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Little Frog in High Def

Musings of an NLE ronin…

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Category: REVIEW

I was faced with a problem.

I finished exporting the 9 masters needed for this program…five HD masters and four 4K masters…when the network contacted us saying there was an issue with the open title, and they needed to supply me with a new one. Why was this a problem? Well, this 15 second title sequence change means that I need to re-export all of my masters, a process that took nearly two days to do, and was pretty taxing on the system (4K, with noise reduction on many archival sources as well as motion stabilized shots). Also, they needed these files FedEx’d to them ASAP, as we were very close to the air date, and they needed time to QC and create their on air masters.

Back in the days of tape, this would be no problem. Just drop the new title into the sequence, and then do an INSERT EDIT onto the tape…just the change. Something that could be done in an hour. That is the one thing that I miss from the tape mastering days, the ability to make small fixes and then just insert where needed. In the current days of tapeless, a small change means exporting the whole file again.

Or does it?

I let out my frustrations on Twitter, and got a few people who consoled me on the issue. But I also got a good half dozen responses with the solution to my woes…Cinedeck. More specifically, cineXinsert. And not only that, I had a representative from Cinedeck contact me to offer a trial so I could test out this software solution.

Cinedeck primarily offers hardware solutions…production recording and playback hardware, but they also offer software based insert-editing on a Quicktime file….that is the aforementioned cineXinsert. But wait! Why not just use Quicktime Pro to do this insert editing? It’s capable of that, right? Yes and no. While it can do a lot, it’s not as frame accurate as I need, and it doesn’t quite to the insert correctly. I can’t explain the tech reasons for this, I just know it doesn’t do it in a manner that will pass any tech evaluation.

I wasn’t able to get this software in time for my current dilemma…for that I had to resort to re-exporting everything. But I did get it in time to test it for future application. First thing I needed to do was buy a dongle, as the license for the software is tied to a dongle. For that I needed to buy an iLok2. Many people might have one already, they are used for many audio plugins for Avid and ProTools.

So a couple days later I got the iLok, got the license in place and was ready to test. And as luck would have it, just in time, as another show I delivered had two minor QC notes that needed addressing. And this show was a two hour show, so the export times were pretty lengthy. And I needed to fix four masters.

The interface might look daunting, but it’s pretty simple. Load your patch video into the Player (SOURCE), and then your master into the Recorder (TARGET) and set your in and out points. For a workflow on this, watch this video here.

This is when I ran into a snag. You cannot insert edit into VBR (Variable Bit Rate) ProRes file…only CBR (Constant Bit Rate) video. And unfortunately, all my masters were ProRes HQ, and ProRes video is VBR. If this were DNxHD, no problem, that’s CBR. But alas, mine wasn’t. But, CineInsert has a tool to convert the video files from VBR to CBR. Well, it’s not a “conversion” really. As a representative of Cinedeck told me, they call it “CBR PADDING,” and what they do, essentially, is add zeros to pad each frame so they are the same size. It’s an encoding magic (technology) that I don’t fully grasp, but I do understand that VARIABLE BIT RATE is a series of frames all saved using varying amounts of data…and CBR PADDING just wraps the file in a way that they are all equal, so that an insert can work. It’s not a re-encode, it’s just making sure all the frames have the same data rate.

Got it? If not, don’t worry, just know that it needs to be done in order for the tech to work.

So I used the RE-WRAP AND AUDIO VERSIONING tab in the application to re-wrap my files for inserting. This took a while, but not as long as exporting the whole file again. It took about half the time. But as I needed to do this to four files, I set up a batch and came back later to deal with inserting. One thing to note is that the file size of the exports will increase. What started as 143GB ended up being 168GB, which was to be expected as the frames were no longer variable in file size, but uniform. Now, when you are finished inserting you can simply deliver these files, or use them as “mezzanine” masters where you then encode to your various other needed deliverables. Higher end post facilities tend to keep these masters as CBR. Or you can wrap back to VBR. There is no need to wrap back to VBR, networks and clients who want ProRes files won’t have issues with them being CBR vs VBR…except for the few that actually require VBR files, like ABC/Disney.

