Movie editing: large external hard drive vs small ssd

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cool1wow, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. cool1wow macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2010
    Hey Everyone,

    Just got my new i7, 128GB SSD Macbook Pro. I also have a 1TB 5400 RPM SeaGate FreeAgent Go USB portable external hard drive. The whole reason I got the external hard drive was because I knew I was going to have limited space on the SSD so I wanted to store my music and movies externally. But, I also need to edit 1080p HD video with iMovie/Final Cut.

    As I understand it, editing video on the SSD would be faster than external 5400 rpm usb 2.0 hard drive, but then won't my iMovie library be stored on my 128GB drive? I really really need all my stuff organized neatly in one place, which would ideally be the external drive.

    Ideally, I want a situation where I can maximize editing and processing of the video but take advantage of my external hard drive. Is the best thing to do to edit on the SSD but then move it to the external hard drive? Won't that complicate organization/ will I have to manually change iMovie library locations every time?

    What is the best solution in terms of performance + good organization?
  2. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
    I would definitely edit with the SSD on your computer, and move data between that and your external. However, your external hard drive is junk. You really need a FireWire 800 drive to achieve fast speeds (look into LaCie drives, OWC Drives, or the WD Studio).
  3. cool1wow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2010
    If I use the SSD for editing, won't iMovie/OSX put my "movies" folder and iMovie library on the SSD considering that my "main" media drive? Will the OS/FrontRow/iMovie/Final Cut/other apps still automatically recognize all of the video media on the external hard drive?

    Also, so basically you are saying that I go into my Movies folder on my SSD and copy paste stuff to my external once I'm done with it, and anytime I want to edit, manually copy paste back to my SSD Movies folder? Any more elegant solution than that with my current hardware?

    I really don't see the point of a external firewire hard drive if I have a faster SSD, what's the point if my editing will be faster on a SSD anyways? I don't mind having to wait longer to transfer media back and forth, if that's the only thing that improves by replacing my current external to a FireWire 800. I'll still be having to transfer stuff back and forth.
  4. NakedLunch macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2009
    I've been editing to a FW800 external 7200 RPM drive for the last year or so to great effect. I also keep all my photos and backup movies on it. Definitely go FW800, you won't look back.
  5. cool1wow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2010
    oops, looks like we posted at the same time (please read my reply). What's the point of getting a faster external drive if my SSD will be faster for editing than a FireWire800 external drive and I can just shift movies over to the USB 2.0 external drive once I'm done editing?
  6. cool1wow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2010
  7. fluffyx macrumors 6502

    Oct 25, 2007
    Some folks argue that SSDs aren't good for video editing.

    My guess is that, for video editing, you'll find the performance of your SSD to be the same as that of a FireWire 800, 7200 RPM hard drive. I certainly wouldn't recommend shuttling files to and from your external drive to get some kind of supposed speed increase from working on your SSD.

    Please don't get me wrong, SSDs are fantastic, especially for use as your main (boot) hard drive. But traditional hard drives do a great job at supplying video for your editing application.

    Also, iMovie is great at working with video on external hard drives. You'll have no trouble putting all or part of your iMovie library on your external drive.

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