I have used a lot of hard drives over my career and that includes what was to me, at the time, the rather excellent Lacie d2 Thunderbolt. It wasn't long, however, until other manufacturers came up with better options leading to the d2 feeling a bit underwhelming. That changes today with the announcement of the d2 Thunderbolt 2.
The included disk combines the latest interfaces and a Seagate 6 TB 7200 RPM professional hard disk, which Lacie states can reach speeds of up to 220 MB/s. The dual Thunderbolt 2 ports let the user daisy chain up to six devices to a single Thunderbolt port on a computer, if you're in to daisy chaining.
Lacie's new d2 has a very interesting new feature: the ability to double down and add an SSD to the included standard magnetic drive. You can install the LaCie d2 SSD Upgrade (sold separately) which Lacie states will increase speeds up to 1150 MB/s and adds 128 GB of PCIe SSD storage. This speed, which is downright preposterous, would exceed the performance of even the internal SSD on a late-model PC or Mac computer.
The back panel of the d2 is removeable, allowing you to install the SSD if you so choose. When you do this, two separate drive mounts show on the computer, one for the SSD and one for the magnetic hard disk. Lacie says you can use the SSD for bandwidth-intensive tasks, such as fast file transfers, audio mixing, video editing, or OS booting, and the hard disk for file archiving.
If you choose to install the SSD, you will lose the USB 3 option, which is something worth noting.
When recreating the industrial design of the d2, LaCie focused on reliability and usability for professionals. The seamless all-aluminum unibody enclosure is forged from a single sheet of aluminum, providing uncommon rigidity for long-term durability. The enclosure also draws heat away from the hard disk, allowing fan-free cooling. The integrated base extends the surface area, providing even more space for heat dissipation. A cushioning base and vibration-absorbing hard disk mounts combine to dramatically reduce vibration. Plus, an integrated cable lock prevents accidental disconnection of interface or power cables. The results of these features are a long lifespan for components and ultra-quiet operation.
When I spoke to Lacie about the upgraded d2, besides the SSD insert option, they are most proud of the significantly reduced noise of the new drive, hearing from many users that the original d2 was somewhat noisy.
The d2 Thunderbolt 2 comes with a 3-year warranty. You can lay your hands on the new drive in three different capacities, the 3 TB will be available for $299.00, 4 TB for $399.00 and 6 TB for $499.00. The 128 GB LaCie d2 SSD Upgrade will cost you $299.00 and will be available in October. The LaCie d2 will also be offered in a USB 3.0-only version in 3 TB, 4 TB, and 5 TB capacities, available in October, for you non-Mac users.