External firewire 800 HD fast enough to work off??

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I am planning to get an external HD for my MBP C2D. My question is, will a firewire 800 external HD be as fast as the internal HD inside the mbp? I plan to do video editing in finalcut off of it.



If it's really slower than the internal then I will get a regular usb2.0 since it's cheaper and only use the internal hd for editing and use the external just for storage.



Also,if anyone has some recomendations for good hardrives let me know.



Thanks in advance.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    An external 3.5" drive in a firewire 800 enclosure will generally equal or beat the internal 2.5" SATA drive of your laptop. Plenty good for FCP.



    You might also consider an eSATA drive (external serial ATA), which are becoming more common. Down-side is you have to also purchase an express card eSATA adapter (fits in the card slot of your MBP C2D), for about $100.



    Up-side is that eSATA is even faster than firewire 800, scales to RAID better, is quickly becoming common, and may well spell doom for firewire 800 peripherals (so you're not buying into obsolescence).



    Comparison of firewire 800 and eSATA here



    For drives and enclosures I would recommend Other World Computing.



    You can save some money by buying the enclosure and drive separately, very easy to install.
  • Reply 2 of 26
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    if you are just editing DV, then even a fw400 external drive is perfectly fine - anything more is overkill really. if you are getting into higher-end codecs, like dvpro50 (@25mb/sec), fw800 is better as a low cost solution. (we've got a couple of lacie 1TB external drives for emergency storage which handle dvcpro50 ok).



    fw (even lowly fw400) is preferred over USB2 because of "higher sustained data transfer rates, a feature especially important for audio and video editors" (wikipedia).



    sennen
  • Reply 3 of 26
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sennen


    if you are just editing DV, then even a fw400 external drive is perfectly fine - anything more is overkill really. if you are getting into higher-end codecs, like dvpro50 (@25mb/sec), fw800 is better as a low cost solution. (we've got a couple of lacie 1TB external drives for emergency storage which handle dvcpro50 ok).



    fw (even lowly fw400) is preferred over USB2 because of "higher sustained data transfer rates, a feature especially important for audio and video editors" (wikipedia).



    That's not the whole story though. If you have multiple video layers, then you can probably benefit from FW800, even with DV.



    If there's money in the budget, I'd suggest one of these with one or two eSATA enclosures:

    http://firmtek.stores.yahoo.net/seritek2sm2e.html



    That way, you are dealing with native SATA. Even with relatively low data rate intensity, FW800 isn't as nice as native SATA on my system.
  • Reply 4 of 26
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM


    That's not the whole story though. If you have multiple video layers, then you can probably benefit from FW800, even with DV.



    of course you will benefit, but it is hardly absolutely necessary. multiple layers of DV format video are handled fine by fw400. for instance, in 2003 i cut a 60 minute doco (shot on dvcam) on a quicksilver g4 733 with a la cie 120gb external fw400 drive, with 4 video tracks on the timeline and it only really chugged when i started adding in layers of motion graphics on top of that. i still use a g4 pismo and fw400 drive at home for basic stuff!



    for student and even pro-sumer use, fw400 is more than adequate. if you find later down the track you need the faster throughput, fine, spend a bit extra. an external fw drive for an mbp will never be obsolete - backups, archiving, media library, even as an HD-DVD/Blu-ray master, etc. and the cost is hardly something to lose sleep over (about the same as that card you linked to).



    is the OP a film student editing in DV/DVCAM? fw400 is enough, 800 if you really want to give yourself some headroom. cutting HDV or professional SD & HD, then you ill need something with better transfer rates.



    Quote:

    If there's money in the budget, I'd suggest one of these with one or two eSATA enclosures:

    http://firmtek.stores.yahoo.net/seritek2sm2e.html



    That way, you are dealing with native SATA. Even with relatively low data rate intensity, FW800 isn't as nice as native SATA on my system.



    eSATA, RAID etc are nice, but does the OP need it? no idea, but why spend so much (triple the cost of fw400) if you don't really need to?



    sennen
  • Reply 5 of 26
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sennen






    eSATA, RAID etc are nice, but does the OP need it? no idea, but why spend so much (triple the cost of fw400) if you don't really need to?



    sennen



    Because over the life of an external drive purchased now there's a pretty good chance that the owner would end up cutting some HDV, at the very least.





    And eSata enclosures can be had for about the same money as a firewire enclosure, the 3.5" drive is the same, so the additional cost is all in the eSata card, meaning realistically (assuming something like a 250GB drive) you're paying around 1/3 more, not triple.
  • Reply 6 of 26
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox


    Because over the life of an external drive purchased now there's a pretty good chance that the owner would end up cutting some HDV, at the very least.





