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Old June 10th, 2005, 09:34 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1
Can i render successfully to external HDD?

I have a problem/question and would appreciate some advice if anyone knows the solution…

I am capturing and editing MiniDV handycam footage using a Dell D600 laptop (1.6Mhz PIII, 512MbRAM, 30GbHDD) with Premier Pro 7.0, rendering to .avi, then burning VCDs and SVCDs on the built-in burner with Nero 6. I guess my hardware is rather basic for such work, but basically it seems to function OK. I can capture without dropping frames and Premier works perfectly. I have successfully burned short test VCDs.

The problem starts with my addition of external hard drive (40Gb USB2.0, small laptop sized HDD). If I try to render a large avi (above 6Gb) directly to the external HDD, it fails mid way through the rendering with the message “disk full” (which is weird because there is 30Gb free space..). I need to render direct to the external drive because XP won’t allow cut or copy / paste of a 6Gb file later on, if I were to render to the laptop’s internal HDD.

Someone told me that I should get an external HDD which connects via FireWire, which should fix the problem. It was suggested that the problem was likely not the HDD size, but the slow speed of the USB2.0. This is where I get confused..

While in a shop reading some boxes i see a chart which explains the data transfer speed of the various interfaces as below:

USB 1.0 = 12Mbps
FireWire 1394a = 400Mbps
USB 2.0 = 480Mbps
FireWire 1394b = 800Mbps
Serial ATA = 1.5Gbps

I assume I will be buying 1394b type FireWire, as it’s faster than my existing USB2.0 HDD, however the vendor tells me that only 1394a is possible for laptops and is used in conjunction with an IEEE1394 cardbus. This means that I will be replacing my USB2.0 HDD at 480Mbps, with 1394a FireWire at a lower transfer rate of 400Mbps. I can’t really see how this can be considered an improvement – unless the data rate info on the box was wrong?

Also, further research informed me that a “Serial ATA” HDD is better (with 7200rpm and 8Mb cache) than “IDE”, but my local supplier says only IDE is possible in an external casing for use with laptops. OK then I can live with that. So the question is: Would an external IDE HDD with 1394a FireWire likely solve my failed rendering problem?

In case you wonder why I make VCDs: I’m currently living in Asia, where most of my friends have VCD players but not DVD.

I’d appreciate any advice. Sorry long posting..!
Riley Owens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 11th, 2005, 08:15 AM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,152
What type of file system is the external drive formatted as? Make sure it is NTFS. If it is FAT32, then you would have a 4 GB file size limitation.

There are only a few computers that have Firewire 1394b connections so far.

Firewire 1394a on paper is slower than USB 2.0, but in actual use is a little faster than USB 2.0. It is doubtful that switching to Firewire would fix your problem, as it doesn't sound like you have a throughput issue.

Any external hard drive can be 7200rpm and have an 8 MB cache. Your external drive very well may have those specs now.

Your local supplier is mistaken in saying that only IDE drives can be used in external cases. I have an external SATA drive I use to back up my current project video files. If you get one of these laptop Serial ATA CardBus Adapters [link], you could use an external SATA drive with your laptop.

(In case you’re wondering, the external SATA case I’m using is an Apricorn ez bus dts.)
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Last edited by Christopher Lefchik; June 11th, 2005 at 09:55 PM.
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