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Reader Report: Lacie Pocketdrive Firewire/USB portable hard drive:Back to Main News Page

Lacie Pocketdrive Firewire/USB Portable Hard Drive
Published: 8/10/2000

A reader sent comments and test results on Lacie's Pocketdrive portable hard drive with Firewire and USB ports:

" Just got a LaCie USB/Firewire PocketDrive as a replacement for my Jaz 1GB drives to use as a portable bus-powered firewire backup on a TAM (and emergency disc on the G4). $380 from SmallDog. Comes with Silverlining Pro (haven't tried it yet), short & long firewire and USB cables. The cables are dark grey and heavier than featured on their site - too fat to use the groove in the rubber bumper on the drive for cable storage.

Decided it safer to get the slower Orange Micro Firewire/USB PCI board, rather than experimenting with the TI-based boards (since it's proven to work on a TAM). The OrangeLink also comes with Premier 5.1LE, clear Firewire-to camera & USB cables.

Firewire works fine with VST 2.2 (the VST will update any El gato drivers it seems) and Firewire 2.4 (Orange drivers need removing) with MacOS 8.6 (to keep memory requirements down on the TAM). USB is also OK - copying the contents of a 340MB Microdrive in my Casio 3000 (with the Orange USB extensions). Unfortunately, the Casio USB support is flakey on any Mac - a fault of only their Mac drivers. It's prone to hanging the system (also on the G4) after giving 'Microdrive needing repair' errors (it doesn't) I've tried every combination of plugging & powering the camera, but most often needs a restart with the Casio connected. Better to get a Firewire card reader.

For a laugh, there's also an ATTO bench for the Microdrive attached!

The case is a simple design enclosed by a single sheet of metal folded around the top, bottom, and front edge of the drive & bridge. An extra aluminium plate acts as a heat sink. The sandwich is held together by a grey translucent 'rubber' bumper, and strips of double sided. The bumper is a great idea - keeping the drive from sliding around. Attached are photos of the PocketDrive opened up. It looks easy enough to swap the 6GB IBM drive (looks less than 10mm thick) if needed later. I was surprised with the test results - good on the G4, slower writes on the Orange board, next to uselessly slow on USB.

Peter Hardie

Photos Inside the Case:
Peter also sent a few photos inside the case. Note how this drive has standoffs to avoid the potential short circuit issues that exist in some other designs. (See the portable drive kit article on the firewire articles page for more info on other portable kit designs.)

Benchmark Test Results:
Below are images Peter sent testing the drive in a G4 system (no details specified on CPU speed, etc.) and a 20th Anniversary Mac with Orange Micro Firewire/USB card.

The following graph shows test results with IBM's Compactflash sized 340MB Microdrive:

Related Links:

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