USB 2.0 vs Firewire 400 For Video Editing and Storing Extra Files

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by peter202, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. peter202 macrumors member

    peter202

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Corby, United Kingdom
    #1
    Hey, Was wondering if someone could help me out here..
    Im torn between two western digital external drives; the 'My Book' and the 'My Book Premium'
    I will be mainly using Final Cut for video work.. As well as audio in the future with Pro Tools and Logic.

    I like the Premium for having both interfaces but that also comes with a price.. a price worth paying???

    So whats your opinion? Which one will be best?

    Thanks!
     
  2. BeefUK macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    #2
    Although i've had no experience with either of these drives. I recently bought a HD caddy and added an old HD to it. The caddy comes with firewire and USB 2.0.

    I haven't tried the USB 2, as the firewire is more than quick enough. I did some editing it imovie, and noticed no slow down when compared to running from the internal hd on my mini. 400MB video file copies from internal HD to external firewire hd in ~18sec.

    Although firewire does not have a as high a max data rate speed as USB 2.0, it can maintain a high data rate over a period of time, which in my opinion would be more suited to video editing.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #3
    Read the Final Cut User Manual. There is a section on the subject of choosing a disk drive. It gives specs for how fast thwy need to be based on the number of video streams and the format. Basically the answer is you want at least Firewire 400. When you start doing multitrack or HD video you may want to go with FW800 and a stripped RAID for your scratch disks. Project files can go on slower drives. You want the project files on different drives then the media.

    according to the user manual for some use cases you need to look at SCSI or Fiber Chanel arrays but I assume you are editing mini DV format
     
  4. trudd macrumors regular

    trudd

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    I've always heard you want the applications on a different disk than the media. I don't doubt you, but is there any specific reasoning for this?
     
  5. peter202 thread starter macrumors member

    peter202

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Corby, United Kingdom
    #5
    yeah mini Dv. It will all be on my MB so firewire 800 is out of the question. its just college stuff and future uni projects.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    IO bandwidth and parallelism. If one disk can do 12 MB/Sec then two disks can do 24 MB/sec.

    Actually it is more then that. Sharing a drive between all the stuff a Mac does and reading a media file means the drive heads will bounce around all over the platter and the disk drive is not productive when the heads are in motion betreen tracks. But if the media files are on their own drive the read/write heads can stay "on task" of reading media

    You can multi task a disk drive but the heads are physical devices that take time to move, best if you can assign a drive to a task an minimize this movment. When the heads are moving they are in effect "off-line" and doing no one any good.
     
  7. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #7
    I'm not sure it's worth that large of a price gap- it might be advisable to look at other external drives and enclosures. However, FW400 is significantly faster than USB2.0. I highly recommend using FireWire over USB2.0 for any external storage solution.
     
  8. trudd macrumors regular

    trudd

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    #8
    So 3 hard drives are ideal.

    1) HD for applications
    2) HD for media
    3) HD for project files

    Fair enough to me
     
  9. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #9
    3HD's are necessarily needed...i would suggest having your project file on your internal with the application and keep your media on the external. Also, make a backup copy of the project file on the external as well.

    The main reason for keeping your project file on a seperate disk (from your media) is so that if the media drive crashes, you can use the project file (which is still safe) to recapture the media from the original tapes.
     
  10. Phatpat macrumors 6502a

    Phatpat

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2003
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #10
    I'd say you want Firewire 400. The My Book is a great hard drive; I have an Essential Edition w/ just USB 2.0 which I use primarily for backups and stories movies. Do a little price searching; I bet you can find the Premium for less.
     
  11. -DH macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville Tennessee
    #11
    >>However, FW400 is significantly faster than USB2.0. I highly recommend using FireWire over USB2.0 for any external storage solution<<

    Technically that isn't true; USB 2.0 is slightly faster than Firewire 400 overall, having a data rate of up to 480 Mbit/s (60 MB/s) compared to Firewire 400's data rate of 393.216 Mbit/s. In real world performance they're actually very close to equal in data transfer speed. But speed isn't the main issue.

    The real difference is in how the two protocols transfer data. USB moves data in packets (small bursts), while Firewire has a sustained (constant flow) data rate. FCP (and many other NLEs) require a sustained data rate to operate properly. If you use USB, it may work sometimes ... but FCP may often "see" the pauses between the bursts of data as dropped frames.

    -DH
     
  12. peter202 thread starter macrumors member

    peter202

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Corby, United Kingdom
    #12
    Thanks guys! You have been really helpful.. I guess i will be getting myself a firewire drive :) lol i did search for the premium to see if i could get one cheaper but thats the cheapest i could find.. come on this is the uk. we get charged more for stuff like this..
     
  13. bimmzy macrumors regular

    bimmzy

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #13
    We could talk specs all day, weeks even, and about the advantages of usb2 vs. firewire400 and vice versa,but the answer is quite simple.

