owc Mercury Elite Pro 3.5-inch USB 3.2Gb/s External Storage Solution review | MacSources

Plug-n-Play data storage for work and play.

Do you remember the days of 32 megabit storage thumb drives? Remember when having one in your pocket and thinking, “Man, this is freaking cool!” Remember when external hard drives only had 256 or 500GB storage? Well, it didn’t take long before we filled up these drives with work and wonderful memories, and nowadays we live in the world of Terabytes. When it comes to a data storage solution that involves many Terabytes of data I trust that OWC is going to have a solid product I can trust to store my precious memories. This is where the OWC Mercury Elite Pro 3.5-inch USB 3.2 5Gb/s External Storage Solution comes into play.


The Mercury Elite Pro 3.5-inch USB 3.2 5Gb/s External Storage Solution is designed to offer performance, reliability, and value. It’s a desktop-sized external drive that is ideal for professional and personal data storage. The Mercury Elite Pro contains a single 3.5-inch hard drive in a rugged aluminum enclosure. It comes with a 3.5-inch 7200RPM hard drive with up to 16TB of storage included. The storage solution can be used for a variety of projects including pro-level video editing projects, Time Machine and File History backups, file consolidation, data migration, game storage expansion from console systems, and freeing up space on a computer’s internal drive. The Mercury Elite Pro External Storage Solution is designed with a fanless chassis that provides heat dissipation so that it runs cool and the drive remains safe and protected. It can be stored horizontally or vertically with the included stand.


  • Pro-grade performance: up to 283MB/s real-world speed
  • Spacious: up to 16TB capacity for music, videos, photos, business files, and games
  • Easy backups: Apple Time Machine and Windows File History ready
  • Quiet: heat-dissipating brushed aluminum chassis and fanless venting provide cool, nearly silent operation
  • Rugged: built-in shock isolation protects drive
  • Compatible: use with Mac, Windows, and Linux machines; PS4 and Xbox consoles; and Smart TVs
  • Connect: includes high-quality double-shielded USB Type A-B connecting cable
  • Deployment ready: preconfigured solutions undergo rigorous multi-step performance certification
  • System Requirements
  • macOS 10.12.6 or later; Windows 7 or later
  • MAC or PC featuring USB 2.0 interface
  • Any Mac that supports booting via USB; Boot Camp is not supported for bootability
  • Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s)
  • Drives Supported: 3.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s drive or 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s drive (adapter required)
  • Maximum Data Transfer Rate: HDD Read — 283MB/s and Write — 264MB/s
  • Dimensions: 1.4″ x 4.7″ x 7.7″
  • Weight: 1.2 lbs (without drives)


OWC has some nice retail packaging for their products. There is an easy-to-understand description of the product on the box and there is a nice graphic of the photo on the front. When opening the box, you will find the enclosure, a USB cable to connect to your computer, a power cable with an adapter, four rubber feet (if you decide to store it horizontally, and a single-page pamphlet about the product.

One of the first things I noticed about this device was its weight. Granted, it’s an aluminum enclosure for a full-size 3.5-inch hard drive, but I still thought that 1.2 lbs was a lot for the enclosure to weigh it when it doesn’t have a hard drive in it. The enclosure can be purchased empty or with a hard drive included up to 16TB in size. The option I have has an 8TB hard drive included. The next thing I noticed was the use of a USB Type-B connector on the hard drive enclosure. Even though the speed is USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5GBps), I thought it was an odd choice when that type of connector is somewhat outdated.

My main computer is a MacBook Pro. Therefore, I had to dig out a USB hub that would allow me to connect to the hard drive via USB-A. It took a few seconds for the drive to mount and when it did I saw an “OWC Setup” logo and not a hard drive icon. When I double-clicked on the logo a new finder window opened to reveal three files — OWC Drive Guide (Mac), OWC Drive Guide (Windows).exe, and ReadMe.txt. Because I was using a MacBook Pro, I selected the Mac guide. This file option opens a guided set-up for formatting the drive for your selected computer system. Once the process is completed, the hard drive will appear on your desktop as a standard drive icon. The only files that are present on the drive after this point is the user guide. My preference would be for the hard drive to be completely empty but at least there wasn’t proprietary software installed.

According to OWC’s specs, the Mercury Elite Pro drive should be able to reach speeds of up to 283MB/s. I ran two separate speed tests — one using Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test and the other was using AJA’s System Test Lite. Blackmagic’s Speed Test provided a read/write speed of 233.9/231.1 MB/s and AJA’s showed 231/231 MB/s. AJA’s speed test was based on processing video files that are 1080p HD. I did attempt having AJA’s test base the test off of 4K video and even though I got approximately the same results speed-wise, it took a lot longer to run the test then the 1080p HD video. I have included screenshots of the tests below.

The last speed test I did was to transfer a large file (6.1GB) from my computer’s hard drive to the OWC drive. The file transferred in 31.05 seconds (according to my iPhone’s stopwatch). That ends up being a transfer rate of 0.20 GB/s. The speed tests and file transfer tests indicate that the Mercury Elite Pro Storage Solution is faster than other hard drives that I’ve tested. I have now set this up to be my main editing drive for my Adobe Lightroom work and it’s blazing fast. My wait time for exporting my work is quick and I feel confident that my work is in good hands.


Back in the early days, I owned a metal chassis external hard drive incloses that were cheaply made and you could hear rattling around. They would overheat and just made me want to rip the drive out and toss the enclosure. OWC has done an excellent job designing this product and making it work without a headache. I don’t have a lot to complain about with this hard drive. While it’s not particularly lightweight, it has a pretty fast transfer rate and it’s a hearty device. One thing to remember is that this hard drive was not meant to be a portable hard drive. It was designed to be a desktop companion workhorse.

For more details, visit OWC, Facebook, and Twitter.

Originally published at https://macsources.com on May 13, 2020.




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