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  1. Member
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    I'm trying to get my editing workstation set up so that it's not a mess and allows me to work more efficiently. I use Sony Vegas for editing. My biggest problem is with external hard drives and wires and ac adaptors; they're driving me nuts. I just upgraded my system so I have one SSD system drive internally, and my other drives are alle external. I certainly don't need to have all the drives connected at once, but I find myself needing to access events, or graphics to re-use in other projects. So I'm thinking that I need to have an internal drive where I can save things that I re-use often, although that can't really be done with timeline events that need to be edited. For that I have to open the old project, and the new project and copy and paste from one to the other.

    So when I do need to pull a drive that has an old project on it, then there's the issue of being able to get behind the computer to plug the USB in, as well as find a plug for the all-annoying wall wart ac adaptor. I was thinking about getting a good USB hub and setting it on the desk, so when I need to connect a drive, it will be easier. Is there any downside to using a hub and video editing/encoding?
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  2. Member turk690's Avatar
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    Are you using a desktop or laughtop?
    If it's a desktop, I'd put all other drives internally on available SATA ports. I will probably additionally buy a PCIe-to-SATA card to connect more internal SATA HDDs (and external ones through eSATA).
    If it's a laughtop with an eSATA port I will connect an external HDD through that.
    For both types, an external NAS server through gigabit ethernet is a good bet.
    I wouldn't be caught dead using USB drives to put captured and edited files in, except when probably transferring files from a camcorder HDD or SD card. Why this is, I have explained in a number of older threads on the topic such as http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/356640-Laptop-crashes-while-rendering?p=2247451#post2247450
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    Hi Turk690, I am using a desktop system, mid-size tower.

    What do you mean "other drives internally on available SATA ports"? The only internal drive I have at the moment is the SSD, which is the system drive with the O/S and programs on it.

    I don't see the necessity of a NAS because none of the files will need to be accessed by any other systems.

    If you don't use USB drives for capturing and editing, what do you use? I thought everyone used USB drives for editing and storing projects? I've never had any dropped frames when capturing on USB drives.

    Are you saying that a USB hub would make things worse?
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  4. Member turk690's Avatar
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    A recent desktop will have a number of internal SATA ports. I will connect other internal SATA hard drives to these to put captured, edited, and other required media files in.
    Unless (rarely) drivers are written for it, USB is a general multi-device controller. The controller is beholden to a lot of s/w and h/w in the system that can get in between smooth file transfers and interrupt capture or rendering. About the only thing going for USB is convenience, which everyone, including me, is addicted to. Any computer that is going to be used for some type of heavy-duty audio and video editing has to have, at its most basic, two single-controller drives. IDE, SATA, & eSATA fit this bill. Because USB is not single-controllered, it does not. The first drive has to have the OS and programs in it. The second one can be used for the captured, edited, and media files. If the the OS drive is SSD, it is even more important to have a second single-controllered, non-USB drive to put in pagefile.sys (more so if you have 8GB or less of system memory). Of course, the more single-controllered drives the better; system throughput is increased and bottlenecks are avoided when accessing different files on the fly when doing NLE.
    A lot of newbies (and a lot of experienced NLeditors) get caught up in the fastest processor, fastest and mostest GPU and shit but refuse to acknowledge or just plainly forget the essential requirement for two or more single-controllered hard drives for computers intended for audio and video NLE. They then wonder why their systems crawl, crash, or just plain give the finger despite it having the latest chipset and processor.
    It'a a good thing for you that you've never had dropped frames when capturing on USB drives. As I've said, part of the problem lies in just how sophisticated the drivers are for that particular capture device. But it is hit-and-miss. A few years back the Pinnacle 500 box featured a FireWire-to-USB bridge at its core and with appropriate drivers then for WinXP smooth DV-AVI captures with a Firewire camcorder to a USB2.0 port on the capture PC was the order of the day. People who use this get lulled into thinking that USB is where it's at; with the plethora of USB devices out of china at the moment with poorly written crashy drivers, I'm not going to take that chance. This is why a USB hub may make it worse. In my experience it always does make it worse.
    If you note the computer I am using through computer details on the left, this mobo has six native SATA ports, plus an additional on-board SATA controller Gigabyte has thrown in. The latter controller I have configured for RAID1 for boot; it's where OS and programs are in. The rest of the other SATA ports (native to the ICH10 Intel chipset of the mobo) is where I plugged all of the other SATA hard drives in.
    Last edited by turk690; 16th Feb 2014 at 17:57.
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    Wow, lots to digest there, thanks for the info. To clarify, my mobo is this one:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131730
    I'll try to read and understand what you said in your post when I have a few mins today...
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  6. Use bare drives and removable drive bays. You get full SATA speed, no wall warts and wires running around.
    http://www.amazon.com/KingWin-KF-1000-BK-Single-Internal-SATA/dp/B00126U0VA/
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    jagabo, I didn't even think of removable bays, that's a great idea to cut down on the clutter!
    Now that I have several of these external USB drives, perhaps I should just use those to store my finished projects?

