I have just bought the new media composer 6 software and have installed it on my i-mac. However, not being too au-fait with this and coming from the easy plug and play world of final cut, I am unsure what kind of harddrive I should buy to store my media files on. Is there a way, as in final cut, of telling the avid where to write projects and files to? And what type of drive is best to buy for the software? I appreciate all help and please excuse my seeming ignorance!
You can chose to have your projects Shared, User, or External. If you choose User, I believe it puts them in your Documents folder under whatever name you log into your Mac with. Shared goes to the Shared documents folder. External allows you to choose where to put your project files.
Media? We have G-Raid drives that we use for backup and occasionally to edit off of (our main storage is an EditShare), and they've been reliable and fast. Caldigit makes nice drives, and Pegasus makes a Thunderbolt RAID but it's pricier than the other options. In Avid, when you import/capture/render you choose the drive you want it to go to - just select the external drive and you'll be set. It will handle where the files go and tracking them (unlike FCP, where you can choose a particular folder, etc...).
You an basically put your project files anywhere you want. For your media you can use the "Media Creation" setting to direct AVID to put all your files on the same drive or put different types of files in different places (IE your renders go one place, your stills to another, audio to another, video...) You get the picture. This can be set on a project to project basis. You can also override this setting at render time if you want to and re-direct files to other places.
I have used a wide variety of off the shelf drives on my avids with great success. Just about any USB 3 drive seems to work. also most USB 2 drives work as long as your not doing a ton of layers. I do films so the data demand isn't that great. My stuff is mostly cuts with a dissolve here and there. (DNxHD 145) I expect if you are trying to do seven layers of uncompressed HD in real time, then you need the avid supplied drives to keep up. it just depends on what you're throughput needs are. for simple stuff I feel no need to buy the "Avid approved" drives, but if you want to max out performance you need them. IME