Review: LaCie 2big Dock Thunderbolt 3 external drive

The latest in the 2big series of external hard drives is soon to be shipping from LaCie. After an initial delay (the new drives were originally supposed to ship over the summer), the company is now ready to release their latest creation upon the world. The brand new 2big Dock, as LaCie is calling it, sports Thunderbolt 3 making it fully plug-n-play compatible with the latest MacBook Pros and capable of transfer speeds up to 40Gb/s.

Setting up the LaCie Thunderbolt 3 2big Dock is easy–in fact, it’s mostly just unbox and plug in. LaCie also offers some RAID manager software that you can install to help manage the drive arrays. By default the drive comes in a RAID 0 configuration and formatted in HFS+, you can however, choose a RAID 1 or independent drive (JBOD) configuration if you wish (just remember that may affect performance). One thing of note: when I received the drive, macOS High Sierra had just been released which features the new APFS (Apple File System) so I decided to format the 2big Dock with APFS as well.

Drive speeds (read/write)

The 2big Dock is available in three storage configurations: 12TB, 16TB, and 20TB. Unlike previous 2big external drives where different configurations had different classes of hard drives, LaCie used the same enterprise-grade drives in each configuration which is nice. Each 2big Dock comes standard with two 7200-RPM Seagate IronWolf Pro enterprise-class hard drives (Seagate owns LaCie by the way) which boast 440MB/s read/write speeds. This is an improvement from the previous Thunderbolt 2 2big generation external drives which had read/write speeds of 420MB/s.

Our tests with theThunderbolt 3 2big Dock (20TB in RAID 0) showed that the drives actually performed a bit better than rated with tests showing read speeds of 474MB/s and write speeds of 462MB/s. When we tested a previous generation Thunderbolt 2 2big (8TB in RAID 0) we found that those drives actually underperformed when compared to the advertised speed, coming in with read speeds of 286MB/s and write speeds of 336MB/s.

LaCie 2big Dock Thunderbolt 3 drive read/write speeds.

Data transfer speeds

We also spent some time transferring files to the 2big Dock, and I say some time as opposed to a lot of time, because moving files to the 2big Dock is fast. Here are some examples:

Transferring data from a Thunderbolt 2 drive to the Thunderbolt 3 2big Dock

2GB – less than 1 minute
12GB – less than 1 minute
65GB – approx. 3 minutes
185GB – approx. 10 minutes
1TB – approx. 50 minutes

Transferring data from a MacBook Pro SSD (Late 2016) to the Thunderbolt 3 2big Dock

3GB – approx. 6 seconds
5GB – approx. 10 seconds
24GB – 1 minute 30 seconds

Additional features and ports

Front of the LaCie Thunderbolt 3 2big Dock.

Aside from the great storage capacity and speedy transfer speeds, the 2big Dock has some other new things to offer customers. This time around LaCie has built-in some additional ports that will your life a bit easier. You will find both a compact flash slot as well as SD card slot on the front of the enclosure, and as someone who just bought a GoPro this enables easy transfer of my GoPro footage back to my LaCie drive for editing on the computer. Also on the front of the enclosure is a USB 3.0 (type-A) SuperSpeed port which you can use to quickly charge your smartphone or connect another external drive to move unneeded files/footage. On the back of the enclosure is a USB-C 3.1 port as well as two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one you use to plug into your computer and the other can be used to power a display or even daisy chain up to five (5) other drives. The 2big Dock also sports a DisplayPort allowing you to connect a 720p, 1080p, or 4K display.

Back of the LaCie Thunderbolt 3 2big Dock.

Ever since moving most of my computing to a MacBook Pro and away from a desktop computer I’ve been storing my entire music collection on an external drive. Prior to receiving this 20TB Thunderbolt 3 2big Dock, I had been using a Thunderbolt 2 8TB 2big drive to store my music and movies and had iTunes configured to play the files off of the external drive. That setup worked well enough, there was sometimes a little lag going on between songs or starting up a movie, but overall, it worked. That being said, I was really happy to see (and hear) when I moved my music and movie libraries over to the new Thunderbolt 3 2big Dock that small amount of lag was eliminated. This is likely a combination of the faster drives and the faster Thunderbolt 3 connection. Sometimes it’s the tiny things that matter most.

Verdict

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with LaCie’s 2big Dock, it’s a versatile solution for professionals. I think it hits all the right marks for a solid external drive: plenty of storage, fast, and easily expandable. Bottom line: whether you are a creative professional or a techie, the Thunderbolt 3 2big Dock by LaCie is an excellent choice for your external drive needs.

The Thunderbolt 3 2big Dock starts at $849 for 12TB, $1049 for 16TB, and $1299 for 20TB. It looks like Amazon may have some better deals.

About the author

— Jeff Weisbein

Jeff is the founder & CEO of BestTechie. He has over 10 years of experience working with technology and building businesses. He loves to travel and listen to music.


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