August 2012 Ian Chiu
Except for people living under a rock, everyone knows the Porsche line of luxury sport cars are built for speed and style. Any automobile can be fast but few can look good while doing it. This is why it doesn’t come as any surprise that LaCie (a company known for their stylish sophistication) would partner with Porsche to produce a line of ultra-stylish USB 3.0 drives. This line – aptly called the P’9230 series – consists of two separate and distinct drives.
The larger of the two is a desktop model and relies on a 3.5″ hard drive (think of it as a Porsche Cayenne) and is called the P’9233. The second is a portable drive and is based on a 2.5″ hard drive (think Porsche Boxster). It is called the P’9223. Both cases are made from solid aluminum and have a very understated elegance. The desktop version comes in sizes ranging from 2TB to 3TB with prices ranging from $159.99 to $199.99. The portable P9220 version comes in 500GB and 1TB but LaCie hasn’t yet listed price for neither model.
What’s so unique about the new Porsche Design drive line-up is the new USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UAS) compatibility. UAS is basically a new USB mass storage-class that addresses the shortcomings of the ancient Bulk-only Transport device class and in optimal conditions, you can see 10 to 20% improvement in transfer rate. For this to work, you need a compatible OS, a UAS-compliant USB 3.0 drive and a system installed with USB 3.0 xHCI 1.0 host controller. So, even though LaCie touts the new drives to be optimized for Mac, only the latest Macs (i.e. MacBook Air, MacBook Pro) equipped with native USB 3.0 and Mountain Lion are in fact able to take advantage of UAS mode.