LaCie 12big Thunderbolt 3 review: The ultimate storage system for professionals

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The Good The 12big Thunderbolt 3 is extremely fast and delivers up to 120TB of storage space in a variety of RAID setups. The system supports Thunderbolt 3 and also work with USB 3.1. You can swap out hard drives easily.

The Bad There's no lock to keep the drives from being pulled out by accident. The system doesn't have built-in regular USB hub and the tall design makes it topple quite easily.

The Bottom Line The 12big Thunderbolt 3 is the ultimate direct attached storage system for those need superfast speed and massive amount of storage space.

7.9 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 5
  • Performance 10

The 12big Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) is not for everyone, partly because not everyone can afford it. Starting at $6,399 (£ 5,649, price for Australia not yet available) for 48 terabytes of storage space, going all the way to $13,700 (£ 11,849) for 120TB, it's one of the most, if not the most, expensive consumer-grade storage system on the market. And chances are it's hugely overkill, too. The 12big is gigantic, both in terms of capacity and physical size. You'll also need a recent computer equipped with a TB3 input to take advantage of its performance.

That said, the new storage device only suitable for professionals who does a lot of heavy editing work, like high definition movie editing. And for this target audience, it will do well. If you find yourself in this demographic but need something with less storage space and lower price, the 6big Thunderbolt 3 is also an excellent alternative.


The LaCie 12big Thunderbolt 3 is huge and its drives bays don't have a lock to keep drives from being pulled out by accident.

Josh Miller

Staggeringly huge design

The 12big Thunderbolt 3 is basically a box that allows you to stack twelve standard 3.5-inch internal hard drives (HDDs) on top of one another. That said, it stands some 1.5 feet (about .5 meter) tall. Since it weighs almost 40 lbs (18kg), make sure you don't accidentally topple it on anyone, or anything.

Technically you can use any standard hard SATA HDDs with the system -- I haven't tried -- but it's preloaded with twelve Seagate Enterprise NAS 7200-rpm drives with the capacities ranging from 4TB to 10TB each. The review unit is populated with twelve 8TB drives. According to Seagate, these are high-performance drives designed for 24/7 operation.

On the front, the system has an array of removable front-loading trays, making it very easy to replace a drive. I found it a bit too easy, however, since there's no lock to keep the drives from being pulled out by accident, which can be a problem when the system is being used.

On the back, the system has two TB3 ports and one USB 3.1 USB-C ports and it includes a cable for each port. This means when used with TB3, you can daisy-chance a display or other TB3 storage device. You can also use the system with a computer that's only equipped with USB 3.1 Type-C connector but at much lower speeds. Unfortunately, the system doesn't have a regular Type-A USB port for you to connect or charge a regular USB device, like an iPhone.


The LaCie RAID Manager software is easy to use.

Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

Easy setup, plenty of RAID options

To make the 12big work with a computer, be it a Mac or a Windows computer, you first need to install LaCie Raid Manager. After that you can use the software to manage the device's RAID setup.

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