The LaCie Little Big Disk SSD is the second Thunderbolt-based storage device we've worked with and it's quite different from the first one, the Promise Pegasus R6. If the Pegasus is considered huge, heavy, and offers a ton of storage space, the SSD-based LaCie is tiny and comes with just 240GB of capacity. (There are also hard-drive-based versions of the drive that offer up to 1TB of storage--still much less than that of the Pegasus.)
The LaCie shares something with the Pegasus, however, by supporting only the Thunderbolt connection and offering superfast data transfer speeds. While not as fast as the Pegasus in our testing, it's still significantly faster than any other storage devices of similar configuration, and even faster than some internal solid-state drives.
On the downside, the drive doesn't have any built-in support for USB, FireWire or eSATA. It's also really expensive at around $900 and is a little noisy. Still, if you're looking for a superfast portable and rugged storage device and have a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac, there's no better choice than the LaCie Little Big Disk SSD. On the other hand, if you also need as much storage space as possible, then also check out Promise's Pegasus R6.
|Drive type||External Thunderbolt hard drive|
|Product dimensions (LWH)||5.5 x 1.6 x 3.3 inches|
|Capacity of test unit||240|
|OSes supported||Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later|
|Software included||Intego BackUp Manager Pro|
Design and features
The Little Big Disk SSD bears the same signature design of LaCie's storage devices: sturdy, eye-catching, and bold. The compact device is housed in a full-metal body with a round blue button on the front that works both as a power and indicator light. On the back, you'll find the power port and two Thunderbolt ports.
You can use one of these ports to connect the drive to the host computer using a Thunderbolt cable, which, as with the Pegasus, is not included and costs another $49. With the other port, you can daisy-chain up to five other Thunderbolt devices, or a mini DisplayPort monitor without reducing the connection bandwidth. We tested the LaCie together with a Pegasus R6 indeed suffered no reduction in performance.
The drive comes with a detachable base and a flexible power adapter that works with virtually any type of power sockets in the world. Despite how compact the drive is, you'll need to use the power adapter since it's not bus-powered: the Thunderbolt cable doesn't provide enough juice to power it.
Despite the necessary separate power adapter, the Little Big Disk SSD's power status works in sync with that of the computer to which it's connected. For example, when the computer turns off, the drive also turns off and turns back on when the computer restarts. The drive also turns itself off when the computer goes into sleep mode and turns itself back on when the computer wakes up. We found this power management nifty and very helpful. On the other hand, note that you won't be able to turn it on without plugging it in to a supported computer.
Unlike the Pegasus, which has five drive bays, the LaCie is a single-volume drive. On the inside, it hosts a 240GB solid-state drive (SSD). This means that the speed of the storage solution depends entirely on the speed of the SSD itself, which is 6Gbps at best (compared to the Thunderbolt standard of 10Gbps), if the internal SSD supports the latest SATA 3 standard.
There's nothing to setting up the Little Big Disk. Out of the box, it's preformatted in HFS+ and once connected to a computer via Thunderbolt, it's immediately available on your Mac, just like other external storage devices. There's nothing prestored on the drive, but it's accompanied by a CD that contains Intego Backup Manager Pro software and digital copies of the manual and user guide. Since the drive is supereasy to set up and it's probably best to use it with your Mac's Time Machine for backing up purposes, it's safe to skip this CD.
We tested the LaCie Little Big Disk the same way we did with the Promise Pegasus R6, which is similar to the way we test external storage devices: by copying large amounts of data from one place to another and measure the device's throughput speed. We actually used the R6 as part of the test since it's the only other storage device we have that's equipped with Thunderbolt.