Review: OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual with 3-Port Hub

With a silver coloured robust aluminium enclosure and a whisper quiet fan, the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual with 3-Port Hub might be your backup device of choice.

The OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual with 3-Port Hub has been released for a year, but it was only now that OWC decided to send me a test unit. When I saw its specs, I can understand why. The OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual with 3-Port Hub isn’t a speed demon. Accepting both SSDs and hard disk drives, it relies on good old SATA to connect the storage to your computer and even SATA 6Gb/sec isn’t exactly going to get you the performance you’re used to seeing advertised from NVMe SSDs in a Thunderbolt enclosure.

For backups, though, you don’t really need that kind of speed and even as it is “only” SATA based, the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual with 3-Port Hub is a RAID device, meaning the throughput isn’t as slow as single disk solutions, either. And indeed, the unit being fitted out with two of OWC’s 1TB Mercury 6G Extreme Pro SSDs set up in a RAID 0 configuration and connected through its dedicated USB 3.2 10GB/sec downstream port, performance was very acceptable at over 800MB/sec when connected to a USB 3.2 port. When you connect it to a Thunderbolt 4 port, you will probably go beyond that.

One of the main attractions of the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual with 3-Port Hub is the inclusion of a 3-port hub, giving you one USB-C and two USB-A expansion ports. The latter two will give you a maximum throughput speed of 600MB. To me, however, the unit is especially attractive because it is whisper silent. Its cooling fan doesn’t generate the high-pitched sound I associate with enclosures that are more dedicated to backup tasks than, for example, video or audio production. Noise levels will, of course, increase with hard disks installed inside.

Furthermore, the unit comes with a hardware RAID selector which I always prefer over a software RAID because it’s one point of failure — namely the software on your computer — less to worry about. Out of the box it’s set in RAID 0, but you can also opt for RAID 1, disk spanning and JBOD, all with the turn of a small recessed screw and the push of a separate button on the back.

The OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual with 3-Port Hub is compatible with any Mac or PC running MacOS, Windows, or Linux. It is also compatible with tablets such as iPad Pros with a USB port. In the dark, its OWC logos on the front will glow blue when it’s connected to a computer that is turned on, white if it’s turned off. That’s about the only thing I would have liked to be different as there is no way you can dim it or turn it off completely.

The empty OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual with 3-Port Hub retails for $149. My test unit would cost $549. The biggest SSD capacity unit (8TB) costs $1999. If you need massive space, hard disk configurations of up to 36TB are available at $1199. Each unit comes with installation screws, power adapter and cable and two USB (A and C type) cables in the box.