OWC Mercury On-The-Go SATA Case Review

After the futile Tango Pro review, I’m ready for all kinds of unexpected failures in attempting to fit this over-sized hard-drive behemoth into a case designed for regular 2.5″ SATA drives.

OWC was theoretically ready for this situation with their OWC Mercury On-The-Go enclosure. It is available in a variety of port configurations, but I chose the one that offered Firewire 800 support to match my MacBook Pro.

There was one other option, the Oyen Digital MiniPro 2.5-in FireWire/USB enclosure. I could not find any reviews of the minipro, so it didn’t seem right to order it. I even went so far as to contact Oyen Digital via their website and received no response.

Now, I couldn’t find any reviews of the OWC On-The-Go with the larger physical drives, so I first contacted them and confirmed that it would work. OWC support assured me it would work, but for the requirement of a conversion kit.

Ordered both the kit and the enclosure from OWC, received it promptly, and I’ve put it together with the drive this weekend.

It is clear from my time with this setup, that it really is not ready for 12.5 mm drives, even with the kit.

Problems with the OWC are easy to anticipate, it barely accommodates the extra size and at this time, I can’t even remove the hard drive from the enclosure without damaging the circuit board or the plastic portions of the enclosure. The heatsink tray that carries the PCB is separated from the components by two critically placed silicone bumpers. The drive is kept from bouncing around the case by another two bumpers located at the rear of the drive near the air vents on the enclosure. Four screws hold the heatsink/sled in place, they don’t line up properly with the holes in the plastic case.

The drive functions fine, but without the ability to change it out from the enclosure I can’t make a positive recommendation. Unless I’ve made some kind of major mistake in following the provided instructions, this is another failure. Just like with the Tango Pro, I’m sure this OWC enclosure would be fine with a normal drive. I’ll be keeping it, if only because I’m going on a trip in a few days and I don’t anticipate the need to change out the drive, but I’m not a happy customer.

Adesso Mechanical Keyboard MKB-135B Review

There are a lot of reasons to be interested in mechanical keyboards over rubber-dome models. Much of what I could tell you about rubber-dome keyboards versus mechanical switching has been already said. Rather than reinventing the wheel we’ll reread a classic part of what Dan said about mechanical keyboards:

The big deal about these old keyboards is their lovely, positive key-click. When you use a keyboard that doesn’t have a good positive click, it’s hard to tell when you’ve depressed a key properly. You have to watch the screen to make sure you don’t leave letters out, or you have to really hammer the keyboard, which is not good for your hands.

Most of the mid-priced keyboards these days use some variant of the “rubber dome” switch technology, which gives a definite little popping sensation when the dome buckles, but doesn’t necessarily give you an actual letter at the exact same moment, thanks to uncertain contacts. The old buckling spring tech absolutely positively does give you the letter when you feel the click. These keyboards feel very much like an old IBM Selectric typewriter – there are plenty of these ironclad behemoths still in service, and they may herniate anyone that has to move them but they’re darn nice to type on.

Rubber-dome keyboards are just not as reliable, ergonomic, or fun to use as mechanicals. Though you do have to give up some goofy options for mechanical keyboards, this Adesso keyboard is kind-of goofy as far as mechanicals go.

Most mechanicals are fairly boring and extremely beige. At most you might get a trackpoint or trackball. This is why you have to go with somewhat more modern options if you want something closer to the gaming keyboard experience without the rubber-domes.

Which features does the Adesso Mechanical Gaming Keyboard MKB-135B have over the basic Model M? An integrated, powered two-port USB 2.0 hub, windows keys, multimedia controls, and audio jacks. If you too dislike the beige style you might also be happy to know this keyboard is a glossy black everywhere but the keycaps. Speaking of which, the key caps are painted with a good ink that doesn’t feel cheap.

Even my Keytronic and Logitech G15’s keycaps have faded over time, but my original Model M hasn’t. However, until this keyboard has been in my possession for a few years I can’t give any kind of definitive answer as to the quality of the ink process on the keycaps.

After yesterday’s non-review of the Tango Pro, I’m happy to say that this keyboard feels great, the throw on the key press is close to Model M perfection and far superior to anything you can buy from Logitech or any of the other major peripheral manufacturers. With the Adesso I’ve played enough RTS and FPS games and had a similar experience to my old Model M, except without the pain of giving up normal gaming keyboard features.

The only real downside for the Adesso compared to the Model M is that the plastic isn’t as solid and for the life of me I can’t figure out how the multimedia keys are supposed to work. Most cars aren’t as solid as the Model M, it is just that the Adesso doesn’t have a metal backing plate and thicker plastic like the Model M so maybe it’ll only last for ten or fifteen years instead of twenty-five.

Buy a Model M if you don’t need the extra features, or if however you don’t like the color beige and enjoy these extra features buy the Adesso. I’m not returning it for anything else.

Tango Pro Review?

I had planned on reviewing this Tango Pro USB/Firewire HDD enclosure this weekend.

I drove down to Microcenter, picked up the Tango Pro, and then since Microcenter didn’t have the HDD I wanted I got that from Fry’s.

You’ve probably heard of the drive I wanted to use, it is the only 1 Terabyte 2.5 inch SATA drive currently on the market, the Western Digital 1 TB Scorpio Blue.

Anyway, the enclosure sounds great on paper, it supports Firewire 800, 400, and USB 2. It even includes all the right cables and has a pretty blue LED.

The one problem is that the WD 1TB drive doesn’t fit. It has three platters rather than the standard two, so that makes it slightly taller than a regular 2.5 inch laptop drive.

Oh well, back to Microcenter tomorrow for a return.