LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Disk 500GB

Keeping your precious puppy photos safe while climbing Mount Everest

LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Disk 500GB
  • LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Disk 500GB
  • LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Disk 500GB
  • LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Disk 500GB
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Rugged case design, fast read/write times, bus-powered, triple interface

Cons

  • Little accompanying software, only 'rugged' while turned off

Bottom Line

The LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive isn’t built to withstand a nuclear holocaust, but it provides better protection than standard portable hard drives. We were impressed with the read/write times and the fact that it can provide 500GB of hard drive space powered by USB.

Would you buy this?

LaCie's Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive has the protection it needs to be able to function over a long period of time in rough-and-tumble situations. It won't withstand World War III, but it will be able to deflect hits and bumps during everyday travel.

The LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive isn't new — we reviewed the 80GB version back in 2006. Since then not much has changed physically, but LaCie has bumped the drive's capacity to 500GB. The drive still retains its small case, which contains a 2.5in drive. Amazingly, LaCie has managed to keep the drive bus-powered, making it one of the first 500GB portable hard drives on the market that only requires USB for power. It also manages to pack in FireWire 400, FireWire 800 and a secondary USB port for supplementary power.

The drive is protected by anti-shock rubber bumpers, and encased in aluminium. A replaceable shock-resistant rubber sleeve fits over the case. Although the drive's interface ports are slightly recessed, there's no other form of protection for them, leaving them at the mercy of the elements. Given that it would require only slightly more rubber to protect the ports, we're puzzled as to why LaCie didn't address this.

The drive is rated to withstand a 90cm drop when turned off. Its tight case design is scratch-proof, and the extra protection it provides helps ensure drive durability (it probably won't survive a mortar shell, however).

Given the case's design, the unit is slightly larger than the standard 2.5in portable hard drive. It definitely won't fit into a pocket like Western Digital's My Passport Elite 320GB, but it remains small enough to be packed snugly in your baggage.

The unit is accompanied by a basic one-click backup application, as well as a trial for MacDrive, which allows Windows to read OS X–based file systems such as HFS and HFS+. Other drives provide better value in terms of software, but we're glad LaCie didn't bloat the drive.

The biggest surprise with this drive, apart from its capacity, is its speed, particularly given that it only spins at 5400rpm. While transferring a 5GB file from the drive to a 7200rpm laptop drive over USB 2.0, write speeds averaged 21.19MBps; read speeds were even faster at 26.88MBps. It performed even better over FireWire 800, averaging read and write speeds of 41.7MBps and 43.5MBps, respectively. For a portable hard drive spinning at 5400rpm, these speeds are remarkable.

LaCie's Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive probably won't suit all terrains. However, it provides fast transfer speeds, great storage capacity in a small package, and enough protection to withstand the rigours of everyday travel.

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