Hard Drive Purchasing

Last updated Fall 2017

What to buy

While The Film and Digital Media program does not endorse any one hard drive manufacturer or vendor, we do encourage Film students to work closely with operations/IT staff to determine an affordable hard drive solution.

  • You will NEED to buy at least one (1) 3.5″ (not a 2.5″ aka “portable”) external hard drive. It is recommended that it spin at 7200RPM or faster (5400RPM can cause sluggish performance when editing, especially in 4K). Remember that all hard drives have the potential to fail, so make sure to keep a backup of your important data. We recommend that you keep backup copies of your project files on a 2nd external hard drive if you can afford to purchase two.
  • Film & Digital Media REQUIRES that you buy a USB 3.0 hard drive. Make sure it is version 3.0 and NOT version USB 2.0.
  • Our facilities now support USB 3.0 on all editing suites. Firewire 800 is also possible if you have a thunderbolt to Firewire 800 Adapter (not provided).
  • A capacity of 2 Tb or more is recommended. A capacity of 3TB to 4TB is preferred.
  • Avoid external hard drives which have a size larger than 5Tb in size. Any external hard drive larger than 5TB is typically much slower in performance.

Once you have purchased your drive, we recommend that you format the drive before you begin using it. This is true even if the drive comes pre-formatted.

Do not use the built in utilities for formatting that come with the hard drive. Drives must be formatted in Mac OSX Journaled format (Not EXFAT or NTFS). Please follow the Formatting External Hard Drives Tutorial which uses Disk Utility and ensures full Mac compatibility.

If you have any questions or need assistance please come by Room 137 in the Communications Building or email fdmoperations@ucsc.edu.

Where to buy hard drives

WARNING – Film and Digital Media recommends that you do not buy the Western Digital “My Book” external hard drive series. This caution is due to an abnormally high failure rate among our students that we have noticed over the last three years. The power supply and actuator arm fails frequently on this series of hard drive.