LaCie Rugged Hybrid

I decided I had to get a Seagate Momentus XT to compliment my OCZ Vertex SSD.  You know… for educational purposes.  :)

I contemplated putting it in place of my Superdrive, but the more I thought about it I realized I do still use the Superdrive occasionally.  I glanced over at my LaCie Rugged FW external drive and thought “That XT would be sweet in that enclosure” but at first dismissed the idea since there are stickers on the enclosure that clearly state the warranty is voided if they are removed.  I didn’t want to void the warranty.  Then I thought about it more, & changed my mind.  :)

I actually did try to carefully remove the stickers with a razor blade but slightly tore one.  If I had been a little more patient, I’m sure I would have been successful.  However, I made myself feel better by realizing even if the XT fails, I’m not sending this thing back to LaCie… I’m taking the XT out and sending it back to Seagate.  I instantly felt better.

The 500GB Momentus XT was on backorder for 2 months, but finally came in today.  I wasted no time performing the transplant.  The LaCie Rugged enclosure is not difficult to work with.  It’s held together on the side by metal clamps that snap shut when pressed on.  Once apart, you can see that the drive is secured by a sort of thin plastic wrap that has rubber bumpers which press on the surroundings of the enclosure to hold the drive in place.  I’ve heard of suspending drives in PC tower cases with rubber bands to help silence them, but that’s the first time I’ve seen an external enclosure use rubber bumpers to hold a drive in place.  I guess it does provide additional shock protection in case the drive is bumped or dropped.  Other than that, replacing the drive was as simple as unplugging/re-plugging the SATA connector.

Is it faster?  Yep:

[sourcecode language=“text”]
Results 32.25
System Info
Xbench Version 1.3
System Version 10.6.4 (10F569)
Physical RAM 4096 MB
Model MacBookPro5,1
Drive Type LaCie Rugged FW/USB
Disk Test 32.25
Sequential 66.48
Uncached Write 77.68 47.69 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 94.79 53.63 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 35.68 10.44 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 114.66 57.63 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Random 21.29
Uncached Write 6.82 0.72 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 73.31 23.47 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 58.21 0.41 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 96.51 17.91 MB/sec [256K blocks][/sourcecode]

[sourcecode language=“text”]
Results 54.09
System Info
Xbench Version 1.3
System Version 10.6.4 (10F569)
Physical RAM 4096 MB
Model MacBookPro5,1
Drive Type LaCie Rugged FW/USB
Disk Test 54.09
Sequential 84.64
Uncached Write 102.83 63.14 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 94.12 53.25 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 50.81 14.87 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 138.39 69.55 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Random 39.74
Uncached Write 12.86 1.36 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 155.03 49.63 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 101.48 0.72 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 152.54 28.31 MB/sec [256K blocks][/sourcecode]

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to take advantage of that 4GB cache when running virtual machines.  If I configure the machines to split their virtual disks up into 2GB files (and I usually do), loading one 2GB segment entirely in the SSD cache would be no different than running it off of the laptop SSD itself.  However, I am limited by the 80MB/s theoretical maximum speed of the FW800 bus.  eSATA would take care of that problem but it’s not a native port option on any Apple computer yet, I don’t have an enclosure as portable as my LaCie that supports one, and I’m not that greedy…. yet.  :)  Also, one of the main things I like about the LaCie is that I don’t have to supply external power.  I very much dislike “portable” external enclosures that require a power source.  Kinda defeats the whole portable benefit.

While I’ve got about 90GB remaining on my 250GB Vertex SSD, I’ll be moving most of my virtual machines over to my new LaCie Hybrid to see how well they run there.  I don’t really have any good benchmarks to compare running virtual machines, so my judgement will be entirely “seat-of-the-pants”.  If I had thought about it, I would have done more tests such as starting/resuming VM’s from the old 5400RPM drive & compare to the new XT.  Hindsight is 20/20.  :)