Once you convert to CBR, you can now insert your patch (note, the patch also needs to be CBR, but the conversion tend to be quick). As noted in the video tutorials, if the timecode of the patch matches where it will go in the source, simple mark IN, mark OUT, and click the SEND IN POINT and SEND OUT POINT to the record and then hit INSERT…a couple seconds and you are done.

This really couldn’t be easier. And since I’ve been mastering tapeless only (no tape delivery) for over 3 years now, having an option to insert edit is a real time saver. Because when you export a full file, every now and then a glitch can occur. One thing I do when I export is watch the whole file down, to make sure there are no glitches…this is like watching an output to tape. Making sure it outputs correctly. Not needing to re-watch a fixed export is a HUGE time saver. I know the rest is OK, I just need to fix this one section, watch it, and I’m done.

And it has many other uses, like re-striping timecode, adding audio tracks or re-mapping audio…that ALSO save you from needing to re-export a new file. I recall exporting a master an I had the same audio track repeat on Ch 3 and CH 4 by mistake. CineXinsert would allow me to drop in the right track in the right place and simply save…no need to re-export.

CineXinsert works with HD, UHD and 4K files…which is great as many of us are dealing with UHD and 4K deliverables. It can insert into ProRes, DNxHD, DPX, AVC-I and XDCAM, as well inserts to Op1A MXF for both DNx and XDCAM. It is Mac and Windows compatible (which is great as I am slowly migrating towards Windows).

The one drawback for me (other than needing to convert ProRes files to CBR) is the price…$1495 for the standard version that does DNxHD and ProRes, and $1895 for XDCAM. It is a bit steep for a one-person shop that has a short list of clients, but if you are a full time shop, even a one-person shop, the amount of time it saves will be worth it. But they do offer subscription plans…so you can only pay up to $480/year for the standard option.

NOTE! The iLok2 key is no longer required for the software. You now have the option to use iLok2 or you can install the license on your computer

Final opinion? CineXinsert is a must-have tool for anyone who does finishing. It is a huge time saver.  The days  of owning, or renting, expensive decks for outputting final masters might be gone, but we still need on the many options that they provided. Insert editing of video and audio for quick fixes so your finishing machine isn’t tied up for hours outputting full shows and watching them down again.

*CineDeck provided me with a 3-month trial version of this application for the purpose of real world testing. But it is on my list of future purchases. Now to convince networks to take DNxHD over ProRes…

I’ve been editing from home lately, and using my 2012 MacBook Pro as my main editing computer. I had to abandon my 2008 MacPro tower as it’s really showing it’s age. It’s getting finicky with random crashes, the AJA card in it is finally giving up the ghost (8 solid years with that baby!) and it’s just plain slow compared to my 2012 MacBook Pro.

The thing is, my MBP doesn’t have that many external ports on it. Sure, it has a LOT more than a MacBook Air, but when it comes to all the things I need connected to it when editing…it falls short. For the record, it has:

(1) Ethernet port

(1) Firewire 800 port

(1) Thunderbolt port

(2) USB 3 ports

(1) SD CARD slot

(1) Audio In

(1) Audio Out

The Ethernet port I use on occasion to network with the tower, to transfer files. Or to connect to my control surface for color correction. Firewire 800…obviously for a FW800 drive, of which I have a dozen or so. Thunderbolt…that’s the busiest one. For I need that to connect to an IO device, the AJA IoXT that’s connected to an FSI professional color monitor, and also loop to a computer display. And then because my laptop monitor is too small to hold all the bins I need open, I use one of the USB ports for a USB to DVI adapter. And because editing/rendering/compressing causes a lot of heat on my laptop, the other USB is taken by a cooling pad. And then the audio out goes to the mixer and speakers.

