Mercury Elite-AL ProDid you invest in a new camera and now you tremble each time you take a shot, fearing you’ll lose more hard drive space? Do you find yourself with less and less room for Photoshop to use as a scratch disk? Do you just need a dependable backup solution? Have we found the drive for you.

After one full year of testing Other World Computing’s (OWC) Mercury Elite-AL Pro 1-TB external hard drive, we relay our report with the utmost confidence: It’s a rock-solid unit that accesses, reads, and transfers data consistently and quickly (because of its 7200-RPM drive speed, 32-MB data-transfer cache, and robust Oxford chipset). Moreover, it operates with plug-it-in-and-forget-it ease.

The high quality of this unit ensures the safety of whatever you wish to store on it through its two FireWire 400 ports and one USB 2 port. You can use that extra FireWire port to daisy-chain your drives to create a massive storage depot. (Note: There’s a FireWire 800/400+eSATA+USB 2 combination available from the OWC website for a few bucks more—reviewed in Photoshop User, November 2005, p. 85.)

We tested this unit when it first arrived, and once again a year later; the results were spot on, nary losing a millisecond in transfer speeds after running all that time (and even after a couple of spills when we thought it was disconnected from the laptop). Using the USB 2 connector port on a MacBook Pro, we were able to transfer about 15-GB of data in just under 9 minutes. The same information, using the FireWire 400 cable and an iMac, transferred in 7 minutes 20 seconds.

Reliable storage that’s affordable to boot, the Mercury Elite-AL Pro comes highly recommended for all your digital-professional needs.
Issac Stolzenbach

Company: Other World Computing
Price: $179.99 (1000 GB tested)
Rating: 5
Phone: 800-275-4576
Platform: Mac and Windows