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iMac FCP X edit system & fusion drives

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Howie Young
iMac FCP X edit system & fusion drives
on Aug 30, 2013 at 9:56:19 pm

Greetings,

I am hoping to receive some feedback from the forum members regarding a new iMac FCP X edit system for long term usage. The system will be used to edit web projects, shorts, and docs. Some of the projects will be shot using a green screen.

For those editors using a 2012-2013 iMac with a fusion drive, have you experienced any issues or problems with the fusion drive while editing with FCP X?

Will the fusion drive be an efficient system drive for editing?

Is there any benefit to choosing the 3 TB fusion drive instead of the 1 TB drive?

Is it true the 3 TB is faster than the 1 TB?

I was recently informed that the internal iMac system drive can be used to host / store media as well as be used to edit the same media. How many of you have tried this?

Does the speed of the SSD justify spending the additional money for this faster start-up drive? The Apple Store now lists three SSD options.

As far as RAM which is the best third party choice - Crucial, OWC or Axiom? Has anyone ever had any problems with these three brands where the RAM needed to be replaced?

I appreciate any feedback.

Thanks!



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T. Payton
Re: iMac FCP X edit system & fusion drives
on Aug 31, 2013 at 3:12:05 am

FWIW we have several of the 27" iMacs, all configured with 1TB Fusion drives. Following best practices from many people, we keep our media and FCP events and Projects on external RAIDs. Although you could keep things on the Fusion drive, the SSD portion is quite small, I believe 250GB, which allows all writes to be performed to it. Then after it is written the non-commonly used content is moved to the standard HD. What that said, while it will work, you are going to get better consistent performance by storying media on a speedy external RAID than a Fusion Drive. I just switched from a MacPro with esata, so I have a lacie thunderbolt to esata and it works great. I get about 220MB/sec on a OWC 6TB Raid. Even the USB3 to esata adapters work pretty well.

Plus if you think about what is happening with the new Mac Pro, the idea that Apple seems to be pushing is to have a small amount of fast on board storage and your large amount of storage is external, preferably safe in a RAID.

The Fusion drive is CAZY fast. I wouldn't bother getting a pure SDD on the iMac.

My thought about the Ram is pretty simple. We only buy RAM from one vendor, OWC, because it is a bit cheaper than Apple. However, a good argument can be made for buying the Ram from Apple. If you have an hardware problems Apple will want you to remove all non Apple supplied Ram. Plus if you buy the Ram from Apple, if they swap out a machine, they will give it back to you loaded up with all the Ram you purchased it with originally. However, on the other hand OWC RAM has a lifetime warranty. So if your machine is lasted past the 3 years of Apple care, you could still get a ram replacement.

Hope this helps.

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Howie Young
Re: iMac FCP X edit system & fusion drives
on Aug 31, 2013 at 3:23:22 am

Hi T.,

Thanks for responding to my post.

Have you ever used Crucial or heard of Axiom RAM?

What kind of projects do you edit?

If a RAID isn't used what brand stand alone hard drive would you recommend?



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T. Payton
Re: iMac FCP X edit system & fusion drives
on Aug 31, 2013 at 4:41:54 am

I edit a bunch of different stuff. Pretty typical today. Mostly corporate video/documentary work shot on Canon DSLR. A smattering of green screen. Motion graphics heavy broadcast TV spots (varying formats), and I also work with some of my students on feature film length projects (AVCHD cameras).

Yes we used to order from Crucial, good stuff. However, I kinda like to support OWC because they are a Mac place. Plus OWC isn't afraid to try to push the limits of a Mac. For example we have some older iMacs and in fact the MacBook Pro that I am typing on, that according to specs only support 4GB of ram, but OWC somehow figured out how to get 6GB to work. Our perspective at our office is to find a good vendor a stick with it.

Regarding an external drive, on a modern system you can really edit on anything. I have a number of Lacie drives that I use on set for backup as well as shuttling around to edit small stuff. However, even at USB3 their max speed is about 105MB/sec. Thunderbolt would be about 110MB/sec. That is about the max for a single sata drive. Using a single SSD would get you about double. I would consider a small drive like that perfect if you want portability, but I think you need some safety and speed for your main edit workstation.

A RAID on the other hand gives you not just great speed, but also redundancy. And frankly they are not that expensive. I run at RAID 5 which is a mix of speed and safety. You can loose a single drive and your data is still okay, plus you'll get some striping which will give you 200MB+ in speed. Running at RAID 0 is fine, as long as you have a backup of all your data.

(One thing to note is that FCPX hits the hard drive pretty much constantly as every edit is stored there continually. Then if you start working with a 2 or 3 streams of decent data rate media such a 1080p ProRes 422, the 100 MB/sec speed of the single drives will quickly become a bottleneck.)

I have a pretty old setup (4 years) which is by no means considered a high end, and I needed to add an adapter to work with my iMac, but it works very well with decent speed:

OWC Mercy Pro Elite Pro QX2, 8TB (formatted Raid 5 to 6tb) $699
Lacie Thunderbolt to Esata $199

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/RAID/Desktop/

However, if I had to but something new today, I would look at a straight thunderbolt solution that should give about 300MB/sec using HDDs.

A8tb G-Raid with Thunderbolt for $799 (Raid 0 for 8tb, RAID 1 for 4tb)

http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-raid-thunderbolt

Or the Lacie thunderbolt 8TB (Raid 0 for 8tb, RAID 1 for 4tb):

http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?id=10573

Maybe someone else can chime in on storage. Hope this helps.

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Bret Williams
Re: iMac FCP X edit system & fusion drives
on Aug 31, 2013 at 2:30:09 pm

I get about 175mb/sec with USB 3 on a single 7200 external. On the little portables, I get 80-110. I have a usb3>eSata cable ($15) and get 110 on my graid. USB3 really blows me away on the 2012 iMac.


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Howie Young
Re: iMac FCP X edit system & fusion drives
on Aug 31, 2013 at 4:27:28 pm

Hi Brett,

Thanks for your feedback. What brand hard drives do you use?

What type of projects do you edit?



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Bret Williams
Re: iMac FCP X edit system & fusion drives
on Sep 1, 2013 at 2:51:13 am

The little toshiba usb 3 from samsclub is the cheapest field drive I use and it is he fatest at 110mb/sec. I know, crazy. I also have a g-something mini and seagate. But they only get 60-80. Also have a Pegasus r4 8tb thunderbolt raid. That's what I for projects and media. When projects ar ecomplete I consolidate them to a newer tech guardian usb 3 mirrored raid. That's the one that gets 175mb/sec. It's mirrored, so there's no raid benefit. You'd think if anything it would be slower because its writing to 2 drives t once. I also have a 2tb esata graid hooked up via USB 3 to esata adapter cable. That gts 110mb/sec or so. Standard Esata speed without port multipler.


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T. Payton
Re: iMac FCP X edit system & fusion drives
on Sep 4, 2013 at 3:09:08 pm

Brett,

Thanks is crazy that you are getting 175MB a sec with that Raid 1 with USB 3.0. Thanks for sharing.

- T.

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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