LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive review: LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive

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MSRP: $109.99

The Good The rubber bumper and the scratch-protected aluminum case keep your LaCie Rugged All-Terrain drive looking good and working hard. It's fast and quiet and comes with backup software.

The Bad LaCie's telephone support line is not toll-free.

The Bottom Line LaCie's Rugged All-Terrain portable hard drive is an all-around winner: it's fast, it's durable, and it boasts multiple connection options. This belongs in your laptop bag.

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8.3 Overall
  • Setup 9
  • Features 9
  • Performance 9
  • Support 6

The LaCie Rugged All-Terrain external hard drive is housed in a very hot-looking, eye-catching, bright-orange rubber bumper that protects the device from shocks. Apart from the colorful bumper and the scratch-protected aluminum shell, the drive boasts a no-frills, straight-to-the-point design. LaCie states the maximum drop height to be 35 inches while in non-operating mode. (It recommends not dropping the drive while it's operating.) We pushed it off a desk (about 30 inches high) a couple of times: it survived the fall and worked just fine, and the rubber bumper prevented the edges from denting, too. There are two versions of the Rugged All-Terrain drive: USB 2.0 only and triple interface, which includes USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and FireWire 800. All of these interfaces are bus powered, meaning you don't need a separate AC adapter for the drive. If your USB bus doesn't provide enough power, you can attach a second USB cable (provided) to the power port on the drive. You'll need two free USB ports to do this. We tested the drive with FireWire only. And the results matched the drive's physical appearance: straightforward and hot.

  • Drive type: Portable hard drive
  • Capacity: USB 2.0 only: 80GB, 120GB (5,400rpm); triple interface: 80GB, 100GB, and 120GB (5,400rpm; 7,200rpm for 100GB version)
  • Capacity of test unit: 100GB (triple interface version)
  • Cache: 8MB
  • Dimension: 3.5 by 1 by 5.7 inches (WxHxD); 8.8 ounces
  • Notable design features: Backup button, rubber bumper, scratch-resistant aluminum case
  • Connection options: FireWire 800 (9-pin) port; FireWire 400 (6-pin) port; mini USB 2.0 port
  • OSs supported: Mac OS 10.x and Mac OS 9.x; Windows 98 SE/Me/2000
  • Software included (on CD): LaCie 1-Click backup software; Silverkeeper backup software (for Macs only); Silverlining
  • Any additional features: Comes with all necessary cables
  • Service/support: One-year warranty; phone support Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT (toll call); Web site support: FAQs, manuals, drivers, online help-request form; hardcopy quick-install guide; LaCie Utilities CD-ROM with user manual.

We were very impressed with the performance of the LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive. It was among the fastest external hard drives we've tested, including products with faster drives and larger caches. Using the FireWire 400 interface, the drive took less than 10.5 minutes to write our 10GB test folder of mixed file types and slightly more than 9 minutes to read back the same folder. In comparison, it wrote the data just a little slower than the LaCie Little Big Disk, which has twice the cache. On the other hand, the Rugged All-Terrain drive is a few seconds faster than the Little Big Disk when reading. The LaCie Rugged All-Terrain drive is the first drive we've tested with the FireWire 800 interface, and and what a speed improvement it is over FireWire 400: 8.6 minutes to write and 7.6 minutes to read our test folder.

We were completely happy with the drive's performance and design. It's very fast, quiet, and rugged.

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