    I have two 3.5" open bays and two 5.25" open bays so that shouldn't be a problem. So I should get two SATA 6Gb/s drives (one for a backup) and I should be good to go from there?
    Last edited by sdsumike619; 17th Feb 2014 at 13:14.
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  8. Member turk690's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sdsumike619 View Post
    Now that I have several of these external USB drives, perhaps I should just use those to store my finished projects?
    That's just about what they are good for now.

    Originally Posted by sdsumike619 View Post
    I have two 3.5" open bays and two 5.25" open bays so that shouldn't be a problem. So I should get two SATA 6Gb/s drives (one for a backup) and I should be good to go from there?
    You have a good mobo with SATA ports galore. Use the drives you have mentioned on them. Jagabo's tip on removable drives ups the ante for convenience, while staying away from USB (even v3.0) as much as possible.
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  9. Member budwzr's Avatar
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    Ummm...isn't USB3 faster than SATA?
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  10. Member turk690's Avatar
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    USB3 specs do say it's faster than any flavor of SATA. But many things conspire against it being used seriously for a hassle-free AV NLE workstation.
    • USB is a multi-controller device. A lot depends on the how the USB controller implemented the specs for the h/w, the devices attached to the controller, how the OS interprets and interacts with demands from each of them, the quality and stability of the drivers installed in the OS, etc. The unpredictability that all this brings makes depending mostly on USB drives to put capture data in or as a device in a rendering chain hit-and-miss, more miss. SATA is a system where one controller lords over just one device: the attached SATA HDD, and the demands to interact with the OS are different in a good way for NLE compared with USB.
    • There are lots of things needed to make a USB3 chain actually make data transfers even just 50% or even less of its rated spec: the correct controller, stable updated drivers and f/w, genuine USB3 device plugged in, robust shielded noise-free cables, enough current sourced by the USB outlet to be used by the device, etc. When one or more of these are missing, speeds fall, sometimes even way below USB2. Much has been talked about the subject matter of USB3 actually just being a pretty blue connector makeover with very little actual, if any improvement, over USB2. Just go over to anandtech or tomshardware to see the very interesting discussions.
    • USB connected hard drives have more overhead that adds to the resource consumption and unpredictability. There are no direct USB HDDs as such; they are all SATA, and therefore have to be connected to a SATA-to-USB bridge inside their external cases. The quality and performance of these bridge circuits range very widely. It just makes more sense to connect a SATA hard drive directly to a SATA port, especially when your new mobo has probably ten of the latter.
    USB2 & 3 are convenient interfaces good enough for keyboards, mice, printers, and card readers, among others. I'd even of course use it to transfer the AVCHD files off my camcorder to the SATA drive which is part of my editing & rendering chain. But NLE is a critical operation that requires minimum unpredictability that simply can't be provided by USB (unless appropriate drivers are written for it) so while I'm in the thick of a NLE session I have to make sure that there are no USB drives in the chain.
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  11. Originally Posted by budwzr View Post
    Ummm...isn't USB3 faster than SATA?
    The raw data rate for USB3 and SATA3 are about the same (5 Gb/s vs. 6.0 Gb/s respectively). In any case, the speed you can get data off or on the platters is far below the interface speed so there's not much difference in speed between the two.
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  12. Member budwzr's Avatar
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    Funny, every time something new comes along it gets poo-poo'ed by those already invested in the old stuff.

