To get the opportunity to test the Lacie 4big Quadra can only be described as a dream come true. Theoretically, this NAS can transfer data up to 80MB/sec. And I really want to see this with my own eyes!
The Lacie 4big Quadra is an external hard drive with 4 internal hard disks. Depending on the capacity you buy (4, 6 or 8TB), the capacity of the internal hard disks increases. I had the opportunity to test the 6TB-version with 4 identically Hitachi hard drives with each a capacity of 1,5TB.
As this NAS is more than an external hard disk with enclosure, the RAID technology was included. Without getting too technical, I will try to explain it in a simple way: all data will be stored on multiple hard disks to increase the safety of your data. I chose for the Raid 5 in order to obtain the highest safety for the data and still got average up to fast data transfers.
Unboxing and installation
About the boxing of the product I can be very clear: Lacie didn’t put money in fancy boxes nor in trendy bags. The NAS fits nice in the box with enough mousse to protect against shocks. All cables, power connector, manual and cd are in a separate white box.
Before the Lacie 4big Quadra can be configured. you need to decide on 2 things:
- Which type of Raid do I use?
- Which type of connection do I use?
Both choices were simple for me: Raid 5 and Firewire 800. For this test, I also connected the Lacie with the USB 2.0 cable to compare the difference in speed.
Changing Raid modus
Before connecting this enclosure to the computer, you need to change the raid configuration. In the Lacie factory, they prepare the drive in Raid 0 mode, but I wanted to change it into Raid 5. In the manual everything is explained in simple 5 steps (sometimes it looks a little bit strange, but it works). The only thing you need to change is the first step where you need to push 15sec instate of 2 sec on the large knob. Try it and you’ll see … it works.
When you change the Raid modus of the drive, all hard drives will be formatted. All data on the disks will be erased. Be sure you have a back-up of all data!
For the speed tests, we used the AJA System Test. All tests are made with a data package of 128MB. The first number after the connection is the write speed and the second number is the reading speed.
USB 2.0: 22,8MB/sec – 27,6MB/sec
Firewire 800: 62,2MB/sec – 82,7MB/sec
To compare: I normally use a Drobo 2nd generation on Firewire 800. The writing speed is about 27MB/sec and to read the data, you’ll get around 42MB/sec. Honestly, I’m quite happy with the speed of my Drobo, but it can be a lot faster with the Lacie (up to 5 times!).
In the enclosure, Lacie added a ventilation system on the front and side to take cool air into the enclosure and blow it out of the drive when it gets warm. All without noisy fans! You can clearly hear that the drive is working, but is doesn’t disturb your work, even when the drive is installed on your desk.
To make a back-up of all data, you can use different programs. If you want a virtual copy of your Mac, I propose to use Time machine (standard on every Mac). You connect the drive, tell your Mac that this drive needs to be used as TD-drive and the virtual copy will be made automatically. If you want to make a back-up manually, you can use “Intego Backup Manager Pro”. This program is free to download from the Lacie website. With this program you can copy or sync all files in every way you desire!
The Lacie 4Big Quadra is a real killer! Transfer speed of 80MB/sec is a pleasure to work with. The only disadvantage is the price (1060 euro for the 6TB version incl. VAT).