Good way to set it up?

In this video I ask the question if I have my disk setup for my new machine configured correctly. I am trying to get rid of the disk drive bottleneck with different SSD’s and HDD’s.

If you are interested in Harm Millaard‘s post on the Adobe forums, check out some of his most popular ones and the one I am referring to in the video.

Again, I am not a computer genus, there is so much to learn.

Let me know your thoughts.

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  • Dave,
    I use a “similar” system where my media is stored on a RAID 0 (2x2TB HDD) as drive V: (Video) and a separate 1TB X: (Export) drive for exports, but not Page File. I also have a 256GB SSD as my C: drive which is blazingly fast. Where did you find info on the Page File storage location and why to do that?

  • my setup is pretty close to yours. for my OS and programs i use a ssd. for my projects and working data i have a raid0 config with 4 hdd’s.

    my swap- and cache file drive is also a seperate ssd.

    for me it’s the best way to split all these different read and writing processes to seperated drives to maximize speed and performance and overall system stability

  • I highly recommend that you change your E drive to an HDD. No need to spend so much money on an SSD of that size when the performance isn’t going to matter that much. What WILL affect your performance more is if it’s on SATA II or III.

    So, I also highly recommend that you go to SATA III (6GB/sec) so that you never have to guess if it is causing a bottleneck. With all lines equally wide, you can determine if the disk is the problem without guessing if the throughput is the problem. This may require you change your motherboard (and I’m not sure why you are not upgrading that as well).

    Also, depending on your motherboard, it may be VERY easy to set up a RAID. On many mobos, you follow a few steps and it’s done and then you wonder why you waited so long. You should really do this for your media files. And, just an FYI, for read only, you can use an eSATA just fine for that if you want to put more disks internally.

  • What you have there is quite a good configuration. And in generally we always know the bottleneck issues arises from our HDD/SDD… I’d recommend a Raid0 configuration for your media files, drive d. What raid0 means is that it combines 2 or more HDD to work as a whole together. So what it does basically is writing each consecutive 1s and 0s two the HDD in the raid array. In layman’s term, the more HDD setup in a raid0 configuration the faster it gets in reading and writing (2hdd = 1.8x faster… 3hdd = 2.7x faster… 4hdd = 3.6x faster) But the cons of having a raid0 array is that you increase the percentage/chances of facing HDD malfunction, but it’s unlikely to happen since HDDs are getting more reliable by the day! πŸ™‚

    You can scrap the SSD from you drive E and replace it with a normal HDD, for now. Reason being is that you will not gain any advantage by using your SSD as your drive e because it’s read and write speed is a lot faster than your Drive D. To illustrate my point, When you’re exporting your project, your CPU can pull 130Mb/s worth of data from your drive D and (goes thru conversion encoding yadayada) and writes back 130Mb/s worth of data max to your Drive E, logically.

    In the long term you can remain the SSD in drive e since you’d probably be getting a raid0/1/5 configuration for your drive D πŸ™‚

    Drive F seems fine πŸ™‚

    RAID0 = no redundancy, best read/write performance
    RAID1 = Redundancy, mirrors all data, no performance gain.
    RAID5 = Partial redundancy, slight read/write performance, needs 3 HDD or kore(so if one HDD is KO, your data is still safe with the remaining 2 HDD)
    RAID10 = Redundancy mirror data, read/write performance gain only if you purchase a RAID Card πŸ™‚

    In short, your initial blueprint of your future HDD/SDD configuration is ediquate for your work πŸ™‚ what you probably can do is have a Raid0 configuration for your Drive D, and “ShortSpindle” your drive F, for best
    Cost effective! πŸ™‚

    I recommend you to get a dedicated raid card to get the best for your system πŸ™‚ reduce the “shock and awe” for your motherboard lol, plus, it’d be a lot easier to work with πŸ™‚

    If you DO plan to go into a raid array configuration in the near future, I recommend you to set your SATA mode to Raid, instead of IDE or AHCI before you install windows and all that jazz. To avoid going thru truckload of research to install a raid0 configuration after initially setting your rig up to AHCI mode…. Unless you don’t mind reinstalling your OS/Applications/yadayada or fiddling thru your system registry πŸ™‚

