SSD vs Hybrid vs RAM upgrade - video editing

Discussion in 'Hardware Discussion & Support' started by Sboarder1964, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. Sboarder1964

    Sboarder1964 New Member

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    Hello all, I'm a recreational video editor looking how to best invest ~$100 towards my new laptop. I recently purchased an HP Envy 17 without any HDD or RAM upgrades since those are usually the easiest/cheapest to do yourself.

    Specs:
    Code:
    [SIZE="2"]HP ENVY 17t Quad
    • Windows 8 64
    • 4th gen Intel Core i7-4700MQ CPU
    • NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M GPU
    • 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    • 1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive[/SIZE]
    Bare in mind that I'm a complete noob with recent technology; 2 days ago I didn't know what an SSD was. Through my research, I found out that Sony Vegas's main bottleneck is the CPU, but it could still benefit from having more RAM or using an SSD as a "scratch disk" (for caching video and project files I think, remember I'm a noob). Which option could benefit me the most?

    1) SSD/HDD Hybrid - Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB 7200RPM ($100)
    2) SSD - Samsung 840 w/ 120GB ($90) or Crucial m4 64GB ($80)
    3) 16 GB RAM ($110-$130)

    -----------------
    My thoughts: At first, I thought the Hybrid would be the way to go, since I could also stand to benefit from the 7200RPM aspect. However, there is a 2nd HDD bay, and the 1 TB HDD is already paid for. I really don't need more than 250 GB of storage, let alone 1.75 TB. Also, Judas had a really informative post in the "Discuss: Hybrid drives vs SSDs" topic (link below). Basically, for the same cost, SSD is the way to go unless you really need the storage (for which I already have the 1 TB HDD). He also touted up the Samsung 840 SSD, which is by far the cheapest I've found for the capacity. Another downside to the hybrid drive is the NAND would essentially be reserved for start-up and program launches, so there wouldn't be much benefit to the video editor?

    -----------
    "Links" (hyperlinks not allowed < 15 posts.)
    Thread - hardwareheaven.com/hardware-discussion-support/221172-discuss-hybrid-drives-vs-ssds.html#post1483293
    Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB 7200RPM - amazon.com/Seagate-Momentus-7200RPM-Hybrid-ST750LX003/dp/B00691WMJG/ref=sr_1_9?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1371678628&sr=1-9
    Samsung 840 w/ 120GB - amazon.com/Samsung-120GB-internal-Solid-MZ-7TD120BW/dp/B009NHAF06/
    Crucial M4 64 GB - amazon.com/Crucial-2-5-Inch-Solid-State-CT064M4SSD1/dp/B006M76GWG/
    Crucial 8GBx2 DDR3 Notebook Memory - amazon.com/Crucial-PC3-10600-204-Pin-Notebook-CT2KIT102464BF1339/dp/B005LAYH3K/
     
  2. Ishank

    Ishank New Member

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    i suggest you to go with a faster ssd. hybrids will be expensive and you need a lot of ram if you want to use ram as a disk. 16 gb is good enough for all your needs.
     
  3. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    Hybrid: they are useless for any kind of editing, because the SSD portion of the drive is strictly for cache, and it's not accessible in any way by the consumer. By this I mean you can't tell Windows to use the SSD portion for one purpose while using the mechanical side for another. The only real benefit of having a hybrid drive is boot speed of consistently used apps, including Windows, as the drive will cache the files it sees/logs as being the most accessed. It learns as you use the system, and caches those files to make things quicker for the next time.

    SSD: they are great at loading Windows and apps quicker... plus yes, using it as a scratch disc is a great idea, but you wouldn't get as big of a performance boost from buying one over more RAM. Plus SSDs have a limited life span, and while it can be quite a while before the average consumer will even need to be bothered paying attention to it, using it as a scratch disc where you are reading and writing large amounts of data to it... that's a whole different ball game. The write lifespan of the drive in that situation is greatly reduced. Also, if you do go this route, be sure to buy SSDs based on MLC NAND as they usually have a far great write lifespan than TLC based drives.

    RAM: is going to be your biggest performance gain as far as editing is concerned. The more RAM you have, the happier your editing apps will be.. at least to a certain level. I would go for broke, and get the maximum your laptop can handle, that being 16GB (2x8GB sticks).

    IMO, go for the RAM first, and then grab yourself that Hybrid 7200 RPM drive to replace the 1TB 5400 RPM drive as the primary disc, and use the 1TB 5400 RPM drive for storage/output. Or better yet, grab an SSD to use as the primary drive (using it just for the apps/programs), and the 1TB 5400 RPM drive for storage/output/Windows page file.

