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Best external drive for video editing and post-production on a MBPro within a 200€ budget

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Xavier Bonet
Best external drive for video editing and post-production on a MBPro within a 200€ budget
on Nov 27, 2016 at 2:45:44 pm

I edit a heavy load of videos, at the very least 4 a week. All my original footage is either max 1080p30 @ 35 mbps from one camera or 1080p24 @ 65 mbps from another. The bulk of the exported videos are always max 1080p24-30 @ 25 mbps, as they're destined for YouTube. I rely heavily on AE—as well as on PPro—as I apply a lot of animation and effects, and usually there's a good deal of color correction applied and speed variations, etc. In other words, I'm not editing 4K but, still, my work is rather demanding and often my render/export times are really drawn out by what I assume is a poor choice of hardware. All of this is being done on a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), 2,5 GHz Intel Core i7 Processor, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM, AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2048 MB Graphics bought about 4 months ago. But my original footage as well as my final exported footage go into a WD My Passport Ultra 2 TB, which tops at about 60 MB/s real-world, according to my mesurements. That's what I feel is a poor choice in hardware; although after I invested on the computer I was in a tight budgetary state and had to go for more storage, more reliability, not so much speed, so there wasn't really too much of a choice, I felt.

Right now I have a very little more to spend, and being that my current external drive is 3/4 full, I want to buy another. Now, the dilemma is still the same: capacity? speed? reliability? Oh my! Clearly, my needs are:

(A) a fairly good capacity, as I've almost filled up 2GB of footage in 4 months;
(B) best drive speed I can get, as I sometimes will spend up to 12 hours editing a single video (many times due to small delays that sum up) and then spend about 40-90 mins exporting;
(C) a decent reliability, as I've no more money to buy more backup drives at the moment;
(D) portability would be a real advantage due to the nature of my video project (the reason why I bought a notebook computer and not a desk computer) but if it precludes speed and capacity due to higher prices, then I can certainly forgo a certain amount of portability.


I've already fallen into the deep mire of 5400 vs 7200 rpm, Thunderbolt vs USB 3.0, and all other discussion surrounding what combinations are best and I don't feel an ounce the wiser than when I started! I now feel like I simply need the option of pros or, at least, more advanced users in the fine art of external-drive-hunting, and then almost like I need to sum votes and chose the most popular one!

Anyway, after extensive—and I do mean extensive—research, I've finally obtained a list of possibilities that are within my economic capabilities... and believe me these are the ones that are already touching the farthest wall of my budgetary capabilities: in theory, I shouldn't spend more than 200€ but if there's no other choice, I could basically sacrifice Christmas and spend 50€ more, but not more than that! Well, these are the possibilities and I would very much love to hear your opinions and receive your feedback (and, by all means, if there are better choices that lie within the 200€ budget, I'm all ears); I've ordered them by assumed real-word data rate speed (took benchmark manufacturer values and calculated 20% slower for real-world) but not preference or price:

· LaCie D2 (USB 3.0) 5TB, 150 MB/s, 7200 rpm, 218,50€
· LaCie D2 (USB 3.0) 4TB, 144 MB/s, 7200 rpm, 159,95€
· G-Drive (USB 3.0) 4TB, 132 MB/s, 7200 rpm, 209,50€
· LaCie Rugged (Thunderbolt) 2TB, 105 MB/s, 5400 rpm, 259,95€
· LaCie Rugged Mini (USB 3.0) 2TB, 105 MB/s, 5400 rpm, 147,87€
· LaCie D2 Quadra V3 (USB 3.0) 4TB, 105 MB/s, 7200 rpm, 219,51€
· LaCie Rugged Mini (USB 3.0) 4TB, 105 MB/s, 5400 rpm, 238,51€


I would really appreciate your help in this issue! Any opinion (other than: "You should invest 200€ more and get an SSD, RAID, etc., etc.") will be highly constructive for me at this juncture!


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Xavier Bonet
Re: Best external drive for video editing and post-production on a MBPro within a 200€ budget
on Nov 27, 2016 at 5:04:32 pm

I've just seen a video of someone performing a real-world test of the data transfer rate of the G-Drive and it was at around 150 MB/s, so really it should be No. 1 in my list, according to what I've read about it and its price.


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