Review: OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini dual-drive external enclosure with RAID

owc-8

One of the reasons I like Macs is that their useful life tends to be significantly longer than that of a typical Windows machine. This is especially true of the pre-Retina MacBook Pro models, where it’s trivial to upgrade both the RAM and the drive.

I’d previously swapped out the 750GB hard drive and optical drive that came with my late-2011 MacBook Pro 17 for two 1TB hard drives. Along with a RAM upgrade, that gave me a 16GB RAM, 2TB hard drive machine. The plan was to use the machine in that form for a year or two, then do a further upgrade to SSDs once 1TB models arrived and fell to a halfway sensible price.

When that finally happened, and I did the upgrade, that gave me two 1TB hard drives surplus to requirements. I could have placed each into its own external drive caddy, but one 2TB drive is more useful than two 1TB ones, so I decided instead to try out OWC’s Mercury Elite Pro mini. This is an external enclosure for two 2.5-inch drives, which supports both USB 3 and Firewire 800, drawing power from either source – making it a portable drive without the need for external power …  Read more

OWC processor/memory upgrades available for the Mac Pro you’re still waiting to receive

intel_xeon_e5_2600_v2

You may still be waiting for your Mac Pro to arrive, but OWC is ready to sell you a CPU upgrade once it does. The company offers a choice of four E5 2600-series processors, ranging from an 8-core 2.6GHz chip with 20MB cache for $950, to a 12-core 2.7GHz processor for $1480.

We first confirmed that CPU upgrades were possible last December. The company says the upgraded processors offer speed gains ranging from 25 percent to 46 percent over Apple’s base model 4-core 1600-series processor. You can get rebates of between $100 and $750 for trading in the processor supplied with your Mac Pro, and also have the option of boosting the RAM from Apple’s maximum of 64GB to 128GB …  Read more

New Mac minis get first tear down and Geekbench scores

Apple’s refreshed Mac mini lineup already received some nice RAM upgrade options from OWC this morning, but now we get a look at the insides of the updated Macs courtesy of a tear down from Mac Mini Vault. The website also published Geekbench scores for the device, showing some impressive performance increases over the 2011 models.

First off, it found minimal changes to packaging and the positioning of the new Mac mini’s internals:

The overall packaging size was unchanged, however marketing specs have been updated and the inside organization has been optimized… Under the hood only minor differences are visible. Most notable are the fan design, Hitachi hard drive, and connections for the antennas. (2012 on left – 2011 on right)

As for Geekbench, the new stock Mac minis were able to record a score of 7433 running 10.8.1 out of the box. In comparison, Mac Mini Vault had a 2011 Mac mini running 10.8.2 clocked at 6583. Mac Mini Vault also noted it will begin testing alternative OS options for the new Mac mini server edition next week:

Read more

OWC Mercury Accelsior PCI-SSD benchmarked

For those of us still with pre-Thunderbolt Mac Pros or Xserves (or Hackintoshes), there are not a lot of inexpensive choices for getting super fast data access onto our machines. Sure, you can buy a SATA 3 hard drive like my favorite Samsung 830 series, but the built in SATA 2 on these old machines is a bottleneck that will “only” yield 250 MB/second read speeds.

Along comes OWC last month with its first-ever Mercury Accelsior Mac-bootable PCI SSD card that is actually a PCI-to-striped RAID SATA array. The two SATA3 cards you see above actually look like (but aren’t – don’t try it) the same super high-speed Sandforce 3 drives that OWC sells as MacBook Air updates.

By the way, the cards are a snap to install and configure. If you have ever added a PCI video card, this is the same thing. Even better, there are no drivers to install, and the drive automatically shows up as a mounted disk that can (and should!) be booted from.

How did they compare to the single MacBook Air SSDs?

Read more

That’s not a defibrillator, it’s OWC’s DIY SSD kit for 2011 iMacs

iFixit introduced its iMac Mid 2011 Dual Hard Drive Kit ($69.95) last month for adding an SSD to both the 21.5-inch and 27-inch models. Meanwhile, OWC Macsales made its own kit available today for 2011 iMac users, which allows you to install any 2.5-inch Serial ATA SSD. The kit will work with most compatible SSDs, but OWC recommends its $99.97 OWC Mercury 6G SSD (up to 480GB) shown in the installation video below. As for the kit itself, it is now available through Macsales for $44.99. Here is what you will get:
Read more