New Editing HDD for MacPro - should I get internal or external?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Pat H, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. Pat H macrumors member

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    Jan 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #1
    I'm planing on getting 1TB HDD for editing. I have 320GB right now on my secondary disk but want room to expand. I'll probably use the 1TB for editing and use my current video HDD for archival. Should I get an external or an internal? I still have 2 open HDD bays so I was figuring I'd go for the cheaper option and get a WD caviar or something similar. But some people seem insistant about using externals as a primary editing drive. Thoughts?
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #2
    You mean a drive to use as a "scratch drive" the hold the media? I can't see how an external drive could be better or faster.

    You of course do need some external drives for backup but that is different.

    But do read the specs on the internal drives. All are not the same. read the warenty too. For example Seagate's is five years, others are three or even one.
     
  3. Pat H thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Yes a scratch drive is what I'm referring to. I've always gone with Seagates, but I was thinking WD this time since I've heard rumors Seagate's production quality has started to slide.

    But anyway, the only reason I ask is that I know a few people who never use the internal disk for editing and use an external via firewire for scratch. But I could never understand why since an internal drive would provide an advantage with access speed. I guess they're just paranoid about a system meltdown (ie: power surge) and prefer to have their media somewhere else. But this shouldn't be an issue as long as you have a backup like you said.
     
  4. PsychOff macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
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    London
    #4
    By the looks of your signature you got a beast of a machine like I do.^^ You have the latest Mac Pro, right? From early 2008? I'm an editor and filmmaker myself. The big question is what did you get in terms of hard disk hardware inside? Did you get the very good SATA II 7200rpm drives or went for very very good RAID SCSI 15,000 rpm drives? (Which can't hold as many gigs yet).

    Either one, SATA 2 is 3gig/s as opposed to 800meg/s with firewire 800. Some external drives such as the Lacies which I use a lot can do SATA 1 (1.5gig/s) but you need to buy a SATA PCI-E card to put into your Mac Pro to make use of it.

    In terms of getting a new disk to use as the actual source material to edit from, I recommend a nice 1TB+ internal disk as its SATA II or RAID which is very fast (WD, Seagate, they all good in the end). But still buy a regular external drive for backup.
     
  5. Pat H thread starter macrumors member

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    #5

    I do have the Jan 08 :) As far as my hardware, I got the standard SATA II 7200 RPM 320GB Seagate. I also added an additional identical 320GB as a scratch disk. As far as the SCSI, did the Mac come with this option, or did you add it? I can't remember what options it gave me when I configured, only that I chose the single 320GB SATA. To my knowledge you need a separate card for that, but then again I'm not the best when it comes to configuring hardware so correct me if I'm wrong.

    And from the comments I've gotten I think I'm going to go with a 1TB internal. No sense wasting the free bays I still have. However, sine I still have 2 bays, should I maybe get 2 and do a Raid1 configuration for data security and speed? If so how would I implement this on the MacPro? From what I've read, the Mac uses a software-based RAID, but I've also heard this is unreliable.
     
  6. PsychOff macrumors newbie

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    #6
    I myself use the SATA II. I have 3 bays in use, 2x western digital 500GB (one of them being the OS), and a newly added Seagate 1.5TB. On top of that I have 5 LaCie external drives, 4 of them hooked up by SATA 1, originally hooked by FireWire 800.

    It all depends what you do with your Mac Pro? Your job, your hobbies, etc.

    RAID is expensive, and honestly it hasn't perfected itself yet; SATA II has and buying disk space for it is so cheap now.

    Let me give you an example, I use my Mac Pro for editing HD footage, I'm a indie filmmaker. I deal with uncompressed HD 1080p footage (using £5000+ cameras). I require fast hard drives to pass the gigabyte-heavy footage to and fro between tasks, applications, rendering and compression. Generally I used to use FireWire 800 which was enough but it would lag often but didn't take forever (because I moved about so much I used LaCie external drives as my editing platform and backup on other ext. drives). I have just recently added SATA PCI-Express card to my machine and now using 1.5gig/s SATA on my ext. LaCie drives and already I notice a massive improvement; I don't hear the drives making whirring noises anymore trying to look for the footage as I click it in Final Cut Pro 6 browser.

