10 Replies Latest reply on Jul 20, 2013 3:04 PM by OsakaWebbie

    Old adage of 2 drives still critical?

    OsakaWebbie Level 1

      For years my workflow was: capture MiniDV, edit in PPro, encode to MPEG2-DVD, author in Encore, and burn to DVD.  So I had a desktop PC with two physical hard drives, and I always made sure that my workflow alternated drives (and controllers, considering the DVD drive also) at each step.  Smooth - I never had any problems.

       

      Now I have been forced to go from desktop life to laptop life, but I'm doing what I can to make it a comfortable transition, which required all my fast I/O ports for display real estate.  I have an Acer Aspire M3-581T with 4GB RAM and a 256GB SSD.  It has no IEEE1394 (yeah, capturing from my old cameras is complicated!), one HDMI that is running an external monitor, one USB3.0 that is running the other external monitor, and a couple USB2.0s.  I'm not eager to split the USB3.0 between the monitor and a hard drive, so I'm not sure where I would attach another hard drive.  Of course there is Giga Ethernet and I do already own network drives, but that's even slower than USB2.0, I suspect.

       

      Of course, times are changing - my current project is still SD, but the handwriting is on the wall: tapeless workflows, HD streaming, Bluray, etc. will be the order of the day before long, and at that point this PC will look like a toy.  But for now, my question pertains to the same kind of workflow I have done in the past (or perhaps edging just slightly into some HD projects if I'm patient), but on this new PC.  SSD doesn't have a head that has to move, but it's still a single controller, so should I still be trying to have a second physical disk somehow even though my I/O choices are limited?  I know most of you guys would need it for the space, but at the moment I don't - I'm currently only doing small projects one at a time that I can erase or offload when I'm done.  And since I can't capture MiniDV on this machine anyway (because of the lack of IEEE1394), the realtime aspect of capturing is not an issue.  And my optical drive can't burn Bluray, so I would only be burning DVDs, and I don't mind burning them at lower speeds for reliability (I hate saucers).  I guess this might be the bottom line question from the saucer-hater: I always used to put the DVD content on a different drive from Windows to avoid hiccups during the burn, but is that still an issue these days?

        • 1. Re: Old adage of 2 drives still critical?
          Kranex1 Level 1

          If you question is your title then the answer is yes. Two drives are standard. In fact, for even better efficiency, you should aim for three. It should also be obvious that you've obsolesced your system. Time to start saving for a new digital card based rig.

          • 2. Re: Old adage of 2 drives still critical?
            OsakaWebbie Level 1

            Yeah, my question is the title, but I asked "...still critical?" and you answered, "...are standard."  I gave more detail because if accomplishing a second drive was easy, I would have just done it and not written to the forum at all.  Can you read the rest of my situation, and if you still think a second drive is a net gain in my case, provide suggestions on how I could connect such?  If it's only a question of efficiency when doing non-realtime encoding tasks, I'll happily give up some of that kind of efficiency to keep my double 19" monitors.  I will admit that I haven't tried realtime preview of HD video yet - it may have problems... but without buying more hardware and testing, it wouldn't be clear whether the bottleneck would be having the video on the boot SSD or simply trying to decode AVCHD on this CPU.

             

            It should also be obvious that you've obsolesced your system.

            If you're talking about my SD cameras, yes, I am very aware of that.  And I will be happy when I ditch tape for good.  But you don't know what I do or why I haven't bought new stuff.  (Responding to your comment is a bit off-topic, but I'll respond anyway - who knows, maybe someone will have insights on the bullets below.)  First of all, I'm in a time of transition in objectives and direction, and want to wait until the next large chapter of my life and ministry (I'm a missionary) is clear before I buy the equipment for it.  (My husband does have an HD camcorder in the high end of the consumer level, and I have used it occasionally, but I don't really like it.  I also have a good still camera that can do a little full HD video if I need it.)  So in the meantime I'm mostly doing things other than video, of which I have plenty to do (this current project was a wedding at the request of friends, and there have been a few other one-off video projects, but mostly I have been wearing my web developer hat).  It will probably be late 2014 or 2015 when I get back into video more seriously.  But the other thing is that the last few years I have occasionally looked at cameras, but I'm not happy with what the manufacturers are putting out, for two main reasons:

