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TOPIC: I have a SSD internal drive. Should I just edit off that?

I have a SSD internal drive. Should I just edit off that? 25 May 2019 02:01 #100019

  • bradywurtz
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I've got a Thunderbolt 2 external HDD 7200rpm that I've been using to save my Library files on with all the footage stored inside the Library.

I've also got a SSD on my iMac.

Should I just be doing all my editing with the Library and files saved onto the SSD on my iMac? Or is it better to keep it all on the Thunderbolt 2 external HDD to edit off of? Or should I be keeping the Library in one place and the footage in another?
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I have a SSD internal drive. Should I just edit off that? 25 May 2019 06:01 #100020

  • Axel
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It all depends. I have my own reasons not to edit from the internal SSD, see below. Do you experience any bottlenecks when editing from the 7200 HDD? You know that, without a RAID, this is almost the poorest read/write speed you can have, only 5400 rpm would be worse.

Demonstrating that: friends of mine just bought a brand new iMac (!) with a 5400 rpm HDD - just for office work - , and the time the system needs to start is ridiculous compared to my late 2015 iMac with SSD. Everything feels terribly laggy (for 2019, to put it in proper perspective).

You might want to compare the experience with a project edited from SDD with the same Library copied to the HDD. If it's not a very complex project and if the data rates of your source files aren't too high, you may find the speed to be fast *enough*.

My own reasoning for editing external (with Pegasus RAID, also via TB2):
I had bought a configuration with 256 GB. System and application use some 80 GB of that. It's very easy to maintain and secure through Timemachine, it's also fast and easy to perform a clean install (which I do with every major OS update and every major FCP update, that means about once or twice a year). The disk never gets cluttered with temporary files, even the project backups are saved in the cloud. FCP camera archives on separate cheap USB drives, Libraries on the RAID.

The latter is also fast *enough* for my purposes (short of 450 MB/s) , but I have little doubt that an external TB3 SSD or a bigger (but of course expensive) internal SSD would give me a better experience altogether. I just don't feel a bottleneck.

I wouldn't consider it an advantage to know in my heart to have the fastest possible I/O but then I had to worry about limited disk space. 1TB internally are not enough. I were constantly forced to move or delete files and to keep my system clean.

This approach is a compromise. Find the one you can best live with.
Last Edit: 25 May 2019 06:10 by Axel.
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I have a SSD internal drive. Should I just edit off that? 25 May 2019 09:39 #100021

  • FCPX.guru
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The main reason to use a secondary (very fast) drive to put your Libraries and media on is that the system drive is already very busy. It has to write/read invisible working files that the OS and apps use constantly. That eats up bandwidth between the CPU/GPU/RAM and your internal system drive. Not to mention your system will often use virtual RAM which is just more used space on your system drive.

Video editing is intense and needs all the bandwidth it can get between the drive and the system. Thus we put all our work on a secondary drive so that Final Cut and other apps have plenty of bandwidth to do work, without sharing the OS and apps working files bandwidth.

Always better to work on a fast secondary drive, in general.
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I have a SSD internal drive. Should I just edit off that? 29 May 2019 16:47 #100047

Yep I would say not if its a big projct or 4k - keep it seperate - I started on internal so that would be ok to start with no issues.

Once you start seeing some lag - you can change up to external SSD then - or do what I did and buy an external that wasnt SSD but still helped.
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I have a SSD internal drive. Should I just edit off that? 29 May 2019 20:25 #100053

  • joema
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bradywurtz wrote:
I've got a Thunderbolt 2 external HDD 7200rpm that I've been using to save my Library files on with all the footage stored inside the Library.

I've also got a SSD on my iMac.

Should I just be doing all my editing with the Library and files saved onto the SSD on my iMac? Or is it better to keep it all on the Thunderbolt 2 external HDD to edit off of? Or should I be keeping the Library in one place and the footage in another?

Putting the library on the system SSD can help in some cases. Newer Macs have extremely high performance internal SSDs so have plenty of surplus bandwidth -- defined as either MB/sec or IO requests per sec.

FCPX generates several different types of IO: Large sequential reads from media files, plus small random IOs to the SQL database in the library and the cache. The cache contains waveforms, thumbnails, plist files, etc. The aggregate rate to the library and cache isn't that high in MB/sec but in IO/sec it's high.

The two different types of I/O streams can conflict, esp. if using spinning drives for media. Constant small random IOs to the database are difficult to cache and predict. Thus these can bleed through filesystem and disk caches and disrupt the large IOs to media files. Spinning drives have rotational and seek latency so it takes them several mS to recover.

The ideal solution is putting a "lean" library (using in-place media) on a dedicated external SSD, and your media on a separate external larger drive. The library need not be that large, so it will fit on a modest size SSD.

Lacking that you can put a lean library on the internal SSD of newer Macs. It theoretically can conflict with system IO but the NVMe SSD in newer Macs is very fast. E.g, the iMac Pro uses dual NVMe SSDs in a RAID-0 configuration.

One way to determine IO bottlenecks is to examine the disk queue, or number of stacked up async IO requests. With Windows this is very easy - it's built into PerfMon, but on macOS you have to use the command line dtrace utility iopending.

Unfortunately the Dtrace utilities cannot be used starting with El Capitan unless System Integrity Protection is first disabled, and it is totally disabled starting with Mojave. apple.stackexchange.com/questions/208762...o-get-dtrace-working

It should be possible to use XCode to write a custom "instruments package" which monitors IO queue depth, but this is a lot of work:

medium.com/appspector/building-custom-in...package-9d84fd9339b6
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