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  • Best external raid/storage option for video editor

  • Ben Lithman

    October 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I work as a video editor on a Mac Pro 4,1 in FCPX. I have a huge video project coming up and will need some seriously storage. I was thinking of going for a Drobo, but just saw that the new Drobos don’t come with firewire 800. Being on a older Mac Pro am I right in thinking that connecting it via the Drobo’s USB 3 port to my Mac Pros USB 2 port would be a considerable slower connection than the older firewire 800 drives?

    If so, I would really appreciate people suggestions for a small(ish) raided (for safety) storage solution and setup. As I said i’ll be editing HD video, so it has to be connected to the fastest port, or in the fastest way possible.

    Many thanks!!

  • Rainer Wirth

    October 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Do you get enough speed with FW800?
    I think you need at least esata.
    The drobo is rubbish!
    You need a reliable raid, at least Raid5, better Raid6 raid. You can also visit our forum “Raids and array systems”.
    The lowest step I would take is a sonnet RQ400 with 4x4TB enterprise class harddiscs.
    The sonnet is pretty reliable, has FW800 and esata connections. The new sonnet is the R400S which has just esata connections. For your mac you need a good 4xEsata PCIX card (Slotx4). You can operate up to 4 esata arrays. The speed with esata is around 200 MB/s. Speed is going down when you fill up the array. Don’t go over 80% of the arrays capacity. The speed will go down dramatically. That is the bad thing bout esata. The next step would be miniSAS – very good, reliable and Raid6 possibility (two drives can fail) There is the Sonnet R800. It comes together with the PCIX card. It is a 8bay raid system. We run this array for years now. There are also other brands on the market f.e. Proavio with the same specs.
    One thing about arrays is: A Raid is just there to work, work, work. You don’t realize that it’s there.
    Don’t go for a cheap system like drobo. Buy a decent product. Very important are the Harddrives within such an array. They must all be the same size, brand and type. Just go for enterprise class only! We deal with this for years, have tried a lot and ended with Hitachi Ultrastars only!



    Rainer Wirth
    Mac pro 8core
    several raid systems

  • Bret Williams

    October 26, 2013 at 4:05 am

    If you really want safety, and FW800 is ok for now, but you’d like esata and USB 3 in future, look into the guardian Maximus mirrored raid. You buy the enclosure, then put 2 identical drives in it. 2 4tb for example. It will be mirrored, which is as protected as it gets. But you won’t get any special speed. Esata will give you 120b/sec and I run it as usb3 at 160mb/sec. FW800 will of course give you around 80mb/sec.

    The above will run you $462 on Amazon with 2 sea gate 4tb drives on Amazon.

    Nice thing about a mirrored drive- you don’t need the most reliable drives since it’s instantly written to 2.

    I use this drive as my project archive drive. I put consolidAted projects when there complete. I have a raid 5 for normal editing. But it’s not so safe. If a drive dies, I have to replace it with a duplicate and rebuild the raid. If 2 die, well you’re up the creek.

  • Craig Alan

    October 27, 2013 at 2:49 am

    Get a USB 3 card for the Mac Pro.

    Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

  • Ben Lithman

    October 27, 2013 at 6:35 am

    I’ve heard that USB 3 cards for the Mac Pro are notoriously unreliable.

  • Fabrizio D’Agnano

    October 27, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I recently tried a Fresco USB3 card, but it failed soon. By the way, all the real world transfer speed tests for external raids I looked at so far, show that esata is faster than USB3. I am happy with a Sonnet 4 ports esata card, that has served me well for about 6 years without a hassle on my 3.1 MP, and I recently bought an external 5 bays Enhance-tech/Proavio raid array with USB3, esata and FW800 ports for quickly accessible storage. However, an internal 3 HD sw raid0 runs much faster than any external array I tried, so for fast speed I chose to work with the internal raid that I synch with an external one almost daily for redundancy. The system drive is SSD, and not included in the raid0.

    Fabrizio D’Agnano
    Rome, Italy
    early 2008 MacPro, BM Intensity Pro, early 2008 iMac, 2011 MacBook Pro, FCP7, FCPX, OSX 10.8.3

  • Craig Alan

    October 28, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Sorry. Haven’t tried one but considered it once and thought I read good reviews about the sonnet card. I see now that its been hit or miss. Esata would be faster anyway. I use internal raid on mine and firewire 800 for external back-ups and the like. I would consider deleting my original post but the follow up posts are kinda helpful.

    Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

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