LaCie Biggest FW800
- Hot-swappable drives, easily replaceable drives, supports RAID 0,1,5 and 0+1
- FireWire 800 isn't widely available on PCs, cost per gigabyte is high, test unit wasn't recognised on Windows Vista-based PCs
For those who do a lot of multimedia work and need a safe external storage solution, this unit is well-worth a look, despite a cost per gigabyte of over $2.50 when using RAID 5. We love the fact that its RAID array can be configured to our specific needs, and also the fact that drives can be easily swapped if there is a problem.
Price$ 1,799.00 (AUD)
Standing tall with four 3.5in SATA hard drives installed, LaCie's Biggest FW800 is a 1TB tower of storage that offers excellent functionality for home and small business use. It's a direct attached storage device, which means that it needs to be plugged directly into to a computer. It also has both FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 interfaces, can also work with a regular FireWire connection.
We connected the drive to a Windows XP-based PC, at which point the drive was automatically detected and installed and we were able to use it straight away. There aren't many motherboards on the market that have a FireWire 800 connection (although some Gigabyte motherboards are an exception), and our ASUS P5B Premium is one of them. Therefore, we used USB 2.0 for our tests.
LaCie has the drive set up in a RAID 5 array by default. A RAID 5 array offers striping across all four hard drives, yet uses parity data to ensure that data isn't lost if one of the drives in the array fails. The parity data is stored on each drive, which means that write performance does take a hit as the parity needs to be updated after each write. It also means that some hard drive space needs to sacrificed. As such, the total formatted capacity of the RAID 5 array is 698GB, but the peace of mind in knowing your data is secure is worth it.
Switches located on the back of the unit allow the RAID type to be conveniently changed. Apart from RAID 5, you can also choose to implement a RAID 0 or RAID 0+1 configuration quite easily. Bear in mind that changing the RAID type should be done before you start storing your data, as all data will be lost when you change the configuration. The initialisation of a new RAID array will also take a while, and the unit will beep periodically to let you know that it's still progressing. A two-line LCD display on the front of the unit keeps you apprised of the initialisation progress, and this doubles as a clock.
Testing the unit with a USB 2.0 connection in RAID 5 mode produced reliable results overall. We were able to copy data onto the drive at a rate of 15.69MBps, and also copy the data back to our test PC (which has a 150GB Western Digital Raptor hard drive) at a rate of 29.34MBps. Copying data from one location on the Biggest FW800 to another recorded a rate of 4.7MBps, which is a little slow.
While its performance was reliable, the one thing we really love about the FW800 is its design. All four hard drives are hot-swappable (they can be removed and replaced without turning off the power) and each drive resides in a drawer and can be easily removed and replaced from the front of the unit. Levers are used to release and lock the drives into place, while status lights for each drive let you know if there is a problem with any of the drives. The Biggest FW800 itself is about 20cm tall and 29cm deep and sits sturdily on a desk. A powerful fan extracts warm air from the enclosure, and another smaller fan extracts warm air from its built-in power supply.
Unfortunately, we didn't have any luck testing this unit on Windows Vista-based PCs. Multiple systems were unable to recognise the drive when we plugged it in. The unit doesn't require drivers to work under Windows Vista, and LaCie's Web site didn't have any fixes for this problem. We are waiting for a replacement unit in order to conduct tests under Windows Vista and we'll update this review once those tests are complete.
In the meantime, for those of you do a lot of multimedia work and need a safe external storage solution, this unit is well-worth a look, despite a cost per gigabyte of over $2.50 when using RAID 5. We love the fact that its RAID array can be configured to our specific needs, and also the fact that drives can be easily swapped if there is a problem. However, we hope the problems we experienced when trying to use the drive on Windows Vista-based machines are limited to our test unit. We've given this product a rating of 3 stars for now, but will reconsider if our next test unit works under Vista.
Join the newsletter!
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
cloudandco Smart Cane
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Toys for Boys
Bose SoundLink Micro
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Xbox One X
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Google Home Mini review: a welcome addition to the smart speaker family.
- 4 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 5 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Latest News Articles
- QNAP Releases QTS 4.3.4. Beta for x86-Based NAS
- QNAP ships world’s first Ryzen NAS, promising boosted Virtual Machine performance
- QNAP Rolls out Quad-core 4-bay TS-453BT3 Thunderbolt 3 NAS Tailored for Creative Professionals
- Synology Introduces New Data Storage Solutions for Home and Small Offices
- Western Digital moves on Oz consumers with new storage offering
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- PC World 2017 Editors' Choice Awards Nomineees Announced
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTInformix 4GL ProgrammerOther
- CCPolicy OfficerNSW
- CCSolution DesignerNSW
- FTEnterprise Solution ArchitectOther
- TPSenior Project Manager - Office 365QLD
- FTBusiness ConsultantOther
- CCSenior MySQL Database Administrator - SydneySA
- FTLead Mobile DeveloperNSW
- CCPega ArchitectVIC
- FTJava DeveloperOther
- CCGIS SpecialistNSW
- TPBusiness/Data AnalystQLD
- TPInfrastructure DesignerNSW
- CCNetwork DesignerQLD
- FTData SpecialistACT
- FTBroker Support/ Applications SupportOther
- TPSAP Technical Data AnalystQLD
- FTJava DeveloperOther
- FTSenior System Administrator - UNIXVIC
- FTBusiness Analyst ManagerNSW
- FTNetwork Architect - Perm / ContractACT
- FTSolution Architect - Feasibility/ImpactSA
- TPProject Officer. Website optimisation enablementNSW
- FTSenior PHP Developer / Team LeadNSW
- FTApplication Support SpecialistVIC