Whether you like it or not, the industry’s going 4K. Even if the end product is 2K many producers want to future-proof their content by working in 4K throughout the production chain. Of course, more pixels means more data. And more data means larger storage requirements.
Fortunately for all of us, storage prices have dropped radically. G-Tech is now offering its G-SPEED Studio XL with up to 64TB of RAID storage. The 64TB version sells for under $7,000, while an only slightly more modest 24TB will cost you a mere $3,000.
On top of the storage size, these systems formatted as RAID0 can maintain a data throughput of 1350 MB/s.
What this means is enough data rate for real-time 4K editing. Uncompressed 10 bit 4K video has a data rate of just under 500MB/s, so in theory you could run two streams of uncompressed 4K simultaneously. But given that you’ll probably be working with a compressed format like ProRes 4444 XQ (212 MB/s), Blackmagic 4K (175 MB/s), or even Red 4K 6:1 (coming in well under 20 MB/s), there’ll be plenty of room for multiple streams of video to play back off your system through the Thunderbolt 2 port.
The biggest choice you’ll need to make is whether to configure the drive for RAID 0 or RAID 5. RAID 0 is the fastest choice–giving you that 1350 MB/s transfer–but if any one of the eight drives fails, well, you lose everything on the RAID. Failure is rare, so that won’t be too much of a problem if you’re working with footage backed up somewhere else and you’re making frequent backups of your project files. If you try to store your entire digital life on that RAID 0 volume…well, you’ve been warned.
The safer alternative is RAID 5, which is how the unit is set up out of the box. It gives you good speed (over 1100MB/s read and over 800MB/s write on the 48TB system) with the added benefit that if one drive fails, the missing data can be recovered from redundant information on the other seven. That won’t protect you from armageddon, freak electro-magnetic pulses, or a radical solar flare, but it’s a pretty good compromise for standard operations.