Why You Need a Solid State Drive (SSD) for Video Editing

When it comes to video editing, time is money. This is why video editors are always looking for the state of the art hardware to improve their editing workflow. And since, storage is the backbone of editing, if you don't have good storage, then your entire project can be in danger. 

So what is the difference between an external hard-drive (HDD) and an external solid state drive (SSD)? Why would I want a SDD instead of a HDD for video editing?

Here is what you need to know. 

Solid State Drives are Faster

LaCie Bolt 3 2TB External SSD. 40gb/second Transfer Rate $1,999

LaCie Bolt 3 2TB External SSD. 40gb/second Transfer Rate $1,999

Compared to HDDs, SSDs can transfer data between 300mb/s - 40gb/s (depends on the drive) and HDD's are much slower, between 20mb/s - 220mb/s.

Why is the SSD faster? Well, an SSD stores data on microchips, while hard-drives store data on a rotating platter, and using magnetism to read and write data. So every time you request to store or process data on an HDD, it will spin to read it. While, SSD, is simply opening a file instantly because it has its own processor and uses flash based memory to process data.

Today, most laptops and computers use SSDs for the internal storage, but external SSDs are becoming more and more popular.

So if you are a Video Editor, an SDD means that your software can quickly process, open and render files that is stored on your SSD. 

Solid State Drives Are Quieter & Smaller

Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 2TB. $737.99, 540mb/s transfer rate.

Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 2TB. $737.99, 540mb/s transfer rate.

Simply by the nature of their design, HHD will always be louder because they must spin to retrieve date. SSD's have no so much mechanism, so there is no sound. This is especially important if you need a quiet space to record audio -- with a loud HDD near by it's not going to work!

SSDs are smaller in size and easily portable! But they currently are only available in smaller storage sizes than HDD. For example, they are available in 128GB, 500GB, 1TB or 2TB. It's rare to find any SSDs on the consumer market larger than that 2TB. 

So if you need one drive with one than 2TB of space, you may need to stick with HDD until SSD gets up to 10TB in the consumer market. But you can always consider getting multiple 2TB drives and make them backups of each other to ensure safety of your footage. 

Solid State Drives Are Safer

Unlike HDDs, SSDs cannot be erased by magnets because the data is not written with a magnet. Also, an SSD can live beyond the editor! Because of their flash memory design, the data can last easily over 100 or 200 years. Compare that to a HDD, which has a typical life-space of 5-10 years. But of course, they are more likely to fail sooner than that because of their platter and magnetic spin hard-ware.

But, Solid State Drives Are More Expensive

G-Technology 1TB USB Type-C Mobile SSD. $349.95, 560 MB/s transfer speed. 

G-Technology 1TB USB Type-C Mobile SSD. $349.95, 560 MB/s transfer speed. 

Storage Review notes that SSD can cost about $0.35-$1.50 per gigabyte and hard-drives costs $0.05 per gigabyte. This is why hard-drives are far more saturated in the market, because they can afford them. 

For example, the cheapest SSD you can find on the market runs for about $350 for 1TB (and typically the cheapest has the slowest transfer speed of the SSD spectrum), and the cheapest HDD you can find is $49.99 for 1TB. 

So what do you think? Do you think it's worth it to have faster speed, multiple SSD drives and pay a little more? Or would you want to pay less and purchase larger HDDs to store data.  Another option would be to buy a large 10-20TB HDD system as your archive and backup, and use an external SDD to work on your currently projects from.

Let me know what drive setup you prefer in a comment below!