LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB)

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LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB)
  • LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB)
  • LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB)
  • LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB)

Pros

  • Three connection options for broader choice, 1TB capacity, near-silent operation, user-friendly software pre-installed on drive

Cons

  • No Ethernet port, fingerprint magnet, it's all a wee bit pretentious

Bottom Line

The LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB) is an enticing piece of hardware; whether you know who Neil Poulton is or not. Artfully sculptured and bursting with memory, it will satisfy every type of user, from PC plebs to computer connoisseurs.

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With its versatile triple interface (USB 2.0, FireWire and e-SATA), avant-garde design and massive 1000GB capacity, the LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB) is one of better external hard drives on the market. Fast, quiet and attractively swish, it should tick every box on the average hipster's wish list.

The LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB) is naturally named after its designer, who is apparently a pretty big deal in the industrial design world. According to his Web site, Neil specialises in creating 'simple, mass-produced objects'; a description that fits the LaCie HDD to a tee. His grand concept for the device seems to involve tipping the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey on its back and adding a blue LED. (Which, to be fair, has been mounted on the underside for a classy ambient effect.)

The glossy black surface is nearly devoid of design trimmings, with the exception of a subtle LaCie logo and the aforementioned blue light. As simple, mass-produced objects go, it's pretty stylish in an understated sort of way, and will certainly feel at home on most desktops. A word of warning though: throughout the testing process, its deluxe 'mirror-polished' finish picked up more fingerprints than the entire run of CSI: Crime Investigation. (They really should have included a Neil Poulson-designed handkerchief or something).

But that's quite enough about poncy aesthetics. Unless you're looking for a sexy doorstop or paperweight, you'll want to know how it actually rates as a storage device. In this regard, the LaCie (1TB) HDD thankfully did not disappoint. With 1TB of on-board memory, the device should be more than sufficiently equipped to handle all your storage needs. Furthermore, LaCie has pre-installed its 1-Click Backup software onto the drive, which makes protecting your data a synch.

Upon connecting the LaCie Hard Disk (1TB) for the first time, a setup wizard is automatically launched to help you format the drive correctly for your system (in addition to Windows-only, you have the option of setting up a dual-partition configuration, which allocates a portion of the drive to Linux/Macintosh systems.) We were particularly impressed by its nearly sound-free operation, with the soft purr of its fan barely registering in our silent office.

Meanwhile, its trio of connection choices makes for a very versatile product; and should ensure that your PC has at least one compatible port. The box includes all the necessary cables, including USB 2.0, e-SATA and a pair of FireWire cables (rather coolly, the LaCie Hard Disk (1TB) comes equipped with two FireWire ports, allowing you to connect the device to both your computer and a camcorder, for instance.) Unfortunately, LaCie has neglected to include an Ethernet port, which means you cannot use it as a network attached storage (NAS) drive.

In terms of speed, the Lacie hard disk reads and writes at a fairly zippy pace. We tested the USB connection by copying 5GB of data to and from the device using a notebook with a 5400rpm drive. When we transferred the files from the hard drive to the desktop, it took 4min 09sec, which works out at just over 20MBps. When we copied the files back onto the hard drive, it took five minutes and 15 seconds (for an average of 16.7MBps). These are fairly solid results which stack up quite well against other external hard drives we've tested.

More often than not, when a manufacturer teams up with an established 'artiste', the resulting product is snobbishly overpriced. Thankfully, this is not the case with the LaCie Hard Disk (1TB), despite its rampant name-checking. Indeed, while $549 might sound a bit pricey, it actually works out at around 50 cents per gigabyte, which compares favourably with other external hard drives on the market. We like to think that Mr. Poulton gallantly waived his pay cheque so that computer geeks could inject some style into their lives. Or maybe he just works for peanuts.

In any event, the LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton (1TB) remains one of the most impressive 1TB drives on the market. If you're looking for a reliable storage and backup solution, LaCie (and Neil) definitely have you covered.

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