Miscellaneous Aspects and Concluding Remarks

The performance of the storage bridges / drives in various real-world access traces as well as synthetic workloads was brought out in the preceding sections. We also looked at the performance consistency for these cases. Power users may also be interested in performance consistency under worst-case conditions, as well as drive power consumption. The latter is also important when used with battery powered devices such as notebooks and smartphones. Pricing is also an important aspect. We analyze each of these in detail below.

Worst-Case Performance Consistency

Flash-based storage devices tend to slow down in unpredictable ways when subject to a large number of small-sized random writes. Many benchmarks use that scheme to pre-condition devices prior to the actual testing in order to get a worst-case representative number. Fortunately, such workloads are uncommon for direct-attached storage devices, where workloads are largely sequential in nature. Use of SLC caching as well as firmware caps to prevent overheating may cause drop in write speeds when a flash-based DAS device is subject to sustained sequential writes.

Our Sequential Writes Performance Consistency Test configures the device as a raw physical disk (after deleting configured volumes). A fio workload is set up to write sequential data to the raw drive with a block size of 128K and iodepth of 32 to cover 90% of the drive capacity. The internal temperature is recorded at either end of the workload, while the instantaneous write data rate and cumulative total write data amount are recorded at 1-second intervals.

Sequential Writes to 90% Capacity - Performance Consistency

The LaCie Rugged Mini SSD 2TB offers a peak speed of 1670 MBps for this access pattern and sustains it for around 350s, pointing to a SLC cache of around 570GB (actual size is probably a bit smaller, given the background folding in the picture). Beyond that, the drive is able to sustain around 200 MBps all through. The thermal profile seems satisfactory, given that we only tracked the temperature at the beginning and end of the process. These numbers need to be compared against the Crucial X10 Pro's 1600 MBps for 600s, and a drop to 1300 MBps after that.

These numbers track our findings in the previous benchmark section. The LaCie Rugged Mini delivers slightly better performance numbers for workloads as long as the SLC cache is in play. Crucial seems to have tweaked the peak speeds to give enough time for folding, and that allows the X10 Pro to retain 1GBps+ numbers for the full span of the drive.

Power Consumption

Bus-powered devices can configure themselves to operate within the power delivery constraints of the host port. While Thunderbolt ports are guaranteed to supply up to 15W for client devices, USB 2.0 ports are guaranteed to deliver only 2.5W (500mA @ 5V). In this context, it is interesting to have a fine-grained look at the power consumption profile of the various external drives. Using the ChargerLAB KM003C, the bus power consumption of the drives was tracked while processing the CrystalDiskMark workloads (separated by 5s intervals). The graphs below plot the instantaneous bus power consumption against time, while singling out the maximum and minimum power consumption numbers.

CrystalDiskMark Workloads - Power Consumption

Despite the firmware differences, the power consumption profile is remarkably similar for the LaCie Rugged Mini SSD and the Crucial X10 Pro. The peak is around 4W, but the PSSD spends most of the time around the 2W mark. The lack of a true deep sleep mode is unfortunate, as PSSDs like the Kingston XS2000 based on the same controller have no trouble in going into that mode after idling for around 20 minutes.

Final Words

The LaCie Rugged Mini SSD is available for purchase today, with suggested pricing of $80 (500GB), $120 (1TB), $190 (2TB), and US$350 (4TB) for the different SKUs. As part of the value additions, the PSSD is supported by the LaCie Toolkit software for on-demand backup and mirroring software, which allows for seamless file access and syncing across multiple devices. The PSSD carries a three-year warranty along with the Rescue Data Recovery service. A one-month subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps plan is also bundled in the price.

LaCie's offerings have usually carried a premium, and while the Rugged Mini SSD maintains that trend, it is not as absurd as Samsung's play with their T9. The value proposition is decent - we could argue that the Crucial X10 Pro wins out on that front. However, among PSSDs based on native UFD controllers (that bring in power efficiency advantages at the cost of random access performance for generic storage workloads), the performance profile of the Rugged Mini SSD does stand out. With a SLC cache of more than 25% of the drive, only extreme power users can manage to run into the drive's limitations.

Cutting a long story short, if one is planning on buying a power-efficient 2TB PSSD, and believe that any use-case may involve transferring more than 500GB of content in one shot, the Crucial X10 Pro is probably the drive to get. Otherwise, the LaCie Rugged Mini only demands a small price and physical dimensions premium for a rugged IP54-rated 2GBps-class portable SSD.

Performance Benchmarks
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  • VinceVDC - Wednesday, January 3, 2024 - link

    I bought my first LaCie drive in 1987. It was a 100mb SCSI drive and cost $1100. The thing still works but is pretty much useless due to its size.
  • ballsystemlord - Wednesday, January 3, 2024 - link

    Can you upload a picture and post a link here? That'd be cool to see!
  • VinceVDC - Friday, January 5, 2024 - link

    It was part of my "this is what computers used to look like" display when I had lots of room at home.
    Let me see if I can find it after the move (downsized).. Sooo many boxes, lol
    The Mac SE it was attached to failed the smoke test a couple years ago.
    Picture a 5-1/4 inch external CD drive with a 25 pin SCSI connector.

    I bought it in 1987 from the LaCie office in Tigard, OR.
  • Da Kat - Thursday, January 4, 2024 - link

    As big as a Kia, I'd bet..
  • Mehere88 - Tuesday, January 9, 2024 - link

    Why tout a 20Gbps connection for a device that can't go past 2.8 Gbps?
  • mikato - Friday, January 19, 2024 - link

    Why have an orange bumper around it for a device that isn't sensitive to physical shock damage?
  • Chrestos SV1GAP - Thursday, February 8, 2024 - link

    There is a (minor) error:
    "Review Link Crucial X10 Pro 2TB Review Crucial X10 Pro 2TB Review"
  • J.in.Tech - Friday, February 16, 2024 - link

    As someone who has purchased Lacie drives on and off over the years, and literally all of them failing, I am weary of the brand regardless of them now being owned by Seagate.

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