The Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt that LaCie announced today is the third bus-powered Thunderbolt drive to hit the market and the second one that also supports USB 3.0. Its two contenders are the
The LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt still manages to be a first, though: it's the first bus-powered, USB 3.0, portable Thunderbolt drive that uses a solid-state drive (SSD) as its storage. It comes in a single capacity of 120GB, but the drive is also available in a standard hard-drive version that offers up to 1TB of storage.
I reviewed the SSD version, and it proved to be the fastest portable Thunderbolt drive I've reviewed to date. On top of that, the new drive also comes in a rugged aluminum case and has a removable protective rubber layer to offer even more protection. It's also very fast when used with USB 3.0.
At $200, the new SSD-based LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt is an excellent buy, among Thunderbolt storage solutions, costing some $90 less than the Elgato of the same capacity. Those who don't need the ultrafast speed of the SSD version can also opt for the 1TB hard-drive-based version that costs $250.
|Drive type||External Thunderbolt hard drive|
|Connector options||Thunderbolt, USB 3.0
|Available capacities||120GB (SSD) or 1TB (HDD)
|Product dimensions||3.4 x 5.3 x 0.75 inch|
|Capacity of test unit||120GB (SSD)|
|OSes supported||Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, Windows 7 or later
Design and features
The new LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt is a nice surprise, considering that the other SSD-based Thunderbolt drive the company released more almost a year ago, the 120GB
Because the drive also supports USB 3.0, you can use it with both Thunderbolt-enabled computers and those that only have USB support. The drive works with Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0, and you just need one cable, be it a USB or Thunderbolt, to use it. I tried it with many computers, and in every case, the single cable can draw enough juice to power the drive from the connected port. Bus power, which is available in all portable USB drives, is a nice feature that spares you from having to use a separate power adapter.
Following the design of the first