Upgraded 5big and 2big Drives Are Bigger, Faster Than Ever

LaCie is adopting Thunderbolt 2 in a big way this year, with the pre-NAB introduction of three new storage products using 6 TB Seagate hard drives — including the new rack-mounted 8big Rack Thunderbolt 2 system, which the company said can hit speeds of up to 1330 MB/sec.

The 8big Rack can be configured with up to eight 6 TB 7200 rpm Seagate hard drives, optionally striped with RAID 5 or 6, which would fit 48 TB into a single RU. For redundancy, RAID 5 and 6 configurations are supported in hardware. The eight-disk version of the 8big (with either 24 TB or 48 TB on board) ships with two PSUs for full hardware redundancy. By default, the four-disk version ships with only one PSU, meaning it cannot be hot-swapped, but LaCie said it will be possible to buy a second PSU kit.

Six of the devices can be daisy-chained over Thunderbolt for a combined total of 288 TB accessible via one Thunderbolt cable. With a new Mac Pro and its six Thunderbolt 2 ports, LaCie pointed out, users could connect up to 36 8big Racks for 1.7 PB of storage capacity at speeds of more than 3000 MB/sec. At a press event announcing the new products, LaCie's Thunderbolt product manager, Irwan Gerard, said the company will demonstrate a rack with more than 1 PB of storage that's capable of reaching 3500 MB/sec.

Next up is the 5big, with speeds up to 1050 MB/sec in sequential reads and capacity of 10, 20 or 30 TB on five 6 TB drives. The 5big also supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 6 in hardware. It's built in a die-cast aluminum enclosure that's designed for noise isolation with a Noctua fan on top of the case. The 5big is being positioned as a 4K workflow solution for video professionals, and LaCie is demonstrating it at NAB as part of a Mac Pro workflow with multiple 4K raw streams.

And the LaCie 2big can reach speeds of up to 420 MB/sec with two 7 TB drives on board. Both drives also feature USB 3.0 ports for connectivity to non-Thunderbolt PCs. It will be targeted at photographers and the high-end consumer market.

LaCie said the new products will ship by June or, in the "worst case," later in the summer. At this writing, prices have not been announced.