fbpx
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1

TOPIC: Working with RAID storage or external SSD?

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 16 Sep 2020 20:37 #110070

  • El Matadurr
  • El Matadurr's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 9
  • Thank you received: 0
Hello again all. Tried searching for this question but couldn't find anything here that was close enough to my issue.

I'm using FCPX on a 2014 iMac for personal video projects. It's been great for even 4K workflow due to proxy media being an option. But, I'm almost out of hard drive space on the 3TB fusion drive. I currently have an older DS916+ NAS Synology 4-bay RAID for basic slow storage + time machine backups that is hooked up via ethernet.

Here's the two-part question:
Is there a plug-and-play RAID or otherwise hub option that I can attach directly to my computer to hold two or more SSDs, where the computer treats it as a single volume? I can't seem to find anything out there.

If not, is my assumption correct that proxy media is always stored on the computers HDD? If so, even a simple external 2TB SSD connected via USB3.0 can work for video file storage? I would assume this would add a bit of time to final rendering/proxy media creation, but otherwise would be decently quick?

Thanks for any thoughts. I'm not looking to spend a ton (over $500ish) total, so enterprise-grade RAIDs/etc. are out of the question.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 16 Sep 2020 21:50 #110076

  • FCPX.guru
  • FCPX.guru's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
  • bbalser.com
  • Posts: 3681
  • Karma: 34
  • Thank you received: 509
1- Yes, look at Other World Computing (macsales.com). SSD RAID is really expensive, and you'll get enough performance out of HDD RAID for less to do what you want. Your Mac is actually going to be the bottleneck, not the RAID.

2- By default proxies are inside the Library. You can store all that in an external location if you want. Where did you save your Library to?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 16 Sep 2020 22:01 #110079

  • El Matadurr
  • El Matadurr's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 9
  • Thank you received: 0

FCPX.guru wrote: 1- Yes, look at Other World Computing (macsales.com). SSD RAID is really expensive, and you'll get enough performance out of HDD RAID for less to do what you want. Your Mac is actually going to be the bottleneck, not the RAID.

2- By default proxies are inside the Library. You can store all that in an external location if you want. Where did you save your Library to?

1. Ok thank you I'll look into it. If that's the case I may as well stick with either another synology RAID or just add two more drives to my current 4-bay and just attach it via USB instead of ethernet through my router?
2. Well in that instance, I definitely don't want that. I would want proxies to be on the main internal drive for fast access. Currently my library is saved to my internal, so all else being equal I shouldn't have a problem with the proxies once I add the external solution.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 17 Sep 2020 08:47 #110088

  • FCPX.guru
  • FCPX.guru's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
  • bbalser.com
  • Posts: 3681
  • Karma: 34
  • Thank you received: 509
You shouldn't have anything on your system drive.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 17 Sep 2020 12:27 #110092

  • joema
  • joema's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1633
  • Karma: 27
  • Thank you received: 352

El Matadurr wrote: ...using FCPX on a 2014 iMac for personal video projects. It's been great for even 4K workflow due to proxy media being an option. But, I'm almost out of hard drive space on the 3TB fusion drive. I currently have an older DS916+ NAS Synology 4-bay RAID for basic slow storage + time machine backups that is hooked up via ethernet....Is there a plug-and-play RAID or otherwise hub option that I can attach directly to my computer to hold two or more SSDs, where the computer treats it as a single volume?... proxy media is always stored on the computers HDD? If so, even a simple external 2TB SSD connected via USB3.0 can work for video file storage?....


Unless you have 10 gigabit ethernet adapters on the 2014 iMac, you are limited to 1 gig E, which is about 100 MB/sec, about the speed of a mechanical bus-powered portable HDD. Any future expansion of the NAS would also be limited to that speed.

A 3TB Fusion Drive will slow down significantly as it fills up. As FCPX.guru said, you definitely don't want FCPX media, libraries, cache, etc on the system drive.

The 2014 iMac 27 has Thunderbolt 2 and USB-A 3.0 ports. There are various 2 TB SSDs with USB interface. My current favorite is the Helilx, because it sustains high I/O loads without thermal performance slowdowns, which some other small SSDs exhibit: www.amazon.com/dp/B07YCR1S3K

Most portable external USB-C SSDs come with a USB-A cable, but you must verify that.

However if you want more than 2TB SSD, maybe the least expensive way is a 4TB SATA SSD inside a USB enclosure. E.g:

Samsung QVO 4TB SATA SSD: www.amazon.com/dp/B089C5P5SX
Inexpensive enclosure: www.amazon.com/dp/B07S4K2QYD/

A single SATA SSD will do about 500 MB/sec, not as fast as the above Helix or a Samsung T7, but it's less expensive per megabyte and is a single 4TB volume. It's possible to take two 2TB SSDs plug them in separately to the Mac and use Disk Utility to create a 4TB RAID-0 volume but I wouldn't recommend that.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 17 Sep 2020 13:33 #110095

  • El Matadurr
  • El Matadurr's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 9
  • Thank you received: 0
Thank you joema and Guru. Good information here, and good for thought.

