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Old October 5th, 2012, 10:52 PM   #16
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Re: USB 3.0 for video editing? laptop, ultrabook solution

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Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
Thunderbolt - only if Windows 7 Professional is chosen for OS (can be used to connect storage devices OR as DisplayPort?)
Just a guess, but I'm thinking the thunderbolt port needs to be connected to a graphics card for it to work as a Displayport. The detailed specifications on the mobo should tell you whether it is the case.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 11:10 PM   #17
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Re: USB 3.0 for video editing? laptop, ultrabook solution

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Originally Posted by Denez McAdoo View Post
Sareesh, see this is why I'm getting all worked up, because of the back and forth information on USB 3 as a viable interface for video. My wallet and my emotions can only handle so much!
I don't understand. USB 3 will be available on ALL new systems, so it's not like you have to go out of your way to get it.

Whether to get thunderbolt or not, maybe that's the question. If so, take a look at one test here: AnandTech - Thunderbolt

It shows only a 200 MB/s transfer speed, which is about 1.6 Gbps. Even with SSDs you'll still be within the limits of USB 3, let alone need thunderbolt. And if you already have a desktop machine then I'm assuming you won't be connecting any large Raid arrays to it.

When you do require higher sequential transfers than what USB 3 allows, you'll find that your laptop will be the bottleneck.
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Last edited by Sareesh Sudhakaran; October 5th, 2012 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old October 10th, 2012, 03:24 PM   #18
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Re: USB 3.0 for video editing? laptop, ultrabook solution

Sareesh, sorry the question was not whether I or not I should get USB 3.0 or not, I understand it will be pretty universal soon, it's whether for the purpose of video editing (and specifically editing off and external drive from a laptop) it's viable enough to rely on exclusively. If so, all is good. Almost any new laptop will be USB 3.0 equipped. If not, then I either have to wait for thunderbolt enabled pc laptops to come out, or look backwards towards Firewire.

The consensus seems to be that transfer speed alone, USB 3 is quite enough. Thunderbolt might be faster, but rarely will that upper threshold be utilized. The question remains on how that data is transferred. I'm no expert on the subject, but I do think that video editing is somewhat unique to general computing file transfer, with video playing back and forth quickly, effects being rendered, changing parameters as a video plays, etc. This is where the concern over USB 3 and the way it transfers date in packets or burst might be an issue. Or it might not be. I don't know
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Old October 10th, 2012, 09:45 PM   #19
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Re: USB 3.0 for video editing? laptop, ultrabook solution

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Originally Posted by Denez McAdoo View Post
The question remains on how that data is transferred. I'm no expert on the subject, but I do think that video editing is somewhat unique to general computing file transfer, with video playing back and forth quickly, effects being rendered, changing parameters as a video plays, etc. This is where the concern over USB 3 and the way it transfers date in packets or burst might be an issue. Or it might not be. I don't know
Your footage is never changed by the NLE. It is only Read. The file transfer is mostly in one direction. This type of transfer is called a sequential transfer (large chunks of data being transported).

Right now, the most 'used' codec is Prores or DNxHD, which in HQ mode has a bit rate of 220 Mbps, or 27.5 MB/s. Even 'normal' 7,200 rpm drives can read at least 3 or 4 of these streams, and this is still way under the limit of USB 3.0.

This 'source footage' drive will never have to deal with small reads and writes. USB 3.0 is A-okay.

Regarding effects, playback, and everything else an NLE does - it does it with RAM and the Cache/Page/Temp drive (which is typically connected via SATA II/III on small end machines). A small SSD drive is perfect for this.

This is why I recommend a laptop with two drives at least - one for OS and the NLE, and the second for your temp drive. The footage is connected via USB 3.0, and a second USB 3.0 port can be utlized for render drives, etc. Four drive setup.

Hope this helps.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 11:23 AM   #20
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Re: USB 3.0 for video editing? laptop, ultrabook solution

Denez, I think you might be over thinking this a bit. As Sareesh stated, USB 3.0 is way more capable than a single drive. Unless you are editing true uncompressed files then you will be fine.

What kind of footage do you edit? To give a comparison for you, I can edit 50mbps Nanoflash footage straight from the compact Flash card! That is over USB 2.0 on my laptop using Edius and putting color correction filters on to boot.

The numbers will set you free. Video editing streams are not very intensive for modern hard drives. Most times RAID is not needed. The 50mbps footage I mentioned equates to ~5 megabyes a second transfer speed. USB 2.0 can handle around 30 megabytes per second. USB 3 is a lot faster than USB 2...

CPU speed is the most important part of video editing.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #21
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Re: USB 3.0 for video editing? laptop, ultrabook solution

This is all super helpful, guys. Thanks. You've set my mind at ease as far as my original concern goes.

It looks like I'm going to go with the Thinkpad Edge s430. USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt means that I'll be compatible with more drives (with a firewire to Thunderbolt adapter, I should be all set.) 1600 x 900 screen resolution is should be great, dedicated Nvidia graphics, and a 128GB solid state drive. I would settle for the i5 processor, but it looks like the i7 is required for the Thunderbolt according to Lenovo site, so it looks like I'll have to spend a little more money but will have get a better processor also.

Sareesh, what a great website you've got. I'll be checking it more often!
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Old October 16th, 2012, 08:17 AM   #22
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Re: USB 3.0 for video editing? laptop, ultrabook solution

Thank you, Denez! Appreciate it.
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