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LaCie FastKey USB 3.0 (120 GB)

Nine USB 3.0 Flash Drives For Road Warriors
By , Achim Roos

With read speeds of up to 191 MB/s and anything between 189 and 141 MB/s for writes, the FastKey from LaCie is another fast flash product with USB 3.0. The FastKey is available with 30, 60, or 120 GB of storage capacity. The drive is simple-looking in greyish metal. That’s typical LaCie style, with a technical touch.

However, this extra touch of class comes at a price: the 120 GB model we tested costs a prohibitive $475. The 60 GB model is $250, although these prices are taken from LaCie’s Web site, as the products aren’t as widely available elsewhere. Compared to its competitors, the FastKey’s two-year warranty is almost embarrassingly short. Other devices we tested come with warranties of three or even five years.

An added benefit is three years of 4 GB online storage on Wuala. The distributed data is always encrypted and is managed through a drag-and-drop interface. LaCie speculates that users will soon want more than 4 GB of storage, which will of course be available for an extra fee. There is also an encryption solution called LA-PRIVATE, which creates and manages an AES-protected disk for your data.

Unfortunately, the bells and whistles do not add up to much if the product fails on basics. Because we cleared the stick’s memory (including the partitions) for some benchmarks, we were unable to retroactively start the software’s pre-installation. We were likewise unable to install the provided high-speed driver from Symwave on our 64-bit version of Windows 7, which should allow for over 300 MB/s of throughput performance.

We do want to emphasize, however, that despite a few glitches, LaCie has a great eye for detail. None of the FastKey’s competitors offer a similarly-complete white paper with such a technically-sound background. The white paper notes, for example, that a 32-bit version of Windows is required for maximum performance. And despite our testing problems, the FastKey still performs extraordinarily well in our benchmarks. Yet, the problems prevent us from recommending the product, at least for the moment.

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