LaCie d2

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LaCie d2
  • LaCie d2
  • LaCie d2
  • LaCie d2

Pros

  • Writes to Blu-ray, DVD and CD formats, external

Cons

  • Exorbitant price, Blu-ray discs are expensive; filling up a Blu-ray disc can take a while, even at 2x

Bottom Line

If you're already shooting high definition video and want a relatively easy solution with which to create Blu-ray discs for personal or business use, then the d2 can be considered. For the rest of us, it's a very expensive drive and backing up data to Blu-ray discs still takes a long time and plenty of cash.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 1 store)

LaCie's external Blu-ray writer can connect to a PC or notebook via USB 2.0 or FireWire. It's a solidly-built device that sports LaCie's usual hard aluminium casing and it's a big unit so it's a bit of a desk-space hog. But, the upside is you won't have to go under the hood of your PC to add a Blu-ray player and writer.

We used Verbatim Blu-ray media (BD-R) to test the drive on a Windows Vista-based PC via USB 2.0. The Verbatim media we used is rated at 2x, and that's also the fastest rate at which the d2 can read and write. The BD-R discs we used have a 25GB capacity and can be purchased in packs of five for $170 and $200, respectively, so they're still very pricey. The drive can also support 50GB discs.

Burning data to Blu-ray discs takes a long time. The maximum amount of data that can be burnt to a 25GB disc is 22.6GB, which this took one hour and 40min to complete in our tests using the supplied Roxio Easy Creator 8.2 XE software. This translates to an average transfer rate of 30.08Mbps (well within the 480Mbps throughput that USB 2.0 offers). The written data discs will be readable in all PC Blu-ray drives, but it will also take more than an hour and a half to copy a whole disc back to the hard drive, if you ever need to restore data from a backup, for example.

You can burn Blu-ray video discs using the Roxio application and view them in the supplied PowerDVD 7.2 application, and PowerDVD 7.2 can also be used to play back commercial Blu-ray discs. However, you must ensure that your system is HDCP-ready. That means you need a graphics card and a monitor that both have support for HDCP. (LaCie recommends at least an NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT or an ATI X1600-series graphics card.) Without HDCP, you won't be able to view Blu-ray movies.

Mechanically, the drive doesn't spin too fast to achieve its maximum transfer rate for Blu-ray, so it's a very quiet operator and the enclosure barely gets warm. It does spin faster when it burns to CDs and DVDs, but even then, because the maximum speeds for these types of discs aren't super-fast, the amount of noise it makes is minimal. The drive will take about 9min to burn over 4GB of data to a DVD, which is about 3min slower than today's fastest dedicated DVD burners, and it will read back 4GB of data in just over 9min, too. It has a maximum read and write speed of 8x for single layer DVDs and a write speed of 4x for DVD+R DL discs (8x read). Its CD write speed is 24x, which means that you'll still be able to write over 600MB of data to CD in around 6min.

LaCie ships the drive with all the cables and software that are required to get it up and running (Mac software is included, too), and we had no problems burning and reading discs under Windows Vista.

If you're already shooting high definition video and want a relatively easy solution with which to create Blu-ray discs for personal or business use, then the d2 can be considered. For the rest of us, it's a very expensive drive and backing up data to Blu-ray discs still takes a long time and plenty of cash.

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