LaCie, the premium brand of Seagate, makes some fantastic products. I’ve used their Rugged Drive (the same one you can say many an Apple Store employee toting around) for years. Recently, I’ve been using their updated 2Big Thunderbolt 3 Dock that not only offers plenty of storage, but a multitude of ports and expansion options as well.
Usually we see Thunderbolt 3 devices belong to one of two categories. The first being storage, the second being docking station. There are very few that fall in the middle of that Venn diagram. The CalDigit AV Pro II belongs there, as well as LaCie’s 2Big Thunderbolt 3 Dock.
As per usual, to get the best look at this desktop beast, check out my in-depth video.
Many pros love to use a dock of some sort. It makes it easy to connect a ton of devices, all at once. In the past, I used my Apple Thunderbolt monitor that could provide power, a hub, and video out. The newest MacBook Pro took this even further with the adoption of Thunderbolt 3, and not much else. While it limited the ports on your machine, it meant that Thunderbolt docks would be more versatile, and sought after than ever before.
The 2Big Dock is nearly a nearly perfect option for those looking for both storage, and a Thunderbolt 3 dock. It combines them both with plenty of options, though it does have one or two shortcomings.
LaCie is a storage company, so that is what I opted to address first. Inside this large enclosure are two, Seagate IronWolf Pro drives. These are professional level drives that should last longer than your traditional consumer hard disks.
The drives are easily removable for swapping between enclosures, or upgrading. To remove, you simply pull on the front, right side of the drive bay. There are small LED lights that let you know if the drive is currently being used.
The drives are set up in a RAID 0 configuration. That means the 2Big will write to both drives simultaneously. That will increase the read/write speeds, as well as provide you with the most capacity. If you would rather have data redundancy, you can switch it to RAID 1 instead, that will create a duplicate copy of the data on the second drive.
Using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, I regularly was getting around 400 Mbps write speed. This was slightly lower than advertised, but it can definitely fluctuate based on the type of data you are writing.
Thunderbolt 3 Dock
The 2Big clearly is aiming for home on media professionals desks. Right up front, you have easy access to not only an SD card reader, but a CompactFlash card reader, and a USB 3.0 Type-A port. When I’m working, that is pretty much what I need right up front. Access to the card readers, and a USB port for a mic, an adapter, or even just charging my phone.
Around back, you have even more options.
The full list of ports on the back include:
- Power input
- 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports
- A USB 3.1 Type-C port
- DisplayPort video out
- Kensington security lock slot
The part that I am thrilled about here is that additional USB 3.1 Type-C port.
If you take a look at any of my other reviews, you will notice a theme. I don’t understand why more Thunderbolt 3 hubs don’t offer more USB Type-C ports. As we make the transition to Type-C, we will see less and less Type-A devices and cords. It makes no sense to me to build a hub, and solely offer USB Type-A ports.
Especially as expensive as a hub is, I want it to be around for a while, and not need to replace it with one in a year or so because I need USB Type-C instead of USB Type-A. I’ve already migrated the majority of my workflow to USB-C by buying a few cheap cables.
In everyday use
Adding something into your workflow can often take some adjusting. For me, the 2Big dock was able to fit easily into my workflow, and make it simpler.
I love the choices in I/O.
Thunderbolt 3 is quite powerful, and will allow me to daisy chain up to 5 of these docks if I so choose.
In regular practice, I have a few rugged drives attached, and I throw my working projects on them when I’m on the go, and sync them back when I return to my desk.
I would have maybe preferred HDMI to DisplayPort, but that is simply a cable swap. They make plenty of DisplayPort to HDMI cables, and since I already had one, it was mostly a non-issue.
The included Thunderbolt 3 cable is a bit on the short side, though that is something you can also upgrade at any time. Until recently, it has been difficult for manufacturers to create a lengthy Thunderbolt 3 cable while retaining backwards compatibility and fast speeds.
The biggest complaint I had regarding the 2Big was the poor charging speed. It does provide some passthrough charging over Thunderbolt 3, but it was largely minimal. Not enough to actually charge your machine while doing anything intensive. It will provide 27W of power over USB 3.1, and only 15W of power over Thunderbolt 3.
Wrapping it up
To put it bluntly, I love the 2Big dock. It has nearly everything I need, and will easily allow me to expand in the future. Whether I want to swap it out with larger drives, or just buy an entire second 2Big dock to stack on top.
Let’s take a look once more at the pros and cons of the LaCie 2Big Thunderbolt 3 Dock.
- CF card reader alongside SD
- USB Type-A and USB Type-C ports
- Lots of additional I/O
- Daisy chain up to 5 additional 2Big docks with Thunderbolt 3
- Easily swap drives
- Pro-grade IronWolf Seagate drives built in with storage options from 8 to 20 terabytes
- Premium aluminum construction
- Slow passthrough charging speeds
- No HDMI output
- Included Thunderbolt 3 cable could be too short
If you have one of the latest MacBook Pros, chances are you can benefit from additional storage, as well as some surplus I/O. The LaCie 2Big Thunderbolt 3 Dock has been the most beneficial dock that I’ve tested to date. It has everything one needs in an attractive and well-designed package.
You can find the 2Big dock over on Amazon starting at $649 for the 8TB version. While the initial price is high compared to buying a Thunderbolt 3 hub and a Thunderbolt 3 RAID hard drive, that is definitely a good deal.
Now it is your turn. What are your thoughts on LaCie’s professional storage option. Do you think it could benefit from additional ports? Do you think it separates itself well enough from the others we’ve seen in the past? Sound off below!