Review: LaCie Little Big Disk 240 GB
Category : Storage
Published by Marc Büchel on 17.09.12
LaCie is well known for good looking hight quality peripherals. With the Little Big Disk the manufacturer offers an external drive that offers some serious performance. Thanks to a Thunderbolt interface the two SSDs in a RAID0 configuration should deliver good sequential as well as random performance.




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Specifications


Model LaCie Little Big Disk 240 Gigabyte
Capacity 2 x 120 Gigabyte
Interface Thunderbolt
Measurements 85 mm x 40 mm x 140 mm
Throughput up to 480 MB/s
Accesstime (read) < 0.1 ms
Acoustics no noise
Warranty 3 Years


Delivery

Included in delivery you find, amongst other parts, LaCie's Little Big Disk itself. Once you take it out of the box you'll notice immediately the high build quality. The case, which encloses the two SSDs, has been built to provide additional cooling. Therefore you can be dead sure that your SSDs will never overheat. Furthermore these cases have been built for conventional hard drives which produce a lot more heat than solid state drives.
Next to the Little Big Disk you can find a software CD in the delivery as well as a power adaptor with different plugs to support serveral countries. There is also a Thunderbolt cable in the delivery. On the Little Big Disk itself you will find two Thunderbolt connectors. Therefore you can daisy chain drives which means that theoretically it's possible to create RAIDs with four, six or even more drives.


Page 1 - Introduction / Specs Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



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Impressions








Page 1 - Introduction / Specs / Delivery Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



Discuss this article in the forum [pagebreak]

How do we test?

Testenvironment

We recommend that readers who aren't interested in test procedures jump over this page and head directly to the test results.

Testenvironment

Motherboard ASUS P8Z77- V Pro/Thunderbolt  
Chipset Intel Z77 1'600 MHz
CPU Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5 GHz
Memory Crucial Ballistix 8 GByte
Graphics card ASUS GeForce GTX 580  
Storage (system) Corsair Force 3 120 GByte
Operating systems Windows 7 64 Bit
Filesystem NTFS  


We think everybody reading this article can imagine the following scenario: You just bought a hard drive which according the specs sheet should transfer 120 MByte/s reading and writing. In the reviews you read about astonishing 110 MByte/s but after you put the drive into you system it feels much slower. The whole story gets even worse when you start a benchmark which does randomread/write of 4 KByte blocks. There you only get two to three MBytes/s.

Because of this we don't want to publish screenshots of standard programs like HD-Tach, HD-Tune, ... we want our tests to be

... sind.

We test with activated caches and NCQ (Native Command Queueing) because they're also activated under daily use. But the data size tested is always at least twice the amount of the memory. In this there will be no intereference.

We noticed that the measuring error is constantly within ±2%. Therefore we mention it only here.

Additionally we evaluate the S.M.A.R.T. data to assess if there are already errors.

The following table give you a brief overview to which points we turn our centre of attention.

Test Observations
   
Sequential Read/Write Tests
  • Are the values within the specifications?
  • Which influence has the block size?
  • Which influence has the filesystems block size?
Random Read/Write Tests
  • How severe is the influence on the theoretically possible (sequential) datarate?
  • Which influence has the block size?
  • Which influence has the block size on the filesystem?
   


iozone3

iozone3 is a benchmark suit for storage solutions which natively runs under Linux.

Therefore we are testing the throughput with different block sizes using the following commands:

KByte/s

iops

 

Why do we test different block sizes?

It is important to reproduce scenarios of daily usage. Certain parameters need to be variable during the test to make a statement about the product. In our test the parameters are the different block sizes. It defines the size in KBytes which is written/read on the drive during a transaction.

With this method one can test the reading and writing of either small and big files. In a normal personal computer environment you usually don't find many files smaller than 16 KByte. The relative amount of small files is much bigger on a mail or database server. Therefore tests with small block sizes are of interest for database-based applications.

In bigger RAID arrays the hard disk cache is usually disabled and the RAID-Controller takes over the job of caching. Exactly in such setups hard drives need to be very fast when reading or writing small amounts of data. Sequential throughput isn't interesting in this case.