    Another example is "PEX" plastic plumbing pipe. No soldering required! Plumbers everywhere claim they don't trust it. Yet somehow it has all the certifications, lasts practically forever, and cuts the install time in half.
    Last edited by budwzr; 17th Feb 2014 at 20:40.
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  13. Member turk690's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by budwzr View Post
    Another example is "PEX" plastic plumbing pipe.
    Hard to tell if this is the correct comparison/analogy.
    Either way, USB is not intended to replace SATA, or vice versa. One is for convenience, the other for more critical system performance. If USB is where it's completely at, new laughtops and mobos would have tended long ago to replace SATA with it. But current laughtops still have a SATA HDD as a primary boot drive, and native chipsets on newer mobos have ever more SATA ports.
    I suppose, if you are not a fan of opening up your desktop to view the awesome SATA ports within and connect HDDs to it, or your beloved laughtop doesn't have an eSATA port, it's easy to hate something you don't have or are afraid to tinker of.
    USB is a convenience for the masses and duly has its place in all things IT. If people adopt lemming behaviour and believe the ads about the awesomeness of USB3 but not have a clue and desire not to know more, it's up to them. But we're videohelp techies, no?, so we're (supposed) to be made of more critical stuff.
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  14. Member budwzr's Avatar
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    Yeah, my "laughtop" has an esata connector, but I gave up on it because some programs don't see it as a drive, for some reason.

    I don't remember exactly, but I think esata needs you to map a drive letter to it every time you plug in and out, so that's a hassle, and defeats the portability upside.

    And it doesn't sleep when the laughtop goes into sleep. So burns the battery overnight if I forget to plug off.
    Last edited by budwzr; 17th Feb 2014 at 21:45.
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    I chose this case for three of my last four computer builds because it has an e-Sata connector on the top front and also a quick connect Sata connector on the top of the case. Most Coolermaster cases have a hole in the right side to access the CPU without having to remove the motherboard. They have multiple holes in the side to route cables from the bottom mounted power supply to form a clutter free case with the use of wire ties. The HDD connectors are on the right side also for even less clutter. This is a true tool less case with the only hardware needing a screw driver is the fan screws.

    Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced - Mid Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0 and Water Cooling Support

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119259

    Throw in a power supply with cable connections on the PSU to remove un-needed cables for even less clutter and a Hyper 212 cooler (or water cooling which the case was made for) to keep the CPU running cool.
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  16. Originally Posted by turk690 View Post
    Much has been talked about the subject matter of USB3 actually just being a pretty blue connector makeover with very little actual, if any improvement, over USB2. Just go over to anandtech or tomshardware to see the very interesting discussions.
    I've no idea where that comes from. I have a bunch of "internal" SATA drives which I usually connect with a dock of some sort. I have a couple of docks which are USB2 and eSATA, and one which is USB3. This sort of thing:
    http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=210_288

    I can't say I've run any benchmarks, but a drive sitting in a USB3 dock is probably marginally slower than one connected directly to the MB via SATA. If I had to guess, the sort of difference I'd be referring to (as an example) is transferring a bunch of files via SATA drive might take 4 minutes, while for the drive in the USB3 dock it might take 4 minutes 15 seconds, but that's more an "impression" and nothing I've actually tested. However if the USB3 to SATA conversion does slow things down a tad, it's still way faster than USB2, which isn't even remotely close to the same speed.

    There are issues which can slow USB3 down. When I first installed the USB3 card in my PC it would drop out a bit and often run at USB2 speed. I'd know when that was happening though because Windows would pop up with a "this device can run faster" message when I connected a USB3 device. Eventually I discovered it only happened when overclocking was enabled, and from there I discovered a manual tweak of the PCIe frequency in the BIOS fixed it. Since then it's been running fine.

