Last Updated on December 17, 2021
Video editing is a process that takes a toll on your computer. It is one of the most demanding task that can be done on a PC. Hence most professional studios invest a fortune in getting workstation grade rigs for themselves.
An internal hard drive is just one of many key components of the overall video editing setup. For a hard drive to be worthy of a professional editing rig it needs to be reliable, needs to have a high workload rating, and a good transfer speed.
Here we review some of the best internal hard drives for video editing. We study how to choose the right hard drive by looking at the required editing bandwidth and storage requirements for different video formats.
It is very important to note here that the storage drive most feasible for you would depend upon the Video Format that you are working with.
So for instance, if you are working with 4K videos, we recommend investing in a combination of SSD for “Hot Data” (data being worked on immediately) and using HDD for archiving.
We also recommend having RAID arrays for drastically improving the redundancy and the performance of your storage drives.
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Comparison of Best Internal Hard Drives for Video Editing
|Western Digital Black||HDD||3.5"||256MB||7200 RPM|
|WD Blue||HDD||3.5"||64MB||7200 RPM|
|M.2||NA||3500 / |
|M.2||NA||7000 / 5100|
1. Toshiba MG07ACA14TE – Reliable Internal Hard Drive
One of the most reliable hard disk currently rated. Data center grade reliability.
According to Backblaze, the MG series hard drives from Toshiba are some of the most reliable 7200 RPM drives out there.
This is a traditional 3.5″ SATA 3 HDD but with enterprise grade reliability. You can get storage capacities ranging from 4 TB to 14TB.
The drive has a workload rate of 550 TB/yr, which is the expected amount from most premium grade drives.
Essentially, if you are planning on using the drive for long term storage as well as for your primary storage for storing frequently accessed and worked on data, then the reliability this offers can prove to be worth the money.
2. WD Black – For Creative Professionals and Enthusiasts
A premium 7200 RPM desktop grade hard disk. Mostly used by gamers and high performance users.
WD Black needs no introduction. This drive is literally synonymous with anything that requires high performance i.e gaming, editing, designing etc.
This hard drive comes in storage capacities ranging from 500 GB to 10 TB. It has a transfer speed of about 250 MB/s.
One of the most lucrative aspects about this hard drive that differentiates it from the cheaper WD Blue, is that it offers a 5 years warranty period instead of just 2 years found on cheaper models.
All in all, if you are looking for ultimate performance, this is the best internal hard drive for video editing.
3. WD Blue – Budget Internal Hard Drive for Video Editing
A highly affordable internal hard drive with a decent performance.
WD Blue is great for many reasons. For starters, this is excellent for those on a tight budget.
Secondly, if you want to use an internal drive only for archiving media footage, then there is not need to invest in a high performance drive anyways.
Thirdly, if you plan to have an affordable RAID configuration with redundancy as well as performance boost, then WD Blue can be an affordable way to go.
Fourhtly, if you plan to have a combination of SSD + HDD and you want to maximize your budget for SSD, then this can serve as a good HDD option.
The drive comes in sizes ranging from 500 GB to 6 TB. While the transfer speed differs from model to model, you can expect an average transfer speed of about 175 MB/s.
Note that unlike the high performance drive, this only has a 2 year warrant period. However, in short, for a cheap alternative, this is the best internal hard drive for video editing.
4. Crucial MX500 SATA SSD – Speed of Upto 560 MB/s
A very popular SATA 3 SSD.
SATA SSDs are not the same as NVMe SSDs. The former use the SATA 3 ports where as the latter use the M.2 PCIe slots.
The great thing about SATA SSDs is that they are reasonably priced and they do not need special ports or slots to interface with.
SATA 3 slots are abundant on many motherboards. Hence you should have no issues hooking one into your system.
Crucial MX500 has a transfer speed of about 560 MB/s. As such it is quite sufficient for some of the heavier video formats and codecs and can comfortably sustain multiple video streams for editing.
The drive comes in sizes ranging from 250 GB to 2 TB. It is based on the 2.5″ format and hence if your PC does not have 2.5″ drive bays, then you may have to invest in a 3.5″ to 2.5″ adapters.
So in short, if you want to populate your PC with an affordable SSD option, the this is one of the best internal hard drive for video editing.
5. Samsung 970 EVO – Third Gen NVMe SSD
NVMe SSDs are the holy grail of speed and performance. However, since they are expensive and since most systems do not have a plethora of M.2 slots to house them, they are generally bought sparingly.
