OWC (Other World Computing) has been my go-to source for all my Mac memory upgrades and external storage options for years. So I was pleased to take on the challenge of running around with a few of their most recent storage and connectivity products the past few months for some “Road Testing” to see how these things perform and hold up in various conditions.
OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro 1TB drive
I always have at least 2 different portable bus-powered drives with me all the time; an SSD and a fast portable production drive. I’ll use the SSD with my laptops for Cache or quick media transfers on location and the portable hard drive for ingesting camera footage and doing quick edits/previews for clients.
The OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro 1TB drive is my new go-to for a rugged performer – with USB3 and FW800 connectivity and a bus-powered 7200rpm HD, this little workhorse can go everywhere and can connect to virtually every machine I use.
For those that know me, a great deal of my shooting is remote – with aerial videography shooting and workshops, including our desert field trips to Nelson, NV during NAB, where we were ingesting media files from various drones and cameras for the training productions.
I’ve also used the OTG Pro drive with the NewTek TriCaster Mini both in the studio and in remote locations, running off the AC converter in the back of my FJ and pulling a live HD feed from the DJI Inspire 1 camera remote controller, recording the program to external drive.
The OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro in the configuration as tested (1.0TB 7200 RPM) retails at the OWC online store for just $139.99.
OWC Thunderport 2 Dock
If you have more than one Thunderbolt drive (that doesn’t allow daisy-chaining) or need to split your MacBook’s single Thunderbolt/display port between an external drive and a monitor or projector, or need to run multiple peripherals, monitors and drives off just one Thunderbolt connection, then the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock is just what you need!
While OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock is compatible with UHD 4K I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try that out, but I did manage to utilize several features at this year’s NAB show while accommodating several presentations at the Aerial Robotics & Drone Pavilion demo cage, as well as workshops and Panels in various conference sessions.
In the Aerial Cinematography panel for the Post|Production World Conference that I moderated, we were able to get all the presenters’ portable devices connected before the session started and still connect to the projector, all from my MacBook Air. No stopping to swap drives or have presenters digging around looking for files. Each presenter was able to access media off their own drives during their presentations and this made it quick and easy to complete the session and allow everyone to simply unplug and go on to their next scheduled event.
I’ve also utilized the Thunderport 2 Dock for some of my Adobe Video training where I need to connect a Thunderbolt SSD drive as my video cache for After Effects and Premiere Pro while still connecting to an external projector and only have one single Thunderbolt/display port on my MacBook Air.
More than just a Thunderbolt port extender and video splitter, the Thunderport 2 Dock provides a host of connectivity, which also allows you to have a single connection at your home studio with all your pics, monitors and drives connected to the port and take away your MacBook to hit the road or go to work/school. It’s really a simple one-step docking solution for portables and even your iMac.
The OWC Thunderport 2 Dock retails for just $217.99 on the OWC online store.
Thunder bay 4 Mini (4TB SSD RAID)
The most important piece of gear for video editors is fast media storage and accessibility. The OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini with 4, 1TB SSDs in RAID provide 4TB of fast-access media at your fingertips on either portable or desktop machines.
The ThunderBay 4 Mini comes with the 4 2.5″ drive bays, which are perfect for SSDs up to 4TB or 8TB HDDs and is RAID-ready. Up to 1346MB/s read and 1322MB/s write on RAID 0.
With two Thunderbolt 2 ports, you can easily daisy-chain your TunderBay 4 Mini with other drives or use the 2nd port for video display or projector.
Comparing the speed of the OWC Thunderbay 4 with the new iMac 1.2TB Internal Fusion Drive and an external Thunderbolt 2TB RAID, it’s an obvious choice for both video editing and cache for Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro. (click on photo to see detailed benchmark numbers)
In addition to being fast, it’s size and rugged construction make it extremely portable and travel-friendly. I’ve packed the ThunderBay 4 Mini in my suitcase, carry-ons, equipment cases and just tossed in the back of the truck with the other gear on the road. Never have had any issues with it – even when powered up by the 400W AC inverter in the back of my truck. It’s always been rock solid.
And even when the fan is running, its super quiet with the 4 SSDs running.
It’s also lockable so you you don’t have someone try to “borrow” one of your drives or mess up the RAID config. If you choose to not configure your 4 drive bays into one single RAID, then you could easily use the ThunderBay 4 Mini as a swappable 4-bay HDD extension that you can accommodate several projects on separate drives.
The OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini portable 4-bay external drive case retails for $1599.99 at the OWC online store.
Jeff Foster is a published author of several how-to books and training videos in the motion graphics, animation and video production industries and is an award-winning video producer and artist. Visit his web site to learn more about his training methods, tips & tricks at PixelPainter.com