POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?

Posted by Jude Cotter 
POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 16, 2006 08:40PM
Since we always seem to have this argument on the board (and IRL) about LaCie external firewire drives, I thought I would post a poll and see if we can get some actual numbers of happy vs disgruntled customers.

So. Have you owned/used a LaCie external drive, and, if so, were you happy, or unhappy with it? Give examples if you want, but please try not to flame anyone - this is just to try and gauge some real figures.

Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 16, 2006 09:39PM
I own 1 400GB Big Disk Extreme.
6 months, no problems so far.
Thanks for calling for a poll, JC.
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 16, 2006 11:06PM
I have three of them and a combo 400/800 PCI card for my 17 powerbook.

A FW 400 80 gig 7400 rpm, a combo FW400/800 7400 rpm 160 gig and a 5400 "pocket drive" that I use to backup up session files.
The 80 is about 2 years old. I have used it a lot, connected to several machines, No problems. Only drawback, it's noisy, too noisy. The 160 is a year old, much quieter and is used constantly as my capture drive for DV footage with FC as I'm using a powerbook for editing right now. (that is until the Intel workstations hit the market). I consistently use it in the FW 800 mode. The last project I did was 105 minutes in length, all captured to this drive. I have it partitioned and record Pro Tools sessions on the other half. I've used it with the laptop at the performance sites, endured transportation bumps and haven't had any hard drive type problems. I don't know where the bad press comes from.

That's my testimonial.
Anonymous User
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 16, 2006 11:14PM
I use one. No problems. The "bad press" comes form so many people owning one. Bound to be more problems with LaCie owners since so many more own them

Anonymous User
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 16, 2006 11:24PM
I've used easily a dozen of them over the past two years. Never had an issue with any of them at all. Some are mine that I take good care of, some are clients', so I can't vouch for the quality of care.

I own 2 d2 250 GBs, 1 120 GB, and 2 160 GB Porches. Only the Porches are used as media drives for two days of editing on a PowerBook on location, so not very rigorous use. They're not even full days, like 6 hours maybe.

The other three are archive drives, so they sit with their power off and FW unconnected most of the time.

I suppose now I'm tempting fate, since I'm taking them to Phoenix on Sunday for a job. Someone knock on wood for me, please!

But, that's what redundant backups are for!

Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 16, 2006 11:35PM
I've used an 80 gig for 4 years no problems. Of course I'm tempting fate by saying that, but for me it has worked fine. A lot of the problem issues I've seen on the forum come from people daisey chaining 4 or more together and wondering why they have issues. You know, the people with 400 gigs of footage for a 30 minute doc. I always wondered what ever happening to viewing it before capturing in those instances? smiling smiley


"A problem can never be solved by the same consciousness that created it"
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 12:23AM
I've had a 120 gig FW400 for 2 years, no problems. It's daisy chained with a 4 year old Fantom drive (The fan's busted on that one, actually, so it screeches for the first hour or two that it's on. Gotta replace that thing.). I've cut only short projects with it (less than 30 minutes). I currently keep all of my DVD Studio Pro project files on it.

Two friends each had a La Cie drive fail, but (and don't tell them this), but I suspect operator error--unplugging without unmounting or something.


Mirror Door Dual 1 GHz G4, 1.25 GB SDRAM, 1 120 GB internal ATA, FCP 4.5, QT 6.5.2, OS 10.3.7
15" PowerBook G4, 1.67 GHz G4, 1.5 GB SDRAM, FCP 5.1.2, QT 7.1.3, OS 10.4.8
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 12:35AM
I have a 500 gig external no problems! I don't capture to it, but I do edit from it and it's pufect so far.
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 12:38AM
Company I worked for had 8 of the D2s. Two died in 4 months.

I personally don't own them. But I have been a G-Raid guy for a while. Before that, EZQuest.
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 12:53AM
i've looked in system profiler to see if i could determine the make of the actual drive, but i cant see it.
if anyone can tell me how i can do that, i'll edit this list to include that info.

6 x 60g purchased in 2001 --- 4 still work, but i dont rely on them

1 x 120g late 2002 --- still going, but not used much for video

2 x 250g 2003-4 --- used on feature, since used for other projects. still going. 1 makes noise.
1 x 500g 2004 --- used on same feature, used as archive. making a bit of noise.

2 x 500g 2005 --- in use on feature doc
6 x 1Tb 2005 --- in use on feature doc.

we had to replace one of the Tbs not long after purchase.
still dont know why, but problem spotted pretty soon, and exchange made by LaCie, under protest, as they couldn't duplicate the problem.

we work with duplicated media on 2 systems, so it's only (!) 3.5Tbs each.
my 500 is starting to make some noise.

