Need fast, cheap, reliable storage for video editing on your MacBook Pro? Tired of paying a price premium and performance penalty with external FireWire drives? Tired of dropped frames with that USB external drive? Want to be able to move a project between the laptop and a PowerMac or MacPro and keep it on a fast SATA drive? Several interface cards are available for the MacBook Pro to interface with SATA drives.
The eSATA II 2-Port ExpressCard-M interface card from SIIG, and the Tempo SATA Express 34 from Sonnet make it possible to connect two SATA drives directly to your laptop. This allows you to buy fast and and inexpensive bare SATA drives and the enclosure of your choice and fashion your own drive systems.
If you don’t fancy being your own system integrator, the G-SATA drive from G-Technology might be the choice for you. It comes with a PCIe interface card for your desktop computer) with two SATA ports and cables (if you’ve got an older Mac with PCI or PCI-X, there’s a range of cards you you can use). With the one of these ExpressCard SATA interfaces you can take the G-SATA or other SATA drives on the road. The G-SATA may be initialized as two individual drives or configured as a software RAID 0 (striped) for the best video and audio editing performance or RAID 1 (mirror) for data security and the the peace of mind knowing that if one drive fails, the other still has your precious data.
If you’re assembling your own drives (my preference), I suggest using SoftRAID, an excellent utility for creating RAID 0 or RAID 1 volumes in software. SoftRAID features a very well thought-out interface and excellent technical support. Although a Hardware RAID solution provides better performance and plug-and play simplicity, the SoftRAID solution is good when you want to move media to a pair of portable drives in the field without special hardware. Each approach, Software RAID-1 and Hardware RAID-1 has it’s place.