Lacie 5big 10tb Thunderbolt Drive

This thing is not just an external hard drive, it’s a massive data tank.

Weighing in around 20 lbs, the LaCie 5big Thunderbolt 10TB Hard Drive brings fast and hefty external data storage to your Mac at a reasonable price point.

‘Reasonable’ being a relative thing. I certainly wouldn’t claim it’s ‘cheap’, but currently it seems to be the best balance between size, speed and cost.

I tend to judge value on use over time. For technology the life span of a tool can be disappointingly short, if not due to build quality, due to the inexorable march of time and progress.  This is one of a few purchases that stand the test of time and have proven their worth. (although nothing like the 15 years and counting I’ve gotten out of the Thinkoutside Stowaway keyboard)

This box gets daily use over the last year and provides necessary fast extra space for my macbook. Previously my data archive was spread across multiple external drives and on a home server or NAS.

Network Attached Storage is great for holding volumes of material, but for large data you want to access quickly it’s not ideal.  I work with video and animation material which means the data I work with can grow quickly to fill a lot of space.

This thing is as basic as it is solid – there’s no real RAID options between striped or mirrored, but it does what it says on the tin.

My 10tb version came with the drives preformated as a raid striped array and this sucker is fast.  A good leap in performance from the standard old USB3 2tb drives I was using.

In its default shipping state this drive pegged out Blackmagic drive test similar to the retinas internal SSD, showing its value for working with almost any kind of video format.

Although it was very nice to see those meters bang up against their top levels I opted to reformat as a 3 drive 6tb striped working drive and a 2 drive 2tb mirrored volume for backups.  The thought of losing one drive and having the entire 10tb vanish was too scary.

I’ve setup Folder Sync to make regular backups of all the important data to a Synology DS411 NAS.  This way catastrophic drive failure leaves me with an in house restore option.

Moving to a 3 drive striped array brings performance down a bit, but still plenty high for most of my video and data work.

The only complaint I have about this unit is something I’ve seen another reviewer remark on and thats the occasional rattling sound coming from the case, which is strange in such a solid beast.  simply touching the external case will usually stop this sound and it hasn’t been annoying enough yet for me to open up the box and find the source of the buzz to stop it.

If you look at user reviews of this drive on Amazon or the Apple store you’ll find almost a perfect 5 star response which is reasurring.  If you work with large amounts of data and want quick access to it you can’t really go wrong with the 5big.  The only reason NOT to purchase this unit if you’re looking for a big fast external drive in this price range is that Lacie has released their next version which supports a wider range of Raid settings and Thunderbolt 2.  Unfortunately the LaCie 5big Dual Thunderbolt-2gets much poorer reviews than the first generation. Seem like they have some firmware issues to work through.  Meanwhile my first generation 5big keeps chugging along, I’d recommend looking for a good deal on the generation 1 if you’re looking for big faster external storage.

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