LaCie All-Terraine Hard Disk (250GB) Recommended

One of the major pains for me is to find an external storage solution for my Mac Power PC G4. This model limits its USB port power to the 500ma specified in the standards for this type of port. Problem is that hard drives will draw a lot more than 500ma, especially for start up. You will find that most all manufacturers that sell portable hard drives fail to include the USB Y cable to draw power from two USB ports for guys like me that have the older computer. New Mac laptops provide the necessary power to properly run these pocket size portable hard drives. I was at L.A. Computer Company looking over their hard drives. A salesman came over to offer help. I told him of my problem and he told me to go with Firewire. I did not realize that that port properly powered the external hard drive. My son was with me and with the help of the salesman they both chose the LaCie All-Terraine Hard Disk. On the bar code tag it is called the LaCie Rugged HD. In short, it worked! No drivers to install. This drive offers Firewire 800, Firewire 400, and USB 2. Now here is the clever part of this. For USB you get TWO cables. One is a USB at one end and at the other end is a power connection! Not only that, that USB that gives only power out is long enough to run to the other side of the laptop. Now we know that that power connection will NOT properly power the drive. Then we plug in the second USB cable to the second laptop port and to the drive itself. The unit properly powers up and mounts. The problem with the USB port choice is having to use 2 cables. I much prefer to use the Firewire interface – only one cable.

Note that this manufacturer seems to understand that some laptops have only two USB ports and those ports are on either side of the machine. To properly use the USB interface and forced to use both one USB wire must be a lot longer. I can not figure out if it is stupid engineers or stupid managers that can not figure out this problem. LaCie seems to know what it is doing!

I tried out LaCie’s “1 Click” backup software and it is terrific. The interface is direct, meaning fast. The default backup copies everything within your user’s home folder. Now all of my documents, web site backups, pictures, music, etc. are there on this backup drive in a format that is the same as on my hard drive. There is no compression making the contents useless for my immediate use.

My biggest problem is pictures. I take alot of them and they take up a LOT of room because I love to shoot RAW format (8 to 9.5 MB per image) and typically I might shoot over 100 images. I can easily reach one gig file size each time I download my camera images.

Here are some more points about this drive:

  • Not shirt pocket size.
  • Shock resistant.
  • Cute color side bumpers.
  • Gets mighty hot when doing a back up.
  • No power supply included. Unit must draw power from laptop. The unit does have provision for external power.
  • No power or activity indicator (LED). (I pick the unit up and slowly try to turn it up or down in the air and the internal gyroscopic action of the rotating memory disk offers resistance to this move indicating the unit is getting power).
  • Fujitsu inside the cute LaCie case.
  • 5400 RP.
  • 8MB cache.
  • Hard drive mounts and numounts quickly and perfectly.
  • Cost at L.A. Computer Company, $219 (discount for cash). The LaCie web site states list price at $199.99. You can do better, for price, at some other store but factor in shipping.
  • Up to 800Mbits/s with FireWire 800.
  • Compatible with Time Machine.
  • 3 year warranty.
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