Is That 1TB in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

I recently got the OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro 1TB (one terabyte) drive to test. Before this drive I was carrying TWO external hard drives with me when I traveled. One was a clone backup of my internal drive. I swear by having a clone backup because I want the ability to "boot" from the external if my drive dies right before or during a presentation. Mac OS X's Time Machine is great, but since it's not bootable, there's no time to do a restore if something happens while on stage. The other drive contains files and videos that I may use from time to time during a presentation, but don't need to tie up my internal drive with. I also use that other drive to backup photos onto from a photo shoot in my studio until I get home. 


The 1TB OWC Drive Replaces 2 of My External Drives

My goal for this drive was to use it to replace the two drives I'm currently carrying. I got the drive and partitioned it to 2 500GB partitions. The first partition I use to backup (clone) my internal drive via SuperDuper! The second 500GB partition is for those other misc files and temporary backups I travel with. Although I knew from a size perspective that the 1TB capacity would be exactly what I needed, I was concerned about the relatively slow speed of this drive. Most laptop 2.5" drives spin at either 7200 rpms or 5400 rpms. This drive spins at only 5200 rpms. Back in the day, some 2.5" drives were as slow as 4200 rpms. So while it's not the slowest drive on the planet, it is slower than the speeds regularly available in other capacities today. So for the choice was either carry two fast drives or one big slower drive. 

After I did my clone backup and loaded on all the files I wanted to carry via the other partition, I did a boot test from this drive while it was connected via Firewire 800. It worked. While I could tell that it was slower than my internal 7200 rpm drive, it was tolerable. Keeping in mind that I would only be booting from this drive in an emergency anyway, I can live with the speed if it means carrying one less drive 100% of the time. 


The Mercury On-The-Go Pro  3 in 1 enclosure

I've been a fan of this enclosure for years. Although there are certainly smaller, sleeker 2.5" drive enclosures out there, this enclosure has never failed me. I can connect via Firewire 800, 400 or USB 2. It's bus powered on all 3 ports and at a glance I can "see" exactly which drive is inside (make, model and capacity). I've had smaller enclosures overheat before and that's never been a problem for me with the Mercury On-The-Go Pro. The drive comes with all the cables you need, a carrying case and an Firewire 800-400 cable. 

The 1TB Mercury On-The-Go Pro drive goes for $260 and you can get it here.

I recommend this particular model for someone who needs to carry around a lot of data and speed is not the most important factor. If you want a faster drive, look at their other models here. The folks over at OWC are GREAT to deal with and I also buy my RAM from them too. Never had any issues buying from them. They stand behind what they sell.

12 Replies to “Is That 1TB in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy To See Me?”

  1. We recently bought another 1TB drive to go with all our others. It was a Seagate this time, and we were amazed at the high transfer rate speed. Turns out that the big difference was in the USB cable that they supplied with the drive. When we tried it on some of other drives that we thought were slow, their performance vastly improved. It taught us that we always have to be mindful of the basics – like checking that our cables are up to the job!

  2. If only there was a program like Superduper for PC’s, or if only I could pony up the $3k for a MacbookPro… Maybe that should be the next purchase I make. Great review as usual Terry! Jason

  3. I own several of these enclosures, which are limited to 500 GB. I just gave one to my daughter who is off to school. I keep a bootable archive of my laptop plus one to run TimeMachine as well. While I don’t travel and thus don’t need an instant boot, knowing that I can recover in a pinch lets me sleep well at night. I also use TimeMachine at work onto an Xserve with a Drobo Pro Elite (16 TB!) which backs up every computer in the office. Those backups have saved my bacon twice in less than 8 months!

    The tree disk rules for computing: 1) it can’t be fast enough, 2) it can’t be big enough, 3) it can’t be cloned enough. Of these #3 is the most important.

  4. These enclosures are the best I’ve found, for all the reasons you cited. I didn’t realize that the 1TB 2.5″ drives were available from OWC until I read your post. Thanks for the tip.
    By the way, I haven’t found that the 5200rpm speed vs 7200rpm makes much of a difference for my uses (backup using SuperDuper!, field backup during CF card download, video tutorial storage for travel, etc.).

  5. The OWC is a pretty thick case. For 1TB pocketable drives look at the Western Digital line. They’re smaller and the 1TB Passport is about $130.

  6. Actually WD Passports come in USB/FW800 models, but the FW800 is flakey. Freezes often enough that I’ve stopped using it (unless I’m using an older Mac which is even flakier with PCI added USB 2.0 data transferring). The USB 2 and the rest of it has been fine.

    Can’t say for certain about these WD combo drives, but I would absolutely avoid the USB only Passports regardless of how they perform for a few months because they have the USB connection friggin’ soldered to the circuit board!!! There is no SATA connector on them, so you can’t use the drive in any other setting. Who among us hasn’t taken a still good drive out of an enclosure that stopped working? (My hand would go up several times) These you’d just have to toss out.

    But I’m a big OWC fan. I’m happy and amused every times they announce a price cut and it’s $5 ! : ) I like the way they don’t go for the Costo crowd.

    Nobody makes money on a 1T external that’s listed at $100 and is on sale for $65, and I assume the company would laugh as me if I got mad when it broke in a year, so I don’t let the price be my guide.

  7. I am interior design student at CCS, and am looking for a new external HD. Wondering what your thoughts are for this drive to use with both mac & pc. Because I’m forced to run AutoDesk design programs such as AutoCAD and 3d Design Studio Max, I have to share my external drive with my mac and the my school’s pc’s – will using this drive on the pc cause an issue?

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