NAS Drive, USB3, or Firewire for Mac Mini Video Editing?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by gpspad, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. gpspad macrumors 6502

    Feb 4, 2014
    I am finally getting around to setting up to my 2012 i7 mac mini to start doing some video editing of family movies. I can't upgrade the internal HD's big enough to do what I want so I was going go the external route. If I went with the NAS route it would be a a QNAP ts451 and be connected to a LAN switch as would the mac mini.

    I could also grab a USB3 external drive or an older firewire 800 RAID drive directly connected to the mac mini.

    Any suggestions on what would be the fastest and most reliable?
  2. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816


    Feb 16, 2010
    Dayton, Ohio
    Well, in terms of maximum throughput, USB3 is both faster and more reliable than Firewire 800. This article suggests that USB3 is roughly twice as fast as Firewire 800:

    But more than that, USB3 is a very popular standard, which means it is well tested and has many reliable manufacturers. Firewire 800, sadly, does not have the same depth of support, so good implementations are less common and more expensive. :(

    Generally speaking, it is always going to be cheaper to hang a drive (or a RAID) directly off the box than to go with a NAS, and should be faster as well. The big advantage of NAS is that it isn't tied to any one computer (thus the name :) ), so it's kind of an apples & oranges comparison...
  3. gpspad thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 4, 2014
    Thanks for the reply, speed wise is the LAN and the USB3 the same?

    If I use a USB3 Hub does that slow down the HD speeds?
  4. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816


    Feb 16, 2010
    Dayton, Ohio
    In terms of maximum throughput, I believe USB3 (and Firewire, and almost any other modern direct-data-connection method) should far outpace a standard gigabit LAN connection. (The advantage of a LAN connection is going to be distance, and the ability to connect to multiple machines...)

    It can... First, the hub has to properly support USB3; if it internally switches the connection down to USB2, you'll lose a whole lot of speed. Second, if you have more than one device plugged into the hub, it'll have to share some of the bandwidth between the devices. (Although most USB devices don't normally use anything near the maximum bandwidth of a USB3 connection.)

    I don't think there'd be too much trouble using a hub, but you can ensure maximum speed by connecting the drive directly to the computer. :)
  5. jerwin macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2015
    Not if you use an SSD.

    Firewire 800: 64.3MB/s
    USB 3.0: 198.7 MB/s
    Not according to the article you posted.

    The late 2012 mac mini also has a thunderbolt port. Useful if you are determined to use the speediest SSDs. (But it's very expensive to exploit).
  6. Boyd01, Dec 29, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016

    Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I recently setup a 2012 2.6 quad for video also. I have two 5TB USB 3.0 hard drives for long term storage and two more for backups. They clock at about 180MB/sec. Nothing fancy, they are Seagate drives that I got at Best Buy. I have my current project on a 1TB Samsung T3 USB 3.0 external SSD. It's fast. :)


    I am working with a large amount of legacy video on tape (DV, DVCAM and HDV) so I use the firewire port for a Sony HVR-15U tape deck. The Thunderbolt port is used for a BlackMagic UltraStudio Mini Monitor that is connected to a Sony production monitor (Final Cut Pro needs a hardware device such as this to display full quality external video).

    So USB was really the only option for external disks and it works quite well. The 4 USB ports on the Mini are enough for me, no need for a hub. The Mini has the original Apple 256gb SSD that is even faster, but I don't store any video on it.

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