    Both are good (though I'm not familiar with these specific drives).

    Where you might end up with a problem later, is if you want to cascade any other hard drives with your set up.
    Firewire makes cascading simple. You can add drives on top on drives, and still get wonderful performance.
    With usb2 drives, you can't!
     
  14. Cybix macrumors 6502a

    Cybix

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    Western Australia
    #14
    on this subject, I recently bought a REALLY cheap dodgy chinese external hard disk case (USB 2.0 apparently).

    I put a 160gig PATA drive in it that I had laying around. the transfer speeds are horrible.

    whats the best way to test the speed, or get an idea of what it SHOULD be performing at?

    here' a blurb in system profiler:
     

    Attached Files:

  15. -DH macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville Tennessee
    #15
    According to what's shown in the System Profiler information you posted, the drive is formatted as FAT-32 (MS DOS). Reformatting as Mac OS Extended would certainly help make the drive more efficient on your Mac. However, since it IS a USB drive, I wouldn't recommend it for capturing or editing.

    -DH
     
  16. peter202 thread starter macrumors member

    peter202

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Corby, United Kingdom
    #16
    Right I have done it. I have ordered the MY BOOK PREMIUM 320GB for £94. Just have to decide on which file system i use. Will probably go fo FAT to start off with so i can use it with windows also...

    Will FAT32 be alright for video editing?
     
  17. -DH macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville Tennessee
    #17
    Not all that good. Fat32 has a 2 or 4 gb file size limit so you end up with a bunch of split files. It can also slow down your Mac's read/write time for that drive ... not what you want when editing.

    -DH
     
  18. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #18
    It's already been said, but I can confirm that USB2 drives don't work very well for editing. It will at first, but once you start getting any reasonable number of files on the timeline to do scrubbing, previews, etc. you'll notice a definite lag, skipping and starting/stopping of playback, etc.
     
  19. Suprami X macrumors newbie

    Suprami X

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2006
    #19
    Have you looked at the Lacie drives that have fw800, fw400, and usb 2?
    They are pretty cool, I edit most of my stuff between a load of them, about two TB's worth of various drives. Mainly on fw400 with my iMacs.

    Also, like the man says, avoid FAT32 I kept one of them that way a few years ago and its a nightmare, not only for file size limits, but I also had problems with sub folder limits and file name lengths. Its just easier to format for mac and stay that way.
     
  20. peter202 thread starter macrumors member

    peter202

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Corby, United Kingdom
    #20
    right so i should re format to get the best out of the drive. is that extended then and not the journaled then?

    do people use third party apps to defrag their drives? or will it not be necessary with the Mac OS Extended file system?
     
  21. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #21
    I remember reading a test that showed FW400 usually has higher sustained transfer rates over USB 2.0.

    Supposedly an entire USB chain will slow to USB-1 if you have a mix. I have not tried this out.

    Definitely FW400 has more bus power. Sometimes small external FW hard drives can be bus powered whereas USB-2 devices almost always use an external power source.

    You can use a Mac in FW target mode, hold down T while booting.
     
  22. peter202 thread starter macrumors member

    peter202

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Corby, United Kingdom
    #22
    Well.. it arrived today..and its awesome!
    Ive got some of my files on it and moved over my media from FCP no problem. works great. am very happy :D looks very good too.

    cheers to everyone for there help!
     
  23. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #23
    If you are talking about FCP and FCE the media goes on one or more "scratch disks". FCx will let you specify serveral of these. If using FCx you can always blow away all the data in any of the scratch disks. All they hold is data downloaded from the DV tapes so it is easy to restore. So if you ever need room just delete the oldest media files.

    So, if you mixed project files with media files it would take more effort to clean a scratch disk. You would have to check if any important files were there. Also because a scratch disk holds easy to restore files yopui can use a less reliable stripped RAID and gain some speed but such a RAID is twice as likely to fail, but it's twice as fast -- a decent trade for media files.

    So you got it. 3 drives would be the ideal setup. oNe for the OS and Apps, one for use home folders, itunes and whatever and a scratch disk for FCx media files.

    And then a few others for backups
     
  24. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #24
    With some older USB hubs this was true.

    The way it worked was that the hub slowed down to USB-1 so if you had multiple hubs you would divide your devices and put all the slow ones on one hub and the fast ones on the others. I dn't think this is an issue in 2007 or even 2006 unless you own and old USB hub
     
  25. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #25
    HFS+ is the current standard, better known as HFS Extended. Journaled HFS+ allows the drive to better maintain data integrity in case of power loss. Spotlight incurs a larger performance hit that journaling does, and neither have too great of a penalty for minor work. So you want HFS+ Journaled for your FireWire-connected external drive.
     

Share This Page