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LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive 100GB

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LaCie specializes in the boutique market for stylish, fast, and pricey portable hard drive designs, and the trend continues with the LaCie Rugged All-Terrain 100GB drive . Looking more like a piece of life-safety equipment than a storage device, the device’s small metal case is fitted with a bright orange rubber gasket that protects the sides and edges from scuffs and snags, allowing you to casually throw it into your travel bag with nary a worry.

Having Rugged and All-Terrain as part of the product name implies that the drive can withstand a certain amount of abuse. Although we resisted performing a drop-kick test, the rugged moniker might lull some users into thinking that the drive’s rubber bumper offers more protection than just shock resistance.

The drive comes pre-formatted for the Mac and ready to use. Just connect the drive to your Mac using either the USB 2.0, FireWire 400, or FireWire 800 ports. For laptops with limited power supplies, an additional cable is included for drawing bus power from an available USB port on the computer. Keeping with the drive’s size, the supplied cables are also compact albeit a bit shorter than we’re used to.This drive lacks an activity LED—not a deal breaker, but something that most other drives have. The drive also ships with LaCie’s backup and installer software.

The LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive turned in respectable performance numbers compared with other portable drives we’ve tested. In the File Copy test, it tied its larger-capacity portable brother, the LaCie Little Big Disk 200GB (   ). This is notable because the LaCie Little Big Disk has an internal RAID arrangement of two drives. In our Duplicate and Low Memory tests, the Rugged All-Terrain drive was respectively 11 percent slower and 5 percent faster when compared with another 100GB drive we reviewed, the Rocsecure Rocbit 2B 100GB (   ) portable.

The triple interface version of the drive is also available in 80GB and 120GB capacities, as is the single-port USB 2.0 version. The 100GB model we reviewed has a 7200-rpm disk mechanism, while the others have slower 5400-rpm mechanisms (as well as a lower cost per gigabyte). A 160GB, 5400-rpm drive is set to be available shortly.

timed trials

Copy 1GB to Drive 0:35
Duplicate 1GB on Drive 1:17
Low Memory Photoshop CS Suite 1:54

Scale = Minutes: Seconds

How We Tested: We ran all tests with the FireWire drives connected to a dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5 with Mac OS X 10.3.9 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 $360/100=$3.60
Connectors FireWire 800 (1), FireWire 400 (1) USB 2.0 (1)
Rotational Speed 7200 RPM, 16MB cache
Other capacities 80GB ($180) 120GB ($280), 160GB ($250)*

* Available for pre-orders.

All drives listed under Other Capacities are 5400 rpm.

Macworld’s buying advice

The LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive100GB is all about size, speed, and of course, style. Its bright orange coat makes it a standout, and its performance numbers are among the fastest we have seen among 100GB portable drives. If you’re looking for storage on-the-go that you can throw into your bag (though not too hard), consider this drive. But remember that you’ll be paying a premium for its small size and the convenience of having three different ports.

[ Jeffy K. Milstead is a Macworld Lab alumnus and writer living in San Francisco. ]

LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive 100GB
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