Samsung 970 Evo is one of the most popular 3rd Gen NVMe SSD with read speeds of about 3400 MB/s. It is a third Gen NVMe SSD because it utilizes the PCIe v3 protocol – which is the most common version at the moment.
Since a drive like this is expensive and with limited storage capacity of 2 TB max, it is used as a work horse. Meaning, all the required video footage and software that you are currently working with should be stored here.
An NVMe SSD can be instrumental for those working on high rest 4k or 6k video formats with multiple streams.
In short, if you want a blazingly fast storage that can complement your regular spinning HDDs, then this is the best internal hard drive for video editing.
6. SAMSUNG 980 PRO – 4th Gen NVMe SSD
The epitome of NVMe SSDs. 4th Gen SSD.
This is among the latest NVMe SSDs to have hit the market and as such, it offers the epitome of the speeds achievable by an NVMe SSD.
Being a 4th gen SSD, it utilizes the newer PCIe v4 protocol. It should be noted that not all motherboards currently feature PCIe v4 hence before procuring this make sure that it is compatible.
With this drive, you get speeds of about 7000 MB/s (read) and 5100 MB/s (write). So whether it is 4K multiple video stream, 6k or 8k formats that you want to edit, this has enough transfer speeds for a smooth performance for heaviest of video formats.
Of course, you will need to couple it with a good enough processor to make a robust video editing rig.
The downside with this drive is its obviously high price tag. The high performance can cost you a pretty penny. But again, the point of NVMe SSDs is not for long term data storage or to archive data, but to occupy it with the frequently used data.
So for instance, the video project that you are currently working on can be loaded on to this drive while you are still working on it. Once completed, you can transfer the raw and the completed data to an archival drive – which is usually an average HDD.
Understanding Video Format and Transfer Speeds
As mentioned earlier, the storage drive that you choose depends highly upon what type of video format you plan to work.
In addition to that, it is also worth noting the different transfer speed of various connections and drives.
Transfer Speed of Connection and Ports
The following shows the theoretical maximum transfer speed of various ports, protocols and connections.
The three important internal connection and ports to note are the SATA 3, PCIe x4 Gen 3 (M.2) and the PCIe x4 Gen 4 (M.2). The internal drives used these ports.
|Data Transfer Rate|
|SATA 1||187.5 MB/s|
|SATA 2||375 MB/s|
|SATA 3||750 MB/s|
|PCIe x4 Gen 3 (M.2)||3,900 MB/s|
|PCIe x4 Gen 4 (M.2)||7,800 MB/s|
|Thunder Bolt 3||3000 MB/s|
|USB 3.2 Gen 1||500 MB/s|
|USB 3.2 Gen 2||1212 MB/s|
|USB 2.0||12 MB/s|
|10 Gbps Ethernet||1250 MB/s|
Transfer Speed of Different Internal Drives
The following table shows average transfer speed of the newer drives. It should be noted that the speeds of the spinning drives can drastically vary as it depends on many variable like the number of platters, number of headers and the location of the data.
|Internal Drive||Data Transfer Rate|
(Using SATA 3)
|NVMe SSD |
Gen 3 (M.2
Gen 4 (M.2)
|~ 5000/7000 MB/s
One very important point to take note off here is that the drives do not reach the theoretical maximum speed of their ports and protocols.
For instance, despite the fact that the HDDs use SATA 3 ports, they do not reach the theoretical maximum of 750 MB/s. The same goes of the SATA 3 SSDs that generally reach upto 550 MB/s transfer speed.
Even the NVMe SSDs do not reach the ceiling of their PCIe slots.
Video Format Data Transfer and Storage Demands
The following information has been extracted from LarryJordan.com
|Video Format||Resolution||Editing Single Stream||Storage Needed for 1 Hour Video|
|DV NTSC / PAL||SD||7.5 MB/s||13 GB|
|ProRes 422 (NTSC or PAL)||SD||12 MB/s||19.5 GB|
|ProRes 422 HQ||SD||16 MB/s||32 GB|
|AVCHD 1080p/30||HD||6 MB/s||10.8 GB|
|AVC-Intra 1080p/30||HD||25 MB/s||45 GB|
|ProRes 422 1080p/30||HD||36 MB/s||66 GB|
|ProRes 422 (HQ) 1080p/30||HD||55 MB/s||99 GB|
|UHD/30 ProRes Proxy||4K||46 MB/s||82 GB|
|UHD/30 ProRes 422||4k||150 MB/s||265 GB|
|6K/24 R3D *||6K||360||660 GB|
Both the storage requirement per hour and the editing single stream bandwidth is important for choosing the right hard drive.
