The LaCie d2 case design has been a staple in LaCie's external hard drive and optical drive business for years. The company has based many products on this basic design, including the Little Big Disk.
Over the years, LaCie has implemented design changes, like a bigger button and corrugated cases for better heat dissipation. Recently, with the introduction of the new LaCie d2 Quadra Hard Disk, the company has updated the look of the original d2 external drive case to incorporate some of those changes found in those newer products.
The "Quadra" designation refers to the four types of connections that the drive supports: FireWire 400, FireWire 800, eSATA and USB 2.0. Thoughtfully, the LaCie d2 Quadra Hard Disk comes with all four types of cables; which port you'll want to use depends on your PC.
USB 2.0 provides the slowest performance, but USB ports are available on all current PCs. FireWire 400 is faster than USB 2.0 and ships on all Macs except the MacBook Air and also has been featured on most Macs for the past decade, but is less common on Windows PCs. FireWire 800 is faster than both USB 2.0 and FireWire 400, but less common still.
However, the fastest connection available is eSATA.
As with most drives using 3.5-inch mechanisms, the d2 Quadra Hard Disk requires external power.
The LaCie d2 Quadra Hard Disk ships with LaCie's own 1-Click Backup 1.2.1 and Silverkeeper 1.1.4, as well as EMC's Retrospect Express 6.1.
The one minor irritation about the software bundle is the lack of a physical disc copy of the applications; the utilities and applications come loaded on the drive itself and install automatically.
While this is an environmentally friendly (and probably cost reducing) way to deliver the software, if you were to, say, reformat the drive before copying the applications over (like we did) you might find yourself (as we did) downloading the individual applications from the LaCie and EMC websites.
In our testing, we found the d2 Quadra Hard Disk to be good all-around performer. The d2 Quadra Hard Disk didn't win any of our timed trials, but it didn't come in last in any of them, either.
As mentioned earlier, there was no surprise that the drive performed best when attached via eSATA, but for a single drive device like this, the performance difference may not be worth the effort and expense of buying and installing a third-party eSATA card.