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Thunderbolt-equipped LaCie desktop drives hit the Apple Store

Slowly but surely, Thunderbolt (s intc) accessories for Apple’s Mac (s aapl) computers are making their way to retail. On Tuesday Apple began selling the LaCie Little Big Disk in both 1 TB and 2 TB capacities with Thunderbolt connectivity. The drives retail for $399.95 and $499.95 respectively and ship in one to two weeks.

LaCie’s desktop RAID drives feature either two 500 GB 7200 RPM or two 1 TB 5400 RPM hard disk drives mounted in a single case, and each features two Thunderbolt connectors for attaching to your computer and for daisy-chaining with other Thunderbolt-equipped accessories. Mini DisplayPort monitors can also connect to the LaCie Big Disk Thunderbolt series, but one of those must cap the daisy chain if you plan to use it with other Thunderbolt devices.

The drives are light, at 1.4 lbs each, and can achieve transfer rates of 251 MB/s. If you daisy chain four together, LaCie says you can hit even higher speeds, up to a maximum of 782 MB/s. Note that this would also require four Thunderbolt cables, which Apple sells for $49 each. And the LaCie drives don’t ship with a Thunderbolt cable .

LaCie’s target market with these drives is creative professionals who needs need the speed of Thunderbolt and also a conveniently portable form factor. The Little Big Disk is a much cheaper option than the Promise Pegasus RAID System, which debuted in June and starts at $999 for a 4 TB version. Still, it probably won’t appeal to the average consumer for whom an equivalent 1 TB drive at around $70 or a little more with USB or FireWire connectivity is more than adequate.

If I did just a bit more video and photo editing than I do now, I can see the LaCie being a good option for an external project scratch disk. LaCie also supposedly has an SSD option on the way, but that will likely be even more expensive. Anyone else thinking about grabbing one of these?

4 Responses to “Thunderbolt-equipped LaCie desktop drives hit the Apple Store”

  1. Rob Klaproth

    What a rip off…. When is someone just going to come out with an enclosure that I can put my old drives in? I have like 5 external drives laying around and I would love to take them out of their USB 2 enclosures and put them in a Thunderbolt enclosure… Is the price premium for Thunderbolt really that high, or is La Cie just raping us for being first? I can’t wait until Seagate ships the GoFlex Thunderbolt connector, since I already have a GoFlex drive with a usb3 and a firewire connector (i paid only $20 for the firewire option).. Crossing my fingers. I know my old 7200 and 5400RPM drives won’t be able to take full advantage of the thunderbolt speed, but it sure would be nice to know I’m able to use the full capacity of the speed of my drive rather then being doggedly limited by USB 2.0

  2. Murphy Mac

    Too much money. Looking forward to a price drop. On the cables too.

    I wonder if it’s quicker to wake up than Drobo.

    I think it’s still to early to tell if this is going to catch on. Apple has created a bunch of incompatible mac model releases as far as displays and various features go. It’s hard to tell how long they’ll stick with something at this point.