LaCie: It’s French for Lemon

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 9, 2009 in Tech |

 LaCie is the best designed coffin you can put a harddrive into.

Tech Rant du Jour: Once upon of time LaCie made reliable external harddrives that looked great on your desktop. Sadly for yours truly that day came to an end today when not one, but two of my LaCie Porsche model drives went to heaven. The odd thing is that both were different models from different years. With some luck and skill and I was able to salvage one, but the other may be history. So that other may learn from my mistakes here’s what I learned today:

The quality of LaCie hardware has gone down the tubes: Both LaCie drives almost survived their crash, but that was due to the harddrives themselves — one was a Seagate the other was a Western Digital. But what killed them was the internal board that connected the drive to the power supply — so the one thing that LaCie makes was the clunker. Next I realized that the drives may have overheated more often then not due to just how tight the enclosure is around the drive. So while the outside looks sexy the inside is an oven, which is not where you want your data sitting. Simply put: The LaCie is the best designed coffin you can put a harddrive into.

The inside of a LaCie

I did figure out how to open a LaCie: It’s not a pretty process because it’s a one way street but the only way to open a Porsche model LaCie is to gently insert a flathead screwdriver on the bottom of the the case and to slowly and with great care pry the damn case off of it. Once you’ve done that you can unscrew it from the inner container and remount it. You should only do this if you’ve given up on the drive and have done this sort of thing before. I have to say that it too me a great deal of faith to pry something open that didn’t have external screws.

An External Hard Drive Enclosure is Your Friend

Always have at least two external harddrive enclosures on hand: I had previously purchased an external enclosure when my old Dell went to heaven due to a power supply failure. I’ve got to say having these at your hands and not having to run out to Staples will make your day if something ever goes wrong. At first these are a bit intimidating if you aren’t a hardware hacker, but once you get the hang of it you’re set for life. The trick is that every harddrive has a plug for the data and one for the power — once you figure that out how to plug hat in you’re all set.

Try to avoid those small cute drives: If you can’t take it apart you may find yourself screwed. So sacrifice desk real estate for stability.

Glyph: Ugly but reliable!

Glyph will never fail you: A few years ago after a harddrive failure that Tekserve saved me from, I asked them what was the best external drive was? Their answer was the Glyph GT line. These are the most ugly external harddrives I’ve ever seen but I’ve never had one fail me yet. They’re mostly used by folks in the video and audio business and they’re quite rugged to say the least.

Always Have Two Copies: It’s not enough to have a backup, your backup also needs a backup too…

Editor’s Note: After I posted this a friend told that he was told by LaCie that the expected lifespan for their products was 16 months — which is a very depressing stat for a hardware company.


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