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Is USB 3.0 enough for normal HD editing?

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Ondrej Synacek
Is USB 3.0 enough for normal HD editing?
on Aug 14, 2012 at 10:45:28 am

I have been considering pro's and con's of Thunderbolt over USB 3.0. You can see my other topic here:

Since then I have reconsidered that the price is more important factor and looking at other Thunderbolt offerings I see that you really pay a premium. I am on a Mac just to be clear, I'll be purchasing new Mac mini once it comes out that should have onboard USB 3.0 support. Looking at USB 3.0 RAID enclosures I see they come at much cheaper price. Once Thunderbolt-USB 3.0 adaptor comes out I'll be able to use it with my Macbook as well (my portable will not be used much once I get my desktop machine, so it's not priority).

I decided that I'll be fine with running two drives in RAID 1, my only worry is USB 3.0 - will it be fast enough? I haven't had a chance to use external USB 3.0 disk to edit HD video so I have no real-world experience.

Just to be clear I don't edit a ton which made me realize that Promise R4 may be overkill for me, I do editing at home few times a week and I want to use external RAID as a scratch disk. I want RAID 1 as a simple backup solution (not long term, just in case I am in middle of project I can replace one of the disks quickly).

I want to have HD files (Pro Res or MPEG 2 8-bit) there and I need them to load quickly, also the read time should be sufficient so I can fluently edit them in Adobe Premiere Pro. Right now I'm on USB 2 and it's not good for HD, it's lagging.

I have been looking at these two enclosures:

I'm liking SilverStone a bit more but I'd choose which ever is faster. Can someone tell me if such a setup will meet my demands?


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Jon Schilling
Re: Is USB 3.0 enough for normal HD editing?
on Aug 14, 2012 at 11:50:33 pm


Will you be able to accomplish what you want to do on the drives you indicated & codec? Yes. Will you be able to edit in real time? No. A suggestion would be to go with more than 2 drives, say a 4 drive setup. A Thunderbolt to USB 3.0 adapter doesn't make sense, I don't think you'll see that. It's either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt.

Hope that helps.

Jonathan Schilling
Vertical Sales Manager
Proavio Storage by Enhance Technology Inc.
12221 Florence Ave.
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Dir: 562-777-3498
Main: 562-777-3488 X106
Fax: 562-777-3499

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Ondrej Synacek
Re: Is USB 3.0 enough for normal HD editing?
on Aug 15, 2012 at 5:45:56 am

Hey Jon
Thanks for insight. I was aiming for realtime editing. Is there a noticeable lag? Do you think more drives would help? I thought that USB3 bus would bottleneck RAID0 speeds.

Also I havent seen any 4 drive RAID solutions that utilize USB3.

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