Portable Storage Carried to Excess

Differentiation Doesn’t Always Help

We receive lots of different storage products for review. Regardless of whether or not we like the different concepts, ideas, and solutions these products represent, we typically find that most of them make sense in some way—unless they fail utterly at performance, reliability, or providing decent bang for the buck.

This time we looked at three storage products that are a bit different from what you’ll typically find at your local retailer. Buffalo offers all-flash portable storage, Chaintech sells a flash SSD that comes with an additional USB port, and LaCie sent us a state-of-the-art RAID product based on two 2.5” drives.

LaCie: Fast and Mobile Storage

LaCie is a popular storage vendor that is known for well designed, high-performance storage solutions for enthusiasts at the high end, or for small business users. The Little Big Disk Quadra is, despite its oxymoronic name, that type of an elite drive. It consists of two 500 GB 2.5” mobile hard drives inside a stylish and solid enclosure. It offers all popular interface types, and RAID technology to maximize performance. If you really need to combine high capacity and high performance with mobility, then this could be your product.

Buffalo, Chaintech: More Flash, Just Different

The flash market, especially the flash SSD segment, is changing so quickly that it is very difficult for smaller companies to keep pace. They are constantly working to release attractive products at acceptable prices before someone else releases the next product generation—which can sometimes offer double the performance and capacity at the same price points.

Because of this issue, Buffalo and Chaintech provide products for very specific niches that are less sensitive to product cycles. Buffalo believes that there is room for 1.8” storage products that are entirely based on flash memory. We tend to disagree at capacities of up to 64 GB—where you can get USB thumb drives—but in the range of 128 GB and more, this looks like a market segment to address. Chaintech believes that flash SSDs should not be limited to the SATA interface, and designed a 2.5” flash SSD, which comes both with SATA/300 and USB 2.0 interfaces.

Let’s look at some details.