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Old May 5th, 2013, 02:46 PM   #1
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External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

I would like to buy something (external) to use as my scratch/raw footage disk. I have a MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt/FW800 connections. I read several threads that are a couple years old about SSD vs HDD and could not find a current discussion. The older threads pointed me away from SSD for scratch. Is that still true? I'm not sure if the technology has improved. I want the speed to handle multiple cameras, but of course reliability is important. What is a good solution for under $1,000? Cheaper is preferred. Thanks!
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Old May 6th, 2013, 11:30 PM   #2
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

If you have an e-sata port, the RocketStor on amazon for $120 offers dual bay 6gbps e-sata ports, with hot-swap and raid capable.

I don't know about 4K and above, but SSD is plenty fast for 2K and HD editing. I believe a single SSD is quite a bit fast than RAID 0 7200rpm and even 10K rpm drives.

I am using a 100GB SSD for cache/project files, with a raid 0 7200rpm setup for rendering to. From what I've read, putting project files and cache on SSD is best since it's used often and very fast to read from. Rendering is usually done one-off and not nearly as much, and typically a 7200rpm drive non-raid should be plenty fast for rendering to.

Thunderbolt is 10gbps, faster than e-sata, so if you can find a solution that route, that's the way to go. USB 3 docks with SSD drives are not the right choice, due to TRIM issues with SSD drives and it's not working over USB. Using USB 3 for a single drive for backup and such is fine though.
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Old May 8th, 2013, 04:33 PM   #3
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

Thanks Kevin. Do you keep your raw media files on the SSD with the project files (not sure if you meant all project files or specifically the PPro project file), or are they with the Render drive?
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Old May 26th, 2013, 01:25 AM   #4
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

I thought this thread might be a good place to ask rather than starting a whole new thread. So I've jumped into the world of wedding SDE's and have a somewhat powerful laptop to do this (i7, 16GB RAM 160gb SSD with Adobe CS6) So to my understanding that Kevin Duffy pointed out is to try and use another SSD external drive through the USB 3.0 to place scratch disks and raw video files? I was thinking that using a 7200rpm external drive would be good enough for DSLR footage?
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Old May 26th, 2013, 08:42 PM   #5
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

I just purchased a LaCie 4tb Thunderbolt external drive connected to a 27" iMac. I checked its speed using Blackmagic Designs speed test program. Compared to my Gtech 4tb firewire 800 drive, the LaCie is just over 5 times faster in reading and writing.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 02:05 AM   #6
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

But for us PC guys who aren't as lucky to have Thunderbolt, using a 7200RPM external harddrive through USB3.0 for media drive is still pretty good correct? I don't have an Esata port :(
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Old May 29th, 2013, 05:20 PM   #7
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

What is the recommended hdd for a mac pro bsides the ssd for video editing. Footage that i edit are mostly avchd. Some footage from my canon 60d
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Old May 30th, 2013, 02:24 PM   #8
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

This on the web today...

How fast is USB 3.0 really? | Macworld
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Old June 1st, 2013, 12:03 PM   #9
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Huffaker View Post
I don't have an Esata port :(
Yes you do... do a search for SATA to USB3 adapters ( < $30). I use a Thermaltake HDD docking caddy with internal drives into my USB3 port via an adapter accepting the eSATA output from the caddy.
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Old October 9th, 2013, 03:22 PM   #10
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

You can just get the Seagate Thunderbolt adapter
Amazon.com: Seagate Backup Plus Portable Thunderbolt Adapter (STAE128): Computers & Accessories

and drop in ANY SSD SATAIII
you would get about 300MB+/s

Addition to it, If you need a MASSIVE, great protection RAID6, for editing , scratch disk use this.
http://www.amazon.com/Thunderbolt-Tw.../dp/B00FM4JVO0

I have this T12-S6.TB with 12x 3TB configured as RAID6, it can do about 625MB+/s

i wish I can afford 12x 4TB,
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Old October 10th, 2013, 05:58 AM   #11
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

External drives using eSATA are OK to use, USB3 carries a slight performance penalty, but keep in mind that both connections are the non-locking type, so the chance of data corruption due to a loose cable is a serious concern. If you consider a SSD, then use an eSATA 6G connection and choose a SSD that does not use a SandForce controller. because of the significant performance degradation in the 'stable-state'. I suggest using something like the Samsung 840 Pro (not the EVO) series or Corsair Performance Pro.

For external raid configurations, only consider SFF-8088 locking mini-SAS connections, since they offer four times the bandwidth of eSATA per connection and more than twice faster than Thunderbolt and avoid the problem of loose connections and data corruption. Thunderbolt has no benefit for single disks, even SSD's, and for raids it is simply too slow in comparison with SFF-8088.

