LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt

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The fastest and hardest external hard drive

If you need a hardest and fastest mobile storage, the LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt is an external hard drive for you. SSD is made for the Mac, but it's powerful enough for the PC, especially Thunderbolt is available on Windows system currently. Overall, the SSD is slightly more expensive because the price is based on the number of gigabyte, and LaCie drive is not an exception, but it compensates with speed and flexibility enough to win for it the Editors' Choice for a hard mobile drive. If you need a mobile storage and you have one Windows PC or Mac equipped with Thunderbolt, this drive should be in your pocket.

LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt

LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt

Design and features

Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt is similar in size and design with LaCie Mini Ruged that we reviewed; both metal and plastic shells are wrapped in an orange rubber mattress (bumper). Latest Rugged Mini has rotating 500GB hard drive, while the Thunderbolt drive contains 120GB SSD. This makes it equal to the ioSafe Rugged Portable SSD drive, which won Editors' Choice.

Both metal and plastic shells are wrapped in an orange rubber mattress.

Both metal and plastic shells are wrapped in an orange rubber mattress.

LaCie reviewed that the drive can survive after a fall from the height of 4 feet, but since this SSD has no moving parts, we are sure that it can be dropped safely from higher. The drive also works well even in a collision or high vibration environment such as behind an off-road vehicle running on dirt, lumpy road. The drive comes with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt; with a length of about two feet, they are shorter than a 6-feet cable that Apple sells, but they are more convenient for people who travel for work or go to work by train.

The drive is ready for a Time Machine backup after a quick session with a LaCie setting program. You can choose to format the drive for Mac, PC, or both; the software keeps a copy of itself on the hard disk so that you can split the drive again in the future. You are prompted to install several optional utilities such as Intego Backup Assistant (a basic time backup program), LaCie Private Public (256bit AES encryption program), instruction document of the drive (in PDF file), and cloud Wuala storage (you have 10GB free for a year, and you can upgrade to add more at any time).


Rugged USB3.0 Thunderbolt is one of the fastest single mechanism drive we've ever tested. It reached 4,344 points in the PCMark 7 repository test, higher than 3,946 points of ioSafe Rugged Portable SSD. (We checked the two drives by using USB 3.0). When we compare the two, the our current Editors' Choice is for rotating hard drive, Seagate Backup Plus reached 1,449 points in the same test.

Mac tests have strengthened the speed advantage of LaCie. It only takes 17 seconds to complete our test of drag and drop 1.2GB when using Thunderbolt and 20 seconds via USB3.0. Let's compare this with a 1TB Western Digital My Passport Studio, which took 19 seconds when using FireWire 800 and 40 seconds with USB 2.0. (My Passport Studio that we examined does not support USB 3.0).

The LaCie drive really shines with the flux. It reaches 432MBps reading speed and 192MBps writing speed via USB 3.0 in the AJA system test, which evaluates the drive performance in video operations. LaCie reaches similar scores when using Thunderbolt (379MBps reading and 200Mbps writing), proving that the SSD is the speed monster.

Nearly smallest rival of LaCie Rugged is Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt Portable HDD (HD-PA1.0TU3), which uses the 1TB hard drive and thus rather slow to read (110MBps reading and 96MBps writing).

So, which portable drive is best for you? LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt is fast and mobile drive that is much cheaper than Thunderbolt drive we've ever seen before. Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt beats the LaCie Rugged about the cost, it reaches 24 cents per gigabyte compared to $1.67 per gigabyte of LaCie, but Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt is not as fast as LaCie. Closest rival in terms of capability, capacity, and price is the former Editors' Choice of rugged portable hard drives, ioSage Rugged Portable SSD. IoSafe is definitely still the choice for users who need to use the drive in an extreme environment, such as traveling or hunting or expedition to the Yukon. For those who go to work by train, those who do not gentle with their equipment, LaCie is faster, cheaper and more worthy for our Editors' Choice for rugged portable hard drive.


·         Price: $299.99

·         Ratings: 4.5/5



·         Incredibly fast

·         Equipped with a Thunderbolt interface, USB 3.0

·         All necessary cables are included.

·         Extremely resilient against single drop and vibration



·         Expensive

·         The price is based on each gigabyte per dollar.


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