Editing video from USB 3.0 or FW 800

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by macfilm, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. macfilm macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    #1
    Hi, I currently store my FCP X projects on an external Firewire 800 but I'm looking to switch them for USB 3.0 drives. Is the workflow directly working from the drive any quicker with USB 3.0 over FW800? Is there no difference particularly? Is it perfectly OK to edit video directly from the USB 3.0 drives?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #2
    Lost of folks use/edit with USB drives, but what kind of USB port is in your computer? A USB3 drive on a USB2 port is going to work at USB 2 rates and simplex protocol.

    FW800 was designed with storage media in mind, where USB shoehorns storage data in a less than optimum protocol. So My long time experience is FW800 will be faster and much less troublesome than USB. I've never found editing HD video thats on a USB drive satisfying, but you can get by with it.

    If your computer is USB3, then the difference is not much. Editing requires some back/forth movement of data which USB is nor that good at.

    Editing using Thunderbolt or USBC seem to be much more seamless.

    But its one of those, it may be good enough for you things. USB drives are probably cheap enough that you can try it and see if you like it. There are some USB drives that don't comply with USB standards and won't work well with a Mac.

    The workflow should be identical, regardless.
     
  3. macfilm thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    #3
    Hi, thanks for your reply. I've checked and my late 2012 iMac does indeed have USB 3.0 ports.

    I'm looking at cheapish options so as long as USB 3.0 drives work just the same as my FW800 drives I'm more than happy. Do you think that will be the case?
     
  4. boch82 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 14, 2008
    #4
    if you are using USB make sure not to get cheap 5400rpm drives. That will really slow you down.
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    Seems to me that USB3 would be several times faster than firewire800.

    Try it on one drive first and see for yourself.
     
  6. BeechFlyer macrumors regular

    BeechFlyer

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    Nov 5, 2015
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #6
    When I'm editing on the road, I use an external drive connected to by MacBook Pro via USB 3.0. It works pretty well for HD footage.
     
  7. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #7
    Certainly should be, you can do your own tests with the Blackmagic disk speed test app. FW800 should max out at 100MB/sec. But inexpensive desktop USB 3.0 drives (the kind with an external power brick, not bus-powered) typically give me 180MB/sec. Have not had any problems editing directly on these drives. I have four 5TB Seagate drives from Best Buy along with a 4TB and two 3TB drives. Performance is pretty much the same for all these.

    I use a quad core i7 2.6ghz 2012 mini server as my editing machine. I left Mountain Lion on the internal 256gb SSD for compatibility with expensive legacy apps. I installed Sierra on a 1TB USB 3.0 Samsung T3 SSD and run Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, Motion and Compressor. The T3 is a tiny, bus-powered SSD that's really fast, you'd never know the system is on an external drive. Certainly not the cheapest solution but it works really well for me. When I finish a project, I move it to one of the hard drives mentioned above.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #8
    Black magic speed testing always gives optimistic results for USB and video editing, just because the way its set up avoids stack and protocol traps. In other words, MB/sec is only part of the story, and can be misleading. I tested storage devices for a living and its just like dynamometer measuring car horsepower, the tests are easily manipulated to show whatever results the marketing folks want.

    That being said, USB3 is reasonably good enough compared with FW800. A lot of folks use USB3 drives because they are cheap. Personally, I find scrubbing slow and sticky editing video stored on USB3 drives. I would try to work with a small working library on the internal drive and just use the USB drive to store the offloaded data and library.

    The OP may not find it a issue and simply use his same workflow and be happy.
     
  9. Erdbeertorte, Sep 14, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017

    Erdbeertorte Suspended

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #9
    Make sure to get an USB 3.0 or 3.1 Gen. 1/2 enclosure what supports UASP.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_Attached_SCSI

    I think most current ones have it anyway now. Should be more reliable and a little bit faster.

    I heard the ones from Inatec are good. This one is just $11.99: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KYF1LLI
    And recommended very often here for SSDs. If I remember correctly @Weaselboy knows more about it.

    They also have enclosures that support 3.5" in addition or even two drive bays.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAA4J6G/

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XYL599P/
     
  10. macfilm thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    #10
    OK thank you for the responses. Just as long as USB 3.0 matches my current FW800 speeds I'm pretty happy.

    I store my projects on the external drives and work from them directly as they are so large in file size but generally the edits are not overly complex, pretty basic editing.
     
  11. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    #11
    I have a whole milk crate full of old firewire drives going back to around 2000, maybe even from the 1990's. Last year I copied them all to new USB 3.0 hard drives. I can appreciate what @ColdCase is saying about the technical details, but can assure you that a good USB 3.0 disk is nothing like firewire 800. File copies are much faster and they are a big improvement all around. You can get 8TB drives for around $150 now. Personally, I prefer to have my project on a SSD, but the USB hard drives seem to work fine also. If you are happy with firewire 800, I can't imagine why you wouldn't be even happier with USB 3.

    But good USB SSD is even better. I don't know how accurate the Blackmagic test is, but I have two computers with internal Apple SSD's, and the user experience is virtually identical on my quad mini with the 1TB Samsung T3 as a system drive. I have never seen any issues scrubbing or "sticking" in Final Cut Pro X on this system.

    BTW, I don't see where you've told us what kind of computer you're using. I assume it's old since you're still using firewire. That could make a difference... for example, a 2011 Mac Mini only has USB 2.0. If that's the case, then firewire 800 will be about 3x faster.
     
  12. macfilm thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 11, 2007
    #12
    Thanks for your response Boyd01. I think I will look into getting a USB 3.0 drive to work from, from now on.

    It's a late 2012 iMac, my HDD's are hooked up via a FW/Thunderbolt adapter.
     
  13. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

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    #13
    Cool, that should be fine with USB 3.0. BTW, I also have a firewire adapter that I've used on my MacBook Air. Works well but it gets REALLY HOT! It even gets hot when no disk is plugged into it. I guess it's just designed that way, but getting rid of that seems like a good thing anyway.
     
  14. macfilm thread starter macrumors regular

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