Should I Get an SSD or HDD for Video Editing? The 1 TB Storage Battle

If you’ve reached the point where you need to decide between an SSD or HDD for Video Editing, you’ve come to the right place. The decision you make is an important one and will depend on your individual needs. Space, speed, and price all come into play here. And let’s not forget to allow for room to grow. You’ve heard the expression, less is more? Probably not in this case. 

Why Is Picking the Right Drives Important for Video Editing?

Video editors often use multiple hard drives to store video files and data during post-production. Some people might think you don’t need more than one drive. But having too few drives could cause problems down the road. For example, if you’re working on a project where you’ll be adding more footage later, it can become difficult to find the right file because there are too many options. If you add another drive, you’ll have to move everything over to the second drive. This process takes time and can slow things down.

Having too many storage devices can also lead to issues like fragmentation, where files are split up into pieces and scattered across different parts of the disk. Fragmentation can make it harder to recover deleted files. You can avoid this problem by choosing a good number of drives based on how much storage capacity you want to devote to each project.

In addition, some people believe that adding more drives makes the system faster. However, this isn’t always true. In fact, adding extra drives can actually slow things down. When you add a new drive, whether it’s an internal drive or a portable drive, you still have a lot more data to transfer around. This can increase the load on the computer’s processor and memory.

If you do decide to add more drives, here are some tips for picking the best ones. Let’s start with what they are.

Further Reading: The Best Video Editing Software

What are SSD and HDD drives?

For starters, SSDs are much faster than HDDs. If you don’t know what an SSD is, it’s basically like having a hard disk drive without moving parts. You read data off of it just like you do a regular hard disk drive, but because there aren’t any moving parts, it’s much faster. It’s also much quieter too.

A typical SSD costs more than an HDD. Because SSDs use flash memory chips, they’re generally more expensive than HDDs. However, since SSDs are much faster, they tend to provide better performance and therefore cost less over the long term.

HDDs are cheaper than SSDs. They both store information on magnetic disks. But SSDs use flash memory while HDDs use spinning platters and an actuator arm to read and write data. HDD technology is older as well.

SSD or HDD for Video Editing: Hard Disk Drive

Things to consider when choosing an SSD

There are three main categories of solid-state drives (SSDs): PCIe, M.2, and NVMe. Flash memory chips are the primary type of nonvolatile storage used in solid-state drives. A flash drive uses a control chip to manage its internal functions, including reading data from a hard drive, writing data back to it, and managing wear leveling.

Solid state drives are typically offered in two form factors: two.5 inch and m.2. An SSD controller chip usually includes firmware that manages the operation and performance of the drive. Data transfer rates are measured by gigabytes per second (GB/s), while capacities range from 500 GB up to about 10 TB.

Form Factor

This refers to how it connects to the motherboard. The form factor is one of the most important aspects of SSD performance because it determines where the data goes. For example, SSDs come in different sizes, such as 2.5-inch and micro-SATA.

These form factors determine what type of connector you use to connect the SSD to the motherboard. Micro-SATA connectors are smaller and thinner than 2.5-inch SATA connectors. This makes micro-SATA SSDs much faster than standard 2.5-inch SATA SSDs.

Another key aspect of SSD performance is the interface used to transfer data. There are three main interfaces: Serial ATA (SATA), Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment (PATA), and eMMC. Each interface offers advantages and disadvantages.

For example, SATA 3Gb/s is the fastest interface, but it uses cables that are thicker and longer than PATA or eMMC. In addition, SATA requires power to operate, whereas PATA and eMMC do not require power. Therefore, SATA SSDs tend to be larger than PATA and eMCC SSDs.

Another disadvantage of SATA is that it cannot support multiple devices simultaneously. However, SATA supports hot swapping, meaning you don’t have to shut down the computer to add additional SSDs. A big plus in terms of productivity.

eMMC is the smallest interface and is commonly found on mobile devices like smartphones. eMMC SSDs are small and lightweight, making them ideal for portable devices. They offer fast read speeds but write speeds are slower than those of SATA and PATA SSDs.

Finally, there is PATA. PATA SSDs are generally bigger and heavier than SATA SSDs. They are often used in desktop computers because they are cheaper than SATA SSDs. However, PATA SSDs are less expensive than SATA SSDs because they use older technology.

Capacity

There are different storage sizes of SSD drives. They range from 128 GB to 16 TB. In general, prices increase as capacity increases. A 2 TB SSD will cost around $200; a 4 TB SSD will cost about $500. A 2 TB SSD could hold around 10,000 hours of HD video, while a 4 TB SSD could hold around 30,000 hours of HD footage.

