High Speed USB 3.0 for Video Capture

I use the Blackmagic Designs UltraStudio Mini Recorder connected via Thunderbolt to my Mac Book Pro as the video capture hardware.

UltraStudio Mini Recorder
UltraStudio Mini Recorder

The Mini Recorder takes the feed from a Decimator MD-HX HDMI / SDI CROSS CONVERTER – I generally set the Decimator to convert the 1080p50 output from the Blackmagic Desigs ATEM Production Studio 4k switch to 720p25.


The Blackmagic Designs Media Express software is used to capture the video and store locally to storage on/attached to the Mac Book Pro.

The internal SSD drive on my Mac is fast but full of other stuff!

Blackmagic Design provide a very useful app to test drive performance – “Blackmagic Disk Speed Test”

Testing on the internal drive on my MacBook Pro (MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) produces:

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 13.41.13
Disk Speed Test on MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) internal SSD drive

Green ticks everywhere – so perfect for capturing video without dropped frames.

Given the need for  lots of space for video I needed an external drive.

Thunderbolt would be the obvious choice but the current price/capacity is not as competitive as USB 3.0.

The first drive I tested was a simple USB 3.0 conventional hard drive (Toshiba Canvio 500GB – OSX Extended (Journaled) file system).

The “Blackmagic Disk Speed Test” provided the following (dismal) results:

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 13.51.34
USB 3.0 with conventional 500GB Toshiba drive – unusable for video capture

The next thing to try was a USB 3.0 SSD drive.

I chose a basic USB 3.0 to SATA interface : “Sabrent USB 3.0 to SSD / 2.5-Inch SATA Hard Drive Adapter [Optimized For SSD, Support UASP SATA III]”.


Combine this USB interface with a Samsung 1TB SSD yields the following (fantastic) results:




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