by Adam Armstrong

LaCie Porsche Design Mobile 2TB & 4TB Review

Announced back in January at CES, the LaCie Porsche Design mobile drives aim to deliver high capacity, in a beautifully small form factor. The mobile drives come in a smaller size (only 10mm thick) for the 1TB or 2TB, with the 4TB coming in twice as thick, 21mm, but still fairly compact. The drives sport the new USB-C interface that the next generation of computers will also have making it future ready. It also comes with an adaptor for older USB connections.

While the device is powered by LaCie’s (Seagate) technology under its sandblast aluminum finish, it is as much as, if not more, about form than it is function. In fact that company makes no performance claims other than stating its next-gen interface. Like most things Porsche and Porsche Design related, the device is beautifully crafted. Currently being sold at the Apple store, the drives would look right at home next to a current generation MacBook. In fact, LaCie makes a gold model that matches the gold 12” MacBook. However, more and more notebooks are being made with aluminum covers and these drives will look just as good sitting next to them.

The LaCie Porsche Design mobile drives are available now at the Apple Store with the 2TB Gold being an Apple store exclusive. The drives begin at $109.95 for the 1TB, $149.95 for the 2TB, and $229.95 for the 4TB. For our review we will be looking at the 2TB Gold model was well as the 4TB model.

LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Specifications

  • Capacity: 1TB, 2TB | 4TB
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 84 × 128 × 10mm (3.3 × 5 × 0.4in.) | 84 × 128 × 21mm (3.3 × 5 x 0.8in.)
  • Weight: 193g/6.8oz. | 315g/11.1oz.
  • Interface: USB 3.1 | USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatible using included USB-C to USB adapter cable
  • Interface transfer: 5 Gb/s (maximum theoretical bus speed)
  • Software:
    • LaCie Backup Assistant (easy way to set up automatic computer backups)
    • LaCie Private-Public (protect data with AES 256-bit encryption)
    • Eco mode (for energy savings)
  • System Requirements:
    • Computer with a USB-C or USB Type-A port
    • Latest version of Mac OS X 10.5 and later / Windows 7 and later
    • Minimum free disk space: 600MB recommended

Design and build

As stated above, these LaCie Porsche Design mobile drives are beautifully crafted. They have an all aluminum enclosure with a sandblast finish. The finish does make it somewhat fingerprint resistant. The top of the device has the Porsche Design branding square in the middle.

The sides of the drives have rounded corners with high-polish beveled edges. There is LaCie branding in one corner and one of the sides has the USB-C interface as well as a light indicating usage.

The bottom contains product information such as serial and model numbers.

Performance

To test the performance of the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile 2TB and 4TB (both of which use SMR technology), we will cover two different areas of analysis: the BlackMagic disk speed test and 2MB sequential and random transfer speeds via IOMeter. For the comparables we will be comparing the drives to the Seagate Ultra Slim 2TB. Something to keep in mind for this comparison is that the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile drives use USB-C and the Seagate Ultra Slim uses USB 3.0.

We tested the drives using a current generation MacBook Pro Blackmagic Disk Speed Test with a 5GB test file. The LaCie 2TB (featured on the left below) drive was the overall top performer with a write speed of 133.4MB/s and a read speed of 132.3MB/s. The 4TB LaCie (featured on the right below) was the slowest performer of the three drives tested with a write speed of 123.2MB/s and a read speed of 115.8MB/s. However the 4TB LaCie was just behind the Seagate Ultra Slim in write, the Seagate had 124.5MB/s or barely over 1MB/s difference and the Seagate had a read speed only slightly higher than the 4TB LaCie at 115.8MB/s.

For the IOMeter we connected the drives to our HP Z620 workstation. We looked at sequential and random transfer speeds with a 2MB test. The placement of the testing reflects that of the results above with the BlackMagic. The 2TB LaCie drive flat out crushed the others in write and was the top performer in read. The 2TB LaCie had a sequential read of 131.93MB/s and a sequential write of 124.38MB/s, compared to the 4TB LaCie’s 117.74MB/s read and 24MB/s write. The Seagate fell in the middle with sequential scores of 124.27MB/s read and 40.85MB/s write. Random scores showed the 2TB LaCie with speeds of 83.49MB/s read and 105.19MB/s write compared to the 4TB LaCie with its 44.42MB/s read and 23.46MB/s write. The Seagate once again fell in the middle of the random tests with 80.17MB/s read and 36.85MB/s write.

2MB Test LaCie Porsche Design 2TB LaCie Porsche Design 4TB Seagate Ultra Slim 2TB
Sequential Write 124.38MB/s 24MB/s 40.85MB/s
Sequential Read 131.93MB/s 117.74MB/s 124.27MB/s
Random Write 105.19MB/s 23.46MB/s 36.85MB/s
Random read 83.49MB/s 44.42MB/s 80.17MB/s

 

Conclusion

LaCie’s new Porsche Design Mobile drives are beautifully crafted and come in a blasted aluminum finishes that looks at home next to Apple MacBooks. The drives come in capacities as low as 1TB and as high as 4TB. The 1TB and 2TB drives are only 10mm thick and the 4TB is only 21mm thick. All of the drives come with the new USB-C interface, again making it an ideal choice for the new Apple 12” MacBook. Though there is an included adapter for older USB interfaces.

LaCie made no performance claims in the initial release of these new drives. After running BlackMagic and IOMeter we found that the drives were no slouches when it came to performance. We compared the drives to the recently released and similarly sized Seagate Ultra Slim. The LaCie 2TB drive was the overall toper performer in all of the tests with scores right around 133MB/s for both read and write in our BlackMagic test and high write scores in our IOMeter test compared to the other drive 124.38MB/s sequential and 105.19MB/s random. The 4TB trailed in last place throughout our testing though only by a hair in our BlackMagic test. In our 2MB IOMeter the 4TB LaCie fell significantly behind the other drives in our sequential write with only 24MB/s and random read with only 44.42MB/s.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • High capacity in slim casing
  • 2TB drive performed very well

Cons

  • 4TB drive gives up some performance in trade for capacity

The Bottom Line

The LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drives are beautifully designed with enough capacity and performance to satisfy most needs.

LaCie Porsche Design Mobile product page

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