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Thunderbolt worth the trouble? A video editor asks...

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I've been prioritizing TB in the past and don't know if it is worth it for my next build.

Rather than daisy-chaining many devices and a monitor at the end (I don't), all I really need for the editing I do should be covered via USB-C SSD external drive speeds, which would allow me to be more mobile for discrete projects (much more of a priority.)

I don't do massive projects nor do I work from a large RAID array but I am shooting more in 4K (for 1080p output) and work with multi-cam edits more. Processor hungry in FCPX.

I'm not feeling committed to next gen TB given it's apparent headaches and extra steps on a Hack and it's limitations on which boards have TB headers: for ASUS the Prime Z370-A and several Gigabyte boards. I'd likely follow in @BoomR 's steps if TB is deemed worthwhile.

Other video editors? What do you think?
 

BoomR

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I'm shooting/editing 360 video using a rig with 10 GoPros at 2K. Can be very bandwidth intensive when editing, and I have the TB2 RAID that I use on occasion. There are a couple folks here who are actually doing some behind-the-scenes work to create ssdt so that we get full hot-swap function from ThunderboltEX 3 and Alpine Ridge cards. So I would not necessarily discount TB. In my music recording studio, I appreciate all the various connections on my Thunderbolt 2 dock (several USB ports, FW800, USB audio) all on 1 cable because the CPU is in a completely different room (floor below studio). Probably not the most common use case, but important for me, non the less :)
 
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@BoomR Thanks, and interesting to hear that folks are working to create better TB functionality.

What are you using the LaCie TB drives you've mentioned for all that footage (they don't seem particularly fast)? Or do you have hard drives internal beyond the OS SSDs in your writeup? Curious as you say the TB2 RAID is used occasionally. What are your "daily drivers" for the VR editing?

I currently have a full tower with an internal RAID 5 but want my next build to have a smaller footprint and be more "modular" for when I am editing offsite via my laptop, etc.
 

BoomR

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@BoomR Thanks, and interesting to hear that folks are working to create better TB functionality.

What are you using the LaCie TB drives you've mentioned for all that footage (they don't seem particularly fast)? Or do you have hard drives internal beyond the OS SSDs in your writeup? Curious as you say the TB2 RAID is used occasionally. What are your "daily drivers" for the VR editing?

I currently have a full tower with an internal RAID 5 but want my next build to have a smaller footprint and be more "modular" for when I am editing offsite via my laptop, etc.
I inherited 4 @ LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2 drives and 2 @ Promise Pegasys2 R6 TB2 RAID boxes from our retail sales training team. When we launched a device targeted for business/enterprise users a couple years back, Sales decided to do an elaborate "webisode" series, and hired Jack Morton to shoot & produce. Due to our extremely rigid INFOSEC policies, the drives & RAIDs had to be locked up at the end of each day's shooting & editing. Once the project was finally over, we "owned" all the storage devices, so they came back to us...and I got first dibs on them LOL

The more you have made me think about it, the more I am probably using these drives exactly back-a$$wards. I should probably be using the RAID for my day-in, day-out editing & production, and offload a copy of the FCPX project & assets when I need to work remotely, or to use as archive/backup once I"m finished with a project.

The data sheet on the d2 drives says "up to 220Mb/s" which I think is not too far off of what I get when I use 2.5" SSDs plugged into the mobo's SATA connections.

Just curious - if you are using your RAID for your daily work, what type of RAID are you using? RAID1? ..5? ..10?
 
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Boy, that would be slow for an internal SSD, I think.

Yes, I am working with a 9TB internal RAID5 that I have set up with SoftRAID. My read/write bounces around the 400Mb/s and the dropped frames I am getting in FCPX these days I think is a processor bottleneck when I have a multicam, multiple 4K timeline.

I have been dreaming of a smaller box and a tighter setup. But I think it won't pan out for my next build. Should continue with this internal RAID and, as you mention, have something smaller and fast for discrete projects. For that, I think USB3.1 gen 2 would be enough, but seems to make sense to get a TB-ready board just in case.
 
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In case you're wondering, this is my latest setup > https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/...-samsung-960-evo-nvme-thunderbolt-ex3.240368/

I am happy to report that TB is working fine with this system, in addition to my Areca SAS 12TB RAID unit as well as Areca 8050 TB1 unit and a Drobo 5D we use as 2nd backup drive (I use an Apple TB1 to TB3 converter with my Asus Alpine Ridge TB card, and a Areca SAS card on the board using proper Areca drivers - yes SAS boards still works in Sierra!). On the Blackmagic Disk Test I'm getting constant read/writes of around 700Mb/s on all the drives - so it would be okay for video. As I also have a 1TB Samsung M.2 NVMe with this setup it flies - we're getting around 2400Mb/s for read and writes, and large files of around 700MB just open immediately in Photoshop (in multiples). Compared to my previous Gigabyte Z77X-UP5-TH it is a marked improvement (although that board was also very fast for its time).

TB upgrade is totally worth it in my opinion. But more so adding a NVMe drive to the system, it is totally worth it as you are reaping the advances made in the gear. Highly recommended.
 
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I am wondering, yes! Thanks much for the report back. It confirms how I have been again leaning in the past weeks, which is to have a more modular set up, i.e. external RAID box and a smaller machine itself.

Also glad to read of a successful Asus system and apparently the ThunderboltEX 3 card is supported in the Z370 motherboard such as the Prime-A. Although the card description itself says it is limited to the Z170 & x99 boards, you have it on a Z270, for example. I'd prefer to run an Asus over a Gigabyte board.

Great description getting the Tbolt up and running. Thanks.


 
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