Best External Hard Drive for Video Editing
Most people aren’t even aware of how much data is processed by video editors at work. We are talking in the hundreds and thousands of gigabytes and often even a lot more than that. Filling up a 1 TB internal hard drive of some PC or laptop is a very easy task for any video editor. Aside from skills, knowledge, and good software, what video editors need is a massive amount of quickly accessible storage space. In this article, we wanted to break down the topic into several different sections for ease of decision-making (Overall, Budget Pick, and others), and pick a winner in each category to help you figure out which external drive will fit your needs best. Read on to find out more!
Best External Hard Drive for Video Editing – Overall
In this section, we didn’t take the price too much into consideration. This category is about the absolute best product overall, relatively regardless of how much the machine costs, since the focus is on the best performing external drive you can get for the job of editing videos.
Our selection for the best external hard drive for video editing (overall) is the G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE Mobile Pro SSD. Aside from the number on the bill, everything is amazing about this device. It just smashes everything else when it comes to performance and also does a great job with the design. If 379 dollars on Amazon (at the time of writing this article) isn’t too much of a stretch for you and you are looking for a really powerful device that will definitely more than satisfy your needs, this is the one you are looking for. Here is why:
The G-drive Mobile Pro is just immensely fast. And by that, we mean crazy fast: 2800 Mb/s transfer rate. That is absolutely mindblowing compared to a lower-end HDD which can work with about max 200 Mb/s speed or even a lower-end SSD for which 550 Mb/s is considered decently fast. With the transfer rate of the G-drive, you can transfer a whole terabyte of data in an insane 7 minutes. The way this connects to video editing is clearly the fact that in today’s constantly improving technological environment, video editors consider 4k video editing to be almost standard, with 5k, 6k, or even 8k videos becoming more and more frequent. With the speed of this device, you can edit 8k video files right off your SSD without a second’s worth of lag, that is to say in real-time. We might seem a bit all over the place about this product, but it truly is an insane piece of technology, which will serve any video editor well for a long time, especially if they buy the 2TB version (if they are ready to give 500-600 dollars for it, of course).
This device is also water- and dust-proof with an IP67 rating, has a protective aluminum casing which can protect it from drops from up to 3 meters, and it also has a 1000 lb crushproof rating. Though we don’t expect most of you to go swimming and then jump off cliffs with this device in your pocket, the high-tech protective features can serve you well if you spill something onto it, if your pocket gets wet or if you happen to drop your device. Seeing as this is an SSD, it is already very safe from drop-inflicted harm, but the extra steps taken by the production company make it virtually indestructible (compared to other external drives, that is).
Due to the great reviews and unbelievable specs of this device, we decided to test it. First, we connected it to our PC and tried to transfer 10 2GB movies to the external drive. That took it about 8-10 seconds, which was very impressive. Then we tried to format it and set it up with our consoles and laptop, which went smoothly as well. We also decided to test editing 8k video directly from the SSD to test the claims made on the internet about its abilities, and to our greatest delight, it did hold up. It felt the exact same as editing a video of the same caliber from the internal storage, no difference whatsoever.
So all-in-all, this device is just straight-up powerful. If you have to process videos on a daily basis and you don’t have enough space on your laptop or PC and you also have a couple of hundred dollar bills to spare on equipment which will improve your work experience, we definitely recommend the G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE Mobile Pro SSD, it is an insanely fast, sturdy and reliable device with a devilishly good design as well. Check it out on Amazon.
Best External Hard Drive for Video Editing – Budget Pick
The Toshiba (HDTB410XK3AA) Canvio Basics 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 is our best budget choice. It costs about 50 dollars max and still delivers decent enough performance. Not like real-time editing in 8k type of performance, but enough for a significant portion of video editors who don’t, in fact, handle 8k video, or if they do, they don’t have to carry the video around.
The Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB HDD is a very budget-friendly option for any video editor who just needs a quick and cheap solution to store some files they have to carry around often or who just need extra space. It is fast enough (around 500-600 Mb/s speed) for most video editing tasks and also for quick transfer of materials, though it is nowhere near any SSD, let alone the previously mentioned G-drive Pro. However, unless you do edit video in real-time that is very high-quality, this device will do perfectly well to suit most of your needs and won’t bother you too much with being slow, since, for an HDD of this price-range, the 5Gbit transfer speed is a really good deal.
The design of this device is pretty simple and straightforward; it is the absolute budget drive design. However, it isn’t ugly. It has a sleek and simplistic design that doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. Safety-wise, it is much less safe than its SSD counterparts, but that is due to the nature of the technology rather than the build quality since for a 50 dollar device, it really is impressive.
We did decide to test this gadget as well, seeing as though we aren’t fans of advocating for something that one hasn’t personally tested. We bought the device, it came in a simple Toshiba packaging with the drive, a USB 3 cable, and some basic manuals. We connected it the same way to most of our devices and consoles, and with formatting, it worked properly with all of them. We did try to edit video directly from the external drive and it went quite smoothly, though significantly slower than with an SSD or the G-Drive itself, and we couldn’t get above real-time FullHD editing, because it started getting significantly laggier with every step upwards in video quality.
The Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable HDD is a very good low-budget alternative for the people who want to have a reliable device that will safely store quite a lot of video. Again, this is the best option for not breaking the bank, so performance-wise it shouldn’t really be compared to the other devices on this list, but in its price range, it doesn’t have a competitor. If you are interested, you can buy it here on Amazon.