2 x 100g portables 2006 --- running DV off one of them. too early to say how it's faring

noise: in all cases it;s not knocking (i would replace immediately if it was)
it's more of a whine, or slight groan.
i cant hear it under the noise of the DSR11
nevertheless, i;m a little worried,
but the film is nearing completion, and we have 2 copies of the media, so we'll be right.

as you can see, i've had a pretty good run with the LaCies.
if i could get G-Raids here in Australia at a reasonable price, i would like to try them,
but for some items, there is a huge price jump when they come across the Pacific.

flip side:
my friend who is also cutting a feature doc has had THREE! LaCie 1Tb drives fail on him, one after the other.
he splurged on a 2Tb SanMAn system.


Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 12:55AM
Nope they don't suck

I have 14 or so

all D2's

longest one I have had is almost 4 years old at this point

I have:

(also have a 48X CD burner and a 16X DVD+-DL LS both in D2 cases)

they have been lugged downtown in a backpack
dropped on the floor (some hardwood, mainly concrete)
they 320's have been run for over 48 hours straight in the past with rendering and outputs

they have gotten so warm you could see the heat waves (LOVE the metal case that acts like a heat sync, it gets warm but the drives stay cool)

they have had the power go out on them while they were running (now I have a seperate UPS just for the drives)

knock on wood they have never failed me

David at Movies Rock in Toronto
Anonymous User
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 01:02AM
Recent LaCies I've heard use Hitachi drives. Don't quote me.

Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 01:16AM
Our department has two T-Byte stacks. One of the two motherboards failed quite soon after we got it taking the stack down, but not out. We never lost any actual work, but it took a good long time of swapping drives to figure out it wasn't the drives, and of course, we didn't have access to the work while all this was going on.

Technically, that's a 50% failure rate, although that was months ago and they've been OK since.

One of the Systems Persons walked in with a Pocket Drive that wouldn't talk out the FireWire port any more, but the USB seemd to be still alive, so that's how we rescued the data.

I think we only had one other non-LaCie drive go down since we've been in operation--and that one soft-failed which let us slowly drag all the data off on a slow machine in the corner.

So given all the drives, portable and not that we have in the bulding, the LaCie's have been more brittle and failure prone.


Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 01:34AM
And let me bring up again that when I was working as an editing tech for my film school, the Lacies among the student population had approximately a 50 per cent failure rate.

Not encouraging at all.

I don't think any Lacie detractor would venture to say that every single drive will fail without exception. But just looking at the track record above, it's at least a 50-50 split among us, for and against the brand. I don't consider those good odds.

I'd be open to Lacies again if I can observe firsthand, over time, that the drives are becoming more reliable, better designed (Turning itself on when the FireWire is plugged in? Come on, that's amateur night), and won't make me feel like I'm tiptoeing past a hornet's nest. But so far, every new experience I have with a Lacie merely confirms my hatred for the brand.
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 02:55AM
i have a 1tb lacie that has been working fine for 6 months. There is a quirk where sometimes it won;t mount to the comp but if you pull its power supply for a few minutes and try again its all there. Scary tho sometimes..

I have a 250 for a project from a client that crapped out but was resolved pretty easily with disk warrior so no data was actually lost. I have a g-raid as well but not so sure it was worth the money. Looks freakin sweet tho, less likely to tip, my main complaint with lacies
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 03:06AM
I've been running 2 250's (D2) and a 200 (D2), for almost three years ... no complaints, couldn't be better. I Swear by them.
Anonymous User
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 03:14AM
LaCie would be out of business if there was a 50% failure rate among its drives.

Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 04:20AM
I worked on a big education project that had people editing every day for a year, We used about 12 Lacie disks and never had a single problem.

Off the back of this good experience I bought a 400GB Lacie Bid Disk extreme. It kept on removing itself from the desktop within a few moments of appearing. I took it back, swapped it for another, the same thing happened.

I bought it from a small, mainly PC computer shop on London's Tottenham Court road (famous for cheap electronics). This shop could only test it on a PC (it seemed to work fine) and so I got sucked into a 2 month battle to get a refund/replacement that involved 5 visits to this shop, where I kept getting fobbed off with 'try this, try that' 'come back when the managers here' etc. I then had to go away for 6 months, and never got it sorted out. I know this is my fault, but I would advise anyone whose gonna buy a Lacie to make sure they do it from a retailer with a reasonable returns policy.