Page 1 - Introduction / Specs / Delivery Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



Discuss this article in the forum [pagebreak]

Test results iozone Sequential Write



Blocksize

KByte/s

4 KB 284'853
16 KB 325'264
32 KB 300'934
64 KB 313'493
128 KB 332'724
256 KB 332'618
512 KB 333'451




Page 1 - Introduction / Specs / Delivery Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



Discuss this article in the forum [pagebreak]

Test results iozone Sequential Read



Blocksize

KByte/s

4 KB 197'307
16 KB 303'228
32 KB 327'010
64 KB 362'690
128 KB 413'224
256 KB 415'591
512 KB 429'076




Page 1 - Introduction / Specs / Delivery Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



Discuss this article in the forum [pagebreak]

Test results iozone Random Write



Blocksize

KByte/s

4 KB 57'807
16 KB 175'082
32 KB 277'490
64 KB 281'523
128 KB 317'307
256 KB 324'358
512 KB 330'840




Page 1 - Introduction / Specs / Delivery Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



Discuss this article in the forum [pagebreak]

Test results iozone Random Read



Blocksize

KByte/s

4 KB 56'057
16 KB 178'674
32 KB 288'103
64 KB 331'559
128 KB 399'151
256 KB 411'241
512 KB 424'904




Page 1 - Introduction / Specs / Delivery Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



Discuss this article in the forum [pagebreak]

Test results iozone Sequential Write IOPS



Blocksize

IOPS

4 KB 72'819
16 KB 20'048
32 KB 10'195
64 KB 5'125
128 KB 2'575
256 KB 1'302
512 KB 649




Page 1 - Introduction / Specs / Delivery Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



Discuss this article in the forum [pagebreak]

Test results iozone Sequential Read IOPS



Blocksize

IOPS

4 KB 52'591
16 KB 18'757
32 KB 10'324
64 KB 5'656
128 KB 3'065
256 KB 1'633
512 KB 836




Page 1 - Introduction / Specs / Delivery Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



Discuss this article in the forum [pagebreak]

Test results iozone Random Write IOPS



Blocksize

IOPS

4 KB 14'547
16 KB 10'809
32 KB 7'420
64 KB 4'330
128 KB 2'364
256 KB 1'237
512 KB 644




Page 1 - Introduction / Specs / Delivery Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



Discuss this article in the forum [pagebreak]

Test results iozone Random Read IOPS



Blocksize

IOPS

4 KB 14'000
16 KB 11'137
32 KB 8'123
64 KB 5'075
128 KB 2'920
256 KB 1'585
512 KB 825




Page 1 - Introduction / Specs / Delivery Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



Discuss this article in the forum [pagebreak]

Conclusion

Announcement: Despite the circumstance that the rating of a product is based on as many objective facts as possible there are factors which can have an influence on a rating after publication. Every autor may perceive data differently over time whereas one possible reason for example is a deeper background knowledge or understanding of certain processes. Certain unforseen market conditions as well as changes have the potential to render a descision made at a certain point in time obsolete.

For our tests we created a Software RAID0 under Windows 7 and afterwards we tested the volume with iozone. At this point we had to find out that LaCie uses SATA II instead of faster SATA III Solid State Drives for their Little Big Disk. This really is a pity because you only get half of what could be possible with an external thunderbolt storage device. Basically the Little Big Disk with its two 120 Gigabyte SSDs isn't fast, but it's kind of depressive when you just spent about 700 Swiss Francs (est. 583 Euros) on an external high-performance drive and you then notice that you get technology from 2010. We're really hoping that LaCie is going to bring another version of the Little Big Disk with two SATA III drives. We would love to see the Thunderbolt interface maxed out at more then 1 Gigabyte per second but instead you get 424 Megabyte per second concerning sequential reads and 324 Megabyte per second when it comes to sequential writes.
The LaCie Little Big Disk 240 receives 2.5 out of five stars.



Page 1 - Introduction / Specs / Delivery Page 7 - Random Read
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential Write IOPS
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential Read IOPS
Page 4 - Sequential Write Page 10 - Random Write IOPS
Page 5 - Sequential Read Page 11 - Random Read IOPS
Page 6 - Random Write Page 12 - Conclusion



Discuss this article in the forum

Authors: m.buechel@ocaholic.ch,