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Old November 17th, 2013, 02:06 PM   #1
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Recommendation for an external drive

Can someone recommend a reliable portable external drive for a new MacBook Pro retina running fcp x
There seems to be an abundance of USB 3.0 drives in the market but relatively few w/thunderbolt
I understand thunderbolt is significantly faster but is it needed or overkill?

Thanks

Fed
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Old November 17th, 2013, 02:25 PM   #2
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

USB3 is fine for many editing tasks so don't discount them right off. For single camera/file editing from AVCHD, XDCAM or ProRes files, a USB3 drive is fine, especially if it is a desktop model not a bus powered pocket drive although those are fine for many tasks. Drive speed is more a consideration as USB3 itself is fast compared to FireWire800 and that was more than sufficient for most heavy duty editing. Pocket drives tend to use slower drives to conserve energy and that might cause frame skips while editing but the finished product will export fine regardless. Consider Thunderbolt drives or at least a Thunderbolt to eSATA adapter if you are using very large pro codecs (ProRes4444, Uncompressed, etc.) or intend to do multi-cam editing with more than 4 cameras. These tasks work better with a RAID drive configuration and the higher speeds of Thunderbolt. You can get USB3 RAID drives which I encourage you to research if automatic data-protection is a concern for you.
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Old November 17th, 2013, 04:32 PM   #3
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

Thanks William. It seems like a USB 3.0 should then be enough for me as I never do editing with more than two cameras. Can you recommend some specific models that are available in the market that you know are good?
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Old November 17th, 2013, 08:15 PM   #4
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

This where I go:

Other World Computing (OWC) - Performance Upgrades For Your Mac

Not sure if they ship outside the US.
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Old November 18th, 2013, 11:50 AM   #5
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

I just bought an Icy Box 4 slot and one 3 terabyte hd (for now) 170. The one I have does not have raid but others do for a few more.
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Old November 19th, 2013, 01:09 AM   #6
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

USB 3.0 is fast enough for most of editing task.
In the case of portable (pocket) drive, disk speed will be the bottleneck
since these are 5400 RPM drive and bus powered.
My preference for EDITING is USB 3.0 7200 RPM desktop drive
and we have many of this Newegg.com - Seagate Expansion 2 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STBV2000100
this in our studio.
For storage and mobility the portable drives are handy but sucks in speed and stability.
I have tested copying 10GB file to both Desktop and Portable drive from the top end iMac.
The desktop drive finished in 1 minute while the portable took 1.5 minute.
Hope this helps.

Rajiv
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Old November 19th, 2013, 07:25 AM   #7
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

thanks Rajiv that's helpful

I have seen exceptional reviews for the Buffalo DriveStation DDR Drives. they use a DDR buffer that pushes the speed to the limits of USB 3.0

I might get one of those for home (they do 1, 2 and 3 TB), and a Western Digital Passport for when I am on the run
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Old November 20th, 2013, 07:04 AM   #8
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

Hi,
I am fearful of Buffalo because of the death of one 500 GB drive around four years back and
their warranty service too was very bad. Nowadays I totally depend on Seagate and there are very fewer failure recently, maybe due to betterment in hard drive technology. Their after service also outstanding at least in India. The Buffalos too would have improved these days.
Best of luck.

Rajiv
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Old December 7th, 2013, 03:41 PM   #9
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

I bought a Lacy Thunderbird drive at the Apple store, it died in two months and I lost a lot of data. No mercy, no recovery. I agree, the Lacy stuff is a good way to go. I have about 25 drives on racks in my Lacy set.
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Old December 11th, 2013, 12:30 PM   #10
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

I have had two Lacie RAID drives fail in 9 months; the first after 3 weeks, the second after 9 months. Apple replaced the first and gave me full refund on the second without question. I then bought a Promise Pegsus RAID 5 from the Apple online store, but one of the drives was dead on arrival; Apple replaced the complete unit within 48 hours, again without question. Full marks to Apple.
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Old December 11th, 2013, 01:19 PM   #11
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

I don't think any of us can answer that question without knowing the format you shoot on and the nature of what you shoot.

The answer is different for a DSLR shooter - than it might be for someone shooting AVCHD,

And it's different for someone shooting for commercials (short form) than it is for someone shooting for a documentary (long form)

IF you're shooting a feature on RED cameras - Thunderbolt will be an absolute necessity.

