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LaCie makes hard drives all sleek and sexy for 2016

By Leigh D. Stark | 5:20 pm 06/01/2016

External drives rarely tend to be that thing you leave out to let people see them, usually so utilitarian and basic that they’re packed behind the computer or nearby, but with LaCie’s 2016 range, you might want to change your arrangement.

In 2016, LaCie’s take on external storage is one comprised of shiny things, as LaCie’s Neil Poulton takes his design skills to one product and car manufacturer Porsche brings its hardware understanding to a few more.

Porsche’s drives are easier to get your head around, though, so we’ll start there, with the car-maker working with the Seagate-owned LaCie to craft drives made from aluminium enclosures that look sleek, simple, and echo an industrial design you’d expect out of a car manufacturer.

Important to these drives is the casing, which Porsche Design has made to be totally metal, with not a skerrick of plastic found here and a body that is quite literally solid aluminium. This design makes for a scratch-resistant drive, and even dissipates heat if it warms up from all that use.

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Two styles of drive will be made available in this design, with a slim-line LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive being made in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities, while a larger and thicker Desktop Drive will arrive in 4TB, 5TB, and 8TB capacities.

And these will arrive with one significant change for LaCie: USB 3.1.

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The larger option — the desktop drive — will arrive in capacities of 4, 5, and 8TB.

Yes, this is the first time a LaCie drive has incorporated the new USB Type C port type, meaning if you have a new computer with the slimmer Type C port — like say the super-slim Apple MacBook — this is an external drive that will work natively.

If you don’t have a USB Type C port on your machine — like most computers out there — LaCie has said that a standard USB 3.0 cable will be included in the box to accomodate.

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“We are excited to continue our collaboration with Porsche Design Group, one of the most well respected sports and luxury-lifestyle groups,” said Lance Ohara, Senior Director of Product Lifecycle Management for LaCie.

“With the LaCie Porsche Design Drives, we are bringing the latest USB-C technology to our customers with a product that is superior in both form and function.”

Expect the desktop (bottom) and mobile (middle) drives first, though LaCie's Aussie PR hasn't said when the slim (top) will arrive locally.

Expect the desktop (bottom) and mobile (middle) drives first, though LaCie’s Aussie PR hasn’t said when the slim (top) will arrive locally.

LaCie’s Porsche drives are one of two computer products being shown at CES, and while the other is a hard drive, it’s a little different again.

Designed by Scottish-born Neil Poulton, it’s a hard drive designed to stay on your desk, with a chrome finish and a stand that makes the drive more like a piece of furniture rather than just another accessory or peripheral.

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Called the “Chromé” — complete with the accent over the e — it’s also not just another hard drive, either, relying on a pair of 500GB M2 SSDs running in RAID 0 inside the case, allowing the files to be spread across both drives in a 1TB capacity, which LaCie says should deliver speeds as high as 940MB per second.

To let you get this speed, you’ll want a USB 3.1 connection on your computer, which can achieve the nearly 10Gbps speed being offered by the drive, which in turn equates to a little over one gigabyte per second.

If you don’t have one, no worries, because a standard USB 3.0 cable will also be included in the box like it is with LaCie’s Porsche drives, just don’t expect the same super-fast performance.

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Also like the Porsche drives, it’s a drive encased entirely in aluminium, using the metal for both strength in design and heat dissipation, but unlike the LaCie Porsche products, the Chromé is hand assembled and then chromed to have a mirror look to it.

“The LaCie Chromé is a concept reduced to its essence: a rectangle tilted onto its corner, melting into its base like quicksilver,” said Neil Poulton, Chromé designer.

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As to how much this one will cost, no Australian pricing or availability has been confirmed at this time, which is much the same for LaCie’s 2016 Porsche line-up.

That said, we’ll let you know when we know, though we’d expect a time frame of March to May for this one.

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