Mac Applications forum

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i-Movie 09 and External Hard Disk

by Peter Mowatt / April 27, 2009 11:37 PM PDT

I would like to use an external HD for my i-Movie 09 Projects.
I will buy a 1TB disk. Some of these have only USB 2, but some have USB2, FIrewire 400 and 800 (more expensive of course!).
Is there any real advantage for my purpose, in having FW400 & 800?

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The advantage is "the future"
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 28, 2009 2:56 AM PDT

But you may have to live with what you have today.

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Connectivity options
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 28, 2009 6:25 AM PDT

While Firewire is the connectivity option of choice, some Macs, MacBooks, no longer have Firewire as an option. It would not be too much of a stretch to see Firewire available only as an option on the Mac Pro series.
Of the three options, FW800 has the fastest transfer rates but FW400 and USB, in that order of preference, can handle your iMovie09 projects quite easily.
USB 2.0 has a higher, on paper, transfer rate than FW400 but usually only achieves this in bursts while FW can maintain a constantly high rate of transfer.
This is good for moving stuff around but not crucial for your purposes.
I recently got a 1TB Seagate Desktop USB2.0 drive and was surprised by its speed. No match for the FW800 but up there with the FW400.


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iMovie and external drive
by BeatleMegaFan / April 30, 2009 12:30 PM PDT

As mentioned above, USB will probably last you a lot longer considering Apple is dropping FireWire 400 support from its machines. You can only get 800 these days on the more "professional" models. FireWire 800 is very fast for moving gigabytes of files for the most part. However, since I have more USB drives around, I keep all of my video on those. USB is quite tolerable when moving a couple of hi-res videos, even when going through a hub. I've had no problem copying files out of iTunes, Final Cut Express, or iMovie.

If you plan on moving iMovie files around, be careful with those project files. iMovie '08 is very specific when storing external video files, but naming a new folder called "iMovie Events" should solve that, according to the program's built-in help section. I haven't upgraded to '09, so I can't say the same for the latest version should you have it.

Bottom line: if you have the extra money and a capable Mac, FireWire is a good way to go, but know that FireWire support may be dropped in the not too distant future. Apple's trying to go with what's favored by the masses, and with the purported speeds of the new USB 3.0 specs, can't blame them too much. USB 3.0 will have up to (theoretically) 4.8Gbps. That's pretty fast. Not much has been said about FireWire 3200, on the other hand. In the long-term, USB will be worth it in terms of compatibility.


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