On the face of it the LaCie d2 Quadra has a lot going for it. The "Quadra" in this case refers to the fact that you're provided with quadruple interface options, including eSATA and USB, in addition to both 400 and 800 variants of FireWire.

Better still, you get four high-quality cables bundled with the drive - one for each connection standard - so you're ready to go whichever you choose (at least, until you decide to power up the device and discover the - more below). The case itself holds only a single hard drive, even in the maximum 1TB configuration of the drive.

The d2 Quadra is typically stylish, in the great LaCie tradition, and feels very solid as it's well put together. Neat extras include a configurable front panel button for various one-touch operations, such as launching the bundled EMC Retrospect Express back-up software that's bundled with the drive. There's also a three-level power management system, including manual and auto-power-sensing options - perfect for the environmentally conscious PC user.

Wait a minute...

With so many great features and smart options, we couldn't wait to get going with the d2 Quadra. However, as it turned out a considerable wait is just what we were in for. The reason for this is that the drive comes pre-formatted in Apple's HFS+ file system - why? - so you have to reformat the drive from scratch before you can even use it with a Windows PC, which is a real chore.

So long as you don't mind setting aside a few hours to reformat the drive before you start using it, the d2 Quadra is a top performer at the price.