I think that given my use case, and to maximize storage and minimize cost, I will go with adding two more 8TB 7200rpm drives to my NAS. It’s only $360 for two of them on Amazon, and if the data transfer speeds are comparable to what I’m already used to with my internal drive, I won’t be missing out on much.

I really like that external SSD you linked to, but my concern with going with a single drive is lack of redundancy in event of data failure. I guess I could maybe partition another volume on my existing 8TBx2 to do manual “backups” of the source files. Not sure.

Final thoughts?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 17 Sep 2020 14:21 #110096

  • joema
  • joema's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1633
  • Karma: 27
  • Thank you received: 352
Suggest you run Blackmagic disk speed test on Synology drive to characterize the performance. That only tests large sequential reads/writes which is common in video. However FCPX also does a lot of small random I/O for the SQLite database, plist files, thumbnail and waveform files. The ATTO benchmark will measure various I/O sizes and draw a graph. It is free but you must request it here: www.atto.com/disk-benchmark-macOS/

In general if you have library, cache and media all on the NAS using a 1 gig connection that might be slow. You may have become accustomed to that and not notice it.

If you could put the FCPX library and cache files on a separate 2TB SSD, performance might improve significantly.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 17 Sep 2020 19:56 #110105

  • El Matadurr
  • El Matadurr's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 9
  • Thank you received: 0

joema wrote: Suggest you run Blackmagic disk speed test on Synology drive to characterize the performance. That only tests large sequential reads/writes which is common in video. However FCPX also does a lot of small random I/O for the SQLite database, plist files, thumbnail and waveform files. The ATTO benchmark will measure various I/O sizes and draw a graph. It is free but you must request it here: www.atto.com/disk-benchmark-macOS/

In general if you have library, cache and media all on the NAS using a 1 gig connection that might be slow. You may have become accustomed to that and not notice it.

If you could put the FCPX library and cache files on a separate 2TB SSD, performance might improve significantly.

All good points...

Looking at my current configuration of 8TBx2, I can allot 4TB for time machine and the other 4 for miscellaneous storage/long-term video storage. Then, I will probably use the linked external SSD (like that it prioritizes heat dissipation) or the 4TB one in an enclosure for library/cache/temporary media. After projects are completed I can just simply delete cache/proxy media from the drive and move the source files to the NAS.

This solution will cost the least and still provide a speed increase even over USB 3.0. Speed will only improve further when I can eventually get an ARM iMac with Thunderbolt 3.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 18 Sep 2020 11:36 #110114

  • joema
  • joema's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1633
  • Karma: 27
  • Thank you received: 352

El Matadurr wrote: ..Speed will only improve further when I can eventually get an ARM iMac with Thunderbolt 3.


The ARM iMac 27 is probably a year away. I'm sure it will be good but if you need a machine sooner, the 2020 base-model 8-core iMac 27 is (for a Mac) relatively inexpensive and vastly faster than your 2014 iMac.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 18 Sep 2020 18:08 #110122

  • El Matadurr
  • El Matadurr's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 9
  • Thank you received: 0
I had my eyes set really close on the updated 27-inch iMac, and by most accounts it's a great machine. 2 biggest reasons why I didn't go for it, aside from it using Intel chipset, were that my current iMac is still functioning adequately for my purposes (within reason), and that Apple didn't put in the better cooling architecture found in the iMac Pro. I remember seeing a teardown of it and the guy noting there was plenty of room to put in something better than stock. Unfortunate.

My current iMac throttles performance all the time due to thermal issues, and did so way before the inside became filled with dust (I can even see it on the inside of my screen). Holding out hope the next iteration has better cooling design, or even...god forbid...a way for users to get into the system to clean it out without having to break the glue seal.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 18 Sep 2020 19:46 #110126

  • joema
  • joema's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1633
  • Karma: 27
  • Thank you received: 352

El Matadurr wrote: ...My current iMac throttles performance all the time due to thermal issues, and did so way before the inside became filled with dust (I can even see it on the inside of my screen). Holding out hope the next iteration has better cooling design, or even...god forbid...a way for users to get into the system to clean it out without having to break the glue seal.


Max Yuryev's tests show the 2020 iMac 27 has significantly improved thermals vs prior models. The 2014 (which you have) is unfortunately the worst Retina-era Mac from that standpoint. The 2015-2017 models were not much better but a little better. I think the 2019 was improved and the 2020 improved more. That was without major mechanical changes; not sure what they did but the reviewers report significant improvements.

But even the 2020 iMac 27 is not as quiet as the iMac Pro.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Working with RAID storage or external SSD? 18 Sep 2020 19:52 #110127

  • El Matadurr
  • El Matadurr's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 9
  • Thank you received: 0
That's...interesting then. I will take a look at Max's tests. I guess I have less of a reason to wait for the ARM iMac, though considering I'm still successfully using my 2014 to now, I have to wonder if Apple--and other developers--will still be supporting Intel machines in 6+ years time. That is for sure my biggest concern.

Still doesn't solve the problem of non-user friendly dust buildup. 2013-prior iMacs, the display was just held in with magnets. Such a good system, and now the entire panel on ours is...glued. Gross. It's a wonder Apple even lets us still upgrade our RAM, to be honest.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Page:
  • 1