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La Cie Biggest Disk F800

The La Cie Biggest Disk F800 is a small, slick looking box that can be placed above the computer, and offers Firewire storage between one and two terabytes. The test unit here is the 1.6 TB model featuring 4 400GB drives. The configuration can be set as RAID 0, RAID 0+1, RAID 5, RAID 5+ spare. It gives an option of redundancy that used to be found only in very high end SCSI or Fibrechannel arrays. It targets the DV user, inclusive of HDV and DVCPro HD, and is appealing to uncompressed users also.

The test system for running the La Cie Biggest Disk F800 is PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0 with 3GB RAM, and the Final Cut Pro 4.5 running on the OS 10.3.8 with Kona2 capture card of external K-Box. F800 is connected through a FW800 cable to Mac’s Firewire 800 port. Connecting it through PCI Firewire 800 card gives more speed, but open slots are not available in the G5 for installing the card. To run dual channel setup to increase speed, twoF800 units need to be striped, as dual channel connection is not available with F800.

The La Cie Biggest Disk F800 unit comes as a pre-configured RAID 5 Array. You can run it as such, but speed is lost considerably, and so it is recommended only for DV on the system, without regard to real-time functionality. An initialization procedure is required to re-configure it. The procedure takes around ninety minutes, and the unit must not be connected to the computer during the process. It needs to be done carefully, by resetting RAID Level Switch behind the unit, releasing every drive unit from bay, powering the system up, and re-inserting each drive into the bay. The La Cie Biggest Disk F800 does not support 10 bit uncompressed capture or editing, but it can handle 8 bit.

This unit is specifically meant for DV users bringing them a unit of large capacity, with a small footprint. Its performance is solid, and the speed is excellent for DV workflow. If a major part of your workflow happens to be HDV, DV or DVCpro HD, and if you require plenty of storage with significant real-time functionality, then La Cie Biggest Disk F800 ought to be considered.

Though it works with 8 bit uncompressed, it requires rendering almost everything in the timeline for a daily use, thereby slowing down the workflow. Uncompressed users can consider using it as the backup device to SCSI or the Fibrechannel Array, as its cost is quite less compared to that of secondary SCSI or Fibre units. La Cie Biggest Disk F800 is definitely an excellent unit for users of heavy duty DV.

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