• Price: 220 . 298 . 434

  • Company: LaCie

  • Pros: Metal design keeps noise down; simple software; low cost.

  • Cons: Slowest in our tests; poor Web interface; no RAID 0 mode.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 6 out of 10 We rate this 6 out of 10

This model was reviewed as part of our group test of NAS drives.

Encased in dull grey metal like much of LaCie’s line of larger hard-drive systems, the 2big network would sit well next one of Apple’s pro-level Macs – but on its own it looks a little like an air-conditioning unit or heater.

The one giveaway of its computing purpose is the big blue HAL-style inset dome on its front. The ribbed metal sides help to dissipate heat, so the 2big can run its fan slower – producing less noise. The two drives inside are removable via two drive trays at the back of the unit.

The Web interface is basic and doesn’t make it easy for you to find what you’re looking for. The bundled Ethernet Agent offers easier control, but runs as an always-on System Tray application.

Changing between Safe 100 and Big modes (RAID 1 and JBOD) was faster than other systems, but the lack of a RAID 0 option will put off users looking for a fast unit for project sharing. The 2big network’s main flaw is that it was far slower than all of the other drives we’ve looked at. Even considering the low price, and that some of these drives had three or four drives to the 2big’s two, its performance was poor.