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  • Cow86 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    talk about overpriced! Don't think this is going to have much appeal, even to the biggest Apple fanboys...not at this price. $900 (€900 too?) for 240GB of external storage? Reply
  • iamezza - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    I lol'd Reply
  • r3loaded - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    There are a couple of reasons Thunderbolt drives are overpriced:

    1) It's not available on any other computer at the moment.
    2) Apple computer owners tend to spend more freely, and the manufacturers are taking advantage of this.
    3) There's a lot of logic required - SATA to PCIe, then PCIe to Thunderbolt.
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    I'll agree that it appears overpriced, and that there are reasons for this, but I see them as:

    1) There is still a dearth of Thunderbolt controller chips for third party OEM's other than Apple to utilize in devices.

    2) This is the first and only compact Thunderbolt drive enclosure on the market.

    3) It's made by LaCie, who pay a heck of a lot for designs by the likes of Neil Poulton, Phillipe Starke, Porsche Design, etc. In fact, the non-Thunderbolt 1TB Little Big Disk Quadra lists for $369.99, or only $79.96 less than the Thunderbolt version goes for on the Apple Store.

    4) We are accustomed to checking the prices of bare drives at high-turnover etailers such as Newegg, who have thin margins and change pricing almost daily. When a company like LaCie has to set a list price for a new product, they take into account that although they are setting a price that will remain constant for 12 months or so, the market will most likely change considerably during that time. They shoot high, knowing that retailers will discount as soon as demand eases, and also to hedge against the possibility of their component costs increasing unexpectedly. In light of the current situation after the flooding in Thailand, this makes perfect sense.

    5) There is a lot of logic in there, but the additional cost has nothing to do with the SATA to PCIe business. All of the bridging is performed by one Marvell 88SE9182 SATA 6 Gbit/s controller, and one Intel Light Ridge Thunderbolt controller. (The former not being particularly expensive at all.) There are, however, 10 additional chips required in order to support the connection of DisplayPort devices to either of the ports on the back of the drive, should a user choose to do so.
  • Someguyperson - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    The 2TB LaCie has two 1TB drives, not two 500GB drives. Reply
  • Juddog - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    Too much money for what you get; as mentioned by Anand, LaCie really needs to just offer the enclosure and let users put in their own drives. Reply
  • ggathagan - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    La Cie is not, and has never been, in the DIY market.
    You'll be waiting a looong time for them to put out an empty enclosure.
    While they may not be as pretty, however, you can bet other providers will step to the plate as soon as the components are more widely available.
  • dagamer34 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    At this pricing, Thunderbolt really is going to be the next FireWire. I just want a simple Thunderbolt to eSATA or USB 3.0 adapter damn it! Reply
  • BoloMKXXVIII - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    "a simple SATA controller, which then connects to a PCIe controller finally terminated at a Thunderbolt controller". You would think for this type of money they would at least create a SATA to Thunderbolt solution. Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    It's actually a dual-port 6Gb/s SATA PCIe 2.0 x2 HBA/RAID controller and a dual-port Light Ridge Thunderbolt controller. Unless you're Intel, you're not making a custom Thunderbolt to anything bridge chip. The whole point of Thunderbolt is that you can use any off-the-shelf PCIe-to-x host controllers to enable the functionality of your device. Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    Anand, how does the SATA controller in the Little Big Disk show up in the System Information panel?

    Owners of the HDD based version who swapped in SSD's reported that it shows up on their systems as an Unknown AHCI controller with a Link Speed of 6.0 Gigabit but a Negotiated Link Speed of only 3.0 Gigabit. I assumed that the shipping delay for the SSD version of this unit was due to the development of a Mac OS X driver for the Marvell 88SE9182, however LaCie seem to have dodged this altogether by simply using 3Gbps drives...
  • enderwiggin21 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    and to follow up.. can this driver be ported over to the first release so i can get a full 6Gbps out of my chassis with crucial SSDs? Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    Wow, 900$ for 2 Intel 120 GB SSDs! They could have gone for a single 256 GB Intel 510 instead and made the enclosure much more portable. And 7.5W at idle and noticeable noise.. you know, neither of this is coming from the SSDs. It's a pioneer device and a niche product, in everything else it just plain s*cks! Reply
  • bobbykasthuri - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    Hi all
    Quick neophyte question: I work with pretty large datasets (>1tb) and analyzing them has kept me tethered to my desktops....I would love a semi-mobile solution. Am wondering if it is at all possible to replace the SSDs in the Lacie enclosure with larger capacity (money, for now, is not much of an issue). Are there form factor limitations, etc?

    thanks and best
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    They have to be 2.5" SATA drives with a 9.5mm z-height. At the moment, it seems that the drives will only operate in 3Gbps mode due to the lack of a native Mac OS X driver for the SATA controller used. However, if you're running Windows, there are various drivers available which would most likely allow you to enable 6Gbps.

