Computers made the change to the new international standard that is USB Type C faster than most devices, but good news because hard drives are finally catching up.
It’s been almost two years since we started seeing USB Type C make its way into products, arriving first in phones and laptops, and now in devices like speakers and monitors, but one area that hasn’t offered much in the way of the modern connections that base themselves on the new standard is hard drives.
You’ll find a few solid-state drives here and there that carry the Type C connection, but not many as these typically work from the flat USB 3.0 connection that has been used with hard drives for the six or seven years.
Strangely, it seems Type C and the faster Thunderbolt 3 connection that uses Type C as its port are a little rare in the world of hard drives, as companies recycle the connection that they’ve been using for ages.
This week, we got a sign that this could change, as Seagate’s creative professional brand “LaCie” used CES to showcase a few familiar external hard drives that sport the newer connection. Given how many computers are arriving without full-size USB ports, it makes a lot of sense and couldn’t come sooner.
There are two drives in LaCie’s range, and they’re both things LaCie owners and fanfolk have seen before, with the Rugged drive with the orange rubber exterior and the “d2” silver external.
The Rugged Thunderbolt drive is the to see an update, and while it still sports a built-in Thunderbolt 2 cable for the older style found on MacBook Pros (the older, more boxy Mini DisplayPort style), it also now features a USB Type C port on the back.
LaCie’s Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C drive can be found in hard drive sizes up to 5TB, though there is a 1TB solid-state option, offering faster speeds than the Seagate conventional hard drive found in the other model.
While LaCie’s Thunderbolt USB-C drive is very portable, the LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 3 drive is less portable, sitting on a desktop and offering up to 10TB of conventional hard drive storage (either 6, 8, or 10TB are options) with faster transfer speeds through wither a Thunderbolt 3 port or the USB Type C port if that’s all your computer supports.
Because there’s only a hard drive found inside, there’s a technical limitation on hard drive speed, with 240MB per second found on the LaCie d2 drive through Thunderbolt, though it does support daisy chaining to other USB-C and Thunderbolt devices, like monitors that use Type C as their main port.
Pricing on the entire LaCie range is yet to be announced in Australia, though with availability coming along in the next few months, it shouldn’t be too long until we know.