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Apr 19 2016

LaCie® 12big Thunderbolt™ 3: Desktop RAID for Media Professionals


Often mocked for its focus on sleek design, French hardware specialist LaCie (now a Seagate company) has a reputation for building storage devices whose performance matches their looks. The latest addition to the roster comes off promising as well.

Chiefly designed for film and video post-production, the LaCie® 12big Thunderbolt™ 3 (or 12big for short) belongs to a new class of 'desktop RAID arrays' developed to run in particularly demanding environments. It offers up to 96 TB of capacity and connects to desktops either via a Thunderbolt 3 or a USB 3.1 interface. As a result, it can provide the I/O performance required to edit 4K video material and even higher resolutions – LaCie claims that the top speed achieved with Thunderbolt amounts to 40 Gb/s "interface transfer rate" (synonymous for maximum theoretical bus speed), with benchmark tests resulting in sequential read/write speeds of 2,600/1,700 MB/s and slightly slower 2,400/1,200 MB/s in RAID 0 and RAID 5 configurations, respectively. At 10 Gb/s ITR and 400/400 or 350/350 MB/s sequential reads/writes, the USB 3.1 values are considerably lower, but still twice as fast as those reached with USB 3.0. Equipped with a dozen enterprise-class, hot-swappable HDDs spinning at 7,200 RPM, the 12big supports six different RAID levels from 0 to 50 as well as software-based, 256-bit AES encryption. Four fans and an aluminum casing provide cooling and heat dissipation. Against this backdrop, it's a bit of a surprise that LaCie's new flagship offering appears to not include all relevant software tools ex works – instead, customers have to download backup, RAID management and encryption programs from the company's website.

The 12big is scheduled for release this summer and will be available in three configurations with 48, 72 and 96 TB storage capacity. The 'desktop RAID' comes with a 5-year warranty covering the drives, enclosure, and spare parts. Prices were not disclosed.


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