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Old March 15th, 2007, 12:38 PM   #1
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Optimal external drive for lap top as main scratch disk

Ok, I really want to understand the optimal drive and way of working with an external hard drive as your main scratch disk when editing with a lap top.

I took the risk and bought a new high end lap top as my video editor and I will be doing quite a bit of HDV editing. One of the drawbacks is a 5400rpm hard drive. I can buy a 7200 mobile drive for it, but they are not nearly as big as the external ones.

So here are my questions:

1) The options here are eSata or firewire if we want to keep up the speed of the machine right? USB just won't cut it. How about eSATA, is that just as fast as an internal drive? or will it be slower, and my 5400 rpm (fastest 5400 on the market), will remain as fast as a firewired or eSATA'd 7200 rpm?

2) I don't understand the workflow very well here. If I am using an external drive as my capture and export drive, then how do I hook it up to both my computer and my camera at the same time? Is this possible? Otherwise, I guess this external drive is only good for editing for DVD or web, and not for exporting to tape? That's a major drawback. Comments on this?

3) So what's an exact external drive that anyone suggest that works for them?

Thanks for any help here!!!

Cheers,
Michael
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Old March 15th, 2007, 02:24 PM   #2
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I answered this question in your previous thread.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 03:39 PM   #3
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Michael, I use a laptop (Dell XPS M1710) with a 500GB Western Digital external (USB) drive for editing. So far I am only editing SD, and it works flawless. You should not have any problems with SD export to tape.

(To view HDV video from the external harddrive also works fine for me.)
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Old March 15th, 2007, 03:41 PM   #4
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Look into the Icy Dock external hot swappaple enclosures. I've been very happy with the unit, and thier customer service is better than anything I have every seen.

And yes, better than Sony.......................pause.............yep, that's a joke.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 03:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trond Saetre View Post
Michael, I use a laptop (Dell XPS M1710) with a 500GB Western Digital external (USB) drive for editing. So far I am only editing SD, and it works flawless. You should not have any problems with SD export to tape.

(To view HDV video from the external harddrive also works fine for me.)
Are you happy with the crippled performance? A USB drive achieves possibly a 20-25 MB transfer rate with a 12% CPU load and often far less than that, in comparison to an eSATA drive that manages 60-75 MB/s transfer rate with a 1-2% CPU load. If you share USB devices (meaning you use more than one) the bus will be shared and your transfer rates will drop significantly.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 04:31 PM   #6
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Hi Harm,

Yes, thanks for the other reply. It does appear eSATA with card attachment to lap top is the way to go, and dang cheap to! Only $50 canadian and I got myself the set up which is supposed to be just as fast as putting the hard drive in a tower... Sweet.

Now the last drawback of the laptop... 2GB of RAM on Vista is not really enough for an HDV system and 2GB sticks are pretty steeply priced... other than that, I'm sittin pretty (except last thing, premiere seems to be very finicky meaning I waste hours of my time with stupid problems, so vegas is starting to look appealing). Thanks for the help.

Michael
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Old March 15th, 2007, 04:34 PM   #7
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Steven,

That icy dock looks pretty sweet if you require a few hard drives. For portability sake and because I only need one here to get going, the eSATA card drive is going to do the trick.

cheers,
Michael
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Old March 15th, 2007, 05:07 PM   #8
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Workflow

I use an external Maxtor Firewire drive, 500GB. My laptop connects directly to the External drive, and then the External drive has another firewire port that connects to my DV camera (Daisy Chain). It works great.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 06:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
Are you happy with the crippled performance? A USB drive achieves possibly a 20-25 MB transfer rate with a 12% CPU load and often far less than that, in comparison to an eSATA drive that manages 60-75 MB/s transfer rate with a 1-2% CPU load. If you share USB devices (meaning you use more than one) the bus will be shared and your transfer rates will drop significantly.
Yes, with SD video I have never had any problems at all using an USB external harddrive.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 07:23 PM   #10
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Thank you Shahab

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahab Malik View Post
I use an external Maxtor Firewire drive, 500GB. My laptop connects directly to the External drive, and then the External drive has another firewire port that connects to my DV camera (Daisy Chain). It works great.
OK..now..I think I'm beginning to understand how this works. So I connect an External Firewire HD to my Laptop and connect the camera to the HD. So I can capture *and* edit SDV on the External HD? Hmmm...do I install editing software to the External HD?
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Old March 15th, 2007, 09:59 PM   #11
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Now that's service.

I had really no idea what to do about the external hard drive thing around midnight last night and posted on this forum, and I already had enough answers I went out and purchased my 500GB drive and the eSATA stuff required. Turns out it was about $110 for the eSata set up as it requires a Card Bus to attach to computer. Pretty sweet set up for HDV.

I am not sure if a firewire 800 would have done the trick or not. Would have been about half price. From the post above, it does sound like it's really easy to hook camera up to the ext. drive and have it daisy chained to computer. That's not a bad set up. Probably fast enough for HDV? considering that's how the video's going into the computer in the first place... but the eSATA is JUST as fast as having the drive in a tower, so that's really sweet.

As for the question about editing software, you just have that on your main computer. Your external drive is just used as your video drive, your scratch drive. Your computer just acts like it's another hard drive for storage space.

Cheers,
Michael
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Old March 16th, 2007, 04:18 AM   #12
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Michael,

Just one more remark. You mentioned the 2 GB Ram limitation and you mentioned Vista. Why not keep using WinXP Pro for the time being? That would not put as much of a drain on system resources as Vista does, you would have proven drivers for all your components and it is faster than Vista.
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Old March 16th, 2007, 08:55 AM   #13
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I recently ran some benchmarks on one of our applications and tested external USB 2.0 drives vs. FireWire.

There was no measureable difference between using the drives via USB 2.0 and FireWire.

Using external FireWire drives daisy-chained with a camcorder can lead to a drop in performance for the drive.

I prefer to use the USB interface for the hard drives and leave the FireWire ports for the video devices.

(Note, this is in the context of 25Mbps DV).
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Old March 16th, 2007, 10:40 AM   #14
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John,

From my experience I have to disagree with you. A simple benchmark using the same external disk, a Maxtor Onetouch 250, shows (at least on my system and with the same amount of data on it that with:

1. USB2 the average transfer rate is around 20 MB/s and CPU load is 12.6%
2. 1394 the average transfer rate is around 27 MB/s and CPU load is 1.4%

This was performed with the same disk, once connected by USB2 and once by 1394. No files were added or removed between the tests. The tests were run several times (5 times each) and the averages were as mentioned above, using the Canopus DVStorm HDTest.
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Old March 16th, 2007, 10:56 AM   #15
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I think you have to distinguish between tests that use the disk access and data transfer as the rate limiting step and those that are part of a more realistic application.

For applications that perform a lot of computation on data, the data transfer rate to and from the hard drive is less important.

I think the contrasting views and experiences all given in this thread demonstrate that "mileage will vary" according to the user's particular application.
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