Now I’m out of ports, but I need more. I need more USB for thumb drives to connect to, for backing up projects, or bringing over files from other people (fonts, pictures, etc), I need one for the keyboard and mouse, as I don’t use the laptop for that…it’s off to the side, I need one for other USB drives I have, like the RAMPANT drive I grab elements from time to time. Occasionally I attach other firewire drives, and yes, you can loop through…daisy chain…to some other drives, but it’s nice having other connections.

So I need a hub. But I want to future-proof myself so I want a major hub. Not just USB ports…but in the future I will get a new computer, as my 2012 laptop might not last long for editing either. And none of the newer models have Firewire 800. I might also want eSATA ports, as my tower has those, and I have many drives with that fast connection, but no new computers have them. So, I could either get Firewire to Thunderbolt adapters, and eSATA to Thunderbolt adapters, Ethernet to Thunderbolt (for connecting to network RAIDS), and USB hubs, or one unit that solves all my needs.

So I have been looking at Thunderbolt docks. These connect to the computer via Thunderbolt, and with that one connection, offer many connections on the other end. Multiple USB3, Firewire 800, eSATA, Ethernet, and audio ports…with Thunderbolt loop through. The ones I tested are from Otherworld Computing, CalDigit and AkiTio…all offer different options.

Let’s do this in alphabetical order…

AKITIO THUNDERDOCK 2

The Akitio Thunderdock 2 is a nice small box. It’s about the size of a small USB drive, so it has a very small footprint.

And this box sports a lot of connections…two Thunderbolt ports for loop through (very important)…two bus powered USB 3 ports (backwards compatible with USB 2 and USB 1), two eSATA ports (up to 6Gbps), and one FW800 port.

There’s no Ethernet port, but I know many people won’t need this….if you do, other options sport this. But this is the only device of all of them that has both FW800 and eSATA…so that alone makes it useful. The bus powered USB ports get their power from the box, not the computer. So even when your computer isn’t connected to the unit, the USB ports supply power…great for things like charging your cel phone, or keeping your astronaut light lit.

This unit requires power, therefore it needs to be plugged in….just like every model I tested. But this is fine with me…this is how it can offers bus powered USB ports.

How fast are the connections? Glad asked…first, a baseline. The drive attached is a CalDigit VR, the two drives raided as RAID 0, for speed. Here are the speeds of firewire directly connected to the computer. Around 75MBps read and between 70 MBps and 80 MBps write

Now the FW800 port on the AkiTio offers 66 MBps write/80 MBps read…so, comparable.

Now, my laptop doesn’t have eSATA, but my MacPro does…so I’m going to use it as a baseline. It has a CalDigit eSATA card in it. The speeds I get between it and the Caldigit VR are about 111MBps write and 125Mbps read:

The eSATA on the AkiTio? Would you believe it’s FASTER? Well, it is. Between 155-162 MBps write and 164MBps read. Impressive.

In short, the AkiTio is small, sports many connections, and has connections that are as fast, if not faster than direct to computer connections. The only issue I found was that the box ran a little hot. No, you can’t fry an egg on it, but I wouldn’t rest my hand on it for too long. Not hot…but more than warm. But after two weeks of use 10 hours a day, it didn’t seem to be an issue. Great little box. It retails for $245.99 and ships with a Thunderbolt cable.

CALDIGIT Thunderbolt Station 2

A friend of mine has this unit, and swears by it. He has a MacMini that also is running short of connections, and this has served him well. And in my 2 week trial with it, it worked great for me too.

This unit also offers a small footprint, and sits nicely behind or next to my computer.

And this one offers a different set of connections. Two Thunderbolt ports (allowing loopthrough), and 4K HDMI port, three USB 3 ports (two in the back and one in the front that is bus powered), two eSATA ports, an Ethernet port, and audio IN and OUT ports.

