Which Consumer Hard Drives Are Best For Post Production?

September 7, 2022

If you’re a small shop or solo, using correct hard drive metrics ensures you’re buying the performance you need (and buying smartly).

If you’re ‘budget constrained’, which off-the-shelf solution is right for you?

Recently, I’ve come across several forum posts where Colorists were purchasing (expensive) storage solutions in the hope of boosting performance. But based on their comments about their needs, they were making poor decisions.

When making a purchase decision, price vs. performance is an important metric. But performance can be measured across many metrics. If you’re a solo colorist or working at a small shop, understanding these metrics can help you save money while also ensuring you’re getting the performance you want.

The Metrics of Mechanical vs SSD vs NVMe SSD hard drives

This Insight is a primer on the performance characteristics of different storage solutions and why focusing on Price Per Terabyte may lead you to make a decision that doesn’t solve your problems. You’ll also learn how to mix and match these different storage technologies by assigning specific tasks based on your computer’s needs:

  • Boot volume
  • Cache volume (or not)
  • Backup volume
  • Media storage volume
  • Conform volume

Key take-aways from this Insight

By the end of this Insight you should have a strong understanding of:

  1. Determining your IOPS (Input/Output Operations per Second) needs to better understand your storage requirements
  2. Understanding that NVMe SSDs are the best value-per-IOPS performance per dollar and can be deployed in tower and mobile systems.
  3. When to avoid using mechanical hard drives, side-stepping system slowdowns.
  4.  Situations where mechanical hard drives make a lot of sense

Question or Comments?

The topic of hard drives for media professionals generates lots of thoughts, ideas, and questions. Feel free to continue this discussion in the comments section! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Homepage Forums Which Consumer Hard Drives Are Best For Post Production?

  • Arthur,

    Thanks for the straight-forward insight. For me, I’ve got twin Nvme drives on the mobo for OS and for all cache files. Six SSDs for projects and media.

    I didn’t think of external Nvme though! And I do have a couple available PCI slots, so … I’m thinking I might see about getting a card for another Nvme drive or two. Never had too much speed, you know?

    • Cheers,

      I used to be really skeptical of external / expansion boards. Some Thunderbolt models top out at 2500 MB/s and, in theory, a couple of NVMe blades in tandem would be faster than that output. However, there is a point where as a user to stop and appreciate just how darn fast that is!

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