USB 3 here… and it’s blisteringly fast – ideal for film editors!

USB3 Finally, USB3 has arrived – ‘so what’ I hear some of you say. Well USB 2 has served us all well for many years, but as anyone who has worked in post production knows, in these HD days, throwing around terabytes of data is commonplace, and while USB 2 drives are cheap and have enormous capacity, they are also crushingly slow when working with terabytes.

WdfMB_XTR_1I ran into this problem when backing up the DI grade on Gone Fishing. It took hours to move just under a terabyte of DPX files. So how much faster is it? Well about eight to ten times faster (in the lab). You can see from the chart here just how great the speed increase is claimed to be – the chart is from WD – I have been using WD MyBook drives for years and will now be buying the new USB3 versions – much cheaper than Lacie which in my experience, failed regularly.

So how much is USB3? Well here is the good news. It’s just a bit more than USB 2 – you will need a new card in your computer, which will cost about £30 (its easy to install one as long as you have a free slot), and the drives are slightly more expensive than the USB 2 counterparts – the drives are also USB2 backward compatible. So in the past, where it might take two hours to back up a load of video media, it’s now a cup of tea and a phone call. Very, very cool.

Here is a link for a USB3 card, and a 2 TB drive here.

When I have it all up and running, I will report back on how well it performs in the real world.

Thanks Alexis for the heads up.

Also, Genevieve in LA emailed me to ask if I could let you all know that she has a new post on her blog – you can check it out at

Onwards and upwards

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author

2 Responses to USB 3 here… and it’s blisteringly fast – ideal for film editors!

  1. Dominic Took January 13, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    After working in HD on a feature this past month all I can say is thank god! It wasn’t that slow but still – it was slow enough and any IT person will know that slows EVERYTHING down.

    Very cool and backwards compatible – godsend!

  2. Michael Morgenstern January 14, 2010 at 4:24 am #

    I’m really down on this technology. 8-10x faster is nothing, when you consider that a) USB2 was 40x faster than USB1, and b) this is a standard that will likely stick around for 7-10 years. Are you going to want to move RED footage around on that?

    I hear Apple is working with a bunch of other companies on a fiber optic standard that can handle, monitors, audio, drives, and all other types of data. Now THAT will be awesome.

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