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Review: LaCie mini Hard Drive & Hub
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Dan Harkless
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

athandavan wrote:
I got my 300GB LaCie Mini Hard Drive & Firewire & USB Hub this morning and had it out of its box and under my Mac mini in no time. Instructions for setting it up are straightforward and concise. The LaCie disk icon showed up on my desktop without a hitch.

The accompanying disk contained the manuals and utilities - LaCie 1-Click Backup, SilverKeeper Software, SilverLining software, MacDrive for Windows PS and Acrobat Readers.

I've actually managed to use up almost all of the available USB ports! I have a Griffin iMic, Epson R300 printer and Miglia TVMini connected to my Mac Mini with one 'free' port for my card reader / USB stick. The iSight camera, the only (other) Firewire device I have, is plugged in on the other side (& continues to work just fine as far as I can see).

Will hopefully install the backup software over the weekend and really start using some of that 300GB!

Huh. Did you order the 300GB from LaCie's site? They're still showing pre-order status and an "early May 2006" ship date for the 300GB (and a "mid April 2006" ship date for the 500GB, even though arguably we are out of mid and into late April now).

How would you rate the noise level? Have you ever encountered any of the other Mini-form-factor external HDs before (particularly the miniStack v2) to be able to compare the noise level to one of them?

Oh, and is there an easy way to determine what brand and model of HD came in your 300GB LmHDH?
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athandavan
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan Harkless wrote:

Huh. Did you order the 300GB from LaCie's site? They're still showing pre-order status and an "early May 2006" ship date for the 300GB (and a "mid April 2006" ship date for the 500GB, even though arguably we are out of mid and into late April now).

How would you rate the noise level? Have you ever encountered any of the other Mini-form-factor external HDs before (particularly the miniStack v2) to be able to compare the noise level to one of them?

Oh, and is there an easy way to determine what brand and model of HD came in your 300GB LmHDH?


I ordered it from LaCie's UK site; arrived the next morning (FedEx's tracking system showed the package originating from LE MESNIL AMELOT FR). At the time I ordered, only the 300GB and 500GB versions were in stock; 250GB and the 400GB ones were marked 'Temporarily out of stock'.

The noise is hardly noticable! So far, I can hear something when the harddisk starts and stops spinning and in between, the noise level is not all that much higher than the Mac Mini itself.

I haven't actually checked what harddisk is in the LmHDH; will do so in the coming week and let you know.
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Dan Harkless
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

athandavan wrote:
Dan Harkless wrote:

Huh. Did you order the 300GB from LaCie's site? They're still showing pre-order status and an "early May 2006" ship date for the 300GB (and a "mid April 2006" ship date for the 500GB, even though arguably we are out of mid and into late April now).

How would you rate the noise level? Have you ever encountered any of the other Mini-form-factor external HDs before (particularly the miniStack v2) to be able to compare the noise level to one of them?

Oh, and is there an easy way to determine what brand and model of HD came in your 300GB LmHDH?


I ordered it from LaCie's UK site; arrived the next morning (FedEx's tracking system showed the package originating from LE MESNIL AMELOT FR). At the time I ordered, only the 300GB and 500GB versions were in stock; 250GB and the 400GB ones were marked 'Temporarily out of stock'.


Ah. Interesting. Maybe these are all originating in France and the UK is getting them sooner than the US due to proximity.

Quote:
The noise is hardly noticable! So far, I can hear something when the harddisk starts and stops spinning and in between, the noise level is not all that much higher than the Mac Mini itself.

That's good news. Have you done a sustained read or write operation like a backup yet? Would be interested to know whether the fan spins up to an obnoxious volume in such a case.

Quote:
I haven't actually checked what harddisk is in the LmHDH; will do so in the coming week and let you know.

Cool -- thanks.
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achaoidh
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:20 pm    Post subject: Connections?! Reply with quote

I'm sure this isn't an issue, however, I would be very interested in seeing how this drive is actually connected to a Mini! Since every port I have, with the exception of the ethernet port, is occupied by the keyboard and the Apple 23" HD monior connections! Thanks!
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brt3
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:09 am    Post subject: Re: 500GB version quieter or louder than miniStack v2? Reply with quote

Dan Harkless wrote:
The most important thing to me is quiet. Has anyone gotten their hands on an LmHDH 500GB model yet? I'm very curious how the fan and drive noise would compare between it and the miniStack v2, at idle and under load.

Good God! This thing is incredibly loud if the drive is working, and it takes FOREVER for the drive to cool enough that it allows the fan to slow down or shut off. I just cloned my MacMini to the LmHDH 500GB drive using Intego Personal Backup X4, and the fan on the drive ran at high for a full hour after the backup was complete. I'm returning mine to LaCie ASAP, as their website claims "This multiple-connection companion is plug & play, cross-platform and ultra-quiet.". I had hoped this would be the case, as I wanted to use the MacMini/LaCie combo as a media server in my living room. This is impossible, as the drive fan is louder -- by a huge margin -- than any other piece of equipment in the system. It's especially unfortunate given how quiet the MacMini/Intel is.

