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Old March 28th, 2007, 05:51 PM   #1
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External Hard Drive for Video & Back-Up

I currently edit mini-DV video with Vegas 6.0 on a Sony VGC-RC310G computer. I've got about 15 hours of wildlife footage on my computer and have about 50 minutes of a project edited. Anyway, I want to get more hard drive space in order to archive my video clips and back up my project. I don't really know much about this sort of thing. Does anybody know the names of any reliable external hard drives that could store a lot of stuff and work with my situation. I'm not really sure how these drives work but I'm guessing you just hook them up to the computer and use them like any other hard drive. Anyway, any help would be appreciated.

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Tristan
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Old March 28th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #2
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Two types of external hard drives. USBs and Firewire. Some brands (= more $) use both.

There are several brands. You can also by a case, and install your own drive. I bought one like that, and off brand, with USB 2.0 and it worked fine. I just added a Seagate drive.

These should work fine for your DV storage, and even capture, though I am unfamiliar with your computer. USB 2.0 is needed for the USB drives. If your system doesn't have it, you will have to add a card. Firewire is the same. If a lap top, and neither is on board, you can buy either in a card to slip in the slot available on your lap top.

Some indicate get a drive that has a fan onboard, to avoid overheating drive. Might not be a bad idea.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 06:25 PM   #3
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My external drives are all Seagate. They have dual USB 2.0 and FireWire interfaces. They are truly plug-and-play.

HOWEVER(!) - they come preformatted with the FAT32 file system. This places a limit on the largest size that a single file can be - 4GB. Therefore, the first thing I do is to reformat the whole drive to NTFS.

I also have a preference to using the USB 2.0 interfaces rather than the FireWire. There's a recent thread about this elsewhere on this forum.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 11:02 PM   #4
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I also recommend using USB 2.0 with external drives. In some cases it is faster than Firewire 400, and the connections are not as likely to be damaged by static electricity. I have used a number of Iomega external hard drives with good success, but almost any major brand will do.
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Old March 29th, 2007, 07:12 AM   #5
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I have to disagree with all of the posts above. There are more flavors to external disks than just USB or Fire wire. There are external SAS, SCSI and eSATA disks widely available.

USB externals will give you an average sustained transfer rate of around 20 MB/s with a CPU load of more than 12%. If you use more USB devices this may well go down even further, since the bandwidth is shared among all USB devices. Fire wire externals will give you around 27 MB/s with a CPU load of 1.5%. OTOH an eSATA will give you, depending on the SATA disk used, around 60-70 MB/s transfer rate with a 4% CPU load.

For back up it does not matter which one you choose, for video you need the fastest you can get. IMO eSATA has the best price/performance ratio.
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Old March 29th, 2007, 08:45 AM   #6
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I'm using an IOMEGA external USB 2.0 hard drive for video capture as well as some data back-up, with great success. I'm considering another one for strictly data back-up purposes.
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Old March 29th, 2007, 08:59 AM   #7
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Thanks for your suggestions. This doesn't look as complicated as I originally thought. I'll look into what you mentioned.

Regards,
Tristan
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Old March 29th, 2007, 09:24 AM   #8
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I'm using a Seagate USB2/Firewire drive with ZERO problems.


Have had no problems using USB2 for video editing.
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Old March 29th, 2007, 01:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
USB externals will give you an average sustained transfer rate of around 20 MB/s with a CPU load of more than 12%. If you use more USB devices this may well go down even further, since the bandwidth is shared among all USB devices.
I am a little confused here. How come than, I can edit using a USB external? DV data rate is over 25 MB/sec... To make things more confusing, I am doing a three-camera edit using an external USB drive... that would be a data rate of 3x25=75 MB/s...

Would you please clear this up for me, Harm?

