The LaCie Rugged All-Terrain external hard drive is housed in a very eye-catching bright orange rubber bumper that protects the device from shocks.
Apart from the colourful bumper and the scratch-protected aluminium shell, the drive boasts a no-frills, straight-to-the-point design. LaCie states the maximum drop height to be 0.9m while in non-operating mode. (It recommends not dropping the drive while it's operating.) We pushed it off a desk (about 0.7m high) a couple of times: it survived the fall and worked fine afterwards, and the rubber bumper prevented the edges from denting too.
There are two versions of the Rugged All-Terrain drive: USB 2.0 only (£90 for 80GB version) and triple interface, which includes USB 2.0, FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 (£110 for 80GB version) -- both of these come in different capacities (see below). All of these interfaces are bus-powered, meaning you don't need a separate AC adaptor for the drive. If your USB bus doesn't provide enough power, you can attach a second USB cable (provided) to the power port on the drive. You'll need two free USB ports to do this. We tested the drive with FireWire only. And the results matched the drive's physical appearance: straightforward and hot.
Here's what it offers:
• Drive type: Portable hard drive
• Capacity: USB 2.0 only: 80GB, 120GB (5,400rpm); triple interface: 80GB, 100GB and 120GB (5,400rpm; 7,200rpm for 100GB version) • Capacity of test unit: 100GB (triple interface version)
• Cache: 8MB
• Dimension: 89 by 25 by 144mm (WxHxD); 250g
• Notable design features: Backup button, rubber bumper, scratch-resistant aluminium case
• Connection options: FireWire 800 (9-pin) port, FireWire 400 (6-pin) port -- these only on 'triple interface' versions; mini USB 2.0 port
• OSs supported: Mac OS 10.x and Mac OS 9.x; Windows 98 SE/Me/2000
• Software included (on CD): LaCie 1-Click backup software; Silverkeeper backup software (for Macs only); Silverlining
• Any additional features: Comes with all necessary cables
We were very impressed with the performance of the LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive. It was among the fastest external hard drives we've tested, including products with faster drives and larger caches. Using the FireWire 400 interface, the drive took less than 10.5 minutes to write our 10GB test folder of mixed file types and slightly more than 9 minutes to read back the same folder.
In comparison, it wrote the data just a little slower than the LaCie Little Big Disk, which has twice the cache. On the other hand, the Rugged All-Terrain drive is a few seconds faster than the Little Big Disk when reading. The LaCie Rugged All-Terrain drive is the first drive we've tested with the FireWire 800 interface, and what a speed improvement it is over FireWire 400: 8.6 minutes to write and 7.6 minutes to read our test folder.
We were completely happy with the drive's performance and design. It's very fast, quiet and rugged.
Edited by Felisa Yang
Additional editing by Nick Hide