How should I use my external hardrive to improve hitfilm performance?

Kolade_Shofoluwe1 Posts: 4 Just Starting Out*

I have the latest version of hitfilm on my laptop and I recently just bought a 2TB External Hard Drive. I sometimes experience Hitfilm running slow, the screen flickering black, etc. I also get messages of my disk being near full. Is there any way I can initialize or use my hard drive to make Hitfilm Express run better?

Below are my device specs:

Device name DESKTOP-331QV5N

Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-8350U CPU @ 1.70GHz  1.90 GHz

Installed RAM 8.00 GB (7.86 GB usable)

Graphics: Intel® UHD Graphics 620

System type 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor


  • triforcefx
    triforcefx United StatesPosts: 1,340 Moderator

    It’s worth noting that as of the 2021.3 version, you are only barely within the minimum specs. Even with the older specs, you’d still be considered “low end”. There may be some optimizations you can make, but there’s only so much speed you can gain before you’ll have to upgrade your system.

    That being said, external drives are a bit tricky, especially if you unplug it regularly. The most important thing is to make sure that drive always gets assigned to the same Drive letter (for instance, F:). You may find some gains by setting your timeline Cache and/or proxies to your external drive. You can find these settings in the File - Options menu.

    Alternatively, some people have found that they have a better experience when they disable the timeline cache and automatic proxies completely.

    Hope this helps

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,244 Ambassador

    @triforcefx I think the biggest issue is that it's a Hard Drive.

    @Kolade_Shofoluwe1 you didn't list the internal storage on your computer. I'm going to hope it's an SSD?

    I'm going to link another thread below and ask you to read my second comment from earlier this morning. Everything about hard drives being slow applies to you with an additional issue or two.

    First, an external USB bus is typically slower than internal SATA. This could add another bottleneck.

    Second, if the external drive is USB powered it'll be a 5400RPM drive and it'll be SLOWER than the drive I'm using as an example in the other thread.

    An external SSD would be more useful. Something like a Samsung T5 or T7 which is made specifically for video.

  • Kolade_Shofoluwe1
    Kolade_Shofoluwe1 Posts: 4 Just Starting Out*
    @Triem23 I have about 237GB on my internal C: Drive but most of it is full. The best option I have to move most of my video files and edit things to a hard drive for storage. And @triforcefx ’s option of initialize my caches on my hard drive. I did also consider upgrading my internal ssd, but I’ve heard that it is a tedious process in itself.
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,244 Ambassador

    Yeah, upgrading the internal drive is a pain, since you'll need the software to image the existing drive and copy back to the new internal, but, if you can put in a 1TB SSD you'll have a lot more project room, and you'll avoid the lag you'll get from a hard drive.

    Again, you do have options with the Samsung T5 and T7. These are external SSDs and are intended to be connected to external recorders or Blackmagic Cinema Cameras to capture 4k/6k BRAW files, and to edit from the external drive. I think this would be much better than the external hard drive which could be used to archive finished projects you want to keep or as a library for stock media - sound fx, stock video, etc to copy to the internal drive (or external SSD) when used in a project.

    After the other comment I wrote this morning I booted up two of my laptops. One is an i7-6700HQ with Nvidia 980m (which is technically just under spec for Hitfilm 2021.3), the other a Ryzen 7 4800h and Nvidia 2060m. The 4800h is about 25% faster than the 6700HQ while the 2060 is about 75% faster than the 980m.

    I had the i7/980m hold the project files on one internal SSD and render to the second internal SSD. I had the 4800h/2060m - the faster machine - render to an external USB HDD...and put the project files on the same HDD.

    I re-rendered a 5 second shot from my entry to the Halloween Supercut. It's a pretty complex shot with multiple hi-poly 3D models, Mixamo animation, a particle sim generating a large asteroid field, and 8k environment wraps.

    The under spec computer took about an hour. The other computer is still going after about 4.5 hours. I absolutely have to assume the only reason the faster computer is taking more than 4 times longer to render is the difference between internal SSDs and the external, USB powered, 5400rpm hard drive.