Solved Video Cache and SSD Drives

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I’m sure someone on this forum can answer some questions for me. I am considering a new computer, and in configuring the hard drives, I’m a bit confused. The C: drive will have the operating system and applications. In addition, a second drive, let’s refer to it as the D: drive, will be for working (editing) current projects, and a third, E: drive for downloading and temporarily storing the HD and 4K video clips for an active project. All 3 drives will be SSDs. I already have an external drive for backups and permanently storing the video clips once a project is done.

Question 1. Does the editing D: drive need to be the fastest drive, or does the video storage E: drive need to be the fastest drive? In other words, which one would benefit the most from an M.2/NVME SSD?

Question 2. I am a bit behind the times concerning the term “video cache”. Which one of these drives is considered video cache? D: or E:?

Thank you.
26 Dec 2019 23:54 #1

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Hi RobWS,

I am sure you will get some differing opinions about this subject, especially if you happened to post the same question on the VegasCreativeSoftware forums.

For me, you could use either an NVME or SSD drive for your C: drive. Essentially, any programs and the OS will load about as fast on either drive, just make sure to get one of at least 512 MB to 1 TB. Me, I prefer an NVME since it is "TWO" less cables (power and data) to worry about routing, should your PC support the requisite M.2 slot (currently AMD X570 and new sTRX40 ThreadRipper boards support PCI-e 4.0), all the recent Intel, 1st and 2nd Gen Ryzen/ThreadRipper support PCI-e 3.0. Will you see a difference? Probably not, but You are the one paying for the equipment and you know your budget. Remember, once you decide on a CPU and a supporting board, check the Manufacturer's website for the motherboard, download the manual and check to ensure the M.2 supports PCI-e, if that is what you want, as some older boards only supported SATA variants (unless you want that, we won't judge! :) ); including the "Speed" of that M.1 port (x2 or x4 lanes - I say this as the original Intel X99 platforms depending on brand, used either - I had a Gigabyte that supported only x2 lanes, whereas a similar MSI board I had supported x4. So it is up to You to do your "Due Diligence".

For your drive that would "host" the actual video/photo footage, again, you will get differing opinions. Refer to the above paragraph. Of course, it would also depend on the "Type" of footage. If only doing say Up To 1920x1080, get a "Large" SSD like in the 2 TB range (at least a 1 TB for sure!). If primarily working with 4K footage, and possibly moving to 6K and higher, well, I recommend NVME as it would keep the CPU "Fed" with data. But also keep in mind, if you plan to do 4K from a GoPro or similar, or possibly like the Sony AX-33/53 series that records in XAVC-S, that compressed footage is going to "put a hurting on your CPU!". Therefore, Proxies or Transcoding to say Cineform or DnXH/R is your friend (don't worry, Dr. Zen has two great video tutorials on using either!). Which means, some larger file sizes to store should you go the Transcode route.

You mention that a drive for "editing" current projects, then another for "storing" the footage. Actually, your Application drive (C: in this case), using Movie Studio or Vegas Pro, only uses a "pointer" to the footage of wherever it is at on a drive.

Here's a small example of what I use in my system(s):

1. C: drive - OS and all Applications
2. D: drive -Actual footage I will use (either original source or transcoded)
3. E: drive - Same as D
4. S: drive - All my cache, pre-renders, etc. This would be set from the "Preferences" in the programs - Vegas Pro, Movie Studio, DVD Architect, DaVinci Resolve, HitFilm Express. Also for VP/MS, you can also set "Always use these settings for every project" where I also set the .veg/.vf properties, and other settings.
5: R: drive - WE Red 2 TB drive just to render to, so I know where everything is.
6. Z: drive - 2 or 3 TB WD Elements USB drive for initial back-up
7. Network Server (Microsoft Home Server 2013) - Got around 50 TB worth of RAID drives for further backup. I only keep the original source files from my cameras, not any Transcoded or Converted (Canon pictures from RAW format I keep, not the ones converted in Digital Photo Professional - Canon's app). So I would keep the original GoPro .mp4 or Sony AX-53 .mp4 files, not any converted/transcoded to Cineform, Grass Valley, DNxHD/R, etc.
8. Blu-Ray disc from Server - Spend most of January burning every Photo and .mp4 file to disc, as well as all my Documents to a Data Blu-Ray for an additional back-up, then store at one of my two brothers house (so off-site).

Of course, my drive setup above may be a bit "over-kill" or "extreme", but only you can determine how valuable things are. I get this involved as a lot of the Pictures my Parents had taken when we (my brothers and sister) were young, and the ones I had them keep while I was in the Service, got destroyed when their basement flooded years ago.

