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Tuesday, January 08, 2002
LaCie's 120 and 160GB FireWire HD eliminate performance barriers

Leveraging its expertise in mass storage and FireWire( technology, LaCie announced today two new Giga-capacity external hard drives that stream data to the computer at a sustained transfer rate of nearly 35MB/s.

With the ability to provide a constant data stream, LaCie's 120GB 7200 rpm and 160GB 5400 rpm FireWire drives virtually eliminate the possibility of corrupt data or lost video frames. Reliability is further enhanced with LaCie's unique sturdy casing for added heat and shock resistance.

Especially designed for video users, the LaCie 120GB drives can store more than 30 hours of MPEG-2 video or 10 hours of uncompressed DV. Available storage is even higher with the LaCie 160GB drive, which can store more than 300 hours of CD-quality audio or a mile-high stack of text-files.

"The demand for high-capacity hard drive storage has been overwhelming," said Olivier Mirloup, LaCie Storage Product Manager. "Until now, the biggest problem has been the performance bottleneck at the IDE drive and 1394 interface. But with our new two-chip, single firmware interface design, we've virtually eliminated the performance barrier because our new drives consistently deliver 35MB/s sustained data throughput to the computer," he explained. "With twice the transfer rate of first-generation FireWire drives, the new hard drives open up the data pipe that today's higher-performance video production and content development computers offer. Users won't have to worry about data, quality or frame loss anymore when they are using our new FireWire drives." By enhancing the external 120GB and 160GB drives with a new built-in FireWire controller and a 2MB buffer, LaCie provides users with a fast, reliable means of exchanging large files such as high-resolution photos and digital videos with no risk of data loss. Both 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, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

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

With latest-generation 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 FireWire hard drives 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 drives look and perform just like any other drive on the system. Properly formatted, the drives can even be used to share video and graphics files between Mac and Windows computers.

A key advantage with the new LaCie FireWire hard drives is they can be used as a 'data shuttle' to enable several professionals to work successively on the same project from their own machine. In the event of a computer crash, the LaCie FireWire drives can also be quickly plugged into another system so that work can continue with a minimum of downtime.

Focused on customer satisfaction, LaCie tests the drives thoroughly to ensure that they are cooled properly and to make certain there are no excessive noise or power consumption problems. LaCie's 120GB hard drive has an acoustic rating of 3.6 decibels, making it one of the quietest half-height disk drives currently available. In addition to being remarkably quiet, the drive has an idle power consumption of only 3.75 watts.

Pricing, Availability

Available in February through LaCie authorized resellers and mail order partners, the suggested retail prices for LaCie's new FireWire hard drives are $399 for the 120GB 7200 drive and $449 for the 160GB 5400 rpm drive.

The FireWire hard drives include the LaCie 1394 cable, an internal international power supply for worldwide use, and LaCie's Silverlining Pro drive utility software for Mac OS environments. Silverlining is the most comprehensive drive management software on the market and the only driver able to manage USB, IDE, SCSI and FireWire peripherals at the same time.

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