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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iPhone 3G and the Griffin Wave case

On the practical side of things, I’ve been looking for a second iPhone 3G case – one that lets you use all the features of the phone, rather than the ‘tuck it away’ leather slip case I bought. I’ve always known that Griffin make good products so I was fairly confident that after some good reviews on the Apple Store webite, that the Griffin Wave case would be up to the job. So I ended up buying a two-pack of these cases off Amazon UK and as a result I now have a black and a green(!) Griffin Wave case.

Once past the mass of plastic packaging (come on Griffin, haven’t you read the news about the planet?), you find a three piece plastic case together with an instruction sheet. The instruction sheet is potentially unnecessary as fitting the case is really a no-brainer. There is a front bezel, a clear screen protector and the sculpted case back, and if you don’t know where those go then you must be hung-over! You place the bezel face down and slip the screen protector into in, taking care not to get any finger marks on the inside. Next you place the iPhone into the bezel, with the ear speaker and home button lining up with their corresponding holes in the screen protector. Finally you clip the back of the case to the bezel, taking care to note the clever under/over arrangement of the way the two halves lock together. About 60 seconds and it’s all done.

The materials used to make the case are good, the bezel and case back being a translucent coloured plastic with a smooth non-slip feel to them that resists scratching from everyday knocks rather well. The transparent screen cover is completely clear, so your iPhone screen is as bright and clear as ever. In use I found the screen cover to be actually quite good, despite some reviewers over at Apple having their doubts. Yes, I was expecting it to de-sensitize the iPhone screen itself and make it less responsive, but if fitted properly you barely notice it, and I can still activate the phone’s interface with gentle touches.

One minor flaw

One minor flaw

Because the iPhone is such a sleek design, almost any case of this sort is going to make it look bulkier and cheaper, but looks aside the fit and finish are good apart from one possible design flaw. The left side of the case has an aperture in it to allow use of the mute switch and volume control. This means that at the top left corner the two sides of the case aren’t clipped together and will easily come apart (as shown in the photo) allowing dirt to get in. That said, the rest of the case is quite firmly locked which brings me on to a second point. If you’re an iPhone dock user then this isn’t the case for you. The phone cannot be placed in the dock with the case fitted, and despite the issue with the top left corner, getting the case off takes a fair old bit of effort. Of course there’s an aperture at the bottom of the case where you can still attach the sync cable.

In the hand, the phone still has that comfortable sculpted feel with the case fitted, and the translucent finish means you can still see the Apple logo on the back. The screen protector does however suffer the same smudging from finger marks as the iPhone screen itself so you’ll still end up having to clean the face. One final thing I noted is that dirt does tend to collect between the edge of the bezel and the screen protector and that dust can make it’s way under the screen protector via the opening where the home switch is. However, assuming your home and pockets are less dusty than mine you might not find this a problem.

Overall I do like this case despite it’s minor flaws and if I wasn’t a perfectionist it would probably do me just fine. So I would score it a 4 out of 5 and would say that if you want a hard case and don’t use a dock then it’s a pretty good choice. As for me, well I do have something else in the pipeline… 😉

Little 3G bundles of joy

August 2008 saw me taking another holiday, writing very little in this blog, and becoming the proud owner of a 16Gb Apple iPhone 3G courtesy of O2 UK. Sigh, it’s a hard life…

Now I won’t even attempt to write an iPhone review, simply because so much has already been said about this gadget that I could do little to add to it. However, there’s more to iPhone ownership so a few words about accessories and other experiences will creep into these pages, starting with my search for a case to keep my shiny little phone, well…. shiny! Enter the Beyzacases SlimLINE VSL20 Vertical Leather Case.

It falls into the category of ‘slip’ cases that you have to remove before using the phone. At $33.50 (about £20 for us Brits) it’s a shade above average price for an iPhone case, although I happily found a Coupon Code which got me 20% off. Shipping to the UK (from Turkey) was an extra $6.70 however it turned up within two days of ordering which I’d say is pretty good. This particular case is available in a variety of finishes anc colours and I opted for the ‘smooth’ black one which arrived in a simple black and silver box marked ‘beyzacases – high quality leather cases’.

The case itself is actually very well made, with close even stitching and nicely rounded edges. The leather itself also looks to be good quality and is ‘genuine cow leather’ according to the enclosed invoice, while the lining is a soft synthetic velvet-like fabric designed not to scratch its precious cargo. However the main thing you’ll notice is that the case doesn’t have this sculpted shape designed to fit the contours of the iphone as suggested by the photos on the Beyzacases website. The case is actually a simple flat ‘envelope’ design and so on first using the case you have to push the phone in quite firmly for it to fit, given that the leather hasn’t had the chance to stretch yet. This in turn gives the case an ‘over-stuffed’ appearance with large gaps top and bottom allowing the ingress of dust, dirt and anything else lurking in your pockets. Perhaps with extended use the case will take on the shape of the phone a bit more, but I can only wait and see. That said, if the leather does stretch then it won’t hold the phone as securely and that brings with it its own problems.

Aside from the points above, the case does have a nice look and feel to it that compliments the quality of the iPhone itself. Most of the clip-on hard cases I have seen, while perhaps doing a better job at protection, tend to cheapen the look of the phone. Not so with the SlimLINE case, it looks like a posh wallet or spectacle case and so wouldn’t look out of place on a coffee table next to a Ferrari key fob. If this type of case is what you’re after then I’d recommend it, but only if you don’t mind gambling that it may always look like an over-stuffed wallet.

That’s a 3.5 out of 5 from me!