In this article, I’m going to share with you my experience in using the Drobo 5D3 as a primary drive for editing video. I’ll be working in Davinci Resolve 16 editing and playing back in 4K ProRes HQ. These are large files and so is a challenge for the drive as there is a lot of information it must read to playback theses clips. See the screenshot below for files sizes.

First things first. Let’s see what Blackmagic Disk Speed has to say about it. Here’s the performance from it for a 3GB sized file for read and write capability. What it’s telling me is that it is able to write the 3GB file to the Drobo 5D3 at 234.4 MB/second and read the file at 235.6MB/second. In the ‘Will it Work?’ section it’s telling me that it can read and write ProRes 422HQ in 4k up to 30 frames per second. Our files are 29.97 frames per second so we should be good to go. In the ‘How Fast?’ section it’s telling me I can read 60 frames per second at 4k.

Blackmagic Disk Speed Test results


Can it keep up?

I’ve created a timeline with all four clips on it and will playback at full resolution. There is no color grade applied as I want to test the Drobo 5D3’s ability to read multiple clips from the Drobo 5DC and see the playback performance. In the video below I will play the timeline 4 times and each time I will activate an additional track/clip and we’ll see how well the drive is able to keep up with the playback. The last time through all four tracks/clips will be active. Since the timeline is set to 29.97 frames per second (fps), we’ll look to see if it actually can playback at 29.97fps. Watch the video below and see how it does.

One note about my configuration. I’m using 2-4TB 7200 RPM hard drives. Optimal performance on the Drobo 5D3 is achieved with 5 drives and larger drives are most often faster in read and write speeds. So this test is being done with a very basic configuration and it can only get better as more drives and larger drives are added to the 5D3.

So as you can see that the Drobo 5D3, even with only two 4TB 7200rpm hard drives, can playback four-4K ProRes 422HQ clips without a problem. With Drobo 5D3 I was able to have multiple clips on the timeline, edit them, move them, stack them and then playback the results without any problems.

You’ll find the Drobo 5D3 here. Save 10% with the code PHOTOFOCUS