LaCie Rugged USB 3.0
500GB hard disk, USB3, 30x92x143mm
Although we've seen quite a few desktop hard disks with a USB3 connection, the LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 is the first portable disk to arrive in our Labs with the faster version of the USB interface.
We've seen the Rugged design before and the orange rubber bumper and aluminium design is definitely a matter of taste. It feels sturdy, although the aluminium build flexes under pressure so it feels less sturdy than the more rigid metal cases of LaCie's other portable USB disks.
Unsurprisingly, thanks to its USB3 interface, the Rugged blitzed all our file transfer tests, easily outpacing every USB2 disk, both portable and desktop, we've seen. LaCie's choice of a Hitachi Travelstar disk with a 7,200rpm spindle speed, instead of the 5,400rpm models usually found in portable disks, also helped it outperform most desktop FireWire and eSATA disks and achieve speeds comparable to desktop USB3 external disks.
Large files were written at 94MB/s and read at 106MB/s. Small files were read at just over 79MB/s. The only test where the Rugged failed to keep up with desktop USB3 disks was when it was writing small files. Here, it managed 47.1MB/s, which is slower than some desktop eSATA disks. It's still faster than any other portable disk we've seen, though.
Included with the Rugged is the same Genie Backup Assistant Lite software included with all of LaCie's external hard disks. The complicated interface may put off novices, but there are plenty of useful options. It backs up your files automatically while you work without scheduling and it can also compress and encrypt your files. You'll need to use the program to restore your files though since this can't be done through Windows Explorer.
The LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 is undoubtedly expensive at 28p per gigabyte – almost double the cost of a USB2 500GB portable disk. However, if your computers are already equipped with USB3, or you're planning to upgrade, and you need the fastest possible access to huge quantities of data on the go then it's the fastest portable disk you can currently buy.