If you're shooting web training videos on a Canon Vixia - then thunderbolt might be overkill and you'd be better off focusing on issues other than pipeline bandwidth.
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Old December 11th, 2013, 04:51 PM   #12
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Davis View Post
I bought a Lacy Thunderbird drive at the Apple store, it died in two months and I lost a lot of data. No mercy, no recovery. I agree, the Icydock stuff is a good way to go. I have about 25 drives on racks in my Lacy set.
I was half asleep when I wrote this, so needed to clarify and correct what I wrote. . So the Icydock is good because you can pick your drives. I have a lacie usb drive that has been rock solid, and a look a like thunderbolt drive that died in a month or so.
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Old December 14th, 2013, 05:24 AM   #13
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
USB3 is fine for many editing tasks so don't discount them right off. For single camera/file editing from AVCHD, XDCAM or ProRes files, a USB3 drive is fine, especially if it is a desktop model not a bus powered pocket drive although those are fine for many tasks. Drive speed is more a consideration as USB3 itself is fast compared to FireWire800 and that was more than sufficient for most heavy duty editing. Pocket drives tend to use slower drives to conserve energy and that might cause frame skips while editing but the finished product will export fine regardless. Consider Thunderbolt drives or at least a Thunderbolt to eSATA adapter if you are using very large pro codecs (ProRes4444, Uncompressed, etc.) or intend to do multi-cam editing with more than 4 cameras. These tasks work better with a RAID drive configuration and the higher speeds of Thunderbolt. You can get USB3 RAID drives which I encourage you to research if automatic data-protection is a concern for you.
I just bought the Retina Macbook Pro with a 500 GB SSD. In the old days you needed a separate drive for media because disks were too slow. But I have clocked my internal SSD at around 700 MB/s read/write, which is so fast that it shouldn't be any problem editing off the same drive your apps are on, it seems.

(Now I'm just talking about speed: I realize that there are a lot of other considerations NOT too use your internal drive for media. This is my workflow for on-the-job-same-day-editing. For other jobs I have a Mac Pro with a RAID system)

As far as external USB 3.0 drives are concerned: there are a lot of different types and when we talk about USB 3.0 we are talking POTENTIAL speed. You can get a 3.0 drive and still get 2.0 performance, if you don't do your homework well. Same for SSD's, although I believe they are by definition faster than 3.0.

I was looking for a USB 3 to SATA adapter and buy a Samsung SSD and build my own external USB drive. But the adapters are relatively rare, relatively expensive and there's not a lot of info (user experience) on them. I'd like to hear it if someone has been happy with this particular solution. (and what parts they use)
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Old December 14th, 2013, 08:58 AM   #14
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

USB3 works fast enough. I found that there is different speeds with different HDD brands.
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Old December 14th, 2013, 10:40 AM   #15
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Re: Recommendation for an external drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
I just bought the Retina Macbook Pro with a 500 GB SSD. In the old days you needed a separate drive for media because disks were too slow. But I have clocked my internal SSD at around 700 MB/s read/write, which is so fast that it shouldn't be any problem editing off the same drive your apps are on, it seems.

(Now I'm just talking about speed: I realize that there are a lot of other considerations NOT too use your internal drive for media. This is my workflow for on-the-job-same-day-editing. For other jobs I have a Mac Pro with a RAID system)

As far as external USB 3.0 drives are concerned: there are a lot of different types and when we talk about USB 3.0 we are talking POTENTIAL speed. You can get a 3.0 drive and still get 2.0 performance, if you don't do your homework well. Same for SSD's, although I believe they are by definition faster than 3.0.

I was looking for a USB 3 to SATA adapter and buy a Samsung SSD and build my own external USB drive. But the adapters are relatively rare, relatively expensive and there's not a lot of info (user experience) on them. I'd like to hear it if someone has been happy with this particular solution. (and what parts they use)
I have had bad luck with $20 "converter cable" solutions that hook up a bare drive via the SATA connector. I have had much better results with off-brand 2.5" USB3 hard drive enclosures from micro center. Still $20 (or less) but gives decent speeds - about 100Mbps vs the 20 I got with the so called USB3 SATA cable.

I've also head of people using the Seagate 2.5" thunderbolt dock with success, if that's an option.
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