            • I love the ergonomics of my Canon XV2/GL2 cameras, and the last time I looked at HD cameras, I didn't anything that had good controls (and optics) like those cameras do.  There seems to be a gap between consumer and pro - I'm not a pro, but I care about optics, low-light image quality, manual audio levels, a large smooth zoom rocker, and having other controls like exposure override, manual focus, white balance, etc. easy to get to (not three layers deep in menus).  There is also the subjective thing of the camera being comfortable to handle - forgetting about it when I'm using it and thinking about the subject.  So far I haven't seen a sweet spot in current technology like the GL2 hit back in its day.
            • After years of being part of the video community that kept lossy compression to an absolute minimum until after all editing was done, I'm waiting to see whether highly compressed formats like AVCHD will really remain standard even for pro and semi-pro cameras, or something will change as memory gets cheaper and I/O faster.  I don't want more resolution (the mega-pixel craze in still cameras drove me crazy; I now see the same thing happening in video, as 4K, 3D, etc. come to my local camera store) - I just want the codec to get less lossy and easier for the computer to handle when editing.

            Anyway, since I don't need to get new stuff right now, I can wait longer for the industry to develop a little more.

            • 3. Re: Old adage of 2 drives still critical?
              Kranex1 Level 1

              To tell you the truth, you put so much into your thread I had a hard time understanding which part was your question. Your system is slow?

               

              Anyway, to answer the part that is now more clear, no a second drive is not critical since it can work with just one drive--albeit badly. Therefore, I will say it is very important.

               

              Now, if I understand the other question you basically have run out of ports? If that's true, this is an unfortunate limitation of a lot of laptops, but there may be one saving grace: If you have a PCI express card slot you can purchase an additional adapter with a USB port (or two) which will provide the additiona port you need. If not, you might try a more complicted swap of your opitical drive for an HDD then use it externally after your edit.

               

              One last resort might be using your memory card slot as a small storage drive. As you can see there are not a lot of options with this lapop, but these are the best I can come up with.

               

              Since you mentioned it, I suspect that your video may be the biggest strain on your system (AVCHD is very CPU intenisve) in which case the aforementioned solution won't be of much help. I hope this was a little more helpful?

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Old adage of 2 drives still critical?
                OsakaWebbie Level 1

                To tell you the truth, you put so much into your thread I had a hard time understanding which part was your question.

                Sorry - a bad habit.

                Your system is slow?

                Not necessarily - I haven't done any HD on it yet, so I don't really know.  Some people on this forum have very high standards, though.

                If you have a PCI express card slot...

                Nope.

                ...more complicted swap of your opitical drive for an HDD then use it externally after your edit.

                Interesting idea.  But then I'd need external I/O for the optical drive - would USB2.0 be fast enough for that?  Second question: In that case, would it be an HDD I'd want, or another SDD?  SDDs are faster, cooler, and less power-hungry, right?  (I don't mind a little more money - the difference in cost is less than it used to be.)

                Since you mentioned it, I suspect that your video may be the biggest strain on your system (AVCHD is very CPU intenisve) in which case the aforementioned solution won't be of much help.

                My current project (the wedding and reception) is mostly footage from two MiniDV cameras - I had one unmanned consumer AVCHD camera rolling as a backup, but I may not even need any footage from it - we'll see as I go along.  If I start using its footage and my preview starts faltering, then I'll know.  (And even if I don't need it, I'll use this opportunity to test a little, because of course the future is more and more HD, so it's good to know what my new box can handle.)  But with SD it has been happy as a clam, even with the two external monitors.

                I hope this was a little more helpful?

                Yes, it was - thanks.

                • 5. Re: Old adage of 2 drives still critical?
                  Kranex1 Level 1

                  Interesting idea.  But then I'd need external I/O for the optical drive - would USB2.0 be fast enough for that?

                  Yes.

                  Second question: In that case, would it be an HDD I'd want, or another SDD?  SDDs are faster, cooler, and less power-hungry, right?  (I don't mind a little more money - the difference in cost is less than it used to be.)

                  Not likely to see a whole lot of improvement editing SD video at this point. But adding SSDs will certainly improve your system's user experience overall.

                  If I start using its footage and my preview starts faltering, then I'll know.  (And even if I don't need it, I'll use this opportunity to test a little, because of course the future is more and more HD, so it's good to know what my new box can handle.)  But with SD it has been happy as a clam, even with the two external monitors.

                  If it gives you choppy playback or stutters then you'll know. But even so reducing resolution to  1/2 or 1/4 may help improve that. I agree you have to try it and see what happends.