BTW, I have NO axe to grind with LaCie. This is the fifth product I've purchased from them, but something doesn't seem right with the design of this product. The connectors have a cheap and flimsy feel when you plug something in. The power plug is inverted from what it should be, and you have the feeling that you'll break something if it's not inserted perfectly. The power button is badly placed, and the LCD is a different shade of blue and is much brighter than the one on the MacMini. In addition, the LCD is not shielded; there is quite a bit of light spillage that comes from underneath the unit (very bad in a home theater setting).

So, in short -- I had high hopes for this unit, especially after preordering it and waiting for six weeks, but it's back to the drawing board for me...

PostScript: OK, I went back and retested the LaCie under what I felt were more average conditions. When I first installed the drive I immediately cloned my primary drive and I realize this may be a more drive-intensive task than most. I would like to be as fair and objective about this as possible...

So, I went to the Apple QuickTime site, downloaded the HD trailer for the IMAX film "Magnificent Desolation" (1080P/H.264), and have that running in a loop. This is a more representative test of how I'll be using the drive.

Results? It's still too loud to use anywhere except locked away in a cabinet. If you locked it away in said cabinet, however, you'd likely generate too much heat in very short order.

I could run the loop for about 6 minutes before the fan kicked on to its' low setting. After about 10 minutes the fan jumped from low to medium. It stayed on medium for the 60 minute duration of the QT test. Though this is not as loud as what I encountered during the drive cloning, it's still too loud for use on a desktop or in a media center and is FAR louder than advertised. The drive -- if used in these applications -- will need to be hidden away to keep the sound levels manageable.

One thing that concerns me is how long the fan has to run to bring the heat levels down after the drive stops a task. After the drive cloning it ran (at high) for an hour before shutting off. After the QuickTime test it took 6 minutes to go from medium to low, ran on low for 8 minutes, ramped back up to medium for 4 minutes, and then ran another 10 minutes on low before turning the fan off. That's nearly 30 minutes to get the drive cooled down.

These runtimes indicate -- to me, at least -- that this drive is creating and storing a LOT of heat. It seems that LaCie counted on the fan alone to get rid of the heat, when a combination of heat sinks and ventilation might have been the better solution. Please note that I'm speculating on this point, as I've not opened the case to confirm these suspicions. Since I'm returning the drive I will NOT be cracking the case...

Hope this is of help to someone out there!
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Vidal
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guys, I'm hoping you can help. I'm trying to find out if the Lacie HDD & Hub can be used to add USB 2 connectivity to a G4 iMac that only has USB 1.1 ports. The background is here in a thread on MacNN but to summarize, I'm wondering if I could connect the Lacie to my iMac using the firewire connection and then plug in my USB 2 devices to its USB 2 ports.

This will depend on whether the Lacie's USB hub and its Firewire hub are separate circuits or whether it only takes one connection to the Mac to share out the lot.

Would anybody mind trying this out with their Macmini and letting me know if it works? Any other suggestions are also welcome, there are a bunch of us with the same problem. We love our iMacs but would like to add USB2 speed.
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Vidal
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vidal wrote:
Would anybody mind trying this out with their Macmini and letting me know if it works?


Scratch that. I found the manual on the Lacie website and it states that you need an uplink for USB AND an uplink for FireWire if you want them both to work. Does anybody have any other ideas?
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strh
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:05 am    Post subject: Re: 500GB version quieter or louder than miniStack v2? Reply with quote

brt3 wrote:
Dan Harkless wrote:
The most important thing to me is quiet. Has anyone gotten their hands on an LmHDH 500GB model yet? I'm very curious how the fan and drive noise would compare between it and the miniStack v2, at idle and under load.

Good God! This thing is incredibly loud if the drive is working, and it takes FOREVER for the drive to cool enough that it allows the fan to slow down or shut off.


Sadly, I have to agree with brt3. I had 2 500GBs delivered today and both
become very very loud when the fan starts up. The fan would start up
after a short period of time (couple of minutes) during a series of file
copies. I tested both boxes independantly and non-stacked.

It has been a long time since I've had hardware this loud and it came as
a complete surprise, so be warned. I have a support email out to Lacie
and if the noise is standard then I will return and get a refund. I was
hoping for so much more.

I'll post an update, once I've had a response, if anyone is interested.

Cheers.
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:20 am    Post subject: Re: 500GB version quieter or louder than miniStack v2? Reply with quote

strh wrote:
brt3 wrote:
Dan Harkless wrote:
The most important thing to me is quiet. Has anyone gotten their hands on an LmHDH 500GB model yet? I'm very curious how the fan and drive noise would compare between it and the miniStack v2, at idle and under load.

Good God! This thing is incredibly loud if the drive is working, and it takes FOREVER for the drive to cool enough that it allows the fan to slow down or shut off.


Sadly, I have to agree with brt3. I had 2 500GBs delivered today and both
become very very loud when the fan starts up. The fan would start up
after a short period of time (couple of minutes) during a series of file
copies. I tested both boxes independantly and non-stacked.

