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LaCie debuts superfast SSD thumbdrive

LaCie introduces the first supercompact solid-state portable hard drive that uses a USB 3.0 connection.

The all-new SSD USB 3.0 external portable drive from LaCie
The all-new SSD, USB 3.0 external portable drive from LaCie.

If the definition of a thumbdrive is a storage device that's about the size of, well, your thumb, then LaCie has just redefined it in terms of performance.

The company announced today what it calls "the smallest solid-state USB 3.0 drive" on the market, the LaCie FastKey.

About the size of an adult's thumb but much thinner, the FastKey can also be considered one of the first USB 3.0-based thumbdrives. Most, if not all, thumbdrives on the market support the much slower USB 2.0.

LaCie claims that its new FastKey can deliver speeds of up to 260MBps, meaning it can transfer the entire contents of a CD (about 700MB) in less than 3 seconds. To achieve this performance, according to LaCie, the drive combines the performance of SSD, USB 3.0, and DRAM cache technologies.

The FastKey comes in an aluminum casing and offers the top capacity of 128GB, which is about half of the largest SSD on the market, the Samsung 470. Measuring just 1.1 inches by 4.1 inches by 0.4 inch, and weighing less than 1.2 ounces, the drive is small enough to be strapped to a keychain for on-the-go usage.

LaCie says that the Fastkey also uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect your data in case of loss or theft. This is a good idea considering the device is rather appealing for its unique design and characteristics.

Before you have to worry about losing it, however, you might first worry about getting it, as it's not cheap at all. The FastKey is available now in 30GB, 60GB, and 120GB capacities that cost $150, $250, and $480, respectively.