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
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
|Duplicate 1GB on Drive
|Low Memory Photoshop CS Suite
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 10.3.7 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
||FireWire 400 (1), FireWire 800 (2), USB 2.0 (1)
||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
’s lab director.
LaCie d2 Hard Drive Extreme with Triple Interface, 300GB