                  • 6. Re: Old adage of 2 drives still critical?
                    OsakaWebbie Level 1

                    Not likely to see a whole lot of improvement editing SD video at this point. But adding SSDs will certainly improve your system's user experience overall.

                    Huh?  My current drive is already SSD - that was one of the specs that attracted me to this box.  So my system files are already on SSD.  The question is whether to get SSD for an additional drive I would only use for video files.  You say that it wouldn't make much difference for SD, but that statement confuses me - DV-AVI uses more disk space per minute (and therefore more transfer speed from the storage device) than AVCHD, not less.  What AVCHD tends to cripple is the CPU.  (As I said in my overly-long post, I wish HD wasn't typically so highly compressed, that seems to be the way it is...)

                    If it gives you choppy playback or stutters then you'll know. But even so reducing resolution to  1/2 or 1/4 may help improve that.

                    An update on that: Yesterday I noticed occasional stutters in video playback in the program monitor (I'm still just doing SD editing).  But since it's SD and the stutters are random, I suspect the cause is just Windows or something jumping in with disk access interruptions (the main topic of this thread: "Get thee a second drive for thy video files!").  I'm already running at 1/2 resolution (just because I'm using the whole width for the timeline in my current workspace), but of course that's probably irrelevent in this case, because with SD, chances are that the bottleneck is file transfer, not image processing.

                    • 7. Re: Old adage of 2 drives still critical?
                      Kranex1 Level 1

                      Huh?  My current drive is already SSD - that was one of the specs that attracted me to this box.  So my system files are already on SSD.  The question is whether to get SSD for an additional drive I would only use for video files.  You say that it wouldn't make much difference for SD, but that statement confuses me - DV-AVI uses more disk space per minute (and therefore more transfer speed from the storage device) than AVCHD, not less.  What AVCHD tends to cripple is the CPU.  (As I said in my overly-long post, I wish HD wasn't typically so highly compressed, that seems to be the way it is...)[/quote]

                      Yes, I understand your present setup. My suggestion was based on my own experience and I didn't notice much of a difference with SSD compared to HDD despite technical claims.

                       

                      There was a scant improvement in response performance, but certainly nothing dramatic enough to recommend even though your suspicion is valid. What is the speed of your HDD? If its 5400 RPM an SSD could very well improve things.

                       

                      Nevertheless, I certainly didn't mean to suggest you not get an SSD if that's what you want. I certainly did and I have no regrets. Its just that I prefer to give suggestions that are budget friendly first. For the record, all my drive are now SSD!

                      • 8. Re: Old adage of 2 drives still critical?
                        OsakaWebbie Level 1

                        What is the speed of your HDD?

                        I don't have any HDD.  I have one 256GB SSD that came in the machine.  I thought you understood that.  I bought the PC a couple months ago and have not yet done any modifications.

                         

                        ... Or were you referring to an HDD you were imagining me owning that I might install in it?  If that's the case, no - I would never re-use an old hard drive, but would always buy something new anyway.

                        • 9. Re: Old adage of 2 drives still critical?
                          Kranex1 Level 1

                          I don't have any HDD.  I have one 256GB SSD that came in the machine.  I thought you understood that.

                          Oh I probably did when we started but things fade during the void between question and aswer. I've also typically have about a dozen pages open in additoin to my work. In any event, an SSD (or a RAID?) would be the way to go.

                           

                          As for your best configuration, the only alternative I can come up with is converting your optical disc (OD) bay for use as your second drive, but optioned with an SSD. That would give you the extra drive and the maximum speed you desire.

                           

                          (Removing mine was as simple as removing the back cover and removing one screw holding the OD. However, that varies from product to product.)

                           

                          If you choose that course, you can always place your OD in an external enclosure and use one of your two USB 2.0 to power it. That would put you back on track with your desktop configuration. That's the best I could come up with given your other restrictions.

                           

                          One more thing, if you choose this route (as many people do) make sure you get the correct size SSD, adapter and enclosure for your machine. Some sellers don't always make it clear what size they're selling you.

                           

                          Also, don't forget to get as large an SSD as you can afford. Space these days goes fast and you always want to leave a portion of the drive unallocated for optimal performance over the life of the drive.

                          • 10. Re: Old adage of 2 drives still critical?
                            OsakaWebbie Level 1

                            Yup, I hear you.  Thanks.