Videoguys NLE Video Storage FAQ (Aug 2012 update)

Videoguys by Gary Bettan

Now includes the latest information and recommendations for Thunderbolt, USB3 and SSDs!

How should I configure the storage for my video editing workstation? (Aug 2012 Update)

So I just checked out the latest prices on Crucial M4 series SSD drives and I can't believe how far they have fallen in the past two months. At these prices I don't see why anyone would build a new computer with anything but an SSD! I didn't think we would see a 512GB SSD for under $400 before Christmas! And of course if the 512GB is $400, that means that smaller SSD drives are even cheaper. I've been concerned about running a fully loaded NLE machine with a small 256GB boot drive. It's not as big a problem as I had thought, and while it may get a little tight, for around $200 it's a no brainer!

Here are the latest prices I found on line at Newegg:

  • Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB $69.99
  • Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB $119
  • Crucial M4 CT256M4SSD2 2.5" 256GB $209.99
  • Crucial M4 CT512M4SSD2 2.5" 512GB $419.99

What are the advantages of SSD vs 7200 RPM boot drives?

First your system is going to boot up so fast you won't believe it! As you know, professional video editing programs are very big and they can take a while to load as well, with an SSD they open up instantly and you can immediately start editing! Same for the other content creation programs in your editing suite. As an example, having to stop what you are doing and waiting for Photoshop to open in the middle of your editing session is a drag. Leaving it open can waste RAM resources. With an SSD, open up what you need, when you need it, no waiting, it just pops open! All your programs will open faster and you will immediately feel the speed and increased performance of your computer.

This is why we are also going to recommend upgrading your existing machine to an SSD boot drive as a great way to extend the life of your old reliable Mac Pro or PC Workstation. It takes some effort to rebuild your computer and re-install all your programs, but as long as you make a back-up, you have nothing to worry about. You'll be back editing before you know it with a much improved machine. While you're at it, look at how far memory prices have fallen as well. You can probably double the amount of RAM in your computer for a couple hundred bucks!

We still recommend using a RAID0 or RAID5 of 7200RPM drives for your all your media and projects. Stripe a pair of 2TB drives together in RAID0 for 4TB of lightning fast storage, or if you want redundancy, stripe four 2TB drives in RAID5 for 6TB of media storage. How much video can you store on 4TB? How about 40 hours of ProRes 422HQ or Avid DNxHD 220; 68 hours of DVCProHD; 208 hours of XDCAM EX; or 300 hours of HDV 1080i or DV. Of course our top recommendation is G-Tech external storage like a G-RAID or G-Speed Q.

If you do a lot of encoding, and with today's tapeless workflows who doesn't, I suggest picking up a 64GB or 124GB SSD drive as your export drive. With an SSD Export drive this will give you lightening fast writes it gives you a great place to stash some of the media files that you go to for every project such as your favorite titles, graphics and background animations.

Videoguys August 2012 recommended SSD storage configuration:

C: Boot drive. 256GB or bigger SSD.

D: RAID0 or RAID5 for Video. At least 4TB of useable space.

E: Export drive. 64 or 128GB SSD drive. Your exports will go smoother and faster if you output the files to a dedicated physical drive, rather than the D: RAID. Another benefit of having a dedicated E: drive is that you can use it for digital photos, music, graphics, animated background and other media that you use again and again in your projects. Using an SSD drive for your exports will make them even faster

If you want to add an external storage solution to your PC or Mac; workstation or laptop; then we recommend the following solutions:

  • If you are using standard-definition DV footage and making simple videos less than an hour long you can use a single external drive solution. In order of preference we recommend connecting that drive to USB3, eSata, FireWire 800, FireWire 400 or USB 2.0.
    • If you are working with videos longer than an hour, if you have over 3 layers of video and graphics, or if you have some very creative and complex ideas with even more layers and filters and effects, then you'll want an external RAID solution like the G-Tech G-RAIDs.
  • If you are editing HD footage (AVCHD, HDV, XDCAM, DVCPro) or working with ProRes or DNxHD CODECs then you want to get at the minimum an external RAID solution like the G-Tech G-Raids
    • If you are working with uncompressed HD or very long or complex HD timelines, or multiple layers of ProRes or DNxHD video, then you should look into a more robust external solution that supports RAID5, such as the G-Tech G-Speed eS or eS Pro.
  • We love Thunderbolt! While you pay a premium for it, the performance is everything Intel and Apple promised! Over 12 times faster then Firewire800 and twice as fast as USB3! Speaking of Promise, the new Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAIDs are awesome, delivering over 800MB/sec using Promise's award winning, enterprise level, RAID6 engine (features mature error handling schemes for the ultimate in data protection)! We also have G-Tech G-RAIDs with Thunderbolt in stock.
  • We're now also fans of USB3! USB3 delivers over 400 MB/s compared to 200+ MB/s for eSata or 100 MB/sec for Firewire800. With the inclusion of USB 3 on the new Apple Mac Book Pro w. Retina Diplay, USB3 has finally hit the big time. While the premium for Thunderbolt is $100 or more (plus a $50 Thunderbolt cable), USB3 only adds a few bucks to the cost of an external drive. All of the latest PCs have USB3, and it looks like all future Mac Books and iMacs will as well. USB3 also negotiates down to USB2 with older gear, so we we see it as the hot new interface for storage, even though it's been around for a while. I know we were pretty down on USB3 back in 2011, but today we highly recommend it. We hope to have G-Tech G-RAIDs with USB3 in stock this fall.

Follow this link to the full Videoguys NLE Video Storage FAQ (Aug 2012 update)

Check out these items featured in this post and available now at
G-Tech G-RAID 4TB (4th Generation) $359.00 G-Tech G-RAID Thunderbolt 8TB $949.95 PROMISE Pegasus R Series 6-bay, 12TB RAID with Thunderbolt $2,499.00

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