    “ShortSpindle” (I think that’s the correct term?) for your drive f would boost your read and write performance by a bit,if not more, but downside you’d have to lose hundreds of GB worth of your HDD’s capacity. What it does is that, let’s take a 1TB HDD for example, if you “short” it you’d be only using 500Gb of it, leaving the 500Gb being ignored. Hence, your HDD’s
    Spindle/head wouldn’t need to travel towards the outer/farther part of the whole physically disk itself, in theory/practice it boost reads and writes speed πŸ™‚

    Ok I hope my inside knowledge of this would help a bit. I’m no tech geek, but at least it’s all common sense, I hope πŸ™‚

    Oh btw, my iPhone sure gotta hate me for composing those LOOONG comment πŸ™‚ hehehhe cheers!

    Vince Cheong

  • Which operating system are you using Windows 7 or Windows 8? You may have stated, but I missed it.

    (64 bit)
    Windows 8 can handle 32GB RAM and higher
    Windows 7 …only versions Professional, Enterprise & Ultimate can handle 32GB or higher.

    Memory Limits for Windows Releases

    Just wanted to make sure …good luck with the build. Looking forward to the next few videos.

  • SSD for OS, Velociraptor 1 TB read media
    Velociraptor 1 TB render media
    Sounds cool, I’ll go for it.

  • Looks great,

    Similar to my setup.

    I would backup or make an image like you said of the “C” drive regularly. It’s a pain to reload, register, and configure all your software at once.

  • Hi Dave

    I went down a similar route last year trying to optimise HD access speed for Premiere Pro. I put my OS and apps on an SSD and my source media on a second SSD. Exports and project files were stored on a 2TB Corsair Black HD (Sata II).

    The SSD’s had read/write speeds of around 200 MB/s with the HD around 140 MB/s.

    Everything worked fine but to be honest editing HD projects in Premiere with up to three HD streams worked equally well with everything stored on a single HD. I decided the complication of having media spread over three drives wasn’t worth the hassle in the end.

    Since then I’ve upgraded to an SAS based 24TB RAID enclosure that holds everything except my OS and apps. The RAID reads and writes at over 700 MB/s and provides redundancy so it’s a lot faster than my previous setup. When working in Premiere there’s not really a noticeable difference other than project loads media faster.

    The moral of the story is that although it’s great to know there’s no bottleneck, I’d be interested to see if you actually see an improvement in using premiere as a result. I’m on a Mac so it might be that your windows based software utilises the throughput better than the Mac version.

    I look forward to reading your findings, I’m sure the CPU and GPU will give a big performance boost but I’m not so sure you’ll find the drive to be as much of a bottleneck as you expect.

    best regards


  • I forgot to mention that part of the reason I didn’t see a big difference was that I was editing compressed media codecs like Canon XF and DSLR footage. Premiere doesn’t handle those in the same way as something like Apple ProRess.

    When you play back DSLR footage for instance you won’t see a steady stream of data being delivered from the drive, Premiere will cache it up front and play it back from RAM. ProRes on the other hand streams in as it’s played back and in that case you can easily monitor the bandwidth changes as the streams are being delivered.

    A single Prores 422 HD file streams at less than 20MB/s so unless you’re streaming a lot of them a decent drive will easily handle a few streams.


  • @Paul Joy, thanks for all the great input. I am looking at my diagram and thinking it is getting a little to complicated, sometimes it is best to keep it simple.

    700 MB/s sounds awesome.

  • Hey Dave,

    With the CPU/GPU combo, you should be cruising along smoothly. Should be much faster than our current over-priced HP workstations! About all I can add is that I have never had a separate drive for page files or renders, but have almost always had my projects & media files on a Raid 0. They were set up that way when we bought them – probably overkill for most projects, but nice when you have lots of footage on the timeline all at once.

    Don’t afraid to set up a Raid – it’s actually fairly easy these days. Strap 2 SATA drives together in a Raid 0 and you’ll likely be fast enough for most basic DSLR projects. Now if you ever need to feed multiple high bit-rate streams on a regular basis, it might be time to consult a specialist. But then you’ll likely be billing rates that will allow the pay someone to worry about this stuff for you!

