4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 22, 2014 12:32 PM by SAFEHARBOR11

    Drive configuration for 27" iMac, 3.4 i7, 24gb RAM, nividia GeForce GTX 680MX 2048MB


      With a budget around $500, I'm trying to optimize speed and renderes on my Adobe CC edit system (primarily PPro H.264 & Prores and After Effects motion graphics) with a thunderbolt drive. I've read a lot of information and my head is spinning, so I thought I'd ask you fine people.

      Here is what Adobe says...


      "At a minimum, you should consider a two-drive system, with one drive containing your operating

      system, software, and media cache, while the other is used for your source files, previews, and final

      exported renders. Preferred is a four-drive system, with one dedicated to the operating system and

      software, the second for source media and project files, the third for the media cache, and the

      fourth for previews and exports.

      -http://www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/solutions/broadcasting/pdfs/Adobe-Hardware-Perfo rmance-Whitepaper.pdf


      I've read that the best setup is relative to each system, so....

      My setup:

      27" iMac, 3.4 i7

      24gb DDR3 RAM

      Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2048MB

      1TB internal fusion drive

      connections: 4USB, 2Thunderbolt, 1 Ethernet

      I also have 4 Seagate Backup Plus drives (2x1TB, 750GB & 500GB) I use for backing up projects.


      Here are my (many) questions...

      1.) Should I get a RAID Thunderbolt drive for 2-drive system and what's the best use of it? (I think to store my working projects, ie..source, previews & final renders).

      2.) Adding a RAID thunderbolt seems like best option for 2-drive system. What would a balanced (still not sure what that means exactly) 4 drive system look like? Are my Seagate backups a good candidate to run anything or too slow?

      3.) What RAID would work best for me for around $500? I'm thinking RAID 0 drive from either WD, OWC or G-Drive. Any advise?

      4.) If I get a RAID with 2 enclosed drives, would those count as 2 individual drives in terms of what Adobe calls a "four-drive system?" OR is the RAID only 1 drive in these terms (ie..can't assign individual tasks such as media cache on 'A' and previews and exports on 'B').

      5.) Is there anything I should keep in mind concerning my Fusion drive and it's learned behaviors (which I also don't completely grasp) to help optimize this system's speed?


      With this workflow to save money I plan on storing all final projects on Backup Plus drives to keep the RAID drive and internal fusion drive fairly clean.


      Sorry for the lighting round of questions, I'm sure I'll need to clarify, it's late. Thanks in advance.

        • 2. Re: Drive configuration for 27" iMac, 3.4 i7, 24gb RAM, nividia GeForce GTX 680MX 2048MB
          SAFEHARBOR11 Most Valuable Participant

          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.




          Jeff Pulera

          Safe Harbor Computers

          • 3. Re: Drive configuration for 27" iMac, 3.4 i7, 24gb RAM, nividia GeForce GTX 680MX 2048MB
            CoryRuskPennington Level 1

            Thanks Jeff,


            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.



            Cory Pennington



            • 4. Re: Drive configuration for 27" iMac, 3.4 i7, 24gb RAM, nividia GeForce GTX 680MX 2048MB
              SAFEHARBOR11 Most Valuable Participant

              Hi Cory,


              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.



              Jeff Pulera

              Safe Harbor Computers