Other Best External Hard Drives for Video Editing
Best External Hard Drive for Video Editing – Most Popular
This is one of those products like Nike shoes on rappers or like Luis Vuitton bags on the arms of rich people: a statement piece. It is a trusty piece of equipment that stood the test of time. It is the LaCie Rugged RAID Pro. This device is quite expensive, but the design, build quality and speed make it worth it. If you check the Mac Accessories webpage, you will mostly see LaCie products listed in the Storage section, which is just another proof of its reliability, since a large company like Apple wouldn’t work together with a firm with inconsistent quality of production.
With a LaCie, you are also paying for the name and not only for the specs, so it is not as value-oriented as say a Seagate or WD drive might be, but that doesn’t mean that the specs are any bad. The Rugged RAID Pro, which is made with two separate HDD-s, has a transfer speed of around 250 Mb/s, which isn’t really a stunning statistic, the massive storage space of 4 TB makes up for it. This device would be better for a photographer who needs space to store pictures in RAW format and possibly wants to edit them from the device directly. For video editors, it is only recommended if you plan on storing a lot of videos or taking it with you to different places, but you don’t require high transfer speeds. An area where it does excel is durability, since it is shock-, dust-, and water-resistant, which makes it less susceptible to damage by coffee spillage or being damaged when dropped.
A couple of words must be said about RAID technology when speaking about this device, since it is, in fact, RAID storage. That means it is made up of multiple (in this case two) separate hard drives, which can be done for safety or performance purposes. This might be one of the reasons many professionals use this device (aside from the awesome built-in SD card reader which almost no other drive has) since it allows them to store data and back it up on the same device. They can actually be used as one disk, without the backup option and they can also be separated if one would like to use the auto-backup feature. It can be quite a setback if someone loses e.g. 300 GB of footage for a promo video, so it is understandable that many advanced video makers and editors use this device.
Another very important safety-feature which isn’t even up to the device but rather to the company producing it is recovery service. There are quite a lot of companies who do not offer recovery services together with their guarantee, in fact, that is the most common combination. However, LaCie not only includes it with the guarantee but also extends the time-frame to 3 years. So if you buy a LaCie Rugged RAID Pro and happen to have a couple of terabytes of important data on it, you can get that data recovered for free, for 3 whole years, given that the reason for the error in the first place is covered by the guarantee. This feature is just as important as the backup feature, since however safe and high-quality a product is, external drives are quite susceptible to error. Since the very reason people buy external drives is to secure important data, it is a very nice move from the LaCie company to provide more assistance to their customers, should they be one of the unfortunate people to receive a flawed device.
As with all others, we also tested this device. The premium look and feel of it were immediately apparent when we unboxed it, it seemed like just the right product to be placed next to an iMac or MacBook Pro. It felt really well-built in the hand and also quite light for its size. The orange case makes it really stand out and looks really fresh in contrast with the metallic gray body. We tested some basic data transfer (3 GB of pictures, 10 GB of video, etc.), and though after testing the G-Drive it seemed insanely slow, compared to standard HDD-s with RAID technology, it wasn’t bad at all. We would highly recommend this for anyone who has important work and likes to do that with style. Check it out on Amazon.
Best External Hard Drive for Video Editing – Most Portable
One of the main features of portable external drives is that they are – drum roll -, portable. However, this aspect is never really taken into perspective: how portable are they? A LaCie Rugged Raid Pro for example is perfectly portable if you have a bag and don’t travel far and you don’t do that on foot. So in summary, it is city-portable. But if you are looking for something that you can take elk-hunting in Alaska or on a sailboat trip around the world, the Adata SD700 is your best bet.
The Adata SD700 looks exactly like an external drive you could take such places. The small, compact, and sporty design really does scream hiking, and the military-grade shockproof rating just makes it even more suitable for these situations. It is also IP68 rated, so it is dust- and water-proof as well. You can get a 1TB version of this external SSD made for outdoor enthusiasts for around 130 USD on Amazon, which really isn’t a bad deal for someone who wants to store a lot of RAW video footage of beautiful landscapes, animals, or cities. If you like to be on the go, this device is definitely for you.
It also has really good internal specs, with the previously mentioned 1 TB storage space and also the 440 Mb/s transfer speed. To all the aforementioned safety features we should also add, that it is an SSD anyway, so that already means high safety. It is also reviewed as a very reliable device, so you don’t have to worry about losing all the videos you took while hiking in the Andes.
We have also tested this device, but we do have to just believe the reviews about taking this device to extreme climates since we didn’t have the chance to test it out that way. We did, however, manage to test some of the performance specs of the device, and also dropped it from about a meter after transferring some data onto it to check whether the data receives any damage. So first of all, the data transfer was actually quite decent. It is an SSD after all, so we did expect it to be faster than the LaCie, and the 420-440 Mb/s tempo it kept for 30 GB total data that we transferred was something we were quite satisfied with. After we dropped the Adata SD700, we didn’t end up seeing any storage, which was a relief because any damage would have blown away the good image of this heavy-duty device in our minds. Happily, it didn’t, and we can also warmly recommend this device to any customer who is interested. Check out the Adata SD700 on Amazon.