LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB full review

If you’re the owner of a new Apple MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, or iMac, and you’re looking for something to plug into the fancy new Thunderbolt port, your options are pretty limited.

There’s the Apple Thunderbolt Display, the Promise Pegasus R4 and R6 RAID arrays, and now the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series from LaCie.

Like the other products in LaCie’s Little Big Disk line, the Thunderbolt Series drives are aluminum, portable external two-drive RAIDs. The drives can be configured as mirrored or striped arrays by using OS X’s Disk Utility.

Actually using the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series requires the purchase of an Apple Thunderbolt cable, bringing the total cost of the 2TB version to £439. That’s nearly double what a 2TB, portable drive with a quad-interface might cost. LaCie doesn’t sell a 2TB version of its Little Big Disk Quadra, but its 1TB Quadra costs less than the 1TB Thunderbolt version and the Quadra comes with all of the cables you’ll need.

As with the only other Thunderbolt drive currently available, the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series of drives has only one connection type, a pair of Thunderbolt ports. Sure, Apple sells a lot of Macs with Thunderbolt ports onboard, but these drives would be much more useful with an assortment of connectors. With the two Thunderbolt ports, however, you can daisy chain more Thunderbolt devices, or an Apple Cinema Display with Mini DisplayPort.

And while the LaCie drive is meant to be portable, it requires external power. If the drive requires external power, why not use a design that uses 3.5in drives that are generally faster and less expensive than the 2.5in drives that are used?

That said, the LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB drive is fast – at least twice as fast in most tests than a similar RAID array, the Avastor XMR Mobile RAID Drive, which was tested using FireWire 800. Whereas the Avastor topped out at about 75.0MBps throughput, the Little Big Disk topped 207MBps in the AJA System read test and 190MBps in AJA System write test. When reading a 2GB file, the Little Big Disk sped along at 167MBps, compared to 74.5MBps for the Avastor.

When compared to the Pegasus R6 12TB RAID array, the LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB definitely held its own on the file and folder transfer tests, especially the 2GB file read which the Pegasus was just 6 percent faster than the LaCie. That performance gap increased to 15 percent on the folder read test, 22 percent on the file read and 27 percent faster than the LaCie on the folder write test.

The AJA System Test showed more of a difference between the two, with the Pegasus reaching 707.6MBps on the write test and 532.0MBps on the read test.


LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB: Specs

  • 2TB external hard drive
  • 2 x SATA disks in RAID array
  • 2 x Thunderbolt
  • 40 x 140 x 85 mm