19 Replies Latest reply on Jul 9, 2013 4:07 PM by Jim_Simon

    Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together

    ethnosprod

      I've been editing on an slow and very old laptop for quite some time now. It's about time I upgrade. I'm putting together and was curious as to what I should do for my disk drives.

       

      I was considering getting a 256gb SSD and two 1TB HDDs, and setting them up like this--

       

      SSD: programs, OS

      HDD1: Media, Proj files

      HDD2: Exports, Media Cache, Previews, static page files

       

       

      I am hearing of people using multiple drives to edit, but I'm not sure exactly how they set them up to be most efficient. Thoughts?

       

       

      Thank you,

      Josh

        • 1. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
          cscooper2013 Level 2

          That's about right.  But in my experience I get better performance from 7200 RPM, 3.5" video drives when attached via USB 3.0 HDD dock vs. editing from an internal 7200 RPM laptop drive (2.5").  I do not, however, use "External drives", per se.  External drives are a lot more expensive than they need to be.  I have a couple of hard drive docks (right now I'm enjoying the performance of the USB3 dock from Anker; it also has eSATA).  I buy internal 3.5", 7200 RPM drives and put those into the docks.  These are my video drives.  The reason they perform better than a laptop hard drive (i.e. 2.5" drive) is probably due to the size (3TB) more than anything else.  I've noticed that the final 400GB or so (as the read head has to go to farther out on the platters) starts to feel like I'm editing on the laptop drive.  I also store my project files in the same folder as my footage (for portability).  This works for me because I do a YouTube series where each show is being edited from footage taken on the same day.  So a daily folder structure works well.  So again:

           

          1. Windows 7 and Programs (C:  Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD)

          2. Documents and other files (D:  Internal 750GB, 7200RPM, 2.5" drive)

          3. Media and Project files (M:, N:, O:, P:, Q:, R:, etc, etc, External HDD dock with 3TB , 7200RPM, 3.5" drives).

           

          Every Week (and I should probably do it more often), I:

           

          1. Use Beyond Compare 3 to synchronize my entire hard drive from the working video drive to the backup (good to have a second HDD dock for this).

          2. Use Windows 7 Backup to backup my D drive (documents, etc).

          3. I also use Macrium Reflect (Free) to clone my system hard drive about once a month and/or just before any major system or Adobe updates.  The clone drive is an inexpensive 250GB, 5400RPM, 2.5" hard drive.  SSDs are very reliable, but they can go bad, too.  And when they do, unlike a hard drive, they give you NO fair warning.  By backing up to another "laptop" hard drive, you can be back in business in 15 minutes, without any software licensing issues, etc, should your SSD ever fail.

           

          When I go to visit family, I simply copy the footage and project files I'll need to the internal "documents" drive and edit from that.  I feel a small, but noticable difference in project load times and often in playback from the timeline.

           

          What laptop are you getting? 

          • 2. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
            ethnosprod Level 1

            Thank you for all the info. That makes sense.

             

            I wasn't clear in my post above. I apologize. I'm actually building my own desktop rather than getting another laptop.

            • 3. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
              cscooper2013 Level 2

              Ah!  Same concepts for desktop, but less money and more power. 

              • 4. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                Jim_Simon Level 8

                Here's what I recommend for a good editing experience.

                 

                C: OS/Programs

                D: Projects

                E: Cache/Scratch

                F: Media

                G: Exports

                 

                And of course an external or two for backups.

                • 5. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                  ethnosprod Level 1

                  Jon if I went with that set up, would I use one SSD and the rest HDDs? I'm also working with a tight budget. I can always upgrade later on but I want to make sure if purchase more its going to be well worth it.

                   

                  Jim*

                  • 6. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                    cscooper2013 Level 2

                    Ethnos,

                     

                    Of course if you can afford to go all SSD, it would be optimal! 

                     

                    Barring that, here's a more economical approach:

                     

                    C: OS/Programs

                    (SSD)

                    D: Projects

                    (HDD; this can be slower (5400RPM) if your budget won't allow faster.  Project files are TINY)

                    E: Cache/Scratch

                    (SSD or dual SSDs in RAID0 or better for highest possible performance)

                    F: Media

                    (HDD; 7200RPM minimum, if you deal in highly compressed codecs 24Mbps - 50Mbps, even 100Mbps works well here.  The hard drive is not the bottleneck for highly compressed files.  If you work with large, professional codecs (>100Mbps) you'll want 10,000RPM or even dual drives in RAID0 (striped) [back up often]!  With high bit-rates, your hard drive IS the bottleneck.  If the sky is the limit go with SSDs or striped SSDs.

                    G: Exports

                    (the processor and RAM combine to create the bottlneck here; not your HDD.  If you are out of cash, this can be a 5400RPM drive).

