by Adam Armstrong

LaCie Rugged RAID 4TB Review

The LaCie Rugged RAID 4TB is a portable storage device that, as the name implies, has a capacity of 4TB and can be configured in either RAID0 or RAID1. The device comes with both a Thunderbolt connection (which it is bus powered through) and a USB 3.0 connection (users will have to use the AC adapter with the USB connection). LaCie claims sustained speeds of 240MB/s in RAID0 configuration and using the Thunderbolt connection to transfer files.

With users who need to store, backup, and transfer files in the field in mind, the LaCie Rugged RAID 4TB is built to take a beating as well as transfer files quickly. The device can survive a fall from 1.5 meters (5 feet) and can withstand 1 ton of pressure. Its cap gives it IP 54-rated water and dust protection fro the Thunderbolt and USB interfaces, even while in use. The drive also comes with a spare cap as it is completely detachable and if anything will get lost on this device it would be the cap. The device features password protection and AES 256-bit encryption as well as RAID1 configuration further protecting user data.

The LaCie Rugged RAID comes with a 3-year warranty (that can be extended) and has a price of $449.99.

LaCie Rugged RAID specifications:

  • Capacity: 4TB (2 x 2TB)
  • Interface:
    • Thunderbolt (bus powered)
    • USB 3.0 (USB 2.0 and UAS compatible)
  • RAID modes:
    • RAID0 (preconfigured)
    • Hardware RAID0/RAID1
  • Resistance:
    • Dust & Water: IP 54 rated
    • Shock: drops up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) (in non-operating mode)
    • Pressure: 1 ton (2205 lbs.)
  • Security:
    • Password protected
    • AES 256-bit encryption
  • System requirements:
    • Thunderbolt: Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later
    • USB 3.0: Latest version of Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/Mac OS X 10.6 or later
  • Dimensions: 1.3 x 3.6 x 5.8 in (34 x 91 x 148 mm)
  • Weight: 1.2 lbs. (0.56kg)

Design and build

The LaCie Rugged RAID 4TB looks much like the rest of the Rugged line. It has a brushed aluminum finish on the main body, LaCie branding in the center on top, and has a very firm feel to it. The device has an orange “bumper” cover running along the edges of the device to protect it from impact. Like the other Rugged devices previously reviewed, this one was also designed by international award-winning industrial designer Neil Poulton.

Once the cap is removed, one can see the mini USB port, above the USB port is a light to indicate that the drive is transferring files or being written to, there are two small lights to the right of the USB port to indicate which RAID configuration is being used, a AC adapter port to the right of that, and the Thunderbolt connection is connected to the device and runs along the outside of the bumper tucked into the cover.

Management and performance

The device comes with an application that allows for configuring the drive for use. A well-explained slider lets users configure the storage for performance for Macs, or interoperability for Macs and PCs. Users may also select something in between, creating two volumes on the drive. In our testing we made a single HFS+ partition. There is also a LaCie Desktop manger that enables users to see general information, drive status, and setup email notifications if an issue arises.

The LaCie Rugged RAID 4TB was tested on a current gen MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 2 using the Blackmagic speed test. The format of choice was HFS+. LaCie quotes sequential speeds of 240MB/s in RAID0 with a Thunderbolt connection.

Using the MacBook Pro testing platform, we tested both RAID0 and RAID1 configuration. In RAID0 the LaCie Rugged RAID 4TB posted a 248.9MB/s write speed and a 230.2MB/s read speed in Blackmagic using the Thunderbolt connection. Performance. This is right in line with what the company claims the performance to be.

In RAID1 the LaCie Rugged RAID 4TB posted a 125.1MB/s write speed and a 104.4MB/s read speed. 

For how the LaCie Rugged RAID 4TB compares to other drives, we previously tested a WD My Passport Pro 4TB via Thunderbolt with a Blackmagic test. In this environment, under RAID0 configuration, read speeds measured in at 203.9MB/s, while write activity hit 196.1MB/s for the WD. In RAID1, we measured 103.4MB/s read and 97.9MB/s write.

One slightly creative test we attempted was a crush test. The LaCie Rugged RAID 4TB claims that it can withstand 1 ton of pressure. The example the website gives is that the drive can withstand a stack of heavy suitcases on it without damage, the first real world example of this amount of pressure that comes to mind is the device being run over by a car after accidently being dropped.

We used an SUV with a curb weight of 3,680 lbs. We ran over the drive with one front tire and as you can see and hear in the video, the enclosure is damaged as the tire passes over the device. We were still able to power on the drives once we removed the damaged outer portion. Though the company’s claim is not specific as to whether the drive can withstand 1 ton of pressure and still be fully functional or whether it’s pressure resistance still allows for data to be extracted. We could extract the data from the drive, but the device was no longer fully operational. 

Conclusion

LaCie has designed the Rugged RAID 4TB for the more adventurous consumer who has to save, edit, or transfer their work in the field and can’t spend time worrying about the safety of their hard drive. The device can take some abuse including being dropped a meter and a half, withstand 1 ton of pressure, and with its cap on it is resistant to water and dust, even while in use. The device has an integrated Thunderbolt cable for transfer speeds up to 240MB/s by LaCie’s measurements. And the drive can be configured in either RAID0 for performance or RAID1 for even more data protection.

Looking at performance, the drive does live up to its claimed transfer speeds. In RAID0 it hit write speeds of 248.9MB/s and read speeds of 230.2MB/s. RAID1 configuration gave us write speeds of 125.1MB/s and read speeds of 104.4MB/s, which gave it a better overall perfromance compared to the WD My Passport Pro. Our creative crush test made us a little less enthusiastic as the enclosure of the drive was crushed under less weight than the claimed pressure the device could withstand. However, we were still able to power on the drive afterward. 

Pros

  • Integrated Thunderbolt cable
  • Hits the claimed speeds
  • Dust and water resistant
  • Performs better than similarly configured devices

Cons

  • Loss of USB port when the cap is on
  • Did not do well under our pressure test

The Bottom Line

The LaCie Rugged RAID 4TB offers the speed, file protection, and durability for those that work in the field and need plenty of capacity.

LaCie Rugged RAID at Amazon

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