LaCie Goes Big with Storage Solutions


One of the great things about storage is that it is expandable. That’s because the amount of data in your digital life that you need to store is constantly increasing. What you need to store in the way of baby pictures, wedding videos, and favorite music will multiply into what you need to store in the way of prom pictures, your kids' rapidly changing taste in music, and their wedding videos. Professionally, the files you create digitally today may take up little room, but with a constantly evolving workflow, those files will double and triple almost overnight. The last thing you want, that anyone in the digital space wants, is to run out of room for files.

Companies like LaCie make storage solutions available in all shapes and sizes so that you don’t undershoot your storage expectations. Two variants of their biggest and newest storage options are now sold through B&H, and they both offer flexibility, speed, and security. The first is the LaCie d2 Quadra, which contains a roomy 5TB hard drive, and comes with a variety of connection options. The 5TB drive is a 7200 rpm drive with a 32MB cache, giving you not just a ton of storage, but also a speedier means to access that storage. With the USB 3.0 interface, you can experience up to 130MB/s in speed when transferring data.

The Quadra in the d2 Quadra name refers to the quad output ports. You can use USB 3.0, FireWire 800, and FireWire 400 and eSATA to connect your Quadra to your PC or Mac (it includes Mac drivers so you can use USB 3.0 on a Mac enabled with USB 3.0 ports or optional USB 3.0 PCie card). This flexibility in connection option allows you to use the Quadra on older machines as well.

"They’re fanless for maximum noise reduction, and made with an aluminum enclosure that acts as a natural heatsink. These can stand upright, or they can be racked when space is a concern."

As for aesthetics, these Neil Poulton-designed drives are sleek and unobtrusive. They’re fanless for maximum noise reduction, and made with an aluminum enclosure that acts as a natural heatsink. These can stand upright, or they can be racked when space is a concern. They come with a bevy of software apps to help aid you in transferring and securing your data, including the LaCie Desktop Manager, Genie Backup Assistant, and Intego backup Assistant software for Windows and Mac computers. In addition to the software suite (along with built-in software-aided password protection), you also get one year of up to 10GB of free secure cloud storage with LaCie’s wuala Service.

Also new from LaCie is a variant of the drive, known as the d2 USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt series. With up to 6TB hard drives featuring 7200 rpm speeds and RAM caches of up to 64GB, these drives are almost twice as fast, but do not include all of the connectivity options. While eliminating older protocols like the eSATA and FireWire 400/800, they bring in the New Age with a USB 3.0 port at 5Gb/s speed, and a Thunderbolt port with up to 10Gb/s speed. The 5TB version of this drive has an amazing read speed of 215MB/s and write speeds of 210MB/s (4TB and smaller drives boast 170MB/s and 165MB/s respectively). These drives are built for high-end transferring of large files and can be seamlessly integrated into existing server structures.

The design is just as sleek and pleasing as the Quadra units. The USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt series can also be used on the desktop or racked for a more server-centric look and feel. The air holes on the side of the drive are larger, allowing more air to pass through the unit, keeping it cooler without the inclusion of large, noisy fans. The solid-aluminum case makes a return and again acts as a natural heatsink for the unit.

The Power and Convenience of RAID

If you don’t know what a RAID array is, you probably don’t need one. For those who are interested, RAID is a way to have disk drives act outside of their normal parameter to achieve better security, bigger storage capacity, or more organization for your digital files. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, and it’s a way to duplicate and divide data among drives. Why would you want that? If you’ve ever had a drive crash on you, you know the horrible sinking feeling that comes with a potential wipeout of your data.

While there are several RAID configurations available (click here for more on RAID), what you need to know is that LaCie makes several large storage units with RAID functionality. The first is a two-bay Thunderbolt-enabled drive called the LaCie 2big Thunderbolt series. Available in capacities of 4 to 12 terabytes, running 7200 rpm drives (two hot-swappable drives are included), these LaCie dual-drive RAID arrays can handle RAID 0, which treats each drive as a separate large-capacity storage center and delivers speed and performance, but sacrifices security; RAID 1, which lets you mirror data from one drive to the other, thereby creating a secure duplicate of your original drive; or JBOD, which treats both disks as one huge disk and lets you assign specific tasks to each disk, like storing movies on one and music on the other.

LaCie also offers RAID Monitor software for the unit, which always keeps you apprised of any critical situations. It alerts you when a disk needs maintenance, tells you which drive is failing, and even helps to resolve a failing drive.

But the real deal-sealer here is the speed of the Thunderbolt connectivity. With bi-directional speeds of 10Gb/s, you could see transfer rates of 327MB/s, which will speed up your backups, increase your photo-browsing speeds, and allow you to stream multiple HD video streams. And since the dual Thunderbolt drives can be daisy-chained, you’ll see speeds increased with each drive. A one-drive system might have write speeds of 319MB/s and read speeds of 327MB/s, but chain four or more drives together; you could see that performance jump to 596MB/s write and 670MB/s read speeds.

Daisy-chaining also allows you to connect multiple drives and displays. Since it is DisplayPort compatible, you can connect a 2big drive and a display to your Mac with just one Thunderbolt cable.

The 2big also follows the design protocols set by the Quadra. It’s housed in a solid-aluminum case for better heat dissipation, and includes a thermo-regulated fan that only runs when the system heats up—thereby saving energy during cool-downs. They’ve even included a front power button that lets you turn off the unit in a daisy chain without breaking the connection to other drives in the chain. You can use the two-bay drive as a stand-alone desktop unit, or you can rack-mount it for a server-side solution.

