Ever since I used SSD-based notebooks, I couldn’t wait to dump all “Spinners”. Or Hard Drives Disks (HDD) as most of you know them by. You know them, the heavy, clunky, big, loud things to store your valuable documents on. And of course, ever prone to damage and slow transfer speeds.
Talking about speed, USB also never has been my favorite protocol to transfer files. All my work-drives always used FireWire 800 for a larger speed. Last year with the introduction of USB 3 in Apple’s MacBook line-up, I got a small portable USB 3 drive (Western Digital MyBook, 320 GB) for transfers and Time Machine. It was noticeably faster, but still, my eyes where glistering with the prospect of that other technology: Thunderbolt!
LaCie combined my two ultimate technologies in two product. `
A mobile and a desktop Thunderbolt SSD drive.
Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 512 GB
Taking a design cue from the previous iterations of the Little Big Disk (LBD), LaCie’s new LBD is like a newborn little brother. Only one that is more powerful, stronger, faster and much nicer in every way.
First thing, speed! If you thought your regular SSD was fast, think again. The speed in the LBD’s enclosure is not only blazing, it’s the fastest disk I have ever worked on. Maxing out my Disk Speed Test’s speedometer, it’s clear that if you ever need speed, you just need to attach this little beast to your computer, and be done with it.
The disk did everything I threw at it. It played music, transferred files, while I was editing a three track High Definition multicam-edit in Final Cut Pro. Not a single glitch, how hard we tried.
The big thing that could be improved upon is the fan noise. When working, its little fan on the back makes a noticeable whine. If you work in a quit environment, it will distract you. Even while working in a coffee shop we found it could still be heard.
We do, however understand why they added this little fan. They weren’t kidding when they called this new technology Thunderbolt. If you touch the connectors after a big file-transfer you will find it’s almost burning up.
But again, this little detail is the only thing we would change on this great product.
The only other gripe we had with this product is that it’s purely a desktop disk, as it needs an external power supply to work. As a mostly mobile worker, it’s sometimes hard to find one outlet, let alone two free outlets near each other. And be honest, no-one wants to be THAT guy.
Rugged Thunderbolt SSD Drive (120 GB)
One of the most iconic drives LaCie has ever created is its Rugged line. You know them. Those drives with the big orange bumper. Having owned an old version of this line it was easy to see the rugged was more a marketing gimmick than an actual product description. While the bumper did protect, the drives where still sensitive to drops and on-the-go use. Not to forget, the ‘metal’ interior was just a plastic enclosure.
This has all been fixed in the latest version. Now a solid unibody aluminum enclosure containing a fast SSD, it’s unlikely you will break one. I have been using two of them for the past weeks. The Time Machine drive did its job fast: making sure that everything on my Macbook Pro has being kept safe in a separate bag. The Work drive is being used to keep big files for on-the-go usage, and transfer between computers in the field.
On a recent trip to Brussels it not only transferred all my high resolution pictures to the client in around 3 seconds, it kept me entertained with a season of Breaking Bad, and kept me busy with several time lapse pictures and videos.
Quick and easy to keep in your bag, extending your storage, and in a fast way. What is there not to like?!
I fully trusted these on my last few assignments, and they never let me down. What a product!
Note: While some tests say this drive is faster with USB 3 than Thunderbolt I have only used this with the Thunderbolt cable for testing this technology.
Negative: High Price, noticeable fan noise, desktop only.
Positive: Fastest drive you have ever owned, great form factor.
While it comes at a price, If you want or need the fastest out there, this is it.
Negative: can’t find any.
Positive: Small, good built quality, speedy, bus powered.
If you want speed in a small, portable enclosure, you have found it.
We can’t wait for SSD and Thunderbolt to become mainstream. We are quite convinced that in the future the prices for both technologies will drop, and the adaption rate will grow exponentially. So PC makers, get Thunderbolt in your computers!
In the meantime, Mac users, this is the storage you have been waiting for.