LaCie 6big Thunderbolt 3 & 12big Thunderbolt 3

How much data do you manage? If you’re like us, you keep everything and throw nothing away. This is great when a video clip you need for production is saved in your archives, but keeping it all safe and having enough space is key. 

Luckily, as storage needs have gone up, the price has gone down.  It's key to have enough storage to create security with redundancy through a RAID. Then, add in fast read and write speeds and you have the LaCie 6big and 12big.

LaCie announced the 12Big at NAB 2016. It’s a good fit too, because if anyone needs large storage, it’s video producers across the globe. The 12Big is configurable, and can be as large as 120 terabytes or as small as 48 terabytes. Capable of RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and 50 configurations, you’ll be able to keep your data safe. It’s built with 7,200 rpm enterprise-class drives with 64 megabytes of cache or greater. Each drive is even hot-swappable! That means reliability is the name of the game.

Later in 2016, LaCie announced the 6Big, the little brother to the 12Big. A half-size unit that is, in every way, half the size. With the same form factor only smaller, it’s built with the same enterprise-class drives. Although you can configure the 6Big the same way as the 12Big,  it doesn’t have the same breakneck read/write speeds. This, above all else, is the main difference between the two units.

Performance

LaCie touts up to 1,400 megabytes per second read/write speeds with the 6big when in RAID 0 using Thunderbolt 3. If that doesn’t blow your mind, the 12Big will. With an up to 2600 megabytes per second read and 1700 megabytes per second write speed, it’s likely you’ll hear a sonic boom while transferring your data. Just kidding, but with speed claims like that, we had to push them to the limit and test them for ourselves.

Testing with the AJA speed test, our initial tests did not agree with Lacie’s. The numbers were not the same. Luckily, LaCie provided all the details from their tests, so we replicated them. Once we had the same settings, the results reconciled with LaCie’s numbers. One reservation we have is that to match the results, we had to test in a very specific way. But, the takeaway from our tests is that configuration is key to matching those numbers.

If you happen to configure in a less desirable way, as we had. The read/write speeds are still lightning fast. We saw the 12Big read 2,000 megabytes per second and write 1,400 megabytes per second. Yes, that's slower than promoted, but still very quick. The 6big had a similar result with 1250 megabytes per second read/write speeds. A bit slower than hoped, but still zippy. 

Usage

The 12big and 6big showed up at a perfect time for us at Videomaker. Over the last three years, we have created 24 terabytes of raw data. Unfortunately for us, that data was over five different drives and none of it had any redundancy. We were lucky that we didn't lose any of it. Using the 12big as the hub of all data and the 6big as a working drive, we migrated all our data into one place. Putting all the data on the drive was simple, easy and fast. It was our next step of moving that data to another drive, where we experienced some problems. Our house storage is a Thunderbolt 2 RAID. Because of that, transferring the data to that system was much more painful than our experience moving data to and from the LaCie RAIDs.

Marketplace

Thunderbolt 3 is poised to become a new standard with more and more storage solutions supporting it. Its adaptation has been somewhat slow, but most major brands now offer a Thunderbolt 3 solution. As we see it, one of the largest direct competitors to LaCie is G-Tech. They don’t offer a direct apples to apples comparative product, but they do get very close with their Shuttle XL Thunderbolt 3 line.

First lets look at the G-Tech Shuttle XL 96TB Thunderbolt 3 for $10,200. It’s 200 dollars more than the 12big, but has a more portable and rugged enclosure. The 12 and 6big should live on a desk, but the design of the Shuttle XL lends itself to go with you on your projects. Having a USB-C port is the biggest differences between the two products. LaCie has a leg-up on G-Tech with the USB-C connection. Although it has pitiful read/write speeds when compared to Thunderbolt 3, it’s not the speed that makes it handy. If you need USB-C and don't have Thunderbolt 3, the 12big or 6big are ready-use now. Though, it's less likely that you will need USB-C and not have a Thunderbolt 3 connection, it's a nice option to have.

