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Old Jan 13, 2013, 03:52 AM   #1
robs91
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New iMac fusion drive advice - Videography

Hey guys,

New forum member, long time watcher, first time poster.

I'm needing wise advice on the new iMac - simply, should I get it with a fusion drive when I'm a videographer/editor/filmmaker? Originally I was going to get a 3tb fusion, but I am now hearing that it doesn't work well for editors, because the SSD isn't large enough to manage large HD files well. So final cut crashes, Compressor freezes, it just doesn't work well.

A guy on here posted this in another thread:

I just sent my new 27" iMac back today, I got it on December 17th. I'm a videographer and I made the mistake of getting it configured with a 3TB Fusion Drive. If you're going to do anything that uses large files, the SSD part of the Fusion Drive fills up and doesn't transfer the rest of the data to the HDD part as it should. I got an error message saying the drive is full (for an 80GB video file), and the apps (Compressor and FCP X) just freeze. I've also had data corruption with the Fusion Drive because data is swapped between the SSD and HDD drives causing data integrity problems.

Has anyone else had this issue?

Thanks
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 04:48 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by robs91 View Post
Hey guys,

New forum member, long time watcher, first time poster.

I'm needing wise advice on the new iMac - simply, should I get it with a fusion drive when I'm a videographer/editor/filmmaker? Originally I was going to get a 3tb fusion, but I am now hearing that it doesn't work well for editors, because the SSD isn't large enough to manage large HD files well. So final cut crashes, Compressor freezes, it just doesn't work well.

A guy on here posted this in another thread:

I just sent my new 27" iMac back today, I got it on December 17th. I'm a videographer and I made the mistake of getting it configured with a 3TB Fusion Drive. If you're going to do anything that uses large files, the SSD part of the Fusion Drive fills up and doesn't transfer the rest of the data to the HDD part as it should. I got an error message saying the drive is full (for an 80GB video file), and the apps (Compressor and FCP X) just freeze. I've also had data corruption with the Fusion Drive because data is swapped between the SSD and HDD drives causing data integrity problems.

Has anyone else had this issue?

Thanks
take the 1tb fusion drive for apps and a fast thunderbold raid drive for scratch(render and and media files)
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 06:32 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by chevalier433 View Post
take the 1tb fusion drive for apps and a fast thunderbold raid drive for scratch(render and and media files)
So could I theoretically install Final Cut on an external, or is that madness? Because otherwise if I have it installed on the fusion it's going to be constantly grabbing media files off the external, I'm not sure how well that would work :\
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 06:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by robs91 View Post
So could I theoretically install Final Cut on an external, or is that madness? Because otherwise if I have it installed on the fusion it's going to be constantly grabbing media files off the external, I'm not sure how well that would work :\
You can install Final Cut on the Fusion Drive and use the external HDD as media / scratch drive, which is the recommended setup for most video editing needs, thus the OS has enough room to access its own drive, while the media can be accessed from another drive.

That is how it is been done for years, and it will work.

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Old Jan 13, 2013, 07:34 AM   #5
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I'm a video editor, and just recently got my 27" iMac. I chose not to get the Fusion drive, because being in the industry your $250 will be more beneficial spent elsewhere. Like i7, video card and RAM. To me saving 10 seconds on boot time, is nothing compared to having a more powerful computer that will save me hours in Rendering, Transcoding, Etc...

If I worked full-time from home on it, I would have justified spending the money on the mac pro, which is what I use in the office.

Even if you have money left over in your budget after maxing out the other specs, there's always software/plug-ins/external drives(usb3/thndrbolt) and equipment that may be more beneficial for you then saving a couple seconds on booting and application load times.

just my opinion, either way you'll love it
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 09:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by robrob52 View Post
I'm a video editor, and just recently got my 27" iMac. I chose not to get the Fusion drive, because being in the industry your $250 will be more beneficial spent elsewhere. Like i7, video card and RAM. To me saving 10 seconds on boot time, is nothing compared to having a more powerful computer that will save me hours in Rendering, Transcoding, Etc...

If I worked full-time from home on it, I would have justified spending the money on the mac pro, which is what I use in the office.

Even if you have money left over in your budget after maxing out the other specs, there's always software/plug-ins/external drives(usb3/thndrbolt) and equipment that may be more beneficial for you then saving a couple seconds on booting and application load times.

just my opinion, either way you'll love it

Oh ok, well let's say money isn't a concern right now, and I wanted simply the best speeds for everything, including non-editing use. So in theory I could get a 3TB Fusion, install Final Cut on the base SSD, and then simply retrieve media files from an external? Will there be any delay as compared to direct internal HDD?

robrob52, if money wasn't a concern, would you get a Fusion and run the media files externally (thunderbolt)?

