LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2
Long favoured by design pros who prefer to work on Macs, LaCie knows how to put a good-looking drive together, and the d2 Thunderbolt 2 is no exception. Its aluminium, unibody enclosure is both stylish and tough, and while it isn’t always clear what the huge blue LED on the front is indicating, it does look impressive when it’s flashing rapidly.
LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2: features and design
It isn’t a case of style over substance, however. With a 6TB 7,200rpm drive with a 64MB cache, the d2 Thunderbolt 2 promises a good balance of performance and capacity. It’s also possible to upgrade this slimline drive by inserting an internal SSD, giving you 128GB of high-speed flash storage in addition to the 6TB HDD capacity. This costs an extra £191 exc VAT.
Even the aluminium chassis has its practical side, helping to cool the drive without the obtrusive fan noise exhibited by other external drives. You can hear the d2 Thunderbolt 2 over the ultra-quiet Mac Pro, but it soon fades into the background.
As standard, the d2 Thunderbolt 2 provides two Thunderbolt 2 ports for daisy-chaining purposes and a single USB 3, making it a useful drive both for Mac and Windows users. However, fitting the SSD upgrade takes up the USB 3 port, so it’s only usable if you’re happy working with Thunderbolt 2.
LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2: performance
Performance is good for a single-drive enclosure, with read and write speeds of 206MB/sec and 186MB/sec respectively while transferring 4.4GB of photos. This rises to 216MB/sec and 214MB/sec with larger 4K video files. It’s also speedy when it comes to handling smaller file sizes; worth bearing in mind if you’re more interested in virtualisation and backup than editing video. Across the board, the LaCie is significantly faster than the G-Drive with Thunderbolt, but not quite up there with the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual (full reviews coming up later this week!).
However, the SSD upgrade is a serious ace up its sleeve. With read speeds in excess of 700MB/sec and write speeds of more than 443MB/sec in our simple transfer tests, it can handle any application you throw at it. The QuickMark OS X benchmark puts it at around 379MB/sec read and 329MB/sec write with smaller, sequential transfers, but that rises to 673MB/sec and more than 1GB/sec for larger files. Arguably, this makes the d2 Thunderbolt 2 a superb storage option for audio, video, photography and design professionals. You can keep your current project on the SSD for speed, then archive assets and completed projects to the 6TB HDD.
LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2: verdict
Without the SSD, the LaCie d2 is a strong option for enthusiasts and professionals who don’t need the extreme performance of the big RAID desktop drives, although the price shows that you do pay for the design and build quality. With the SSD, however, it’s a serious contender for cost-conscious buyers, providing the associated speed when you need it most, and plenty of capacity when you don’t. If you want high performance and capacity within one logical drive, then RAID is still the way to go, but if you can find a place for the d2 Thunderbolt 2 in your workflow, it has much to recommend it.
LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2 specifications
|Maximum capacity||6TB + 128GB SSD|
|Cost per gigabyte||6p|
|Interface||2 x Thunderbolt 2, USB 3|
|Size||60 x 217 x 130mm (WDH)|