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Terabytes of storage space on your desk


OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual can handle up to eight U.2 SSDs. And it can be pre-configured with up to 64TB. It has a large storage capacity. Or put your SSDs. And the external drive case uses Thunderbolt for quick connections to your Mac. Plus there is RAID support.

I put the disc holder to the test. Here’s what I found.

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual Review

The original M.2 drives proved to be very popular, but small… small enough to limit storage capacity. The solution is U.2, a larger version, which increases the potential storage capacity.

As its name suggests, the OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual supports U.2 drives and can accommodate up to eight. The product is available pre-configured in capacities up to 64TB. Or as a case for adding discs.

It can be used with macOS or Windows, as long as the computer supports Thunderbolt.

Build and design

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual is heavy in terms of functionality and light in terms of aesthetics. It is a black metal box measuring 9.4 x 5.8 inches x 3.4 inches. But you don’t buy it because of the look. What matters is that it fits easily on your desk.

The front has ventilation openings that allow cooling air to flow through the drives, driven by a fan from the rear. Speaking of the front, there are a couple of LEDs that indicate the activity of the drive, and one that shows that the accessory is powered.

On the back of the OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual are a pair of Thunderbolt ports. They provide data transfer speeds of up to 2447 MBps. Connect to your Mac or PC on one port, and the other can be used for accessories, such as an external monitor.

OWC provides the necessary Thunderbolt cable, but it is only 2 feet long. Since the drive housing has both ports on the back, you’ll probably want a longer cable.

The back of the drive housing also includes a security slot for locking the device in place.

The OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual has a pair of Thunderbolt ports on the back.
Photo: Ed Hardy / Cult of Mac

Storage options

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual is sold in a wide range of storage capacities.

It is available as a DIY case in which you can put your own discs. By default, this can only handle two NVMe U.2 SSDs. You need to buy an OWC U2 Shuttle ($ 149) to add more.

If you choose the 2TB version, it comes with a pair of 2.5-inch MVME U.2 SSDs, each of 960 GB. There are also 4TB, 8TB and 16TB versions with dual drives.

For those who want eight drives, there are 4TB, 8TB, 16TB, 32TB and 64TB versions.

Installing drives

OWC designed the Mercury Pro U.2 Dual to make changing drives easier.

Remove a few screws from the back and the case will slide easily. This reveals the connectors to which the disks are plugged.

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual is easy to open.
Opening the OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual is as simple as removing two screws and a quick pull.
Photo: Ed Hardy / Cult of Mac

My OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual Test Unit is a 2TB version that comes with a pair of 2.5-inch drives.

As mentioned earlier, you need to purchase an OWC U2 Shuttle to get the hardware needed to turn on more than two discs. Each shuttle has four. Put one on each side to get eight.

RAID

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 does not require RAID, but you can use it. The drive includes OWC SoftRAID, the company’s tool for virtually combining multiple SSDs into what is effectively a single high-capacity drive.

The software supports RAID 0/1/4/5/1 + 0 (10) for redundant storage of valuable data. This is a system for automatically backing up everything stored in the event of a single disk failure.

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual performance

OWC’s product supports Thunderbolt, giving it transfer speeds of up to 2447 MBps. To confirm, I performed several real-world tests.

It took less than a second to copy a 1 GB test file from disk to my computer. The same goes for transferring from my computer to disk. So I decided to opt for something a little bigger. It took less than 2 seconds to move the 2.4 GB file from disk to Mac. Copying back took about 1.5 seconds.

To see how the driver handles multiple large files, I copied three of them with a total of 5.26 GB from disk to Mac. It took 3 seconds. Switching to the other side required the same.

Admittedly, these file sizes have to look tiny for people who are used to working with 8K video. All I’m trying to do is show that OWC Mercury Pro U.2 offers fast file transfers.

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 final thoughts

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual easily fits on the table.
The OWC drive housing is fast and has the potential for huge storage capacity.
Photo: Ed Hardy / Cult of Mac

A significant advantage of OWC Mercury Pro U.2 is its growth potential. You can start with a small amount of storage space and then increase it to a larger capacity over time.

And regardless of capacity, transferring files to and from an external SSD is relatively fast.

Prices

The drive housing comes in a dozen configurations with the same number of prices. It starts with a 0TB DIY version without SoftRAID for $ 299. Add RAID software and the price goes up to $ 379.

As mentioned earlier, the OWC U2 Shuttle ($ 149) is required to add more than two drives. If you have an older SSD, there’s the OWC U2 ShuttleOne ($ 44.99), an adapter that converts NVME M.2 SSDs to U.2 SSDs.

The 2TB dual-SSD model I tested sells for $ 549. Additional dual-SSD options include:

  • 4TB: $ 879
  • 8TB: $ 1,199
  • 16TB: $ 2,499

The smallest version of the OWC Mercury Pro U.2 with eight SSDs is 4TB and costs $ 1,499. More options with eight drives:

  • 8TB: $ 2,199
  • 16TB: $ 3,499
  • 32TB: $ 7,499
  • 64TB: $ 12,799

OWC provided Cult Maca with the review unit for this article. See our review policies and other detailed reviews of Apple-related items.





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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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