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External Hard drive recommendations Windows Laptop

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Bob KnappExternal Hard drive recommendations Windows Laptop
by on Jan 27, 2012 at 7:22:00 pm

Hey everyone,

I'm interested in everyone's opinion on a new external hard drive for video editing HD video with Premiere 5.5 on a laptop using Windows. I'm using an esata Western Digital 7200 rpm right now but was wondering what everyone likes for external Hard drives with a laptop. I do have USB 3.0 capability as well and am shopping around for something fast and rugged. Any suggestions?

Thank you as always!

See What I See Productions

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Roderick LavalleeRe: External Hard drive recommendations Windows Laptop
by on Jan 27, 2012 at 9:20:34 pm

With PPro 5.5, if you don't have a dedicate and crazy fast GPU (like an NVIDIA Quadro) then you're going to need a crazy fast processor, and crazy fast drives, or a lot of patience.

If you're external options are USB 3.0, go SSD.

Are you editing HD footage this way? And how long are your typical clips / sequences, how many effects / transitions are you layering on, and how many tracks are in your sequences?

Reason I ask: if you're planning on being heavy on those criteria, then a laptop might not be your best option for your editing.

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Bob KnappRe: External Hard drive recommendations Windows Laptop
by on Jan 28, 2012 at 6:48:04 pm

I have both a desktop and a laptop. This hard drive is needed for my work on the road. I'm working mainly with HD 720p AVCHD footage. I don't have a lot of layers except some graphics and grading. My projests need to be edited fast (few hours or overnight). I'm just looking for something that will help prevent anything from being sluggish. My laptop is an i7/8 gig ram/1 gig nvidia but not optimized for Mercury. (I just discovered the hack for this but am wary of trying it. I can't have any crashes).

I don't have any experience with SSD's. I'm also not using Raid 0 right now. Should I?

See What I See Productions

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Roderick LavalleeRe: External Hard drive recommendations Windows Laptop
by on Jan 28, 2012 at 7:33:31 pm

SSDs (Solid State Drives), are going to give you your fastest response time without spending the money for a 10k rpm typical hard drive, but as you probably already know, SSDs aren't cheap.

RAID is great to have for data protection (after all, what a RAID set up is doing is saving your data to multiple places at once). I've run without any RAID arrays for years, but am also overly cautious about insuring I have multiple back ups -- in different geographic locations -- of my current working files. Then I offload data onto archive drives.

Down to what you're really asking, however, given the system configuration you're talking about, even if you go with a 7200rpm standard External Hard Drive set up (iOmega, Seagate, Maxtor, Western Digital, or others), spending the extra money on an SSD or 10k drive is not going to really buy you that much extra time in the editing. What's really doing the heavy lifting is your CPU and GPU. An i7 processor will do fine. With only 8GB RAM, and a GPU not optimized for the Mercury playback, make sure you shut down all of the other apps when you go to render. You may even want to get an app that shuts down all of the unnecessary background applications.

I recently built a new machine with a i7 processor, 24 GB RAM, NVIDIA Quadro 4 series GPU, a 256GB SSD boot drive, and a 10k rpm data drive. I have three other data drives migrated from my last machine tied in. I do notice a difference between the 10k and 7200rpm drives when accessing video files, but we're talking about a 5% difference in processing time versus the close to 500% gain in reduced processing time by now leveraging a faster GPU. The difference has been that dramatic. In many cases, even when layering a lot of effects onto the footage, rendering happens in practically real-time even with heavy compression. (i.e. 30 minute sequence takes 30 minutes to render / export.)

But back to the drives, I've personally had a lot of great luck with much of the Western Digital line of products, and even used a Maxtor drive in the same scenario that you're discussing.

Sorry if you already know all of this, and if I've just been blathering.

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