Mercury  On-The-Go FW800+USB 2.0

MacAddict Magazine | August, 2006 | By Roman Loyola
Original Article in the August 2006 MacAddict Magazine Mercury  On-The-Go FW800+USB 2.0
Transparent Portable Hard Drive

While Other World Computing’s  Mercury On-The-Go FW 800+USB 2.0 hard drive appears to have been separated at  birth from LaCie’s silverscreen (Feb. 6, page 39), it serves a completely different purpose. The silverscreen is designed for media playback on TVs, while the On-The-Go hard drive is a general-purpose, portable storage device. It’s clear (pun intended) that more than one product designer discovered that a transparent case could look cool. Not necessarily  unique, but cool. And we’ll admit, we’re dazzled every time we plug in the drive and watch the front LED light up.

The On-The-Go drive we tested has a pair of FireWire 800 ports and a USB 2.0 port; OWC also offers drives with FireWire 400, USB 2.0, or both. The drive comes with a nondescript, but functional, vinyl carrying case to hold the drive, adapter, and cables; it fits neatly in a backpack or book bag.

We used Xbench (free, www.xbench.com) to gauge the speed of the drive over FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 on a Dual 2GHz Power MacG5. On the Sequential Uncached Write test, the On-The-Go averaged 35 MB per second, using the FireWire 800, versus 10MB per second using the USB 2.0. On the Sequential Uncached Read test, the On-The-Go drive averaged 41 MB per second using FireWire   800, versus 11 MB per second with USB 2.0. Clearly, if speed is your priority, you should use FireWire 800 — if the Mac you’’re using has it. In the current Mac lineup, only the 17” MacBook Pro and Power Mac G5s have FireWire 800 ports.

The  bottom line: For toting around your video projects, music compositions, or just multiple gigabytes of files, this  itty-bitty drive with a mega-maxi name does the job well.