The long awaited release of a portable Thunderbolt HD has finally taken place with the introduction of the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series. These have been among the most desired of Thunderbolt accessories since its unveiling in early spring of 2011. LaCie announced plans of a portable Tbolt drive soon after, however enthusiasts were a little disappointed when these products did not immediately hit the market.

External Hard Disks utilizing the high-speed I/O of Intel Thunderbolt accessories are currently the most abundant devices to employ this new technology. With up to 10 GB/s transfer, Thunderbolt fiber channels are ideal for moving mass amounts of data in little time. Startup disk backups, transferring HD video, and mass data storage takes a fraction of the time with Intel Thunderbolt as it would with USB, FireWire, or eSATA.

Like all Thunderbolt peripherals, the latest Little Big Disk features dual Tbolt ports to daisy change multiple Thunderbolt accessories. It may be used in conjunction with other external Tbolt drives, or connected to a display. Along with a corrugated exterior (to increase surface area), the drive even offers its own cooling system to ensure hours of operation. Unlike other high-speed external hard drives with Thunderbolt, the LaCie Little Big Disk is compact and ultra-portable. As with most of their gear, the external disk comes in a durable aluminum enclosure.


LaCie Little Big Disk External Thunderbolt Disk Enclosure

The LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series comes in 3 different models. Two of which feature convention hard disks, while the other offers optional SSDs. The drives are configured in RAID0, and offer differing high speed I/O depending on the drive type. The standard model features read speed up to 190 MBps, while the SSD model can perform at up to 480 MBps. The SSD model unfortunately multiplies both the read/write speed and the cost. Daisy chaining multiple external Thunderbolt drives can result in higher transfer rates (that is more data being stored in less time). This happens because the speed of the Thunderbolt port still exceeds that of the drives themselves.

It’s not quite to the point of calling this device an affordable Thunderbolt peripheral, but LaCie’s introduction into the market of Thunderbolt computer accessories is a serious step forward in the development of this relatively new high speed interface. The Little Big Disk with Thunderbolt still starts out around $600, but this is a far cry from a Thunderbolt RAID array (while still offering the same high speed data transfers).