I won't be getting another one...
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 04:33AM
i know this is not within the scope of this thread,
but was the drive formatted for Mac?
if it "worked fine" on a PC, then maybe not?
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 05:25AM
Hi Nick,

It was formatted in Disk Utility first thing...

it had probs from day one. I spoke to the Lacie people several times, and tried all of their recommendations several times. No joy. they admitted that they can't expect a 100% success rates with their drives. In fairness to them they were helpful, it was the retailer that was obstructive. This plus some serious deadlines meant that I just didnt follow the whole thing through...

Had no problems with several Seagate drives since. The retailer my new company use told me that he does sell Lacie (cos their so high profile) but doesn't recommend it, as so many people come back to him with problems.

Once you've been burnt several times, it doesnt really matter how many vouch for them. Either way, the Lacie issue keeps coming up (here and among most people who depend upon external drives for editing work).

I don't think you can get ProMax drives in the UK, which is ashame as Ive read good things about them here.

Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 06:04AM
Very good idea Jude, thank you for starting a poll. With the jury still out for deliberations, here's a few thoughts (stress "thoughts", not pretending to be an expert, just rational):

1. We should be knowledgeable and credible here about actual facts and numbers rather than rely solely on individual experiences. Although they are certainly valuable and sometimes make for humorous reading, they are only part of the equation. The external drive issue comes up constantly, so needs to be looked into more closely.

2. Fact: everyone who has been working in this business for a period of time has experienced technical glitches with gear, be it Apple, Sony, Panasonic, JVC, Canon, Blackmagic Design, AJA, Kona, LaCie and etc. Simple fact of life is, all technical equipment can and does fail, including Boeing, Airbus, Mercedes, Porsche, BMW and Apollo 13. 100% for sure, sooner or later, problems will occur.

3. Drive faliure causes:

Cause #1: with external drives in many cases its pilot error i.e. not following the protocolls, not reading the manual, not exercising proper care in placement and handling, not using best quality cables, etc.. (Btw, I read an article recently from a Data Recovery house that claims that in the vast majority of cases, faulty or poor quality or badly connected firewire cables are the sole culprit in creating bad data).

Cause #2: sometimes it's the environment, heat and/or moisture and/or dust being the main enemy for all manner of external storage up to and including the most elaborate Raids. Anything from putting a desktop drive in direct sunlight to badly maintained air conditioning units in machine rooms will crash gear.

Casue #3: sometimes, and in the least amount of instances, its the equipment itself, with age and hours of operation being the predominant source of failure. The best and easiest way to extend an external drive's life is to remember to turn it off when not in use.

4. The question here is, are LaCie drives more failure-prone than other brands? I vote no, based in part upon my own experience but mainly because there is no factual evidence out there (and there numerous articles on the subject) to indicate otherwise. Back that up with the company's rock solid performance as well as recognition from the industry (as recently as NAB 2006, all the info at LaCie.com). They didn't get where they are by selling a poor product.

5. What we should be saying is that external drives in general are more failure-prone than Raid solutions (which is a proven fact), and that relying solely on external drives requires good file management, correct operating procedures, and constant backup to avoid disasters. And, at some point, they all will fail, although data can almost always be recovered. Otherwise, it's like owning a car: find a brand and model that fits your budget and needs, find a good dealer with good support and service, take good care of it, and it will serve you just fine.

Still don't like LaCie's? Then buy something else. Just be aware that unlike cars, the differences between brands regarding overall reliability, at least at this point in time, are nominal.

Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 07:31AM
I have2 d2 250 GBs and have used them for app. 6 month, and have no problem what so ever!
Works just fine. (so far:-)

Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 07:41AM
Nice to see so many responses! Cheers guys n gals.

Part of the reason I wanted to post this poll is that I have personally only ever met four LaCies - all of them D2s, and every one of them has failed within a year. Once case I could possibly attribute to operator error.

Anyway, for me, that's a massive reason to never recommend them. But I do get people asking me what drives to use, and frankly the choices here are .. well, Lacie. That's almost all there is unless you build your own.

It's good to see that there are lots of cases where they seem to be working fine.
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 07:46AM
A little aside here: -

We had one in our studio for a little while - 160 gig in a D2 case from memory - this was a number of years ago now.

We were constantly having problems as this was the studios (audio, I know, sorry) main backup drive.

What we discovered was that NO other firewire cable apart from the one LaCie shipped with it worked! So this may lend to the 'be careful with your firewire cable' theory posted above.

I personally run IceCube Enclosures with a variety of drives - 6 in total, all fully functional, although the oldest one (now 6 years old) is a bit noisy. 3 plugged in 24/7 pretty much, working really really hard on DVD Studio Pro, Final Cut and ProTools all day.

Has anyone else an opinion on the IceCube? I find them in professional audio studios here in Melbourne EVERYWHERE!