The 6big and the Shuttle XL 48TB Thunderbolt 3 are also close in price. The G-Tech costs $5,400 for 48 terabytes and the 6big costing 400 dollars less at $5,000. Again, the 6big has a USB-C port and the Shuttle XL does not. Where the G-Tech product takes a small lead is the data read/write speeds. The max read/write of the 6big is 1400 megabytes per second. The Shuttle XL 48TB overperforms by 100 megabytes per second with up to 1500 megabytes per second. However, it will cost you 400 dollars more for that marginal speed increase.

Conclusion and Recommendation

The LaCie 6big and 12big offer loads of storage delivered quickly. They both can be set-up in many different RAID configurations, but they are costly. We love that they have both Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C connections. Both products are quite heavy, and should live in one place.

SUMMARY: You’re going to shell out some big dough for either the 12Big or 6Big. They offer large storage with plenty of redundancy options. But, in the marketplace they are reasonably priced when compared to the competition.

Lacie
www.LaCie.com

PRICE
Range: $3,000 – $14,000
6Big:  $5,000
12Big: $10,000

STRENGTHS:

  • Fast read/write speeds
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Many raid configurations

WEAKNESSES:

  • Requires an adapter for use with non Type C USB

SUMMARY:

You’re going to shell out some big dough for either the 12Big or 6Big. They offer large storage with plenty of redundancy options. But, in the marketplace they are reasonably priced when compared to the competition.

RECOMMENDED USERS:

  • Event, Indie & Documentarian filmmakers
  • Commercial & Corporate filmmakers
  • Journalists & Travel videographers
  • Post-production specialists

TECH SPECS:

Internal Storage Media: 12 x 8 TB hot-swappable Enterprise-class 7200 rpm drives with a 64 MB cache (or greater)
Interfaces: 2 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x USB 3.1 – USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatible
Included: USB-C to USB adapter cable
Thunderbolt 3: 40 Gb/s, USB 3.1: 10 Gb/s
Performance Benchmark Thunderbolt 3:
12big

  • RAID 0: 2600 MB/s read, 1700 MB/s write
  • RAID 5: 2400 MB/s read, 1200 MB/s write

USB 3.1:

  • RAID 0: 400 MB/s read & write
  • RAID 5: 350 MB/s read & write

6big

  • RAID 0: 1400 MB/s Read and Write
  • RAID 5: 1200 MB/s Read, 1150 MB/s Write

USB 3.1

  • RAID 0: 400 MB/s Read and Write
  • RAID 5: 350 MB/s Read and Write

RAID Modes: 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, and 50
Security: Kensington lock compatible – LaCie Private-Public for AES 256-bit software encryption
Cooling: – 4 × redundant fans
– Heat-dissipating all-aluminum enclosure
Power Supply: 100-240 V; 50/60 Hz; 400 W
System Requirements: A computer with a USB Type-C port, supporting Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1, or a USB Type-A port
Mac OS X 10.10 and later
Windows 8 and later
600 MB free disk space
Dimensions: 6.3 x 17.6 x 9.3" / 160.0 x 447.0 x 236.2 mm
Weight: 38.9 lb / 17.6 kg

Chris Monlux thinks many undervalue the data they store. He is also Videomaker’s Multimedia Editor. 

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Susan is the Art Director at Videomaker and YouTuber Magazines.

1 COMMENT

  1. Chris – great review! You mention LaCie sharing the “details from their tests.” Is it possible to share those? I have a 6Big, overall it’s great but I cannot seem to get close to LaCie’s published specs for RAID 5/Thunderbolt 3. I get ~25% slower for read/write. 878 MB/s for Write, 905 MB/s for Read.

    I have tried BlackMagic & Aja’s tests, different cables, etc. I’ve been back & forth with LaCie support for a few days but they will not let me know how they test the units to reach their performance benchmarks.

    Thanks!