If you have a truckload of data to backup, you’ll need an external storage drive with enough capacity to handle everything you might want to transfer to it, plus plenty of extra room for future backups. With the stylish LaCie Hard Disk, users can make good with a whopping 1TB of real estate to store their most valuable files, and thanks to some really slick bundled software, both Mac OS X and Windows users can take advantage of this drive.
We’d be ignoring the obvious to start with anything other than the LaCie Hard Disk’s absolutely gorgeous build. Crafted by renowned designer Neil Poulton, the 1TB drive is a 7.6 x 4.6 x 1.8-inch block of super-glossy black sexiness that would be a head-turning addition to any computing area. At just 2.2 pounds, which is a hair lighter than the 2.4-pound 1TB Iomega eGo Desktop Portable Hard Drive, it can be stashed into a travel bag without adding too much bulk (weighing a total of 2.6 pounds with the required AC adapter).
The bottom and left sides of the LaCie Hard Disk sport vents for keeping the drive cool, and there are ports for connecting it to a notebook via eSATA, FireWire 400, or USB 2.0. Our only complaint with the drive is that it’s a big-time fingerprint magnet.
A 5GB folder of photos, music, video, and documents took 4 minutes and 19 seconds to write to the drive via USB 2.0, a rate of 19.7 MBps. That wasn’t the fastest write speed we’ve seen in the sub-$300, 1TB drive space (the Buffalo DriveStation Combo 4 led the pack with 20.7 MBps and the Western Digital My Book Mirror Edition brought up the rear with 13.1 MBps). Read speeds were much better—the LaCie Hard Disk notched a 3-minute-and-24-second transfer time, which translates to 25.0 MBps. That outpaced the next best showing (the Buffalo DriveStation Combo 4’s 22.2 MBps) by nearly 3 MBps.
Like the Buffalo DriveStation Combo 4 and Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus, the LaCie Hard Disk includes a FireWire 400 port. It produced a blazing 29.9 MBps read speed, which was on a par with Buffalo’s 26.5 MBps and Maxtor’s 29.0 MBps. But the unit’s write speed was infinitely disappointing: it took 7 minutes and 47 seconds to receive our 5GB folder, or a relatively snail-like 10.9 MBps. The LaCie Hard Disk’s eSATA connection produced excellent read and write speeds of 35.6 MBps and 37.9 MBps, respectively.
The LaCie Backup Software comes preinstalled on the drive; you just have to run the installer to get up and running. This utility allowed us to select which drives we wanted to back up; a press of the Backup Now button copied our files to the LaCie Hard Disk.
One unique feature of the LaCie Hard Disk is that the software enables users to create partitions (up to 32GB in size), so you can have separate portions of the LaCie Hard Disk dedicated to storing files from different operating systems. For example, we created a 32GB partition that was formatted for Mac OS X, and used the bundled MacDrive 7 software (which lets Windows users read and write files to a Mac-formatted hard drive) to exchange documents between the differing computing environments.
Unfortunately, the drive lacks encryption software to keep information away from prying eyes. The lack of data encryption may cause the business set to opt for the Buffalo DriveStation Combo 4 (which features SecureLockWare technology for safeguarding data).
Its slick design may pique the interest of potential buyers, but the LaCie Hard Disk is more than just eye candy. This affordable $229 drive, which is backed by a two-year warranty, offers speedy performance (over USB and eSATA) for anyone looking to back up lots of data.