Storage is one of the most critical necessities for a content creator. After all, without a place to store your work, you can't enjoy the freedom of creating. While it might be fine to store your shoots on your computer initially, you will soon run out of storage space. This is when a product like the LaCie D2 external HDD drive becomes essential.
Consider this a long-term review, as I have had my D2 since 2021, and it continues to perform exceptionally well two years down the line. Unlike other HDD drives, this one is not designed for travel; it's meant to remain on your desk, plugged into the wall. Yes, it's a powered drive, offering advantages such as higher RPM speeds, better transfer rates, and increased reliability. Tailored for modern content creators, this drive is USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 compatible, as well as elegantly designed. Here is my assessment of this external HDD.
Long-term storage is inevitably crucial for photographers at some point. If you're among those who store all of their work, this is an investment to consider sooner rather than later. Quality hardware for archiving your footage is always a wise choice, especially since you might need to provide images years after the shoot or if a client wants to re-license your older work. The list of reasons to store your shoots is extensive. Frankly, I started doing this long before actually requiring it. I picked up this habit from Casey Neistat and decided to adopt it myself. There's something special about revisiting your early work with a fresh perspective. What if there's an image you'd like to re-edit? There are likely several. I maintain an archive of every article I've written for the same reason; looking back is valuable.
The LaCie D2 drive, regardless of its capacity, is by no means a small portable drive. It's a substantial gray metal box with an eye-catching design that strikes a balance between minimalism and futurism. The drive is encased in a metal shell that exudes the signature premium feel of LaCie products. It doesn't demand attention on your desk; instead, it assumes a more understated position.
The front face of the drive is a simple black metal end with a sizable blue light that indicates drive activity. While this light enhances the design, its significant size is quite bothersome. It's excessively bright and blinks whenever the drive is operational. Since my drive is always plugged in, I'm constantly faced with a barrage of blinking blue dots. Due to this, I resorted to covering the light with tape and creating a small hole to still see the light. It would be preferable if the next iteration of these drives featured a smaller, subtler light to minimize annoyance.
The drive itself rests on a rubber base that dampens noise and vibration, while also maintaining stability on the tabletop, preventing accidental falls. As someone who dropped an HDD and had it fail subsequently, I take a lot of care about this. A good desktop HDD should not move a millimeter when in operation; otherwise, it's a disaster waiting to happen.
At the rear, you'll find two ports: a USB-C port and a port for the power cable. You can't use the drive if it's not connected to the wall, which diminishes its portability. However, this product is meant to reside on a desk, not accompany you in a camera bag.
Under the hood, the LaCie D2 boasts impressive performance. With a 7,200 RPM hard drive mechanism, its read/write speeds surpass those of traditional HDDs. It's an excellent choice for data-intensive tasks like transferring videos or high-resolution images. As an archive drive, it's perfect for storing numerous finished projects and accessing them as needed. In fact, I can even envision using the D2 as a work drive. If we exclude SSD drives and rely solely on memory card to hard drive setups, the D2's swift performance makes it a compelling option. This is where Thunderbolt 3 connectivity shines, providing fast transfer speeds appreciated by content creators of all disciplines.
My tests yielded the following read/write speed results for a two-year-old D2:
As evident from the results, the drive maintains strong performance even after two years of continuous use, confirming its reliability as both an archive and work drive.
Heat and noise management are critical aspects when discussing external drives. Many users worry about excessive noise or overheating, potentially leading to long-term damage and failure. The LaCie D2 offers a good balance of performance and quiet operation. The rubber base effectively minimizes vibrations. Operating at 7,200 RPM, the drive does produce some noise, but not enough to be distracting. In terms of heat, the aluminum chassis effectively dissipates heat, preventing the drive from overheating. Overall, I am willing to say that this is a cool and quiet drive. Then again, noise it not a concern as I am listening to music all the time and never hear anything else, including my own doorbell.
Pricing and Conclusion
Starting at $185 for the 4 TB version, this drive isn't the cheapest option, but it offers affordability considering its features. If you opt for the 8 TB or 10 TB versions, the cost per gigabyte significantly drops. For instance, a drive with double the storage is only $60 more expensive.
What I Liked
- Fast read/write speeds for an HDD
- Solid metal construction
- Generally silent operation
Areas for Improvement
- The blue light is too large and distracting
If you seek a reliable, high-performance HDD for storing and working on your footage, the LaCie D2 is an excellent choice. Unless you require a RAID system, this drive provides a compelling solution that justifies its price with its substantial performance enhancements. I find this drive to be adequately suited for the workflows of photographers in 2023. Whether you are editing images from that drive or just storing them on it, the drive has enough performance to do both. As for video, I would not be as confident and would use it to store footage, switching over to an SSD when editing.