Edit: OK, I found the answer myself - USB 2.0 transfer rate is 480 MB/s and not 20 MB/s.
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Last edited by Ervin Farkas; March 29th, 2007 at 10:39 PM.
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Old March 29th, 2007, 08:51 PM   #10
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3 choices not 2: Native SATA

There is an even faster connection (by 3x) than USB2 or Firewire800, and that is eSTATA. It is a shielded form of the SATAII connection native to the latest hard drives. I just got this case, a suitable PCIexpress controller and a Seagate750GB drive from the outfit below and am getting high, native feeds. I have measured it and can also see it with near 100% cpu utilization on renders and encodes with a dual core machine

http://www.cwol.com/serial-ata/esata...-enclosure.htm

The case is USB2 AND eSATA. I had to add a PCIexpress card because all my motherboard SATA connections were taken. If you have one open, you do not need to add the PCI card as the case comes with a back panel connector to convert SATA to eSATA.

There are PCMCIA and ExpressBus cards with eSATA for notebooks too.

Last edited by Don Blish; March 29th, 2007 at 09:33 PM.
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Old March 30th, 2007, 03:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
I am a little confused here. How come than, I can edit using a USB external? DV data rate is over 25 MB/sec... To make things more confusing, I am doing a three-camera edit using an external USB drive... that would be a data rate of 3x25=75 MB/s...

Would you please clear this up for me, Harm?

Edit: OK, I found the answer myself - USB 2.0 transfer rate is 480 MB/s and not 20 MB/s.
DV data rate is 25 Mb/s (that is bits, not bytes). USB 2.0 has a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 480 MB/s, but a USB 2 external disk like for instance the Maxtor Onetouch disks do not perform better than a sustained read or write speed of around 20 MB/s. The figures I gave in an earlier post were test results with the same Maxtor Onetouch external disk, once connected with USB2 and once connected through fire wire.

For DV capture a USB external is quick enough, but when you have multiple tracks in your project, USB disks will quickly choke.

Don gave a very good setup of a very fast eSATA configuration, that will achieve around 70 MB/s transfer rate.
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Old March 30th, 2007, 06:48 AM   #12
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All right, then what kind of miracle is happening in my setup?

As I stated earlier, I am doing a 3-camera edit with a USB external drive and an old Sony Vaio 2.4 GHz and only 512 MB of RAM... and I can watch all three cameras real time, switch them, plus I have overlayed Photoshop titles, audio is also fine with those three tracks and a fourth extra track.
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Old March 30th, 2007, 08:41 AM   #13
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FWIW, I have captured 3 parallel DV streams simultaneously (each >40 mins of SD DV) to a single external USB 2.0 drive without any hiccups.

I had three DV cams attached via FireWire (2 to an integrated interface, the third to a PCI interface).

Putting the external hard drive on one of those FireWire interfaces at the same time would almost certainly lead to problems. e.g., a 400Mbps interface defaulting to 100Mbps because the camcorder only supports the slowest data rate etc. I prefer to keep all the video devices on FireWire and my external storage on USB 2.0.

Raw, sustained data transfer speeds aren't an appropriate indicator of one interface preference vs. another. The context that the drives are used in has to be taken into account.

For example, I have an 800MB DV file. A direct copy from one external drive to another took about 30 seconds (USB 2.0 for both). Building a simple DirectShow graph (using GraphEdit) along the lines of:

AVI File Source---->AVI Splitter--->AVI Mux--->File Writer

which, in effect, mimics the most primitive function of an NLE (i.e., renderless copy), results in the process taking about 70 seconds. i.e., even the most trivial use of the DirectShow framework adds a substantial overhead compared to the raw file system copy. Once you add video preview windows, audio monitoring, a fancy GUI etc, some real-world processing etc., the actual disk transfer time becomes less and less significant. Now, if you have a complex composite with, perhaps half a dozen or more clips, certainly the disk transfer rate can start to become rate limiting.

Note: I haven't any experience with HD formats (not HDV, though, which has the same data rate as DV - though much more processing overhead).
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