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Antón Davila
FCPX and SSD
on Mar 26, 2013 at 4:55:57 pm

Hi all,
after a bit of search, with no good results, I start my first post.
Is any of you having a SSD as FCPX scratch disk?
My idea is the Crucial M4 512Gb or the Samsung 840 PRO 512Gb, installed on a Sonnet Tempo SSD PCIe card.

Anything that you can tell me would be welcome.


Thank you in advance,


Antón


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Rick Lang
Re: FCPX and SSD
on Mar 27, 2013 at 5:57:52 pm

I am not sure how helpful this will be but Blackmagic Design posts recommended SSDs for both its Hyperdeck and Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Now the salient point is that these SSDs withstand the demands of continuous writing and reading of the video media on the devices. As a scratch disk for FCPX, the SSD would have more demands on the random access I/O activity. Here is a link but if you start at the main Support webpage, you will be able to select other operating systems and the Hyperdeck if you wish.
http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/detail/faqs?sid=27541&pid=27542&os=...

Of all the listed products, the apparently most reliable for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera has been the Sandisk Extreme 480GB SSD. Many people have also had no problem with the 240GB verison of the same drive even though it is not on the list (the list is of course updated from time to time). One of the nice features of the Sandisk is that it's data controller includes automatic cleanup and doesn't need your operating system to issue a TRIM command.

If you do use SSDs as your scratch disks, it is important to remember they don't work like a conventional hard disk so a lot of what you know about data storage does not apply to SSDs. For example, you may not want to fill an SSD to capacity the. Way you can a hard disk. If you purchase a 480GB SSD for example, you can likely get away with using more of its capacity because the drive actually includes 512GB of storage but about 6% is reserved for its housekeeping function. DO NOT FILL A 512GB SSD TO THE BRIM. It needs room to breathe.

Most hard disks such as SATA are managed by the operating system of your computer system. Generally though the SSD includes its own internal data management functionality which can be rearranging data in cell arrays to give you the best experience without interference or direction from the OS.

As you desire, you may want to reformat and erase a hard disk or even securely erase the drive. That is standard recommended procedure for a hard disk. It is not recommended to erase an SSD or certainly not apply a secure erase as it will shorten the life of the SSD. You can frequently reformat a SCRATCH SSD, but don't perform the erase function. So let the SSD take care of it, not your OS.

When you want to write to a formatted hard disk, it's a simple write function of course regardless of the state of the media sector you are writing to. When you write to a SSD, internal to the SSD, the data manager firsts erases the cell and then writes your need information to the cell.

Speaking of cells and performance, some SSD specs that look very impressive are calculated using compressible data whereas your video data is incompressible data. So the performance you might see is half what you thought. Another performance factor relates to the architecture of the data cells. The original and expensive SSDs used a single cell technology (SLC) but most SSDs for prosumers are less expensive multi-level cells. The catch is when you are writing to the first level of cells in the multi-level cells, the writes proceed at their fastest rate. So the first 240GB of data you write to a 480GB SSD will lay down quickly. When you write beyond the half way point and are writing to the second layer of cells, the writes are half-the speed of the first layer writes. So it is possible that you have a SSD rated at a given speed, but the true rate is cut in half when you use video data and cut in half when you use the second layer. And this assumes your SSD is in perfect shape to perform those writes. It may not be and as it fills it will slow down again as it tries to make room for your data.

That said, you can get very good performance and life from your SSDs. Just be careful and tend to go with the user experience for the way you want to use the SSD and not rely on vague vendor tests. Some vendors or bloggers are excellent in describing the details of their tests but they rarely include tests using video data! I like user experience better and would tend to go with the Sandisk Extremes at this time. If you want a drive that performs well in random operations, you likely want something that does over 40,000 operations per second (IOPS). Good luck.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Antón Davila
Re: FCPX and SSD
on Mar 28, 2013 at 8:58:17 am

Hi Rick,
thanks a lot for your answer. That's a very interesting information.
I must say that I already have 2 SSD's. Both are Crucial: the old M225 on a Macbook Pro, and a M4 as main disk on my Mac Pro. No problems at all...
The fact that I have Crucial in mind, it's because my experience with them is very good... but, the "writes" speed is really poor, and I need a good write speed: the Crucial M4 512Gb is around 260Mb/s.
I've been searching on forums, bloggers, etc, and it seems the Samsung 840 pro it's the best SSD working with "incompressible" data. I haven't found any comparison chart between the Sandisk Extreme (which is an excellent drive) and the Samsung 840 pro yet.
On the paper, Samsung wins,... but the Blackmagic recommendation it's like "word of god"... I trust them more than any blogger, believe me,... but everybody says that the 840 pro it's "the" SSD...

Don't know what road to take...


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Rick Lang
Re: FCPX and SSD
on Mar 28, 2013 at 1:20:16 pm

I looked at several comparative reviews and the Samsung 840 Pro looks quite strong on paper. There are no comparisons with the Sandisk Extreme 480GB because the Sandisk was released in early 2012 and the Samsung in late 2012. Still on the Blackmagic Design forum the Sandisk is possibly the preferred drive due to its reliable and consistent performance with video. And i think the Sandisk has the lower cost. Perhaps you can't go wrong with either drive?

Personally I'm nervous about buying the family of drives that do not include that 6% of over-provisioning space as discussed earlier. I remember when the Samsung 830 was new, and used by Apple as their internal drive for their OS, and it seemed to be the best option at the time. Funny how now that drive is so-so. And I don't know if Sandisk is planning on an updated SSD but that would be interesting. I like the consistent IOPS for read and write on the Sandisk Extreme 480GB drive even though on paper it doesn't seem as impressive as the newer Samsung.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Antón Davila
Re: FCPX and SSD
on Mar 28, 2013 at 3:01:32 pm

Thanks again Rick,
this is going to be a hard decision to take... hate feel like a Guinea pig with the new tech...

Thank you again, I really appreciate your help.


A.


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Antón Davila
Re: FCPX and SSD
on Apr 9, 2013 at 10:25:01 am

Rick,
finally I bought the Sandisk Extreme 480...
Here are the Disk Speed Test screenshot, after installing it on a Sonnet Tempo SSD PCIe card (2nd Slot 2.0 16x), on my Early 2008 MacPro, with no TRIM.
Must say that from Sandisk they recommend the TRIM activated. After doing it, I've noticed that the performance is slightly worse.


Regards


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Rick Lang
Re: FCPX and SSD
on Apr 9, 2013 at 12:46:22 pm

Antón, does this meet your needs?

Interesting you mentioned that Sandisk recommends enabling TRIM as I have heard on another forum, that the Sandisk Extreme does not require use of TRIM from the operating system as its internal data controller does a fine job managing the data without it. I understand it provides the same functionality internally without requiring the OS to issue TRIM commands.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Antón Davila
Re: FCPX and SSD
on Apr 9, 2013 at 5:18:17 pm

Hi Rick,
to be honest, I expected a bit more on writing speed... but I'm in touch with the Sandisk team, and will see if can be improved. They told me about the TRIM... but now my case is up to a new level support and lets wait for they words.

I'll let you know soon.


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Antón Davila
Re: FCPX and SSD
on Mar 28, 2013 at 10:25:14 am

Also worry about if FCPX can "see" a SSD (or optical) attached to a PCIe card, as the Sonnet Tempo SSD.
As far as I know, FPCX do not let you work with an external disk...

This is a very important story too...


Regards,


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