View Full Version : Slow import to iMovie using external drives
2007 August 7th, 13:51
I have a number of 250 gig and 500 gig external USB 2.0 drives that I use for importing video via iMovie. I've tried importing with the drives connected to a USB 2.0 bus, but I'm getting 1/4 to 1/2 import speed much of the time and stuttered playback of imported video.
My machine is an iMac 20" Core 2 Duo with 2 gig of RAM.
I thought I solved my problem by plugging one drive directly into the iMac's USB port. I then can import almost always in real-time.
However, I just bought a brand new Samsung 500 gig drive and tried the same thing and am back to 1/4 to 1/2 speed import.
Any ideas? I'm going crazy and am filling up drives.
2007 August 7th, 17:24
This is probably something to be expected. You will always be limited to the port speeds for USB 2.0 and Firewire. It doesn't really matter if its advertising a certain speed, chances are you will still transfer below it. 1/2 and 1/4 times for moving files are expected. You should try different methods. As for the files, once completely transfered over being slow inside the editing apps, that's more on your computer than the transfer. Sounds like a lack of memory or a slower machine.
2007 August 7th, 17:25
Yes I saw the 2 gig ram part, I guess maybe for some reason you have too many other things going on eating up the performance. 2 gigs is normally fine.
2007 August 24th, 19:03
Just wanted to give a follow-up post to the problem I was having...
On advice from an old Mac friend he suggested I go back to my FW external drive to see if it performs better - it does! I put a bit newer/bigger IDE drive in it and I can now import all HD video in real-time and play back video within iMovie without any stuttering or hiccups.
So, I just went out and bought another 500gig drive, but this time a 500 gig FW drive. I'll use the USB drives for other tasks...
Thanks for all the advice.
2007 August 24th, 21:24
I only have firewire drives myself, but I think I read that USB 2.0 drives will slow to USB 1.1 speeds in some cases, like if there is one of the older USB drives on the same hub. That is if you're using a hub. I prefer Firewire too, but USB2 shouldn't be doing THAT. Your computer is VERY capable.
2007 August 27th, 14:37
I think the Mac USB drivers have always been a bit sluggish. In my old G4 Mac Mini, the FW performance was MUCH better. I suspect that this continues and that the FW800 ports on the latest iMacs are probably very good indeed. On the PC platform there seems to be very little to choose between the two interfaces.
2007 August 27th, 17:47
FYI Make sure when buying FireWire Drives that they have the latest oxford chips too!
2007 August 28th, 02:20
Kramerica: It was really frustrating dealing with this problem because I agree that the USB drives should have been up to the task. I was plugging the drive directly into the rear USB port on the iMac and still having problems. Maybe it was something else on my USB bus causing a problem, but I had had enough.
VeiVidiVici: I bought a Fantom 500 gig FW/USB external drive at Newegg for $136. Unfortunately they didn't describe anywhere what version of the Oxford chip it had, but everything's been working great!
Kicking it old school with my Firewire! :hv20-smilie09::hv20-smilie09::hv20-smilie09:
2007 September 6th, 12:59
Darn, I assume this is my problem then. Trying to do my first import into iMovie with my new HV is not working. I've got a 30 minute video that was recorded with auto settings. While importing I don't see anything in real time and the clips box randomly updates as it imports. Then randomly at the 5-10 minute mark iMovie just flat out closes. I'm a little concerned my MacBook Pro isn't up to the task.
Its a 1.83 GHz, 2gb ram with a usb external. I don't have a firewire external otherwise I would use it. Can someone tell me on average how big a 30 minute auto movie would come out size wise? I have no clue as this is my first time in many years with video cameras.
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