LaCie announces USB 3.0 drive

December 18, 2009 | 10:23

Tags: #external-storage #raid #raid-0 #raid-1 #usb-30

Companies: #lacie

Storage specialist LaCie has announced a new USB 3.0 external hard drive which uses two physical disks in RAID to take better advantage of the transfer rates available on the new bus standard.

As reported over on Electronista, the device - which is a collaboration with Symwave - will initially be available as a dual-1TB storage system which offers the option of RAID 0 for 2TB of total storage or RAID 1 for high availability in the event of the failure of a single mechanical drive.

In either mode, read performance is boosted by being spread across two physical disks, and thanks to the high bandwidth available on the USB 3.0 connection the company promises burst read speeds of up to 275MB/s.

Dubbed the 2Big USB 3.0, the dual-drive system will be available in both 2TB (1TB drives) and 4TB (TGB drives) capacities and formatted for either Windows or Mac.

While the use of two drives to bump up the performance is a good idea, it's important that consumers don't treat the mirroring - RAID 1 - mode as a 'backup': anything which is likely to cause one disk to go away, such as a manufacturing fault or power surge, is as likely to make both disks go away. That said, it does allow for non-critical errors on one disk to be rectified with a replacement unit without the loss of any data.

Although the 275MB/s burst read speed is impressive, the data does show just how far SSD storage has come: earlier this month Marvell demonstrated its new SATA 6Gb/s controller which was able to coax 351MB/s burst and 314MB/s sustained from an admittedly prototype read-only solid state storage device. If manufacturers truly want to make use of the data transfer rates possible with USB 3.0, SSD may be the way forward.

Would you be tempted by one of these, or does the lack of sustained read and write figures ring alarm bells? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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