But am very aware of a 100% potential for failure smiling smiley

My 2c.
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 07:55AM
Hey Jusrus - I've got an old Icecube with a seagate drive in it that's been going well for about six years. Only 40 gig though. sad smiley

I've been thinking of trying the Firecubes, which I can actually buy here.
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 09:43AM
Sorry, in my haste to write the post I forgot to specify - I have 1 old first gen icecube, the rest are second gen: -


Like that one (no endorsement of company, just the first link I could find.

I have 4 connected to the G5 at the moment, and I reckon I can still here the G5 as being louder than the drives.

I have one 200 gig drive that has been around the world 4 times thru countless scan machines, and has been moved twice a week minimum for its lifespan of 2 years with no problems.

As stated earlier - its all about what works for you! The thing I love most is now that everyone I work with has them, I don't even carry a power supply around. Luxury.
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 10:11AM
Hey Jude...good poll.

Had 1 fail...saw 2 fail. THEY SUCK IMHO. Wait...there's more:

The reason I gave up on them is because of the research I did when I was a Moderator over on the Avid.com forum. I tried to get company info on LaCie's Big Disk Extreme, 1 TB Bigger Disk & The G-RAID for a comparison article I was writing. I was personally in touch with LaCie's Customer Support & Sales teams and G-Technology's teams. LaCie were'nt even close to being on the same page (one team didn't know what the other was doing). They couldn't nail down what drive they use inside the unit from a month-to-month basis. They said "could be Western Digital one month...could be Maxtor one month... could be Hitachi one month... etc. I have had Maxtor drives personally lock up on me so I will not enter the "russian roulette" purchase of a LaCie and end up with Maxtor drives. Their 2 teams couldn't even get together on the difference between "Spanned" & "Striped" drives. They are idiots, IMHO.

G-Tech told me they use Hitachi drives because they are more stable. They told me the Sustained Transfer Rates. They answered EVERY ONE of my questions matter-of-factly. I know an Editor that had one swapped out (factory bad)... G-Tech sent FedEx to pick it up (no charge for shipping) & cross-shipped a new one - arrived within a day or 2. Try that with LaCie.

Long story short: I bought a G-RAID 320 after that interview & recommend them HIGHLY.

SOOooooooo...as for LaCie, I will close this with a paraphrase from my son's favorite book:

"...would not - could not recommend LaCie in a box...would not - could not recommend LaCie with a fox..."

Use what you like...like what you use. The rest is opinion.

Good Luck.

- Joey

When life gives you dilemmas...make dilemmanade.

Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 10:13AM
I have three systems, all have LaCies attached, two have also Ice-Cube and Clearlight. One has Maxtor. The most on one system is 6 on a G5 One is FW800 the other four are FW400 on that system. I have a spare old 80 gig with a fan that I use for backup (can't stand the noise - the others are all fanless) - I think they are great - none have failed. I love it that they turn off with the computer too. The Maxtor has failed once and so has the Ice-Cube.
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 11:07AM
We have 6 x 1 TB Lacie drives and every single one of them has the quirk (as Scott so eloquently put it)...

"where sometimes it won?t mount to the comp but if you pull its power supply for a few minutes and try again its all there. Scary tho sometimes.."

Scary and annoying, especially when you are under a time crunch. The other thing is that not all of them recovered using the power supply trick. I'd have to find a system with OS9.x and boot up under it for the drive to come up.

I'd quantify them as being marginal, and marginal just doesn't cut it when you have a couple days worth of footage on them.

We just use them for backup now.

I have a sneaking suspicion that their odd behaviour may be attributed to the fact that the flickering blue light has a passing resemblance to the HAL 9000, watching, waiting...
Anonymous User
Re: POLL : Do Lacies Actually Suck Or Not?
May 17, 2006 11:15AM
This is starting to remind me of my bother-in-law.

Back in the '90's, because he's a hip dude, he bought a Performa. Unfortunately for him, he bought the ONE production line that had problems with the motherboard. It was a known problem, one that several years later, my husband was able to get Apple to replace FOR FREE.

To this day, you cannot convince him that Apple sells quality products because of this experience.

He has a PeeCee in his house that never works, but he always blames my sister or their 5 year old for changing things. It's not the computer. Noooooo! Actually, I think they're on their 3rd or 4th PeeCee. He just replaces them when they stop working.

Now that my husband had Apple fix that Performa, it's actually a better computer than the relatively-new PeeCee he has, but he won't take it back!

Once you've been burned, it doesn't matter how great the company or product usually is...it's tough to trust again!

(anyone want to buy a really great Perfoma? Low miles!)

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