Benefits of Separating OS/Applications drive from Media drive

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Jwojo17, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. Jwojo17 macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2018
    I’m looking to purchase a new iMac 2017 5K with 1tb of ssd for 4K video editing. Because the source files of the projects I will be working on will be below 500gb for any given project, I would like to utilize the fast internal nvme as an active media drive AND OS/Application drive (I will offload projects to external backup drives when finished).

    I’ve read that keeping these separate is recommended but with such a fast internal drive I’m wondering if anyone can show or explain to me the real world benefits of separating. Will I really notice a difference if I keep both the OS/Applications on the same drive as my project files/media rather than separating? I will be editing on Premiere Pro CC with light After Effects. I will also be using an external Samsung T5 for scratch/media cache.
  2. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2007
    I thought that most of the time, applications and the material which they use are uploaded into RAM and that;'s where they are affected by the application. If that is the case, then it wouldn't make a difference anyway. I've always had my applications and O/S on the same drive, of late a SSD, and maxed out my RAM. All media regardless of format is stored on separate hard drives, all spin drives, since they aren't be used as much as the O/S-application drive or the RAM. I'm sure that someone with more expertise can tell you why it should be done this way, besides the fact you don't want to use spin drives on a regular basis because they all eventually die.
  3. mpe macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    As soon as the capacity of your internal drive is big enough I don't think there are any disadvantages using it for your active project.

    Perhaps only if you are likely to consume all available space while working with video then the system could misbehave if sharing your data space with your system drive.

    On the other hand if you get any sort of external SSD (even the T5 USB 3.1 Gen) and unless you have a very special requirements, you are unlikely to see the benefit of the fast internal storage. Most likely the bottleneck will be in your CPU/GPU, etc.
  4. Trixster macrumors member

    May 18, 2009
    I think the benefit of separating os and media files were due when we all ran standard hdd´s. with the inclusion of ssd´s and now nvme there´s no real point to separate them anymore since the drives read times are practically non existent since there´s no moving parts that has to "relocate" in order to get to the information.
  5. Jwojo17 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2018
    Thanks for the reply, very helpful. I'm wondering if you know any examples of the "very special requirements," that would reflect the benefit of the insane nvme speeds?
  6. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
  7. mpe macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    Let's say uncompressed video at high resolution (4k+).

    But Samsung claims the T5 can support 4k RAW editing.
  8. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2017
    There is some situations where an external media device with high throughput and bandwidth may be advantageous over an internal NVMe SSD.

    Lets use my IMac Pro as an example. It has about 3 GB/s read/write speeds. I also have an external drive from OWC that has similar speeds over Thunderbolt 3. (link to follow)

    If you are copying/editing so much media that you might actually use that full 3 GB/s read/write speed, you would benefit from having the media on that external drive because then your OS / Applications could use the full 3 GB/s for their operations without the overhead of the media IO clogging up your bandwidth.

    This is just one example. But it does require that you are doing a LOT of IO

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