Sorry I just want to make sure I completely know for sure, after all this is a big purchase. The quote I initially posted really got me worried!
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 10:07 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by simsaladimbamba View Post
You can install Final Cut on the Fusion Drive and use the external HDD as media / scratch drive, which is the recommended setup for most video editing needs, thus the OS has enough room to access its own drive, while the media can be accessed from another drive.

That is how it is been done for years, and it will work.
What he said. I'm ordering mine with the fusion drive and getting Thunderbolt externals for media/scratch.
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 10:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by robs91 View Post
Oh ok, well let's say money isn't a concern right now, and I wanted simply the best speeds for everything, including non-editing use. So in theory I could get a 3TB Fusion, install Final Cut on the base SSD, and then simply retrieve media files from an external? Will there be any delay as compared to direct internal HDD?

robrob52, if money wasn't a concern, would you get a Fusion and run the media files externally (thunderbolt)?

Sorry I just want to make sure I completely know for sure, after all this is a big purchase. The quote I initially posted really got me worried!
If you use Thunderbolt connected HDDs, there will not be a delay, as it is like having an internal HDD.

But if you really need to get the 3 TB Fusion drive is another matter, and if money is of no concern, then I would probably take the 768 GB SSD option, though that is too expensive nowadays.
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 06:47 PM   #9
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You should ALWAYS store your media on an external drive, preferably a RAID, faster the better. Fusion drive will still be worthwhile to speed up your app loading, but we've gone for the 768SSD because there are always render files and other associated media which get stored locally and it would become a bottleneck.

Bottom line: Fusion is fine for consumer use but dont trust it to manage files for pro applications.
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 08:01 PM   #10
robrob52
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If money wasnt an option then i would do 768SSD. Instead of spending the $250 on a fusion tho, i bought a thunderbolt/firwire adapter for my old drives, and upgraded cs6.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 03:19 AM   #11
robs91
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Ok, maybe I should have said 'money isn't a concern, except complete flash!' lol, that is far out of my price range. 3TB Fusion isn't though.

So by the sounds of mostly everyone here, Fusion is fine as long as I put all my media files on an external thunderbolt? And render files won't be a concern?

Thuc5dides, do you disagree?

Thanks for everyones help so far btw!
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 07:19 AM   #12
Chris Blount
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I have a Fusion drive but use an external Thunderbolt RAID for video/render files. It works great.

For you I would recommend just getting the 1TB Fusion drive for the iMac and using the extra money on a good external Thunderbolt.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 08:53 AM   #13
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????

I'm no expert, but I've had the 3TB fusion drive for a month now and use Premiere Pro CS6. I started with the files on a USB 3.0 external drive, but when I put them onto the 3TB I saw a vast increase in speed. I store backups now on USB 3.0 but everything operates from the 3tb fusion and it's just great. I'm sure someone will tell me why I'm mistaken but it's VERY fast and I'm very happy.

Last edited by msg362; Jan 14, 2013 at 09:06 AM. Reason: typos
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 09:25 AM   #14
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I'm no expert, but I've had the 3TB fusion drive for a month now and use Premiere Pro CS6. I started with the files on a USB 3.0 external drive, but when I put them onto the 3TB I saw a vast increase in speed. I store backups now on USB 3.0 but everything operates from the 3tb fusion and it's just great. I'm sure someone will tell me why I'm mistaken but it's VERY fast and I'm very happy.
That's strange considering the guy I quoted in my original post, he had errors and nothing would load properly because the files were so large, the fusion system just couldn't manage it.

And I agree Chris, there's no point in me getting 3TB when everything else will run external. Hmmm decisions decisions....
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 09:32 AM   #15
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If you read the origina thread from where you are quoting, the guy's assumptions were dispelled and, as others said, if the plain vanilla fusion doesn't work for you, install an external and point Final Cut in the direction where to store the files and then you should be fine. But, I suspect, if you run Fusion for a couple of weeks before you undertake any big projects, you will find that it works fine. I believe the guy worked on a file that was so large (almost 70% of the SSD capacity) that it confused the software because of the way the fragments were dealt with
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 09:33 AM   #16
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If you are doing serious editing, you should use a fast external drive array in any case. For 'casual' editing it does not matter.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 09:41 AM   #17
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The Fusion Drive is nothing more than a logical volume composed of the two drives, with some automatic system level software doing the housekeeping when your system is idle. You could just "destroy" the Fusion if you wanted to and use the two separately.

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Originally Posted by simsaladimbamba View Post
If you use Thunderbolt connected HDDs, there will not be a delay, as it is like having an internal HDD.
Why do you think Thunderbolt-attached HDs will be faster than an internal SATA HD? The throughput of the two protocols are both way too high to be saturated by mechanical drives (10Gbps vs 6Gbps), so the bottleneck isn't the SATA, it's the drive itself.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 10:04 AM   #18
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If you read the origina thread from where you are quoting, the guy's assumptions were dispelled and, as others said, if the plain vanilla fusion doesn't work for you, install an external and point Final Cut in the direction where to store the files and then you should be fine. But, I suspect, if you run Fusion for a couple of weeks before you undertake any big projects, you will find that it works fine. I believe the guy worked on a file that was so large (almost 70% of the SSD capacity) that it confused the software because of the way the fragments were dealt with
So just install Final cut on the internal, and all the media on external right? Is that what you're suggesting? Sorry just want to make sure.

