August 11th, 2016 by Tucker Mindrum
LaCie Porsche Design USB-C Desktop Drive Review
LaCie’s latest batch of desktop drives combines emerging USB-C technology with their classic Porsche design for up to 8TB of storage. Although it can take advantage of the improved transfer speeds of USB-C, this drive is fully compatible with USB 3.0 (and USB 2.0) through the use of LaCie’s included adapter cable. Thanks to the enhanced wattage of USB-C, compatible laptops can draw power from LaCie’s desktop drive; this feature clearly caters to the new MacBook, which consolidates its data transfers and power supply into one port. LaCie’s customary aluminum finish and minimalistic enclosure design easily pairs the Porsche Design desktop drive with any Mac setup (although it is also compatible with Windows).
Several software programs come with the Porsche Design desktop drives, including LaCie Backup Manager and LaCie Private-Public (which assists in configuring automatic computer backups and facilitates AES 256-bit encryption, respectively), as well as Eco mode. However, installing the included software isn’t always critical; Mac users can just partition their drive as a secondary volume through Apple’s Disk Utility.
LaCie offers their Porsche Design desktop drives in a 4TB, 5TB, and 8TB model ($200, $250, and $320, respectively) and includes a 2-year warranty.
- 4TB (STFE4000100)
- 5TB (STFE5000101)
- 8TB (STFE8000100)
- Interface: USB 3.1 (USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatible using included USB-C to USB adapter)
- Interface Transfer Rate: 5Gb/s (maximum theoretical bus speed)
- LaCie Backup Assistant
- LaCie Private-Public
- Eco mode
- Dimensions (W x D x H): 123mm x 178mm x 39mm (4.8” x 7” x 1.5”)
- Weight: 870g (1.9lb)
- System Requirements
- Computer with a USB-C or USB Type-A port
- Latest version of Mac OS X 10.5 (and later) or Windows 7 (and later)
- Minimum free disk space: 600MB recommended
- Box contents
- LaCie Porsche Design Desktop Drive
- Power supply
- USB-C cable
- USB-C to USB adapter cable
- Quick install guide
- Warranty: 2 years
Design and Build
As with most of their products, LaCie built their new Porsche Design desktop drive to look at home next to a Mac. Overall, the device features a simple design: its aluminum enclosure with rounded corners and beveled edges loosely resembles a rectangular box.
Other than some branding along the top of the enclosure, the desktop drive is unadorned. The two ports (USB 3.1 and power) are oriented along the short side of the drive, arranged side-by-side in a way that is reminiscent of the iPhone’s port layout. There is a single LED light to the left of the USB 3.1 port.
To test the performance of the LaCie Porsche Design 8TB desktop drive, we will cover two different areas of analysis: (1) the BlackMagic disk speed test and (2) the 2MB sequential and random transfer speeds via IOMeter. We will be comparing this desktop drive to Seagate's Innov8 HDD, which also leverages 8TB of storage and USB-C interface. As we pointed out in the Innov8 review, the drive inside is a Seagate Archive Drive, which is SMR and can give two different readings: a “clean” reading and a “dirty” one. The dirty reading would predominately effect write performance. For this review we will only be looking at clean performance as it is more reflective of how the LaCie drive performs.
We tested the drives using a current generation MacBook Blackmagic Disk Speed Test with a 5GB test file. The LaCie drive posted strong numbers in this setting, with 192.5MB/s read and 182MB/s write. The Seagate Innov8 drive exhibited slower read transfer speeds (184.4MB/s) and slightly faster write speeds (191.3MB/s)
For the IOMeter portion of our testing, we connected the drives to our HP Z1 G3 All-In-One Workstation. We looked at sequential and random transfer speeds with a 2MB test, as well as random transfer speeds with a 4k test. The LaCie drive barely outpaced the Innov8 drive in terms of sequential 2MB write transfers (193.12MB/s vs. 192.07MB/s, respectively), and also exhibited a slightly stronger performance in terms of read transfers (194.97MB/s vs. 191.41MB/s, respectively). When switching to random 2MB transfers, the LaCie drive posted 88.15MB/s read and 31.4MB/s write. Innov8 lagged quite a bit in terms of read transfers (30.04MB/s), but was faster than the LaCie drive in terms of write transfers (89.53MB/s). During our last benchmark, in which we tested each drive with random 4k transfers, LaCie's performance held steady with the Innov8 on read (61.38 IOPS read to the Seagate’s 60.81 IOPS read) and fell slightly behind the other drive in writes with 472.29 IOPS, compared to 482.91 IOPS write.
LaCie's USB-C desktop drive offers consumers a compelling set of features, most notably its compatibility with both USB 3.1 and older USB generations (i.e., USB 3.0 and USB 2.0). The Porsche Design series appeals to Mac users, which is evidenced in the aluminum finish and simplistic enclosure. Users with USB-C compatible devices can use LaCie's desktop drive to charge their laptop during use. LaCie also includes an adapter cable with the purchase of their dekstop drive that can be used to extend its compatibility to USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. LaCie's desktop drives also come with software (i.e., LaCie Backup Manager, LaCie Private-Public, and Eco mode) that can help streamline use (although Apple's Disk Utility and Time Machine can serve the same purpose for Mac users).
Overall, the Porsche Design drives exhibited great performance; for the most part, it is faster than Seagate's Innov8, which uses the same USB-C technology. In our Blackmagic disk speed test the drive hit performance numbers of 192.5MB/s read and 182.6MB/s write. In our IOmeter test the LaCie drive was able to show 2MB sequential scores of 193.49MB/s write and 194.97MB/s read. Random 2MB scores were 88.15MB/s read and 31.4MB/s write. Random 4k transfers showed the LaCie pulled even with the Seagte in reads with 61.38 IOPS but fell slighlty behind in writes with 472.29 IOPS to the Seagate's 482.91 IOPS.
- Supplies power to host device (if compatible)
- Sleek design
- Strong overall performance
- No new design innovation for a company that is known for it
The Bottom Line
LaCie's new Porsche Design desktop drives take advantage of USB-C technology, providing users with up to 8TB of storage and fast transfer speeds while also supplying power to compatible host devices.