USB 3.0 drives offer a serious boost in performance for those who work with large amounts of data and Lacie’s Minimus claims to be the “world’s smallest USB3.0 desktop drive”.
We’re not quite sure what definitively constitutes a drive fitting the “desktop” criteria, but as high-capacity storage goes it’s a fairly slimline, if weighty, device finished in brushed aluminium. A lack of any apparent internal or external protection means this does seem more suited to semi-permanent placement in the home or office than being carried around on the move, though, and a simple power switch and LED status light are the only notable features on the chassis.
The Minimus needs to be formatted before use and you’re walked through this process during the initial setup routine when the drive is first connected. This also preinstalls the user manual and a range of utilities including 10GB worth of storage with Wuala online backup and the Genie Backup Assistant application.
Genie is a solid complement to the drive and uses a wizard-based approach to help users select exactly what to back up, including emails, registry and system settings and common file-types. It offers incremental backups, password protection or AES encryption and compression en-route, and custom backup routines can be scheduled to run at specific times.
Being a powered drive, the Minimus needs to be connected to the mains during operation, though a USB power cable can be bought separately to allow it to be used on the move via a notebook or other mobile device. Those without a USB3.0 connection can use the drive in USB2.0 mode but will need to pick up an adaptor separately to benefit from the high speeds on offer. Lacie offers a USB 3.0 ExpressCard for notebooks priced at £64.99 and a PCI Express card for a desktop machine at £54.99.
We used a PCI-card adaptor for our tests and noted some pretty impressive speeds of just over 50MB/s in copy tests from a local drive; far from the purported 5Gb/s, admittedly, but the Minimus does seem to fare well against the USB3.0 rivals we’ve seen doing the rounds so far.
The Minimus is available in 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB capacities ranging in price from £100 to £150, so is quite reasonably priced as well, especially when you take its diminutive size into account.
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