Testing the FireLite 120 GB Drive for Aperture

by Derrick Story


I've been using the SmartDisk FireLite 120 GB hard drive to store my Aperture library for the MacBook Pro 17" I take on the road. I was down to 1 GB on my previous 80 GB LaCie drive, and it was time to move up.

Even though the FireLite is only a 5400 RPM drive, I've been impressed with its snappy performance while using Aperture. I have the USB 2.0 model that is port-powered so I don't have to use an external power source. It's small enough to easily fit in my backpack or back pocket. The drive also includes a Mac version of the BounceBack Express backup utility.

Before moving my Aperture library over to the FireLite, I reformatted the drive (after saving BounceBack to another location) for Mac OS X Extended, then moved my managed library and referenced masters over. The drive is performing beautifully, and extending the usefulness of my MacBook Pro on the road.

I purchased the unit at CompUSA for $179 US with a $20 rebate.


2006-11-17 08:38:54
I have a LaCie mobile SAFE drive, it is bus powered, but also has a power adapter for the wall and for another USB port, I often find that I have to use that extra power adapter to get the drive to work correctly. Does this happen with the FireLite?
2006-11-17 17:33:36
I haven't had to use any external power at all. Been plugging the FireLite into my MacBook Pro 17 and working away in Aperture.
James Duncan Davidson
2006-11-19 15:17:45
Its good to hear that this is a workable option. Sometimes, during a single event such as the Web 2.0 Summit, I'll rack up 50GB of images before pruning them down--which usually leads to a space problem on the laptop.

Of course, there are the new 200GB hard drives in the new MacBook Pros. But I think getting the image library off onto a secondary spindle is definitly a good thing indeed.

2006-11-20 07:23:22
I want to get back to a question that b3n asked about using external power with the FireLite. I work mostly with a MBP 17", and the FireLite comes right up on the Desktop with that machine. This weekend, however, I wanted to move some date over to an older PowerBook G4 17", and the FireLite does not come up. In fact, I couldn't get any of my non-powered USB drives to mount except for Flash memory types. Not sure yet what the problem is, but thought I should post an update right away.
Mike Ombrello
2006-11-25 05:08:40
If I understand your article correctly, you have your primary Aperture library located on the Firelite exteral drive. Where do you keep your vault? I have a Macbook with only the 60 GB drive. I haven't started to build a library that is close to size to yours - but I am quickly starting to see the available space on my Macbook hard drive get consumed. I am using my 80 Gb FireLite drive to backup key files from the Macbook, as well as housing my aperture vault. I would be very interested in leveraging the FireLite drive for Aperture, provided I could also maintain my vault.

2006-12-14 11:36:52
2007-01-04 08:45:35
Not much on my mind. I don't care. I've just been letting everything happen without me , but shrug. Whatever. I feel like a void.
2007-01-19 07:57:43
I haven't been up to much today. I've just been letting everything happen without me. Basically nothing seems worth bothering with. I've just been hanging out doing nothing. I just don't have anything to say right now. More or less nothing happening.
2007-01-21 22:02:08
Actually the best thing was you moving away from LaCie they have a high fail rate. We had 6 drives by them (for work) every one failed in under a year. The 120GB firelite (btw) is 7200 RPMs, verses all the other firelites being 5400 RPM drivers
2007-01-30 18:10:43
I've just been staying at home waiting for something to happen, but I don't care. Basically nothing seems worth thinking about. I can't be bothered with anything recently.
2007-02-05 14:34:00
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