LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive

This external hard drive looks stylish thanks to its Philippe Starck enclosure

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LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive (1TB)
  • LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive (1TB)
  • LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive (1TB)
  • LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive (1TB)

Pros

  • Stylish and durable design, good read speeds

Cons

  • No eSATA or FireWire 800, only basic versions of backup applications included, touch-sensitive area is small

Bottom Line

LaCie's Starck Desktop Hard Drive has a striking design. However, it only offers a USB 2.0 connection -- it won't be as fast as drives with eSATA and FireWire 800 connections.

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LaCie's Starck Desktop Hard Drive provides 1TB of storage in a stylish enclosure. It has a faceplate with a touch-sensitive area for launching backup software, and it provides good read speeds for a USB 2.0 external hard drive.

The striking enclosure of this external hard drive is thanks to French designer Philippe Starck, who is renowned for rocket-shaped juicers, among other things. An LED displays the designer's signature cross-shaped logo on the desk in front of the drive.

The Starck Desktop Hard Drive enclosure is made from 3mm-thick aluminium, making the drive extremely durable. A small section of the aluminium, mirrored front fascia is touch sensitive and can initiate one of two actions depending on how long you press it. The touch-sensitive area is indicated by a removable “Touch Here” sticker (the cross-shaped LED also changes from orange to green when the area is pressed). We would have preferred it if the whole fascia was touch-sensitive.

A set-up assistant launches when you first connect the drive to a computer, allowing you to choose a file system that is compatible with Mac OS X or Windows. You can also configure a second, 32GB FAT32 partition that will be compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux PCs. Once configured, the external hard drive offers software and manuals suited to the chosen operating system.

Mac users get the basic version of Intego Backup Assistant, which provides a very simple drag-and-drop interface for backing up and synchronising data. However, you can only synchronise one source at a time, and features like virus scans and the ability to run third-party applications automatically are reserved for the US$39.96 Pro version. Mac users may want to opt for Mac OS X's own Time Machine software instead.

Windows users get a lite version of Genie-Soft's Backup Assistant, which is significantly better than the Mac software. You can easily select multiple sources, folders and whole user profiles to back up to both local and networked locations, and employ AES encryption and file compression. The full version is available for US$35 and allows you to back up data to CDs, FTP servers and to Genie-Soft's cloud storage platform.

We tested the Starck Desktop Hard Drive by transferring files between it and a PC equipped with a 300GB Western Digital Velociraptor hard drive. The first test involved 20GB of 3-4GB files while for the second we used 3GB of 1MB files.

Small File (3GB) Transfer Test Results
Model Price Storage Capacity Read
speed (MBps)
Write
speed (MBps)
Read/write
speed (MBps)
LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive $199 1TB 28.8 17.1 10.5
LaCie Starck Mobile Hard Drive $139 320GB 24.5 17.1 11.1
Promise SmartStor DS4600 $550 3TB 25 25 10.2
Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II $999 4TB 23.4 15 10.7

Large File (20GB) Transfer Test Results
Model Price Storage Capacity Read
speed (MBps)
Write
speed (MBps)
Read/write
speed (MBps)
LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive $199 1TB 30.3 25.7 12.7
LaCie Starck Mobile Hard Drive $139 320GB 27.4 25.9 12.7
Promise SmartStor DS4600 $550 3TB 27.9 26.4 11.7
Maxtor [[Artnid:296805|OneTouch 4 Plus|Review: Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus externsal hard drive $349 750GB 28.58 25.47 N/A
Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II $999 4TB 26.7 25.1 12.7

In both tests, LaCie's Starck Desktop Hard Drive managed higher read speeds than other drives, and it matches the others when it comes to writing data and performing simultaneous read/write operations. For a USB 2.0 external hard drive, these speeds are adequate.

LaCie's Starck Desktop Hard Drive is a great choice for style-conscious consumers, though a drive with an eSATA or FireWire 800 connection would achieve faster transfer speeds. The touch-sensitive application launcher isn't much more than a gimmick, but the hard drive's durable enclosure and neat footprint make it appealing.

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