The HDMI is 4K at 30Hz, so it can send out an image to a 4K computer display or 4K TV. So you can send a signal out to a computer monitor via HDMI, or Thunderbolt (some monitors still needing a TB to DVI adapter). Now, one thing that this unit CAN offer over any other, is dual display monitoring from a single Thunderbolt connection. Meaning the one Thunderbolt out from your computer, can then be split to the HDMI out and Thunderbolt outs. But ONLY if your monitors connected via Thunderbolt are Thunderbolt native connections…like Apple’s monitors or LG’s TBT display. I was unable to test this feature, as I didn’t have one of those monitors.

The eSATA connection speed is comparable to the AkiTio…156MBps Write 165MBps Read. Again, faster than my MacPro offered.

Very useful to have that, as I have more than a couple drives with eSATA, and with high data rate formats, and the need to edit native formats, speed is good.

Another great box with many useful connections. It gets a little warm, but not bad. The case dissipates the heat well. It also has an AC adapter and is required to be plugged in to work, but again, that’s how you get power out to USB 3 ports. And the dual monitors via one Thunderbolt connection is a nice feature. But again, they need to be specific monitors. It retails for $199, and doesn’t ship with a Thunderbolt cable.

OtherWorld Computing (MacSales) Thunderbolt 2 Dock:

This unit is the biggest of the bunch, but it also sports more connections. And it still fits behind my computer nicely:

OK…this unit has two Thunderbolt ports (again, loopthrough), FIVE bus powered USB 3 connections, one Firewire 800 port, one HDMI 4K port, one Ethernet port, and Audio In and Out.

Where the AkiTio has both FW800 and eSATA…and the Caldigit has eSATA but no FW800…this unit has FW800, but no eSATA. Which is fine for many, as many people might not have eSATA, but need the FW800 connections, as all new Mac computers lack this connection. And we all have lots of FW800 drives that still function, and we still need to connect them to the computer.

The speeds of the FW800 connection are pretty much identical to what I get with the AkiTio box. 67MBps write, 80MBps read.

And like the CalDigit unit, this one also allows for display splitting, with the same restrictions. The monitor connected to the Thunderbolt port must be a Thunderbolt monitor.

This is my favorite unit in the bunch. Mainly because of all the USB ports (five of them) and the FW800 connections. In fact, the two ports on the side are “super-charged,” meaning they have extra power fed through them for fast charging of your tablet or mobile phone. I have a lot of things I need to connect via USB…a USB to DVI adapter (on the computer), a fan (on the computer) and then keyboard, Rampant drive, thumb drive, dongle for Resolve, Time Machine drive, or other transfer drive…all on the OWC unit. And when I do eventually upgrade, I’ll need the FW800 and Ethernet connections as I have lots of FW800 drives, and a color control surface.

And it runs pretty cool…about the same temp as the CalDigit unit. And like the rest, it also requires AC power. It retails for $229, and ships with a Thunderbolt cable.

These are not the only Thunderbolt docks on the market…these are just the ones I tested. There are also ones by Belkin, Elgato, and one by Sonnet that also has a BluRay drive for authoring BluRay disks.

The CalDigit and AkiTio review units were returned. I did retain the OWC unit as my expansion unit of choice.

In my continuing pursuit to convert my edit bay from my old MacPro to my faster MacBook Pro…and any future computer…I’m looking at large hard drive storage solutions that utilize Thunderbolt.  I have my CalDigit HDOne working fine with the Sonnet PCIe Thunderbolt bridge, but it’s only 8TB (6.8TB Raid 5), and file sizes are only getting larger.  But the bridge is loud, and the HDOne isn’t all that quiet either.  Besides, I’d like to look to the future at some point…bridging with the past can only go so far.

So OtherWorldComputing (OWC – MacSales.com) approached me asking if I’d like to review their new Thunderbolt RAID solution, the Thunderbay 4.  I was more than happy to test this unit, as I had a few projects coming my way and I would no doubt need the space. My CalDigit still has a couple ongoing projects on it and I use it as archival storage, so is getting full.  Plus, I can test the unit in a real world editing situation.  They agreed to lend me the unit for an extended period so that I could run it through the paces…the real demands of editing.

