LaCie F.A. Porsche 80GB FireWire Mobile Hard Drive
Mac storage specialist LaCie also offers an 80GB "Mobile" Hard Drive, with a sleek design by F.A. Porsche "precision-engineered to deliver the peformance of a race car." Since no one seems to submit race cars for review in EMedia anymore, I can't verify that claim with any confidence. But I'm both intrigued and delighted by the "USB Power Sharing Cable," which turns out to be an auxiliary power source for the drive—augmenting the FireWire bus, which provides the rest of the power it needs to run. Instead of plugging into a wall socket, the LaCie uses either the FireWire or the USB 2.0 port (or both) on your PC or Mac for power, while using the FireWire port for data transfers.
Featuring a compact form factor almost identical to the Kano, but a little lighter and without the rounded edges, the 7.05oz. F.A. Porsche LaCie is a 4200RPM drive designed for use with both the Mac and PC and it ships with Silverlining backup software for both platforms. I tested the drive on the same selection of PCs as the Kano (Pentium 4s from Sony, Compaq, and Gateway) and did the bulk of the evaluation using the FireWire and USB 2.0-equipped G5.
As with the Kano, installation was a snap, and transferring the drive back and forth between systems and platforms proved no problem, although using the G5 for most of the review meant abiding the FAT 32 file restrictions. It's worth noting that the LaCie's spec's aren't quite as impressive as the Kano's—its 4200RPM rotational speed is a cut below the Kano's 5200RPM, and is 2MB data cache only a quarter the size of the Kano's 8MB. But neither of these appeared to be an issue in testing. Both drives did the work of hard disks without incident and with no muss and fuss in the system-to-system migrations. Given the paucity of open wall sockets and powe-strip real estate in the office, however, the LaCie's on-bus power scheme was a welcome change of pace.
Naturally, the LaCie passed the pocket test as well, fitting even more comfortably than the slightly heftier Kano.
The LaCie mobile FireWire series, like the Kano, comes in four models: 20GB ($139), 40GB ($179), 60GB ($219), and 80GB ($299).
--Stephen F. Nathans
System Requirements: PC: 350mHz Pentium 2+, 32MB RAM, FireWire; Mac: G3+, 32MB RAM, FireWire