    Good luck with the build!

  • Mine slightly different:
    C: OS SSD
    D: Other files, music, downloads, small installs I don’t want taking up my OS SSD (HDD)
    G: Media Cache (ssd)
    M: Media Files (Raid 0 HDDs Sata6)
    N: Project Files (Raid 0 HDDs Sata3 – old)

    My files are backed up to a service each night and occasionally I’ll use a USB3 7200rpm external drive w/FreeFileSync to move projects between my laptop and this workstation. I also do backups to external HDDs.

    Granted this goes above what would be needed for a standard DSLR project but on occasion when you get RED or other types of footage, or work with sequences of files in DPX or EXR, separation really helps.

  • @Dave – I’m not much of a hardware guy these days, but a quick Google tells me that PCH is Intel (is it a chipset protocol?), while Marvell seems to make their own PCIE controller chips. I found a benchmark site comparing 2 different Intels (X58 & P55 chipsets) vs Marvell 9123 & 9128. Intel is a bit faster. I would trust Intel to have updated drivers down the road. I don’t much about Marvell. I had always used Intel boards when building editors for Matrox based systems, since they were always on the approved hardware list.

    One last thing that I think has already been mentioned – be sure to back up your media regularly. If you lose 1 drive in a Raid 0, you lose all your data – I learned that lesson the hard way!

  • Hi Dave,

    I would do the raid configuration now if you think you want to do it at all. If you do the raid configuration, buy extra hard drives from the same manufacture at the same time you buy your primary dives for the same reason you do not want to mix ram manufactures, it minimizes issue if you need to replace a failed drive.


    Erik Salmon

  • Hi Dave,

    i wouldn’t use SSDs (or a SSD-Raid like mentioned on youtube) for swap/paging because of their limited write-operations. Seems almost like burning money to me (at least at their current price tag).
    Besides that RAM is still way faster than SSDs – so performance wise you could buy more RAM and turn off swapping/paging completely (or create a RAMDisk, if you need a really fast storage).

    I would consider something like that:

    C: SSD (System & Software | turn of swapping & hibernation)
    D: HDD (Data, no Raid, if you need it faster: Raid 0/Raid 5)
    E: HDD (Internal backup of D, no Raid)

    (F: HDD (External backup / NAS-Server))

    Keep in mind, that Raid 0 has a higher risk of failures. As soon as one drive crashes, everything is gone.
    Raid at first sounds great (nerd-factor), but you should better think twice, if you really need it. I have used Raid 0 and Raid 1 in the past (among others), Raid 0 was kind of cool because of the performance gain but the “security” of Raid 1 wasn’t really as usefull as i thought it would be (ever restored crashed Raid-Systems?! …).

    A new system is a great reason to think about your backup-strategy (how often, where, etc.).

    Whats most important? Your data!
    So for that internal backup (E) you could use something like rsync (also available for windows). Just create a complete “clone” of D, no complex “versioned”-backups (like daily, weekly, monthly steps – had that & never really needed it).
    That external Backup could be done less frequent. You could use a Network-Storage or an external drive (eSata/USB) and keep that drive in a different place (not right beside your pc! :D).

    Besides your data, you should consider to backup C as well. SSDs have become more robust, but they are still not on the same level hdds are (get a proven ssd, something like the Samsung 8xx / Crucial M4 …).

    PS: You backed up your data before, i know ;), but as i said, a new system often is a great possibiliy to think about it again (scary how many people don’t – but it works & is convenient as long as nothing happens)

  • Dave,

    I edit RED Scarlet 4k raw footage from a single 3TB Barracuda drive (via USB 3). Those have up to 190MB/s read/write speeds and can keep them even when rather full.
    Nowadays we can often get away without Raid 0.

  • Btw

    don’t know if it has been mentioned, for Premiere Pro or AE you want to have a fast, rather large disc cache. I dedicated a 256GB Samsung 830 SSD just for Adobe media/disc cache.
    This helps keep the full speed of Premiere (and/or AE).

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