The projects are standard HD projects. Meaning all of the footage will be 1080i, 1080p HD…and then a slew of HD and SD stock footage. Nothing 2K, 4K, ProRes 4444…that high end. But they do have a TON of footage. One has about a thousand hours, and another a few hundred.  The third is just getting started, so just about 25 hours at the moment. But I do have some 4K footage to test on the unit, because I’m sure plenty of people out there will be needing to do just that.

The unit I received was a 12TB unit…plenty of space. Four 3TB drives. OWC does sell this unit without drives, or with drives.  It works with both SATA drives as well as SSD drives. The unit I tested shipped with SATA drives. Normally the Thunderbay 4 ships configured RAID 0. But this was a special unit…It was configured as RAID 5 using bundled SoftRaid software.  That is an optional way to buy the unit. You can buy it RAID 0 or JBOD…or you can buy it with the SoftRaid to enable RAID 5. Click here to see how to see what that is all about.  More on that later.  I opted for the RAID 5 version because as much as I like speed, I like being protected. And I didn’t have enough drives to have a “manual RAID 0,” a backup of all the imported media.  9TB was just right for my needs.

The first thing I want to point out is how the unit was packed. Because they take great care to ensure the drives they shipped with the unit were protected.  Just like CalDigit, they ship the drives wrapped separately from the unit.

All the drives were surrounded by pretty durable bubble wrap.

The unit itself was in a separate box.  And it shipped with the drive unit, a power cable (no power brick…which I prefer. I dislike power bricks), a thunderbolt cable (meaning I don’t need to shell out $50 for one from Apple), and a set of keys.  Why keys you ask? So you can lock the drives into the unit so a stupid editor doesn’t come along and go “What happens when I do this? Hey…why is everything offline?”  No…but it is for security. The unit does come with a standard locking port on the back, so that means the unit is pretty secure…no one can steal the drives.

So I took out the drive case, and manually inserted the drives…tightening the screws to keep them securely in place:

And locked them in tight


I then spent the next day filling the unit up with footage. Figured I’d give the drive speed specs when the unit had footage on it, instead of empty.  Now…did you know that copying footage via Thunderbolt is REALLY FAST? It was so fast I had to compare it to USB 3 and Firewire 800.  My fledgeling project took up 118GB, so I copied that first to a USB 3 drive.  It took 23 min.  Then to a FW800 drive.  That took 20 min.

Then to the Thunderbay 4…that took 5 MINUTES  That’s fast!

With the footage finished copying, the drive contained 6TB out of the 9TB available (12TB unit, RAID 5…four 3TB drives…one drive is for safety, so 9TB).  That done I ran the Blackmagic HD Speed Test.  But in order to be dramatic about things, I’ll first show you the results of the test on the HDOne first. The HDOne is 8TB, also has 6TB of footage on it…and is connected to my computer via a Sonnet Echo Express Thunderbolt bridge.  Here is that result:

173 Write, 350 Read. That’s slower than it directly connected to my MacPro. Those numbers are 280 Write and 430 Read. But I’m phasing out that MacPro because everything else about it is slow.  And sure, those speeds are plenty fast for the type of footage I am editing.  But not the best for 4K editing on my laptop.  OH…and that 88GB took 8 min to copy over to the HDOne. Good, but not Thunderbay 4 good.

OK, I think the dramatic pause has been long enough. Time for the Thunderbay 4 SpeedDisk test.

443 Read, 510 Write.  Much faster than the HDOne.  This’ll be good. And this isn’t RAID 0 numbers, those are faster.  But I’ll be even more dramatic and get to those later.

