Big Disk Extreme 500GB
Storage is like cash: you can never have too much. LaCie is pretty good when it comes to storage ? its Big Disk and more recently Bigger Disk range offers unprecedented capacity. Now the Big Disk has a new Extreme version that uses an updated FireWire bridge to offer faster speeds. We looked at the 500GB version.
All FireWire drives use a bridge to interface the drive (usually IDE) with the FireWire connection to the Mac. For the most part hard drives are fast enough to flood this bridge with data, so the speed of the drive is determined by the efficiency of the bridge. The Big Disk Extreme uses the latest bridge.
LaCie claims that the transfer rates are up to 50 per cent faster than the original FireWire 800 drives, which is true up to a point.
However, our tests showed that this refers to very limited circumstances. It?s true that in a short burst with a following wind, speeds of over 90MB per second have been achieved, but it is also true to say that speeds as slow as 9MB per second are also possible. What we can say is that the speeds are noticeably faster than the older-generation drives. In fact, for the first time that I?ve ever noticed, an external drive is actually faster than the internal one. So if you?re suffering from a sluggish internal drive, the Big Disk Extreme could be the answer.
The Extreme version of the LaCie Big Disk is the same price as the regular version (reviewed last issue). The only difference is that the other version has USB 2.0 as well as FireWire 400 and 800. So if you don?t need USB 2.0 compatibility, this is certainly the model to go for. After all, you can never have enough storage.