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We are in the process of writing up a 'Thunderbolt roundup' from IBC, but thought this was worth a special post. LaCie has released a drive that can convert into an HDD/SDD combination for faster speeds.

Apple's Fusion drive is a brilliant idea, couple a clever SSD cache with a hard disk and you get fast speeds with a decent amount of storage for a good price. But that's the boot drive and as we all know, storing lots of media on there isn't a good idea.

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At IBC 2014 LaCie announced the d2 Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 drive. The newly designed enclosure is an aluminium unibody that reduces noise and dissipates heat. It also has a full length rubber foot to dampen vibration. On the back panel you will find dual Thunderbolt 2 ports as well as a single USB 3 port, a Kensington lock slot and the power connector. The Tpiece on the bottom is for cable management so that connectors don't pull out by mistake.

Intermally there are three options for disk size. The 3TB retails at $299, the 4TB at $399 and the 6TB at $499. All drives spin at 7200 RPM and will give data transfer speed of up to 220 MB/s.


Now, here comes the really clever part!

LaCie also sell a $299 128 GB SSD upgrade which slots into the back of the unit. When first installed, the SSD and HDD will appear as two separate drives with the SSD giving 1150 MB/s reads. 

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LaCie give no information on how to coupe these two drives into one, but a quick bit of Googling proves that to make a Fusion style drive all you need to do is enter a few lines of code in the Terminal.

Apple's Fusion drive is of course much more complex than a quick HDD/SDD join. The LaCie combined drive won't do smart moving of data based on how often files have been accessed. What it will do though is speed up general data rates and provide much larger (faster) data capacities externally.

A very interesting development in the storage market and we can see more manufacturers buffering their HDDs with SSD in the future. Hopefully we will get a unit on test so that we can join the drives and see how they perform with video files. It will be good to see how fast a file larger than 128 GB will take to read & write.



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