LaCie Unveils USB-C Porsche and Chrome Drives

USB-C brings the promise of faster speed and more flexibility, and the storage industry is embracing the interface with a spate of new USB Type-C enabled storage devices. The latest storage releases from LaCie, the premium brand in the Seagate arsenal, continue the trend. USB 3.1 and Type-C comes in several somewhat confusing flavors, which we distilled down for our readers in this handy guide.

LaCie Chrome

Both of the new LaCie offerings leverage the USB Type-C connection with the USB 3.1 interface, but the Chrome employs the faster Gen 2 10 Gbps interface to provide enough speed for the two 500 GB M.2 SATA SSDs in RAID 0 that populate the stylish Neil Poulton design.

Together, the two SSDs provide up to 940 MBps of throughput, but LaCie is not sharing much information on the brand of SSDs employed, nor detailed performance and endurance specifications. LaCie has utilized Samsung SSDs for its external enclosures in the past.

The Chrome enclosure docks to the stand with powerful neodymium magnets that allow removal of the base for easy transport. The rectangular case is tilted on its edge, but the sturdy base and internally secured cables ensure that it remains upright and solid. The aluminum enclosure, which features a chrome finish, draws external power and can charge other USB Type-C connected devices.

The Chrome employs a fan and heatsink arrangement to cool the SSDs and will be available in a single 1 TB capacity point for $1,100. The Chrome comes with a two-year warranty and will be available in the March timeframe.

LaCie Porsche Design Drives

LaCie also introduced its new Porsche Design Drives, which it developed in collaboration with the Porsche Design Group. The aluminum enclosures come in five different capacity points of 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8 TB, and capacity dictates the size of each respective offering.

All of the Porsche models employ the USB Type-C connector, but LaCie chose to utilize the USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface because the HDDs are the limiting factor in terms of speed -- not the 5 Gbps interface.

The Porsche Design Mobile drive features a small form factor for the 1 and 2 TB models, which employ Seagate's new 5,400-RPM SMR HDDs with a 7mm Z-height. The 1 and 2 TB models are bus-powered so users will not have to use an external power source.

The 4 TB model comes in an incrementally larger housing and also features an internal SMR HDD, which requires an external power source. The enclosure can also charge connected devices during use.

The 5 and 8 TB models come in the largest enclosure and also require an external power source. The 8 TB model employs a standard PMR-based HDD. LaCie is not releasing detailed performance specifications at this time, but the company indicated that the performance should be sufficient for the majority of external data storage use cases.

All of the drives come with a two-year warranty. The 1, 2 and 4 TB Porsche Design Mobile Drives will start at $109.99. The 4, 5 and 8 TB LaCie Porsche Design Desktop Drives will start at $209.95, and availability begins in the March timeframe. 

Follow Tom's Hardware on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Paul Alcorn
Deputy Managing Editor

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.