What To Choose? SDD or HDD for Video Editing

Updated on September 17, 2021

It's no secret that HDDs have been on the decline for years now with most PC manufacturers dropping storage HDDs from their builds.

We are seeing an ever-growing increase in demand for SSDs, particularly over standard hard drives with most users asking the question "so what should I get? An HDD or an SSD?" This is one of the most common questions I have been discussing over the past few months with video editors, but the answer really depends on what you need it for.

The question usually boils down to, how much storage do you need for your media files. If you are a video editor and plan to store a lot of footage, I wouldn't recommend going with SSD, because it would be really expensive and not cost-effective.

Most people nowadays want more than 500GB-1TB storage space. Video editors especially, the more storage space the better. While it is possible to get a high-end PC with 30+ TB of SSD storage space, it would cost a lot... A LOT of money.

Since SSDs are still pricier than their HDD counterparts, you probably don't want to go only with SSDs just because it's faster than an HDD, since you wouldn't know if the speed will be noticeable for your workflow. As I mentioned earlier, most video editors purchasing high-end PCs would want more than 1TB storage space so the only way to go with both is a mix of HDD and SSD.

The solution would be to use an SSD for your operating system, programs, and maybe files that you use frequently while using an HDD for larger storage space. This is a good solution in terms of cost-effectiveness since you get the best of both worlds. However, if you truly plan to install many applications for whatever reason, I personally would suggest going with at least a 512GB SSD.

If you are an intermediate video editor, going with an HDD or a mix of HDD/SDD storage space is not a bad solution. But if you are just starting out or you are looking into purchasing a new computer, and you want to save up as much as possible, I would suggest going only with HDD. But in this case, you should make sure that it is not 5400RPM speed, but 7200RPM. You'll save money in this situation, but your speeds will still be decent.

Faster rendering times and the reassurance of knowing your PC has more than enough storage for all your video projects is definitely worth spending an extra few hundred bucks on an SSD. For some people, however, they may only be able to afford HDD computers and in that case, it would not be a big issue if other computer parameters are good.

What about reliability HDD vs SSD?

As far as reliability goes, most people seem to prefer SSDs over HDDs. While it is not a big issue for most users, there are some workflows where the lifespan of an HDD may factor in. For example, if you edit footage from a RED camera, your workflow is probably going to be fairly heavy on storage space and that's why I would personally prefer to go with an SSD because it will last longer. So if you travel a lot, and looking for an external drive it would also be better to go with an SSD.

For many travelers, the priority is the speed of access, rather than storage size, because you can leave your unused footage at home in your HDDs. If you require high bandwidth for your work (for example, if you're editing RAW 4K material), then an SSD will give you faster performance than any traditional hard drive can provide. This means that if speed is your priority, then an SSD is the only way to go for a workstation environment.

So to sum it up, if you have the money and can afford both an SSD and HDD for your video editing computer, go with a mix of storage space. If you are on a budget or just starting out, stick with HDDs, but try to get 7200RPM instead of 5400RPM. If you like to travel a lot and edit your footage on drives, choose an SSD.

If you have any questions regarding storage, feel free to post a comment. I hope this article has helped.

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