Hope this helps you to understand a little bit. I'm sure the Doc will report in when able, or someone else in the Forum with their ideas/hints. What works for one, isn't necessarily good for another, though neither is wrong. Only You can decide. Just like when people tell you you should have bought this CPU, or that GPU, or this particular case...I ask back: Are you going to give me the money?

Mike "The Chief" O'Sullivan
Asus X399-e ROG Strix /2950X/64 GB Corsair/XFX Radeon VII/SoundBlaster Zx/Win 10 Pro 64-Bit. Vegas Pro 17 Edit/Vegas MSP 16 Suite/SoundForge Studio 12.6/Magix Xara Photo & Graphics Design/Hitfilm Express 14. Intel 750 PCIe with OS & Apps, Samsung 960 & 970 1TB EVO PCIe for source footage.
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27 Dec 2019 02:34 #2

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Replied by RobWS on topic Video Cache and SSD Drives

Hello Chief,

That is one impressive rig you get to use. Highly impressed by the configuration. An thank you for taking the time to respond in such a detailed way. Your typing skills must be better than mine!

Let me make sure I understand how you are using your drives. The D: and E: drives are where you download video footage to be used in a project. The S: drive is where you save and edit your video projects. But you render the final project to the R: drive. Is that correct? If so, what types of drives do you use in those locations? Are any of those drives M.2 SSDs?

I also want to pass along my thanks for your service in the Navy. Much appreciated.

27 Dec 2019 22:54 #3

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Hi Rob,

First, You are Welcome concerning my Service. I'd probably still be in there if not for age and health! Like I always told everyone: it's just like any job - you have your good days and bad days. I fortunately, had extremely more good than bad, which the bad if you really boil down to it, those days could be counted on One hand!

Now, to those drives. Yes, the D: & E: drives "HOLD" the footage. Whether it be an original from the camera, or Transcoded. Since I only have one screen of 27", I/Me/Myself (so as not to confuse those who just love to argue!) have a hard time utilizing the Proxies from Movie Studio or Vegas Pro. They work fantastic, I just can't see that well to use. So, if needed, I Transcode as mentioned in previous post. Been finding it faster lately to Transcode to an .AVI Cineform from DaVinci Resolve 16, as either computer I have really do expedite the procedure quickly (signature rig with AMD Radeon VII, the other with a nVidia RTX 2070 Founder's Edition -not super).

The S: drive in either machine, would be where I set preferences for the cache, pre-renders, etc. Yes, the D:, E:, & S: drives are all M.2 NVME drives. That is one of the great bonuses of ThreadRipper platform. Either in the slots, a single PCI-e Adapter card, or in one of those Quad Adapters to hold 4 drives, and then making the necessary setting in the BIOS/UEFI of the motherboard.

The R: drive, is just a Western Digital RED 2 TB 5400 rpm drive. It helps to ensure that no one drive is doing all the work! Especially those 5400/5900/7200 rpm drives of spinning platters. The drive head mechanism (think old phonograph player for those wonderful sounding Vinyl 33 1/3 or 45 rpm records!) is not fast enough, durable enough, or just plain capable of Reading and Writing that amount of data. Not a fallacy, just plain truth and Physics/Math.

So, having all those drives helps to "Level the Playing Field" when doing a lot of intense Read/Write procedures, which someone would do in Video Editing. If you look at someone who primarily Games, a fast 7200 rpm drive would actually suffice, let alone has the capability of really large sizes (now going for 14 and 16 TB consumer drives!), because if you can wait that little bit extra on a game load, it gets loaded to memory for its usage, and doesn't change much. All programs use this approach, but for Video Editing, those files get read/written to a lot, so the memory is always getting "re-freshed" to support the CPU/GPU, hence the benefits of and SSD or NVME drive.

Now, still not sure what you mean "Save and Edit your video projects"? As said before, the D: & E: drives hold the footage. Using Movie Studio say, the application is on my C: drive, and when I am working within Movie Studio, it does not move the footage from D or E to the C drive, it just points to their location (hence, Non-Destructive Linear Editor "NLE", or more commonly referred to Non-Linear Editor these Days).

So, my C: drive in one machine is an Intel 750 800GB NVME drive - uses the cable connection like a RAID card to drives; the other C: drive is an Intel 1 TB M.2 NVME drive.

The D:, E:, and S: drives would be either 1 or 2 TB M.2 NVME drives, either Samsung or Intel.

The R:, X:, or other drives could be USB 3.0 Western Digitals, or Internal Western Digital RED or Black drives, depending on purpose.

