NAB Show Sees New LaCie FireWire Drives

LaCie is demonstrating their new line of FireWire based desktop hard drives at this weekis NAB Conference. The new drives, sporting a whopping maximum transfer rate of 45MB/s, come in 20, 45, 60, and 75MB capacities. The new drives eliminate the ATAPI/IDE interface bottlenecks found in previous FireWire drives, finally allowing users to realize the maximum performance of the FireWire interface. According to LaCie:

At the NAB show in Las Vegas, April 23-26 LaCie will unveil a complete family of external hard drives that double the data throughput performance for low-cost ATAPI drives in the high-speed IEEE 1394 user environment. The 20GB, 45GB, 60GB and 75GB drives stream data to the computer at a sustained transfer rate of 35MB/s with burst performance to 45MB/s. Ideal for storing, exchanging and working on large files such as digital video, the new LaCie Fast FireWire eliminate quality and video frame loss.

The LaCie Fast FireWire HDDs provide digital video, music and digital imaging professionals with a fast, portable and secure storage capability for content development projects. Depending upon capacity, the drives can store more than five hours of DV video, more than 100 CD-Audio images and more than a mile-high stack of text documents. The new drives can be quickly and easily connected to the native FireWire ports that are standard with Macintosh? G3, G4 and iMac DV systems as well as PCs incorporating Windows 98 Second Edition or Windows 2000.

"The demand for high-capacity moveable hard drive storage has been overwhelming. Until now the biggest problem has been the performance bottleneck at the ATAPI drive and 1394 interface," said Guillaume Mazieres, LaCie Vice President of Marketing & Sales. "Users are aware of the quality of digital video and audio that can be edited and quickly transported with FireWire drives. With our new two-chip, single firmware interface design weive virtually eliminated the performance barrier by producing drives that can consistently deliver 35MB/s sustained data thruput to the computer. The new Fast FireWire hard drives open up the data pipe that todayis higher performance video production and content development computers can handle. Simply stated, users simply wonit see any data, quality or frame loss anymore when they are using the new Fast FireWire drives with their projects.?

Fully ATA 100 compliant, LaCieis new Fast FireWire supports Ultra DMA mode 5 used in todayis high-performance hard drives and operating systems including Apple iMac, iBook and PC FireWire systems such as the Macintosh G4 workstations and Cubes, PowerBooks and the iMacDV systems as well as some Windows 98SE and 2000 PCs. By enhancing the external 20GB, 45GB, 60GB and 75GB drives with a new built-in Fast FireWire controller, LaCie provides users with a fast and efficient means of exchanging large files such as high-resolution photos and digital videos with no risk of data loss.

LaCieis new Fast FireWire controller is a 400 Mbps interface that is based on a 1394 to IDE/ATAPI bridge dual chipset. The higher transfer rate of the Fast FireWire digital link also makes the LaCie external hard drive ideal for users storing large-volume video and graphic files or capturing video from DV camcorders. The LaCie Fast FireWire drives also provide content developers with added security because complete projects can be stored on the drives and locked up when not being reviewed, worked on or used.

With Fast FireWire support, the drives are hot-pluggable. Users can plug a LaCie drive in, remove it or swap it with others without shutting down or rebooting the computer. The drive mounts automatically as soon as it is connected. There is no need for terminators, device IDs or elaborate setup. This allows the LaCie Fast FireWire hard drive to be easily transferred between Macintosh G4 workstations and Cubes, FireWire-equipped PowerBooks and iMac DV systems. When plugged into a FireWire-equipped computer, the LaCie Fast FireWire drive looks and performs just like any other drive on the system. When properly formatted, the drive can even be used to share video and graphics files between Mac and Windows computers.

The LaCie Fast FireWire 20GB, 45GB, 60GB and 75GB hard drive are ideal for professional photography, digital imaging and other content development applications. Used as a idata shuttle,i the new LaCie Fast FireWire hard drives make it possible for several professionals to work successively on the same project from their own machine. In the event of a computer crash, the user can also quickly plug the LaCie Fast FireWire drive into another system and continue working with a minimum of downtime.

Designed to match the performance of the leading FireWire or 1394-equipped computers, the new LaCie Fast FireWire drives have been optimized to provide an access time of 9ms and a sustained transfer rate of up to 35 Mbytes per second (burst performance of 45MB/s). The drives have an enclosed, integrated universal power supply and two 6-pin IEEE-1394 connections. There is no need for any external power supplies.

Expected to be available in May, pricing for the new line of hard drives is expected to begin at US$573. You can find more information at the LaCie Web site.