Previous 1 2 Next 25 Replies Latest reply: Mar 7, 2013 3:36 AM by karinhuegel
karinhuegel Level 1 Level 1

Which external hard drive should be used to cut films in High defintion in Final Cut Express 4.0.1.?


Hard disks 3,5 (having its own power supply)?


Should I prefer eSATA or firewire 800 or USB 3 or is USB 2 enough?


I have an MacBook Pro 17 (with an express card slot) (Snow Leopard Mac OS X 10.6.8., 4GB 1067 MHz DDR 3, 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 and 250GB in OS)!

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
Solved by Alchroma on Jan 3, 2013 2:50 PM Solved

Would I have problems changing to Lion (or later to a newer operation system of MAC) using FCE 4.0.1?


Most likely you will have problems.

Users find intermittent issues, some minor and some major, some can't even install FCE.

FCE is not supported by Apple using Lion or the current Mountain Lion OS, stick to 10.6.8 for trouble free use.



Reply by MartinR on Jan 3, 2013 1:38 PM Helpful

The drive needs to be formatted as Mac OS Extended for use with FCE.


I would not (ever) advise using the same drive for backup that you are using for live data.  1) it negates the whole idea of backup (live data + backup on the same drive)  and 2) Time Machine will interfere with video data streaming from the other partition on the same drive.


Buy two drives.  Reserve one for live data (video editing, photos, etc) and the second drive for backup.   But both FCE and TM require Mac OS Extended format.  If you need to use the drive with a Windows pc,  I suggest installing MacDrive software on your pc.


May I recommend  G-Technology G-Drives and OWC Mercury Elite Pro drives.  I have never been a fan of the WD MyBook drives; they are consumer-oriented, you have to watch out for the specs and they have had a less than stellar record when used with Macs.

All replies

  • Alchroma Level 6 Level 6

    ESata or Firewire800.



  • karinhuegel Level 1 Level 1

    Isn't eSATA 3GB quicker (compare my internal hard drive; 3GB)? You propose that firewire 800 is enough?


    Bildschirmfoto 2013-01-02 um 11.25.40.jpg

  • Alchroma Level 6 Level 6

    I not only propose that firewire 800 is enough, but I've used it for years editing HDV and AVCHD.

    eSata is a little faster but in every day use 800 is fine.


    Even firewire 400 would keep up.

    Any drives used for editing are best at 7200 rpm or faster.

    Most Macbooks are 5400.



  • karinhuegel Level 1 Level 1

    I want to cut films now which I made with Canon Legria HF G 10 _HF_G10/

    and have a bigger amount of data now. Because I have only an external hard drive with USB 2.0 I ask here why to use firewire 800 or eSATA etc.

  • MartinR Level 6 Level 6

    It has to do with the electrical & protocol differences between USB and everything else including FW400/800 and eSATA.   You may get away with using USB for video editing for awhile, thinking everything is just fine (lots of people have).  But there will come a time with USB when you will start getting dropped frames and/or other video gremlins that will appear out of nowhere.


    Firewire, on the other hand, was designed for high-speed, synchronous, continuous data streaming ... some say it was even designed with video in mind.  eSATA wasn't designed quite the same way, but it's so fast and not subject to interruptions like USB that it's also great for video use.


    Anything you could edit in Final Cut Express will be fine with a 7200rpm external Firewire 400, Firewire 800 or eSATA drive.

  • MartinR Level 6 Level 6

    Your MacBookPro has a Hitachi 5K500.B hard drive.  It's a 5400 rpm, SATA-1 (1.5Gbps) drive.  Your MBP can apparently support SATA-2 (3Gbps) but the drive you currently have is only 1.5Gbps, so the performance is limited by the drive itself.


    Almost ANY eSATA drive will be substantially faster ... because these days they will normally be a 7200rpm SATA-3 (aka 6Gbps) drive.


    Even any good external 7200rpm FW400 or FW800 drive will perform faster than the internal drive in your MBP.


    By the way, if you plan to do video editing on your MBP you really should keep the internal drive at less than 50% of capacity.  OS X and FCE need significant amounts of disk space to operate in.

  • MartinR Level 6 Level 6
    Anything you could edit in Final Cut Express will be fine with a 7200rpm external Firewire 400, Firewire 800 or eSATA drive.



    Correction ... Almost anything ...


    If you are doing serious video compositing of multiple video clips (say, compositing overlaid clips on 3+ tracks), then a single FW400 drive will probably not be sufficient and you should consider 2 or more FW800 or eSATA drives and perhaps even a striped RAID drive.

  • karinhuegel Level 1 Level 1

    I thought that an external hard drive can't be quicker than the internal hard drive and depends on it.

    So I assume that it makes sense for me to buy an additional external hard drive for video editing (and also to save all my pictures).


    Is it better to use external hard drives with own power supply for that?


    Or does it really works also with firewire 800 or eSATAp so that I could show my films and photos carrying an external hard drive 2,5 with me?

  • MartinR Level 6 Level 6

    External hard drives are completely independent of your internal hard drive.


    I prefer external drives that have their own power supply.  I have had spotty success with self-powered drives, especially when connected via USB.

  • karinhuegel Level 1 Level 1

    To be able to compare costs looked for expresscards first and found only some of Delock for MBP compare:



    My expresscard slot is 3,4cm so I assume that I would habe to take 34, compare



    But this is a rather old product - should I buy now this one is I take an external hard drive with eSATA:



    I use Windows 7 64 now (via boot camp) and Snow Leopard 10.6.8. - if I will change to a new version of Windows and OS this will work either?

  • Alchroma Level 6 Level 6

    My 2 cents:


    Stay with 10.6.8 if you wish to use FCE.

    Grab yourself a firewire 800, 7200 rpm drive as big as you can afford. 1-3 terabytes are prettyaffordable.



  • karinhuegel Level 1 Level 1

    Would I have problems changing to Lion (or later to a newer operation system of MAC) using FCE 4.0.1? I bought the software FCE, Adobe CS5, Adobe Lightroom 3 and MSWord 2011 after having bought the MBP in 2010. I did not change to Lion because I did not see much benefits and did not know if all my software will work with Lion, too.



    I read in the internet that SATA 3.0 Gbit/s works theoretically with 300MByte/s and firewire 800 Mbits/s with 100MByte/s - if I understand this information the right way an external hard drive via eSATA is quicker than via firewire 800? But you didn't say that eSATA is three times quicker than firewire 800!

  • Meg The Dog Level 6 Level 6

    IMHO, Alchroma is giving you excellent advice.


    The speed differences between eSata and FW800 will not be that apparent in real life usage, unless you are using a disk array, configured as a raid. Even then, it is hard to imagine a situation editing in FCE that will throw that much of a strain on the bandwidth of the interface.


    My system is connected via eSata to several multi-disk arrays, but I also use FW800 swapable enclosures to host project disks and they keep up fine.


    At the time FCE was created, FW was the intended consumer interface for using external disks to support HD media.


    If you are intending to use uncompressed or a large number of streams of HD media simultaneously, then FW will be tasked, but if that is your intention you would likely be using other software than FCE.





  • karinhuegel Level 1 Level 1

    Western Digital Mac Book studio WDBC3G0030HAL (firewire 800, no eSATA, 3TB)


    is relatively advantageously priced.


    Would it be o.k. to partition it into 500GB for a Time Machine Backup and 2500 in exFAT for the rest for data in MacOS and NTFS (films and photos etc.)?


    And buy two of this to have a copy for safety? = EUR 350 (in a store in Vienna, Austria now)

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