| With the influx of digital media comes the
associated problem of storing it. Fortunately,
the cost of storage has dropped dramatically in
the past few years. In this article, we examine
the options based on IDE, SCSI, USB, and Firewire.
By far, the cheapest option is to buy IDE disks and
install them internally. IDE disks are typically
one-third the cost of SCSI disks for the same
amount of gigabytes. However, most motherboards have
a limit of 4 IDE slots, several of which are used by
the other media such as CD-ROM drives or floppy disk.
Even though SCSI is the most expensive option, it is
also the fastest option with ideal transfer rates of 160MB/s.
In practice, a good disk will transfer at about 30MB/s depending
on the kind of file transfers. SCSI is the only real choice
for enterprise critical video applications. IDE disks
tend to transfer data at about half the speed of the
current ultra160 SCSI disks.
USB (pre 2.0) has the major advantage of external portability and
immediate gratification. USB hard disks work immediately and
generally without problems. Furthermore, the cost is
only slightly higher than using internal IDE drives. However,
the speed of USB is limited to 1.2 MB/s compared to
40 MB/s for firewire. USB 2.0 products are on the shelves, but have not yet
been proven to have high reliability and stability.
This brings us to Firewire, which has excellent transfer rates
and has a good extension path, which is to say that you
can chain about 16 feet of Firewire disks together for
additional storage. However, in our tests, you have to
be very careful about matching DV cards to Firewire hard
disks. For example, matching an Asus DV card to a Maxtor
hard drive resulted in occasional failed file transfers. However,
there were no problems in using a Maxtor DV card with
the Maxtor hard drive.