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Are thunderbolt 3 external drives & arrays overkill or worth the investment?

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Richie Cantrell
Are thunderbolt 3 external drives & arrays overkill or worth the investment?
on Jul 13, 2017 at 8:18:38 am

I have a new mbpro 15 w tbar, 1tb ssd & thunderbolt 3. Im looking to buy an external drive or array solution to use to store ALL my files and vids. FCPX is installed on my internal SSD. I plan to set up FCPX so as to "leave files in place" so videos will remain on the external drive when Im editing in FCPX. Whatever I get MUST work well with FCPX. I will also store all completed fcpx projects to the external drive or array. I assumed thunderbolt 3 is faster and that I should look at thunderbolt 3 solutions, however I have been told thunderbolt 3 external drives and arrays are OVERKILL and that I should instead look at usb3 drives & arrays. Im confused about thunderbolt 3 vs other connections. I want a minimum of 10tb of available space, as much speed as possible (drive and transfer), redundancy would be nice and room to grow as space needs & budget change in future. I can't afford ssd plus I need space.

Any advice on SPECIFIC external solution for drive or raid array in the under 1000 range?

Is Thunderbolt 3 overkill or not?


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Are thunderbolt 3 external drives & arrays overkill or worth the investment?
on Jul 13, 2017 at 1:06:17 pm

Can't actually answer this unless you tell us what you're actually editing - basically how much bandwidth do you need?

USB3 is ok for short bursts of data by my experience is that it doesn't hold up to sustained reading and writing.

All I can say is there's no such thing as too much storage or transfer speed. It always pays to future proof yourself.

----
Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer & Cinematographer
Hobart, Tasmania | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Richie Cantrell
Re: Are thunderbolt 3 external drives & arrays overkill or worth the investment?
on Jul 13, 2017 at 2:58:26 pm

thanks. I'll be editing a variety of footage from older hi8, up to 4k. the drive I choose will be my primary storage device storing all my docs, files including all my pics/videos. I will edit w fcpx which is installed on my internal 1tb ssd on my mbp. To keep my mbp drive clean, I want to TRY & leave videos on the external drive when editing & just have fcpx reference the files on the external drive when editing. ...I hope this works anyway.

Due to cost, wanting speed plus space, I am considering 3 solutions below.

For back up: I'm thinking of buying a cheap 8tb wd external drive at Best Buy that I could keep offsite.

I have 3 ideas:

1. $600 / 10TB G-drive w thunderbolt 3 (single drive) around $600

or

2. $800 / 12 TB G-Raid w thunderbolt 3 (dual drive)....My thought process on this one is that I am gaining 2 tb more than the g-drive (above) AND that if I run the g-raid as RAID 0, I am ASSUMING I will see more performance than the gdrive.

or

3. $500 / Mercury Elite Pro Dual 10TB 2-Bay USB 3.0 RAID Array (2 x 5TB) from OWC / Other World Computing

QUESTIONS:

Q: do u know if would I actually realize better performance in the g-raid (#1) if set to RAID 0, over the g-drive (#2)....OR....if there some type of bottle neck or limitation I am not aware of whereas I would not see a difference?

Q: A sales rep has recommended a usb 3.0 solution which is: Mercury Elite Pro Raid (#3). He says that USB 3.0, would be just as fast as the the g-raid (#2) that is thunderbolt 3.....He also states he has something to do with the speed doesn't reach usb 3.0 speeds anyway (i.e.: Thunderbolt3 is overkill)................DOES THIS SOUND CORRECT?


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Tim Jones
Re: Are thunderbolt 3 external drives & arrays overkill or worth the investment?
on Jul 13, 2017 at 6:41:38 pm

Just be aware that the Thunderbolt or USB layer speed doesn't matter if you're only using 1-2 spindles (drives) since each drive will be the bottleneck. You won't see a real boost in performance unless you are using 5 or more disks or SSD units. Yes, 3 drives will get you close to 400MB/sec, but that's still low in comparison to modern media needs.

We always recommend that you try to get a Black Magic Disk Speed Test or an AJA System Performance test report for your particular system and drive configuration to see if you'll be satisfied with the item.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.tolisgroup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Are thunderbolt 3 external drives & arrays overkill or worth the investment?
on Jul 13, 2017 at 10:04:58 pm
Last Edited By Jeff Kirkland on Jul 13, 2017 at 10:08:05 pm

It's a little dated (pre Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C) but this B&H article still covers the foundations of choosing a drive for video editing.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/video/tips-and-solutions/hard-drive-so...

If you're only talking two drives then even Thunderbolt 1 will be more than fast enough to keep up but if you're editing any quantity of 4k then a two drive array will probably only just deliver enough bandwidth and 10tb will be full in six months. I have single 4k projects that are 2tb+ each.

I'm not saying buy a bigger drive but it sounds like you're intending to have all your data online on this drive all the time but I think you'll definitely need an archive strategy as 10tb will fill up fast.

Just for the record I'm currently using a two drive RAID 0 Thunderbolt 1 enclosure with 4tb of storage. That's been fast enough for most of the things I've been editing but as I said, it's a little clunky if I'm doing say a multicam 4k project. But it's the speed of the two drives that is the bottleneck, not the Thunderbolt connection.

----
Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer & Cinematographer
Hobart, Tasmania | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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