The drive automatically launches the LaCie setup assistant when you plug it into your computer for the first time. This application gives you a brief overview of the different partition and formatting types, including NTFS, HFS+, and FAT32. It then formats the drive according to your needs. The drive also includes a copy of the Genie Backup Assistant, a simple backup tool that uses folder-based backup and incremental restoration points to keep your data safe. Mac OS and 64-bit Windows users are out of luck, as the software only works with Windows 2000, XP (32- and 64-bit), and 32-bit Windows Vista.
Cost per gigabyte
The Rikiki is available in three capacities: a 250GB version for $75; the 500GB model for $105; and the 640GB for $130. Using our 500GB test drive, we calculate the cost to be 21 cents per gigabyte--which is far below the average cost for an external hard drive. As you can see in the chart below, the Rikiki earns the lowest cost per gigabyte by a 6-cent margin.
As always, we performed a simple data transfer test and compared the LaCie with four external drives in a similar price range. According to our stopwatches, the Rikiki drive read data at 25.12MBps and wrote data at 23.26MBps, just a little slower than the Transcend StoreJet 25f, but that's not to say that the drive is slow.
A simple numbers comparison shows that the differences are so minor that you most likely won't be able to tell unless you're transferring a 10GB or larger file.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
LaCie backs the Rikiki hard drive with a two-year warranty that covers parts and labor. LaCie offers telephone support weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, but requires a tool to connect. You can also create a support ticket on the LaCie Web site. A two-year warranty is acceptable for an external hard drive, but we always prefer three years to ensure the physical integrity of a portable device made to withstand the abuse of daily transport.