External Storage Roundup: LaCie, Toshiba, and WD

Introduction and LaCie Porsche P9220

You have to appreciate a good external hard drive that faithfully ferries important data from one place to another, while safely stashed on a drive that’s wrapped inside a slick-looking, durable chassis. These days, the storage capacity on a typical and relatively inexpensive external hard drive is large; 1TB is a standard size, and it isn’t at all uncommon to see 2TB drives, too.

We looked at a few external hard drives with similar specs from some major manufacturers to see how they stack up against one another. All three of the units in our test bank employ the speedy USB 3.0 interface, which is a standard option for many drives, and of course they’re all backwards compatible with USB 2.0. They range from 750GB to 1TB in size and, as it happens, all three are compact and highly portable.

Much of what differentiates devices such as these, particularly when they’re similarly-spec’d--they won’t be blowing the doors off of any benchmarks here--is the software that’s on board, which is something we’ll look at in the following pages.

External Hard Drive Roundup - LaCie, Toshiba, and Western Digital
Specifications & Features

  LaCie Porsche Design P9220 Toshiba Canvio Connect Western Digital
My Passport Ultra
OS Support:


USB 3.0
5400 RPM
Windows XP/Vista/7/8 /
Mac OS X 10.5 (Intel Only), 10.6+
3 x 5.1 x 0.7 in.
260g / 9.2 oz
2-Year Limited Warranty
$99 (Street)
USB 3.0
5400 RPM
Windows XP/7/8 / Mac OS X 
(10.6.6 +)
3.11” W x 4.37” D x 0.81” H
5.82 oz
2-Year Limited Warranty
$65 (Street)
USB 3.0
5400 RPM
Windows XP/Vista/7/8 /
Mac OS X
0.6 x 4.35 x 3.23 in
160g / 5.44 oz.
3-year limited warranty
$89.99 (Street)

LaCie Porsche P9220
This LaCie external hard drive was created in collaboration with Porsche Design, and that high design flavor permeates the device. The chassis is built from 3mm-thick aluminum with a beautiful brushed finish and there’s a black strip that juts out down the two long sides. When the drive is active, a narrow sliver of LED light glows around the top edge. Otherwise, the LaCie Porsche Design P9220 is unmarked save for a small amount of branding on one side.

The drive makes use of a USB 3.0 interface (and includes a thick, 18-inch SuperSpeed USB 3.0 cable in the box), and it will work with Windows XP/Vista/7/8 as well as Mac OS X 10.5 (Intel only) and later. The actual disk inside the LaCie chassis is a Seagate Momentus 2.5-inch model that features an 8MB DRAM cache, SATA 3Gbps, and a spindle speed of 5400 RPM.


With a capacity of 1TB, there’s ample storage on the LaCie Porsche Design P9220. At 9.2 ounces, there’s a tiny bit of heft to the drive, which measures 3 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches.


LaCie included quite a bit of software with this unit, including Adobe Reader Link, Genie Timeline Free (LaCie’s automatic backup software), LaCie Desktop Manager (which lets you manage all your LaCie devices with one interface including any and all on your network), LaCie Private Public (AES 256-bit encryption for the drive’s contents), the Porsche Design P9220 documentation, and the Wuala app (secure online storage, which is owned by LaCie.)

To install the software and format the drive to your liking, you have to run the LaCie Setup Assistant, which takes you through a wizard to configure everything and register the drive with LaCie if you so desire.

The LaCie Desktop Manager includes an Eco Management function to conserve power consumption; the disk will remain in standby mode after a user-determined amount of time until you access it.


LaCie Public/Private is a handy tool, as it lets you create a private area of the external hard drive of virtually any size for protected files. Thus, you can freely use the LaCie Porsche P9220 for anything you like, such as photos, documents, and videos while also maintaining a secure area for more sensitive items.


Genie Timeline Free is easy enough to use. You first select a backup drive, and then you choose either what types of documents (email, pictures, music, and so on) to back up using the Smart Selection tab or manually choose specific files and folders to back up. You can also restore to a certain point in time, manage existing backups, create new backups, and more.

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