Mercury Elite-AL PRO 800 RAID

MacAddict | February 2006 Issue | by Roman Loyola
With hard drives getting less expensive every day and your video, audio, and image collections steadily growing, it may be time to consider an entry-level RAID array such as the Mercury Elite-AL PRO 800 RAID. You can get a 160GB setup for a mere $239.99 or max out at lTB for $949.99. If you edit media, you'll definitely appreciate the speed benefits of this out-of-the-box RAID 0 system (you can also switch to RAID 1 with a firmware upgrade from OWC's Web site).

The Mercury Elite isn't the only RAID array that has an industrial-strength aluminum case that looks similar to the Power Mac G5-there's also Huge Systems' Media vault U320-R (Dec/04), though Huge's RAID 0/3 array has higher-end customers in mind than the RAID 0/1 Elite. The Elite comes with two FireWire 800 ports and one FireWire 400 port. A pair of 7,200-rpm Seagate Barracuda hard drives (each with an 8MB buffer) lie under the hood.

We tested the $599.99 80OGB model using Xbench (free,, a popular benchmarking is built for speed. utility, on a dual 2.7GHz Power Mac G5. Over FireWire 800, the Mercury Elite posted sequential 256KB uncached-write data-transfer speeds of around 50 MBps-pretty decent, and just a tad slower than the 55-MBps speed posted by the Power Mac's internal 250GB Maxtor Serial ATA drive. But in the sequential 256KB uncached-read data-transfer test, the Mercury Elite posted a speed of 81 MBps-much fasterthan the 55 MBps of the Mac's internal drive.

The bottom line.
If you're working with large files, using a RAID 0 array such as the Mercury Elite can help you work efficiently-and it looks stylish next to your Power Mac G5.-Roman Loyola.

COMPANY: Other World Computing CONTACT: 800-275-4576,
No cheese-grater jokes, please

PRICE. $239.99 (1600B) to $949.99 (1TB) REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 8.6 to 9.x or 10.1 or later, Mac OS 10.2 or later for FireWire 800

GOOD NEWS: Fast FireWire 800 support. Looks good. Well built.
BAD NEWS: Firmware change required to switch from RAID 0 to RAID 1.