Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Testing the LaCie Little Big Disk 240 GB SSD Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt devices are still rare, while the new standard is promising: it concentrates a data channel and a video channel at a rate up to 10 Gb / s in both directions. Storage specialist LaCie has every reason to be interested in: the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt, with two 120 GB SSD, is offered at € 849. The price performance?

Designed by Neil Poulton

The Little Big Disk SSD is available in Thunderbolt a few weeks after a hard disk version: 1 TB 7200RPM for € 349.95, 2 TB 5400 RPM for € 449.95. The principle of the Little Big Disk is known: LaCie uses two drives connected in RAID 0 (2x500 GB or 2 x 1 TB), which allows to add capacity, and increase performance. However, you can choose from RAID 1 (mirroring) or JBOD (concatenation). The SSD model, with a total capacity of 240 GB, takes the concept: it has two 120 GB Intel SSD.

This model also looks like SSD as two drops of water to his colleagues to hard disks: measuring 40x140x85 mm, it weighs 650 grams. A weight that may seem quite measured, but it must be added that of food, necessary for the operation: despite its small size the Little Big Disk is portable or mobile when using a small studio in the suitcase or trunk ( So with power).Construction, as is often the LaCie is perfect: the brushed aluminum casing designed by Neil Poulton with a fairly industrial look, has no game, once the set up by you.

This case is not only beautiful, it is also useful: the grooves increase the surface area of dissipation by 60%, and thus allow, in theory, improve the cooling of components. The Little Big Disk is, however, has a small fan noise certainly limited, but particularly unpleasant (quite high). It will hopefully be covered ... by the sound of fans of the Mac at work to which the drive is connected.

A workhorse

Because this drive is designed primarily as a workload for tasks audio, photo or video most demanding: it is the purpose of the Thunderbolt, accentuated by the choice of two connected SSD in RAID 0. LaCie promises very good performance: 480 MB / s read. The Little Big Disk SSD as an external drive, it can be compared to one ... SSD and an external drive.

A reliable but SSD's average performance, the Toshiba 512 GB HG2, offers a throughput of 218 MB / s read, up to 250 MB / s write.

RAID 1 connected in 2x2 To FireWire 800 (Hitachi disks), reached him painfully 80 MB / s read, 65 MB / s write. LaCie announced a maximum throughput of 190 MB / s read for his Little Big Disk Thunderbolt to hard drives.

The SSD version leaves this little world there. If it happens to reach top speeds of 480 MB / s, as announced LaCie, an average of 10 tests had declined around 440 MB / s. In reading, the flow reaches 350 MB / s. The flow rates are not linear: LaCie has focused on raw performance of the heaviest files (audio, photo, video).

These rates are consistent with what one expects from a good SSD RAID 0, neither more nor less. The advantage of the Thunderbolt is to offer the Little Big Disk a highway on which securely held. The LaCie box with two ports, one can link the records: two, three, or more, whatever, it will stall around 800 MB / s. Remember that the chaining, including an Apple Display Thunderbolt, tends to gradually degrade performance, reaching a plateau (read: A test of the Thunderbolt Apple Display).

The SSD speaking to their full potential in this case, they tend to be heated: it includes the interest of this annoying fan. The aluminum heat sink plays its role: it gradually becomes warm, never hot. If the case remains rather cold, the cable Thunderbolt - that you must purchase separately - in turn raises a real problem.The cable is warm, the hot tips, and metal parts really hot: Be careful when removing the drive.

In conclusion

Thunderbolt SSD allows this Little Big Disk to "turn" at full speed: the performance is good, very good, even excellent if you chain multiple drives. At € 849, the bill is salty, but this disc is definitely a niche product: the pros of the picture, audio and video product will find it a well finished, high performance, to meet their mobility needs .

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