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High-performance OWC storage devices for Macs

If you're a content creator or have important documents that you can't afford to lose, then you need quality storage devices that are designed for high performance and long life. And when it comes to storage for Macs, things don't get much better than OWC parts.

If you're a content creator or have important documents that you can't afford to lose, then you need quality storage devices that are designed for high performance and long life. And when it comes to storage for Macs, things don't get much better than OWC parts.

I've been testing two different high-performance storage devices from the OWC lineup.

First up is the 480GB OWC Envoy Pro EX. This is an ultra-portable, SuperSpeed bus-powered external SSD storage solution built around OWC's Aura Pro SSD, which is a fast SSD capable of transfer rates of up to 500MB/s.

When it comes to reliability, the Aura Pro SSD makes use of something OWC calls DuraWrite Technology along with intelligent block management to "ensure the highest obtainable endurance and reliability." This, according to OWC means that "the Aura Pro equipped Envoy Pro EX can operate for years in demanding use applications without daily write restrictions" and that the MTTF (Mean Time To Failure) "is higher than most enterprise-class hard drives and SSDs on the market today."

The bus-powered design means that no power cable or wall wart is required, and there's no fan inside the drive to disturb the peace.

Encased in anodized aluminum, the drive has been designed to look and feel just like an Apple product. In fact, when placed alongside a MacBook, the design and finish is just spot on. This is an impressive level of attention to detail. The whole drive fits in the palm of your hand and weighs in at less than 3.5 ounces.

Now, if the Envoy Pro EX isn't small enough for you, next up is the 240GB OWC Envoy Pro mini (also available in 120GB). On the outside this looks like a regular USB thumb drive, but it is in fact, a desktop-class SSD in disguise capable of transfer rates up to 433 MB/s. This performance means that you can move large files back and forth, run virtual machines off the drive, and even boot up an OS.

Yes, this drive is capable of some heavyweight performance.

I've been throwing gigabytes of data on and off these drives, and both offer an exceptional level of performance. These drives are great not only for people who want to keep documents and other small files safe, but also professional grade multimedia. I'm a pro-am photographer and I can create gigabytes of files from a shoot, and having fast storage makes the post-processing of those files quicker and easier and I'm not struggling with performance issues.

Both drives ooze quality. Externally they feel solid and well made, and they are well put together, and are built from quality components (yes, I couldn't resist taking a look inside the drives). For example, the cap on the Envoy Pro mini is actually metal as opposed to some cheap plastic, while the cable for the Envoy Pro EX is a quality part featuring two ferrite interference suppressors. This gear is built for quality and reliability, not built to an unrealistically low price point.

The drives come with a fantastic selection of software - Prosoft Engineering Data Backup 3 for OS X, NovaStor NovaBACKUP for Windows, and Intech SpeedTools Utilities - and are compatible not only with OS X, but also Windows and Linux. There is also a setup tool that you run the first time you plug the drive into a machine to set up the drive parameters.

The drives also come with a 3-year warranty.

  • Envoy Pro EX: $349
  • Envoy Pro mini: $199 for 240GB

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