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which hard drive would you choose for a new iMac?

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david payne
which hard drive would you choose for a new iMac?
on Jan 6, 2017 at 8:49:43 pm

hi all, I've had a solid year of issues with my editing pc and now decided to try a mac.

I've narrowed everything down to a 4ghz 27" retina 5k imac with 64gb ram and a 4gb gpu. The only part I'm unsure of is how to set up the hard drives.

On my pc's in the past I've always followed the general rule of one drive for OS, one for Video, one for cache and then deal with exports archiving via USB 3 usually. However I think I'm right in saying I can only have 1 internal drive on the iMac.

I originally decided on a 256gb ssd to install all software and then planned on using a thunderbolt 2 drive with video on it, however now I'm not so sure. The Fusion drives appear quicker than I thought they'd be however I still feel I should be going down the SSD route. (256, 512 and 1tb options)

What would you guys do for OS/Software, Cache and Video?

Thanks!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: which hard drive would you choose for a new iMac?
on Jan 6, 2017 at 11:48:21 pm

What kind of video do you cut? 4K? What do you plan to cut in the future?

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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david payne
Re: which hard drive would you choose for a new iMac?
on Jan 7, 2017 at 7:37:03 am

Just starting to edit 4k from the a7sii so would need to handle that well!



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Jud Archer
Re: which hard drive would you choose for a new iMac?
on Jan 7, 2017 at 2:22:00 pm

David, I have a similar setup as yours.

Correct, you can only have 1 internal drive on the latest iMacs. Don't bother with the Fusion Drive. It is not appropriate for professional video editing. Go with the LARGEST SSD drive you can afford. I suggest a minimum 500GB for video work. Their internal SSD drives are frighteningly fast. Remember that SSD drives will start slowing down once they exceed about 80% capacity.

You are correct to put your programs and such on the internal then get good externals for cache and media.

Jud Archer
Apple / Adobe Systems



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david payne
Re: which hard drive would you choose for a new iMac?
on Jan 8, 2017 at 10:04:38 pm

I've read that the SSD's in the iMacs aren't as fast as the SSDs in the macbook pro's as they're pcie-ssd which is a bit of a shame.

I think the plan is to get the 256gb ssd for OS and software, then try to find a thunderbolt caddy for my existing 800gb pcie-ssd I have and use that to store my video. Then maybe another caddy for my 256gb m.2 drive for cache.

Both of those drives read around 900 and write around 1800 in my tests so seems a shame to waste them



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Jud Archer
Re: which hard drive would you choose for a new iMac?
on Jan 7, 2017 at 2:37:03 pm

David, One other piece of unsolicited advice only because I have the same system and edit video professionally.

Great that you are doing 64GB RAM. I strongly suggest the AMD Radeon R9 M395X opposed to the M390 (you didn't specify).

Jud Archer
Apple / Adobe Systems



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david payne
Re: which hard drive would you choose for a new iMac?
on Jan 7, 2017 at 5:02:20 pm

Thanks Jud.so the best of everything then haha.

OK 395x it is. Now.. Can I afford a 1tb ssd!

So would the edit be quickest if I had OS, video and cache all on the 1tb ssd

or

if I had OS and cache in the ssd (I could go 256gb)and video on a thunderbolt 2 connected raid array

What benefit would you say the better gpu would give? Just in exporting or in editing too?



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Jud Archer
Re: which hard drive would you choose for a new iMac?
on Jan 7, 2017 at 7:50:19 pm

[david payne] "so the best of everything then haha.
"

Yes, as always! My config is a 500GB SSD. The M395X according to my pre-purchase research was to speed up both editing and exporting. I see exporting speeds extremely fast. The iMac never chokes when I'm editing. I am mostly Premier with a little After Effects.

I will make a controversial statement. Yes, sometimes if I am on a small or quick turnaround project it gets dumped on my internal for convenience and speed. Then I transfer to an archive disk when done. I understand it's not best practice but I live in the real world were sometimes I need quick turnaround. On smaller products I don't see an issue with having the cache temporarily on my internal then dump it when done. I'm sure this will start a flurry of responses!

Whatever drive config always run constant backups!

FYI_ Point you to some nifty little USB3 SSD externals I found for transferring offsite projects & such. Work really well with the iMac.
https://goo.gl/5LeQxc

Jud Archer
Apple / Adobe Systems



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david payne
Re: which hard drive would you choose for a new iMac?
on Jan 7, 2017 at 8:12:16 pm

Thanks Jud. I wonder if I can speak to Apple or Adobe to get the definitive answer on best hard drive config..

Don't want to pay loads for a huge ssd if I find its best to put only software on it..



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david payne
Re: which hard drive would you choose for a new iMac?
on Jan 20, 2017 at 2:07:39 pm

bit of an update/ a few questions if you guys would be so kind.

I have now bought the iMac 5k with 500gb SSD and I'm sorting out my other drives now.

have just purchased a thunderbolt 2 enclosure to use 2x 840 evo ssd's in RAID0 and that will be my video drive. I think the max speeds of those drives will be around 500MBps read and write.

With that in mind do you guys think its worth it to utilise an existing super fast (2200MBps read and write) pci-e drive in a thunderbolt 2 enclosure as a cache drive? (or a similar speed m.2 drive I have - but finding thunderbolt 2 m.2 enclosures is proving impossible)

What I'm unsure of is whether premiere will be reading both video and cache drive simultaneously as if so then the 20GBPS max of the Thunderbolt bus will be split between these two drives and I dont want them to slow down.

With that in mind, if the video drive just has a couple of medium speed SSD's in them then I assume there will be plenty of headroom left for the cache drive so in theory they shouldn't slow eachother down?

Would love to hear your thoughts..



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