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Old February 20th, 2009, 05:43 PM   #1
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switching to MAC

I'm getting a 15" mac book pro in a few weeks. This will be my first mac and I have a few external western digital USB harddrives and I heard I wouldn't be able to use them with my mac? Is this true? I looked at the harddrives I have, online and it says it's for a PC / MAC.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 05:49 PM   #2
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If it says you can use them then you can. The only potential problem would be if they needed to be formatted (your mac will do this for you) in which case you'd lose the data on them. However, I doubt this and I think it would only be a problem going from mac to windows (windows formatted ipods are recognized by both macs and windows machines, but mac formatted ipods are only recognized by mac machines).

Hope that helps.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 06:24 PM   #3
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They will work fine if you formatted them for Windows. The only issue might be if you want to use them as media drives with FCP. They will still work, but Macs can't access Windows-formatted as quickly as Mac-formatted drives. Of course, USB drives are not really recommended for video editing on the Mac either.

But you will certainly be able to plug them into your mac and view/copy files.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 08:40 AM   #4
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Great, thanks guys. I'm getting excited.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 04:47 PM   #5
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The issue with these drives that causes people to sometimes say they don't work with macs is that they are USB powered, and the mac limits USB powered devices to the USB spec.

So, if you run into that problem you will need to get an external power supply for the drives. (WD should sell them.)

Costco has these drives cheap, last I checked.

If you need to move the drives between the Mac and Windows then formattign them to a FAT filesystem on the Mac would be the way to do it.

IF you don't need to share the drives, then you should format them to HFS+ Journaled. The safest filesystem on the mac (and generally much, much better than the FAT filesystem.)
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 06:53 PM   #6
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Yeah USB for Mac Video is far from ideal. I'd sell them and get Firewire 800 or eSATA drives instead. Much better performance on Mac.

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Old February 22nd, 2009, 06:57 PM   #7
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I use a MBP 17" with a Firewire 800 drive connected and dont have any problems.
If you can afford it go with the MBP 17" you will notice the extra screen width to work with.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 09:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Harris View Post
I'm getting a 15" mac book pro in a few weeks. This will be my first mac and I have a few external western digital USB harddrives and I heard I wouldn't be able to use them with my mac? Is this true? I looked at the harddrives I have, online and it says it's for a PC / MAC.
Use Disk Utility, included on the Mac, and reformat any drives used for editing to MacOS Extended, (Not Journaled) and you'll be fine.

The best way to run FCP is to always run the app on the same drive as your OS (required actually) and store / cut all video on a drive, other than the one your OS resides on.

I would also recommend these drives for editing with Final Cut Studio: G-TECHNOLOGY - External Storage Built on Performance, Style and Reliability The drives are a joy to use, the warranty is great, and so is support, if you ever need it.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 10:40 AM   #9
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While I endorse everything it was already written here, let me add that not all Windows formatted drives are OK for Mac OS: the NTFS formatted drives may only be read by Mac OS, but not written into. Only older FAT formatted drives may be regularly used by Mac OS, for example to share/transport files between the 2 platforms, but with all the performance limitations and caveats already mentioned above.

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Old February 23rd, 2009, 10:38 PM   #10
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actually you can write to NTFS drives if you install MacFuse + NTFS drivers, but last time I tried them they where really slow, but that was a year ago. they are supposed to be better now. there is also supposed to be NTFS write support in OS X which disabled on a config file. turning in on may or may not work, and you certainly risk data corruption since NTFS was never a documented spec.

USB2.0 drives will barely do 20mb/sec. the same drive in a FW case will do 40mb/sec, and FW 800 will let it run as fast as it can go. in short USB 2.0 is slow and unreliable for video purposes.

that said, if you need to use the drives on PC, you can get Mac Drive for the PC which works very well, its something like $50 or $100 and well worth it.

the other option is to just connect an ethernet cable between mac & PC and network them. Mac power will automagically configure in cross over mode :)
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Old February 24th, 2009, 01:07 AM   #11
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Interesting. I didn't know there was a way for Mac OS X to write NTFS drives. Still, if I understand, it is not something to be used as a common practice not to mention for video editing. HFS+ Journaled drives with firewire links (or faster) are the way to go. Correct ?

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Old February 24th, 2009, 04:32 AM   #12
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I have a Intel iMac and use both USB2 and FW 400 drives with FCP 5.1.4 with DV, HDV and AIC and it works perfect.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piero Fiorani View Post
Interesting. I didn't know there was a way for Mac OS X to write NTFS drives. Still, if I understand, it is not something to be used as a common practice not to mention for video editing. HFS+ Journaled drives with firewire links (or faster) are the way to go. Correct ?

Piero
No. When using Final Cut Pro you want your application to be installed on your main drive which will be formatted to MacOS Extended Journaled.

All other drives that you store and cut video on, you want formatted to MacOS Extended. (Not Journaled)

Firewire 400/800 is the way to go for connectivity.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 09:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Reuben Miller View Post
All other drives that you store and cut video on, you want formatted to MacOS Extended. (Not Journaled)
This sounds like advice that might have been a good idea 5+ years ago, but is no longer the case.

Journaling is an important feature of all modern file systems, which protects your data in case of accidental disconnection or power failure in the middle of a write operation. When journaling is disabled, a momentary interruption (such as a power failure or a cable getting slightly bumped) can instantly corrupt the entire file system. Even a RAID won't help you here, since the other drives in the RAID will happily mirror the corrupted file system, making all of the drives useless.

Back when top-of-the-line hard drives were just barely fast enough to edit video, losing 1% of your performance due to journaling was unacceptable, and so you had to live with the risk of an non-journaled file system. However, on modern systems the performance impact is minimal (large RAM buffers help a lot here too), and even inexpensive consumer drives are plenty fast enough to edit anything except uncompressed HD.

If you are getting dropped frames on a modern system, turning off journaling is unlikely to help at all. It's just not worth the risk these days.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
actually you can write to NTFS drives if you install MacFuse + NTFS drivers, but last time I tried them they where really slow, but that was a year ago. they are supposed to be better now.
I use NTFS drives all the time with my Macbook Pro. Using MacFuse and the NTFS-3G driver (the ublio one for better performance) I've had no trouble capturing over USB and Firewire with DV and HDV.

Check here:

NTFS-3G for Mac OS X

Don't forget to install MacFuse first.
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