SATA, USB 2.0 or FireWire for DV Capture
Jacob writes, "I have a SATA two hard drive setup mirrored already. I want to optimize video editing with a second (third) hard drive. Can (should) I install a new PCI SATA card with drive or would a separate ATA or USB2/Firewire work as well?"
Anytime you use a mirrored configuration for your primary drive, you should consider offloading write-intensive processes like video editing to a second drive. While Serial ATA (SATA) is markedly faster then the old ATA drives available for the past several years, mirroring the drives means your system is effectively writing the same material twice, which creates the potential for a bottleneck even at optimal drive throughput. Choosing a second drive option to handle video capture duties is more a matter of personal preference than an absolute mandate.
All of my video capture is currently handled using either external USB 2.0 or FireWire drives, primarily because I'm holding out for SATA prices to drop more before I take the plunge. SATA, USB 2.0 and FireWire are all fast enough to handle disk write requirements of DV capture. Another thing to consider is the cache size for your drive and disk speed. With a fast enough bus, neither of these should be an issue, but you likely want a minimum 8MB cache and 7200 RPM drive, rather than a slower drive with a smaller cache. In most cases, I quite successfully use DIY external drives, which keeps the overall cost down while taking advantage of fast bus speeds available via USB and FireWire 2.0. Having said that, if you have the space to install additional SATA drives in your system, it's an equally viable option.