5 Replies Latest reply on Oct 31, 2017 12:55 PM by harungu

    External drives for 4K editing: SSD USB-C Gen 2 vs. HDD Thunderbolt 3

    harungu

      Hey guys,

       

      I am looking for a bigger external hard drive for my new 27" iMac (3.8GHz, 40GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Radeon Pro 580 8GB video memory) where I can edit my 4K video material straight from it without transferring to my internal SSD first.

      The biggest video files I work with is 4K RED footage with 200-300fps.

       

      So my general question for this matter is: Is the type of the drive (SSD vs HDD) more relevant than the available ports (USB-C Gen 2 vs. Thunderbolt 3) regarding speed? If this is a yes or no question at all.

       

      At the moment I use a LaCie rugged T2 drive which is plugged to the Thunderbolt 3 port from the iMac via USB-C to T2 adapter. Would the Samsung T5 SSD be an upgrade regarding 4K editing speed in this case regardless of its slower USB-C gen 2 port?

       

      Also, are external hard drives with T3 connection such as the newest G-Drive or the LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 3 any faster in the actual editing speed than the Samsung T5 since they are "only" HHD drives?

       

      Hope you guys will help me clear my head regarding this.

       

      Thanks a lot in advance.

       

      Cheers,

      Harun.

        • 1. Re: External drives for 4K editing: SSD USB-C Gen 2 vs. HDD Thunderbolt 3
          RjL190365 Level 4

          Harun,

           

          In this case, then the type of drive is much more important than the type of interface. You see, spinning hard drives cannot take anywhere close to full advantage of even USB 3.0, let alone Thunderbolt 3.0. And you need a huge (physical size, not capacity) 3.5" drive (which is what those particular external drives are) just to even come close to a 200 MB/second physical transfer rate. 2.5" spinning hard drives, regardless of their rotational speed, can barely reach 130 MB/second even on the outer tracks (typically the fastest part of the disk). And all hard drives slow down substantially as they get filled up because their transfer rates plummet like a rock when data gets stored closer to the center of the disk.

           

          SSDs, on the other hand, can sustain 400-ish MB/second even on a USB-C connection, if the USB controller supports USB 3.0 or faster class speeds. And although their access speed may slow down when they're nearly full, their sequential transfer speeds usually remain the same or nearly so.

           

          Randall

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: External drives for 4K editing: SSD USB-C Gen 2 vs. HDD Thunderbolt 3
            exile1972 Level 3

            One additional factor would be cost. SSD's are still significantly more expensive than spinning drives. If you'll be primarily working with 4k media you should consider moving to a raid instead of a single drive. A four drive raid like OWC's Thunderbay is only slightly more expensive than single drives with the same amount of storage. The two TB3 options you include in your post are also single drive and therefore the max transfer rates are limited. A four drive raid will give you read/write speeds around 500/MBps which is twice as fast as those TB3 single drives. You can certainly edit 4k with a single drive but you may need to work with proxies or work in half resolution for consistently smooth playback.

            2 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: External drives for 4K editing: SSD USB-C Gen 2 vs. HDD Thunderbolt 3
              Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

              harungu  wrote

               

              Hey guys,

               

              Would the Samsung T5 SSD be an upgrade regarding 4K editing speed in this case regardless of its slower USB-C gen 2 port?

              The answer to that question is definitely yes. Look ar the Sequential Read/Write rates below.  While it is an SSD that is more expensive, but since it is designed for the PC market place you are not paying "Apple" prices and this portable SSD you can easily put in your pocket and if you put both your media and Premiere Pro project files as I do on it you can easily walk to another Premiere computer and continue working on that project.

              TweakTown Enlarged Image

              I do not have the T5 yet but if you want to see how fast the T3 can go on a USB 3.1 10 Gbits/second port look at my Premiere Pro BenchMark (PPBM) Storage page. I am guessing but based on my testing of my Samsung T3 with USB 3.0 and 3.1 that on my PC actually exporting from a Premiere Pro Timeline I should see very close to 500 MB/second write rate.

               

              Thanks to TweakTown

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: External drives for 4K editing: SSD USB-C Gen 2 vs. HDD Thunderbolt 3
                harungu Level 1

                Thanks so much guys. You indeed made my life easier now.

                 

                It seems that I will definitely get the Samsung T5 (1TB) as my "work" drive.

                1,5 TB storage (along with the internal SSD) should be big enough to store all my current projects in it.

                • 5. Re: External drives for 4K editing: SSD USB-C Gen 2 vs. HDD Thunderbolt 3
                  harungu Level 1

                  At the moment, I primarily still work with Full HD footage, only my personal projects are in 4K and slow motion.
                  But thanks, I will definitely have a look at the OWCs Raids for archiving. Seems like a good idea to keep the option open for working straight from the archive drive at a push.