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Choosing the Right Hard Drive

With P2, SxS and other solid-state acquisition media; non-linear editing; and the need for quick access to archived content, hard drives have become essential tools in video production. There are a lot of choices out there, but how do you find the right hard drive for your organization? Here are some things to consider:

Professional vs. Consumer Grade

Just as it is with tape and disc media, there is a huge difference between professional grade and consumer grade hard drives. Consumer hard drives were designed for storing documents and family photos. Professional hard drives, like those carried by Polyline, are created for the video and audio content professionals, which means:
  • More metal (and less plastic) parts – this makes the drive more durable and able to hold-up to the harsh demands of the content creation professional
  • Faster transfer speeds – this results fewer dropped frames
  • Heat sinks and / or fans to keep your drive cool – it's not so much that heat is the danger as the quick heating and cooling of the drive (a real danger when you're hot swapping your drives). Proper cooling ensure your drive doesn't encounter jarring temperature changes that causes stress to the drive.
  • Longer guarantees – professional grade drives are designed to last longer, and manufacturers back this up by offering longer warranties on parts and labor.
    Remember the real cost is not the value of the drive, it's the value of the work that's stored on it.
  • CapacityHD video consumes huge amounts of hard drive space. Choose a drive that has double the space you think you'll need. You'll outgrow it more quickly than you think. Also consider that, as the size of the drive increases, the cost per gigabyte decreases. So, by purchasing a larger drive, you're saving money.


Select a drive with multiple interfaces, this will give you the greatest compatibility among different systems. In terms of speed, USB 2.0 has the slowest transfer speeds and eSATA has the fastest. When dealing with large data streams, like HD video, faster transfer speeds mean less time ingesting video and it also equals fewer dropped frames.

For more information on professional hard drives, check out the article "Don't Compromise on External Storage" from the September 2008 issue of polyNEWSline.

Check Out These Hard Drives for Media Professionals

G-Tech Hard Drives
G-Tech external hard drives were designed specifically to meet the data storage needs of content creation professionals. G-Tech's USB, FireWire, eSata and Fibre Channel systems support all levels of audio and video production.

LaCie Hard Drives
LaCie is a leading manufacturer of external storage devices including an award-winning selection of hard drives, Network Storage drives, RAID and DVD drives. LaCie sets itself apart by working with world-famous designers to create storage solutions that are as beautiful as they are functional.

Avastor is the fastest growing company supplying Hard Drives to audio / video professionals. Avastor's product line include 20 configurations of drive interfaces and capacities of professional hard drives for virtually every application required.

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