LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt hard drive
What is the LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt?
LaCie have launched what it says is the first ever portable hard drive with a Thunderbolt connection. The LaCie Little Big Disk is certainly portable, it’s very small at just 40 x 140 x 85 mm and weighs a light 650 grams, but can it deliver the promised ‘ultra-fast’ transfers?
Thunderbolt is a type of high-speed computer connection developed by Intel. Currently Apple is the only manufacturer to offer Thunderbolt ports, on both its laptop and Mac ranges, but the technology is expected to arrive on PC devices in 2012. It can be used to attach peripherals to your computer such as a hard drive or an external screen, for example.
There are two Thunderbolt ports on the drive, an ‘in’ and an ‘out’, but you will have to buy a Thunderbolt cable separately as one’s not included. This will cost an extra £39.
How does it compare to a regular hard drive?
Our experts connected it up to an Apple MacBook Pro and put its performance to the test compared to another 1TB LaCie hard drive connected by the more conventional FireWire 800. The Thunderbolt version was around twice as fast at both reading and writing data.
On this initial look our experts were impressed with its performance – the connection offered by this drive is faster than FireWire 800, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 If you can stomach the high price tag, it certainly seems to deliver the goods in terms of speed.
What else do I need to know?
Most importantly remember you will only be able to use this if you have a computer with a Thunderbolt port.
The LaCie Thunderbolt drive comes in a hard disk drive (HDD) version – which we have looked at here – but there’s also a solid state drive (SSD) model. This is rather more expensive though at £699. The HDD versions come in two sizes – 1TB at a cost of £299, but you can double this to 2TB of storage space for an extra £100.
You can also connect several of these drives in a ‘daisy chain’ and use them as one. This should increase the transfer speed to a promised 800 Mbps.
In the full review…
These are our first impressions of the LaCie Thunderbolt, but we’ll be fully testing it soon to see how it compares with the other hard drives we have on test. We’ll then be able to bring you our definitive verdict on the following:
Testing - Our experts will load any software that needs to be installed, then transfer files – both small and large – across to the LaCie drive and time how long it takes. We’ll also then try to access the files held on the drive and, once again, time how long it takes for each set to transfer back to the test computer.
Performance – Find out if this model is noisy, gets too hot or guzzles power – especially when it is just idling. We assess all hard drives on each element as well as for practical things like whether they have power light indicators.
Ease of use – It’s not just the speed of data transfer than can make the difference between a good and bad drive. We also check how easy they are to use set up and install each of the drives as a typical person would.
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