View Full Version : External Firewire HD
Dumb question, but the guys at the apple store are even dumber than me. I will be doing native dv editing in FCP4. Is an external 1394 drive a fast enough and reliable enough media drive? I like the idea of being able to transport my whole project if needed. I don't have an internal secondary drive and would like to do without if I can. Also does Firewire 800 add any noticable performance to video editing? Any comments would be helpful, thanks!
In short: Yes, an external hard drive is fast enough as long as you're using at least USB 2.0 or Firewire 400 interfaces. As far as determining whether or not it's reliable or not depends on what route you go...
-Buy a ready-made external HD: there are many companies that do this, even the hard drive manufacturers themselves. Usually, even the external HDs that aren't sold by the HD manufacturers still use an HD from one of the main HD brands (usually Maxtor or Western Digital). The drawback: you're paying a premium on a ready-made HD and you're stuck with choosing between whatever drive capacities these companies offer.
-Buy an external enclosure and a HD separately: You choose whatever drive you want, find a suitable enclosure (readily available even at places like Compusa), place the drive in the enclosure, and you've got yourself an external enclosure as good as those ready-made one's (usually). You'll pay less, and you'll get to choose whatever HD capacity you want. The drawback: you gotta buy two things instead of one (compared to a ready made drive), you gotta put it together yourself (a problem for only the most technically illiterate).
As far as Firewire 800 goes, sure things will be faster, but as dropped frames when working with DV are all but nonexistant with USB 2.0 or Firewire 400, you'll really only notice speed increases when/if you start working with SD and up.
I have a few external firewire drives... the latest is a 500gig Lacie Firewire 800. It rocks. Very quick, very big (storage wise), somewhat expensive (about 540.00 at B&H)...
02-13-2004, 08:15 AM
I have a lacie firewire 400 and it has been a workhorse for me. Get a firewire 800 only if you have the new G5 with a firewire 800 port. Otherwise you are using an 800 at 400 speed.
good point lil red... i'm using it on a g5.
02-13-2004, 08:48 AM
I am thinking about getting one for my G5 as well. Are those drives "plug and play"? meaning if you don't need to use you can just unplug it or do you need to have it plugged in all the time?
Thanks for the replies. I was thinking of going with a LaCie. Is there any difference between their upright models and the horizontally positioned "porsche" drives they sell? The specs seem similar to me and they come in the same sizes.
But another question, if I might. If a firewire drive is simply an IDE drive in an enclosure, what is really the point? One is limited by the IDE limitations rather than that of the firewire cable, no? This would especially be an issue with the FW800 drives I think. Is there such a thing as a native FW drive? Or am I mighty confused?