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LaCie Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt RAID: 4 quick tests before Argentina trip

Thanks to Plurimedios.com of Buenos Aires, Argentina, I was able to do 4 performance tests on a Little Disk-Thunderbolt RAID.

By Allan Tépper | October 09, 2012

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Many ProVideo Coalition magazine readers will recall my review of the excellent PROMISE Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID from January 2012 and its related articles. At NAB I spoke with a few manufacturers who were showing smaller, lower priced Thunderbolt RAIDs but to date, none have sent me any review units so far. However, I had a short time to do 4 quick tests on a LaCie Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt (2TB) before it flies to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ahead you’ll see performance tests via screenshots in 4 possible configurations, how they differ, the pros and cons of journaling your media drives and RAIDs, and some initial conclusions.

Thanks to Plurimedios.com of Buenos Aires, Argentina



Thanks to Jorge of Plurimedios.com of Buenos Aires, Argentina, since he allowed me to perform these tests on his LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB before it flies there.



Prior related articles





General characteristics of the Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt



The Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt is relatively small and light, since it contains two 2.5-inch drives, the type normally used in laptops.


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The Little Big Disk Thunderbolt measures 40 x 140 x 85 mm (1.6 x 5.5 x 3.3 inches) and it weighs 650 grams (1.4 pounds). It has a looping Thunderbolt connection, which allows you to daisy-chain (loop) other devices. However, that means that it cannot be bus-powered: It requires its included AC power supply, which fortunately is dual voltage and comes with several removable plugs for international use. Other Thunderbolt drives on the market that are bus-powered by definition do not require external power, but don’t allow daisy-chaining either. This situation is gradually becoming somewhat alleviated by the arrival of Macs that have more than one Thunderbolt port.



LaCie’s Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt offers either RAID0 or RAID1



For those readers who may be unfamiliar, there are many types of RAIDs. The Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt (2TB) from LaCie offers RAID1 or RAID0. It ships as RAID0, but you can change that after receiving it if you’d like. RAID0 offers much better performance (speed) to allow for smoother editing with more real time layers, but without redundancy. RAID1 offers redundancy in case of a drive failure, but no performance increase. Other RAIDs (with a larger number of internal drives) can offer other types of RAID configurations, including those which offer both increased performance and speed, like RAID5 and Drobo’s BeyondRAID.



To journal your media drives, or not to journal them? That is the question for video editors!



It came to me as no surprise to see that the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt that arrived for Plurimedios.com came from the supplier formatted with HFS+ (aka HFS Plus or Mac OS Extended). However, what I found a bit surprising was that it also shipped with journaling active. The traditional wisdom for video editors has been to de-activate journaling on media drives, since despite journaling’s great benefits, they were overridden by the resources that journaling demands. In other words, the drive or RAID was so busy doing its own maintenance that it couldn’t keep up with playing video without jumping. So for a long time, video editors have de-activated journaling on media drives. When I reviewed the Pegasus, I got a very logical answer from Billy Harrison, the Pegasus product manager at PROMISE. Here was his response:




Data integrity is the most important aspect of every product we design, manufacture and sell. Disabling Journaling on drives was recommended (in the past) because volumes on single drives and even lower-end software RAID based products take a performance hit with Journaling enabled. We design our products to ensure volume Journaling (in any OS) does not impact performance allowing the user to exploit our product to its maximum potential.


However, it is clear that the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt (2TB) is a 2-drive unit that used software RAID. So I must conclude that LaCie either thought that most users will be using their drives for something other than video editing. Fortunately, this is easily changed using the Apple Disk Utility without even having to reformat the drive: Just hold down the Option key and then go to the File menu in Disk Utility and you’ll see the option to Enable Journaling or Disable Journaling. If your Mac is configured in Castilian, the commands under the Archivo menu are Activar registro or Desactivar registro, respectively.



Performance using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test



Ahead you’ll find speed tests in each of four modes (all test done in the app’s 5GB mode, which is most demanding test):



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Test of Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB in RAID0 with journaling active


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Test of Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB in RAID0 without journaling active


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Test of Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB in RAID1 with journaling active


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Test of Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB in RAID1 without journaling active


User-serviceable?



Unlike some other RAIDs on the market, the Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt don’t seem to be appear to be designed to be user-serviceable. Don’t expect quick swapability with this unit.



Upcoming reviews of other Thunderbolt RAIDs



I plan to review other Thunderbolt RAIDs soon. If you are a manufacturer who would like me to review your Thunderbolt RAID or drive, contact me here.



To make sure you continue to see my upcoming articles, sign up to my mailing list here.



My latest ebook



I have just published an ebook in two languages.
The format is Kindle, but even if you don’t have a Kindle device, you can read Kindle books on many other devices using a free Kindle app. That includes iPad, iPhone, Android phones, Android tablets, Mac computers, Windows computers, some Blackberry phones and Windows 7 phones.



In English:
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In English, it is currently available in the following Amazon stores, depending upon your region:



If you’re going to buy a Kindle book as a gift, you must do so via the Pan-American Amazon store (the first one listed above), regardless of where you live or where the recipient lives.



En castellano:
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En castellano, está disponible actualmente en las siguientes tiendas Amazon, según tu región:



Si vas a comprar un libro Kindle como regalo, debes hacerlo vía la tienda panamericana de Amazon (la primera de la lista) sin importar donde vivas tú o donde viva la persona que recibirá el regalo.



Allan T©pper's books, consulting, articles, seminars & audio programs



Contact Allan T©pper for consulting, or find a full listing of his books, articles and upcoming seminars and webinars at AllanTepper.com. Listen to his TecnoTur program, which is now available both in Castilian (aka "Spanish") and in English, free of charge. Search for TecnoTur in iTunes or visit TecnoTur.us for more information.

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC's rules


No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan T©pper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted T©pper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan T©pper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs.

Copyright and use of this article
The articles contained in the TecnoTur channel in ProVideo Coalition magazine are copyright Allan T©pper/TecnoTur LLC, except where otherwise attributed. Unauthorized use is prohibited without prior approval, except for short quotes which link back to this page, which are encouraged!

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