                     

                    I've found the Samsung 840 Pro to be much faster than the SanDisk SSD.  I have and use both.  But that was 3 months ago, things change quickly.  Look for latest benchmarks.

                    • 7. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                      Jim_Simon Level 8

                      would I use one SSD and the rest HDDs?

                       

                      That's how I would do it.  SSDs large enough for editing are just too costly.  The System drive doesn't need to be very large, so it's often easier to afford an SDD for that one.

                      • 8. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                        cscooper2013 Level 2

                        I don't mean to be argumentative, but I STRONGLY disagree.  If you are only going with one SSD (which is fine, that's what I do, too), I can't recommend enough that you put any kind of page file/cache/scratch files on the SSD (especially the page file).  Even though that SSD may be running the OS, the OS isn't accessing the drive much while you're editing.  When (if) you get low on system memory, your page file will really slow you down if it has to read/write from a slow-as-molases (compared to SSD) hard drive.

                         

                        If this is STRICTLY an editing machine you can get by with 128GB or so.  If you have anything else going on, say the entire Adobe suite and the entire Microsoft suite and you happen to be a programmer or gamer on the side, etc, etc, then 256GB minimum.  In any case, you want plenty of room (perhaps even half of the drive's total capacity) left over for page file/caches/scratch, etc.  I run a 256GB system drive.  It's a little more than half full of system plus programs.  The Adobe caches alone (conformed audio, AE disk cache, etc) fill the remainder of the drive about every other week (3 or 4 projects of around 5-10 minutes each).  That's fine.  I delete the cache (since I'm done with those projects) and move on. 

                         

                        Conforming in Premiere slows me down enough.  The last thing I want is for that process to take any longer than it already does.  Get the HDD bottleneck out of the way.

                         

                        Curious, though, Jim, have you done any scientific testing (I have not) to see whether the HDD slows down the conform or disk caching processes at all?  I could be persuaded to change my ways if it could be shown that the HDDs did not cause an ounce of slowdown during conform/render/caching processes, etc.

                         

                        Side Note: I am aware that putting "scratch" stuff on the SSD will theoretically shorten the lifespan of the SSD.  It will theoretically shorten the lifespan of a hard drive, too.  Either way, I've got two years in so far on my first SSD-based system with no errors to report.  If that drive only lasts me 5 years, the speed advantage has been worth it.  I'll likely want a faster SSD in 3 years anyway—maybe by then PCIe-based SSDs will be more affordable!  SSD technology is currently advancing fast.  Just two years after purchasing my first SSD (SanDisk), I setup a second system with a Samsung 840 Pro, which checks out at almost double the speed.  You don't want "memory" type operations to be slowed down by a hard drive!

                         

                        Am I wrong?

                        • 9. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                          Jim_Simon Level 8

                          The issue with Cache files is that both drives would need to be SSDs, the Media drive they're stored on and the Cache drive they're writing to.  If the media drive is an HDD (and it likely will be to get enough room), then having an SSD for Cache won't see the full benefit, as you're still limited to the read speed of the Media HDD.

                           

                          Hence my suggested arrangement.

                          • 10. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                            Alan Craven Level 4

                            I'm with you there, Jim, but perhaps if the media drive were a RAID0, there might be some worthwhile benefit? 

                             

                            As I have said in other threads, the use of RAID0s for your E: and F: is the only way my rig differs from yours.  Systematic backup is then essential, even though I use enterprise drives in my RAIDs

                             

                            Also, I am still wary of the long-term effects of repeated read/write to SSDs, though I take the point that the technology is developing so rapidly that you would want to upgrade anyway by the time any deterioration became evident.

                            • 11. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                              Jim_Simon Level 8

                              perhaps if the media drive were a RAID0, there might be some worthwhile benefit? 

                               

                              That makes sense, but I always recommend against RAID 0, especially for Media drives.  RAID 1 and 3 are the only ones I would use personally.

                              • 12. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                                Alan Craven Level 4

                                I have always assumed that you use Premiere professionally, so that would make sense.  For me it is just a (n expensive!) hobby.

                                 

                                I have yet to lose anything due to a drive failure, but the way things are with increased file sizes, my drives tend to get replaced by larger, faster models at regular intervals - just like rock-star's girlfriends.

                                • 13. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                                  Jim_Simon Level 8

                                  Yeah, here's hoping that kind of 'larger' only applies to a specific region, not the whole girlfriend.

                                  • 14. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                                    cscooper2013 Level 2

                                    Alan, you are correct.  RAID0 is great for editing AND keeping costs down.  RAID1 is great for redundancy, but useless to the point at hand—SPEED!  I'm sure if you've ever had a RAID0 setup fail you, you'd be advocating against using it.  I've also experienced nothing but speedy bliss.  I do regular backups.  Also, if this is your media drive only, you'll of course have a second copy somewhere else anyway.  I don't begin editing until my media is on two different drives (technically 3.  2 drives in the RAID0 for editing and 1 more drive for safekeeping).  If you store your project files on a different drive, losing your RAID0 should never become an issue, Heaven forbid it should ever happen.

