Video editing on external usb hard drive

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Planner Dude, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. Planner Dude macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    I want to buy a new external hard drive to backup my macbook pro and gateway desktop, and edit / store video on it.

    Is a mybook 500gb usb hard drive good enough?
    I know that firewire 400 can sustain the maximum output longer and that fw 800 & esata are definately faster, but I am only doing limted video editing and backups.

    Will usb be too slow?

    I'd appreciate any insight.
  2. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2007
    Boston, MA USA
    I think you've basically answered your own question. Firewire and eSata are faster, and for things like lots of video editing, a better solution. But for incremental backups ala Time Machine, SuperDuper! smart update, or .Mac Backup, for instance, and for occasional use for video editing, USB 2.0 should be fine. It'll just be your initial backup and any time you work with several large files or are copying a lot of video from place to place that'll be slow.
  3. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    I use final cut pro over USB 2 just fine. As long as you're using DV, or HDV. Any higher bitrate, and you'll want FW800. Since the MBP only has 1 FW port, it is unavailable while capturing, as the camera is using the only FW400 port... I will be buying an FW800 next, you may want to do this too.

    USB is fine, FW800= even better, if you find a great deal, get the FW...
  4. blipstutter macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2007
    I've read reports that the WD Externals aren't so hot for video editing due to whatever chipset they use. You would be better of buying a raw OEM drive (Western Digital is fine for this) and an external case (ideally with an Oxford chipset). Unfortunately, it's getting hard to find cheap FW cases these days.
  5. Tom J macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2006
    I had come to the same conclusion. However, I didn't realize that an Oxford chipset would be the best choice. Why is Oxford best?
  6. motomac macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Ive got a WD MyBook 750gig USB/FW400/eSATA external and it works flawlessly for editing HDV on the MacPro I use using the FW400 connection.

    In the beginning I was looking for a 500gig FW400/FW800/eSATA external drive, but BestBuy was having a sale, so I picked up the WD 750gig. I think ive got the best of all three worlds. Having USB is nice for time machine / offloading stuff onto a PC, however I would never use it for video editing / capturing. FW400 works well enough for me. I just captured 5 hours of HDV straight through FCS2 with the WD as the scratch disk and I didn't have one single dropped frame.

    Having the eSATA 1.5-3.0 Gig/sec port will also be beneficial for the future as Im sure that apple will start including an eSATA port on some newer Macs later on.

    Anyways, in the end, id stray away from a USB-only external HDD. Because of the limited bandwidth and incremental data stream that changes directions every few mila-seconds, your setting yourself up to have a drive that won't be of much use to you should you ever decide to do some serious video editing. When your streaming vid off of an external drive, stick with FireWire, and make sure you get a 7200RPM drive. Those little "pocket sized" portable hard drives that are 2.5" wide are only 5400RPM with USB2.0, meaning that the drive is not spinning fast enough to play uncompressed video in real time without a "jump" or "lag" popping up every once and awhile.

    In comparison, the 5400RPM drive thats in your Macbook PRO will play video fine, because its hooked up with a 3.0Gig/sec SATA connection inside. The connection is so blazing fast that it makes up for the slower spinning drive.

    So, at the VERY LEAST, get a double interface (USB2/FW400) drive so you can hook up to either the PC or your Mac. If you can afford it, get a triple or quad interface so that you have something that will be supported in the future if you decide to up the ante on video editing.

    Have fun!
  7. blipstutter macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2007
    Oxford chipset was the first, and it's just thought to be most reliable.
    Some say Initio is okay too.
    G-force seem to be the most reputable cases for video editing, but they're super pricey, and the people suggesting them are the same people who were telling people to buy Lacie drives 5 years ago, which was bad advice.

    Here's a useful list.

    There are just a lot of reports of problems with WD MyBook externals on FCP message boards. Most were probably trying to use USB 2 though. eSata can be hit or miss.

    I also know from Apple that there are conflicts with those cases that have some type of instant backup button on the front, but I think that's mainly a Maxtor feature.

    If anyone finds a FW400 external deal please let us all know!
  8. ErikAndre macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2007
    Listen, USB Hard Drive + Video Editing is a poor combination. Very poor. And if your video ever goes HD, it's awful.

    'nuff said. :D

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