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If I'm getting a drive to do basic editing while traveling, should I care whether it is USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt?

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Noam Osband
If I'm getting a drive to do basic editing while traveling, should I care whether it is USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt?
on Sep 29, 2015 at 1:54:40 am

I want a cheap portable drive so I can do some basic editing work while traveling. Nothing effects or graphics heavy at all. If that's what I'm doing, should I care whether it is USB 2.0 or thunderbolt? Thoughts?


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Bret Williams
Re: If I'm getting a drive to do basic editing while traveling, should I care whether it is USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt?
on Sep 29, 2015 at 3:07:52 am

If you're doing 1080 then USB 3 will surprise you. In my small sample of testing, the toshibas were faster than the gdrives, seagates, or those orange LaCie things. But things have changed since. Now you could get ssd inside a USB 3 casing and that's probably be pretty amazing.


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Noam Osband
Re: If I'm getting a drive to do basic editing while traveling, should I care whether it is USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt?
on Sep 29, 2015 at 3:11:29 am

When you say surprise, do you mean good surprise or bad one? It'd be 1080. I'm guessing from context clues, you meant a bad one.


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Bret Williams
Re: If I'm getting a drive to do basic editing while traveling, should I care whether it is USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt?
on Sep 29, 2015 at 4:31:09 am

Good surprise. I've had great luck with basic HD editing off USB 3.


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Joe Marler
Re: If I'm getting a drive to do basic editing while traveling, should I care whether it is USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt?
on Sep 29, 2015 at 9:50:24 am

[Noam Osband] "basic editing work while traveling....If that's what I'm doing, should I care whether it is USB 2.0 or thunderbolt?"

I have over 100TB of material on various external drives and test them frequently. There is a huge performance difference between USB 2.0 and 3.0. I would suggest not using 2.0 -- it's just too slow.

Likewise the speed difference of USB flash drives varies hugely. I have tested an older USB 2.0 flash drive at 20 MB/sec vs a new SanDisk Extreme Pro at 240 MB/sec. With larger file sizes typical of HD and 4k material, it is very frustrating to be waiting around during a field assignment while data transfers.

Re bus-powered USB 3.0 drives, most are 5400 rpm and cover a range of performance from fairly slow to not so bad. A couple of companies make 7200 rpm bus-powered USB 3.0 drives, which are relatively fast. The fastest one I've tested is the 1TB HGST Touro S: http://www.touropro.com/en/product/touro-s/

G-Drive and some other companies make a bus-powered 7200 rpm Thunderbolt drive. They are supposedly fast but I've never tested one vs the HGST Touro S: http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-drive-mobile-thunderbolt-1-tb-portab...

Seagate makes a 4TB bus-powered USB 3.0 drive called the Backup Plus Fast that is probably the fastest one: http://www.seagate.com/external-hard-drives/portable-hard-drives/performanc... However it is interally RAID0, and it may pull more power than some USB ports can supply. However I think most Apple computers can supply extra DC power to USB since they can charge an iPad.

Re USB 3.0 vs Thunderbolt, I prefer Thunderbolt for AC-powered drives but for portable USB 3.0 drives I don't think it makes much performance difference. From a reliability standpoint I think Thunderbolt drives have fewer spontaneous disconnects but most of my USB 3 drives do OK. USB 3 is very handy because (assuming it's formatted exFAT) it can be used on either Mac or Windows.


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Noam Osband
Re: If I'm getting a drive to do basic editing while traveling, should I care whether it is USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt?
on Sep 29, 2015 at 4:18:13 pm

Joe, if I'm getting this to be able to work on the road - again, not as my main squeeze - should I care if it's 5400 or 7200 rpm? I've been reading some articles online, but I figured I'd ask your opinion too. Your thorough post gives me confidence.


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John Rofrano
Re: If I'm getting a drive to do basic editing while traveling, should I care whether it is USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt?
on Sep 30, 2015 at 1:51:42 am

I edit 1080 with WD My Passport for Mac drives and G|Drive Mobile USB drives using USB 3.0 and they are both fine and run @ 5400 RPM. I assume the 7200 RPM drives would be even better but I've had no problems with the 5400 RPM drives from those two companies.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Joe Marler
Re: If I'm getting a drive to do basic editing while traveling, should I care whether it is USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt?
on Oct 1, 2015 at 9:36:25 am

[Noam Osband] " if I'm getting this to be able to work on the road - again, not as my main squeeze - should I care if it's 5400 or 7200 rpm?"

Personally I'd always get the 7200 rpm drive. The only two single-platter drives that I'm aware of are the 1TB HGST Touro S (USB 3.0) and the 1TB G-Tech G-Drive Mobile with Thunderbolt: http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-drive-mobile-thunderbolt-1-tb-portab....

The Touro S is not expensive and it's very fast. The performance of other 5400 rpm drives varies a lot. Some are pretty fast, others less so.

I have several dozen 1TB portable drives from various manufacturers. For casual data transfer or archival storage almost any one is OK. However if I'm actually editing in the field or downloading data from my entire shooting team, or duplicating data for backup in the field, I want the fastest one which is 7200 rpm.


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