By Eric Yang
on 3.15.10

owc-mercury-elite-al-pro-qx2-raid-gear-patrol

There’s not a lot to complain about here at Gear Patrol, but one pain-point that we repeatedly encounter is a need for storage. Between Ben’s project to create our own high-definition video and audio Library of Congress and the entire crew’s ceaseless photography and video work, we fill up hard drives faster than cups at a free coffee day at Starbucks.

Not that we’re complaining, because, like any problem, it provides the perfect opportunity to try and rectify the situation with, yup, new gear. In this case, we got our hands on a centralized RAID (redundant array of independent disks). Now, this might get a little tech-ish for most of our casual Gear Patrol readers but the reality is that all of us could benefit from a home that’s wired to back-up and safely store family photos, music, and data. Better yet, make it all accessible from a variety of networked computers.

So we got our hands on a OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro QX2 2TB RAID ($320-$1970). Read on to see how it has made us feel completely safe about the way we feel when we hit “save”.

We encounter quite a few hard drives here at the offices, but the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro QX2 2TB RAID was the first true storage array we’ve had. As the name says, we’ve been testing a 2 terabyte version, though you can configure yours up to a whopping 8TB (pardon me a moment while I stop Ben from making the purchase). The OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro QX2 is a beefy piece of gear. It sits on your desk or floor like a mini Mac Pro (design and weight) with four 3.5″ SATA hard drive slots to configure to your hearts content. Connectivity is provided through an eSATA port, FireWire 800 (what we used), a USB 2.0 slot, and allows you to set the RAID to 0, 1, 5, 10 modes (modes explained here) using an Oxford 936 chipset. OWC backs up the Mercury Elite-AL Pro QX2 2TB RAID with a 3 year warranty and provides a healthy number of utilities including SpeedTools Utilities.

In a nutsheel, the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro QX2 2TB RAID has proven to be the single best resource for backing up our data safely. After testing the unit out for speed through FireWire 800 and eSATA, we eventually decided to plug ours into an Apple AirPort Base Station Extreme’s USB port and configure our Apple Time Machine to back things up every 12 hours. The OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro QX2 2TB RAID includes a locking front panel for prying hands in an office environment. We do wish that it was networkable to go plug & play right into any home network, but this is a unit we feel intended for commercial grade use and for that purpose it works amazingly well. The device has a fan that, when kicked into high gear, can sound a bit like turbo from hot import nights, but when idling it’s barely noticeable. The bottom line with the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro QX2 2TB RAID is that at $700 there are quite a few other hard drive options you can purchase. This RAID is specific in its purpose: feeling safe that your precious data is completely safe and accessible to you at ridiciulously fast speeds.

Buy Now: $320-$1970

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