    And eSata enclosures can be had for about the same money as a firewire enclosure, the 3.5" drive is the same, so the additional cost is all in the eSata card, meaning realistically (assuming something like a 250GB drive) you're paying around 1/3 more, not triple.





    well the first result on a google of eSATA enclosures gave me a product at $120, plus the card at $120, plus the drive. maybe not triple, but over double, albeit without trying to find a bargain. nothing wrong with spending the money, but you don't have to if you don't want/need to. i don't have any fw drives that aren't used for something, so it's not a waste of money if you explore other options later. you may want to keep all the media thats on the drive, rather than delete it, when you do start to use HDV... my over-riding point is that for editing DV, fw400 is more than adequate, and, in fact, very good.



    sennen.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sennen


    well the first result on a google of eSATA enclosures gave me a product at $120, plus the card at $120, plus the drive. maybe not triple, but over double, albeit without trying to find a bargain. nothing wrong with spending the money, but you don't have to if you don't want/need to. i don't have any fw drives that aren't used for something, so it's not a waste of money if you explore other options later. you may want to keep all the media thats on the drive, rather than delete it, when you do start to use HDV... my over-riding point is that for editing DV, fw400 is more than adequate, and, in fact, very good.



    sennen.



    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16839123003 $49.99 ExpressCard/34 adapter for two eSATA ports. According to review, works flawlessly with MacBook Pro. Driver seems to be the one here.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817106098 $33.99 eSATA and USB 2.0 enclosure for one 3.5-inch SATA hard drive. According to friend of mine, works flawlessly with MacBook Pro (though he has only tested it with USB 2.0 thus far).



    So, instead of $240 (your cited two times $120), you're actually at $83.98, which isn't really that bad.



    I should note, however, that you will not be able to boot off an eSATA device, because Apple's EFI firmware currently has no eSATA drivers. So bootability is limited to FireWire and USB 2.0, and with the above case not having FireWire, you'd only be able to boot off USB 2.0, which is gonna be a tad slow.
  • Reply 8 of 26
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sennen


    well the first result on a google of eSATA enclosures gave me a product at $120, plus the card at $120, plus the drive. maybe not triple, but over double, albeit without trying to find a bargain. nothing wrong with spending the money, but you don't have to if you don't want/need to. i don't have any fw drives that aren't used for something, so it's not a waste of money if you explore other options later. you may want to keep all the media thats on the drive, rather than delete it, when you do start to use HDV... my over-riding point is that for editing DV, fw400 is more than adequate, and, in fact, very good.



    sennen.



    Point taken. My thought here is that DV may start to seem like VHS over the life a drive purchased today, and it might not hurt to plan ahead.



    On the other hand, a firewire 400 enclosure is cheap, and by the time the OP might have need for faster throughput an eSATA enclosure will no doubt be cheaper than it is now.



    I think we can agree that the smart move is to buy an enclosure and drive separately so that the cost of upgrading is minimal.
  • Reply 9 of 26
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox


    Point taken. My thought here is that DV may start to seem like VHS over the life a drive purchased today, and it might not hurt to plan ahead.



    On the other hand, a firewire 400 enclosure is cheap, and by the time the OP might have need for faster throughput an eSATA enclosure will no doubt be cheaper than it is now.



    I think we can agree that the smart move is to buy an enclosure and drive separately so that the cost of upgrading is minimal.



    yeah. i'm not denying the benefits of eSATA - but if you can use the ports on your mbp without having to buy too many add-ons, all the better, i reckon.





    Quote:



    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16839123003 $49.99 ExpressCard/34 adapter for two eSATA ports. According to review, works flawlessly with MacBook Pro.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817106098 $33.99 eSATA and USB 2.0 enclosure for one 3.5-inch SATA hard drive. According to friend of mine, works flawlessly with MacBook Pro (though he has only tested it with USB 2.0 thus far).



    So, instead of $240 (your cited two times $120), you're actually at $83.98, which isn't really that bad.



    chucker, the price i went by for the card was from the link JeffDM posted, and i admitted i didn't try to look for a bargain for the enclosure, just took the first price on google.



    something to remember is that the cheapest enclosure (or drive or card, for that matter) isn't always the best option, esp. if they fail (as they have in my experience) and leave you stranded. i often look at the equipment my company purchases and think 'hmm, i'm sure you can get cheaper than that', but its about the quality, reliability and post-purchase service when your income is dependent upon this stuff. for editing i wouldn't even consider a USB interface.



    cheers,



    sennen
  • Reply 10 of 26
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sennen


    chucker, the price i went by for the card was from the link JeffDM posted, and i admitted i didn't try to look for a bargain for the enclosure, just took the first price on google.



    something to remember is that the cheapest enclosure (or drive or card, for that matter) isn't always the best option, esp. if they fail (as they have in my experience)



    I'm well aware, and I deliberately did not pick the cheapest options. I can't vouch for them myself, but these both seem to be decent products.
  • Reply 11 of 26
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    I'm well aware, and I deliberately did not pick the cheapest options. I can't vouch for them myself, but these both seem to be decent products.



    hehe, no problem... its cool to see these options are competitively priced now!
  • Reply 12 of 26
    Wow thanks everybody for the replys. Very helpful. I suppose that in this case FW800 is the best soulution for me, unless I find a really nice deal on a eSATA setup. I don't do any HDV editing since I am still a student, but it's something that will certainly come in the future, but like someone said before, it won't hurt me to purchase a new setup a few years down the road cause i can use the fw800 HD for storage and such.



