has been on the horizon for a couple of years, and now some USB 3-enabled hard drives are finally shipping. CalDigit's AV Drive is one of these rare breeds, but it stands out even more because it's the only drive I know of -- shipping today -- that works on the Mac as well as Windows.
That's a pretty big deal, since the Mac OS has no native support for the USB 3 protocol. But CalDigit got around that by writing its own USB drivers, and shipping the drive with either a PCIe card for Mac Pros, or an ExpressCard/34 adapter for laptops. Together, the AV Drive, its drivers and USB 3 card adapter deliver performance far better than more conventional hard drives -- especially if you're using a desktop machine.
USB3 Performance on a Desktop
The AV Drive includes two FireWire 800 ports, and one USB 3 port. When you use the AV Drive with USB 3, you'll get roughly twice the speed that FireWire can manage. Here are some test results:
- For my first test, I used a fast, five-slot P2 card reader (Panasonic's PCD35) and the popular Shotput Pro software to transfer a full 64GB P2 card to the AV Drive. When I used the AV Drive's FireWire 800 connection, the transfer took 24 minutes, 3 seconds, but when I used the drive's USB 3 connection, it took only 13 minutes, 57 seconds. That's not quite a two-fold difference, but it's definitely appreciable and adds up very quickly over time. Also, for comparison, I copied the same card to a blazing fast 8-drive miniSAS RAID, and that took 10 minutes, 4 seconds. So the 8-drive RAID was faster than the AV Drive, but not change-your-life so.
- Next, I copied a 60GB folder of media from my 8-drive RAID to the AV Drive. Using FireWire 800, the AV Drive needed 14:15 to finish the copy, but with USB 3, it needed only 7 minutes flat. That's pretty much exactly what CalDigit says the drive will achieve--146MB/s.
- Some folks have upgraded their hardware to work with eSATA drives, which are also faster than FireWire 800. I wasn't able to directly compare the AV Drive to an eSATA drive, but some earlier eSATA tests I did a few months ago delivered real-world read and writes of about 100MB/s. According to those numbers, the AV Drive would give you almost a 50% speed boost over eSATA.
- I also used AJA's popular System Test application to measure the AV Drive's speed, getting about 137MB/s for both reads and writes, versus FireWire 800 performance of only about 60MB/s.
Of course, before you get too excited about these USB 3 speeds, remember that they depend on the AV Drive interacting with other fast hardware in your data chain. For instance, the AV Drive was able to copy my 64GB P2 card in about 14 minutes because the card was sitting in Panasonic's fast PCD35 reader, which uses a fast PCIe connection to my Mac Pro. Had I used Panasonic's slower PCD2 card reader (based on a much slower USB2 interface), then the AV Drive would have been held back, waiting for the card data to creep along the reader's USB2 cable.
Likewise, if you try to move files to or from a slower hard drive to the AV Drive, you'll see the AV Drive's performance suffer. An example: when I transferred my 60GB media folder from a fast RAID to the AV Drive, it took only 7:00. But when I copied the same folder from a FireWire 800 hard drive to the AV Drive, things slowed down to 15:53.
In other words, if you'll be using the AV Drive with older, legacy drives, you may be disappointed.
|Related Articles / Tutorials:|
The New CalDigit HDPro2 Product Review
Buckle your seatbelts. In this review COW leader David Roth Weiss, an L.A. based director, editor, and colorist takes you inside CalDigit's brand new HDPro2; an advanced 8-drive video storage solution that will absolutely rock you with blistering performance and sustained video throughput unlike anything you've ever experienced before.
David Roth Weiss
Los Angeles Director and Editor David Roth Weiss finally takes the plunge and tests CalDigits new HDOne, an affordable turnkey RAID-5 protected video storage system.
David Roth Weiss
|CalDigit HDPro: RAID 5 and Beyond!|
Creative Cow Leader Shane Ross shares the great news: both performance and protection with CalDigits new HDPro RAID! Supporting RAID 0, 1, 5, and 6, the HDPro even works with your laptop. Its the answer to Shanes prayers. He thinks it might be the answer to yours too.
|Recent Articles / Tutorials:|
Blackmagic Design Fusion
Blackmagic Fusion 9's Most Powerful Tool: The Custom Tool
Meet The Custom Tool, the most powerful and versatile tool in Blackmagic Fusion's entire toolbox ??" which ironically appears to do nothing when you first apply it. That’s because it’s a tool designed for building your own tools from scratch. That may sound daunting, but under the guiding hand of longtime VFX artist, editor, and business owner Simon Ubsdell, it’s engaging, empowering, and just plain fun. If you are new to Fusion and to compositing you'll find plenty of useful information here, including how to work with channels to create complex effects surprisingly simply. Bonus tips on expressions and keying, too!
Blackmagic Fusion 9 Advanced Keying: Fixing Problem Edges
In this advanced keying tutorial for Blackmagic Fusion, longtime VFX artist Simon Ubsdell addresses a common problem: edges too brightly lit, along with light wrap that makes compositing a challenge. Learn how to build custom keyers using Fusion's node-based compositing that solve the problem more quickly and more completely than traditional layer-based approaches.
Art of the Edit
A Newbie Looks at EditFest LA
Thanks to the Blue Collar Post Collective's Professional Development Accessibility Program, Indiana shortform editor Hillary Lewis was able to attend the American Cinema Editor's EditFest LA. Rather than the lion's den she feared, Hillary found unexpected support among people who were more like her than she'd imagined. This rare opportunity provided unique insights into what Hollywood editing is really all about, and what it takes to succeed wherever you are.
Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects Energy Ball
In his latest high-energy Adobe After Effects tutorial, VFX guru Tobias Gleissenberger of Surfaced Studio combines a variety of effects to create the pulsating energy ball, composited with motion tracking, optical flares, and more.