Review: LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt
Powerful, mobile and a lot of speed
As a photographer, I work in my office with an Apple iMac with Lightroom where I do all my post processing work. Once I'm on the road, until now I had no access to those images, not even to a preview. This was not due to Lightroom, because there's a feature which allowed this, but due to the simple fact that I did not have an external hard drive that was fast enough to put on my catalog.
LaCie was so kind to give me a hard drive called "Rugged Thunderbolt" for a comprehensive test. The drive is wrapped in an orange rubber casing to make it shock resistant and it has an integrated Thunderbolt cable. A forgotten power cord or connection cable, belongs to the past. Personally, I find this very useful.
The drive itself can be bought in two conventional hard drive versions, 1TB or 2TB or it can be bought with the much faster SSD, Solid State Disk: 250GB, 500GB or 1TB. I got from LaCie the 1TB HDD version and the 250GB SSD version.
In many cases, your budget will decide which version you will purchase. So if you opt for the fast SSD, which I would have recommended initially, you will find out really soon that the 250GB is too limited for your Lightroom catalog and all pictures. So think twice before buying this product and maybe buy the 500GB SSD version.
Packaging and connectors:
The design of the "Rugged" hard drives from LaCie hasn’t been updated in the last couple of years. The case is very recognisable with the orange color rubber boot which ensures also that the disc really can survive a fall from the table. According to the tests, he would even survive a fall of 2 meters in a dust- and water environments and would survive a car about 1 ton. Nice tests, but do not try this at home!
New feature in this version: The integrated Thunderbolt cable. Because thunderbolt is only available on Apple devices, there is also a USB 3.0 port (a separate cable is provided in the box).
The size of the hard drive is not super slim, but not like most desktop hard drives. As both the Thunderbolt cable and power supply are incorporated in the product, it’s only the drive who takes space. Moreover, very convenient that you also can never anymore forget something. The rubber casing makes everything a little thicker, but also more durable and sturdy.
As I’m not a huge fan of numbers, I prefer to keep personal impressions, more then to express this information in MB/sec.
From the moment I connected the drive and dragged my Lightroom folder on the drive, I noticed the speed: this was going fast, very fast. Afterwards I edited photos during several festivals straight from this disk. Editing in Lightroom works smoothly and I even dare to say that you will not notice any difference with these external Thunderbolt disk and an internal SSD drive. The combination of Thunderbolt and SSD is definitely recommended for photographers.
With suggested retail prices of 180 to 780 euros, LaCie “Rugged Thunderbolt" remains not for everyone's wallet. For something buy more than 60 euros you buy an external 2.5 "drive with a capacity of 1TB. For the high speed offered by the Thunderbolt interface combined with the shock resistance, you will pay extra. Photographers who work with huge files (around 75MB/image) and also those who are travelling a lot, they will appreciate these features a lot.
The LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt is very fast. For users looking for external storage and for those who require speed and robustness, this disc is excellent. The less positive side is of course the price. Personally, I would recommend the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt SSD 500GB with a retail price of € 405.