How to Choose Hard Drives for Video

choosing hard drive for video

Hard Drives for Video

Choosing hard drives for video is a vital part of the editing process and field backup.

Hard Drive Speed Not all hard drives are created equally and specific attention needs to be paid to hard drives you use for video. The speed of the hard drive can vary from 520o rpm (revolutions per minute) to 7200 rpm and so if you want to speed up your data transfer and editing you want to be using 7200 rpm.

Hard Drive Security Understanding RAID is another key factor in selecting the best hard drives for video. There are a number of options from Raid 0 - Raid 10 so which do you choose.

Raid 0 consists of 2 hard drives housed in one enclosure and the data is split between the two drives. This gives double the speed as the data is streaming simultaneously between the two hard drives writing the video faster. BUT this leaves your data vulnerable because if one of the drives should fail you lose everything....

Raid 0 has its place but only if you have already backed up your material in another place first. Raid 0 is certainly the fastest way to transfer and edit data.

Raid 1 is when the two droves are mirrored. So all the data is written simultaneously to both hard drives. This is a very safe way to work because if one hard drive should fail you have a backup.

This is however slower way to use hard drives for video than raid 0 but had the security factor built in.


The next factor in the chain is how you connect your hard drive.  USB 2.0 is slow and in all cases is just too slow to edit video from(data rate is approximately 220 mb/s)  Your machine will frustrate you if you try to edit HD video using a USB 2.0 hard drive.  Firewire 400 is an older method of connecting  and has been in many new machines replaced with firewire 800 which is twice as fast.  You will get 8oomb/s of data transfer (in optimum setups) using firewire 800 and half when use FW 400.

The new kid on the block is USB 3.0 which has only recently been introduced into the new Apple Retina display Mac Book Pro .  Thunderbolt is my new connection of choice as I use it to connect my Promise Raid Pegasus R6 12TB  to my iMac for editing and grading.

Thunderbolt claims to deliver 10x faster data than FW 800.

Check out the video for a guide to how I used hard drives for video:

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