The Thunderbay 4 has two Thunderbolt 2 ports, so you can use it as loop through. Which is exactly what I did, as my laptop only has one Thunderbolt port. So I went from computer to Thunderbay 4 to AJA IoXT…and then with an adapter to a computer display.  Didn’t have one issue looped through this many devices.

I also want to point out that the small size of the unit makes it pretty portable.  At one point I needed to take it and my computer from my home office to a post facility, and everything fit in my backpack. Yes, it made it pretty heavy, but it was a lot more portable than my HDOne…or many other 12TB units I have dealt with in the past.

And the unit is very quiet. I barely notice it is on.  And it’s footprint is pretty small, so it can sit on your desk, or if you get a longer cable, under your desk of out of sight somewhere.

I had no issues while editing and onlining with the Thunderbay 4. No hangups, no freezing…no crashing.  And my test editing with 4K footage and ProRes 4444 in Adobe Premiere went smoothly.  Managed 3 layers of 4K playback. Not completely smooth, but that is no doubt due to my computer not having a CUDA card to enable the Mercury Engine.

Now that the second dramatic pause has gone on long enough, I’ll show you the numbers I got for the unit running RAID 0.  First thing I did was make sure I archived anything and everything I needed to archive, as I was going to be wiping the drive clean.  Then, to configure the unit to be RAID 0 instead of RAID 5, I unmounted the drive, opened the SoftRaid software, deleted the current configuration, and created a new one..this time opting for RAID 0.  The reformat took seconds.  I copied over 3TB of footage for this test (that only took about 2 hours…Great Scott!) and as you can see they are significantly better.

Their site does say that the Thunderbay 4 could get up to 1342 MB/s read/write…but I’m sure that’s with SSDs installed.  I’m sure that 639 Write and 760 Read is PLENTY fast for most anything.

I need to mention that there is a slight pricing difference between RAID 0/JBOD and RAID 5 capable units.  For example, the 12TB unit is configured for RAID 0/JBOD $969 …while the same unit (the one I tested) with the SoftRaid software enabling RAID 5 capability is $1099. For me the extra $130 for protection and piece of mind is well worth it.

In short…this is a terrific Thunderbolt solution for your large project, or large format project needs. Does great with lots of footage, handles 4K footage with ease.  Copying over data is lightning fast, and it’s whisper silent.  My only regret is that I needed to return the unit when testing was concluded.  But I’m sure I’ll be buying a unit when I get a large enough project that requires it. By then I might even throw in SSD drives.

For another great review for this product, check out what Scott Simmons had to say.

More and more footage is coming from tapeless formats.  From formats where the camera medium used to capture that footage is used over and over again. So one needs to back up that footage onto another medium.  Yes, there are LTO and DLT solutions…tape. And that is very reliable.  And while still expensive, the price is dropping. But not enough to let a small independent editor like myself afford them JUST yet.  Soon.

In the meantime, I archive the tapeless footage, as well as finished shows and graphics and other elements to hard drives. TWO hard drives to be precise. As a post supervisor I know puts it…”the footage doesn’t exist unless it is in two locations.”  Two copies…at least.  And I have clients who I do work for that I need to keep their media on ice for a few months just in case changes come along.

Now, I can use expensive drives in enclosures, or keep this all on a big RAID tower, but I use my RAID for active media, and enclosures…who needs those for simple archiving? They are more expensive than bare SATA drives. That’s what I use.

To access those I’m going to use a Drive Dock.  These have been around for a while…allowing you to take a bare 3.5” or 2.5” SATA drive and connect it to your computer.  Slide it in, connect it to your computer, turn on the power…bam, there it is.

I did rely on a USB2 dock for quite some time…but that connection is proving to be very VERY slow.  OtherWorldComputing.com (OWC) approached me about reviewing a few of their products…and the NewerTech Voyager drive dock was first on their list of options.

