by Tucker Mindrum

LaCie 2big Thunderbolt 2 Review

The LaCie 2big Thunderbolt 2 is a recently released desktop storage solution catered to media enthusiasts and professionals. It comes in capacities of 6, 8, and 12TB, and could provide up to 60TB of storage if five 2bigs are daisy-chained together. The 2big was designed to be compatible with both Macs and PCs, providing Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 connectivity (the former of which results in an impressive 420MB/s reported read when equipped with 12TB and configured in RAID0) and compatibility with Time Machine or Windows Backup if professional-grade backup solutions are desired. This device would be best implemented in the storage of large audio, photo, or video libraries, especially where frequent transfers are needed.

The LaCie 2big’s offers a range of RAID modes to suit the needs of different use cases; RAID0 (Fast) should be selected if speed is the primary concern, or RAID1 (Safe) which offers redundancy and data protection in case one disk fails. The system can be configured as a JBOD as well if the user wants to use the two disks separately. It also features a power saving mode that would be perfect for large overnight transfers. 

Thermoregulation is a big concern with any compact storage device, but LaCie equipped the 2big with a large rear exhaust area, pulling air back through an unobstructed interior path to keep the system as cool as possible. Its unique cable lock prevents accidental disconnections and rubber feet help protect against vibration and noisy operation. In addition, 2big is also compatible with Kensington locks to prevent theft and unauthorized access locks and includes AES 256-bit encryption software to further increase the security of the device.

The 6TB, 8TB, and 12TB models run for $599, $799, and $999, respectively, and carry a 3-year warranty.

Specifications

  • Capacities:
    • 6TB (9000437U)
    • 8TB (9000438U)
    • 12TB (9000473U)
  • Performance Read/Write (MB/s):
    • 6TB/8TB RAID 0: 360 | 360
    • 6TB/8TB RAID 1: 170 | 180
    • 12TB RAID 0: 420 | 320
    • 12TB RAID 1: 205 | 200
  • Internal Storage Media : 2 x hot-swappable 7200RPM/64MB cache (or greater) hard disks
  • Connections:
    • One USB 3.0 port, up to 5Gb/s and universal connectivity
    • Two Thunderbolt 2 technology ports, up to 20Gb/s bi-directional per port
  • Daisy chain Thunderbolt 2 and first generation Thunderbolt devices (up to seven, including the computer)
  • RAIDs:
    • Preconfigured HFS+ RAID 0
    • Hardware RAID 0 (FAST) / 1 (SAFE) / JBOD
    • Easy RAID selection button
  • Dual cooling system
  • OS supported: Windows 7, 8, Vista, XP; Mac OS 10.8.5 or later
  • Security :     
    • AES 256-bit software encryption
    • Kensington lock compatible
    • Integrated cable lock
  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 109mm x 217mm x 130mm
  • Weight: 3kg
  • Acoustic :     
    • Idle mode: 25dB
    • Operating mode: 26dB
    • Operating max: 28dB^
  • Warranty: 3 years

Design and Build

The 2big is a futuristic-looking rectangular box with a silver finish. Drives are accessed through the front of the device by sliding open the front bays. Also in the front of the device is the large blue power button. There is no branding on the device except for a small "LaCie" on the back below the vents, giving it a clean and sleek look. The bottom has two black rubber grips that keep the device in place.

The back of the 2big has a large vented area covering the fan as well as a latch that opens to reveal the USB 3.0, two Thunderbolt 2, and power outputs. Since the inputs are so deeply recessed into the console it is somewhat difficult to plug in, depending on finger size and dexterity. There is also an interface behind the latch that allows the user to configure the 2big as "FAST" (RAID0), "SAFE" (RAID1) or as a JBOD. The unit ships in Fast mode by default.

Like other LaCie product before it, the 2big Thunderbolt 2 is extremely well-built and looks great. The Neil Poulton design again shows LaCie's leadership in build and design for the creative space. 

Usability and Performance

The LaCie 2big Thunderbolt 2 ships in RAID0 by default. Changing modes between the RAID0, RAID1, and JBOD configurations is a bit cumbersome. This is so that users don't accidentally change between configurations which deletes all data of course. LaCie says it best, "It’s incredibly easy to change the RAID mode, but impossible to do so accidently." The machinations aren't what we'd call incredibly easy, some other desktop storage solutions we have seen that have a simple physical switch to manipulate RAID mode, but it is impossible to do by accident. The likelihood of switching RAID modes very often is low however, so this goes down as just a minor annoyance in the event you need to do it more than once.

We measured transfer speeds from the LaCie 2big drive connected to a current generation MacBook Pro that supports Thunderbolt 2 using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test with a 5GB test file.

The 2big Thunderbolt 2 had read and write speeds of 412.7MB/s and 353.3MB/s, respectively, in RAID0, 202.3MB/s and 199.4MB/s, respectively, in RAID1, and 217.6MB/s and 219.8MB/s, respectively, in JBOD (single disk). Considering the capacity and capabilities of the 2big, these numbers are very impressive.

Just as a fun comparison to show the scope of the LaCie line, the LaCie Little Big Disk, achieved read and write speeds of 1147.7MB/s and 1092.0MB/s, respectively, in RAID0, and 1123.4MB/s and 586.3MB/s, respectively, in RAID1. Needless to say, this easily outpaces the 2big, but the Little Big Disk only provides 1TB of storage (1/12th that of the 2big). LaCie also offers the LaCie 5big Thunderbolt 2 and LaCie 8big Thunderbolt 2 for those who need more capacity than what the 2big offers. 

Conclusion

The LaCie 2big Thunderbolt 2 is a direct attached desktop storage solution allows users to store up to 12TB of storage if one device is used, or 60TB of storage if five 2bigs are daisy chained and configured in either RAID0 or JBOD. It features modern connectivity (Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0) and can be used with industry standard consumer backup solutions (Time Machine or Windows Backup). As per usual with all LaCie external storage devices, the 2big has a sleek exterior design that perfectly matches the finish of a MacBook; it was definitely designed with creative professionals in mind. LaCie also designed the 2big with a large rear exhaust area, which easily pulls air back through an unobstructed interior path in order to keep the system as cool as possible. We also found that its unique cable lock and rubber feet worked fairly well, the former which helps to prevent accidental disconnections and the latter protecting against vibration and noisy operation. All-in-all, the LaCie 2big Thunderbolt 2 is a very solid device.

LaCie's new 2big Thunderbolt 2 not only looks good, it also posted some impressive numbers for its class during our benchmarks. In our Mac-centric 5GB file transfer test, the 2big boasted read and write speeds of 412.7MB/s and 353.3MB/s, respectively while in RAID0, it hit speeds of 202.3MB/s and 199.4MB/s, in RAID1. The performance numbers of 2big Thunderbolt 2 are actually pretty impressive, making it a perfect fit for the home or in the office for the enthusiast or creative professional. 

Pros

  • Very fast throughput
  • Excellent design and build quality
  • Large capacity options

Cons

  • Cumbersome to change between RAID types
  • Ports may be difficult to access for some

The Bottom Line

The LaCie 2big is perfect for media enthusiasts or professionals that want to store large media libraries while still being able to transfer files very quickly.

LaCie 2big Thunderbolt 2 at Amazon

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