    These days, you can buy PC cases with drive docks built into the top. Naturally they're connected via SATA.
    http://pc.mmgn.com/Forums/PC-Hardware/cases-with-external-hard-drive-docks
    That's on my "must have" list for my next build. Preferably a case with a dual drive dock.
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  17. Member budwzr's Avatar
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    Does anyone have any comment about "Hybrid Drives"? Supposed to be price/performance upside.
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  18. Member turk690's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hello_hello View Post
    I can't say I've run any benchmarks, but a drive sitting in a USB3 dock is probably marginally slower than one connected directly to the MB via SATA. If I had to guess, the sort of difference I'd be referring to (as an example) is transferring a bunch of files via SATA drive might take 4 minutes....
    I have no issues about USB2 or USB3 transfer speeds. They are what they are, crappy or awesome and everything in between. I only referred to USB3 in connection to USB as a whole. This thread started as a topic about how to minimize clutter with a PC intended for NLE, and how best to add drives to it. Though USB2 and USB3 are good for many things, using it to attach a hard drive that is included in a non-linear editing chain (as a source for where captured files or required media files are, or where rendered files go to, or even to store NLE projects that are opened on the fly) is not one of them. I have said many times that USB can have high speeds (possibly >10GB/s in future versions), but its one fatal limitation is that it is a multi-device controller. When you connect a wretched USB drive to a Windoze PC, that drive has the same significance as all the other devices connected to that USB controller: keyboard, mouse, printer, EZ capture device, webcam.... Windoze has to poll all of them in a required manner to see if I/O transfers are requested and all that. In between Windoze, the level of competence used in creating the drivers for these devices, the programs demanding to I/O with these devices (including but not limited to the NLE program you are using), and your actions as you edit away, little order and predictability is left and anything can happen. Freezing, crashing, and just plain slowing down of the programs are all very much more possible.
    SATA, on the other hand, maybe a bit slower or a bit faster than USB, is a single-device, single-controller system. One controller commands one hard drive, and only that hard drive. SATA controllers have more autonomy and interact with windoze, and your NLE program, in a different way compared with USB. There is a reason why boot drives are nearly always SATA. If USB3 were good enuff I dare anyone to make his critical NLE PC have an external USB3-connected hard drive as primary boot device.
    USB is very ubiquitous. It's everywhere, and it's tempting to assume it can be used for, and actively in the middle of, mission-critical events (such as NLE). USB3 manufacturers would like you and me to think that way. But knowing more, and comparing SATA and USB, and finding out what actual pros use in their NLE chain will say much the same as I have above.
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  19. Originally Posted by turk690 View Post
    SATA, on the other hand, maybe a bit slower or a bit faster than USB, is a single-device, single-controller system. One controller commands one hard drive, and only that hard drive.
    You should mention that to SATA ports which support port multiplying.
    Mind you the majority of SATA controllers don't, and when they do it can be hit and miss. To the extent it can make USB seem ultra reliable.
    I've got a dual drive dock which is eSATA. I've pretty much given up using it with more than one drive. In fact I think currently it's connected to a controller which doesn't support port multiplying because then I can at least use one drive in it reliably. Connected to the controller which supports port multiplying, how well it works seems to depend on the combination of drives in it. That same dock is also USB2. I don't use it that way much as it's too slow, but stick a pair of drives in it, connect it to a USB port and it'll work reliably all day long.
    And of course SATA/eSATA cables are way too fiddly and limiting compared to USB.

    Originally Posted by turk690 View Post
    I have said many times that USB can have high speeds (possibly >10GB/s in future versions), but its one fatal limitation is that it is a multi-device controller.
    I only read your previous post where you claimed USB3 was often considered no better than USB2.

    Originally Posted by turk690 View Post
    SATA controllers have more autonomy and interact with windoze, and your NLE program, in a different way compared with USB. There is a reason why boot drives are nearly always SATA. If USB3 were good enuff I dare anyone to make his critical NLE PC have an external USB3-connected hard drive as primary boot device.
    As a general rule, using a USB drive as a boot drive would make about as much sense as using an eSATA drive as a boot drive. USB/eSATA are designed for devices which can be connected/disconnected freely. Neither are really suitable for a boot drive.

    Originally Posted by turk690 View Post
    USB is very ubiquitous. It's everywhere, and it's tempting to assume it can be used for, and actively in the middle of, mission-critical events (such as NLE). USB3 manufacturers would like you and me to think that way. But knowing more, and comparing SATA and USB, and finding out what actual pros use in their NLE chain will say much the same as I have above.
    I wouldn't argue that a drive connected directly via SATA wouldn't be preferable, but I'm not sure why a USB3 drive would necessarily cause problems. Mind you for NLE and working with large files etc, a RAID volume of some sort would be even better. I've got four hard drives in this PC running as two RAID-0 volumes. I'd hate to go back to single hard drives.
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    Would this drive be a good option for my board?
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1310560