See To Raid or not to Raid

Last edited by Harm Millaard; October 10th, 2013 at 07:33 AM.
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Old October 10th, 2013, 11:42 AM   #12
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

I've experienced data corruption due to esata cables that are loose. They notoriously are, and my feeling is that esata should avoided now that we have USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, though TB is also a very small connector dangling off the side of my MB Pro. OWC does sell an esata to TB converter box, for us with legacy esata systems.My Mac Pro has an esata RAID card in it, for example.

I've been using OWC products, love them by and large, and the company does great customer service, in my experience.

My personal choice, given that I occasionally use Windows 7 with Adobe products along with my two Macs, is to move towards drives that have multiple adapters. OWC has RAID arrays (standalone boxes with the controllers built in) that have 3.0, TB and FW800 ports. I routinely move back and forth with them, as I'm rebuilding my arrays due to growth.

Be aware, I recently have had a drive failure on a 4TB RAID 5 Array,some files are corrupted, apparently and unuseable. OWC says that though the drive bay is hot swappable, and the unit is only a year and half old, so still under warranty, they will not guarantee that my entire array can be saved, won't ship me a replacement drive, and they want me to send it in for repair. While this is rather an odd situation, I've decided that I am backing up the entire RAID array this week, and it's a PIA. I have found on Amazon a new 1TB matching drive for the 4 in the Array, same manufacturer and specs. Since I have nothing to lose and OWC wants to reformat my drive, I'm going to swap this drive in for the old one, and see if the Array still survives. Theoretically it should, but the data corruption of existing files makes me worry it's a controller issue as well as drive failure. At least everything is backed up. Needless to say, this all happened during a crunch to complete a project. Good news is, my footage is safe, I did not need to restore from off site backup my lost footage on this project, and I finished on time.

So to the point, given the article on how USB 3.0 seems to come dang close to TB, I'm not going to pay a premium for it. I've always assumed that 3.0 was simply a competing technology to TB, not that one was a replacement for the other. The speed tests amply prove that point. Unless I'm missing something.

Also, I bought (also from OWC) an esata to USB 3.0 adapter cable, and it's worked fine for me. It's also very cheap.

The article Harm points to, on To Raid or Not to Raid should be must reading for anyone that doesn't understand the technology. It does not point out the issue of RAID controller failure, and it's implications, but it's the best overview for those of us in video editing I've read.
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Old October 11th, 2013, 05:23 AM   #13
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

Good tip, Al. I will add those shortly, as indicated by my comment in the article.
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Old October 12th, 2013, 10:54 PM   #14
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

Wow. This is the first place I have read "Thunderbolt...is simply too slow". That has me nervous, as it is the fastest connection on my 2011 MacBook Pro. I am currently using a two drive software raid configuration over thunderbolt without difficulty...well, until I started editing 4 tracks of 1080p in multicam. It starts to stutter there. I have the money to upgrade either the computer or storage solution, but I'm not sure which will give me the best boost in performance with editing video. I would love your opinion on the pegasus r6. It seems the fastest solution for my laptop. Suggestions?
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Old October 12th, 2013, 11:30 PM   #15
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Re: External Drive Recommendation: SSD/HDD/Thunderbolt/FireWire

The problem with all laptops, not only MBP, is that you can't install a PCIe-3.0 8x raid controller with multiple SFF-8088 connectors. Each connector has a bandwidth of 24 Gb/s and can have multiple connectors on a single card. This just isn't possible on a laptop. The PCIe-3.0 bus has a transfer rate of 965 MB/s per lane, so a 8x PCIe-3.0 card can accommodate up to 7.7 GB/s using 130b/128b protocol.

On a MBP, Thunderbolt is the only sensible raid option, just like the T-Ford, available in every color imaginable, as long as it was black. It only offers 10 Gb/s per channel, but it is the best you can get. Thunderbolt is hampered by the PCIe-2.0 4x bus with 10b/8b protocol which carries a much larger overhead than PCIe-3.0

In practice a Thunderbolt connection maxes out at around 950 MB/s, so 2 SSD's or 4 SSD's in Raid0 makes no difference at all on a Thunderbolt connection. On a PCIe-3.0 bus with SFF-8088 connections, the transfer rate of 4 SSD's in Raid0 can achieve around double that. Even with conventional HDD's a good raid controller using the mini-SAS connections can easily achieve around 4 GB/s transfer rate, around 4 times faster than Thunderbolt.

Last edited by Harm Millaard; October 13th, 2013 at 12:01 AM.
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