USB 2.0 port are also included.
The first FireWire 800 drive we reviewed, the LaCie d2 200GB FireWire 800 drive (see Reviews, Jun/03, p47), strutted its best stuff when opening and transferring large files. The Mercury Elite Pro displays the same tendency in spades. In fact, when opening a 2GB Photoshop file, the Mercury Elite Pro opened it over 13 percent faster than both the LaCie d2 and the 120GB Seagate Barracuda ATA V inside our test platform, a Dual 1.42GHz Power Mac.
File transfers were equally impressive, with the Mercury Elite Pro keeping pace with the LaCie d2 when reading and writing 2GB files, and edging ahead slightly when reading and writing a 100MB file and 100MB of 4MB files. The big surprise came when we ran our most drive-head-thrashing test: transferring a folder containing 100MB of 4KB files. Writing this packet-o-pain to the Mercury Elite Pro took only about half as long as writing it to the d2, and it read the same folder nearly three times as fast.
Our one quibble is its case--it's easy to open should you want to slip a larger drive into it, but it's a wee bit cheesy compared to other drive vendors' cases. No big deal, though--it's a great drive. —Rik Myslewski