                                     

                                    When possible, I also short-stroke very large drives just to eek out a little extra performance.  Though perhaps Jim would dissagree with that.  It's an old habit that makes me feel better psycologically.  I'll take a 3TB drive and shortstroke it to 1TB or 500GB, depending on the size needed to hold the media for two or three immediate projects.  Have I wasted the other 2 TB?  No.  I'll use that for storage of media that I won't be accessing any time soon.  For example, footage that I must hold onto for a client for a few weeks until they confirm they have it all backed up to their liking on their own hard drives.  But it's a second volume that won't likely need accessing, so the read-head won't have to be jumping around from the inner to outter reaches of the platters.

                                    • 15. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                                      Jim_Simon Level 8

                                      losing your RAID0 should never become an issue

                                       

                                      Except that you can't edit until it's rebuilt, which can take a while if you don't have a spare drive handy, and even if you do you still have to wait for all the media to copy over to the new setup.

                                       

                                      With RAID3, you can keep working while it's being rebuilt in the background, with very little slow down.  It is more expensive to set up, but once you have lost everything when one drive fails on a RAID0, that jump from a single drive to a RAID3 gets more and more attractive.

                                      • 16. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                                        cscooper2013 Level 2

                                        Like I said, never had a RAID0 go out on me.  If I do, I'm prepared with it's clone, plug it in and go back to work (takes about 35 seconds, depending on how long the walk is to retreive your media drive's clone).  Save the rebuilding of RAID and re-populating the drive for after-hours.

                                        • 17. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                                          Jim_Simon Level 8

                                          Curious.  Have you ever tested that?  I'd have thought you can't just replace one drive of a RAID 0 with a duplicate and get 'restored'.

                                          • 18. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                                            cscooper2013 Level 2

                                            No, you're not hearing me (or I'm not speaking correctly).  

                                             

                                            My "media clone" HDD is not a RAID drive at all.  It's a simple, single-disk, 7200rpm HDD.  If my RAID0 setup were ever to fail, I would plug in my backup (cloned) media drive into a USB3.0 HDD dock and be back in action, while I wait for Amazon to ship me a new hard drive, or two; rebuild my RAID0; and copy my media back to it (which would all be done during off-peak times).  I usually only hammer away on a hard drive for about 2 years (3 years max).  Then I start rotating those primary drives into the "backup" or "clone" pool.  Perhaps this is why I've never had a problem with RAID0—I don't allow any hard drive in that setup to become too old.*

                                             

                                            I've tested the RAID0 outtage by simply removing the drives and plugging in the clone.  I assigned the drive the same drive letter as the previous RAID0 set, though that's not entirely necessary.  You could, instead, just re-link media in Premiere.  Either way, it works.  Yes, it's slower.  I expected that.  But not so slow I can't keep working, and certainly something a client could overlook much more easily than, say, a broken multicam NLE.   

                                             

                                            This works for me and my daily editing clients and internal projects.  It's more affordable, with the same speed advantage, as much more expensive RAID arrays, and the slower clone drive is a backup solution that I hope not to ever need.  If I were working for a high-pressure studio, network, or daily news show, etc, I'd probably consider RAID5, and I'd probably be making the bucks to support that decision (or it might be on the network's dime).

                                             

                                            Random thought:  Multiple camera edits might run faster if each camera's footage were stored on separate drives.  Faster, due to less seek time from the read head jumping around the platter.  Does anyone do this? 

                                             

                                            * Like most anyone, I have had the displeasure of receiving a brand new hard drive that failed either right away, or within a week.  That's not the same as experiencing an unexpected RAID0 failure, since I won't put a new hard drive into serious production use until it's served me as a non-primary drive for at least a few weeks.

                                            • 19. Re: Setting up Disk Drives in the Computer I'm putting together
                                              Jim_Simon Level 8

                                              If my RAID0 setup were ever to fail, I would plug in my backup (cloned) media drive into a USB3.0 HDD dock and be back in action

                                               

                                              Ah, now I got you.

                                               

                                              The down side there is that if that drive fails while you're waiting for Amazon, you're screwed.

                                               

                                              You never want less than two copies on functional media.  With a RAID 3, you can work with a single drive gone, wait for a replacement to arrive, and you still have that second copy with the backup.  The FIRST AND ONLY thing you do when a primary goes down entirely is create another copy from the backup, and that means down time.

                                               

                                              RAID 0 is just not a good idea idea for anything you can't lose.

                                               

                                              While you can theoretically play Russian Roulette once a day and still die of old age, that doesn't make it a safe game to play.  RAID 0 is no different.