Intel over AMD for video editing? Maybe not. I have had better results with AMD based systems.
Much like gaming you need a strong CPU, tones of memory, and loads of drive space. Macs do a very good job at video editing but it all depends on the requirements. Also consider RAID but it depends on the setup.
If it is a casual editing then get the best gaming type system. The graphics card plays an important role but not as much as a gaming rig would.
What editing software are they using? What formats of video are we talking?
XP Pro 32bit edition, can only allocate 2gb of 'user space' ram anyway, while its true there is a 'hack' to enable 3gb of userspace using PAE, it only works with applications specifically compiled to make use of it.
The only Application that I know that supports 3gb userspace 'out of the box' is Microsoft SQL Server.
So anything over 2GB ram on a 32bit windows is pretty much overkill for 99% of applications. On the other hand, if your new computer is AMD64, or Intel Core2, then you could opt for XP 64bit edition, which has native support for 128gig of ram (most motherboards max out at 8gig) and a single program can allocate the entire memory space. That might well be an advantage to video editing.
Alot of video compression and editing software is 'dual core' aware, so a dual core CPU should be able to greatly reduce the time it takes to compress your final edited work into MPEG2, or other 'distribution' formats.
It would really help to know what the budget is for this build. The basic needs are:
1. lots of storage space, that means a second physical drive 200g or larger.
2. 2gig of ram
3. a good video card with good IO's or a good video card and a separate capture card. ATI AIW's are good for this. Matrox makes a good video/capture card but installation and loading of the editing programs is finicky.
4. dual core processor will greatly benefit encoding and transcoding of video and audio files.
5. a stable motherboard with reliable IO's, USB and firewire.
6. separate sound card if it's in the budget.
Can't say for sure what program he's using for editing, I'll have to find out.
His working budget keeps fluctuating as he gets more excited about the computer. He started at $500-$600 (no monitor needed) and is now up to ~$1000. So I would say most definitely 2gigs ram, and a 250GB HD (or bigger)
Right now I'm reading up trying to decide whether to recommend a 939 system, or just tell him to go AM2.
As far as video I'm thinking an x1900gt? What do you think?
Don't worry too much about the video card. Unless he's going to be using ATI's AVIVO video encoder (highly unlikely), which can make use of the video card for encoding, it won't make any difference as far as performance is concerned. You will want plenty of RAM and the best CPU you can get. Right now, the best bang for you buck in terms of video encoding performance is the Core2 Duo. The Athlon64 and Pentiums are about the same, but the C2D is considerably better at video encoding. (See the benchmarks here at THG to convince yourself.)
Video data will eat up hard drive space like nothing else, so don't skimp on a small drive either. While Raptors are fast, unless your friend can afford several of them, he would better off with a larger drive. Perhaps the best setup would be to have a smaller (Raptor if the funds are available) drive as the C: drive and then a larger (300-500GB) drive or two medium-sized drives in a Raid0 as data storage.
Well, he'll be running dual monitors when all is said and done. Would a tv-card be recommended then, as well?
How is he getting the video into his computer? If he will be capturing it off old tapes or something, then he will need some type of video capture device, whether it be a TV-card, or an external box, or even the video pass-through on a digital camcorder. If the video is already in a digital format (DV, DVD, etc.) then he won't have any use for a TV card.
In my video editing rig I hace a 80GB drive partitioned into a C: drive for windows and D: drive for video editing software. I have a 250GB drive for capture and a 250GB drive for rendered video. I started with two drives and found this setup to work best (fastest). I'm in need of an upgrade so don't bash me but I use a P4 3.0C O.C. to 3.5Ghz, 1 Gig or SDRAM , some cheap 128MB AGP card (in a video editing rig anything more is a waste). Ulead VideoStudio 10 software.
A monitor does not always give the same view as a TV, I had to do a whole set of title credits over due to the loss of border on TV screens.
The ATI All In Wonder cards come with tuners on them, that is why I suggested them.
Don't feel bad RobertSB, I'm still editing on an Athlon XP2400 with 512meg of 3200. I have to edit 8hrs worth of raw digital footage down to two DVDs and produce 900 copies of the finished product....at home. Ack!
Hm... well that seems like a decent budget I guess... Core 2 or AM2 are both good decisions and I guess for him it'll be based on benchmarks and/or personal preference. For the HDD, I'd probably go with a small raptor as the boot disk and then use a bigger HDD as the storage drive. Maybe external? I know I'm repeating a lot of what's already been said but whatever. Um... dual monitors... kinky...