USB 2.0 HD=Fast enough for iMovie?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ITASOR, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. ITASOR macrumors 601

    ITASOR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Oneida, NY
    #1
    Just wondering if anyone has worked with an iMovie document off of a USB 2.0 External HD. I'm currently trying to trade mine for a FW400 HD, but may decide to keep it if it's fast enough.

    I ask because I work on many very important documents and don't want to find out half way through that it messed up my document due to speed issues. Not just working on the document off the drive, but importing video into it as well.

    Thanks.
     
  2. skoker macrumors 68000

    skoker

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2005
    #2
    I have, with my Ximeta NAS Drive. It's runs really well over USB 2.0

    Remember: USB 2.0=480MBps vs. FW400=400MBps
     
  3. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #3
    Those are theoretical speeds, neither one of which you'll ever REALLY get. What you should remember is that FW's speeds is much better at a constant rate, where USB2's speed undulates.
     
  4. ITASOR thread starter macrumors 601

    ITASOR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Oneida, NY
    #4
    Yup, thanks, that's what I've heard so far from what I've read. I guess the only way to find out is to try it. :(
     
  5. kgarner macrumors 68000

    kgarner

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    Utah
    #5
    I would have to say no. There is a reason that digital camcorders come with Firewire and not USB. And it has nothing to do with speed. It is because Firewire, unlike USB, can support sustained transfer speeds and it does not rely on the processor to police all the traffic moving around the bus. You may be able to do it with USB2, but I certainly wouldn't try it with anything important.
     
  6. ITASOR thread starter macrumors 601

    ITASOR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Oneida, NY
    #6
    Hmm, thanks for the tip. Is there anything else I can test it with besides iMovie...I don't really have anything right now that isn't important. :(
     
  7. hcuar macrumors 65816

    hcuar

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    Dallas
    #7
    Actually... USB2.0 shares the 480 mbps in the up and down bus paths. Firewire 400 has a dedicated 400 mbps for both up and down traffic. USB 2.0 also has a less efficient overhead associated with file transfers. Therefore FW smokes USB. I'd stick with your FW400 drive.

    edit: oh wait... you're trying to trade a USB2.0 drive for a FW400 drive... or the other way around?
     
  8. ITASOR thread starter macrumors 601

    ITASOR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Oneida, NY
    #8
    I have a 120GB USB 2 Maxtor and a 120GB Micronet FW400 drive right now. I was thinking about trading the Maxtor for another FW 400. The FW drive is a HD cloning drive I use to backup on. However, my HD is only 60GB, so I have it partitioned into an 80GB backup/clone partition and a 40GB partition for iMovie.

    I'd rather not wear the one drive out with iMovie though, since it has all my backups on it.
     
  9. hcuar macrumors 65816

    hcuar

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    Dallas
    #9
    If you can get someone to trade a FW400 drive for your USB2.0 drive... go for it! :D
     
  10. ITASOR thread starter macrumors 601

    ITASOR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Oneida, NY
    #10
    I can see why they wouldn't, but some people really like the Maxtor OneTouch for what it's intended for...the one touch backup button. That adds value to them, hence why they're so darn expensive. I thought the one touch idea was kinda dumb, when you could just open Retrospect yourself but whatever. :p
     
  11. jtown macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    #11
    The most significant reason USB2 wasn't used is because it didn't exist. :) My camcorder (Panasonig GS400) can transfer video using USB2, tho it requires special drivers on the PC and a video editing package that will let you select a USB2 source.

    That said, firewire is more efficient and a better choice for sustained isochronous data transfer. It's also considerably more responsive when performing I/O intensive tasks. I did a lot of video processing a couple years ago and tried a lot of combinations. An internal drive connected to its own dedicated channel (SCSI, IDE, etc.) was always fastest. Firewire was second, USB2 was third.

    Any process that required continuous I/O (not streaming the data but any I/O intensive activity with lots of seeks) took half as much time over firewire as it did over USB2. Getting the data on a USB2 drive wasn't a problem but working with the data once it was there took a lot longer.
     

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