    A bunch of folks bought the 1TB HDD version, which is much cheaper, and swapped in SSD's of their own. There's a thread in the MacRumors forums that details their adventures, if you're interested.
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    Sorry, just noticed that you said you needed >1TB. In which case this design currently tops out at 2TB with HDD's and 1.2TB with SSD's. And the SSD's (600GB versions of the Intel SSD 320) will run you north of $2200. Reply
  • bobbykasthuri - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    Thanks will check out the thread. When o when will I be able to access tb of data at Gb/s using the slimmest Hexacore laptop connected to 3 27" displays ? It's all I need right now to figure out how brains work and no one wants to do this one simple things :).

  • tsnorquist - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    $3.75 a GB.... No thanks. Reply
  • mschira - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    I think one of the most annoying bits is that it doesn't have a USB port or eSATA or whatever.
    So you can only plug this into a new Mac. What if you have an older Mac, too? Or a good forbid a PC?
    You can't use this drive.
    Yea with products like this Thunderbolt is becoming the new Firewire - just much faster...

  • name99 - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    This really is an exceptionally silly comment.

    (a) NO mac has eSATA connectors. La Cie sells to the Mac market; they're not trying to be a generic manufacturer.

    (b) If you spend this sort of money, you're damn well planning to use the TB connector. Why pretend otherwise? It's like complaining that your new $5000 stereo can't play cassettes, or that you spent all this money on a Porsche and it doesn't have enough space to carry three people and their suitcases to the airport.

    You ask "What if you have an older Mac, too? Or a good forbid a PC?"
    Then you don't buy it. Just like, if you don't have an FW800 port, you don't buy FW800 peripherals. If you don't have a 220V electricity, you don't buy 220 V electronics. etc etc.
    This has been another episode of Simple Answer to Moronic Questions.

    La Cie may be leaving money on the floor by not pricing this lower --- but that's a very different issue from the (IMHO irrelevant) issues you bring up.
  • biassj - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    So, Little Big Disk = two Intel SSD on a external case + overpriced.

    Any Mac = PC with Intel CPU and OSX + overpriced.

    Similarity? Yes, both sold on Apple website.

    No Thanks.

    Posted on Iphone 4G S 11/08/2011
  • samspqr - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    yes, I've noticed you're "an ardent supporter of SSDs"

    and still I'm afraid of the move, for two reasons:

    1. because I lost my love for the cutting edge a few years back, when I started to do mor things on my systems instead of spending a lot of time optimizing them (which I truly did); "fast enough" is what I go for today, but even so I could go for a $100 update that promises important performance gains (and not just at startup or application launching, or duplicating files, please: I'm actually doing stuff on my PC, not just launching apps and closing them and going "ooooooohh")

    2. because all those old tales about performance issues at certain tasks, or slowing systems as time goes by, etc, still resonate in my head; I've also read about some reliability issues with some brands, even with modern drives, and that scares me to death: because I have some very important data to work with (but that would probably stay in the HDD anyway, it's video footage and therefore too big) and because sometimes I have to meet deadlines (and having to reinstall the system or troubleshoot a drive at those times would make me very angry)

    the second one is the most important one right now, and it is quite probable that my fear is only caused by my lack of knowledge; and I feel I'm not alone (I think SSD-less PCs are still the vast majority, and it can't only be a price issue)

    therefore: article request: the state of the solid state issue

    how many "issues" are still there, and which ones have already been solved? what hardware and software requirements do I have to meet in order to avoid those issues?
  • dreamcat4 - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    For these Taiwanese suppliers Anand has hinted out to come out with something like this:

    * 2.5" Single Drive Enclosure
    * Self-powered (up to 10w for a single SSD is enough)
    * Optional external power supply
    * Aluminium Chassis, no internal fan
    * One single Channel 6 GPS SATA 3 PCI controller <-> Thunderbolt chip
    * Either one or 2 thunderbolt ports, depending upon the cost to manufacture.
    * Thunderbolt chip also depends upon cost to manufacture.

    So basically a worthy successor to all existing $10 USB 2.0 / SATA 2 enclosures. At a necessarily higher cost but still conceivably somewhere under $50 and therefore generally affordable.

    It seems what we are likely to end up with instead is a wide scale adoption of USB3 peripherals. I am simply concerned because USB3 can't cope with the speeds of the current latest generation SSDs and therefore appears dated by comparison.

    Question: Is there an adoption problem because we are currently lacking the existence of a cheaper 3rd party (i mean non-intel) thunderbolt controller chip? Or perhaps Intel's Light Ridge is cost effective but rather the Thunderbolt technology itself is whats too expensive for this application?

    Jesus, USB3 and Thunderbolt the both of you. What a big market to miss out on.
  • Fandongo - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - link

    Let's guestimate some price points here.
    Imagine the 1TB Octanes costs $1700 (give or take several hundred)
    2x Octanes in 2x working sata 3 laptop ports would = $3400

    To get 2tb from lacie, it would take 8x $900 TB drives = $7200

    One of these things isn't like the other.

    I almost bought a February MBP, because i was wide-eyed at Thunderbolt's possibilities.
    No adapters 9 months later.
    No sata III optical fix.

    Is everyone drunk, stupid, and asleep?

    Or simply petrified at the blurring of the lines between professional and consumer equipment in photo/video/computer land, and doing their absolute best to keep monster production machines out of the hands of common folk.

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