Scratch Drive and External Media

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Reg88, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. Reg88 macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2010
    I have a 27" iMac with the 1TB fusion drive and I'm planning on using a USB 3.0 drive as an external scratch drive for CS6. In my research I came across a few things that have raised some questions and I'm hoping for some clarification:

    1) I understand that the general idea would be to import the video files to the scratch drive, do everything there, and then once I'm done, put the entire project on the fusion drive for archive purposes (with TM backups and off-site backups, as well). But in this situation, how is one to backup the scratch drive considering that my original imports will be on this drive for now? Is TM an ok way to go.

    2) I also read that many people aren't really storing any media on the main OS drive (my 1TB fusion) and that these items (photos, videos) are all going on an external enclosure as well. Is this the case? And if so, is this when people are bringing in the RAID-0 or the RAID-6 type setups? So you'd have 1 external RAID setup to keep the media, and 1 external setup as scratch to work on it all?

    3) Do I store the lightroom 4 catalog on the RAID external drive, or on the scratch drive?

    Thanks very much!
  2. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    I would work off the fastest external.
    The USB 3 i would use as a backup period.
  3. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    Ought to avoid a USB3.0 external drive, instead go for a Thunderbolt, FireWire 800, or eSATA drive. To get either FireWire 800 or eSATA on the new iMac, you'll need to get hold of an adapter.

    Ought to avoid using the internal drive as backup disk as well, just get another external drive for this purpose. Since this is only backup, you can get by with using a USB drive. It's just the scratch disks that mustn't be USB.
  4. Reg88 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2010
    Thanks for the advice. Can you please explain why USB drives shouldn't be scratch disks? And I'm not planning on using internal drives as backups - sorry if I made that seem confusing.
  5. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    This could possibly answer your question, albeit a bit confusing -

    USB sends its data in 'packets' or 'bursts', and with video editing software, sometimes these packets/bursts get interpreted as dropped frames. Some people say that USB3.0 is fast enough that the editing software won't notice these bursts anymore, but I'm skeptical, and it hasn't been properly tested, so for now I'm going to say no to using USB3 for video editing, regardless of it being faster.

    FireWire 800 (And Thunderbolt) sends its data as a continuous 'stream' of data, therefore, there are no bursts to confuse the editing software, because it can constantly get video without any hiccups.

    Another problem with USB is that the data has to go through the CPU, then go to it's next destination, therefore the CPU has become an overhead, whereas with FireWire/Thunderbolt, there is no CPU overhead; it takes a direct route to its destination.

    Another positive with FireWire/Thunderbolt is that you can daisy chain drives and devices.

    Think of USB like McDonald's; it's convenient (It's in a lot more places), cheap, but has a lot of downsides (Like health issues, little in the way of nutrition etc.).

    Think of FireWire/Thunderbolt as an expensive nutritious meal; it's not exactly convenient (It doesn't show up in as many places), it's more costly, but the positives outweigh the negatives of McDonald's.
  6. TimothyJohn macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2013
    Here's my question. Should I use my Lacie rugged 256gb SSD as a scratch drive for video, or should I use an OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini 1.0TB 7200RPM, 32mb cache? If the speed difference is not that great, I can use the OWC to keep my video clips as well. I would then use the SSD as an audio drive for Pro Tools. Audio sessions are not nearly as large, and the extra speed and bandwidth of thunderbolt should allow me to mix larger sessions. The video sessions I've been working on with the SSD have been quite snappy, I must admit. But do you think the OWC would suffice? Firewire 800, 32mb cache.

  7. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    They will probably both suffice.

    I was using a LaCie Little Big Disk 240GB SSD as a scratch disk, and then archived projects to a 1TB HDD, but for reasons regarding the fan of this specific LaCie product, decided to stop doing that and I'm just saving to get hold of an HDD RAID.

    Do you already have the Mercury Elite Pro hard drive? If so, test the render time between the LaCie Rugged and that hard drive and see if it's worth using an SSD.
  8. TimothyJohn macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2013
    No I don't. But today I used a Glyph Portagig (8mb cache) 7200 rpm firewire 800 bus powered drive. I transferred 20 min worth of clips from my HV20 (dv tape, so capture is in real time). After I hit "stop capture" and went on to edit in Adobe Premiere Elements 11, it needed about 1-2 additional minutes to "conform data". I have everything going to the Glyph, except the Media Cache Database, which I keep on the system drive, and clean after each session.

    It worked quickly. Results were terrific. So I think I'll get the OWC drive (32mb cache) and use it for video, use the Thunderbolt for audio, and archive to my Glyph.

    And all the drives I mentioned are bus powered and fanless!!


  9. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    I use a Thunderbolt drive as my scratch disk.
    Im also selling an external Thunderbolt SSD (Buffalo MiniStation) over in the marketplace if interested ;)
  10. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    For those that are advising against USB, is USB 3 really that bad? I mean, I had my share of difficulties with USB 2, but that was an overall speed issue. I guess what I'm asking, have any of you tried to edit of a USB 3 3.5" drive or are you just carrying over the same reasons of USB 2? I've been looking online and everything seems to be here-say instead of 'I tried and it was terrible'.

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