LaCie showcased their 2big Thunderbolt drive at CES 2012 and it has now started shipping. 

Specifications of LaCie 2big Thunderbolt Series
Capacities 4TB and 6TB (and 8TB)
Revolutions per minute (rpm) 7200rpm
Maximum Read Speed 327MB/s
Maximum Write Speed 320MB/s
Connectivity 2x Thunderbolt
Dimensions (WxHxD) 3.5" x 6.7" x 7.8" (9.1 x 17.2 x 20.0 cm)
Price $649 (4TB) and $799 (6TB)

The LaCie 2big Thunderbolt Series is essentially the LaCie Little Big Disk in 3.5" form factor. It has two swappable 3.5" drives whereas the Little Big Disk has two 2.5" drives. 3.5" drives offer larger capacities and better performance, particularly with hard drive. The 2big is rated at transfer speeds up to 327MB/s while the Little Big Disk tops out at 190MB/s (both results are for the non-SSD versions). LaCie has an 8TB model on their site as well but there is no price listed, which suggests that it's not shipping yet.

There are also two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chaining, so you can daisy-chain several 2bigs or other Thunderbolt devices. The 2big most likely uses the same SATA controller as the Little Big Disk, which means you are limited to two SATA 3Gb/s ports. For the standard configuration this isn't an issue, but people who are interested in swapping the hard drives for SSDs should be aware that the SATA controller will be a potential bottleneck with the fastest SATA 6Gb/s SSDs.

Source: LaCie

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  • Kristian Vättö - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    See this: http://www.storagereview.com/hitachi_deskstar_7k30...

    Under the "fastest performance", the drive achieves up to 163MB/s. Of course the numbers LaCie claims are the absolute maximums but judging by that review, they are somewhat reasonable. I think ~300MB/s in real world sounds plausible,
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    I'd be willing to wager LaCie is using the 1TB per platter Seagate drives, which would make their numbers even more plausible—193.0/191.6 MB/s max sequential read/write, 164.96/165.17 MB/s average. http://www.storagereview.com/seagate_barracuda_3tb...

    As to whether it's worth it vs. USB 3.0 or eSATA 6 Gbit/s, not if you only look at it from a price/performance perspective. But from a practical standpoint, if you own a 2011 Mac, you have Thunderbolt but you don't have the other two interfaces, so yes, it is worth it. The 2011 17-inch MacBook Pro at least has an ExpressCard/34 slot, so you could get similar performance from a solution such as the FirmTek SeriTek/6G eSATA adapter, but that is not an inexpensive proposition either at $119.95.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    While 327 MB/s would probably be achievable over USB 3.0 using the same pair of HDD's, the highest number I've ever seen posted in an AnandTech article for single controller sequential USB 3.0 throughput is 326 MB/s (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4688/highpoints-rock... The highest throughput claim that Renesas (NEC) has made for their latest USB 3.0 controller and UAS driver is only 370 MB/s. Even the USB-IF indicates that the upper limit for real world USB 3.0 throughput is right around 400 MB/s. 654 (twice 327) is a significantly larger number than 400 (the maximum speed of USB 3.0).

    This particular device is limited by the HDD's used. The Thunderbolt controller is good for 1000 MB/s, and (if it is indeed using the same chip as the Thunderbolt LBD) the SATA controller is a Marvell 88SE9182, 2-port, 6 Gbit/s controller capable of 490 MB/s sequential reads on a single port (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/gigab... Unfortunately, the other limiting factor is the lack of Mac OS X driver support for the 88SE9182, which only allows 3 Gbit/s link speeds to be negotiated for the attached drives.

    Thus as Kristian pointed out, the result is similar to connecting two drives in RAID 0 via a single eSATA 6 Gbit/s port.
    Reply
  • zorxd - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    327 is the combined maximum speed of both drives in RAID0. A single drive should achieve about half of that. There is no 654 in the equation. Reply
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    You said, "(327MB/s) is only about half of USB3's speed." 327 is exactly half of 654, whereas 200 would be half of USB 3.0's maximum potential throughput. 327 is almost exactly 100% of USB 3.0's real world throughput achievable with currently shipping controllers and drivers.

    If you meant the speed of the individual drives is about half of USB 3.0's speed, then yes, I totally agree.
    Reply
  • tech6 - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    7200 "rounds per minute" - are they selling 7200 revolutions per minute drive or a really fast machine gun? Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    Sorry, I've fixed it now. In theory, a round also means a circle so it's not wrong. Rounds per minute is more often used with guns while revolutions per minute is used with hard drives. Reply
  • MrMJ - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    In my current computer:
    Dell T7500
    LSI 9260-8i
    2 x 1TB 7200RPM SAS Drives - RAID1 - OS
    2 x 2TB 7200RPM SAS Drives - RAID0 - Temp Data
    3 x 2TB 7200RPM SAS Drives - RAID5 - Data Storage

    Throughput on the RAID0 SAS Drives using Seq tests:
    397.2 Read MB/S
    294.7 Write MB/s

    Based on these numbers, I'm impressed by the Lacie unit... But I would rather see a RAID1 or 5 for such a large capacity of data.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    RAID 1 is supported. RAID 5 would require more drives and a RAID controller, hence it's not supported (though you can look into Pegasus for that). Reply
  • MrMJ - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    I wonder if JBOD would be possible with these. Reply

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