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NVMe M.2 vs SATA SSD vs HDD: Faster Photo & Video Editing with a Hard Drive Upgrade?

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New m.2 hard drives are MUCH FASTER… but they’re also EXPENSIVE. Are they worth it to make photo & video editing quicker? In this video, we discuss the …


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  1. Im using an ssd for my OS and software, and a 1tb hdd for storage (photos,videos, excess programs, etc.) And LR is quite slow when using it, but thats also because its filled nearly to the max. A nearly completetly empty drive would be much faster.

  2. 1:50 "you can see the faster drives DECREASE performance" (shows graph of faster drives increasing performance)

    IM only commenting this because you always mention the idiots who post this crap ROFL

    pushes glasses up face

  3. Tony you are not giving any parameters of your measurements and that's not very scientific. I think your numbers are dead wrong mostly because you present SSD performance to be better of M.2. The problem is that there are so many M.2 connectors and so many M.2 drives that you can easily make a mistake. For example: There are some motherboard M.2 implementations that are actually SATA to M.2. converters and this means that you will definitely have same or worse results compared to SATA since the bottleneck/limit is still 550MB/sec. Additionally, there are many slow M.2. drives, drives with the same transfer speed as SATA drives! If you want to make a REAL M.2. benchmark, go buy a decent motherboard that utilizes a PCIe x4 M.2. connector and connect it with a decent M.2. drive like Samsung 960 Evo or even Patriot Hellfire M2. In that case, you will discover huge performance differences on storage intensive tasks. Also have in mind that SSDs are limited to AHCI interface while M.2. uses the more efficient NVMe.

  4. Tony, I am sure you know this, but it wasn't obvious in your video. So here I spell it out. M.2 is referred to the form factor of the SSD, the physical size and connectors. (the gum stick looking like form factor). SATA is referred to the interface protocol of the SSD. M.2 SSD can operate with SATA interface as well, you can tell by looking at the notch at the connector. In fact, most M.2 today are still in SATA interface. Some high end M.2 incorporate an advanace interface called NMVe. That is where the interface performance will increase dramatically, like what you have shown at the beginning. So there is zero reason to go from SATA to M.2 SATA. From SATA to M.2 NVMe, you will only gain meaningful performance in very large capacity drives.

  5. Be careful, there are lots of variabels with that new tech. Make sure you get the right drive for your system or it might not work. Lots of things can go wrong, it is not as easy as getting a regular 2.5 SSD and connecting it to the system. Check Wikipedia and other sources.

  6. Lightroom and Adobe are the bottlenecks. Lightroom is painful in real-world use for professionals. Anyone know a proper alternative? I'm tired of waiting for Adobe to get their hardware integration going.

  7. Question: how fast does my external Lightroom catalog drive need to be? Is USB 3 enough? Or should I consider USB 3.1 gen 2/ TB2 SSD / TB3 SSD?

    I understand an internal drive would be best but I like the idea of being able to have my catalog on a portable drive

  8. NVMe vs standard SSD won't notice the difference in everyday use if you don't have the #1 OS that can take advantage of it #2 software programs that can take advantage of them! Actually, can have a performance hit using M.2 if the applications aren't aware of the new algorithms used for the NVMe drives.
    Which it sounds like you've discovered in your testing so good job!

  9. Seagate 3TB HDD are garbage. HGST is the best. I have 8 SG 3TB and 6 have failed in 1 year. I have 8 HGST drive and none have failed in 2 years. Check Backblaze article on HDD reliability.

    Run a RAID4 with 4 x 4TB and your read and write speeds are around 600 mbs. Run 4x1TB SSD in a RAID0 configuration and you can get 1400 mb/s read and write.

  10. Were you running the Operating system off the same drive as the Photos? Its really bizarre how the M.2 aren't performing better then the SSD. Could you try the tests off a single drive system? There is almost no one on the net doing real world m.2 tests.. Im pretty sure you would get a few views doing hardware reviews and shoot outs for Photo and video editing systems.. For instance how much faster does a decent graphics card speed things up? AMD or Nvidea? 8gb ram or 64? multi core processors? AMD processors? Mac vs PC?

  11. Stay away from Seagate drives!! I work in IT & our department deals with hard drive failures all the time and we see more failed Seagate HDDs than any other manufacturer. I can't speak for the seagate SSD because I haven't encountered enough of them, but personally I wouldn't chance it… for the most part, you get what you pay for, not just in storage capacity, but in reliability.

  12. Just 2 things – maybe someone already mentioned it… 1) M2 is just interface, it doesn't automatically mean that the disk is faster, only that the interface is capable of more… 2) I guess that you have your OS installed on the M2 – that can make a big difference in tests…

  13. My research to understand if I would get any benefit on my Spectre x360 using SATA or NVME SSD (with m.2 form factor) goes on… When I found an explaining video about SSD's with nvme or sata technology made by photography colleagues they always mix ssd and m.2 terminology :-

  14. Thank you Tony! You are awesome!!! I just learned about the M.2 format today (Saturday) while at Best Buy. It sounded interesting, but my number one question was…. Will I see an improvement in rendering times over my 7200 HDD? And based on your video.. Not enough to justify the cost to go to M2… And that is what I needed to know…

    After watching enough videos and learning that magnetic drives, although can do 10,000 rpms, the technology has changed so much that it does not make sense to buy a 10k HDD… I have finally decided that… Well… I guess solid state drives are not all hype… lol…

    I still don't trust them just yet, but that is because I am a goofball… The moment that I can get these specs at walk out price of $2k from HP is probably when I will say that it is time to buy a new computer and upgrade to solid state drives…

    Processor: Intel i9 4.5 Ghz; Graphics Card: Whatever Nvidia's latest that supports gaming and 8k; SSD: 3TB internal (ideally 4 TB m.2 nmve) with back up drive matching size) and 64 GB of ram….

    Then I will be ready to buy… Looks like those specs are still 3-4 years away to get at $2,000 walk out. Buuuut the thing that annoys me… I still do not know if I will ever see 4k 1 hour video footage rendered in 15 minutes… lol…something has to change… Maybe it is not all a hardware issue… Maybe Adobe needs to make some adjustments. Note: I am refusing to sign up for Adobe CC so me being on CS6 could be the problem as well… Buuuut….

    Anywayz… I am rambling…. Just wanted to say thank you for the video. The other YT videos were gamers and I did not expect them to talk about LR and AP.

    Have a nice day….

  15. What is not explained, and I would love to know — between the "C://" drive with your OS, your scratch drive,, and your "storage Drive" what positions are each of these types of drives in when you are testing? Are you using the SSD for OS and the m.2 drive as your D:// Drive? Are you using your m.2 as your primary C:// Drive? The configuration is important to know for us considering these drive types when building a PC

  16. "I had processed a batch of photos with the old drive and it had taken roughly 5 minutes to finish. I processed the same batch with the 970 EVO and it blew my mind, 45 seconds from import to batch adjustment and export. I am so happy with this drive, my photography work will happen so much quicker now." https://goo.gl/A3ntNN

  17. I wonder why cameras don't just move to have a bay that will take a m.2 SSD-> that should make this new hypothetical camera to have limit less buffer (and a much faster workflow)

  18. Need to keep the m.2 cool. it will default to a slow throttle once it hits a higher temp. I also think you mean the NVME drives. Also you will need the 40 lanes on the CPU for the top speeds.

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