Stylish 1TB Disk Drive: Lacie by Neil Poulton 1TB
Review: Lacie Disk Drive by Neil Poulton 1TB
External disk drives are an essential piece of kit, even if just for backing up everything on your laptop or desk-top hard-drive. If it is just for back up it needs to be inexpensive, as it may be used infrequently, but must also reliable.
Which one should you buy. This article is a full review of the Lacie 1TB Disk designed by Neil Poulton and some other Lacie disks. I use these with Apple Macbooks and old iMac computers, but can also be used with Microsoft Windows PCs e.g. Acer Veriton Nettop.
Lacie 1TB Disk designed by Neil Poulton
I have several Lacie external hard-disks attached to my Apple Mac computers and have mostly found them to be reliable, quiet and fast, until a few weeks ago when one of them (a 500GB Porsche designed one which I purchased about 18 months ago) failed. I needed a replacement and after quite a lot of research decided to risk buying a Lacie again. I opted for the Lacie 1TB (approx. 1000 GB) Disk designed by Neil Poulton, which I have reviewed in detail below, but there are many disks in the range, which I have also described below.
Build Quality: Lacie 1TB Disk
This is an inexpensive 1TB disc in a stylish compact case: 4.6 x 7.6 x 1.8 inches, which is actually slightly larger than the previous Porsche designed models, so it doesn't stack neatly with them. The power-supply is separate and the case has no cooling fan. The design is very simple and neat with a fairly robust looking case and a shiny black finish. The power switch and connections are at the rear and a strip light runs along the bottom of the case, at the front, giving an interesting blue glow from underneath. This would not look out of place in a lounge, attached to a HiFi or home cinema system. I was impressed with the styling and apparent quality, when I took it out of the box, but by the time I had plugged it in, the case was covered in dust (O.K. maybe I should have cleaned my desk before I started installing it) which shows up very well on the shiny black surface. I am also not sure how resilient it will be to scratches. The most important thing however is how robust the disk inside is, which I have yet to find out.
Connectivity and Compatibility: Lacie 1TB Disk
The disk-drive has just one USB 2.0 interface. All of my other Lacie drives have FireWire, which was much faster than USB 1.1 (400 Mbps versus 12 Mbps), but USB 2.0 is actually faster (480 Mbps) and seems to be becoming the industry standard because it is cheaper to implement. Firewire800 is faster still at 800 Mbps but is rarely used. Firewire has the advantage that it can be daisy-chained (e.g. several disks pluged into one FireWire port) whereas USB is hug-based requiring a USB port for each disk.
What do you get in the box?
LaCie Hard Disk, a USB 2.0 cable, an external power supply with both a UK and a US power cable, a Quick Install Guide and LaCie Utilities already preloaded on the drive (User Manual, LaCie '1-Click' Backup Software for Windows & Mac, LaCie SilverKeeper Backup Software (Mac), LaCie Setup Assistant)
Lacie Disk Drive by Neil Poulton 1TB
Is the Lacie Disk-Drive by Neil Poulton (1TB) any good?
This disk-drive is billed a being quiet (fanless), stylish and fast all for an affordable price. It is certainly inexpensive (I paid Â£87 from Amazon and it will probably be even cheaper now) It doesn't have a fan, so there is no fan-noise, but the disk itself is fairly noisy. It probably wouldn't be annoyingly loud in a lounge home cinema or HiFi situation although would occasionally be audible. In an office it would be quite acceptable. Obviously the speed of the device is not just down to the speed of the interface used, but using my newish macbook I would guess that it is about as fast as the other Lacie disks, using FireWire (I haven't done accurate speed tests) My old iMac only has USB 1.1 which of course would have been painfully slow, but I have not been able to make that work, yet. This is probably because the old iMac has an old version of the Mac OS X 10.2 so I would probably need to reformat the disk or instal a later version of the OS to make it work, which I won't bother trying.
Ease of Use: Lacie 1TB Disk
This really is a "plug and play" device. I took it out of the box, plugged it in, turned it on, followed the simple on-screen setups menu, using the default setting, which took about a minute. After that it was simply a case of clicking on the Lacie icon on the screen to access the disk drive in the usual way. Unfortunately when I then unmounted it and tried plugging it into my old iMac (as described above) it wasn't recognised, although it does clearly state in the specification that only OS X 10.3 and later are supported. It took about 7 hours to backup nearly 1TB of data from four of my other disks although if I had done it using USB 1.1 it would have taken a week.
Lacie Disk-Drive by Neil Poulton 1TB: Specifications
Capacity : 1 TB (1000 GB)
Hi-Speed USB 2.0
Rotational Speed (rpm) : 7200
Cache : 8MB
Transfer Rate : Up to 480Mbits/s (60MB/s)
Burst Transfer Rate : Up to 30-35MB/s
Fan : Fanless
Size : 4.6 x 7.6 x 1.8 in. / 117 x 193 x 45 mm
Weight : 33.5 oz. / 950 g
System Requirements : Computer with USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible); Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows VistaTM
Mac OS X 10.3 or higher;
Pentium II 350MHz processor or greater
G3, G4, G5 Mac Intel processor or greater;
32MB RAM minimum
The Lacie Disk-Drive by Neil Poulton 1TB is good inexpensive back-up disk, which looks good if you dust it regularly and should be compatible with most new computers (although if you have Apple Mac OS X 1.2 or older it won't work straight out of the box)
Summary: Good value back-up disk