External Hard Drive Reviews

REVIEW / LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 500 GB

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Last updated: June 17, 2010  
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Vincent Lheur Published on June 17, 2010
Updated on June 17, 2010
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Capacity 500 GB
  • Format
  • Interface
  • Rotation Speed 7200 rpm
  • Cache 16 MB
  • Write Speed NC
LaCie Rugged... the 4th! After the USB, then USB 2.0 and eSATA versions, here's the latest in the Rugged series: the USB 3.0!

Specifications:

This new version retains the advantages and disadvantages of the previous models:
  • Capacity limited to 500 GB, with no other sizes.
  • A reinforced casing to combat knocks, dust and splashing.
  • A nice design though the Rugged hasn't changed at all in design terms since its first version, which dates from USB 1.0!
  • Backwards compatibility with old USB standards.

The cable, specific to each version of the Rugged, only measures 45 cm here. This isn't long enough to connect it easily to a computer under your desk but is easier to put away again when you want to put it in your bag.
The internal drive is a Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 (HTS725050A9A364), which runs at 7200 rpm and has 16 MB of cache, all on an SATA-2 interface.

Performance

Faithful to the Rugged tradition, the USB 3.0 model doesn't disappoint when it comes to speeds. Our tests place it not far behind the eSATA version. The test for large files and for sequential writes even make it one of the fastest drives around currently, rivalling with 3.5-inch format models such as the Verbatim Quad-Interface External Hard Drive.
 

Access times are however mediocre, which isn't a big problem for a drive designed for storage and transport of files:
 

Even though it isn't as tough as with internal drives, the PCMark Vantage index places the Rugged USB 3.0 well. Its score isn't exceptional in comparison to those for SSDs or better HDDs but remains good for an external drive. It could therefore occaisonally do more than simply store files:
 


Transport

The other side of the coin in terms of the Rugged's resistance to water, bangs etc is that it is less easy to transport than smaller USB drives. Volume here is not far off 360 cm3 while small drives are often less than 150 cm3. Obviously without the generous rubber protection of the Rugged USB 3.0. The Rugged also weighs 270g against 180g for the featherweights in the category. All the same 270g is easy to transport but less than most external drives in the 2.5 inch format.
The software
Among the softwware delivered with the drive, LaCie has thrown in the online backup service from Wuala. 10 GB are allocated for every customer for a year. This allows you to both access data wherever you are and give you an off-hardware backup in case your hard drive fails.

PROS

  • Excellent USB 3.0 performance
  • Very nice finish and excellent protection

CONS

  • USB cable too short
  • Currently only exists in 500 GB version. We're awaiting other models impatiently.

CONCLUSION 5/5

The Rugged USB 3.0 should be as successful as the previous series. It's ideal for those who often transport large volumes of files... and whose computer is equipped with the new USB 3.0 interface.
5 LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 500 GB Digitalversus 2010-06-17 00:00:00

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