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Lacie 2Big Dock 20TB Thunderbolt 3 Drive Review

  1. About the LACIE 2Big Thunderbolt 3 external HDD units…
  2. Utility Impressions
  3. How its tested??
  4. AS SSD Benchmark
  5. ATTO Benchmark
  6. Transfer Test
  7. Conclusion
  8. Online Purchase Links
  9. View All


Disclosure: Lacie 2big Dock 20TB Thunderbolt 3 Drive is loaned by Seagate

Lacie is a premium external storage brand owned by Seagate. Due to its design, it makes an appearance geared towards Mac users of various requirement. This is the LaCie 2big Dock Thunderbolt 3 HDD system with 2x Seagate IronWolf Pro 10TB HDD which I’ve tested as an internal drive a few days ago along with the 12TB IronWolf Pro.

You can use this for PCs, but designs of many LaCie drives make an impression to be made towards iOS MAC systems. Regardless, this is a two-HDD SATA dock system with hot-swappable cage system with a USB 3.0, a CF and an SD card reader on the front. The whole chassis is made of aluminium and has a very hefty weight even compared to a two-docked HDD NAS systems.

Packaging

The 2big dock’s packaging is done well for a unit which is preinstalled with two mechanical drives. This is important as the packaging needs to ensure it can handle any accidental bumps from factor to retail or shipping it via a courier to the buyer.

Specifications

Internal Storage Media 2 × 7200-RPM Seagate IronWolf/IronWolf Pro enterprise-class hard drives
Interface Transfer Rates Thunderbolt 3: 40Gb/s
USB-C: 5Gb/s
USB 3.0: 5Gb/s
Interface Technology Thunderbolt 3: Bi-directional, dual-protocol, and supports dual 4K displays or one 5K display.
RAID Preconfigured HFS+ RAID 0
Hardware RAID 0/1/JBOD
Security Kensington® lock compatible
Integrated cable lock (2big Thunderbolt 2)
Cooling Aluminum enclosure with improved internal heat dissipation
‭Thermoregulated Noctua‭ cooling fan: effective and whisper-quiet cooling
Additional Features System monitoring and email alerts for failure and warning events
Front-facing drive status LEDs
Minimum System Requirements Thunderbolt 3: Computer with USB-C (Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C) or USB Type-A port
Operating system:

  • Thunderbolt 3: Latest version of macOS® 10.12 and later / Windows® 10 or later required
  • USB 3.0: Windows 7, Windows 8, or Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Software Intego® Backup Manager Pro for Mac
Genie® Backup Manager Pro for PC
LaCie RAID Manager (provides system monitoring and email alerts for temperature or RAID events)
Comments * Actual data rates may vary depending on operating environment and other factors, such as chosen interface, RAID mode, and disk capacity.
** Maximum theoretical bus speed.

Lacie provides storage capacity of 8TB, 12TB, 16TB and 20TB. Each storage capacity has IronWolf and Ironwolf Pro preinstalled variants. The standard variants have a three-year warranty while the units with Ironwolf Pro has a five-year warranty. There is no mention of any drive-less SKU.

2Big Dock Case Design

The front has no ventilation or mesh to allow air intake, but it does have an exhaust fan at the rear and a ventilation hole at its base. There is a subtle power switch, AC power connector, two Thunderbolt 3 Type C connector, a USB 3.1 Type C, a rest switch in a pin-hole, a DisplayPort connector and a Kensington lock. There are four rubber feet glued to its underside, therefore acting as a way to absorb any minor vibrations and providing space for the vents.

Adapters and Cables

Lacie provides a power adapter with multiple cables for different socket types. Additionally, it provides one Type-C to Type C thunderbolt cable and a USB Type C to Type A USB 3.1 cable. That’s a very short USB 3.1 Thunderbolt connector.

HDD Cage Design

To remove the HDD from the 2big dock, you need to pull out the front like a lever which ejects itself from the SATA connector internally which then you slide it out. The HDD cage is also aluminum with vents at its base.

I’ve tested the IronWolf Pro 10TB from this unit. You can check out its single SATA drive performance over here.

Ease of Maintenance

The plate on the rear panel can be removed easily, giving access to the rear fans. As you’ll notice, the Lacie 2big dock uses a Noctua NH-A6x25 FLX PWN fan. This is much appreciated as many NAS/DAS units have its fans installed internally with no access to clean the fans unless you manage to disassemble the entire unit which becomes harder to put them together.

Setting Options

Like a NAS, the 2big Dock needs utilities and software for the system to gain access inside it. The Lacie 2big dock has licenses for the Genie Backup Manager Pro and the Intego Backup Manager Pro. You’ll need the LaCie RAID manager to format the drive and set settings for it.

