Equipment Review: La Cie “minimus” 2TB USB 3.0 HDD

About this review: comments on this product are based on personal experience only. I do not claim to be an expert, nor do I have any affiliation with the manufacturer or vendor of this product.

Why I bought it:  I got the LaCie 2TB USB 3.0 to add it to my file storage system, which is a mix of several USB and firewire drives. I will use it to store images as NEF, JPEG, .PSD and TIFF files.

 What I recevived: On my desk sits a sealed factory box measuring 13,5 x 8,4 x 19,5 cms. Here’s a photo of it, minus the cellophane wrapping.

LACie 2TB USB 3.0 – packaging.

Inside the box: 

* The LaCie minimus 2TB drive: no-frills aluminum casing measuring aprox 11 x 3,4 x 17,3 cms. It has one USB 3.0 port, one DC input, a single on-off button and a single blue status light. It sits flat on the desk, not sideways like some drives do, therefore has a wider footprint at aprox 17 by 12 cms. It stands 3,4 cms. high on two rubber bands stuck to the bottom that keep it from being in direct contact with the table’s surface. It feels solid and hefty for its size.

* A power supply with four different plugs, “international” being the idea here. Marked APD-US, APD-GB, AOD-AU, APD-EU. Needed for “desktop models only”.

* A USB 3.0 cable, which may also be used to connect the drive to any computer with a USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 port, with data transfer speed dropping to that of the lower standard port.

* A printed warranty.

The printed warranty

* A very brief instructional booklet, showing only how to make basic connections to the AC Adapter and between drive and computer via the USB 3.0 cable (Windows and Mac Os).

The printed instructions are basic at best

Connecting the drive and starting it. I first push the button on the back of the electrical adapter in order to slide out a protection cap and then to slide in the US-type plug. Then I pug it to the hard drive and to the main outlet. I connect the drive to the computer via the USB cable and depress the drive’s single on-off button, located all the way to the left of the USB port. The blue LED in the center lights up confirming operation of the drive and a folder appears on my Mac’s desktop with LaCie’s installation software.

Installing LaCie’s software. Up front the installation offers detailed documentation on how to get started using the drive… but then, I just did that. There’s a link on the first page of the instructions to the on-line version, which may be useful so I’ll share it here…  oops, maybe not, it’s a dead end. I do a search in the manufacturer’s website for “minimus 2TB”, minimus being the name of this particular model. I get this:

I con only interject… Not quite!

Not one to give up I go to LaCie’s general support area and input my drive’s serial number, which I read off the running drive’s bottom by lifting it as if it were high explosives, ever so slowly, still turned on. I hear trumpets when I finally arrive at the drive’s documentation here. Click on the Documents tab and download the documents as needed. Never mind, most people will not even read the manual.

Plug it in, turn it on, run the installer and you should be set to go. I resume clicking thorugh the Installer. Done. The new LaCie drive pops up on my desktop:

The LaCie icon appears on your desktop

First task. To begin using the drive I decide to copy a folder with original materials for RIDE INTO BIRDLAND, now taking up 85.66 GB of space in my machine’s internal drive.

Drag and drop. Estimated time: 1 hour, no wait, 54 minutes, no wait… about 52 minutes. Granted, it’s almost 90 GB of data.

Started moving the data at 10:57 pm, the blue LED on the drive is flickering. OK, clock stops at 11:46 pm. The drive feels a tad warmer bur nothing to worry about. Total time: 47 minutes, give or take a few seconds, a rate of approx. 1.82 GB per minute on this new empty drive and my laptop computer.

The data transfer has finished but the LED is still blinking and the drive purring, although very quietly. Will it ever rest?

Is this performance good or bad? I’m not an expert on hard drives. YMMV. It seems reasonable to me. Above all I expect the drive to be reliable. I’ll keep you posted.

INCLUDED EXTRAS: Wuala on-line hosting. When you double-click the LaCie icon on your desktop, the window that opens contains several files. First on the list is the document LaCie 10GB Online.url

Contents of the LaCie 2TB drive on initial setup

I wonder : actually a freebie or looking for an extra sale? I watch Wuala’s introductory video to get the general idea: online storage, software that makes remote files available in all your computers and performs automatic back-ups, private, encrypted (“not even Wuala’s own employees know your password”).

Still I don’t know…  I go back to the packaging and on the box find a small logo: “10 GB Online Storage”. Below, in truly tiny letters: “1 YEAR INCLUDED”. I actually have to use my magnifying glass to read this text. I’ve scanned it for you. Trust me, this thumbnail looks much bigger than it actually is.

Microscopic lettering!

I decide to try it for the sake of this review. I download the Wuala software, a .dmg file that when double-clicked mounts and runs the installer. As indicated I drag the Wuala icon into the Applications Folder Icon, then double click on MacFuse.pkg to run that installer as well, which asks for my computer’s password to authorize installation. Done.

Now I open Wuala from my Applications. It prompts me to create a free account using my drive’s serial number. By the way, I have by now discovered  the number is also printed at the bottom of the box (duh!)

Voilá. The account has been created. The Wuala interface opens on my screen.

Interface of Wuala software, Mac OS

As a first test I drag a graphic file from my desktop into the Photos folder. It opens a prompt asking me if I would like my photo to be resized before storing it. I click no. It takes a moment before the file is uploaded. Now it appears inside the folder. So far so good, apparently it’s working and the file is floating out there in vast cyberspace.

Come back for future updates of this review.

I.G.H.

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Update April 01, 2014: Drive continues to perform without any issues. Have not used Wuala service. I.G.H.

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5 Responses to Equipment Review: La Cie “minimus” 2TB USB 3.0 HDD

  1. Paulien says:

    Dear I.G.H.

    I also have the Lacie desktop HD, and I’m very content with it!
    Only recently my ‘plug’ broke, and Im trying to find the little piece ‘APD-EU’
    do you know where I can get one (online)? Or in case you don’t need your euro-plug,
    is there a possibility that I can buy yours? The helpdesk in my country is
    not helpfull and tells me to buy a whole new adapter!
    thank you!

    • Hello there!
      Sorry to hear you lost that part, unfortunately selling mine would not be practical.
      Perhaps it is possible to find a generic power converter where you live that will work with the hard drive?
      Best of luck.
      IGH

  2. John Christopher says:

    Hello,

    I might buy this model in a few days but I have a question: does the drive ever spins down ? Does it stop purring after a while and then “wakes up” when you try to access it ?

    Thank you for your reply.

    • Hello John,
      The drive has an off-on bottom on the back. As far as I can tell, once you turn it on it remains active and on-line. The drive has continued to work for me since I bought it without any problems.
      IGH

      • John Christopher says:

        Thank you for your quick reply.

        The fact that it remains active is a stop sign for what I intend to use the drive for (21/24 idle use and 3 hours of watching movies from the drive). I might still buy one for regular back-up and external storage though.

        Thanks again.

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