The LaCie Biggest FW800 is a four-bay external SATA RAID drive that supports several levels of RAID, hot-swapping, and a variety of connection options. It comes in two capacities: 1 terabyte ($1,050) and 2 terabytes ($1,530). Connection options include USB 2.0, FireWire 800, and FireWire 400 (using a FW400-to-FW800 cable). The included documentation walks you through the simple setup procedure, which does not require you to install drivers. A two-line text LCD sits on the front of the drive and relays information such as the drive's status and RAID level. Two LEDs on each drive bay blink or glow different colors, depending on the drive's status. The Biggest FW800 supports HFS+, FAT32, UNIX, and NTFS file systems, which makes it appropriate for various combinations of operating systems. The only major feature the FW800 lacks is a backup utility, which is odd, considering LaCie does have a proprietary utility in the form of the LaCie 1-Click Backup for Windows PCs and SilverKeeper for Macs.
Most multidisk hard drives of this size and price are network-attached storage drives, making the non-networked Biggest FW800 an expensive option by comparison. For example, the Buffalo Terastation Home Server offers 1 terabyte storage, a media server and print server, and external USB ports, plus a gigabit Ethernet connection--for $900. Our inclination is to spend the money on a NAS drive that offers more features, but LaCie is targeting the professional audio/video producer market that needs local backup and fast throughput for quickly moving large AV files. (Fast Ethernet has a maximum throughput of 100Mbps, while USB 2.0's theoretical max throughput is 480Mbps and FireWire 400's max is 400Mbps.)