LaCie Rugged Triple Interface HDD

Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 2 out of 5
Yeah, but: Just one word: Plastics.

The Long Version: LaCie is an established maker of hard drives, computer displays, and accessories. Their displays are noted for being hard-core high-end devices, and their accessories are stylish with frequently good industrial design. You would think that their storage division would get the best of both worlds, and produce hard-core drives with good industrial design - and sometimes you'd be right. Unfortunately, the Rugged drive really isn't all that impressive.

Designed by someone who quotes the wikipedia entry about himself for his bio page, the Rugged drive does look very impressive from afar. Rubber bumpers and a silvery case looks very resilient, and its 2.5" (laptop-sized) drive makes it portable despite its padding. But the silvery case is plastic, not heat-dissipating metal, and I've seen one of these drives with its case bowed inward from heat.

I have no doubt that LaCie knows a whole lot more than I do about laptop hard drives and heat management, so I'm not worried about the construction from a long-term reliability standpoint. A metal casing might be prone to bending if it does get dropped, while plastic can be more resilient. But considering the robustness of the other LaCie drives that I've seen, and its compact metal-bodied competitor from G-Tech, it's a disappointment just the same.

(As an aside, the sticker says that the warranty is "Void if Broken". I'm sure they mean it's void if the sticker is broken, not the drive....)

This Rugged drive is the "Triple Interface", which means USB, Firewire 400, and Firewire 800. Firewire is the fastest, but since it's designed to be a portable drive, it's nice to be able to connect with a printer cable if I need to. It draws power from the computer, so there's no A/C supply needed, which is another major advantage for portability. For laptop users this is perfect, and it's a great way to shuttle files between multiple computers. But for people with a single desktop computer that does most of the work, there are other (better/cheaper) options out there. For mobile users, there are also other (better/pricier) options as well.

By my own criteria, I'm not someone who should be using one of these drives, but I bought two of them. They're my "In Case of Fire" backup disks, so it's important to me that it's easy to grab in a hurry, I can fumble it on the way out the door, and then plug it in anywhere. A second Rugged drive lives somewhere safe off-site, and I switch them every month. These do the job even if they don't leave me inspired, and I suppose that's enough.


  1. hey, do you think it's easy to open the box in order to swap out the pre installed hdd for an independently-bought one?


  2. I don't see why not, but I can't confirm that for a year or two. There's a band of something tape-like, sealed with the Void If Removed stickers, that conceals how the enclosure is sealed. They could be using something antisocial like Torx or pinned-head screws, but it's probably simple and easy.

    Once I outgrow the 500gb drives in mine, there should be bigger drives on the market that I'll put into the cases. But if I was looking for a case, there are better options out there.

  3. thanks for that info very much!

    another question: do you have the 5400 or 7200rpm drive inside of your case? either way: would you be so kind to run an aja-kona drive benchmark with a 1gig file through your drive? It'd be greatly appreciated since I really don't know if the 50€ difference in price is worth the upgrade to the 7200k drive or if the 5400k drive already maxes out the firewire 800 (!) interface.


  4. I have to admit that I have no idea what that test is, so if you can point me to a site or resource, I'll check it out. For what it's worth, I'm using the 5400 rpm on a FW400 connection. I've been moving files to my Rugged as well as a Drobo, which is on the FW800 port, and there hasn't been a speed difference blindingly obvious enough for me to notice it. Once I have some of the detritus cleared off of my internal drive, I'll do some tests across all of my various HDDs for a comparison.


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