RAID Installation and Options

Just like a NAS, the installation is straightforward. The Lacie 2Big dock gives an option of RAID 0 and RAID 1 when the bays are loaded. It also gives a good idea of the storage allocation for those setups.

Format Type

The issue, however, is that you cannot select the format type on the Lacie 2Big Dock. This isn’t a problem for Mac system users as it preconfigures it into a HFS+ format. For Windows users, you’ll have to go storage under administrative tools and reformat it to NTFS.

Total Usable Storage

With 2x Seagate IronWolf Pro 10TB, you get a usable storage of 18.1 TB.

Disk Details

The utility allows you to get information about the HDDs. It would be nice if Lacie used some of its S.M.A.R.T. features and display temperatures. Many SOHO allows you to log temperatures and power-on hours. While Power-On hours would make sense for a network connect storage bay, having a temperature display in Lacie’s interface will be a great idea.

Test System and Testing Methodology

The following setup is what’s used to test the LACIE 2Big 20TB drive. This drive is tested in RAID 0:

Operating System Windows 10 64-bit Pro
Processor+ Cooler Intel Core i3 8350K + Noctua NH-U14S
Motherboard AORUS B360 Gaming 3 WIFI
RAM 16GB HyperX Savage DDR4
GPU AORUS RX 580 XTR 8G
OS Drive 240GB SanDisk Extreme II SSD
Secondary WD Red 3TB
PSU Thermaltake DPS-G Gold 750w
PC Case Lian Li A70F

This is compared with the WD Ironwolf Pro 10TB. This way, we can compare the USB 3.1 performance of the 2Big dock in RAID 0 with internal performance of its single drive in standard JBOD. The idea is to know much performance you can retain in RAID 0 mode via USB 3.1. Due to the lack of availability of Thunderbolt 3 in several mid-end motherboards, we’re skipping that.

The Benchmarks are as follows:

  • AS SSD Benchmark: Read/Write and Acces time
  • ATTO Benchmark: Read and Write with various file size
  • Transfer Test: Transfer Rate (from source to drive and from drive to source)
  • Power Consumption: Power draw from the wall socket

AS SSD Benchmark


ATTO Benchmark


Transfer Test

In many tests, because of the RAID 0 setup and the bandwidth available from its USB 3.1 Gen 2 specs, the 2Big dock meets and even exceeds internal SATA III 6Gb/s performance.

About the casing design…

Lacie 2Big Dock’s casing made a very good impression. The all-aluminium casing does carry a premium irrespective of the product type. This is the first LACIE product that I am testing. The idea is the ventilation is from its base and the rear fan pulls the air out. All NAS have similar cooling, with some having vents on the front or the sides. But the ones I’ve seen so far do not provide easy access for the fans to periodically clean them. It is uncertain if that’s the use case scenario. But its there and it is good enough. LACIE provided a Noctua fan which is known to use a long-lasting SS02 bearing.

The improvements needed on the LACIE shouldn’t be hard to enable. Enabling the temperature display in its interface would be a good idea. Giving an option to select the format type before formatting the drives would be ideal.

Via USB 3.1 connection, the transfer speed from its front USB 3.0 and SD card readers is decent as I’ve used the HyperX DTUltimate 32GB USB3.0 and SanDisk Extreme Pro 95 MB/s SD HC1 card.

Performance Impressions

Due to the RAID 0 benefits and the USB 3.1 bandwidth, the drive can keep up with internal SATA speeds. The utility works the way it should and the whole setup process is flawless. It would be nice to see motherboard manufacturers include USB 3.1 Type C with Thunderbolt 3 controllers. These were done with older high-end motherboards, but have disappeared somehow.

Two different Ironwolf drives with multiple storage variant options

Seagate owns LACIE so its easy for them to preinstall 2big dock with multiple storage variants. For people in a profession which requires large and fast storage, the investment gives them full coverage- the IronWolf Pro features, the backup utilities with license keys and the drive with a good build quality. Lacie also provided the standard IronWolf version with multiple storage capacities. Lacie also provides different socket cables.

There NAS…and then there’s 2big dock

Not many make storage drives like these. NAS drives are limited to its bandwidth speed via ethernet. However, NAS does offer the ability to connect to your router thus enabling you to access it via the internet. If you need a local storage access externally, you would look something like the 2big dock.

India US UK
$ 1,098.95  £ 899.99

  • RAID options for external drives
  • Aluminum Casing
  • USB 3.0/CF card/SD card slots
  • Variable storage variants with Ironwolf and Ironwolf Pro
  • RAID 0 speed
  • Meeting/Exceeding SATA III performance
  • No temperature indicator in its utility
  • Type C compatible Thunderbolt 3 cable provided is very short

Lacie 2Big Dock 20TB Thunderbolt 3 Drive Review » Hardware BBQ from hardware


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