Review LaCie rugged Safe 500GB for PC and Mac

By Tobias Winkler, 06/08/2010

Safe is safe.

Not only for companies, but also private persons have an increasing amount of sensitive data in electronic format. Our test device from LaCie provides a possibility to secure these against unauthorized access.

The recently more frequent data leaks in larger companies, unauthorized use of WLAN networks or some social network's dubious handling of personal data make us think about security issues more and more often.

Whilst companies already should have a very distinctive security interest out on their own effort, private persons still have the attitude: "So what? Let them get my data. They can't do anything with it anyway." However, more and more people are using internet banking, store bank statements on the hard disk, make electronic tax declarations or manage their password and access data. But, also rather trivial files, such as the pictures of the last wild office party or love mails of an affair could be found on a personal hard disk.

Portable devices, such as notebooks and mobile hard disks, have an especially high risk of theft or loss. Quickly picked up or forgotten in the stress of a meeting both have the same result: data gone!

Configuration / Performance

To at least prevent an unauthorized access in such cases and protect the data against misuse, there are various security possibilities. LaCie has had hard disks from the rugged series in its range for a few years already. They are characterized by a robust case, which is to especially be able to cope with the high requirements of mobile use. External hazards are warded off by the rubber coated aluminum case and internal shock absorbers. LaCie promises that the LaCie rugged resist drops of up to 2.2 m. The MIL specifications compliant with MIL-STD-810F are met, according to LaCie.

The model alternative at hand has now been combined with a fingerprint reader, a 128 bit hardware encryption and an access management. You can provide up to 10 users individual access rights and thus make a user classification. The first registered user will, however, permanently be set up as administrator.

This can be managed by the 500 GB hard disk via the included software, LaCie Safe Manager. Aside from that, you'll also find the LaCie Backup Assistant that takes over the necessary data backups.

Both application are found on the hard disk and can be set up quickly and easily at first use. We additionally found a software DVD by the test model, which also has these programs. The setup, just like the hard disk management worked right away under both Windows 7 and Mac OS X. The authorization is made over the reliably working fingerprint reader, which logs the hard disk into Windows as a removable device after a successful scan and releases the data.

Assigning user name and password
Assigning user name and password
Choosing the finger for the fingerprint reader
Choosing the finger for the fingerprint reader
Every finger is scanned three times
Every finger is scanned three times
User management for up to 10 persons
User management for up to 10 persons

Transfer Rates

We established a transfer rate of 27.1 MB/s under Windows 7 Professional 64 bit via USB on an HP 6540b. We couldn't connect with Firewire 800 via IOI ExpressCard . 32 MB/s (USB) and 47 MB/s (FW800) was measured on a Mac Mini (GF9400) with Bootcamp and Vista Home Premium 32 bit by us. We achieved 32 MB/s (USB) and 70 MB/s (FW800) under Mac OS X. The evidently better transfer rates under Mac OS X are striking, and probably originate from LaCie's long Mac tradition.

The noise emissions, which are only expressed as a quiet noise, were always very inconspicuous. These are only audible in very quiet surroundings or in the immediate vicinity of the device.

Verdict

LaCie has a good combination of stability, security features and capacity for security aware users in its program, with the rugged Safe. Even if the transfer rates under Windows can't keep up with those under Mac OS, the hard disk is particularly suitable for users who are at home in both "worlds". The setup and management is intuitive and isn't puzzling. The fingerprint reader works reliably. You only have to accept the larger size resulting from the concept and the not insignificant "security surcharge".

Technical Data / Measuring Results

LaCie rugged Safe 500 GB  
Capacity 500 GB (gross)
Weight 298g
Connections 2x FW800, 1x Mini USB 2.0
  1x power supply
Software LaCie Safe Manager
  LaCie Backup Assistant
Transfer Rates Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
USB 2.0 27,1 MB/s (read)
Transfer Rates Vista Home Premium 32 bit
USB 2.0 29,5 MB/s
Firewire 800 47 MB/s
Transfer Rates Mac Os X 10.3.6
USB 2.0 31,9 MB/s (read)
Firewire 800 70,1 MB/s (read)
System Noise < 30 dB(A)
Warranty 3 years
Price (street) Ca. 170.00 euro plus shipping
In Review: LaCie rugged Safe 500 GB
In Review: LaCie rugged Safe 500 GB
The LaCie rugged safe combines stability with data security.
The LaCie rugged safe combines stability with data security.
One component is the fingerprint reader, a further the AES 128bit encryption.
One component is the fingerprint reader, a further the AES 128bit encryption.
The hard disk can be used both with Mac OS X as well as Windows with Firewire 800 and USB 2.0.
The hard disk can be used both with Mac OS X as well as Windows with Firewire 800 and USB 2.0.

Shortcut

What we liked

Robust case, data security and quiet.

What we missed

An alternative with a faster interface for Windows users.

What surprises us

The simple handling.

The competitors

Lenovo's USB Portable Secure hard disk with numerical field, but with considerably lower capacities.

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review LaCie rugged Safe 500GB for PC and Mac
Author: Tobias Winkler, 2010-06-11 (Update: 2012-05-26)