What I really liked about this is that it wasn’t only USB 2 or 3.  Yes, USB 3 is plenty fast and my computer has USB 3 so I should just be happy with USB 3…but I do have other older computers. And many places I work also have older computers…none that have USB 3. But they do have eSATA or FW800…and if your computer is so old you only have FW400…well, this unit has ALL of those.  USB 3, eSATA, FW800, FW400 (Firewire is daisy chainable…so you can add this to your chain).  So you aren’t limited to USB on your older machines…which can take a long time. You can benefit from the speed of FW800 or eSATA.

I first used this unit to clone my computer’s hard drive, as I was going to do an OS update.  I ALWAYS clone my working system before I update….in case something goes wrong, I can always revert back to the old working system.  So I pulled out my 2.5” drive that I used for this purpose (It’s the one that originally shipped with the computer, but I had since replaced it with a 500GB SSD from OWC).  I connected via FW800 and cloned my system. 216GB copied over in 30 min.

Then I did the update.  And wouldn’t you know it…things didn’t work out as I had hoped. (the OS version and my main editing app didn’t like each other)…so I had to revert back.  NOW…how did I revert back? I booted to my cloned drive.  I’ve always had issues with trying to boot from an external drive connected via USB…even USB3. It’s hit or miss…sometimes It’ll boot, sometimes not.  But with Firewire…400 or 800…it’ll always boot. Because this unit had FW800, booting to the clone was a breeze, and I had my working OS back up in under an hour.

VERY handy to have a dock with this many connections. And OWC is kind enough to provide you with all the cables:

Oh, and if you want transfer speed numbers for the various connections, here they are for USB3, eSATA and FW800…the three connectors I have access to on my laptop. The eSATA connection is through the Thunderbolt bridge…so speeds might vary if you are using a card in an older tower.

I transferred a 1.2GB file using various connections…USB 3, FW800 and eSATA. I didn’t use FW400, as my computer didn’t have that connection. Sure, my tower did, but I was too lazy to turn it on and try it out. It’s a VERY legacy connection…barely anyone uses it anymore. Anyway, here are the various timings:

USB 3 – 21 seconds (100GB file would take 35 min)
FW800 – 22 seconds (100 GB file would take 37 min)
eSATA – 18 seconds. (100 GB file would take 30 min)
FW400 – not tested, but bound to take longer than all the above

And I ran the BlackMagic Speed Test with all the connections. I won’t post all three as they all were almost exactly the same.

The drive used was a simple Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB drive…5400 RPM. And again, this wasn’t a review on how this can be used for editing, as you can see it MIGHT be able to do one stream of ProRes SD. But rather as an archive solution. The speed you want is in the transfer. So for the fastest transfer….use eSATA. Or USB3.

OWC also provided a NewerTech Universal Drive Adapter, a simple cable kit that allows you to not only connect to bare SATA drives, but also connect to even older drives, such as PATA drives that don’t have the typical SATA connection, but rather a long two-rows of pins.  This is very handy as I do have a few drives that are PATA, that I did use to archive.  This allowed me to access those drives, and copy the information to more current drives….ones much younger that will last longer.  So, ‘yaay’ to that. This only has the USB 3 connection, but most if not all current computers have those, and it’s plenty fast. Nice and simple kit…works with 3.5″ drives and 2.5″ drives.

Why this rather lengthy post for a couple of drive dock products? Well, I didn’t just want to go “Here’s this thing you can put a drive in and here’s how fast it works….blah blah boring tech talk blah blah.”  I like to give real world examples of how you might use the products…how I use the products. So the main takeaway from this is BACK UP YOUR STUFF! In two locations.  And clone your OS before you update…just in case.  And here’s a darn good tool to do all of that stuff with.

NewerTech Voyager / Voyager Q , starting at $35.99 from OWC

NewerTech Universal Drive Adapter, $27.99 from OWC

As for the review products…OWC is letting me keep them. Because they say the cost of returning and restocking them won’t match the resale value. And no, this didn’t sway my review. I happen to love the new drive dock…much better than the USB 2 one I already owned.