When we first saw the announcement about Thunderbolt we knew it would change the industry. We met up with Clément Barberis from LaCie to look at the Little Big Disk and its new Thunderbolted big brother.
The pictures don't really do the Little Big Disk justice, it is tiny. It is also super fast having a write speed of 300MB/s and a read spead of 500MB/s. That's six times faster than Firewire 800. LaCie announced that the unit will be shipping in about two weeks, price for the SSD model will be over €1,000.
We can see this drive being the 'scratch disk of choice' for mobile editors, especially when everything has to go as hand luggage when working in a news crew. No moving parts is another bonus although we wouldn't want to drop one of these to prove the point. The drive will be available in 3 configurations, the first a 500GB SSD, the other two being 1 terabyte and 2 terabyte hard disk based. We saw the SSD model at work which has two SSD's set as RAID0.
Lacie were showing 5 Thunderbolt drives connected in series with a monitor as the last in the chain. No speed from the units is lost in the daisy chaining. All cables are supplied by Apple as at the moment they are the only company who can legally sell them. The cables have a chip in either end so it is not just a case of reverse engineering the wiring. LaCie are looking at sourcing suppliers of Thunderbolt cables so hopefully one will come in the box when Apple's restrictions expire.
Brand new for the show was the 2Big Thunderbolt. The two in the back of picture are prototype models that feature two 3.5 inch hard drives in each. These will run up to 300MB/s which is still 4 times faster than Firewire. Capacities will be up to 6TB. No news of price or delivery as these were first seen two days before the start of the show.