Let’s face it if you want super-fast storage you’re going to have to pay for it. Buying a naked Nvme drive is not cheap. A 1TB Nvme drive will set you back £150, for a decent one, 2TB you’re looking at £300 and 4TB anywhere between the £600 to £1000.
That’s before you think of the enclosure which will set you back at least £4-500.
Then there’s the dock, one like the excellent OWC will cost you the best part of £400 so before you know it, and at the cheapest, you’re looking at least £1000 and that’s for a bunch of random hardware plugged together.
When I first saw the price of the Lacie 1Big DOCK SSD PRO at £1299 I was taken aback at the cost, after all, I could buy an iPhone 12 Pro for that or a new MacBook, DJI Mavic Pro 2 etc. But then this is a serious piece of kit that does one of two things.
Firstly it vastly speeds up your workflow. Plug it in, connect, and the software features alone will help save you time with the downloading and organising of files.
Then there’s the dock aspect; there’s no fiddling around with wires. I went as far as to connect it in with the OWC, and a 6TB archive storage and everything worked smoothly together.
From the moment you download your files, to work on them for your video or photo projects and then to transfer to storage, the Lacie 1Big DOCK SSD PRO makes things easy.
The only addition that I would make is to the archive feature in the software. Essentially, when you finish a project, it copies the files to your selected server or archive disk before erasing the files from the 1Big DOCK SSD PRO.
Otherwise, yes, this drive is expensive, but the Lacie 1Big DOCK SSD PRO is exceptionally well thought out, fast and should be an essential part of any videographers studio.
Excellent Docking features
Includes card ports
Large blue status light on front can be distracting
What is the Lacie 1Big DOCK SSD PRO?
Storage of any type is never going to gain the mainstream interest of the latest Canon, Nikon or Sony cameras. But, as those cameras push the boundaries image and video resolution, standard static storage has to evolve to keep up, and that’s exactly where the Lacie 1Big DOCK SSD PRO comes in.
The Thunderbolt 3 Lacie 1Big DOCK SSD PRO has been designed with videographers and photographers in mind. It features a super-fast Nvme SSD that enables transfer speeds that will challenge your machines internal storage.
Card slots, pass-through power, docking features and a slick design all add to this external hard drives desirability. But, at this price are all the features on offer really worth it?
Transfer Speeds: Up to 2,800 MB/s
Capacity : Up to 4 TB of Seagate® FireCuda® SSD storage
Card slots and ports: USB hub, SD, CFast 2.0, and CFexpress card slots
DisplayPort: 1.4 video output for 4K monitors
ThunderBolt: Dual Thunderbolt™ 3 ports for daisy chain
Software: LaCie® Toolkit software suite
When it comes to features, few external hard drives come anywhere close to the functionality of the Lacie 1Big.
First and foremost there’s the 2 or 4TB internal Seagate FireCuda SSD that enables transfers speeds of up to 2,800MB/s through a Thunderbolt 3 connection.
Using these transfer speeds is going to create heat, so from the exterior to the internal drive casing, everything has been designed to ensure that temperatures are kept in check.
As well as the obvious storage feature, the Lacie 1Big DOCK SSD PRO has two other main features.
The first is the memory card ports on the front of the box that enables the insertion of SD, CFast 2.0 and CFExpress, joining these is a standard USB 3.1, so other card readers or accessories can be quickly attached.
Turn to the back of the unit, and you have a fully-featured Dock with Dual Thunderbolt 3 one with power pass-through and a DisplayPort 1.4.
The Lacie 1Big DOCK SSD PRO is designed for use on a desktop rather than being portable, although it is perfectly portable, but does require it’s own mains power.
Size and weight are 1.3kg, so not the lightest of drives but considering it’s intended use it doesn’t need to be.
Size is 215 x 117 x 56mm, which means that it comfortably fits on the desk, but equally will pack into a bag if needed. The design is also very elegant, so aesthetically it blends into the studio very nicely.
As with previous Lacie drives, however, there is a big blue light on the front this highlights the status of the drive. While this is useful some of the time, it can also be distracting.
Build and Handling
Performance, which I’ll come to in a bit, and looks aside, the build quality of the Lacie 1Big DOCK SSD PRO is exceptional. And you’d expect it to be at a price. The 2TB version is expensive; the 4TB version is hugely expensive.
The metal exterior and overall feel, weight and size of the hard drive are as you’d expect for a product in this price bracket.
Getting started with the drive is easy enough, plug-in power and connect to your computer through Thunderbolt 3, then switch everything on.
There’s a small power button on the back of the case and a Sleep/Wake button as well.
It’s worth pointing out that there’s also a Kensington Lock Port for security so you can bolt it to your desk or wall if needed.
In this test, I’m using my freshly back from Apple MacBook Pro 2018, with the connection made through one Thunderbolt 3 cable. I then plugged other drives and docks into the back of the Lacie 1Big DOCK SSD PRO and my monitor, a BenQ, directly into the DisplayPort.
On booting everything worked without a hitch, there was no messing with additional software and the monitor sprung to life as it does using my usual OWC dock.
Before starting with copying files or any other work I installed and prepared the drive with the Lacie Toolkit download, this software installs to the Menu bar and appears at Start-up.
It’s a nifty bit of software and enables the automatic uploading of data from cards to the drive as soon as they’re connected. You can also set the drive to act as a complete backup for your computer, much like TimeMachine or BackBlaze.
After adjusting the settings, although I did allow on full machine backup, I switched off the machine backup option. It seems a shame to take up valuable space with the junk from my laptop.
I then set about fine-tuning the settings for the drive to be used as a working drive. Once done I was set to go, testing the unit for downloading files and editing footage in Final Cut Pro X.
I started by popping in two types of card, CFExpress and SD UHS-II, in both cases the first 128GB CFExpress and 64GB UHS-II card were cleared at staggering speed and copied over to the drive with no additional help from me.
On insertion, the drive recognised the cards, created a folder for the contents and copied the lot across. The speed was incredible, not even enough time to go and make myself a coffee in both instances.
Neither card was 100% full, but to give you an idea of the transfer speeds I ran a test on the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and the results confirmed just how fast this drive is.
Read speed: 2,298MB/s
Write speed: 2,194MB/s
These speeds are close to the internal Nvme in my MacBook Pro.
Read speed: 2,534MB/s
Write speed: 2,543MB/s
Copying data is one thing, but even fast drives like this can slow dramatically as the hardware is put under load and the drives heat-up.
In my old Mac Pro 2013, the performance of the third party Nvme drive is kept relatively constant by the inclusion of a large heat sink, with it the speed varies by about 10-25% under load from 1200MB/s to 800MB/s, without it the speed can drop to well below 100MB/s.
Loading up an hour of 4K video in a three-channel production should be enough to test both me and the drive.
After a couple of hours, aside from a few moments where the Mac struggled with the content, the drive kept up with excellent efficiency.
The only time there was a stumble was during the grading process but checking the integrity of the drive connection and speed highlighted that there was no performance drop with the drive at least.
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