capsule review

LaCie Mobile Hard Drive, Design by F.A. Porsche, 100GB

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LaCie’s Porsche-designed storage device has it all: speedy performance, tons of space for music, movie and data files, and the ability to function as your Mac’s startup drive. Plus, it fits nicely into a shirt pocket.

This petite and portable drive includes both a FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 port. It’s also FireWire bus-powered so you don’t have to carry around extra cables and power supplies. (Depending on your machine, you can also power the drive through USB. However, on some systems, like a PowerBook, I had to plug in a second USB power cable, which is included with the drive.)

The device comes formatted as a cross-platform FAT32 volume, so you can easily connect it to both a Mac and PC. If you don’t plan on using it with a PC, it’s easy to reformat the drive to an HFS+ volume, which will give you the best Mac performance. Once I reformatted it, the drive proved to be a top performer. It turned in the fastest 1GB copy time (48 seconds) of any currently shipping drive on our list and came in a close second on our duplicate a 1GB folder test (1 minute 23 seconds).

The Mobile Hard Drive ships with LaCie’s backup software, FireWire and USB cables, and a black velvet carrying case—just in case your pocket is already full.

timed trials

Copy 1GB to Drive 0:48
Duplicate 1GB on Drive 1:23
Low Memory Photoshop CS Suite 2:23

Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable

How We Tested —We ran all tests with each FireWire drive connected to a dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5 with Mac OS X 10.3.7 installed and 512MB of RAM. We tested the drive using FireWire 800. (In cases where a drive does not have FireWire 800, we use FireWire 400.) 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.—Macworld Lab Testing by James Galbraith and Jerry Jung


Price per gigabyte $2.50
Connectors FireWire 400 (1), USB 2.0 (1)
Rotational Speed 5400 RPM
Other capacities 40GB ($120), 60GB ($140), 80GB ($170)

Macworld’s Buying Advice

When it comes to portable drives, it’s hard to beat the petite 100GB LaCie Mobile Hard Drive. It’s fast, it’s FireWire bus-powered, and it can boot OS X.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]

LaCie Mobile Hard Drive, Design by F.A. Porsche 100GB
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