When it comes time to edit your video or photos, the hard drives you use are going to have a huge impact on the performance of your system. No matter how much RAM you have or how powerful of a video card, you just won’t get real-time performance if your drives are a bottleneck.

Important Factors

There are three factors when choosing a disk for video and photo editing:

  • Speed. The speed of drive is the biggest factor on what media you can play off it. Drives like internal laptop drives or bus-powered USB drives are generally not fast enough to edit HD video.
  • Capacity. When you start to edit HD video, you’ll quickly use up disk space. For example, each minute of video shot on a Canon 5D Mark II is about 320 MB. In order to get the storage you need, you may invest in multiple drives or drives that are striped together for a performance RAID.
  • Redundancy. The last thing you’ll want to happen to your video footage is to lose it.  Most video creators choose to back up their footage to two or more drives or to use additional methods like Blu-ray Disc. Look at redundant drives (such as RAIDs)

Set of solid state drives (SSD)

Drive Technology

Be sure to consider your options when looking at hard drives.

  • Internal Drive Solutions.  Many computers support multiple drive slots.  Consider placing a fast SATA drive internally into your computer as a performance disk.  Keep this as only a scratch disk and avoid installing application or system files on it.
  • External and Portable Drive Solutions.  There are several different drives available once you’ve maximized your internal storage. You’ll find both single and multiple drive solutions available. Look for units offering connections like FireWire, USB3, or eSATA.
  • Networked RAIDs. You’ll find several professional drives that allow multiple users to connect simultaneously. These solutions are important if you work in a multiple editor environment and need to share projects or assets.