    Edit: of interest....

    One good thing from having so much RAM available (at least as far as editing goes) is that you can set aside a portion of that as a RAM disk (up to 4GB using the freeware version of DataRAM, more if you purchase the licensed version), and use that as a scratch disk. A scratch disk situated on a RAM disk will smoke an SSDs read/write speeds 10 times over. However, there is a glaring catch: if you lose power, or even just shut your machine down, you lose the RAM disk, and any data that was in it. So, if you have spent a couple hours working on a project, and lose power... kiss that work goodbye unless you've been periodically saving to a physical drive. That is unless you use a program to backup the RAM disk periodically for you, or one that backs up the RAM disk just before shutting down the system (some RAM disk creation software will do this for you, such as RamDisk Plus, but it costs $80). If you lose power, or shut the machine down, you don't lose all that work you did when you power back up because the software will recreate the RAM disk, and dump the contents of the old one back on automatically.. if you so chose.
     
  4. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    It depends on your usage/editing you are going to do.
    Recreational video editing means obviously not a pro, but, how many hours of editing per week?

    An SSD is a good idea if you don't mind for cost, or expect much boost. SSD have limited write lifespan so using it as a scratch disk, while you will get some boost in speed (not THAT much), it is only a matter of time before it has issues.

    A hybrid is not that much better for this either.

    A mechanical 7200 drive should do just fine.

    16GB of RAM are probably useless for you too. You simply don't need so much RAM unless you have some huge project. I am not even sure if Sony's Vegas can even take advantage of that much RAM. Is it even 64bit?
    Extra RAM should help with making it easier to be able to do more stuff with your computer while rendering, but for most stuff, even 8GB are enough.
     
  5. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    He's got the HP Envy 17t Quad (probably the 17t-j000 CTO based on the specs). That means, max, it can take 16GB (2 dimms).

    Sony Vegas Pro 12's minimum required amount of RAM is 4GB, and believe me, it does not run well with that much, at least 11 doesn't (I have tried). The recommended is 8GB, and 11, at least, seems to run fine on that. 12GB seems to be the ceiling, but rethinking things I think you're right, Truseft. The RAM might not be the best "first" thing to do atm because I just realized something: even if he tries my idea of a RAM disk, pretty much all the rendering he does will be done on 1 drive.. the same drive that one would assume all his assets, Windows page file, and scratch/tmp files are going to be on. The hard drive is going to thrashing like crazy. So, optimally, having a second drive would allow him to put his programs, all his assets, Windows page file, and scratch/tmp files on one drive, and then render his output to the second drive.
     
  6. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    I have tried Vegas up to 10, so I can't comment on 12.

    Oh, no question about it. If he wants good results, he will have to have a second drive.
    If he can remove the optical drive and insert a secondary drive dedicated to video editing, that would help A LOT.
    Else, I guess he could use USB3.0 though I have no personal experience with it.
     
  7. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    I'm more inclined to suggest a nice sized SSD as the primary and then use the 1tb drive for storage/scratch and such.

    upgrading from 8gb to 16gb can always be done later....
     
  8. Sboarder1964

    Sboarder1964 New Member

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    Thank you Tipstaff and Trustleff for the very informative posts. I've used Sony Vegas 10 wtih 4 GB of RAM and it was not pleasant. I don't use it often, perhaps 15 hours/month. You are correct, it is the 17t Quad 17t-j000 CTO WHICH HAS A SECOND HDD BAY!! :w00t:

    So it looks like a second storage disk is the way to go. The 120GB Samsung 840 SSD I posted uses TLC NAND unfortunately. So if I go the SSD as a scratch disk route, my $100 budget keeps me in the 64GB range (which I think is ok).

    Again, capacity is not a factor. Given the lower frequency of video editing and a 64GB SSD with MLC NAND, would it still not be safe to use it for booting OS, apps, and as a scratch disk? If it helps, I'd rather err on the side of caution. If not, and I end up using it only for OS/apps, would I be smart in opting for the "lower quality" higher capacity SSD? I've read that increasing capacity on an SSD has a similar effect as RAIDing HDDs, but that may be totally wrong.

    Since opinions have changed, and I've brought a bit more info to the table, could I ask for another round of your thoughts? I think these would be my choices:

    • smaller capacity SSD (Crucial m4 64GB - $80)
    • larger but cheap SSD - (Samsung 840 w/ 120GB - $90)
    • 7200 rpm SSHD (Seagate Momentus XT 750GB - $100)
    • ?? 7200 rpm HDD ?? (WD Scorpio Black 250GB - $55)
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013
  9. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    Trusteft. I didn't leave. :)

    Having a single drive, SSD or otherwise, for everything, is.....not the right way. As a temp solution, perhaps, for good, no.

