10 Replies Latest reply: Jun 26, 2007 6:39 AM by macpiciu
Sanjeev Kumar Level 1 (0 points)
Hi all experts using final cut pro in your macbook pro,
Please suggest the best external hard drive to use with macbook pro that uses final cut pro for editing or atleast the features that I should look for when I buy an external drive for use with final cut pro with the mbpro.


macbook pro - intel based 2.33 mhz   Mac OS X (10.4.9)  
  • Andy Mees Level 6 (12,605 points)
    External media drive? Yes of course, highly recommended. If you don’t have one then your internal disc will be eaten up by clip media in no time (especially if you opted for the smaller faster internal disc... And if you get an external drive for your media then the speed of your internal drive is less of an issue).

    There are a number of options for external HD. There is one primary questions that you need to answer. Do you envisage needing to edit in the field without any access to a power supply ?
    If the answer is “yes”, then you need to buy a “bus-powered” solution ie one that can be powered just by plugging it into the laptop. This limits you to using a laptop hard disc in an external Firewire enclosure. (Laptop drives have a smaller capacity than their desktop cousins, and they’re more expensive). The best bus-powered solution is either G-Technology’s “G-RAID Mini” or Lacie’s “Little Big Disk”. Both contain 2x160GB hard discs in a hardware RAID, and connect via Firewire 800. This makes them very fast, and gives them a larger capacity (320GB). They are very reliable but also very expensive. Single disc solutions are of course much cheaper. You can buy these from the big brand names too (Lacie’s “Rugged” line are supposed to be hard wearing), or you need not go with a ‘brand name’ drive at all. You can buy the discs and Firewire based drive enclosures separately in most computer malls, and then put them together yourself. These would not be RAID solutions of course, so not as fast and not the same capacity ... But much cheaper.
    If “bus-powered” is not necessary then your other choices expand significantly. Currently the best (and fastest) option would be an SATA RAID. This requires using an ExpressCard/34 eSATA adapter in the laptop to provide the eSATA interface for the RAID. SATA drives/interface are very much faster than Firewire. You could add a single drive or an entire eSATA RAID. If SATA is overkill for your needs then you can choose a external firewire drive. My drive of choice for this is G-Technology’s “G-RAID” which has a large capacity, and is fast and very reliable. Again, its not cheap.

    Don’t buy a USB harddrive. They cannot maintain a fast enough sustained data rate such as is needed for working with video.
  • Sanjeev Kumar Level 1 (0 points)
    hi Andy Mees,

    Thanks a lot for your super fast reply! I am new to mac and final cut pro and the points you are suggesting is really very helpful and eye opener.
    I will ask you more queries regarding the same issue as I get familiarised with all that you have mentioned, but for the moment could you tell if given a choice between e-SATA RAID and G-technologies G-RAID whcih one would you opt for?
    I also remember reading in one of the support articles in mac about external drive, that their choice was the SATA I will confirm once again in my next post....
    Also how do you feel the performance of FCP in your macbook pro?

    thanks again
  • Sanjeev Kumar Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi Andy

    In continuation of the above, a few more queries from me...

    1. In SATA drives do you think G-SATA is good or any other manufacturer? when looking for these drives what specs I should look for like the drive speed, fan capability etc.,

    2. Just some more basic questions:
    Is it possible to install FCP directly into the external drive? or is it better to install FCP in the notebook but the project files in the external drives!?

  • Andy Mees Level 6 (12,605 points)
    hey Sanjeev

    the performance of a SATA RAID will far exceed anything you will get from a Firewire solution. I would certainly prefer the G-SATA over the G-RAID.

    G-SATA are well thought of around here, as are the S2VR solutions from Cal-Digit http://www.caldigit.com/products.asp#S2VR

    You should only install FCP in the default location (/Applications on your boot volume) or you will have problems later on when you want to apply any point release update.

    I would recommend keeping your project files on the internal and setting your Autosave Vault to the external (or visa versa ... never keep project's and Autosave Vault on the same physical disc)

    hope that helps

    here's a link to a blog by Shane Ross that details how he built his own SATA RAID http://lfhd.blogspot.com/200612_01archive.html ... lots more good info in there too, including a review of the CalDigit SATA and Firewire RAID's http://lfhd.blogspot.com/2007/04/caldigit-s2vr-duo-reviewand-firewire-vr.html
  • Sanjeev Kumar Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks Andy I appreciate that very much!

  • Sanjeev Kumar Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi andy

    what could be the best optimum rpm for the external hard drives....

  • George Bazhenov II Level 3 (605 points)
    May I peep in Sanjeev? I do not know about the optimum, but you should aim at 7200 rpm as a minimum. Probably 5400 will work for you but I would not bet on it too much.
  • Sanjeev Kumar Level 1 (0 points)
    May I peep in Sanjeev? I do not know about the
    optimum, but you should aim at 7200 rpm as a minimum.
    Probably 5400 will work for you but I would not bet
    on it too much.

    thanks george i will go for 7200 rpm like you suggested
  • Da Nam Level 4 (1,115 points)
    More considerations:

    What format do you intend working with ? If it's exclusively minidv, then an external FW drive would be plenty fast enough.

    Unless I'm mistaken, using E-Sata also prevents any possible firewire conflicts arising from using the same firewire bus - i.e connect the e-sata drive via express card slot and camera/deck via FW port
  • macpiciu Level 1 (15 points)
    Does your MBP have FireWire 800 port included? If so I'd suggest WDC My Book Premium Edition as specified here:(http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=321) the 1,5TB should be plenty enough for a long time and with the FireWire 400 and 800 interfaces it will never fall behind in processing. However if you thing your library will grow beyond that 1,5TB limit I'd suggers Gigabit ethernet drive and router to go with it. I personally use Netgear WNR854T gigabit router and LaCie 500GB gigabit disk.