Published on April 16th, 2013 | by Greg0
LaCie d2 USB 3.0 Hard Drive: Great Performance And Good Looks
They say that you can’t have it all, and perhaps they’re right. But one suspects that if you had enough money, there might be a near-perfect version of a given item. There are plenty of examples, where spending a bit more results in a product that represents at least one particular ideal vision. Think of the iPhone, where careful attention has been paid to every detail, or Swiss watches of legendary reliability and precision- they might be excessively engineered, but that can be part of the point.
Of course, not everyone needs or can appreciate the details- or wants to spend the extra that they cost. If you like even the regular items on your desk to look nice and feel solid, then consider the LaCie d2 USB 3.0 external hard drive, a disk that offers just about everything in a package that looks lovely. Available in both 3TB and 4 terabyte flavors, ours was the higher capacity model. Either way, you’re getting a Mac/PC compatibile drive that includes both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt capabilities, and the latter is perfect for anyone who has a Macbook Air or Pro with the high-end adapter. Granted, speeds between the two connector types are not all that different, and this drive doesn’t allow the daisy chaining of devices which can be one of Thunderbolt’s primary advantages. Anyone with an older machine can happily use this one with the slower USB 2.0, but you probably should buy an alternate, less expensive drive instead.
LaCie’s products have always offered extra flair, and this one is no different, with a striking design from Neil Poulton that highlights the glowing blue eye, a nice tweak on HAL. The same aesthetic is spread across their family of drives, and is a nice contrast to the boring black plastic of many other external disks. The body of the drive is heftier than most, thanks to the fan-free aluminum heat sink design. Despite that though, or perhaps because of it, the drive is nonetheless quite loud- a fairly distracting sound most noticeable when starting up and shutting down. We liked that both sets of cables are included- a Thunderbolt cable is still pricey- and that the drive is a decent performer running at 7200 RPMs.
Aside from looks, performance matters- and this one is competitive with any other drive in it’s class, offering claimed speeds of 170MB/s read and 165MB/s write. In more typical use and over sustained file transfers of a 10G ZIP file and a smaller typical folder of documents and pictures, we were able to find speeds closer to 110 MB/s, making it among the fastest drives that we’ve seen when using Thunderbolt and OSX. Some built-in software offers easy configuration for Windows or OSX formatting, or cross-compatible options, as well as some file protection and backup utilities (the LaCie Backup Assistant and an AES 256-bit software encryption) that we didn’t test out deeply. Rackable and stackable, we left it oriented vertically on the stand and it ran nicely and fairly coolly for days.
At $400, it’s a fairly expensive option- but for 4TB of data, you can’t buy a larger drive, or a nicer-looking one. With a three-year warranty, future-proof connection options, and top-notch performers, you are getting exactly what you pay for with LaCie’s d2.