Table courtesy of AnandTech

AnandTech is first out of the gate with a review of Lacie’s SSD-enabled Little Big Disk drive. The new Lacie drives arrived in Apple Stores last month in both HDD and SSD flavors, featuring two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chaining. With Thunderbolt deployed across this year’s Mac lineup (with the notable exception of  the Mac Pro that lingers in a state of limbo), Lacie’s external SSD storage is a compelling external storage solution, especially for 2011 Mac notebooks updated with Thunderbolt I/O.

Sadly, it comes at a steep prince point so even the most die-hard fans could have an issue paying $899 for just 240GB of external SSD storage. For comparison, OWC’s 240GB internal SSD costs $580 and Promise’s external Pegasus R4 4TB RAID-5 HDD drive is just a hundred more than Lacie’s 240GB SSD. Furthermore, the Little Big Disk lacks native RAID-0 and TRIMM support and instead relies on OS X’s Disk Utility to manage RAID-0 configuration.

More importantly, it uses Intel’s SATA 2 3GBps SSD 320 chip, which is slower compared to internal 6GBps upgrades such as OWC’s Mercury Auro Pro Express or Samsung’s updated SSDs (all of which utilize the faster SATA 3 interface). Promise is faster, but way more expensive so the purchasing decision comes down to this:

If you want to spend over $1000 you go with Promise. Spending under $1000? Go with LaCie.

As for the speediness, the drive performed pretty much as expected…

It beat substantially the Pegasus drive in random reads/writes, but fell short in sequential read (445.8 MB/sec) and write (257.0 MB/sec) tests. Daisy chaining multiple drives improves your throughput. Overall:

Sequential read speed is around 445MB/s, while sequential writes come in at 257MB/s. Read speed is pretty close to the Pegasus, but sequential write speed is noticeably lower (again, not surprising given how the 320 performs on its own – a pair of 510s behind a suitable SATA controller might’ve delivered a different story).