LACIE MOBILE SSD 500GB REVIEW

We remember our first LaCie external storage device very fondly. It was their d2 Quadra with then cutting-edge FireWire, USB and eSATA connectivity options had a whopping 320GB of storage capacity… and shook the very foundation of what was expected from mere external storage devices with its minimalistic all-metal design that somehow could offer multiple input/output options. Since then, the LaCie Porsche series one again re-defined what could be expected from external storage. This time with grace, elegance, and unique style that few could ever find a flaw with. Since then LaCie may no longer be LaCie and rather a subset of Seagate, but that does not mean they have forgotten their roots. In fact, the all new – and ‘Apple exclusive’- LaCie Mobile SSD series proves that LaCie’s engineers are continuously trying to push the boundaries of what is and what is not possible from external storage.

While this new LaCie series is sold exclusively through Apple stores that is not the same as saying as it is an expensive series. Rather, it simply is not inexpensive. Put simply, with NAND based storage capacities ranging from 500GB ($189.99) to 2TB (at 599.99 USD) this is not the most expensive external flash-based storage series available, nor is it the least expensive. Instead, LaCie is trying to tread a fine line between the two extremes which we colloquially call ‘value’.

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To help boost the overall value the LaCie Mobile SSD series not only offers performance in excess of 540MB/s, offers both Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 (and previous USB specifications) compatibility, comes clad in a drop-dead gorgeous aluminum chassis, but also offers an above average warranty. A warranty that is not only 50percent longer than average (3 years instead of typical 2 years), and comes with free data recovery, but as it is sold through Apple stores… comes with Apples legendary ‘hassle-free’ customer service. To see if all this can overcome the somewhat elevated asking price, we are going to test the 500GB capacity version to see what it has to offer. To help show its performance we will also be comparing and contrasting it against a more typical ‘value’ option: an MX500 500GB M.2 drive in an ASMedia ASM1153e USB enclosure. So, let’s see what makes this new series tick and if LaCie has indeed created another value packed series… or one that is ‘unique’ in its definition of ‘value’.

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540 MB/s means a regular sata iii unit is housed inside. From such a famous name in storage i would have expected a NVME drive, to make full use of that USB 3.1 GEN 2 interface . A bit of a letdown . Let's hope they will offer one soon.
Oh, my bad, they do have one, is called Bolt 3 !
[link text]https://www.lacie.com/ca/en/products/bolt3/#specs(link url) and consists of not one but 2 nvme drives ! That would be a nice one to review !

last edited by MARSTG

I will ask about it. But as I go over in the review... USB 3.1 Gen 2 is severely bandwidth limited. Yet the cost of the parts skyrocket, making the device much, much more expensive.

Edit. The Bolt 3 is a ThunderBolt 3 device... not USB. Its the only real way to get true NVMe performance from external devices.

last edited by GaK_45

Then I guess the only intermediary solution are those new usb-c gen2 to nvme bridges that offer 1 GB/s bandwidth ?
The JMS583 ?
[link text]http://www.thessdreview.com/our-reviews/nvme/jmicron-type-c-nvme-ssd-to-usb-3-1-gen-2-adapter-not-quite-ready-for-prime-time/(link url)

Basically yes. JMS583 or ASMedia ASM2362 based devices are about the only option to break the 'sata barrier' for USB external storage.
Usually the enclosures are running about 50 bucks USD and up (ie about twice the price of a SATA to USB version). Get one with a GOOD heatsink design. Do not get a thin 'stick' style with thin alloy. It will get HOT from the NVMe. Even then expect the NVMe to throttle as it warms up... and use basically andy 2 or 4 lane NVMe M.2 you want. No need to go insanely high priced as you will bottleneck the bus long before you bottleneck the drive.

last edited by GaK_45