    Someone said it's better to buy an enclosure and a HD seperately instead of a just a complete external HD, why is this?
  • Reply 13 of 26
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paprochy


    Wow thanks everybody for the replys. Very helpful. I suppose that in this case FW800 is the best soulution for me, unless I find a really nice deal on a eSATA setup. I don't do any HDV editing since I am still a student, but it's something that will certainly come in the future, but like someone said before, it won't hurt me to purchase a new setup a few years down the road cause i can use the fw800 HD for storage and such.



    Someone said it's better to buy an enclosure and a HD seperately instead of a just a complete external HD, why is this?



    Costs less, and you can choose exactly what drive you put in there--manufacturer, rotation speed, buffer and size. Plus, it makes it easy to swap things out--if you need more room you can just drop a bigger drive in.



    So, say, if you can get a good deal on a big, fast Seagate or Western Digital drive, combine that with a $40 enclosure and you'll be well under what you'd pay for a similarly sized prepackaged set up and know the actual drive is first rate (which is not necessarily going to be the case with an outfit like, for instance, LaCie).



    Putting the drive in the enclosure is trivial, just a few screws and a connector.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,217moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paprochy


    Someone said it's better to buy an enclosure and a HD seperately instead of a just a complete external HD, why is this?



    Some people say it's cheaper. My experience was different. I got a huge enclosure with both USB and FW, has a very noisy fan and will unmount itself randomly. I ended up getting a Lacie that comes with two FW ports for daisy-chaining and is near silent. It also cost less than the built one. You can get a 250GB Lacie for £80-90 now.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    eckingecking Posts: 1,588member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sennen


    is the OP a film student editing in DV/DVCAM? fw400 is enough, 800 if you really want to give yourself some headroom. cutting HDV or professional SD & HD, then you ill need something with better transfer rates.



    I was under the impression that hdv had same transfer rates as dv, which is why some people don't care for it as a next-gen format. Also I've heard of lots of people cutting hdv on fw400.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ecking


    I was under the impression that hdv had same transfer rates as dv, which is why some people don't care for it as a next-gen format. Also I've heard of lots of people cutting hdv on fw400.



    HDV uses an improved CODEC that mostly makes up for the difference. It has some down sides but it is very nice. It would take absolutely fantastic DV camcorder to make me prefer footage from it over the HDV footage that I get.



    If you do convert to an intermediate CODEC, then the HD version is probably going to be larger. FW400 would still do well for a lot of basic editing.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    Wow, I had no idea that HDV was complarable in size to SDV. Is the codec that much better? I was always under the impression that it's way bigger. Because when you shoot, you get only like 15 minutes on a normal DV tape as opposed to one hour with SD.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paprochy


    Wow, I had no idea that HDV was complarable in size to SDV. Is the codec that much better? I was always under the impression that it's way bigger. Because when you shoot, you get only like 15 minutes on a normal DV tape as opposed to one hour with SD.



    When I shoot, I get the full hour of HDV on a miniDV tape. I don't understand how you are only getting 15 minutes unless you are using something that is not HDV.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paprochy


    Someone said it's better to buy an enclosure and a HD seperately instead of a just a complete external HD, why is this?



    Others have stated their reasons. While I still generally install my own drives, I have had a lot less trouble using drives sold as completed external drives. I ended up paying $140 for a dual drive FW800 enclosure before I found a BYO that connected as reliably as my Western Digital external drive. The cheap ones tended to have very sharp edges inside which I've lost a bit of blood on one. The affordable enclosures have been finicky on when it will connect to the computer properly, finicky on which connection it will work on, had been finicky on the drive setup, the manual might claim that it works with "cable select" when in reality, it doesn't work. The cheaper enclosure that is sold as a dual-drive enclosure was incredibly finicky on what drives it will work with too, I had to replace the ribbon cable to make it reliable.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM


    When I shoot, I get the full hour of HDV on a miniDV tape. I don't understand how you are only getting 15 minutes unless you are using something that is not HDV.



    Ah, never mind. I meant DVCPRO HD. different format.
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