LaCie Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt RAID: 4 quick tests before Argentina trip

Thanks to of Buenos Aires, Argentina, I was able to do 4 performance tests on a Little Disk-Thunderbolt RAID.


Many ProVideo Coalition magazine readers will recall my review of the excellent PROMISE Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID from January 2012 and its related articles. At NAB I spoke with a few manufacturers who were showing smaller, lower priced Thunderbolt RAIDs but to date, none have sent me any review units so far. However, I had a short time to do 4 quick tests on a LaCie Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt (2TB) before it flies to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ahead you’ll see performance tests via screenshots in 4 possible configurations, how they differ, the pros and cons of journaling your media drives and RAIDs, and some initial conclusions.

Thanks to of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Thanks to Jorge of of Buenos Aires, Argentina, since he allowed me to perform these tests on his LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB before it flies there.

Prior related articles

General characteristics of the Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt

The Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt is relatively small and light, since it contains two 2.5-inch drives, the type normally used in laptops.


The Little Big Disk Thunderbolt measures 40 x 140 x 85 mm (1.6 x 5.5 x 3.3 inches) and it weighs 650 grams (1.4 pounds). It has a looping Thunderbolt connection, which allows you to daisy-chain (loop) other devices. However, that means that it cannot be bus-powered: It requires its included AC power supply, which fortunately is dual voltage and comes with several removable plugs for international use. Other Thunderbolt drives on the market that are bus-powered by definition do not require external power, but don’t allow daisy-chaining either. This situation is gradually becoming somewhat alleviated by the arrival of Macs that have more than one Thunderbolt port.

LaCie’s Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt offers either RAID0 or RAID1

For those readers who may be unfamiliar, there are many types of RAIDs. The Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt (2TB) from LaCie offers RAID1 or RAID0. It ships as RAID0, but you can change that after receiving it if you’d like. RAID0 offers much better performance (speed) to allow for smoother editing with more real time layers, but without redundancy. RAID1 offers redundancy in case of a drive failure, but no performance increase. Other RAIDs (with a larger number of internal drives) can offer other types of RAID configurations, including those which offer both increased performance and speed, like RAID5 and Drobo’s BeyondRAID.

To journal your media drives, or not to journal them? That is the question for video editors!

It came to me as no surprise to see that the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt that arrived for came from the supplier formatted with HFS+ (aka HFS Plus or Mac OS Extended). However, what I found a bit surprising was that it also shipped with journaling active. The traditional wisdom for video editors has been to de-activate journaling on media drives, since despite journaling’s great benefits, they were overridden by the resources that journaling demands. In other words, the drive or RAID was so busy doing its own maintenance that it couldn’t keep up with playing video without jumping. So for a long time, video editors have de-activated journaling on media drives. When I reviewed the Pegasus, I got a very logical answer from Billy Harrison, the Pegasus product manager at PROMISE. Here was his response:

Data integrity is the most important aspect of every product we design, manufacture and sell. Disabling Journaling on drives was recommended (in the past) because volumes on single drives and even lower-end software RAID based products take a performance hit with Journaling enabled. We design our products to ensure volume Journaling (in any OS) does not impact performance allowing the user to exploit our product to its maximum potential.

However, it is clear that the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt (2TB) is a 2-drive unit that used software RAID. So I must conclude that LaCie either thought that most users will be using their drives for something other than video editing. Fortunately, this is easily changed using the Apple Disk Utility without even having to reformat the drive: Just hold down the Option key and then go to the File menu in Disk Utility and you’ll see the option to Enable Journaling or Disable Journaling. If your Mac is configured in Castilian, the commands under the Archivo menu are Activar registro or Desactivar registro, respectively.

Performance using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test

Ahead you’ll find speed tests in each of four modes (all test done in the app’s 5GB mode, which is most demanding test):


Test of Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB in RAID0 with journaling active


Test of Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB in RAID0 without journaling active


Test of Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB in RAID1 with journaling active


Test of Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB in RAID1 without journaling active


Unlike some other RAIDs on the market, the Little Big Disk-Thunderbolt don’t seem to be appear to be designed to be user-serviceable. Don’t expect quick swapability with this unit.

Upcoming reviews of other Thunderbolt RAIDs

I plan to review other Thunderbolt RAIDs soon. If you are a manufacturer who would like me to review your Thunderbolt RAID or drive, contact me here.

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Allan Tépper

Allan Tépper

Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is a bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994, Tépper has been consulting both end-users and manufacturers through his Florida company. Via TecnoTur, Tépper has been giving video tech seminars in several South Florida’s universities and training centers, and in a half dozen Latin American countries, in their native language. Tépper has been a frequent radio/TV guest on several South Florida, Guatemalan, and Venezuelan radio and TV stations. As a certified ATA (American Translators Association) translator, Tépper has translated and localized dozens of advertisements, catalogs, software, and technical manuals for the Spanish and Latin American markets. He has also written many contracted white papers for tech manufacturers. Over the past 18 years, Tépper’s articles have been published or quoted in more than a dozen magazines, newspapers, and electronic media in Latin America. Since 2008, Allan Tépper’s articles have been published frequently –in English– in ProVideo Coalition magazine, and since 2014, he is is the director of Capicú His website is AllanTé