It has been a long time since I've had hardware this loud and it came as
a complete surprise, so be warned. I have a support email out to Lacie
and if the noise is standard then I will return and get a refund. I was
hoping for so much more.

I'll post an update, once I've had a response, if anyone is interested.

Cheers.


I'm glad I purchased the first model (without the fan). It's only 160GB ($135) but it suits my needs. I hope you guys get a treated well by LaCie. Make sure you update us on how they handle the issue.
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Dan Harkless
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:38 pm    Post subject: Re: 500GB version quieter or louder than miniStack v2? Reply with quote

strh wrote:
brt3 wrote:
Dan Harkless wrote:
The most important thing to me is quiet. Has anyone gotten their hands on an LmHDH 500GB model yet? I'm very curious how the fan and drive noise would compare between it and the miniStack v2, at idle and under load.

Good God! This thing is incredibly loud if the drive is working, and it takes FOREVER for the drive to cool enough that it allows the fan to slow down or shut off.

Sadly, I have to agree with brt3. I had 2 500GBs delivered today and both
become very very loud when the fan starts up. The fan would start up
after a short period of time (couple of minutes) during a series of file
copies. I tested both boxes independantly and non-stacked.

It has been a long time since I've had hardware this loud and it came as
a complete surprise, so be warned. I have a support email out to Lacie
and if the noise is standard then I will return and get a refund. I was
hoping for so much more.

I'll post an update, once I've had a response, if anyone is interested.

That would be great. Thanks very much to both of you guys for posting your experience with the 500GB LmHDH. Guess I'm off to order the miniStack v2 and a 500GB Seagate HD to stick in it.
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brt3
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:53 pm    Post subject: Re: 500GB version quieter or louder than miniStack v2? Reply with quote

Dan Harkless wrote:
strh wrote:
brt3 wrote:
Dan Harkless wrote:
The most important thing to me is quiet. Has anyone gotten their hands on an LmHDH 500GB model yet?
Good God! This thing is incredibly loud...
Sadly, I have to agree with brt3. I had 2 500GBs delivered today and both become very very loud when the fan starts up.
That would be great. Thanks very much to both of you guys for posting your experience with the 500GB LmHDH. Guess I'm off to order the miniStack v2 and a 500GB Seagate HD to stick in it.

Have you seen they're making a 750GB miniStack? Tell me in advance; is this just asking for trouble? Will a larger drive usually generate more heat -- and therefore be more likely to produce more fan noise? The 750GB miniStack uses a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10; it runs at 7200 rpm and has a 16MB drive cache...[/i]
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Dan Harkless
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 10:37 pm    Post subject: Re: 500GB version quieter or louder than miniStack v2? Reply with quote

brt3 wrote:
Have you seen they're making a 750GB miniStack? Tell me in advance; is this just asking for trouble? Will a larger drive usually generate more heat -- and therefore be more likely to produce more fan noise? The 750GB miniStack uses a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10; it runs at 7200 rpm and has a 16MB drive cache...[/i]

Wow -- no, hadn't seen that -- thanks for pointing it out.

Assuming the same mechanisms between two different drives in the same HD product line, the larger capacity one would tend to have significantly more heat only if it used additional platters. Dunno if Seagate's 750GB drives use more platters than their 500GB ones -- specs don't say. Between two different manufacturers, as with the Hitachi 7K500 NewerTech uses in their 500GB vs. the Seagate 750GB, hard to say.

StorageReview.com used to include heat measurements in their drive reviews, but they apparently do no longer. And they haven't reviewed the 7200.10 yet, just the 7200.9 (and the 7K500). They do say that power dissipation correlates highly with heat generation, and comparing Hitachi's 7K500 datasheet with Seagate's datasheet on the 750GB 72100.10, I see that the power dissipation at Idle (only figure that both manufacturers publish, so can't compare read/write or seek power requirements) is 9.0W for the Hitachi vs. 9.3W for the Seagate -- so not too different as far as that goes.

In any case, I'm sure NewerTech did some stress testing on their 750GB offering. I wonder if they have the same cooling system and settings on the 750GB model. On the page for the 0 GB model, they say you can put in drives up to 500GB, but dunno if that's because larger drives are explicitly not supported in that version of the enclosure or because they just haven't updated the page yet.

As for me, I may just stick with the 500GB as that will be large enough to back up all my systems at present (and going with the industry's new top drive capacity always carries something of a price premium).
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These are going to eventually be available in regular consumer shops, correct? (Amazon, Best Buy, etc.)?
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JazzyMac wrote:
These are going to eventually be available in regular consumer shops, correct? (Amazon, Best Buy, etc.)?


I'm sure they will. I got my original LaCie mini from Amazon. A quick search of their site shows that the 500GB will ship in 1-2 days. The 250GB and 300GB models say they are currently unavailable. Buy.com also sales all three models, but states they are out of stock. The same goes for MacConnection. Sad
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to know if anyone has ever put a drive larger than 250GB in the first model (the one with no fan) Is there really that much more heat generated by the bigger drives.

It would likely be used for movies and music which would be reading from the drive quite a bit.
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