Hard Drives for Video Editing


While current SATA standards look good on paper the reality is that the mechanics of the drive and the architecture on the systems don't fully exploit the standard. In some cases a superior mechanical drive on a 'slower' standard will outperform an inferior drive on a 'faster' standard. A good example here is Western Digital's Raptor drive. It's a SATA 150 drive yet it outperforms many SATA 300 drives. The simple explanation is the Raptor just spins faster. 10,000 RPM drives whether a flavor of SCSI or SATA exhibit noticeable performance gains over 7200 RPM drives regardless of data protocol. So, in general go for the highest spindle speed you can afford. Sure they make a little more noise but it's worth it.

A DV shooter or even a DVCPRO-50 shooter can get away with Raptor drives in a RAID or non-RAID configuration and still do quite a bit of editing in real time.

Once you start working with HD footage you have to consider Ultra 320 SCSI, Serial Attached SCSI, Fibre Channel, and RAIDs that can meet your performance needs based on how much data you have flying about.

We're really excited about SAS drives or serial attached SCSI because the standard supports both SAS and SATA drives on the same controller, the cabling is just like SATA, a big improvement over the fat and cumbersome SCSI cables, and the bus gives each drive a full stream of bandwidth.

So if you're configuring a system for a professional application such as video editing and your budget is large we'd opt for either a SAS system with a RAID to meet your throughput needs. If you can get away with a SATA based system don't skimp on the drives. Western Digital's Raptor is still the drive to beat and we anticipate a new version being announced and possibly Seagate offering high performance SATA in addition to its flagship SCSI Cheetah line.

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