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Old March 31st, 2004, 09:23 AM   #1
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Firewire Hard Disk?

I was wondering if an external firewire hard drive will be fast enough for capturing and editting.... anyone have any experience? Brands to suggest?

Thanks
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Old March 31st, 2004, 09:49 AM   #2
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Yes they are. I use one for this purpose.
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Old March 31st, 2004, 10:15 AM   #3
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I've heard the Maxtors are supposed to be pretty good. They have USB too.
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Old March 31st, 2004, 10:56 AM   #4
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People usually get hung up on this because of the fact that obviously a standard Firewire 400 throughput is less than having an onboard internal drive. (Firewire 800 matches it, more or less).

But the thing to remember is that the throughput of Firewire 400 is faster than what is needed for live playing and editing of DV. So yes, there is nothing wrong with running an entire project off an external disk. Many people do it all the time.

Heck, run around in New York in cafes and such and you'll always find that one guy in the back there somewhere with his laptop and a disk, editing something or another. And I believe now a lot of the field reporters are doing the same thing. It's just dern convenient, and doesn't hold you back.

As far as brands, you'll want to shoot for reliability over speed, because the difference in speed is so slight with most drives today that normal humans can't really detect it. Trouble is, all manufacturers go through phases of reliability and unreliability. Currently, Maxtor, Seagate and Western Digital are all good.

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Old March 31st, 2004, 02:06 PM   #5
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My Acom external FW disk works just fine as well. Can't tell the difference in terms of performance between it and my fixed disks.

Rick
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Old March 31st, 2004, 08:30 PM   #6
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I've done a little benchmarking IDE and firewire drives. The internal IDE drives are about twice as fast as the firewire drives. Even so, the firewire drive can handle about 156 frames per second (write). That is about 5 x real time. No problem handling capture and playback.
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Old March 31st, 2004, 09:51 PM   #7
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I haven't done any benchmarking but my external 7200 RPM firewire drive seems to be faster than my internal 5400 RPM drive in my laptop.
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Old April 1st, 2004, 03:13 AM   #8
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I currently have 3 external firewire drives daisy-chained to my main editor.

All 3 HDs are of different brands, all are 7200 RPM with 8 MB cache.

The biggest issue I've had with the externals is compatibility with the firewire card. Different external enclosures like different chip sets on firewire cards.

I use only ADS enclosures and those really need a firewire card with a Texas Instruments chip. Until I figured that out and got one I had much trouble with the drives.

Since getting that straightened out, I have no issues and can move the drives from one editor to another and to my laptop without trouble.
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Old April 1st, 2004, 09:20 AM   #9
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I just picked up a Seagate 200GB drive last night... I'll let you guys know how it works... thanks for the input.

I'm sure it is faster than the laptop 5400 RPM drives, but my internals are SCSI 10000 RPM ones.... I'm worried I'm gonna feel that difference in rendering time. I copied a few AVIs over and it is definitely slow compared to what I'm used to.

Barry
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Old April 1st, 2004, 10:02 AM   #10
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Yes, file dragging will always be slower. However, when you're editing you're only as fast as video throughput which is lower than Firewire throughput, and when you're rendering, there's no way that your processor could render faster than Firewire can transport, unless you're rendering faster than real-time, which we know isn't the case. Wouldn't it be nice though?

Wish I had 10k internal drives though!
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Old April 1st, 2004, 06:49 PM   #11
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Regarding the interface limiting render speeds, that isn't exactly true. Two drives of the ATA interface can have a 1-2% difference in rendering speeds. But I'm being really anal here. 1-2% makes no practical difference so you might as well consider it as no difference. Hard drive speed doesn't really make a difference unless it's a bottleneck (i.e. you are using PIO mode instead of DMA).
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Old April 3rd, 2004, 07:20 PM   #12
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All,

I got the drive hooked up... went with USB 2.0 because the Firewire kept conflicting with my camera... but it works great, render speed is great, I'm very happy.

Boy do I love seeing that "capture time remaining: 14.2 hours" message :).

Thanks for the advice.
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Old April 4th, 2004, 03:52 AM   #13
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From what I understand, USB 2 is not ideal for the back-and-forth nature of video editing. However, if it's working for you, great!

As far as the conflicting, there are some firewire cards out there that don't allow you to have both the camera and the firewire device it's capturing to on the same card. This is generally the fault of the card - in case you wish to troubleshoot it. Usually the only fix is a replacement.
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Old April 4th, 2004, 10:19 AM   #14
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Imran,

Thanks... yeah, I think I actually went through three Firewire cards before I found one that really worked at all... I don't think I am going to go through that again, so I hope the USB 2.0 works ok... so far so good.

I've had my DVD burner and camera hooked up to the Firewire for a while... whenever I turned off the camera, it stopped recognizing the DVD. I would have to unplug it, plug it in to USB 1.0 to have it reestablished, unplug it and put it back on Firewire... highly frustrating, but manageable. When I got the hard disk it worked right away, but when I turned off the camera it went away and never came back.

Thus the decision to go with USB 2.0 for the burner and drive, and let the camera hog all the Firewire it wants….

Hehe, maybe time for a new PC, but everything else is going well with it.
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Old April 5th, 2004, 12:52 AM   #15
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If a firewire drive is slower than an internal drive its because of the drive, not the firewire interface.

Our mac equipped with the AJA IO delivers 10 bit uncompressed video to the hard disks via a single firewire cable with no problems at all.

Eddie
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