    So picture me being impressed as an editor using 1.5gig/s SATA drives, then add to the fact that you and I can also make use of SATA 2 from the internal drives: 3gig/s. With me so far?

    Yes, the new Mac Pro you can select to add RAID but it is very expensive and cannot have as much GB space as you do with SATA drives. And to then add it to a already SATA made Mac Pro is very expensive and arduous. SATA is the new IDE. It's good and affordable, whilst RAID is still evolving but soon it'll be the norm. Yes RAID may be safer with its data, but honestly, most drives now are so strong and reliable, and cheap to buy for backups, RAID is just too expensive in my opinion.

    Again, what do you use your Mac Pro for, that's the question, what do you need it to do?

    (Apologies for being a long post).
     
  7. Pat H thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    No worries about the long post, lots of good info. As far as my work, I edit as a hobby and also do some photo and graphic design work. I spec my computer not so much because my livelihood depends on it, but because I like to have the power to complete any processing/space intensive task without hardware shortfalls that would slow me down, especially working with 1080i/p footage (I'm an extremely impatient person when it comes to computers and electronics :D)

    But as far as RAID, correct me if I'm wrong but I thought that RAID was simply a configuration that can be applied to a bank of SATA II drives to link them and distribute data amongst them. From the way I'm reading your post (again, sorry if I'm being stupid), you're making it out to be a type of physical drive that somehow differs from a SATA. Do you mean to say SCSI RAID vs. SATA II RAID?
     
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #8
    PsychOff,

    I think you have a misconception about what a RAID is.


    Pat H,
    What kind of codecs are you using? And I would stay away from doing a software RAID because if the OS goes nuts you lose the RAID.


    Lethal
     
  9. PsychOff macrumors newbie

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    London
    #9
    Ah, yes. I'm talking mainly the involvement of SCSI (or SAS) vs SATA. However I do know to use SCSI (SAS) drives in the Mac Pro you do need RAID. To use SATA, you can have RAID or without it. SATA is basically marketed as a general-purpose successor to parallel ATA (and the ancient IDE) and is now common in the consumer market, while the more expensive SAS is marketed for more intensive server applications.

    RAID has two primary goals: increased data reliability and increased input/output performance. It does this by simply using multiple drives and creating clones of the drives, therefore mathematically the same information twice over or more, the drawback having less GB space.

    SCSI (SAS) drives, like any other hard drive are mechanical; moving parts. Instead of 7200 rpm they are 15,000. They are just unable to hold as much info at the moment from what Apple offer in their Mac Pros.

    Overall, I still think you are good with your SATA II, it is bloody fast, fast enough for what you want to do, as I do the same things. If you're worried about hdd malfunction, get an external hdd (they're cheap), hdd now are so well built it's 1 in a million they fail now.

    In the end, computer technology is advancing so fast, the only thing that still lags a bit behind is HDD speed, simply because it is mechanical while the rest of the computer is not. Until SSD (solid-state drives) become bigger in GB space, HDD will always have a shoe lace undone.^^

    I'm not telling you not to get RIAD or that it is a bad thing, I'm just saying I don't think you need it to be honest.
     
  10. Pat H thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    Thanks for the input. I use mainly quicktime. For rendering I tend to stick with QT using the "Animation" codec. Lossless, pristine quality, but huge files, so I need more HD space.

    And thanks for the 2nd opinion on the software RAID, I've heard bad things about drives getting screwed up that way. I may just use my old way of backing up files...manually (copy/paste) :D

    Thanks again for your help. I think I'm going to skip the RAID and just manually back up as I said above.

    And yes, computers are advancing at a mind boggling rate, too fast if you ask me.;) Give it a few years and our expensive machines will be old relics of the computing past :D
     
  11. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #11
    Excuse my ignorance, but
    couldn't you use 1 drive for OS etc and another 2 drives for a RAID 0 scratch disk. Use an external(s) and/or 4 drive bay drive for a backup.
    The probably of the RAID 0 scratch failing is probably low, but will fail and all data is lost (on the RAID drives). Backup every day. Worst case you lose a day.

    But gain the speed of the RAID 0 .
    Drives are pretty cheap. I recently bought a 1.5 Tbyte drive for about $150.

    Just my 2 cents.

    P.S. I'm a bit envious. My 1.8G SP G5 spends most of its time maxed out.
     

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