LaCie and SimpleTech Dual Drive Mammoths

Power Consumption & Conclusion

Power Consumption

simple tech


Both drives live up to our expectations when it comes to performance: up to 130 MB/s of read performance isn’t quite the maximum for RAID 0 arrays considering throughput of 80-120 MB/s for single high-end 7,200 RPM drives, but it is definitely fast enough for the vast majority of enthusiast and even semi-professional applications. Both LaCie and SimpleTech offer 1 TB, 1.5 TB and 2 TB capacity points, which differ quite a bit in pricing. We found that LaCie’s 1.5 TB 2big Dual drive offers the best bang for the buck, while the SimpleTech Duo Pro is a real bargain at 2 TB for less than $600.

However, LaCie’s higher price points do have some justification. Their unit’s metal case is much more solid than the SimpleTech plastic enclosure, and hard drives can be exchanged via hot swap bays. EMC Retrospect Express HD, which we found bundled with LaCie’s 2big Dual, is superior to ArcSoft Total Media Backup & Record, and the feature set of LaCie is more comprehensive as well. While SimpleTech only supports RAID 0 or RAID 1, LaCie implemented JBOD and mixed RAID modes, utilizing 33% or 50% of the storage capacity for secure RAID 1 storage and turning the remaining capacity into a fast RAID 0 array. This clearly combines the best of both worlds, allowing efficient utilization of the total capacity of the two drives.

Our LaCie 2big Dual test sample was based on two Hitachi P7K500 energy-efficient hard drives, which lowered the total power consumption to a level you would not expect for a dual-drive storage product. Since LaCie doesn’t specifically mention the hard drive model, the 750 GB or 1000 GB hard drives might be regular models, so you shouldn’t expect high energy efficiency for the higher capacity versions. SimpleTech, on the other end of the spectrum, deploys Hitachi 7K1000 drives, which are known to be more power-hungry, and as a result, the Duo Pro gets much hotter.

In the end, LaCie caters to professional users, who take the issue of external storage very seriously, while SimpleTech is likely more appealing to consumers. LaCie offers replacement hard drives at the time you purchase the 2big Dual drive, and a three-year warranty, while SimpleTech has some drawbacks, but a very attractive price point.

In the end, though, I still can’t help but criticize both vendors, because two ordinary 750 GB or 1 TB external eSATA drives are still much more affordable than either dual drive solution.