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The Bigger the Better: LaCie Hits 1.6TB

d2 Bigger Disk Extreme boasts size and speed By Charlie White

LaCie d2 Bigger Disk Extreme review by Charlie WhiteImagine how much data a Terabyte is -- a million megabytes. Its mind boggling. But now you can have even more than a Terabyte alongside your Mac or PC, 1.6TB to be exact, if you get yourself a LaCie d2 Bigger Disk Extreme ($2000 street). Connecting to your computer via FireWire 400 or FireWire 800, this external disk unit packs a truckload of data into a space smaller than an Avid software box. We tested this new monster data storage product, which will certainly be valuable for anyone with lots of files and nowhere to store them all.

As I was plugging in this new product from LaCie, I couldnt help but think of actually how much data this gargantuan data bucket can hold. Its 1,526,214 MB of formatted space (comes out to 1.45TB) can hold enough MP3s to listen to music continuously, 24 hours a day for about three years. It could hold more than three million digital photos or about 250 DVD movies. If you like to keep lots of stock footage you use on a regular basis close at hand, or if you like to back up everything, I mean everything and perhaps maybe you should this disk is for you. Or think of it you could edit a few projects and store them all, in their entirety, on this disk, and then when the clients come back for those inevitable changes, youll have their whole projects sitting there ready to go. Im sure you can think of even more examples, but the bottom line is this: If you have a lot of digital stuff to store, this baby is like the biggest walk-in closet youve ever seen more like a huge data warehouse.

Sure, it holds a lot of data, but how does it look and sound, and whats it like to use it? As I lifted the disk put of its box, I noticed how heavy the thing is well of course it is, because its packing four 400-gig disks in there. Made of sturdy aluminum, it weighs slightly more than 11 lb., about like an extremely heavy-duty door stop. Its quite handsome, with its aircraft-like aluminum finish and grill, along with that signature LaCie blue light (graphic at right) at its top center giving it a vaguely ominous and serious demeanor. Its appearance would make a fine addition to the décor of even the most chic edit suite, office or server closet.  

FireWire 800 (1394a) cables have a square, 9-pin connector.
I noticed on the back of the unit there were two FireWire 800 ports and one FireWire 400 port, which immediately stirred me to procure a FireWire 800 card and install it inside our test PC, so I could test the full benefit of this new FireWire 800 (also called 1394b) technology. By the way, its easy to step up to FireWire 800 on a PC, and even easier on a Mac G5 (no stepping up there?its already standard). For PC users, all you have to do is plug in a card and youre there, enjoying the performance of FireWire 800 devices a full 2x faster than FireWire 400 while still remaining backward-compatible with FireWire 400. FireWire 800 add-on cards are available for around $70 with FireWire 400 and 800 on board, and you can even get one with USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 for around $100. I installed into a PCI bus a FireWire 800 card LaCie graciously rushed to me, and it was immediately recognized by the computer. Hey, I could easily get used to this FireWire 800 format. Another interesting aspect of FireWire 800 is that if you use optical cables, you can run data 300 feet instead of the measly 14.85 feet of FireWire 400. FireWire 800 uses a new square-ish kind of plug (see graphic), a slight disadvantage since we already have plenty of 6-pin and 4-pin FireWire 400 cables around here. But not to worry, LaCie includes one 9-pin FireWire 800 cable in the box with this Bigger Disk extreme.

I also noticed how profoundly easy it was to set up, where all I had to do was plug the thing into a power strip, connect its FireWire cable, and it was ready to go. It does seem more ready for Mac than PC, though, because I did have to do a quick format to get it to work with our ABS Dual Xeon 3.6 GHz test bed machine, a computer so fast and rock-solid that any deficiencies in the testing of any peripherals would certainly be no fault of its own. But the quick format was indeed speedy, taking only part of a minute to get it to show up in My Computer sporting a whopping 1.45 TB. Another plus with this disk and all FireWire disks is their absolute hot-swappability. As I was testing, I unplugged this disk from the FireWire 400 port and immediately plugged it into the FireWire 800 port, and it showed up in My Computer right away.  

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Related Keywords:Terabyte, Mac, PC, LaCie d2 Bigger Disk Extreme, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, external disk, data storage, review, Charlie White


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