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Old March 28th, 2010, 12:16 PM   #1
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Bus-powered FW/USB/ESata 1TB drive recommendations

Hi all,

I've been working on a project using the I-Frame only 100Mbs codec and it is eating up transfer drive space as well as wrap time at about 150 GB of footage daily.

I'm researching speeding up the clone/transfer process and I figure some people have already figured out what is the best solution for doing this.

I think FW800/400 or ESata would be the speediest choice but it would be a godsend to also be able to bus-power for field laptop times.

I've seen some data on a low-power 1TB drive ( http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-Cache-Desktop-HD103SJ/dp/B001U3S5S0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1269795854&sr=8-1) and some external enclosures, but the bus-powering seems to be the big hitch.

For field transfers I am using an early Intel MBPro with FW400 and ExpressCard34 slot. I figure I can get an ExpressCard to ESata or FW800 card to utilize better bus speed - but maybe that's not the case . . .

Any suggestions and/or recommendations would be appreciated.

Last edited by Bruce Schultz; March 28th, 2010 at 12:47 PM.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 12:50 PM   #2
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Bruce,
Have you gotten a NEXTO transfer drive yet? It allows you to quickly transfer from CF cards without tying up your computer. Then you can copy all the data from your NEXTO to another drive later at your liesure.
Also, do a little predictive estimating with your card usage. Yes, 150GB is quite a bit of data, but starting your transfers earlier in the day (particularly if you aren't doing multiple locations and can set up a transfer station area) will save you big time at wrap. Figure out how quickly you'll be filling your cards compared to when you can start transferring them. If I can set up a transfer station early and want to start the transfer process sooner, I may start off with smaller cards and then transition into the bigger ones.. Of course I want to finish the day on a small card, because when wrap is called I want my last big card to be just about finished transferring, with only one small card left to go.
You also have to determine your comfort level (do you want to make two separate transfers of everything? - I normally do.) Here the NEXTO is also particularly helpful, since I can use it for one card while a different card is transferring simultaneously on the laptop.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 01:31 PM   #3
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Hi Bruce,
If you have the money or the shoot will/would pay for this storage device NEXTO is the way to go as Dave pointed out. If would be your own expense and you feel the $ sign all over your budget, the find you posted is great idea money and size wise. The only big problem with it is that is 3.5" and you may need a box to cover and protect it.
Also, you could look at 500GB OWC Mercury On-The-Go Portable FW80... (MS8U7500GB16) at OWC I have a few of those and they are formated as MSDOS on my MBP. The idea behind MSDOS is that I can read my footage on MAC and Windows and any other format computing device. Also bus-powered.
At the end of the day most of the choices we made are based on family priorities and $.
Cheers
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Old March 28th, 2010, 02:07 PM   #4
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I have a 500gb Nexto and I do use it, but it's used for the first of at least two transfers in the field - the second one being to the client's hard drive. That's the drive I'm looking at for the higher capacity and transfer rates. I would be very nervous about formatting a CF card with footage on it that's only been transferred to one external drive - even a Nexto.

Also, I don't really trust that the NF units can be safely hot-swapped as I have tried this and gotten errors that required a full power cycle to solve. So transferring while shooting is something I am reluctant to try. I have 2 64gb Delkin cards for the NF so I have about enough card space for each day up to around 120gb. It's the off-load to client disks that I'm trying to solve.

So I am looking for a 1tb+ fast external FW/E-Sata bus-powered drive - if it exists. The link to the OWC 500gb is a good start though.

Lastly, which transfers faster - FW400 or USB2? I can see that the FW400 is 10MBs faster but does that translate into noticeably faster transfer times?
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Old March 28th, 2010, 02:23 PM   #5
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Hi Bruce,
To answer your question, USB2 is better than FW400. Faster, but not by much. What is most important is that USB2 is everywhere on all kind of machines. FW400 is dying slowly, especially now when USB3 is coming out with the new generation computers.
I would always look to have USB option on the drive. More than that (FW800,eSata) is a bonus.
Cheers
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Old March 28th, 2010, 02:27 PM   #6
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Dear Bruce,

In order of slowest to fast transfer times:

USB 2.0 Slowest

Firewire 400

Fireware 800

ExpressCard 34 Fastest


I do not have USB 3.0 in the list as I do not have any practical experience with this.

