LaCie and SimpleTech Dual Drive Mammoths

SimpleTech Duo Pro Drive 2 TB

simpletech duo pro

SimpleTech endows its Duo Pro Drive with the term "massive performance," which is certainly true: a 15.2 to 15.5 ms access time is a good result. Although other external hard drives reach as low as 13 ms, these are based on single hard drives rather than a RAID 0 or RAID 1 array with two hard drives.

The RAID mode is selected on the back of the device, followed by a drive reset right next to the mode selection switch. Throughput reaches 130 MB/s read performance in RAID 0 mode, and 84 MB/s in RAID 1, which represents the maximum transfer rate of Hitachi’s Deskstar 7K1000 drive that SimpleTech deploys in this storage product. Write performance in RAID 1 was clearly slower than the LaCie drive, though.

You could say that the Duo Pro is a real hot rod: the drives easily exceed 60°C surface temperature (104° F) after a one-hour active period, and the temperature does not drop below 54°C even after an hour of idle operation. The drives are mounted on a shuttle that carries the controller board and a small 40 mm fan. SimpleTech obviously tried to keep the Duo Pro as quiet as possible, but this fan doesn’t rotate fast enough to provide efficient cooling. We found vents on both sides of the device, but they don’t seem to be large enough to establish an air flow. The integrated power supply isn’t exactly a cool component either, as it is rated for a whopping 48 W of maximum output. This would be sufficient to even operate some notebooks, which makes clear that the Duo Pro Drive isn’t a low-power product either.

The 7K1000 hard drive by Hitachi isn’t efficient, nor is it the fastest terabyte hard drive on the market, but it is a good performer and helps the SimpleTech Duo Pro 2 TB to do well in our benchmarks. However, power consumption was relatively high, with a 24.5 W idle power requirement and up to 37 W drawn under load. Unfortunately, SimpleTech doesn’t provide an option to shut down the drives after a certain period of time.

The Duo Pro Drive 2 TB is mainly made of plastic, which doesn’t look as solid as the LaCie solution, and the case was damaged when it was shipped to our storage test lab (see photo below). When we first received it, we could hear that some parts inside the device were loose. It was the drive shuttle, which had been torn out of the mountings. Since the shuttle weighs an amazing 3.5 lb (1590 g) with both drives attached, tiny plastic mounts don’t seem to be an appropriate way of securing it.

Our test sample was labeled as 1 TB, although it was a 2 TB version. SimpleTech provides its backup software both for Windows and Mac OS X, which LaCie doesn’t. The cost for the 2 TB version is less than $600, which is a real bargain compared to almost $ 900 for LaCie’s 2 TB version. However, the feature set and material quality do not reach the level of the LaCie 2big Dual.

simpletech duo pro

simpletech duo pro

simpletech duo pro

simpletech duo pro

simpletech duo pro