LaCie Rugged SSD put to the test: When the hard drive becomes a tank

LaCie Rugged SSD put to the test: When the hard drive becomes a tank

In the test, the LaCie Rugged SSD 1TBthat it lives up to its name: robustness is not only the top priority in marketing, but is also implemented consistently. The SSD delivers stable speeds of around 650 MByte / s – both for writing and reading. But that is around a third less than advertised. The price of 230 euros is very high for the given performance, but it would be more justifiable due to the enormous robustness.

Internal SSD upgrade too expensive? Off to the external storage solution

Even with the new MacBooks with Apple Silicon, the apple company continues to call for horrific prices for upgrades of the internal flash memory. So if you want an inexpensive alternative, you can use the external SSD – especially if you want to exchange data quickly between several computers and do not operate a server.

The manufacturer LaCie, a subsidiary of the market giant Seagate, has specialized in exactly such storage solutions – especially in the Apple user environment. But what about the orange-colored rugged hard drive series?

LaCie Rugged for rough use

You know it from earlier, when you almost exclusively handled HDDs: Move as little as possible during operation! There were devices like the iPod (with ClickWheel) that had a damn good hard drive storage. With the era of flash drives, however, this ‘problem’ was completely superfluous, as SSDs no longer have any moving parts. That is why they are by no means indestructible; Non-technical environmental influences such as moisture, dirt or very violent shocks can damage the disc and lead to data loss.

LaCie faces the challenge of making rugged hard drives as rugged as possible. This applies to both HDD and SSD models. The latter also benefit from faster transmission speeds.

Convinced in the extreme test

All right, we understood the theory. But how does the LaCie Rugged SSD 1TB actually perform?

First I dared to use fall protection. According to the manufacturer, falls from a height of up to three meters should not be a problem for them. So I dropped them from the balcony onto the gravel path in the garden – three times in a row. What almost looks like a rubber ball thanks to the orange-colored silicone cover has actually had an effect: the Mac still recognized the LaCie disk without any problems and all files were still there.

The Rugged SSD is certified to IP67 for a special resistance to dust and water.
The definitions of this certification are:

IP6X – Dustproof & complete protection against contact
IPX7 – protection against temporary submersion (30 minutes at a depth of up to one meter)

I did not test the dust-tightness directly and the protection against contact is self-explanatory: Due to the complete rubber coating, you cannot really get to the sensitive innards of the plate. However, I took the subject of water resistance a little more seriously. First of all, I buried the Rugged SSD in the snow for about 30 minutes – with success. Then she took a shower with me, ‘accidentally’ fell into the sink while washing her hands and plopped into the ice-cold stream while walking. What happened? Nothing! After drying the USB-C port and connecting the disc to the Mac, it was recognized without a murmur; all data were still available.

The SSD mastered the world-famous Allgäu snow test first class.

The SSD mastered the world-famous Allgäu snow test first class. (Image: Valentin Heisler)

The last category that remained was compressive strength. The plate should be able to withstand a drive-over weight of 2 tons. Now I had the choice between an 11-ton Fendt Vario 930 and a VW bus with almost 3 tons. I decided on the lighter vehicle – no abnormalities here either. The SSD cracked slightly on the third ‘pass’, but it was neither visibly damaged nor technically defective. The emphasis is on ‘technical’: Because the case looked pretty pitiful at the end of my test series, but it wasn’t broken!

The SSD has withstood even a very heavy Bulli.

The SSD has withstood even a very heavy Bulli. (Image: Valentin Heisler)

Good performance

In addition to the 1 TB variant tested here, there is also a model with 512 and 2,000 GB. You can connect the Rugged SSD to current Macs using the supplied USB-C cable with USB 3.1 Gen2 speed (10 Gbit / s). Alternatively, a USB-C to USB-A cable is included, which makes the SSD universally applicable. The manufacturer has saved on the length: It should have been more than 15 cm.

There are two cables, but they are extremely short.

There are two cables, but they are extremely short. (Image: Valentin Heisler)

Although the Rugged SSD can be used on Thunderbolt 3 ports, it does not support Thunderbolt speed. In the test, it delivers a stable read speed of 637 MB / s. In writing, it is even slightly higher at 663 MB / s. It falls into a good range for SSD hard drives without Thunderbolt, but it only trumps a Sata SSD with 5 Gbit / s by a touch. For example, my Samsung Portable SSD T5 manages 406 MB / s (read) and 360 MB / s (write). The LaCie hard drive is not sufficient for the advertised 10 Gbit / s speed (or the Seagate FireCuda NVMe speed of up to 1,050 MB / s). If, on the other hand, you want maximum power, you should use a Thunderbolt 3 hard drive such as the Rugged SSD Pro or the Samsung Portable SSD X5 (to the test report) here.

The performance is not bad for an SSD, but it does not come close to 10 Gbit speed.

The performance is not bad for an SSD, but it does not come close to 10 Gbit speed. (Image: Valentin Heisler)

Useful software, with problems on Macs with Apple Silicon

At the factory there is a small application on the SSD that you can run (“Start_Here_Mac” and “Start_Here_Win”). This should take you to a page where you can register the product and download additional software bundles. As a Seagate affiliate, LaCie products also support Seagate Secure technology. This is a network of data security solutions that are particularly useful for business users.

Pre-installed applications for theoretically painless installation of the hard disk.

Pre-installed applications for theoretically painless installation of the hard drive. (Image: Valentin Heisler)

However, the aforementioned ‘app’ referred to a website with an error message. After consulting LaCie support, I received another link to at least register the SSD. I didn’t test Seagate Secure because I couldn’t get it to work on my M1 Mac. This will show when LaCie will be around the corner with a working version – there would have been enough time and other developers made it in time.

Seagate Secure cannot yet be used on the new M1 Mac.

Seagate Secure cannot yet be used on the new M1 Mac. (Image: Valentin Heisler)

Also known from other Seagate products: the well-known Rescue service for data recovery. LaCie grants this for a period of five years, as does the limited manufacturer warranty.

A proud price for a high level of protection

The LaCie Rugged SSD 1TB costs around 230 euros on Amazon (as of January 2021).

This makes it exactly twice as expensive as the one mentioned Samsung Portable SSD T5which is just a touch slower. If you look at SSDs with the same theoretical speed as the Rugged SSD (USB 3.2 Gen2), they still cost around 90 euros less. The Samsung Portable SSD T7 is available for 185 euros.

In the end, it depends on your use case. LaCie Rugged would probably be too exaggerated for 0815 use at the desk or at university. However, if you are out and about a lot – including in the great outdoors – the stable workmanship and robust protection mechanisms of the orange hard drives make more sense. Because at least my hard drive has withstood all the hardships.

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