The storage per hour of video footage points towards the amount of capacity you need to be looking at.
The Editing Single Stream bandwidth rate highlights the optimal speed of the hard disk required to make editing a single stream of video data hassle free.
If you have multiple streams i.e multiple cameras with footage of different video angles, then the Editing bandwidth requirement can increase significantly.
RAID Arrays Can Provide Speed and Redundancy
Depending upon your budget, needs and how critical your data is you can greatly increase the performance or the Data security with a RAID array.
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. If you have multiple drives, you can set them to different “Levels” of RAID.
- RAID 0 (Striping) – Need at least two drives – Setting the hard drives in RAID 0 greatly increases the transfer speeds. It essentially combines the speed of drives. So if you have two drives with 150 MB/s transfer speed each. Setting to RAID 0 will increase it to 300 MB/s.
- RAID 1 (Mirroring) – Need at least two drives – If your Data is critical, you can choose to clone or mirror two drives. It will not give you an speed gains but will provide excellent disaster recovery.
- RAID 5 (Data Protection and Performance) – Need at Least Three Drives – RAID 5 performs disk stripping as well as mirroring. This is among the most popular RAID configurations. It is a cheaper alternative to performance and disaster recover.
Follow this article for more information on RAID configuration.
What are Some of the Core Specs to Look?
Other than the information mentioned above, there are a few more traditional specs and features that are important to note if you have never bought a hard disk before.
The core specs relate to the given specifications of the drive itself, mostly expressed as numbers that paint a picture of the drive’s performance.
HDD Recommended Speed
HDDs are great because they are affordable, meaning you can get large storage capacities for a good price. The problem is that they tend to be generally slow when compared with SSDs.
This can be partly solved by getting a faster HDD.
The RPMs (Revolutions Per Minute) of an HDD generally determine the drive’s speed (among other factors) A 7200 RPM drive is recommended for video editing at the very least if you want great performance.
There are faster drives available like those with 10,000 RPM, but they are needlessly expensive and it is better to go with the SSD route instead.
Modern cameras capture a lot of details hence, generating a lot of data. To store all these files internally, you’ll need a hard drive with a large enough capacity.
3.5″ hard drives that are commonly found in desktop PCs easily have as much as 16 GB per drive.
SSDs, on the other hand, still feature a max capacity of 4 TB. But the cost/GB of SSDs is far more than that of a spinning 3.5″ internal hard disk.
SSD vs HDD
We have already seen that HDDs can be a little slow. For this reason, a video editor may choose a faster alternative particularly when editing multiple streams or 4K video formats.
SSDs have no moving parts, don’t generate noise and use less power than HDDs.
We also talked about two different types of SSDs here i.e the SATA and the NVMe SSDs.
SATA SSD are basically slower and come in two form factors i.e 2.5″ and M.2. SATA. The 2.5″ SATA SSDs attached to the SATA 3 ports where as the M.2 SATA SSD uses the, well, M.2 slot.
These have a max transfer speed of about 550 MB/s. However, since SATA ports are abundant on any given motherboard and since SATA SSDs are cheaper, they can be a great addition to your video editing setup.
NVMe SSDs, on the other hand, connect only to the M.2 slot and leverage the PCIe protocol. These are fastest drives available in the market with speeds multiple folds faster than a SATA SSD.
Of course, the faster the NVMe drive the more expensive it is.
If the internal hard drive is constantly in use, then it needs to be very reliable. There are two factors that are considered here, Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) and Workload Rate.
An average spinning hard disk can have a workload rate of 180 TB/yr. Whereas a highly reliable enterprise grade hard drive can have 500 TB/yr workload rate.
While no hard drive is 100% reliable. DATA Center grade hard drives are the most reliable lot out there with the highest MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure). Of course, the are also more expensive and not quite recommended for all video editors.
As far as the SSDs are concerned, they are still not considered reliable for long term data. For archiving, SSDs is not a good option because there is always a chance to loose the data once the power is gone.
HDDs, on the other hand, are great for archiving video footage. If you wish to spend on an archival hard drive, then you do not need to worry much about the reliability factor since archival hard drives are not meant to be used often.
Here we looked at the best internal hard drives for video editing. We talked about spinning drives as well as various SSD drives.
Essentially, in order to choose the right drive, it is important to gauge your video editing needs particularly the format you work on, how many stream you have, and of course your overall budget.