Of course, I spent a good bit of money for this, but it was MY MONEY. So to me, I really could care less what people say I should have used, or utilized this instead of that, or this brand here over that brand there. THEY, did not provide the money. Plus, my machines are always in a state of flux being changed here or there.

What you need to do, is probably start with a Single M.2 NVME drive for your footage, with a good SATA SSD for the OS and Applications. Yeah, contrary to what you would see on YouTube from the majority of Gamers, and Tech Tubers. Plus, get a simple spinning drive of 1 or 2 TB just for rendering to. Then, build your rig, but try out the config as listed above quickly for your Editing experience and see if you like it. At least a couple of projects. Then re-re-build with the NVME drive for OS and Applications, with the SSD as the "Source Footage" drive and try that, with keeping the spinning drive for Renders, naturally. You may find no noticeable difference, or a lot. Your hardware choices may dictate some of that difference to a degree. Plus, there is always that "MONEY" factor.

Hope this helps a little more!


p.s. My typing skills suck! You wouldn't believe not only how long it took me to write the above, but more how many mistakes I caught and had to correct! :silly:
Asus X399-e ROG Strix /2950X/64 GB Corsair/XFX Radeon VII/SoundBlaster Zx/Win 10 Pro 64-Bit. Vegas Pro 17 Edit/Vegas MSP 16 Suite/SoundForge Studio 12.6/Magix Xara Photo & Graphics Design/Hitfilm Express 14. Intel 750 PCIe with OS & Apps, Samsung 960 & 970 1TB EVO PCIe for source footage.
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28 Dec 2019 00:35 #4

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Replied by RobWS on topic Video Cache and SSD Drives


Your confusion over my question is justified. My computer definitions or terminology are lacking which leads to more questions from those such as yourself who know what they’re talking about.

Despite my lack of computer vocabulary, I am currently using a computer that I built years ago. I spent 10 months researching and learning (primarily from YouTube instructions) how to do it. Hey, it lasted quite well. But it can’t handle 4K footage at all. And, rendering a project to Blu-ray? I just let the machine run overnight. I’ve had a couple of Blu-ray renders that went far beyond 12 hours. By the way, I use Movie Studio Platinum 16.

My current configuration:
C: SSD OS and some applications
F: SSD more applications
G: HDD This is what I use for working on audio and video projects, i.e. Save Project As… My guess is this drive is what’s referred to as the Project Drive.
H: External USB3 HDD for downloading all video clips for editing in a project. H: Also used for backups.

I’ve been searching the internet to get an explanation of terms for an NLE computer. The reason I’m confused is that seemingly various descriptions are used from one website to another concerning what should go on what types of drives. And, I have not gotten up to speed on the terminology which makes things more confusing. Are they talking about the same thing?

Examples: OS Drive, Media Cache Drive, Project Drive, Export Drive, Cache Folders, Media Files Drive, Previews Drive, Pagefile Drive. So, what is the difference between the Media Cache Drive and the Media Files Drive? Which one of these drives needs the fastest speed? If I’m limited to 2 M.2 drives, what should they be used for?

It’s all in the understanding of terminology.
28 Dec 2019 04:42 #5

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Hi Rob

Here is a simple answer...

If you are only using Vegas Pro/Vegas Movie Studio to edit your videos, there are a maximum of 3x drives you could possibly use.
Traditionally, most Vegas editors working with simple everyday projects, would only need a 2x drive setup.

C-Drive is for your Windows operating system and Programs.
An M.2 NVMe SSD drive is best to use for your C-Drive.

D-Drive is normally used for a traditional high capacity (spinning) HDD, which is what most of your media files would live on, like Photos, Videos, Music....
If you have a large amount of Video files, sometime you're going to install more then 1x HDD, however today you can now get HDD that hold 10 TBs or more.

Scratch Drive / Media Cache Drive is used to temporarily store all the Video files you will using in your Vegas video editing project.
If you set up a drive like this, another M.2 NVMe SSD drive would be the best for this or if you are on a tight budget, a slower SSD drive connected via SATA will also work. This type of set up is good to use if you are editing with 4K videos and/or multiple videos running at the same time on multiple video tracks. Before you begin a new Vegas project, you would copy all the videos you want to use from the HDD onto the M.2 NVMe SSD.

:idea: Remember to turn everything off at least once a week, including your brain, then sit somewhere quiet and just chill out.
Unplugging is the best way to find solutions to your problems. If you would like to share some love, post a customer testimonial or make a donation.
Peace :)
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28 Dec 2019 16:31 #6

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Replied by RobWS on topic Video Cache and SSD Drives

Thank you to Mike and Derek. This forum is invaluable.
29 Dec 2019 22:34 #7

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