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Surveillance video recording: Internal HDD vs. USB HDD

Internal HDD's are used by the NVR, HCVR, or DVR systems for live recordings that are happening in real time. On some systems you can also configure the internal HDD's for Raid arrays and hot swaps for redundancy.

Whenever you use an external USB drive on a NVR, HCVR, or DVR system this is usually to backup data off of the machine. Alternatively you can also perform an upload for settings or firmware as well for the recorder. However there is a size limitation on a USB HDD or even a USB thumb drive, which is 32gb due to the nature of the FAT32 allocation table. If you want to surpass that allocation size you will have to use a removable eSATA. If you want to perform backups on a USB HDD larger than 32gb, please network your computer to the recorder via SmartPSS or Internet Explorer and use the export feature from your computer to your attached USB HDD.

Internal HDD

  • Uses SATA cable and is faster.
  • Speed up to 6GB/s.
  • Has a spinning disk.
  • Usually used for OS and storage.
  • Used for storing footage from cameras.

PC Hard Disc Drive (HDD)


  • Uses USB cable and is slower.
  • Speed up to 450MB/s.
  • Has a spinning disk.
  • Usually used for backup and storage.
  • Used for backup footage from cameras.

USB Portable HDD

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