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How Much SSD Do You Need For Video Editing?

Wondering how much SSD storage would be ideal for video editing? Deciding on the ideal storage capacity for video editing can be difficult. But don’t fret, I am here to solve your dilemma. Let’s find out how much SSD is optimal for video editing purposes. 

Do you really need an SSD for video editing? 

There are multiple kinds of storage devices available in the market and choosing one can be tricky. The two most popular types of storage drives are hard disk drives and solid-state drives. The difference between the two lies in their performance.

Most people prefer SSD to HDD because of the performance and speed an SSD offers. Hard disk drives are mechanical drives with moving parts in them. Hard disk drives use a rotating disk in them to read and write data. The absence of such moving parts like rotating disk in SSDs makes them faster.

When working with video editing programs, you would like to access the video files, render them and save the edited files quickly.

In simpler terms, you would want to have a fast storage drive to make your video editing workflow faster and optimal. And when talking about the speed of a storage device– SSD is what most people would imagine.

SSDs are 4 times faster than HDDs and NVMe SSDs are up to 10 times faster than HDDs. 

You may also like: Top 6 Best SSD for Video Editing [2021]

Cons Of Using SSD for Video Editing 

Choosing an SSD for video editing is the right choice. But the problems with SSDs are they have limited storage capacity and they are expensive. 

As a video editor, you will have to store large video files, and with an SSD, this might be a problem. Video editors today work with higher resolution video files like HD, 4K, and even 8K. These files take up large space in storage drives. So even if you have a 1 TB storage drive, it might still fall short. And not to forget, the write limits an SSD comes with. 

The solution could be using an HDD for storing your video files and using an SSD for your OS and video editing software. Using an SSD and HDD hand in hand will solve the storage problems without compromising workflow speed and productivity. 

How Much Storage Space Video Files Occupy? 

You should know how much storage space video files occupy before you begin searching for the perfect SSD size for video editing. 

The space a video file occupies on the storage device depends on multiple factors like format, resolution, and length. 

An hour-long video in H.264/AVC format with a resolution of 1080p would occupy somewhere between 34-35 GB on a storage drive. 

If the video is in the latest H.265 format, its size would decrease significantly. A one hour HD video in H.265 format will only occupy 2.5-3GB of storage space. 

However, raw 1080p video files would need substantial storage space. For your reference, a raw 1080p video can occupy as much as 600GB in your storage drive. 

Let’s talk about the size of 4k resolution videos. An hour-long 4k video in H.265 format occupies 33 GB on average. And if the video is in ProRes 422 format, the size will go through the roof and hit 227 GB. 

The greatest of all– an hour-long Phantom Flex 4K raw video can take as much as 1.5 TB of your storage space. I know the number is crazy for file size, but it is true. 

So it depends on video format, resolution, and length. But the point is– video files take a lot of storage space. 

Another thing to note is effects, files, audio, pictures, and video projects also take up storage space when working with video editing applications.

Impact of SSD on Software loading time and video rendering

I have discussed most of the benefits of SSDs in another article. But, the most amazing thing about SSDs is that they open the software with a very fast pace.

I tried opening Adobe Premiere pro on my i5 system with 8 GB of RAM and a 500 GB of SSD. The time was around 15 seconds.

I tried doing the same on another laptop with an i3 processor, 8 GB RAM with 1 TB HDD, the total time the software took to keep the platform ready for me was around 1 minute.

Same thing happened with rendering. The rendering speed improved by 50%. I have found two more articles for you to know more about the benefits of SSD for rendering and overall video editing performance.

14 Tips for Faster Rendering in After Effects (See 3rd Tip)

How SSD vs HDD Affect Video Editing, and Which one You Should Use

The right size to choose for video editing

1. 256 GB SSD 

On a 256 GB SSD, you won’t be able to store much of your data and software. When you have OS and multiple software installed on it, you won’t have much space for storing large video files. 

But let’s suppose you run your OS and software on another storage driven, even then you won’t be able to store many video files in an SSD. 

When talking in terms of video length, you would be able to store 60-80 hours of H.265 HD video in  256 GB SSD. 

If you wish to store H.264/AVC 1080p video in your 256 GB SSD then you won’t be able to accommodate more than 10 hours of video. Storing raw 1080p or 4k videos won’t be possible in a 256 GB SSD. 

A 256 GB SSD is never recommended for video editing even when you have a secondary disk for storing files. You won’t be able to install multiple software applications on a 256 GB SSD. 

2. 500 GB SSD 

500 GB SSD is a decent storage capacity for the masses. For video editors, it’s just not enough. 

A 500 GB storage would be able to house your multiple large software and OS. But 500 GB is not the one to choose if you wish to store video files in it. 

A 500 GB SSD could store 120-180 hours of H.265 HD video. It is enough to accommodate at least 20 hours of H.264/AVC 1080p video. 

Yet again, storing raw 1080p or 4K videos is not possible with 500GB SSD. But, if you manage to use an HDD for the storage of your videos, it could work for you.

3. 1 TB 

1 TB SSD size is ideal for video editing when you have a secondary drive for storing video files. But when you don’t have a secondary drive, even 1 TB falls short. 

Storing 250-360 hours of H.265 HD video is possible with a 1 TB SSD. And ab1 TB SSD can store 30-60 hours of H.264/AVC 1080p video. 

You might be able to store one or two hours of raw 1080p videos on a 1 TB drive but storing even an hour of raw 4k video would still be a challenge. 

4 TB- The Ideal Choice 

4 TB SSD is the best option to go for if you want the speed of an SSD but don’t want to have a secondary drive. 

A 4 TB SSD would be able to store lots of large compressed and uncompressed video files. It would be a decent choice even if you work with 4k videos a lot. 

However, you might want to couple it with another 4TB SSD or an HDD if you are on another level of video editing and you have extremely large size files to store. 

Final Verdict

For an optimal video editing experience, I would suggest you choosing at least 1 TB SSD. But, if you are a professional or a regular video editing who tends to store videos along, this storage space might not be enough for you.

So, make sure to have an HDD for raw data storage.

I hope this post helps. Thanks for reading.