Your storage needs will increase if your shooting 4K or 8K videos. You’ll need a larger storage capacity to store all that data. For example, a 2TB SSD could hold up to 5,600 minutes of 4K video, while a 4 TB SSD could hold up to 15,400 minutes of 4K video.

A 2TB SSD should be enough for most photographers. If you’re looking to upgrade your current storage solution, a 4 TB SSD would be ideal for those working on multiple projects simultaneously.

SSD Endurance

Flash memory is made up of cells that store bits. Each cell holds a single value, either 0 or 1. This makes it ideal for storing data because there’s no need to worry about losing data due to power failures. However, flash memory is volatile—it loses its stored values over time. To prevent data loss, manufacturers use wear leveling technology to spread out writes across the entire device evenly.

SSD or HDD for Video Editing: Sandisk SSD Drive

NAND flash memory uses floating gate transistors to store data. These transistors can retain charges for long periods of time but eventually lose those charges. Manufacturers address this issue by making sure that every block of cells gets used equally often. They do this by writing data to unused blocks and erasing data from worn ones.

When a flash chip reaches the end of its life, it stops working properly. Once that happens, data begins to disappear. In fact, some chips stop functioning altogether. A manufacturer might label a chip as having reached the end of its life when it starts showing signs of degradation. When that happens, the chip needs to be replaced.

There are two types of flash memory: Single Level Cells (SLC) and Multi-Level Cells (MLC). SLCs store just one level of charge per cell while MLCs can hold multiple levels of charges per cell. The number of levels determines how many times a cell can be written to and erased. For example, a 128GB SSD could contain 16GB of SLCs or 32GB of MLCs.

The more levels of charge you place into a cell, the longer the lifespan of the flash memory. If you write data to a cell too much, the cell won’t be able to hold enough charge to maintain the correct state. On the flip side, if you don’t erase data fast enough, the cell will become full and start holding random states. As a result, the lifetime of a flash cell decreases as you increase the amount of data you’re writing to it.

Is 1 TB SSD Enough For Video Editing?

A 1 TB solid-state drive (SSD) should be sufficient for 1080i or 720p videos shot in HD at 24 fps. If you’re shooting in 4K at 60 fps, it might take up to 2 TB of storage space.

For 4K/8K video, a 2 TB SSD would be ideal. You could even go larger if you shoot in RAW format. However, we recommend backing up your files to another hard disk or external hard drive.

While a 1 TB SSD will hold plenty of content, you’ll likely want a bigger drive for archiving your final project. And don’t forget to back up your data regularly!

How Fast Is SSD vs. HDD?

HDDs are slower than SSDs. They are limited to reading and writing data at a maximum data transfer rate of around 200MB per second. This makes it very difficult to write large files quickly. For example, you could download a movie file from YouTube in less than 10 seconds. However, if you put that same movie onto a hard disk, it might take hours to complete. 

SSDs have a faster speed when compared to HDDs. They read and write data at about 500MB per second. This means that they can transfer huge amounts of data quickly. For example, it takes just over one second to download a 4K video from YouTube. If you put that same video onto a hard disk, you might wait several minutes. 

SSD vs. HDD Noise, Power, and Lifespan

HDDs are noisy, power-hungry, and short-lived compared to SSDs. They’ve been around for decades, but SSDs have become increasingly popular over the past few years. In fact, SSDs outsell traditional hard disk drives by about 10 to one. But there are downsides to SSDs, including the fact that they cost twice as much as traditional hard disk drives.

The biggest difference between SSDs and traditional hard disk drives is the way they store data. Traditional hard disk drives use magnetic media, whereas SSDs use flash memory chips. Flash memory doesn’t wear out as fast as a spinning platter does, and it’s faster than traditional magnetic storage media. However, flash memory isn’t perfect; it requires constant refreshing to maintain data integrity. This process consumes energy and generates heat.

What Type Should I Choose?

So let’s say you already know that you want to use both types of media. What do you pick? Well, it depends on your budget and what you plan to put on your server. It also depends on the drive capacity you need and if speed is an issue for you or not. Lastly, let’s not forget about portability. 

Many videographers use SSDs for video editing simply because they are faster and the drive technology is newer. My motto has always been: buy as much technology as you can afford. If that means starting off with an HDD, so be it. You can always upgrade later.

Which one would you choose for your next video project? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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Jay Neill

Jay Neill is the founder, owner, and managing editor of iFilmThings and believes everyone should have access to the film resources they need to plan their filmmaking project, which is why he’s dedicated iFilmThings to helping all filmmakers.

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