    64GB for everything, OS, programs, raw footage, scratch disk, is not enough.
    128GB might not be enough either, depending on the files , size, you have both before and after editing.

    I highly recommend to have separate drives.

    As for capacity for SSDs, Bare in mind that the smaller the SSD, the small its lifespan is due to the write limitations.

    What would I do if I had to pick only one drive? I would get a Seagate 7200 mechanical drive.

    What I believe is the best....get two drives, perhaps both mechanical drives, and use the first for OS and programs, and the second for editing etc.
     
  10. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    Something to consider:

    1) The "actual" formatted size of a 64GB SSD is more like 59-60GB.
    2) Windows 8 (just like 7) will use about 35GB of space for a "final" install (by final I mean that it includes all updates, plus your Windows page file). The entire system (Windows 8 plus any recover disk partitions, if any, and a couple applications) can bring that up to 40GB (that's where my laptop sits).

    What this means for you (as Trusteft pointed out) is that due to space limitations you will probably have to keep your assets (raw footage and what not) on the bigger drive, and use that same drive for your output. You will essentially still be in the same situation, just that you will be able to boot Windows and Vegas up faster.

    Your best options imo:

    1) buy the Seagate hybrid drive, clone your current drive to it, and use that as your primary hard drive, and the old drive as the secondary.

    Note: not all of their hybrid drives are 7200 RPM. You can still find the old ones which are mostly 7200 RPM like the ST750LX003 you linked to, but all the brand new models coming out are broken down into 2 sections: retail kits (STBD1000400, STBD750100, STAN500100) which are 7200RPM, while OEM, meaning bare drive only (ST1000LM014, ST500LM000) are 5400RPM.

    or

    2) buy a second standard mechanical drive for your output of whatever speed you want.

    In regards to the speed, the faster the RPM the more heat the drive generates, and the more power it uses, so if you if you are going to be using the laptop on battery a lot, a slower drive might be better overall for you.
     
  11. Sboarder1964

    Sboarder1964 New Member

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    My mistake Trusteft! :wtf: I'm not sure if you got it from my first post, but I do already have a 1 TB 5400 drive that comes with the system, and I'm just looking how to best compliment it. I'd be some kind of moron to think I could fit everything (including raw HD footage) on a 120GB or even worse 64GB drive.

    This should have been in the first post, but other primary uses would be web browsing and MS Office use. I'm really surprised with the general lack of support for SSD. Judas what do you believe would be a "reasonable size"?

    -----

    All right, going with a 2nd HDD (7200 rpm, hybrid) unless I get more feedback. I'll still research it a bit more before making any purchase. Thanks for all your help.
     
  12. mkk

    mkk Well-Known Member

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    A 120GB Samsung 840 SSD whould be better from a wear perspective than a 60/64GB drive even factoring in TLC memory, since the latter most get filled quite easily. The smaller a SSD is the lower its practical write performance will also be, a fact that some manufacturers specs often hide. The Samsung 840's also draw very little power even compared to most SSD's, and are only 7mm thick so they fit well with laptop use. More and more laptops don't have room for 9mm drives although I guess yours should. Might be wise to throw HP a question about that if there isn't some available specs on that second drive slot.

    I might consider waiting a little with the upgrade though, to get a drive in around the 250GB size. If you're going to use it over a long period of time with write duty then it makes sense both for performance and longevity to get a good sized SSD. Prices might not drop that much over this year though, so it's a question of being able to save up or not.
     
  13. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    If you are going to use the new hybrid for C drive and the 5400 drive for scratch disk, fine. I wouldn't recommend using the hybrid for scratch.
     
  14. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    Since we're just talking Vegas here some of the setup is a little different than with when you have to consider other editing apps to, or just something like Premiere Pro. Things are actually relatively quite simple, in fact.

    Vegas uses the TEMP locations set by Window's Environment Variables listings (although I can't recall if it's the TEMP and/or TMP location for the user which is the C:\Users\user name\Appdata\Local\TEMP, or the ones for the system which is C:\Windows\TEMP). This, for all intent, is the "scratch" locations. Optimally you'd want these to be on a different drive from your work, and since hard drive bottle-necking doesn't occur as much with Vegas as it does with things like Premiere Pro, having the assets, "prerendered" directory, and output all on a secondary drive should be ok. I've done it without issues. Knowing that, one would think you could simply just grab an SSD, put Windows and Vegas on it, and use the secondary drive for everything else. Problem is space, and rendering.

