LaCie Ethernet Disk Mini 500 GB review

LaCie 301269U Ethernet Disk Mini Home Edition 500 GB Network Attached Storage Hard DriveBought the LaCie Ethernet Disk Mini (500GB) over the weekend, and got it hooked up last night. So far I’m very impressed. I copied over my MP3 library, and activated LaCie’s built-in media server: every copy of iTunes on the network immediately saw the share, and my Sonos was able to index all of the MP3s so that they’re playable through any music station on the Sonos net. So far, so good.

I chose this disk over some slightly less expensive external hard drives because it supports ethernet as a connection. I didn’t want the hard drive tethered to a PC on the network… both Robin and I use laptops exclusively, and I wanted our central storage to be independent of our computers. Erik will be proud of me: for the first time ever I’m getting serious about a comprehensive storage approach for the entire family.  (Yes, I flirted with the Mirra several years ago, but ran into resource issues – the app just slowed down my PC to the point that I couldn’t keep it installed – and I’ve had two (two!) hard drive failures since then. In the end I’ve only lost a few months’ worth of files – I’d backed up everything on to my iPod late last summer – but it was well past time to get my act together.

So: for less than $200 I’ve got 500 gigs of storage, reachable from any PC/component on my network. The ethernet connection is a big deal: in addition to our PCs, I have the Sonos, my TiVo, and my Sage Media  Extender which are all using ethernet to send/receive data. In the next few days, I’m going to get all of our digital photos moved over (currently scattered on 3 different machines, 2 photo sharing services and a handful of DVDs and CDROMs). After that, I’ll transition off the Mirra for Robin and get our PCs regularly backing up to the LaCie.

Unknowns: is there any way to use this for direct storage for the TiVo? I don’t think so, haven’t looked into it yet. Can the Sage stream video stored on the LaCie to my TV? Also unknown.

Anything you want to know about the LaCie? Oh, one other comparison to the Mirra: it’s about 10% of the size, and 0% of the noise. Seriously, it was beginning to sound like we had a jet landing in our closet (where my router lives and where all the ethernet connections in the house terminate).