But when the data is on the line in a much bigger setting—let’s say you’re running a small business from a set of servers—you’re going to want to consider the professional LaCie 5big Thunderbolt drives. These drives deliver the same configuration—hot swappable drives, Thunderbolt connectivity—but they also add a few features like Kensington lock slots and dual cooling systems for extra data protection. With a Noctua cooling fan, jumbo heat exhausts and solid-aluminum, heat-dissipating enclosure, the 5big keeps it cool—which is great, because overheating is the most common factor in drive failures.

But the 5big also offers flexibility. Consider the five separate drives for a minute. You could run two drives in RAID 1 parity mode to mirror your data, while running the other three drives in RAID 0 for extra storage. Or you could run all five drives in RAID 0 for maximum speed (up to 785MB/s read speeds and 695MB/s write speeds through the 7200 rpm 64MB cache drives). You could also set all five drives to JBOD for daily backups, or two drives in RAID 1, another two drives in RAID 1, and the fifth drive as the spare in case one of the other drives fails. Lots of options to match loads of storage.

So no matter what the situation, LaCie will find a solution for you. When you consider how valuable all your movies, pictures, and digital files are to you, you’ll see that LaCie is an investment well considered.

  LaCie d2 Quadra LaCie d2 USB 3.0 Thunderbolt LaCie 2big Thunderbolt Series
Capacity  2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 5TB 3TB, 4TB, 5TB, 6TB 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB, 12TB
Interface  2 x FireWire 800 (9-pin) port
1 x USB 3.0 port (USB 2.0 compatible)
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s port
1 x USB 3.0 port (UAS and USB 2.0 compatible)
1 x Thunderbolt port
Dual 10Gb/s Thunderbolt ports for daisy chaining
Rotational Speed (rpm)  7200 rpm 7200 rpm 7200 rpm
Cache  32MB or greater 64MB or greater 64MB (2x 32MB) or greater
Interface Transfer Rate  2 x FireWire 800 (9-pin) port
1 x USB 3.0 port (USB 2.0 compatible)
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s port
Thunderbolt: 10Gb/s
USB 3.0: 5Gb/s
USB 2.0: 480Mb/s
Up to 10Gb/s >327MB/s read, >319MB/s write
Burst Transfer Rate  FireWire 800: up to 85MB/s
USB 3.0: up to 130MB/s
eSATA 3Gb/s: up to 115MB/s
USB 2.0: up to 35MB/s
Thunderbolt and USB 3.0:
5TB version: 215MB/s read | 210MB/s write
4TB and less: 170MB/s read | 165MB/s write
USB 2.0: 35MB/s
Data: PCI Express
Video: Dual-Mode DisplayPort
10Gb/s independent uplink and downlink
Size  60 x 168 x 183mm / 2.3 x 6.6 x 7.2 in. 60 x 168 x 183mm / 2.3 x 6.6 x 7.2 in. 3.5 x 6.7 x 7.8 in. / 91 x 172 x 200mm
Weight  3.7 lb / 1.7 kg 3.7 lb / 1.7 kg 7.7 lb / 3.5 kg
LaCie Shortcut Button  Launch any application with one push (backup, music, slideshows…) Not available in eSATA AES 256-bit software encryption 2x swappable hard disks
System Requirements  Computer with a USB 3.0, USB 2.0, eSATA, FireWire 800, or FireWire 400 port (FireWire 400 to FireWire 800 cables are sold separately)
Latest version of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
Mac OS X 10.5 (Intel Only), 10.6, 10.7, 10.8
Minimum free disk space: 600MB recommended
High-speed internet for online storage
Computer with a Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, or USB 2.0 port
Operating system:
Thunderbolt: Latest version of Windows 7, Windows 8  / Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, or greater
USB 3.0: Latest version of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 / Mac OS X 10.5 (Intel only), 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, or greater
Minimum free disk space: 600MB recommended
Computer with a Thunderbolt port
Minimum free disk space: 600MB recommended
Latest version of Mac OS 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, or greater / Windows 7, Windows 8 (click here for Windows drivers information)
Box Content  SuperSpeed USB 3.0 cable (USB 2.0-compatible)
eSATA-to-eSATA cable
FireWire 800 (9-pin) cable
External power supply
Drive stand for upright use
LaCie Utilities and Software (preloaded):
LaCie Setup Assistant
LaCie Desktop Manager
LaCie Backup Assistant software with data restore for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7
LaCie Backup Assistant software with data restore for Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6
Quick Install Guide
LaCie d2 USB 3.0 Thunderbolt Series
USB 3.0 cable (USB 2.0 compatible)
Thunderbolt cable
Drive stand for upright use
Rubber feet for horizontal use
External power supply
Quick Install Guide
CD with User Manual and software
Wuala Secure Cloud Storage
LaCie Private-Public password protection for data security
LaCie Backup Assistant with data restore (compatible with Windows and Mac)
LaCie 2big Thunderbolt Series
Drive stand for upright use
Thunderbolt cable
External power supply
CD with User Manual and software (Intego Backup Manager Pro )
Quick Install Guide


1 Comment

Nice article.

You're missing a link in the "click here for more on RAID" in the second paragraph of the RAID section.