LaCie 4big: The Enthusiast Data Jukebox

Power Requirements

The power requirement question is the only remaining aspect of LaCie’s 4big Quadra that we have not yet discussed. Let’s look at the results:

We decided to make four different measurements, utilizing all of the options that the product offers. The first is the peak power consumption measurement, followed by system idle power. Since RAID 5 involves continuous parity (XOR) calculations, it’s the most power-intensive RAID mode. The maximum power consumption of 35 W is about as much as a very efficient desktop PC would require when it’s idle. Compared to other storage solutions that are based on PC hardware--such as using a Celeron processor for parity calculations--the 35 W figure is a great result.

Idle power isn’t far away from the peak figure, at 30 W. Considering that each of the drives takes 6 W, the result again is excellent. But we were more impressed with the power consumption in auto sleep mode, which causes the drives’ spindle motors to be stopped according to the Windows power settings. If you set the hard drives to stop after 10 minutes, the 4big Quadra will do so, then consuming only 9 W from that point on. This is only about as much as a DSL router requires. Once the 4big Quadra switches off completely, the remaining power consumption will drop to 4 W.

Knowing that most of the storage products out there have only limited power saving features, if any, the comprehensive power options offered by LaCie are almost state of the art. Not only did everything work properly, but the power levels were at a level that will be hard for competitors to beat.