Video editing - Raid 0 vs Source and Destination

I am currently set up with two 300GB drives setup in RAID 0. The only thing I do that puts any strain on the drives is video editing and compression.

I need more hard drive space. There appears to be a great deal of contention as to whether RAID 0 provides any real benefit to a desktop user even for an intensive use such as video. Based on reading on the internet (much on this site) I am inclined to move away from RAID. So my plan is to add a 1 or 1.5 TB quality hard-drive to the current 2 x 300 GB, and treat them as three separate drives set up as follows:

Drive 1: 300GB for applications
Drive 2: (Source) 300GB for "raw" digital video files prior to editing and compression
Drive 3: (Destination) ~1TB for converted/edited final digital video

The "raw" files on the source drive would mostly be deleted once they are edited and compressed. I would store other files (docs, music, photos) probably on the source drive but in the scheme of things they don't take up much space relative to video (probably around 30-40GB total).

Does this set-up make sense? Any thing you would do different? Anyone suggest I should stick with a RAID 0 setup?

PS I have a NAS on my home network for regular backups that meets my needs, so I don't need a redundant RAID setup.
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  1. Best answer
    There are two different aspects to hard drive performance:

    Transfer rate - how quickly a long stream of data can be moved to or from the drive. Important for copying large files or running programs that have to access large files (ie, Photoshop reading RAW picture files, video editing, etc.)

    Access Time (also known as "Latency" - how much time it takes from the time an I/O is requested until the data is delivered. Important when you need to read a LOT of files, such as when booting the system, loading applications, or running programs such as a browser which use files for caching.

    RAID 0 can increase transfer rates, but not access time. For video editing, the increased transfer rate is probably a benefit for you. But how much of a benefit depends on the type of files you're using, whether they're fragmented or not, etc.

    If I were you I'd add the new drive as a single, non RAID drive and compare the performance of storing files on it vs. your RAID array. It's a little bit of an apples vs. oranges comparison because the increased track density of a 1+TB drive will give it a faster transfer rate than a 300GB drive anyway, but at least it'll give you something to think about.

    The other factor is that you may still get a net "win" out of breaking up your RAID set if you can put the source files on one drive and the scratch files for your video editing suite on the other (and the destination files on the third).
  2. Thanks Sminlal, much appreciated. Had done a search on the site before posting and read a few of your other comments on this issue. Always clear and logical.

    I will get the new drive and have a play. On your last point, would you put the scratch files on the same drive as the application itself or it doesn't really matter where the application resides?
  3. It's probably better to have the scratch files on the same drive as the program files than on a drive that has the input or output files. For the most part the program file disk will only be busy while getting the program loaded into memory, whereas the other drives will be busy whenever you load or save videos.

    But if the program file drive is the OS drive, and if it's busy doing something else at the same time (downloading updates, virus scans, etc.), then you may need to re-evaluate.
  4. Thanks. I was thinking that the programs would be on the OS drive. If I am video editing I always try to keep everything else "quiet", so should be ok.
  5. Best answer selected by ivanhoe.
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