Will a USB 2.0 External HD work for video editing off of?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BJB Productions, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. BJB Productions macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #1
    Hello,
    I am stuck between buying the new Macbook Pro, or the just the Macbook. The main reason is money. I'm a high schooler and I do video work with FCE. I would get the Macbook, but I don't know if a USB 2.0 drive will be fast enough to edit off of. So should I aim for the Macbook Pro so I can get a firewire 800 HD? Or will and USB drive work fine.

    Thanks!!
    And if anyone thinks maybe I should wait because they will come out with a newer, better version of the Macbook and Pro soon, please tell!;)
     
  2. illegallydead macrumors 6502a

    illegallydead

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado!!!
    #2
    A USB drive will WORK to edit video off of, but the FW 800 will ultimately be better. A bigger internal drive would be best, of course.

    That said: if the "main reason is money", go for the MB. It will do fine with FCE, and will save you $1000 or so... One thing I have to add though: you should go for the "old" MB, seeing as it still has FireWire (400), which is a must-have for most High School video classes.

    And no, they will not be coming out with any new MB/MBP's for some time, as they were just updated a month ago.
     
  3. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #3
    I would look for a previous-gen MacBook Pro. They're heavily discounted - best of both worlds.
     
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #4
    While reading from a USB drive is fine, writing to it is a lot slower than FW. Go FW, or you'll be unhappy.
     
  5. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

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    Nov 10, 2008
    #5
    Great. Thanks for the tips. Always lookin' for feedback.
     
  6. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #6
    What about buying the cheapest MacBook that you can find and replacing the internal drive with a 320 GB one? Would that be enough space for you? An internal 320 GB drive will likely be faster than either USB or Firewire external, and they are very easy to replace if you can hold a screwdriver straight.
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #7
    The answer depends on what kind or format of video and how many streams. There are some tables in the back of the FCE user manual that give exact answers to this question. The tables list both the size of the external drive and the speed of the interface you will need. The user manual id on-line in PDF form

    Apple wa said "no new products until 2009"

    I'd say the larger question is the screen size. FCE uses a ton of space. I don't know how all those controls would fit on a 13 inch screen.
     
  8. PyroTurtle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    10 Minutes from Disneyland
    #8
    I can see where you're coming from, and I'd agree if it were a desktop. Most of the internal laptop drives that big run at 5400rpm max, while usual sustained speeds are closer to 4000rpm, which isn't fast enough for video. External drivers are usually standard 7200rpm drives, which means they're bigger and faster. Given that this is for video, time is crucial. Coupled with that is that most internal laptop drives are more expensive in terms of cost per GB. Additionally, since firewire has its own controller bus it can actually surpass the write speed of internal drives at times (but not read for the most part). The other advantage to having an external drive is that frees up the internal bus and allows you to have video scratch on one drive and compositing on the other.

    If you can, find a slightly older MacBook Pro (yes, I'm echo-ing what others have said), I will add with a 7200rpm internal drive preferably (but not required).

    Something else to think of is monitors. Keep in mind the new laptops have that nifty connector that requires a converter if you want to use anything else (and from what I understand, those are only "ok" at best). So, if you want to use an external for extra editing space, the slightly older MBP should fit the bill nicely.
     
  9. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #9
    WOW. Thanks for all the replies!!! I do have a nice flat screen. Which works great for my Mac mini right now. But I will be selling my Mac Mini before it gets any more out dated. Although it does have leopard, it's just core solo, 1 gb ram... But I'll be keeping the screen.

    Anyway, yeah, I'm thinkin' I'll aim for the Macbook Pro because of the bigger screen. You have a good point about FCE taking up lots of screen space.:)

    I have a few gift cards laying around for Best Buy so I can get a pretty good deal on a Western Digital "My Passport Studio" It's 500gigs and Firewire 800.

    I'm a little leery of Western Digital though.. I would prefer Lacie.
     
  10. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #10
    Lacie just puts hard drives in their enclosures. You could be getting a WD drive in that Lacie box.
     
  11. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

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    Nov 10, 2008
    #11
    Good point.
    Sometimes the casing from WD is a little plastic-y...But I think I'll be fine.
     
  12. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #12
    Buy a quality case, and a drive you like with all the bells and whistles long warranty, big cache, drive size, etc.

    It might be a bit more expensive to do it this way, but at least you won't be looking at a drive case with a questionable drive, or a drive you can't upgrade without voiding the warranty.
     
  13. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #13
    Yeah, another good point. I'll do that for sure.
     
  14. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #14
    Thank you guys for your help and input!! You're awesome!:D
     
  15. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #15
    Hey, another question;
    I just heard that USB 2.0 is FASTER than Firewire 800. And that's why apple dropped it on the Macbook.

    True???
     
  16. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #16
    whoever you heard it from doesn't know what he's talking about.

    USB 2.0 is rated at 480 Mb/s (60 MB/s), though you'd usually get about 50% of that at best (30 MB/s)
    Firewire 800 is 800 Mb/s (100 MB/s), though I feel like people actually get closer to 60 MB/s most of the time.
    and for what it's worth, FW400 is 400 Mb/s (50 MB/s) and actually transfers near that speed.
     
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #17
    I found Western Digital and Seagate internal 320 GB 7200rpm drives for under £62. If 320 GB is not enough, then obviously it is not enough. But if the size is big enough (possibly with an external drive at your desk), then this should beat any USB external drive and most likely a FW 400 external drive. If the laptop is being carried around, I would upgrade the internal drive anyway, no matter whether you buy an external drive as well or not :) A laptop on your lap with external drive attached is a bit annoying.

    Obviously it all depends on how the computer is used. Another point: If you go for an upgraded internal drive, you _buy_ a drive in an external case. That way you can easily transfer everything from the old internal drive to the external case first, then swap the drives, and you have a spare smaller external drive _in a quality case_.
     
  18. KJdanReuben macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    #18
    Firewire is definitely the way to go, in my opinion, as I also do video work in FCE and just graduated high school. I honestly didn't even know that Final Cut would work with a USB 2.0 drive as a scratch disk. Anyway, have you considered an iMac. I don't want to sway you from your decision in any way, but you have a bigger screen, bigger hdd, FW 400 and 800, and USB 2.0, at roughly the same speed and price. Or, do you just really want the portability? And if you just really want portability, then, like others have said, I would also consider getting the previous generation MacBook Pro. They are super cheap now, and perform about the same as the newer ones. Also, one more thing, if you use a Canon miniDV camcorder, you might want to look at a Firewire 400 Express34 Card as Canon camcorders don't share Firewire buses well. FCE won't even recognize my Canon if my scratch disk is plugged in at the same time.

    Oh, and G-Tech is a great drive if you can get one. I have one hooked up via FW 800 and love it. Super quiet.
     
  19. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #19
    Thanks guys. Yeah, I really want something portable, so that's why I'm going for the Macbook Pro, not the iMac.--great machine though! I use a Panasonic DVX 100b. My friends have an iMac, it works fine capturing the data..

    Yeah, I'm still going with the Macbook Pro because of the bigger screen. But I'd really like the new one. Plus, since I have a friend who works at the store, he can get me a "friends and family" discount which is better than the education discount.. So it's pretty close to the same price I would be getting an old Macbook Pro.
     
  20. KJdanReuben macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    #20
    Portable is definitely a huge plus. So, in that case, I would, for sure, go with the new MacBook Pro. Have a great time with it! And again, the G-Tech drives are flippin' awesome!
     
  21. BJB Productions thread starter macrumors 65816

    BJB Productions

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #21
    Thanks! Yeah, thanks for putting me onto the G-drives. I might be getting one!
     

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