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.

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13 Responses

  1. Thinking to replace the drive inside my
    Lacie D2 Triple interface 250GB,

    Any advice on which drive to put it?

    Do you think it will work with:
    Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ, 1TB
    or a seagate or WD 1 – 2 TB drives ?

    The maximum drive at the time you could have as a Lacie triple interface was a 500gb drive, is there a size limit? interface specific drive? sata 300 / 600 etc?

    Thanks for the tips!

    • LaCie tech will tell you to stick with a drive that’s close in spec to the original as the firmware can be different per model. An example was my old LaCie Big Disk Triple 500GB. One of the two RAID 0 IDE drives failed. They suggested I either replace the faulty 250GB drive with another 250 or replace both with a max of two 340s. The tech I spoke with didn’t think the unit would recognize anything larger. I just replaced the one 250. They will recommend WD drives, and I had no problem with that.

      I imagine with the newer models (like the d2 Quadras), you’d be fine replacing a drive with the largest available in that line. The d2 Quadra is available with up to a 2TB drive, so if you have a smaller one, a 2TB replacement should be no problem – though I’d check with LaCie prior to attempting. I’ve found them quite helpful in the past.

  2. will that WD drive you suggested spin at 7200rpm?

    Cheers 🙂

    • Unfortunately WD don’t quote a spin speed for these Green drives, they just quote ‘Intellipower’ which isn’t too helpful. Digging around it seems that Intellipower equates to anything between 5,400rpm and 7,200 rpm depending on circumstances, and some reviews even say these drives will transfer data faster than standard 7,200rpm drives “in some tests”, so depending on what you’re after they may or may not suit.

      I only use the WD Green drives for data storage/backup and have never had any issues with speed. For the boot drives (I have two) in my Mac Pro I have stuck with 1Tb WD Caviar ‘Black’ drives which are good solid performers.

  3. One word of advice – using WD Green Drives in circumstances where your drive has a heavy duty cycle (always on, doing lots of transfers) may result in early failure of the drive. Apparantly these drives are intended for home computer use where the possibility of the machine spending a large amount of it’s time “sleeping” has been factored into the drive design. If you have a need for heavy duty cycles consider an alternative, non-green drive mechanism.

  4. I’ve done just the same, except I have replaced the internal HDD with a 3TB model.
    Unfortunately, it seems the internal controller only recognizes up to 2TB drives, since my drive is now detected as an 800 GB drive. Someone has a solution for that?

    • I just do the same (Green Caviar WD30EZRX), and also have only 800 GB capacity. Please keep in touch if you find a solution! (I’ll do the same if I find something).

      • I’m afraid you have no other choice than buying another box for the 3TB disk. I wasn’t able to make it work, so I bought a docking station and sold the Lacie on eBay with the original 1TB disk. Contact me if you would like to know what docking station I chose.

      • I think i’ll do so. To avoid bad surprises, I’ll be glad if you send me the brand and model that you use successfully. Perhaps I can find the same in Switzerland ? Thanks for your help!
        (sorry for my poor english, my natural language is french…)

      • I bought this one from IcyBox: http://www.raidsonic.de/en/products/external-cases.php?we_objectID=7868. It has a FW800 interface so it is similar in performance to the Lacie. If you, however, have a newer Mac with USB3 I’d suggest to choose a USB3 model, they’re cheaper and overall faster.

      • Socket adaptor is effectively a very good idea, but not suitable for my application (more risk of theft). I found some resellers in Switzerland for ICY Box products. I choose the IB-328StUSE2 enclosure, but a critical contradiction appears in the data sheet: As the technical section says “no capacity limit” for the disk, the Key Features says “Max 2 Tb”. Back to the starting point! And it’s the same for all ICY enclosures available in Switzerland!
        To be sure and safe I prefer resell the caviar hard disk and buy an external disk ready to use. I just found a special Christmas offer for only CHF 159.– (3 Tb USB3) and that’s a LaCie Drive!
        OK at last, many thanks again for answering me, and have a merry Christmas!

  5. The ICY Box dock is very similar to the Voyager Q dock I’ve been using, and better value for money as it’s cheaper (unfortunately it wasn’t available at the time I bought the Voyager Q). Not sure if the Voyager Q has a capacity limit but I have a WD 3Tb ‘RED’ 3.5″ drive here so I will try it out.

    I have used other ICY Box drive enclosures in the past and they have been well made and reliable.

    I’m considering replacing my Mac Pro with a new 27″ iMac which unfortunately no longer supports FireWire, so I’ll probably be investigating a Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter as a cheaper alternative to buying a new Lacie d2 USB3/Thunderbolt drive.

  6. If you have a quadra d2 and want to upgrade to a bigger HD (3TB) so you have to make sure that you have the latest firmware update for the d2 quadra v2! I have updated all my 500Gb drives to 3TB Seagate and had no problems.

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