USB 3.0, properly done, should be very fast. New Firewire modes are also very promising.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 04:05 PM   #7
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Does anyone have experience with the ExpressCard 34 E-Sata or FW800 adapters? The adapters I have looked at have 2 ports but don't express in the specs whether they can supply power to the plugged in drives. I believe that both adapter ports ports are on the same bus so I'm wondering if the existing FW port on the MacBook Pro (on mine FW400) are on the same bus or a different bus than the ExpressCard slot. The configuration might be 2 - FW800 or FW400 drives on the ExpressCard adapter and a FW400 card reader on the built in port. Knowing that the entire throughput would be reduced to the slowest link, would this be an optimal configuration? Add Shotput Pro copying to the two ExpressCard adapter drives simultaneously to the mix and maybe this is a workable configuration.

Any ideas on this config?
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Old March 28th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #8
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I use the drive (the link I provide you with) as my backup drive on my MBP and as a travel MBP on any mac arround the world. Just plug the drive to FW400/800 or USB and is powerd and works like I have my MBP with me. Have said that, I hope that answers your question if your MBP FW would provide power to the connected drive of yours. eSata can not be used for that, but, as you said, you could use a ExpressCard adapter with FW on it. I haven't try that configuration and I am not sure if would power your drive. Hope that helps you
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Old March 29th, 2010, 04:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Schultz View Post
Does anyone have experience with the ExpressCard 34 E-Sata or FW800 adapters?
I'm using the Sonnett Tempo SATA Pro Expresscard/34. It costs more because it is the only true eSATA card out there... everything else is a variant on USB. I use it at the end of the day to stream files off the Nexto 2500 onto a CalDigit VR mini (RAID 1), both connected to the Sonnett card. I also use ShotPut Pro. The whole set-up works pretty seamlessly although ejecting the drives and powering down the Sonnett card sometimes cause my MBP 17" to hang.

Yes, I'd recommend this set-up.

HTH
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Old March 29th, 2010, 06:14 PM   #10
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Like Bob, I also use the Sonnet. If you run e-sata RAID arrays, you need to make sure you get the one with the built in port multiplier. It is expensive but it really should be the only option. If you're using e-sata, I assume it's because you want it to actually be faster than USB, FW400 and FW800.

It's called the Sonnet TEMPO SATA PRO EXPRESSCARD 3/4
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Old March 29th, 2010, 08:44 PM   #11
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You are right Aaron,
The new Tempo is very fast only if you buy the card with new Marvell chip-set. It's twice fast compare the the old Tempo with Si3132. You could get it between $45 and $69 in Vancouver area. I payed 49.99 + tax for mine. Keep in mine that this card would not work properly with some enclosures, so, its a good idea to have Si3132 chip-set card too handy. Just my $.02
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Old March 30th, 2010, 12:21 PM   #12
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Bob, the CalDigit VR mini / Sonnet eSata expresscard combo looks like exactly what I'm trying to find. I have a couple of questions though,

I can see that the Nexto 2500 (which I also have) can be powered by it's external battery pack, but what about the CalDigit VR mini? It's spec sheet only shows FW800 and external AC powering options. How are you powering it in your MBPro config? Also, if you choose to use a different eSata field drive, can you use a power/eSata USB device to power it with the Sonnet card and the Nexto?

Yesterday I had to bill a client over an hour's worth of OT just to finish a USB transfer. I don't mind the money, but I'd rather have been home instead.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 12:41 PM   #13
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I use some small LaCie LittleBigDisk.
They USB/FW/eSATA.
Only when connected by FW can be bus-powered.
I haven't heard of eSATA bus-powered.
rafael
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 07:49 PM   #14
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Hi,
Was talking to a friend a few days ago who has an Asus notebook (which has an eSata port built in!) and asked him about powering options for eSata drives. Apparently for his portable eSata drive he has a separate power cord that plugs into (and takes power from) a USB plug.
As an aside, I've taken to always having one of those two-usb-plug to usb mini cables in my bag. Occasionally I'll run into situations - particularly with LaCie ruggedized drives - where they need more USB power than they can get from one plug, and this cable has saved me on several occasions.
Also - Bruce - I wasn't suggesting hot wwapping CF cards - merely managing them and having smaller ones to swap to - so that when the camera cuts you can remove one (or more) and atart transferring data.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 08:47 PM   #15
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Thanks for everyone's input on this thread. I'm now looking at this configuration;

2 Nexto DI 500gb drives connected via eSata to a Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 controller. The Nexto's are battery powered and have the eSata connector so I'm fairly confident - unless I'm overlooking something here, that this config will work for my high speed end-of-shoot-day purposes.

I can download to one Nexto throughout the day and then do a clone job to the other Nexto through the MBP at eSata speeds after shooting wraps - hopefully. If anyone knows of an independently (read battery) powered eSata hard drive to use instead of an expensive Nexto I'd be glad to hear about it since this is the drive I'll be handing off to clients and may not see again for a week or more.
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