When it comes to external hard drives, FireWire is a Mac user’s best bet. You can use a FireWire drive to speed up your backups, provide a little elbow room for all of the files stored on your computer, and with most FireWire hard drives, boot up your Mac in a pinch. If you’re in the market for a FireWire hard drive, you’ll find the LaCie d2 Hard Drive Extreme with Triple Interface 300GB drive an excellent choice. It has of all of the above niceties while also offering a full complement of connection options and great performance. (For more reviews of these drives, see Buyers’ Guide: FireWire hard drives.)
The d2 Hard Drive Extreme, with its attractive aluminum design and glowing blue light, can be laid flat to easily stack multiple d2 drives or, with the included stand, it can be positioned vertically to take up very little desktop space. You can connect the d2 Hard Drive Extreme to your Mac via FireWire 400, FireWire 800 or USB 2.0. The USB 2.0 port won’t be useful when you need to boot your Mac, but it will come in handy when you need to connect the drive to a PC, which likely won’t have a FireWire port.
LaCie includes a CD of software utilities, most of them for Windows and OS 9 users, that includes the modest LaCie Backup Software 1.0 for OS X. This program is easy to use and configure, but not nearly as full-featured as EMC Dantz’s Retrospect Express, which is included with some other drives. For example, Backup does not let you schedule a time to automatically run a script and it will not back up data incrementally.
When connected to our test Mac via FireWire 800, the d2 Hard Drive Extreme drive posted some impressive test results. Of the twenty or so desktop drives we’ve tested recently, the d2 Hard Drive Extreme posted the fastest time in our low-memory Photoshop CS suite and breathed down the neck of the leaders in the rest of the tests.
|Copy 1GB to Drive||0:36|
|Duplicate 1GB on Drive||1:03|
|Low Memory Photoshop CS Suite||1:25|
Scale = Minutes: Seconds
|Price per gigabyte||$0.86|
|Connectors||FireWire 400 (1), FireWire 800 (2), USB 2.0 (1)|
|Other capacities||160GB ($179), 250GB ($219), 500GB ($549)|
Macworld’s buying advice
With almost every imaginable connection option available, a low price per gigabyte, and top performance, the LaCie d2 Hard Drive Extreme with Triple Interface is a great value.
[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]LaCie d2 Hard Drive Extreme with Triple Interface, 300GB