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You can ramp up a hard drive by hooking it up to your Mac via the Thunderbolt port, but that spinning platter can only go so fast. That’s where LaCie’s Little Big Disk comes into play, which truly takes advantage of Thunderbolt’s power. This setup features two solid-state drives inside, preconfigured as a striped RAID array for a total capacity of 240GB. Although that pales in comparison to the less costly hard disk models, the pairing of Thunderbolt with even faster storage gets us excited just thinking about it!
More super-fast Thunderbolt hard drives will be released throughout 2012.
First thing first: the Little Big Disk managed impressive read and write speeds of 502.7MB/s and 256.7MB/s, respectively. These are remarkable speeds for a powerful SSD RAID, which makes it perfectly suited for applications that require the ability to sustain high speeds while handling large files, like encoding high-definition video.
The Little Big Disk also boasts a second Thunderbolt port for daisy-chaining other devices. So, connecting it to a MacBook doesn’t forfeit the ability to work more comfortably with a second display. But while the Thunderbolt port can deliver 10W of power to a device, the drive still requires an external power supply. It adds up to roughly a third of the drive’s volume, which isn’t much, but you still have the added headache of carrying around an additional power cord. This is especially inconvenient for professionals who might want to utilize the Little Big Disk on the go.
The drive’s metal body is incredibly sturdy and weighs almost 2lbs, or just under half a 13-inch MacBook Air. And while the ridged sides are intended to dissipate heat, it was only lukewarm after copying 100GB to the drive. Still, the fan started emitting a noticeable whine after a while of using it.
The bottom line. If you need and can afford this sort of performance when away from your desk, the read and write speeds put out by LaCie’s Little Big Disk are well worth the investment.
Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series 240GB SSD
Mac OS 10.6 or later, Thunderbolt port, Thunderbolt cable (sold seperately)
Speedy, portable storage. Small, strong metal enclosure.
Requires external power supply. Whiny noises after prolonged use.