Most people who own a Mac will buy external storage at some stage. Leopard gives you a good reason because you’ll need one if you want to run Time Machine, for instance. Perhaps your primary drive is filling up or you want to get into the habit of saving material to an external drive. Whatever your reasons, having a reliable external drive to hand is always useful.
Just a handful of original manufacturers build external hard drives. This makes it hard to find meaningful speed discrepancies between different external hard drive boxes, unless you pit a 7,200rpm against a slower 5,400rpm drive, or use FireWire over a USB connection. You might find a 5% difference between brands, but we’re talking just a few seconds’ difference.
The Golden Disk has a 7,200rpm drive with 500GB capacity. From a two-year-old iMac, our 1GB test folder wrote to the Golden Disk in 52 seconds and read back in 45 seconds. That’s acceptable but not startling.
Worth the money?
You only get the one USB 2.0 port to connect the Golden Disk to your Mac, so unless you use that port to connect to a router, local sharing options are limited. Also, the price per gigabyte isn’t as impressive as some. With speed being fairly constant across the market, LaCie has added a premium to the drive, courtesy of its admittedly stunning design. At £98 it’s still incredible value, but we estimate you’re paying extra for that lovely gold covering. For example, a Western Digital My Book 500GB drive costs just £75 on Amazon with the same 7,200rpm drive and USB port.
In the package, you get the drive, a USB 2.0 cable and a software disk with LaCie 1-Click backup software, which worked fine for us, although a glance at Apple’s user forums reveals that some people have had problems. No encryption software is provided, but there’s nothing to stop you using third-party encryption software if you hunt around for it.
The drive made a slight ticking noise during indexing scans, and both it and its power adaptor ran hot after a short while (it doesn’t have a fan or much venting). Aside from this, it did its job well.
LaCie has been around for donkey’s years and you can rely on the company and its service record. While performance isn’t ground-breaking, the design is certainly worth forking out for. You can buy cheaper storage with more connection options, but what you gain in price, you lose in looks.