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LaCie Thunderbolt Little Big Disk SSD review: You pay for what you get, maybe

CNET editor Dong Ngo gives an in-depth review of LaCie's latest Thunderbolt-based external drive, the Little Big Disk SSD.

The Little Big Disk SSD Thunderbolt external drive from LaCie
The Little Big Disk SSD Thunderbolt external drive from LaCie Dong Ngo/CNET

Since Intel's Apple-only Thunderbolt standard offers up to 10Gbps of bandwidth, it doesn't seem to make sense to use it in a single-volume external storage device. This is because the device's internal drive, which would currently cap at the 6Gbps of the latest SATA 3 standard, will be the bottleneck of the whole package's performance.

LaCie, however, believes otherwise. Case in point: the Little Big Disk SSD, the first single-volume Thunderbolt storage device that's also based on an internal solid-state drive. And for the most part, it's a success.

The new external drive is a compact yet good-looking external storage product. Compared with the other current Thunderbolt storage option, the gigantic Promise Pegasus R6, the LaCie is tiny. If the Pegasus R6 offers a ton of storage space via its multiple hard drives, the Little Big Disk's internal SSD has just 240GB. Despite these differences, the two Thunderbolt drive share a few major similarities.

First is performance: the LaCie is by far the fastest single-volume external drive I've seen, with speed faster even than some SSDs, though not quite close to the 10Gbps (about 1.2GBps) of the Thunderbolt standard. This is mostly because, as mentioned above, the internal SSD is the bottleneck.

Secondly, the LaCie also doesn't have built-in support for any other peripheral connection, like USB, FireWire, or eSATA. This means unless you have one of the Thunderbolt-enabled Macs, such as the new MacBook Pro, Air, or iMac, you'll be out of luck.

And maybe being out of luck isn't so bad if you know how much the LaCie costs. While not as expensive as the Pegasus R6, the Little Big Disk SSD has a price tag of around $900, a huge amount for just 240GB of storage space.

To find out why the new drive might still make a decent investment, however, check out CNET's full review of the LaCie Little Big Disk SSD. You'll have until the end of the month, when the drive's slated to be available for purchase, to make up your mind.