In the second half of 2019, LaCie introduced a number of new portable storage solutions including the Rugged SSD, the Rugged SSD Pro, and Rugged BOSS SSD Drives. This will be our second review in this series where we will look at the fastest of the three drives – the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro.
A few weeks ago we published what was apparently the first-ever video review of the new LaCie Rugged SSD NVME version. In the meantime we also received the LaCie Rugged BOSS SSD (review coming soon), however, this review is all about the Rugged Pro version.
On paper, the new LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is the most impressive portable SSD unit LaCie has in its line with an official rated speed of up to 2800MB/s using a Thunderbolt 3 connection (that is almost 3 times the speed of the LaCie Rugged SSD that we tested, which until now was the fastest drive we have ever reviewed here on the site).
All 3 of LaCie’s new drives
Both drives use NVME technology to produce ultra-fast transfer speeds, however, the Pro version also uses Thunderbolt 3 technology which is significantly faster than UBS-C 3.1 used in the non-Pro drive (this also means that you will need a TB3 to actually get the speed benefits of this drive and keep in mind that TB3, despite being a very capable technology, still has issues with many systems – just look at some of the user comments on the Samsung X5 Portable drive page on Amazon).
The Rugged SSD PRO is identical in its external design to the non-PRO version (except the black color of course). The drive is small, about 10cm (4″) by 6cm (just over 2″), much smaller than the mechanical rugged drives and even smaller than the LaCie Portable SSD that we have tested.
Unlike some of the older rugged drives, this one has no connected cable and instead it comes with a single Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 3 cable measuring about 20cm (8″) long. It would have been nice to get a 50cm or even 1m cable for those who use a desktop, but at least it isn’t as short as the cables you get with the non-pro version. Also, note that you don’t get a USB-C to USB-A cable with this drive and it actually makes sense since this drive has no advantage when used with non TB3 devices (although you can of course always use your own USB-C to USB-A cable).
TB3 connection – The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro
The unit has an IP67 rating for extreme dust and water resistance, 3m drop and two-ton car crush resistance, as well as Seagate Secure self-encrypting technology for project confidentiality and 5-year limited warranty plus a Rescue Data Recovery Services, plan similar to the non-Pro version and very welcome.
If we thought that the Rugged SSD performance was impressive, then the PRO version is turned out to be a huge leap forward (at least in one aspect as we will see in a moment).
We performed two types of tests on our studio computer: a synthetic test using the newly released and updated Crystal Disk Mark 7 software and a real-world test where we transferred over 6.5GB of video files and stills to the drive and back, using our own newly developed Java code.
The Crystal Disk Mark scores are truly impressive, and certainly, the best that we have seen on any external drive that we tested so far with over 3030MB/s read and over 1215MB/s write. The write speed did take us by surprise as they are fast but still about 1/3 of the read speed. However as we will see, they are in line with the real-world tests that we ran.
As noted, for our real-world test results we used a new JAVA program that was recently written especially for us by a programmer. It isn’t something too special or complex, it was simply designed to measure the actual file copy time to a location and back.
We ran the test several times and since this is the whole thing is new we also ran manual control tests several times to check that we are getting genuine results. The average scores that we got with all these tests were around 2100MB/s from the drive to the computer (read) and around about 750MB/s from the computer to the drive (write).
All these tests were done using the original TB3 cable directly connected to our motherboard (The Gigabyte Designare z390) and reading and writing to the internal computer Samsung 970 NVME SSD. Looking at these results we have to say that if your main goal is to write data to the drive its speed is not that much faster than the LaCie Rugged SSD that we tested (it might have about 100MB/s or so of advantage), but if most of your work is reading files or transferring files from the drive to the computer, and you have a fast SSD NVME on your machine – than the Rugged SSD Pro is a fantastic option.
The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro
The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro NVME is hands down the fastest external drive that we tested to date. The read speed coming from this drive is just phenomenal. Yes, there are other drives in its class on the market, but most are either more expensive or don’t provide the same level of ruggedness and warranty.
On the downside, the write speed of this drive is, at least from our tastings, just a bit faster than the less expensive non-Pro version which might not justify the extra cost for some users.
Talking about price, besides the write speed, the only thing that you need to consider here is the price. Currently selling on Amazon for just under $415 for the 1TB version (there are also 2TB but no 500GB version of this drive), it is over $100 more expensive than the non-pro version which is also a fantastic performer although it doesn’t come close when it comes to read speed.
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