A few months after my review of the LaCie 5big (click HERE to read it), I received the opportunity from LaCie to test the brand new 6big for a very short period of time. I had only 2 words for this opportunity: Yes please … :)
A few days later, he arrived on my desk and the test can start.
Just like the 5big, the 6big is a Direct Attached Storage (DAS) which means in human language an external hard drive connected to 1 computer. If you want the same but in network, you need an NAS ...
The 6big is, as the name suggests, a closure that contains 6 hard drives. Depending on the capacity you wish to purchase, the storage capacity disks will of course vary. LaCie always works with Seagate Enterprise disks and the total capacity is available in 24TB, 36TB, 48TB or 60TB storage. Please note that this is not the volume available! (More in the "Storage" section) I received the 24TB version for my test.
For people who want more storage, LaCie has developed the 12big with storage capacity up to 120TB!
Where the 5big was able to connect your computer with Thunderbolt 2, this new version went resolute for the future: USB-C or Thunderbolt 3. At present, there are few devices on the market that offer this port, but I am convinced that in a period of 2-3 years this will be the new standard.
About design you can write a book and I’m convinced that a beautiful design stimulates customers to buy products, but let's be honest, this product is made for extreme performance (and safe storage).
For the design fans who insist: the big blue button at the front of the 5big has been replaced with a very discreet blue button. The metal-looking look has remained, but the front is now equipped with 6 iron blocks behind were the discs are located. At the 5big you had to pick up the discs at the rear.
Security and Raid?
Anyone who has read my previous reviews about backups knows that this section is quite long because I keep receiving messages from people who “forgot” to make a back-up! A photographer who spends thousands of euros on cameras, lenses, pc-laptop, displays and all kinds of accessories, MUST also have a good backup plan! If you're a photographer and a customer asks a reprint of an image from last year, your answer can be "sorry I had a PC crash and did not have a backup".
If you already had a back-up plan, it started (and stopped) maybe with a single hard drive. But this disk can also be broken, stolen or even broken by a fire at your home (I hope none of these things will ever happen to you!). So I always suggest to make people back-up "onsite" with a system of multiple disks and RAID encryption, in another place also a secure back-up and a Cloud back-up. These 3 back-ups should ensure that you will never lose a file or photo.
More information about the RAID levels of security and performance can be found on the internet, but my personal opinion is to follow Lacie's standard RAID: RAID 5! This is the best combination for security and performance. One disc may be defective and you will still not lose any document or photo ...
In addition to the LaCie 6big itself, you get a lot of external power cables for all countries, USB-C cable of about 50cm and a USB-C to USB 3.0 cable. Do not expect many fancy plastic covers or other things, you will not find them. LaCie's idea: Less is more!
Setting up and operation
Unpacking the 6big is very easy, but setting up requires some attention. First, you need to install LaCie Raid Manager on your PC / Mac.
In this program, you are asked to choose the RAID format and even an option to configure an email alert when the device detects a problem. Everything is very simple, but you have to follow all the steps and, as I said, keep the raid system "5"!
The 6big can be purchased in 24TB, 36TB, 48TB or 60TB storage. I got the 24TB version for my test. This means that there are 6 hard drives in this unit with 4TB each. Using RAID 5 technology means that 20TB of hard disk space remains available. As mentioned before: For people who want more storage, LaCie has devised the 12big with storage capacity up to 120TB!
For me, this is the most important part of the whole review ...
As you may know from previous reviews, I do not like numbers, but I like the personal impression when working with these products.
Theoretical speeds of this 6big:
RAID 0 (which is not standard and I would not recommend!)
- Read: 1400MB / sec
- Writing: 1400MB / sec
RAID 5 (default)
- Read: 1200MB / sec
- Writing: 1150MB / sec
But what does this tell you? I want to work with it and feel it's fast enough!
What is my goal for the test? Store photos and Lightroom catalogs on the device and be able to work with it without having to wait each time when importing or editing my photos. Allow me to put ALL of photos and documents on this device and nothing more on my current iMac.
In the past few days I have tested this device extensively and I'm blown away... The 5big was fast, but this is REALLY MADNESS! Have a strong feeling that this is simply twice as fast as the 5big. WAW ...
Six discs in a small aluminum casing that work hard, there must be heat coming out of it. Heat is very bad for your discs and performance, so the 6big must be equipped with a very good ventilation system to keep everything cool. The very quiet fan can do this in combination with an advanced cooling system. You hear the fans, but it gets never disturbing.
A combination of top design, state-of-the-art and extremely fast USB-C technology, Enterprise hard disks, and a capacity of 24 to 60TB, which can only result in a price for the happy few...
The product is sold in 4 different capacity versions. The 24TB version is sold for just under 2900euro, 36TB version for just over 4000euro, for 48TB version you just have to spend 5000 euro and finally, the 60TB version will be on your desk for a staggering 7250 euro.
Possible solutions are by looking at it as an investment for many years. The comparison may be a bit weird, but if I can feel comfortable for the next 10 years, it's worth me 0,81euro / day
The LaCie 6big is an incredibly fast DAS (Direct Attached Storage) with 6 hard drives on board with 24TB, 36TB, 48TB or 60TB storage. The speed is so fast that all photos and Lightroom catalogs can be stored on the secure RAID 5 and you can edit without delay! My decision is clear: My iMac does not contain local documents, nor any pictures! Everything is safe on the LaCie 6big :)