It’s pretty hard to make storage interesting when the bulk of people probably make their purchasing decisions based on whatever happens to be on sale at the time, but Seagate always manages to spice things up come CES time. Their LaCie brand has a long history of storage drives-as-art, and this year is no different. After last year’s Mirror, LaCie is staying polished with the Chromé (yes, the é is pronounced), a USB 3.1 Type-C SSD — in other words, it’s a shiny storage device that’s as fast as it looks.
Instead of using a wooden base to offset the polished drive like last year, the Chromé drive and base both have a polished chrome look, although neither will be a functioning mirror like last year’s drive. It still does look a bit similar to last year’s Mirror, but this drive has a different designer. The Chromé design is the work of Neil Poulton, who was responsible for the orange LaCie Rugged that was also introduced last year at CES.
While the presentation still looks a bit similar to last year, the drive is anything but. Instead of using a hard drive, the Chromé uses two 500 GB SSDs in RAID 0, but you should have more RAID options, so you can use it as a unified 1 TB drive or a 500 GB drive with redundant backup just in case. In addition to the speed boost that the move to solid state provides, the Chromé is also moving on to the faster USB 3.1 standard. All that together gives the drive maximum transfer speeds of 940 MB/s, which LaCie claims is good enough to transfer two hours of 4k video in just over a minute and enable editing in 4k (it also has its own thermal management system, in case you really do try to push the drive to its limits). It also uses the new reversible USB Type-C connector, the kind that was used on the new MacBook last year, although LaCie is present-proofing their drive by including an adaptor cable for use with USB Type-A connectors (the older, universally recognized USB port).
LaCie also had something to say about their Porsche-designed USB Type-C drives, which have been MIA since LaCie announced them in March, shortly after the debut of the new 12″ MacBook. They were supposed to be some of the first Type-C peripherals on the market, but it looks as though they’ve since been delayed. The delay hasn’t been for nothing, though — the drives now use the faster USB 3.1 standard instead of 3.0. There will also now be two models available — desktop and mobile. The mobile drive looks like the same HDD that was announced last March, while the desktop model will add pass-through charging — you’ll be able to charge a laptop over the Type-C connection by plugging the drive into the wall. The polished aluminum drives have the same chrome look as the Chromé, but with perhaps a slightly less elegant presentation.
With its mix of high design and high technology, the Chromé is the pricey member of this trio of storage devices, coming in at $1,100 when it becomes available sometime this quarter. The updated LaCie Porsche Design Drives are now scheduled for a March release. The mobile drive will start at $110 and will be available in 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB capacities, while the desktop drive will start at $210 and will be available in 4 TB, 5 TB, and 8 TB capacities.