Published on December 14th, 2014 | by Greg0
Speed And Beauty With LaCie’s d2 Thunderbolt 2 Hard Drive
Just a few years ago, disk drives were capping out at four terabytes, and it wasn’t clear that there was an easy approach to get beyond that limit (though not due to physical limitations). Now, we’re starting to see 8TB drives available, at reasonable prices. It seems like we could all use a little bit more space in our lives, and though we can’t really help you with adding a garage or a shed, we’ve got your data storage covered. If it’s extra data that you are trying to find a home for this Christmas, look no further.
This probably isn’t the sort of gift that you’ll want to give anyone else- but we’d suggest saving up those gift cards and grabbing one for your own stocking. The LaCie line of external hard drives has always been beautiful (they’re designed by Neil Poulton after all), and their latest model is no different, appealing to creative professionals who demand high-end performance, plentiful capacity, and museum-quality design. Despite the HAL-esque minimal front panel offering personality in the form of a glowing blue orb, the thing that caught our attention first and foremost was the inclusion of Thunderbolt 2 in the aptly-named LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2- and this marks the first time we’ve tested out that connectivity option, as this was the first single-volume external drive with it. T2 looks the same, acts the same, and is backwards compatible, but offers even faster speeds ideal for those transferring huge amounts of data.
Like most external hard drives, you’re getting a 7200 RPM disk with your choice of capacity- ours included six terabytes. Uniquely though, you can choose to add a solid state drive, which adds quite a bit of cost ($300) but the 128GB of flash memory can boost speeds by up to a factor of five. We’ve seen that option in RAID arrays and multi-disk network storage solutions, but rarely if ever in an external disk. USB 3.0 is offered, and worked fine, but if you do add the SSD then you lose that capability. We’d stick with Thunderbolt, if possible, since it’s faster and you can daisy chain devices. Dual ports made this easier than ever (it was largely theoretical on some other devices, since there was no way to have them in the middle of a chain).
We loved that we could use the drive vertically in a stand, lay horizontally, and even stack them. Aluminum single-sheet construction is sexy, and pairs well with your Mac- which makes sense, as OSX has far better Thunderbolt penetration. We tested primarily via MacBook Pro and Air laptops, which use the backwards-compatible original but those with T2 ports should definitely consider this as it’s one of the only ones out there. We briefly tested with one of the Mac Pro, which can make use of every ounce of power available Fan-free cooling means less noise, and we were impressed that there didn’t appear to be too much excess heat. If you’re editing video in 4K, or have huge Lightroom libraries where performance is everything, storage can easily be a bottleneck. The LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2 looks a bit plainer than it’s earlier sibling, but the speeds talk for themselves- up to 220 MB/s and we had real-world sustained tests with peaks approaching that. The LaCie D2 Thunderbolt 2 is the fastest external drive we’ve tested, beating out the previous d2 model that we tested, and well worth a close look if you have Thunderbolt 2. Expect to spend around $500 as tested, online and in stores (or save a bit with smaller capacities).