advice wanted: external drive vs more memory

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by xizar, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. xizar, Jul 28, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011

    xizar macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2009
    I have a late 2009 27" iMac with 8gigs of ram (4x2gig chips), and am curious as to if I should get an external drive for hosting video clips to edit on, or double the memory to 16gigs.

    As it stands right now I don't have *any* external drives (no, not even for backing up; chastise me about that in another post, please) hooked up, but I do have a couple of old 500meg hard drives and a 128gig SSD from an old computer (though not the computer itself). I picked up some cables that will let me plug the drives into the USB port, but I'd imagine that's not the best solution.

    Would I be better off getting more memory (can I upgrade to 12gigs?) /xor/ the external drive *for the purposes of video editing*? (If it matters, this would be with FCPX under Lion.)

    On the topic of external drives, would I need/want to get a firewire drive?

    As an aside, am I being stupid in keeping virtual memory turned off? I have not (as far as I can tell) run out of memory, yet, but I don't do any video or photo stuff beyond simple hobby stuff.
    Team Fortress 2 and WoW run fine, and I have no problems watching pr0n or trolling the internets, so the important stuff is well in hand.
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    Can you afford both? You can get 8 gigs of ram ( 2 sticks of 4 gigs) for 40 bucks and an external hdd (2TB or so) is less than 100
  3. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    For video editing, I'd go with a FW drive @7200 RPM.
  4. xizar thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2009
    Would something like this be okay?

    It claims FW800 (which is what I believe my mac has). Will working with video on the external be nicer to my internal HD? or would I be better off keeping the external for projects that I've finished with?

    Also, is the "recertified" tag worrisome?

  5. zblaxberg Guest


    Jan 22, 2007
    I'd vote go with a 2TB backup/working hard drive because I'd rather see you have backups of your footage and something to work off than lose it all to a computer failure. I use 8GB of ram in my iMac at home for editing and I don't see the necessity to add any more ram than that.
  6. xizar thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2009
    You can use your backup drive to do other stuff?

    Serious question... last I remember doing serious backing up of things people used zip drives (which were too slow to be used for other things) and floppies (which, once hard drives came out, were too small for other things).

    I'll look at a larger, "new" drive, then, though, I'm afraid, it will require a bit more saving up.

    Thanks for all your help!
  7. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    Stay away from Seagate. The got some bad press lately.

    For an efficient workflow, you don't want to edit from your system drive.

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