By Gordon Meyer
As my regular readers know, last spring I custom built my own computer, optimized for HD video editing and DVD/BD authoring. In configuring this system, I included a 7200 RPM, 2 terabyte (that’s 2,000 gigabytes) hard drive. Since my old system used a pair of 80GB hard drives, I thought it would take ages to fill this seemingly gigantic amount of storage. I was wrong. It’s already a little over half full, mostly from video files.
Needless to say, I now have that much more data to protect. And sooner or later, I’m sure I’m going to want to add yet another internal hard drive or two, especially when I start experimenting with 3D footage, which will double my video data requirements since each eye will be a full 1080p video stream.
With that in mind, one of the product categories on my CES “to do” list was backup technology. Assuming that the publicists that I met with follow up in a timely manner, I’ll be reporting on a variety of solutions over the next month or two. Meanwhile, I’m going to begin with Seagate’s GoFlex Desk, a family of high capacity external hard drives.
Since I’ve got such a large internal drive to begin with, I opted for the 3TB version of the GoFlex. List price is just under $250 and you can find it online for around $200. It’s about the size of a paperback book and, unlike many of the smaller capacity external drives I’ve tested lately, requires an AC power supply instead of drawing all its juice from the USB cable. Speaking of USB, the GoFlex takes advantage of my computer’s USB 3.0 capability, which results in lightning fast data transfer rates.
A few years ago, I learned the hard way that there’s often a compatibility issue with large capacity external drives formatted for Macs versus PCs. At an event I produced a few years ago, the master recording was stored on a 500 GB LaCie hard drive formatted for Mac. When I attempted to access some of that footage on my PC, the two devices wouldn’t talk to each other.
Seagate includes a useful utility with the GoFlex so the same drive can go interchangeably between Macs and PCs. Let me tell you, had LaCie had a similar utility for their drive three years ago, it would have saved me a tremendous amount of time and anxiety, not to mention enable me to quickly pull video clips myself, rather than have to pull a favor with a Final Cut-equipped editor. There are also optional fireware and SATA adapters available.
Seagate pre-loads Memeo’s backup software for simple, automatic data backup and restoral with optional data encryption – a useful feature when you want to keep your footage secure until you’re ready to show it. And, of course, you can also use the GoFlex as a regular external hard drive though even with its 7200 RPM speed, its 32MB DRAM cache may not be fast enough to do intense HD video editing.
Frankly, if you want the best possible performance for real time editing, you’ll probably want to invest in a solid state drive and transfer your footage on an as-needed basis. None the less, to archive and transport large blocks of data, including HD video, the 3TB version of the GoFlex is a good bet.