LaCie 1TB FireWire Drive Review

The Big Disk

Who doesn't need more disk space? Between editing big projects, authoring finished projects to DVD and the positively staggering disk space needs of high-definition, you need a lot of disk space. One great pop philosopher coined the phrase "Too much is always better than not enough," which we'd certainly agree with in this case.

LaCie answers this need with its Bigger Disk Extreme. The drive includes FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and Hi-Speed USB 2.0 ports, and is internally configured as a RAID 0, according to LaCie. Variations are also available; a 1.2TB version is $899, a 1.6TB version is $1,399 and a 2TB version is $1,899.

The heavy (11-lb.) silver box includes a CD-ROM with a manual and a trial version of Mediafour's MacDrive 6, which allows you to read Mac files and mount Mac-formatted (HFS or HFS+) volumes on a Windows machine. If you are installing the Bigger Disk on a Mac, you can install LaCie's Silverlining (configuration utilities) and SilverKeeper (backup) software as well.

Bringing it Up

Powering on the unit, we heard four drives spin up, each staggered by a few seconds to minimize the load on the drive's power supply. This seems to be a logical way of doing things, having four 250GB drives hooked to a common controller. It was a simple matter to go into Windows' Disk Management utility and partition and format the drive, which formatted to 931GB.

We tested the drive by dumping about 35GB of MPEG-2 encoded video onto it. The drive took in all of the files with no problems, as expected. The blue access light flashed consistently as the drive was accessed, and stays on steadily when the drive is powered on.

Speed-wise, our handy-dandy copy of Nero clocked the drive at 18,828KB/sec when connected as FireWire, but, interestingly, only 4,518KB/sec when connected as USB 2.0. This makes the drive more than fast enough to handle DV and HDV streams in either mode, but the speed advantage offered by FireWire is particularly noticeable here. Of course, either method paled in comparison to our machine's 58,432 KB/sec SATA hard drive.

The device's power switch is unique in that it is a three-position switch. The "on" position is akin to that of a car's "start" position–as soon as you release the switch, it snaps back to the "auto" position. That way, when you shut down the computer and the FireWire connection goes down, the drive figures it out and shuts itself down. Then, when the machine is powered up again, the drive wakes up.

Spin Me 'Round

The LaCie Bigger Disk 1TB drive certainly did not disappoint us with its performance and ease of use. If you need a terabyte in a hurry, it would be hard to go wrong with this system.

TECH SPECS

Drive Specifications: 7200 RPM, 16MB cache
Dimensions: 3.5" H x 10.6" D x 6.8 W (can sit on desk vertically or horizontally)
Weight: 11 lb.

STRENGTHS

  • Easy to configure
  • Quiet
  • Fast

WEAKNESSES

  • Relatively expensive

SUMMARY

One of the easiest ways, bar none, to add a terabyte to your system.

$799
LaCie USA
22985 NW Evergreen Pkwy.
Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 844-4500
www.lacie.com

Charles Fulton is Videomaker's Associate Editor.

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