LaCie Two Big 1TB hard drive

The LaCie Two Big, bundled with a host adapter, is an economical hardware RAID that performs solidly. LaCie offers its Two Big packaged with either a PCI-X or a PCIe SATA host adapter. This is a good thing, since the Two Big did not mount with any of the other PCI-X host adapters we had on hand. A LaCie spokesperson said that its host adapters were specifically configured to work with the Two Big and LaCie’s larger S2S SATA RAIDs.

The bundled card has four open ports, only one of which the Two Big unit takes up. In our speed tests, the Two Big delivered average read speeds of 95 MBps and write speeds of 143 MBps when formatted as RAID 0 (striping).

The Two Big drive sports a hardware RAID chip controlled via a small dial on the back of the unit. With the turn of a screwdriver, you can choose between RAID 0 (or as LaCie calls it, Fast), RAID 1 (Safe), concatenate (Big), or JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks). In our testing, when we changed RAID schemes, particularly from RAID 1 to RAID 0, the Two Big had occasional hiccups, where the Mac didn’t recognize the full capacity—as though one drive was offline. Powering the unit off and on seemed to alleviate the problem.

The front of the Two Big comes off easily to allow access to the swappable drives. LaCie sells bundles with drive spares—for expansion or as a backup.

The Two Big enclosure itself runs slightly loud and can get very hot to the touch.

specifications

Price per gigabyte $0.90
Connectors eSata “I”
Rotational Speed 7,200 RPM
Other capacities 500GB + 250GB spare ($589), 1TB + 500GB spare ($1,149)

timed trials

Average Read Speed 95 MBps
Average Write Speed 143 MBps
Copy 1GB to Drive 0:32
Duplicate 1GB on Drive 0:37
Low Memory Photoshop CS Suite 1:04

How We Tested: All scores are in minutes:seconds, except for the average read and write score, which is in MBps (megabytes per second). All tests used the drive’s eSATA port, connected via PCI-X cards installed in a dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5 with Mac OS X 10.3.9 and 512MB of RAM. We copied a folder containing 1GB of data from our Mac’s hard drive to the external hard drive to test the drive’s write speed. We then duplicated that file on the external drive to test both read and write speeds. We also used the drive as a scratch disk when running our low-memory Adobe Photoshop CS Suite test. This test is a set of four tasks performed on a 150MB file, with Photoshop’s memory set to 50 percent. For the average read and write scores, we used a 50MB custom test based on QuickBench (disk drive performance evaluation software) and ZoneBench (a benchmarking application designed to measure the read and write speeds over an entire local storage device) tests.—Macworld lab testing by James Galbraith, Jerry Jung, and Anton Linecker.

Macworld’s buying advice

The LaCie Two Big, which comes bundled with a host adapter, is economical and provides solid performance. If you’re looking for a hot-swappable option with an attractive design, this may be the SATA drive for you. However, the included PCI-X card doesn’t work well with other SATA drives.

[ Anton Linecker is a writer and video technical advisor living in Los Angeles. ]

LaCie Two Big 1TB

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