2017 MBP 15 4k Editing Storage

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Boe11, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    Hi there,

    As long as I can remember, it's always been the cardinal rule to editing video footage from an external (or at least separate) drive from the one your operating system and software is stored on.

    1. With the ridiculous speed and ample storage options of modern SSDs, is that still the case?

    • 1a. If I have a 3 minute editing project that's 400gb and I have a 2tb internal ssd with plenty of headroom, is there any foreseeable problem with that?
    • 1b. If the performance is optimal and I do this on a weekly basis, will I encounter issues of SSD degradation at a significantly faster rate?
    2. Assuming the above isn't feasible or advisable, What are the best options for portable and not-so-portable external drives these days?

    • The exposition section. I'm a video producer in a new role in which I'll be traveling to various company locations, filming short form videos for social/youtube, and deploying them with a relatively short turn around.
    • I'll be doing most of my editing at the home base but occasionally editing in the field.
    • I'll be editing in FCP X and supplementing with After Effects.
    I sincerely appreciate any info you might be able to provide. I'll be ordering my post-production equipment in the next few days.
  2. MSastre macrumors 6502


    Aug 18, 2014
    You probably will be OK for short projects, but would still have to archive your media and projects to another drive and delete from your internal, or you will fill up fast. OWC has some external SSDs that work very well for editing on the road. You can also get a dock for transfering everything to another drive. FWIW, I always keep my media files on an external drive.
  3. Boe11 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    Thanks, MSastre. I'll take a look at some of the external SSD options.
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    No problem with the current OS, I routinely use the internal drive for FPX and Aperture. I set up a library on the internal drive for a project, import and edit and then save it off to an external SSD drive that has a network backup on a rotational. Back in the days of 1TB drives I'd have to limit library sizes much more than I do now.

    Scrubbing is noticeably faster/responsive on an internal than very fast Thunderbolt externals, along with some of the effects.

    If you are working with 4k video, the drive will fill up faster.

    I always but as much internal storage as available for a reasonable price, and work off of it. Fewer things to carry and hook up when out on the road.

    You can partition the internal drive to keep the OS separate from the working folder (libraries) if you so desire. Its like having two internal drives that fail when something goes wrong with either one.
  5. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    That is no longer needed from a performance standpoint on a late-generation MBP or iMac. However it's often a moot point (esp. with 4k) since you often cannot fit enough storage on internal SSD. So 1TB SSD on a new MBP is plenty fast enough, just not big enough. 2TB internal SSD will handle more cases, but quite expensive.

    If you are editing camera-native H264, it's not generally I/O-limited so super-fast drives don't help much. This is obvious since the camera data rate to storage (even for 4k H264) is only about 12 megabytes per sec.

    If you transcode to or acquire in ProRes, the data rate is much higher so fast I/O is useful. However in that case the larger size usually won't fit on SSD.

    You have to remember there are lots more things involved than the media itself. There are render files, optical flow files, thumbnail files, waveform files, etc. If you transcode to proxy that increases storage by 1.6x over H264, if you use optimized media about 8x larger.

    If it's really limited to 400GB that's no problem. SSD degradation is not something to worry about.
    Whether your media and project files are on the internal SSD or not, it must be backed up. Probably the fastest USB bus-powered drive is the 4TB Seagate Backup Plus Fast. However it is internally RAID-0 so I wouldn't trust that for the only instance of a file: http://a.co/eu7o3Kp

    The 2TB Seagate Backup Plus Slim is a single drive (hence theoretically more reliable) but it's only about 1/2 as fast: http://a.co/in5u1c5

    The 1TB HGST Touro S is quite fast for a bus-powered USB drive, but by current standards 1TB isn't very big: http://a.co/7jvzlQp
  6. Boe11 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    Thanks for the comprehensive replies, folks. I think--due to budgetary constraints--I'm going to go with a windows-based solution, but it's still somewhat up in the air.
  7. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    I've worked with a few pro's on corporate projects, and with students at film school. Everyone seems to use external drives. There may be internal storage limits (performance or capacity) but I think the main reason is that you always want backups, and they're just part of the workflow. Transferring from chip to backup to NLE/audio, and so on. But for short, "self-contained" projects, I don't experience any issues.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The reason for this was something called "head contention". With a mechanical drive the read/write head has to be moved to where the data is located and then the drive has to wait for the platter to spin to correct sector under the heads. So if you are reading a long video file and doing ANYTHING else with the drive the read/write head has to ping-pong between two locations. When the head is in transit the drive can't read or write anything.

    So while the SSD is faster the real reason you can use just one SSD drive for everything is that there is no down time while the head moves. There are no moving parts in the SSD.

    At some point the I/O speed of there SSD is saturated but you'd need a very high bit rate video format or many open video files to do that.

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