[Moved to Hardware forum.]
1) Yes, a Thunderbolt RAID would be a great choice for editing. May not quite fit your $500 budget, i.e. G-Tech G-Raid Thunderbolt 4TB = $599.
2) While a 4-drive system would provide "optimal" performance, it is not radically faster than a 2-drive system using a fast video drive. Since you can only add external drives, the 2-drive approach will offer good performance.
3) See #1
4) A RAID shows up as a single drive to the OS, and that should not be partitioned, would be no advantage to that and could actually hurt performance.
5) Not a Mac user, unfamiliar with "Fusion" technology.
What interface do the "backup" drives use? Note that USB 2.0 is too slow for video editing. Fine for backup use though.
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Very insightful response, I apprecite it, sir.
Do you think a 4TB drive is minimum? I was looking at a 2 TB drive (http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10549) that fits my budget. Any advice?
Also, is it helpful to keep the RAID drive as active projects only and otherwise clean? If it makes no difference I guess I might as well store some recent projects there.
The Backup Plus drives are USB 3.0 (or Firewire 800 on my laptop, but irrelevant to the iMac).
Would it be worth while to use two of these respectively for source media/proj.files and media cache via USB 3? Or would 2-drive system via Thunderbolt be better?
The Fusion drive is a combo HDD and SSD drive that works as one drive, but not RAID. It keeps frequently accessed data on the SSD and stores infrequently acccessed data on the slower HDD.
This is why I store projects on HDD Seagates & not on my internal fusion drive, becasue I don't want the SSD portion filling up. Wondering if this is a correct assumption and wether there are other special considerations I should make concerning this drive if anyone has any insight.
The Little Big Disk would work well, I'd missed that particular model. 2TB might be plenty for you. I used a 2TB RAID 0 for some time, but recently graduated to 4TB. I juggle a lot of projects at once, some of them pretty large, but 2TB is a decent amount of room for a lot of users. No need to immediately delete projects/media from the RAID, as long as you have room for them. Of course, a RAID 0 is unprotected - if one drive fails, you lose all data - so that is where it would be good to keep backups of important stuff on the USB 3.0 drives. Always keep drives defragged and you don't want to use more than 80% capacity or performance takes a dive.
Thunderbolt is faster than USB 3.0, so that would be great for the "video" drive, then the USB 3.0 drives could certainly be configured for scratch, export, and Media Cache duties.
For editing the usual AVCHD-type footage, a 7200rpm USB 3.0 drive may be all you need, but when getting into ProRes and other larger files, especially multiple streams, a faster drive will benefit you more. If using one drive for your media and exports, there again a faster RAID drive will be helpful overall.
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