LaCie d2 Quadra Hard Disk 500GB Capacity
Pedestrian but attractive design
Cables provided for all the interfaces
Several backup options
Compatible with PC, Mac and Time Machine
Advanced cooling system has been employed for quiet operation
Plug & play device
Ease of use
Daisy chainable via FireWire
Does not save mail by default
The shortcut driver issue
LaCie computer hardware company specialises in external hard drives, optical drives, RAID arrays, and computer monitors. They have several lines of hard drives that have capacities of up to terabytes and a versatile choice of interfaces like FireWire, Esata, USB2.0 and Ethernet.
The following review is on LaCie’s d2 Quadra 500GB External Hard drive (Product code: 301440EK) which has been designed especially for people who demand high data transfer speeds with a wide range of interface options like eSATA, FireWire800, FireWire400 and USB2.0.
Attractive and Ergonomic design:
LaCie is known for its wild and crazy external hard drive designs, but the d2 Quadra is a bit more pedestrian looking when compared to its funky Lego Brick and Golden disk, yet, has not failed to maintain the stylish designs. Its d2 Quadra has also got a sturdy and attractive aluminium housing which has been a common deign of most of the drives of the d2 series. The drive has the flexibility of being operated either horizontally or vertically, courtesy, its detachable stands. This is mainly because of the similarity in the appearance. This model is basically a redesign of the previous model that had smooth edges and LaCie has added some ridges to the exterior in order to improve the cooling performance of the enclosure. Though this has given the drive a heat sink kind of a look, the manufacturer claims that this new design adds about sixty percent more surface area to it, which in turn aids in cooling of the drive.
Buttons and their functions:
The power switch is available on the rear of the device which has three positions, namely, On, Auto and Off. The device has a front mounted blue LED button which indicates both power and inactivity. This button can also be programmed as an one touch button to launch any application of your choice. This button will prove to be very handy when programmed to be as the one that initiates a backup sequence with the bundled software EMC’s Retrospect Express. But one thing that has to be noted is that, neither this button or the auto setting button functions when the drive is in the eSATA mode.
Compatibility and other capacities available:
Though the d2 Quadra is compatible with both Mac and PC, it looks more at home only when it is placed near a Mac Tower that next to a PC. Since the Mac systems currently do not come with a dedicated eSATA port, you have to purchase a separate eSATA expansion card that is appropriate for your Mac to use that interface. LaCie itself has got a wide range of eSATA expansion cards, put up on their website.
The LaCie d2 Quadra External Hard drive is also available in three other capacities of 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB.
Set-up and installation:
Set up of the LaCie d2 Quadra 500GB External Hard disk drive is quite easy. All that you have got to do is, just attach the device to your system using one of the four available ports. You get the usual sound of a device being detected and then a prompt appears that asks for any disk that had come along with the device, which is not applicable in our case, and so just ignore it and click over the next button. The next window that opens asks you to format the drive before you use it and this will give you an option to format the drive as NTFS in order to work with the Windows PC or to just dedicate a small chunk as an exchange drive, formatted as FAT32. If you choose to make an exchange partition, you will be prompted to determine the partition’s size by moving a smaller slider. The minimum size allowed is 1GB and the maximum size is 32GB. Once the drive is formatted, you will find three utilities listed in the software folder, which we will be discussing in detail one by one shortly.
Interfaces and features:
LaCie has included all of the interfaces that you would expect in an external hard drive. It has got the four ports, namely, the eSATA, FireWire800, FireWire400 and USB2.0. Hence is the derivation of its name “Quadra”, that indicates its quadruple interface. Not only does it offer all these interfaces, the better news is that it provides cables for all these interfaces. This is in contrast to the Western Digital MyBook drive that included an eSATA port in the drive but not the cable in the box. As we had mentioned earlier, the power button of the LaCie d2 Quadra has got three settings. When it is in the Auto setting mode, the drive spins down when it is not in use and hence saves the power. The other two settings are to manually switch on and off the drives, and the back panel is still spacious enough to feature a full size USB connector making, connectivity of the drive extremely easy. The drive has also got an antitheft security port.
Feature wise, the Lacie d2 quadra 500GB Portable Hard Drive offers several backup options and also an option to format a portion of the drive as a FAT32 volume in order to work with the files from Mac OS and Linux. This is a very cool feature as you would not find it with the other manufacturers.
The software bundle that comes with the Lacie d2 Quadra includes three utilities that comprises its backup solution. The first utility is nothing but a simple explanation on what happens when the giant blue button on front of the drive is pressed, called the Silverkeeper 1.1.4. This can be used to either launch a backup routine or open a program or you can even just disable it.
LaCie 1-Click Backup:
First of the two backup programs is a LaCie utility, called LaCie 1-Click Backup 1.2.1, which is very simple and straightforward. All that you need to do is, just mention the files that needs to be backed up and the place where they must be kept. The catch in this feature is that, it has to be launched manually and there is no means by which you can actually schedule a backup. That is the reason for its name “1-click” too as the utility has to be manually triggered either by clicking on the desktop icon or clicking on the CTRL+S from the desktop. Most of the users will personally tend to use this utility as it is extremely easy to use and configure.
