Upgrading the disk in a LaCie d2 Quadra

Following on from my post about upgrading one of the internal drives in my 2008 Mac Pro, I moved on to upgrading the disk inside my LaCie d2 Quadra external drive this morning. Once again pretty straightforward thanks to SuperDuper, my Voyager Q and a Philips screwdriver. If you’ve got one of these LaCie drives and you’d like more space for whatever reason (and the existing drive is out of warranty), then dive in because in less than ten minutes you’ll be enjoying lots more free space.

The LaCie d2 Quadra is a solid and well constructed external unit which actually makes replacing the drive inside it very easy because all the parts are machined to fit together just so. You won’t be struggling with screw holes that don’t line up or bendy bits of plastic as the case is a nicely machined piece of aluminium (or aluminum depending on your side of the Atlantic!).

1. Ok first step is to remove the four screws at the back of the unit. You’ll discover that these screws hold on both the back and front bezels as they go right the way through the case!

(Click images to enlarge)

2. Having removed the front and rear bezels, next remove the thin masking plate that covers the ports on the rear of the device. Take care to do this gently and to not bend it.

3. Turn the unit on it’s side and remove the two screws that hold the internal assembly in place.

4. Now you can slide out the whole internal assembly which is basically a mounting plate, a circuit board and the drive itself.

5. Turn the assembly over and remove the four screws that hold the drive onto the mounting plate.

6. Next you can gently slide the drive off the SATA connector. I found the best way to do this was to just rock the drive slightly from side to side while gently pulling it.

7. From here on in it’s pretty much a case of reversing the procedure starting by gently sliding the new drive on to the SATA connector then re-attaching it to the mounting plate. The screws really don’t have to be that tight as the drive barely vibrates and isn’t going anywhere once re-fitted.

New drive fitted and ready to go back in the case.

8. Slide the whole internal assembly back into the case, making sure that the two screw holes on the side of the assembly line up with their corresponding holes in the side of the case.

9. Secure the assembly inside the case using the two screws on the side.

10. Replace the masking plate over the ports at the back, again taking care not to bend it.

11. Replace the front and back bezels and secure them in place using the four long case screws.

Everything back as it was, only with more space!

That’s it, pretty straight forward eh? The procedure for cloning my existing 1.5Tb drive in the LaCie on to the new 2Tb disk was much the same as for the internal drive upgrade I just did. I popped the 2Tb drive into my Voyager Q, created a single Mac OS Extended (journalled) partition with a unique name then used SuperDuper to copy everything from the existing LaCie drive to the new one. Finally I ejected both drives, did the hardware swap, powered up the LaCie with the new drive inside and renamed the volume back to the original name (so that I don';t have to change any backup routines, etc).

Choice of Hard Disk Drive

It’s worth noting that the LaCie d2 Quadra is a passively cooled drive enclosure, i.e. there is no fan to pull air through it. For this reason I have stuck with a Western Digital ‘Green’ SATA hard disk – the WD20EARS SATA 3Gb/s 3.5inch IntelliPower 2Tb 64Mb to be exact. I have used WD Green drives before and found them to be both very quiet and not too hot, plus they are plenty fast enough for data and backup drives like the LaCie.

Update 05/December/2012

I have been using Western Digital ‘GREEN’ drives in both my Lacie Quadra (Firewire) drive and in a number of Synology NAS devices. While they have performed well, I have had two failures out of eight drives in the past year – that’s a 25% failure rate. These have not been catastrophic failures resulting in data loss, rather drive errors found by software like Drive Genius or S.M.A.R.T. utilities. Western Digital make it very easy to return drives, they have a long warranty period and seem to be very quick at replacing drives without any argument, so I am happy to continue using WD drives. However, I am now looking at moving from their ‘GREEN’ drives to their ‘RED’ drives for storage that is external to my Mac Pro. The ‘RED’ drives are around 25% more expensive than the ‘GREEN’ drives, e.g. current price of a 2Tb RED drive on Amazon UK is £90 compared with £74 for a 2Tb GREEN drive, but the RED drives are optimised for NAS and external storage as opposed to power saving.

My ‘not so speedy’ WD 1TB Drive

My Mac Pro sports four 1Tb drives. Sounds like a lot but in truth it’s not that much with the way I have it set up which is:

  1. The boot drive has two 500Gb partitions, BootA being a 500Gb Leopard system partition and a 500Gb ‘VMA’ partition where I store all my VMware Fusion virtual machines (currently 186Gbs-worth).
  2. The second 1Tb drive is a clone of the first. Twice a week I use SuperDuper to clone disk #1 to disk #2 so if my boot drive ever fails then I’m good to go off disk #2 without (hopefully) too much loss of data.
  3. The third 1Tb drive is where I store the bulk of my data. That’s music, photos, videos, etc. That all gets backed up daily to a LaCie 1Tb firewire drive, and weekly to a network drive.
  4. The fourth 1Tb drive is my TimeMachine drive…. yes I’m paranoid about backups!

WD RangeAnyway, this obviously isn’t how Apple shipped the Mac Pro to me – that was a machine that had a single Western Digital Caviar 500Gb drive (model WD5000AAKS). I added the 1Tb ‘data’ drive first by buying a Western Digital ‘Green’ 1Tb drive and it worked brilliantly. Quiet, cool and did the job of storing my precious data just fine. I was so impressed that I added another for TimeMachine and now I have four of them. They are still good drives but I think installing one as my boot drive was maybe pushing it too far. It works well enough but it seems to have slowed the system down. These are 7200rpm drives and are built for their green credentials rather than outright performance, like say the Western Digital ‘Black’ or ‘Blue’ versions.

So, when Snow Leopard hits – rather than upgrade my existing Leopard installation on the 1Tb ‘Green’ drive, I’m thinking about building a new boot drive from scratch using a Western Digital VelociRaptor 300Gb drive. Yes it’s quite a bit more expensive (per Gb) than the Green drive, it’ll certainly be hotter as it’s a 10,000rpm drive and it’ll probably be noisier. But it’ll be a lot FASTER and it seems the Mac Pro benefits from a speedy boot drive. I’ll keep the other three 1Tb drives and re-jig how I clone the boot drive for recovery, but it’ll be interesting to see how snappy it makes the Mac as currently I seem to spend too much time waiting for OS X to access my ‘Green’ boot disk.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.