LaCie upgrades Rugged Thunderbolt with faster speeds, larger capacities, better design

LaCie announced its latest Rugged Thunderbolt portable drive, with faster speeds, and an innovation chassis design. The drive now comes with a built-in Thunderbolt cable, and can withstand hash environment even during operation.

Dong Ngo
Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
2 min read

The new LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt drive is now available as a 500GB solid-state drive. Dong Ngo/CNET

If you like the current Rugged Thunderbolt drive from LaCie, you'll love what the storage vendor announced today: the all-new version of the same drive.

The new Rugged Thunderbolt drive share the same dual-protection layers as its older brother but now comes with a new design, faster performance, and larger capacities.

New and innovative design

Similar to the previous model, the new Rugged Thunderbolt comes with a removable bright-orange rubber protective case that protects the edges to keep the drive safe from shocks and drops. This case now has a water-tight cover that seals the ports of the drive to keep water out there, too. When the rubber case is removed, it reveals the rugged drive on the inside, with its all-aluminum casing.

Compared to the older version (at left), the new drive has an improved design. Dong Ngo/CNET

Unlike the older model which allows you to easily remove the entire rubber casing, the new Rugged Thunderbolt makes it a little more difficult. This is due to the built-in Thunderbolt cable that's hidden in a channel that runs around the side of the rubber casing, which makes the casing more of an integral part of the drive.

LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt specs

Drive type Bus-powered portable drive
Connector options Thunderbolt, USB 3.0
Available capacities and U.S pricing 250GB SSD ($300), 500GB SSD ($500), 1TB HDD ($220), 2TB HDD ($300)
Product dimensions 3.4 x 5.3 x 0.75 inch
Special features Shock, dust, and water resistant
OSes supported Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, Windows 7 or later

The built-in cable means you won't need to carry an extra Thunderbolt cable anymore. Once the cable is extended, it allows the drive to run with the water-tight cover in place, protecting the drive even while it's operating.

All-terrain data protection

LaCie says the new Rugged Thunderbolt drive is now even tougher than the previous model.

It is MIL-compliant, meaning it can protect data against accidental drops of up to 6.6 feet (2 meters). With the rubber cover on, the drive provides IP 54-level protection against dust and water. It's also rated to survive being run over by a car.

On top of that, the drive ships with LaCie Private Public software, which protects the data against loss or theft with with AES 256-bit encryption.

The new drive has a built-in, well-hidden Thunderbolt cable as well as a USB 3.0 cable. Dong Ngo/CNET

Faster performance and larger capacities

The new Rugged Thunderbolt drive will be available in both SSD-based and HDD-based storage. The SSD-based version now uses a much faster internal SSD and promises speeds of up to 387MBps when used with Thunderbolt. That's more than double the speed of the old model. LaCie says the HDD version will also offers speeds up to 122MBps.

The new drive is now available in capacities as large as 500GB for SSD or 2TB for HDD; again, doubling those of the previous model.

LaCie's new Rugged Thunderbolt portable drive (pictures)

See all photos

LaCie says the HDD-based version of the Rugged Thunderbolt will be available in mid-June, while the SSD-based version will be available in early July. All of them come with a three-year warranty. Check back soon for our full review.

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