And so as long as I use the iMac initially for basic use, once I start editing a large project it will run smoothly with an external thunderbolt? If this is correct then I can safely go for a 1TB fusion with an external thunderbolt
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 10:42 AM   #19
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So just to clear up a point that was confusing me, you're saying that you were getting error messages about big files when using your Fusion Drive to save them? That doesn't sound right at all to me.

I'm very concerned, because one of my several jobs is video editing and motion graphics and I use FCPX and Motion a lot. And on Dec 21 I ordered a 27" iMac, which (I believe) will arrive this week or early next. Would love for you to follow up on the problem. Is it possible that this was a one-off error, or maybe that the apps themselves need to be updated to fix this?
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 10:45 AM   #20
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So just to clear up a point that was confusing me, you're saying that you were getting error messages about big files when using your Fusion Drive to save them? That doesn't sound right at all to me.

I'm very concerned, because one of my several jobs is video editing and motion graphics and I use FCPX and Motion a lot. And on Dec 21 I ordered a 27" iMac, which (I believe) will arrive this week or early next. Would love for you to follow up on the problem. Is it possible that this was a one-off error, or maybe that the apps themselves need to be updated to fix this?
It wasn't me, it was some other guy. It was just experience, I'm unsure mate
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 10:49 AM   #21
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So just install Final cut on the internal, and all the media on external right? Is that what you're suggesting? Sorry just want to make sure.

And so as long as I use the iMac initially for basic use, once I start editing a large project it will run smoothly with an external thunderbolt? If this is correct then I can safely go for a 1TB fusion with an external thunderbolt
Just to put my two cents in... I would purchase the Fusion Drive if money isn't a factor. You'll at least get better speeds with boot and load times for the OS and apps, which could just improve your overall performance for the machine, especially when the system gets used to your habits. In terms of video editing, definitely use an external hard drive regardless of whether you get the Fusion Drive or not.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 10:53 AM   #22
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If this is correct then I can safely go for a 1TB fusion with an external thunderbolt
This is the correct way to work with pro apps. an external thunderbolt raid drive with your video files (or, for example, photoshop scratch disk) is the best setup.

Fusion drive is the most cost effective solution for apps and everything else on the internal drive(s).

As you should be using an external fast drive anyway, there's little to be gained from the 768gb SSD option.

Just make sure you have another drive (slower USB3 or 2 is fine) to backup internal and external drives to.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 10:55 AM   #23
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So just install Final cut on the internal, and all the media on external right? Is that what you're suggesting? Sorry just want to make sure.

And so as long as I use the iMac initially for basic use, once I start editing a large project it will run smoothly with an external thunderbolt? If this is correct then I can safely go for a 1TB fusion with an external thunderbolt
Yes! But that's only based on my knowledge and from what I read on these boards elsewhere. My own machine hasn't arrived yet. With any luck it will arrive tomorrow or Wednesday. Besides, the SSD is not just about boot time and quite honestly, I simply wouldn't go back to a machine unless it had some sort of SSD as part of the package...
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 11:11 AM   #24
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I am not a videographer, but here is a possible solution for a fast external Thunderbolt drive.

I tested a Promise Technology Pegasus J4 Thunderbolt enclosure in which I put 4 ea. 2.5" 1TB 7200rpm hard disk drives (HGST Travelstar). The 4 drives are accessible individually by OS X, so I used Disk Utility to create a RAID-0 4-drive array which appears as a single 4TB volume.

I am getting 500MB/s write and read transfer speeds with this 4TB RAID-0. It is considerably less expensive at $700 than the Pegasus R4 ($1K+), is much smaller, and is so quiet I really can't hear it running at all on my desk.

Just my $ .02...

-howard



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Old Jan 14, 2013, 11:47 AM   #25
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The Fusion Drive is nothing more than a logical volume composed of the two drives, with some automatic system level software doing the housekeeping when your system is idle. You could just "destroy" the Fusion if you wanted to and use the two separately.[COLOR="#808080"]
Wow, I didn't know that it was actually two separate drives. This changes things. I'm running a 2011 15" Macbook Pro with two internal drives now, 128GB SSD as system drive and moved the 7200rpm 750GB drive to the optical space. This is how I run FCPX on my system now, system/apps on SSD boot drive and using the HDD as media scratch. So basically I could get the 3TB Fusion drive, split them apart, and use the SSD portion as boot/apps and put everything else on the 3TB HDD manually? Is there documentation on how to do this on the new iMac or is it just in Disk Utility?
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