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Blackmagic Disk Speed Test App

disk_speed_test.pngRecently, we've had lots of students making free support calls to ask about external storage.  Just how much faster is my RAID-5 array than this spiffy 10,000 RPM standalone drive?  Is my network slowing down my office's shared video storage?  What about using solid-state disks for video editing?  

Lots of software companies provide small utilities to help you measure your storage solution's speed, but many of them use tests simulating behaviors that aren't necessarily close to what video post-production looks like.  So the most reliable test utilities for video work will come from, well, the video hardware manufacturers.  

Blackmagic makes an especially slick tool, and it's available from the App Store for free.  Simply click the start button and Disk Speed Test will read- and write- test your disk using large streams of data, and then show you the results in MB/sec plus a spiffy compatibility table.  The table tells you at a glance whether the volume you tested would be suitable for editing with a specific flavor of video, from PAL to 4K–and even calculates the framerate you could pull at each resolution.

Tables and screenshots after the jump...

Unfortunately, the checklist deals mainly with high-end, basically uncompressed formats.  If you want to compare the speed readings to your codec of choice, be sure to notice that the Disk Speed Test is reporting results in MB/sec -- that's megaBYTES, not megaBITS (Mb/sec) like many compressed formats refer to.  Just multiply Blackmagic's MB/sec by 8 to convert to megabits/sec.  If you're more a ProRes kind of editor, here are some quick conversions:

At 1920x1080, 30FPS:
  • ProRes 4444 -- 41.3MB/sec (330Mb/sec)
  • ProRes 422 HQ -- 27.5MB/sec (220Mb/sec)
  • ProRes 422 -- 18.4MB/sec (147Mb/sec)
  • ProRes 422 LT -- 12.8MB/sec (102Mb/sec)
  • ProRes 422 Proxy -- 5.6MB/sec (45Mb/sec)

If you have ever wondered whether your hard drive is suitable for playback of a particular video format, you can use this Disk Speed Test to find out.  With its user friendly interface and easy to understand layout, its now a lot simpler to understand what performance you can get out of your media drives with a single click of the Start button.  It will even show you how many streams of video your storage is capable of handling.


Disk Speed Test takes the guess work out of configuring your storage system for optimal performance for any job you will be doing.  So try it out, and oh, it's FREE!  


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