EMC Retrospect Express:
The EMC Retrospect Express 6.1 HD is included for scheduled backups. The reason for its name to be Retrospect is that, it allows you to retrieve the files from the saved checkpoints similar to the Windows System Restore. For instance, you will be able to restore a copy of the file that you had saved from last month or week etc. Here, you get to choose the backups to be direct copies of the files or just of an image file format that requires Retrospect in order to restore the files. Whenever the software makes a backup, it puts the files in either a new folder and just numbers them, and from then on, you will be able to restore them from specific files if required. This software works fine, but the only issue we have is that, in case you configure your backup routine and set it to be backed up by the file type, the pre-selected file types do not include mail files. There exists an option to save all other files not included in the categories, but since the program lists the files like music, movies, pictures etc, it would be more handy to include the mail option in the list.
Problem with the shortcut button installation:
When trying to install the shortcut button, you might encounter some problem. You can possibly get it working by going to the device manager and asking your Vista to download a driver for it. But according to the manufacturer LaCie, the problem has to occur only in XP but not in Vista, it is said that the company is looking into resolving this issue for the Vista users. Once the button starts working, you get to customize the button by launching a program of your choice, disable it or even run the pre-selected Retrospect backup routine.
The USB2.0 interface offers the slowest performance with a data transfer rate of 35MBps, the next slowest is FireWire 400 with a rate of 40MBps. FireWire 800 is nominal with 75MBps and eSATA interface gives the fastest rate with 90MBps, which is thrice the speed that you would get by using USB2.0.
Very quiet operation:
LaCie d2 Quadra 500GB external hard drive has got an impressively quite operation. It does not let out any kind of noise either from the integrated fan or the hard drive mechanism.
As in the case of most of the backup drives of these days, all that is included in the package is the power brick, cables and the drive. No software CDs are included as they are all in the drive itself. The bundled AC adaptor weighs 13.4 ounces which makes it a bit heavier than the ones of some of the other latest external hard drives.
LaCie backs its LaCie d2 Quadra with a limited three years warranty.
The LaCie d2 Quadra 301440EK external hard drive is undoubtedly an outstanding choice as it has got a very attractive styling, a superior software bundle, features and performance. It is a fully featured back-up drive. Though it works out be quite expensive for a 500GB hard drive, the d2 Quadra is a very comprehensive backup solution which has got a lot of compelling features. We have no hesitation in recommending this portable hard drive if you are looking to step up your storage by half a terabyte.
LaCie d2 Quadra External Hard Drive 500GB – Technical Specifications, Features
|Model Name||LaCie d2 Quadra 500GB Hard Disk|
|Hard drive type||Portable|
|Dimensions (H X W X D)||44 x 160 x 173 mm|
|Other capacities available||1TB, 1.5TB, 2TB|
|Interfaces||1 x eSATA 3Gbits port
2 x FireWire 800 ports (9-pin)
1 x FireWire 400 port (6-pin)
1 x Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port (USB 1.1-compatible)
|Spindle speed||7200 rpm|
|Cache||16MB or greater|
|Interface Transfer Rate||eSATA: up to 3Gbits/s (300MB/s)
FireWire 800: up to 800Mbits/s (100MB/s)
FireWire 400: up to 400Mbits/s (50MB/s)
Hi-Speed USB 2.0: up to 480Mbits/s (60MB/s)
|Burst Transfer Rate||eSATA: up to 105-115MB/s
FireWire 800: up to 75-85MB/s
FireWire 400: up to 35-40MB/s
Hi-Speed USB 2.0: up to 30-35MB/s
|Seek Time||10 ms (average)|
|Shortcut Button||Launch any application with one push|
|Triple Power Management||“Auto” for energy efficiency
“On” for instant access
“Off” for data protection
|System Requirements||Computer with an eSATA, FireWire 800, FireWire 400 or USB 2.0 port,
compatible OS, Minimum 128MB RAM (512MB or greater recommended)
|Compatible Operating Systems||Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista™ /
Mac OS 10.2.8 (Mac OS 10.3 for eSATA) or later
|Included Accessories||Vertical stand|
|Cables Included||1 x IEEE 1394 cable – FireWire 400 (6-to-6 pin), 1 x USB cable,
1 x eSATA cable, 1 x IEEE 1394b cable – FireWire 800 (9-to-9 pin)
|Software bundle||SilverKeeper, Drivers & Utilities, Lacie Backup Software,
EMC Retrospect Express, Genie Backup Assistant
software with data restore for Windows 2000, XP, Vista;
Intego Backup Assistant software with data restore for Mac OS X 10.4
|External Hard Drive Power Source||Included AC adapter|
|Warranty||3 Year Limited Warranty|