LaCie External Hard Disk Review

LaCie’s Hard Disk is a USB2 3.5″ external hard drive unit. Designed by Neil Poulton, it definitely comes from the minimalist school of design as it’s a shiny black box with a blue LED. The exterior is marred only by a discrete LaCie logo on one side; USB connector, power socket and on/off switch at the back. You don’t even see the LED itself, only the blue light reflecting off the desk.

And sometimes a box is just what’s needed, if you want stack or store the drives. All too often stylish designs prevent two units from being placed on top of each, taking up more space. This LaCie unit manages to be stylish and functional at the same time, though it’s a bit of a dust magnet at times.

I have two of the 1 TB drives and they form the heart of my backup strategy. Once a month, they get retrieved from storage, plugged in and the files synced with my NAS. Touch wood, I’ve not had any drive failures.

Performance-wise, it’s always hard to test reliably and consistently.  I’m on Linux, so I’ve a range of tools including dd, hdparm and bonnie++.

– hdparm gave 32 MB/s for buffered disk reads.
– dd gave write speeds around 43 MB/s, with reading closer to 50 MB/s.
– bonnie++ gave 34 MB/s for writes and 36 MB/s for reads.

Given that the maximum theoretical speed for USB 2 is 60 MB/s, these figures are pretty good. For comparison, bonnie++ gives figures around 100 MB/s for my main SATA drive.

Currently, the LaCie Hard Disk comes in 1 TB, 1.5 TB and 2 TB versions and if you look hard, the 1 TB unit can be picked up for around £50. Recommended.