    If my board supports SATA 6Gb/s, does that mean that I should get that speed, or is SATA 3Gb/s suffcient? My board also says it supports SATA RAID, but I have no experience whatsoever with RAID. I remember reading an article by another videographer that said he just uses some simple program that will duplicate the data on the second drive automatically so he didn't need to worry about RAID...
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  21. Originally Posted by sdsumike619 View Post
    If my board supports SATA 6Gb/s, does that mean that I should get that speed, or is SATA 3Gb/s suffcient?
    The bottleneck will be how fast you can get data on/off the platters. That will be about 1 Gb/s. So there's no point in worrying whether that data will move at 3 Gb/s or 6 Gb/s over the cable.
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    Ok, so that naturally leads to the question, if 1Gb/s is the best I'll get, why do 3 and 6Gb/s even exist? Marketing?
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  23. Member turk690's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sdsumike619 View Post
    Ok, so that naturally leads to the question, if 1Gb/s is the best I'll get, why do 3 and 6Gb/s even exist? Marketing?
    Bottlenecks in system throughput are everywhere and we want to remove them. It just so happens advances in SATA technology are faster than actual increases in hard drive seek/read/write speed. They will meet, or one may slow down, we have to see. In the meantime, buy that hard drive; it's as good as any in that class.
    This is similar to USB3: so much potential raw specified data transfer speed, not so many devices around that actually use even a fraction of it. IMHO, the best part of USB3 is not the increase in transfer speeds, but an increase in the amount of current that is allowed to be supplied to attached devices.
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  24. Originally Posted by sdsumike619 View Post
    Ok, so that naturally leads to the question, if 1Gb/s is the best I'll get, why do 3 and 6Gb/s even exist? Marketing?
    As far as hard drives are concerned, yes it's marketing, for now. SSDs are now exceeding what you can get out of 3 Gb/s SATA.

    Originally Posted by turk690 View Post
    the best part of USB3 is not the increase in transfer speeds, but an increase in the amount of current that is allowed to be supplied to attached devices.
    I don't think I'd go that far. USB2 maxes out at 30 MB/s for hard disk drives. That's far slower than modern drives which can sustain ~50 to ~150 MB/s. Anyone with an external USB3 hard drive appreciates the extra speed.
    Last edited by jagabo; 9th Mar 2014 at 00:04.
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    Last question.. Is hot swappable a feature that's worthwhile? Any downside to it?
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    I got the two hot swap drive racks, installed the drives, both drives are recognized in the bios and listed in the windows device manager, however, they're not listed in the hard disk drives section. Any idea why this would be?
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  27. Member fritzi93's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sdsumike619 View Post
    I got the two hot swap drive racks, installed the drives, both drives are recognized in the bios and listed in the windows device manager, however, they're not listed in the hard disk drives section. Any idea why this would be?
    Do they show up in Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> DisK Management? If so, format and partition them there.
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  28. Yes, they need to be partitioned before they show up in Explorer, and formatted before you can use them.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    I don't think I'd go that far. USB2 maxes out at 30 MB/s for hard disk drives. That's far slower than modern drives which can sustain ~50 to ~150 MB/s. Anyone with an external USB3 hard drive appreciates the extra speed.
    I can certainly appreciate it.

    This thread got me interested in transfer speeds and since I had a couple files to back up I decided to do some timed tests. All drives are recent AFD drives less than 80% full and 0% fragmented according to DeFraggler.

    Source drive: Seagate Barracuda 3 TB (7,200 rpm)
    Files: 2 files, 21 GB total

    Destination drives:

    Seagate 4 TB (5,900 rpm)
    Seagate 3 TB (7,200)
    Seagate 2 TB (7,200)
    Seagate 2 TB (5,900) "Green"
    Samsung 2 TB (5,400)

    Transfer Mode/Destination Minutes/Seconds

    SATA -> 3 TB (7,200) 2:55

    eSATA -> 2TB (5,400) Samsung 2:50

    USB3 -> 4 TB (5,900) 3:36
    USB3 -> 2 TB (7,200) 3:20
    USB3 -> 2 TB (5,900) Green 4:43

    USB2 -> 2 TB (5,900) Green 11:56
    USB2 -> 2 TB (5,400) Samsung 11:25
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    Thank you, I was able to initiate them, and format them, now they show up.

    Next problem is the hot swap part. I enabled hot swappable in my motherboard BIOS for those two sata drives. However, Windows doesn't seem to want to notice them when I slide them into the rack. Is there something else I have to do other than enable hot swap in the bios? Do the drives themselves have to be hot swappable compatible?
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