LaCie strikes first with Thunderbolt hard drive

Storage specialist LaCie is the first peripheral maker to announce what will soon become of flood of Thunderbolt-compatible devices following yesterday's launch of Apple new MacBook Pro range.

Thunderbolt is the new name for Intel's high speed interface formerly known as Light Peak which, as the name suggests, was originally based on fibre-optic technology. The standard was shrouded in secrecy until Apple announced its inclusion on the range of premium laptops but Intel has since released some details.

Now, LaCie's Little Big Drive starts the ball rolling with a palm-sized Thunderbolt-ready external hard drive with some impressive specs.

LaCie reckons the device can deliver multiple streams of HD video and offload hours of content in minutes without compromising bandwidth and performance at speeds that previously were only available from rack mounted storage arrays.

And the company is keen to aim the drive, which has yet to be specified in terms of capacity or price, at the film industry with its voracious appetite for bigger, faster drives.

"Users will be able to edit on-set during a day of filming, and then transfer all of the assets for the edit suite within seconds," burbles the press release.

The Little Big Disk, which is the first in a range of storage solutions which will start appearing in summer 2011, can also be daisy chained for storage expansion or connecting other peripherals with the correct adaptors.

Thunderbolt technology delivers 10Gbps and runs PCI Express and DisplayPort protocols simultaneously over a single cable for connectivity to high-performance peripherals and high-resolution displays.