    To the first part: General rule of thumb with Vegas is that you have to have, at minimum, 2 times the amount of temporary space than that of your project size. So, if you have raw video that is 20GB it's a good idea to have 40GB of temporary space for it work with. Since the space required varies, being that it could be less or much more, to be safe, right off the bat a 64GB SSD is NOT recommended for Sborders setup. "Minimum" he should be looking at is 128GB.

    To the second part: rendering (outputting) to a second drive IS faster than doing it on the same drive. With small files, rendering to the same drive isn't a big deal (we're talking a difference of seconds), but once you get into larger projects that gap in rendering times will increase when done on the same drive, but also other issues start cropping up such as crashing. So, not only is it faster, but it's also safer to output to a second drive.

    Anyways, a 128GB SSD for Windows, applications, Page File, and TEMP files, with the 1TB drive for everything else would work, but I would recommend against it because Sboarder would be limiting himself space wise, having to keep everything on the 1TB drive. By going with a hybrid 7200RPM drive for the main drive you get the benefit of SSD caching, you get plenty of space for storing data (ie. the raw files/assets) along with the reliability of a mechanical drive, and your rendering/output will be much faster when doing so to the second drive.

    @Sboarder: if you do decide to go with an SSD consider increasing your budget to $130-$150, and go with either the 128GB Crucial M4 (NOT the newer M5/M500 mind you), or the 128GB Samsung 840 Pro as they both use MLC NAND. Otherwise I'd go with my original suggestion of the hybrid drive for the main drive (or a regular mechanical drive even).
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
  15. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    my opinion is kind of on the fence... both the Seagate 750gb as well as the 128gb Samsung 840 or /840 pro (pro would be better obviously), as the primary os drive and programs seem good.

    I do know that windows 8 after everything is installed, updates and etc provided you disable the page file that windows 8 will automatically create, usually only takes up about 20GB. Still even with a 64gb ssd, this is a bit of a Closter phobic fit for most.

    I'm still mostly leaning towards the SSD for the primary (128gb minimum) and the 5400rpm 1tb drive you already have for the secondary. The nice thing about this arrangement specially for laptops aside from what has already been mentioned, is that when you aren't making heavy use of the 1TB drive, you should be getting very very good battery life while using an SSD as the standard drive can remain spun down.
     
  16. Gastrian

    Gastrian New Member

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    I'm self teaching myself how to use Sony Vegas 11 at the moment and before you discuss upgrades its probably best to be a bit more detailed about what you want to achieve from your projects and also how you work.

    As an experiment I tried stitching my Dad's LOTR Fellowship of the Ring Extended edition into one movie file...it took up almost 150GBs of space, 80GBs worth of Blu-Ray rips, 40GB+ of temp space and a final output file of 32GB. Of course since then I've found better programs for that as well as learned more about the settings available but I also work on three projects at a time and batch process them so working space is more important to me than speed. That of course is me and how I'm figuring things out and may not be the same as yours.
     
  17. Sboarder1964

    Sboarder1964 New Member

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    As already mentioned, it's pretty light use. I'm typically rendering vids 5-10 minutes in length, which took my older system 1-2 hours to render. It'd be nice to accomplish other tasks during that process. I don't go crazy with the effects, but I do sometimes use multiple video and audio tracks (for a split screen or picture in picture effect).

    Thanks for all the info. I will consider re-prioritizing funds for a "larger" SSD, otherwise I'll take the cheap route of a faster/hybrid HDD.
     
  18. guccikaine

    guccikaine New Member

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    Hello everyone, I bought this same laptop and also added the Nvidia Gefore GT 740m GPU, 8 gb ram, and I opted to get the hybrid 1tb drive installed. However when I chose the option to upgrade my ram from 8 gb to 16 gb I had a dialog box appear saying I was unable to go any higher than 8 gb of ram due to the hybrid drive. My question is, is this true or was HP incorrect? Is it possible for me to add an additional 8 gb of ram to my laptop?
     
  19. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    I have no idea how the HDD, hybrid or not, could have anything to do with the RAM.
    The laptop/motherboard might not support more than 8GB of RAM, but that's a different thing.
     
  20. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    There is absolutely zero reason why adding a hybrid hardrive would impact physical ram and prevent you from installing over 8gb.....


    You might want to contact hp about it because they messed up.
     

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