Am I interpreting these benchmarks correctly? (7200 vs. 5400)

Hi guys. =) I'm currently building a system for media work, including video editing (in case anyone on the Internet doesn't know yet, hahaha).

I have it mostly planned out, but my last stumbling point is the drive configuration. Because of the file sizes and transfer rates I'm working with, I'm giving serious thought to building a RAID0 array for the media-storage drive.

(It's RAID0 because data integrity is irrelevant, only capacity and transfer speed. Nothing will live on the RAID volume for very long before being compressed and archived to a stable backup drive.)

The issue is the cost. Roughly, a 4-drive RAID array using various disks would cost about:
  • $2000+ (1TB SSDs)
  • $1200+ (WD 4TB Black)
  • $1600+ (WD 4TB RE)

I had been avoiding cheaper disks because it's a RAID array and I was caught up in the FUD about how failure-prone RAID is. But considering the data is 'disposable' / temporary, I'm not sure that's really such an issue.

That leaves the only remaining point as the speed issue — my first assumption was that a cheaper drive, especially a 5400 RPM drive, would be far too slow to function in video editing (since that's what everyone warns in NLE guides).

But then I compared these benchmarks.
  • WD Black 4TB: 75 - 150 MB/s, depending on capacity.
  • From the same article, Seagate 7200.14 (aka Barracuda) 3TB: 100 - 200 MB/s, depending on capacity.
  • WD Red 4TB: 75 - 150 MB/s, depending on capacity.
  • From the same article, Seagate HDD.15 4TB: 75 - 150 MB/s, depending on capacity.

I'm interpreting this as saying that sustained read/write speeds are actually very competitive for the 'cheap' 5400 RPM drives (which fall behind on 'quick' activities like seeking and frequent small-file access).

Since my only use for these drives is a RAID array writing (during capture) and reading (during editing) massive file sizes in a sequential manner (video editing), does that mean they would perform just fine for these tasks?

Or are there other details that I'm missing? =)
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More about interpreting benchmarks correctly 7200 5400
  1. Hi,

    I have a little experience with video editing rigs. I think you should probably not RAID if it is not necessary. Capturing from an external device normally works quite well with any SSD. The tricky part becomes the editing. I would recommend you to get something like one or even two 960Gb m5 SSD which are $589 from Amazon and get a 4 TB drive or a couple of 2-3 TB for backup purposes.
    Use the M5 for everything from capturing to editing to rendering and mastering. It will be much faster than a RAID spinner and I can guarantee that you wont exhaust the 400mb write speed during capturing.

    Our biggest challange was rendering times which can be really long, I would recommend a 6 core i7 or something better and more cores if you can afford it. Not AMD CPU.

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