I do a lot of video editing from dv camcorder and also have a lot of DVD movies on hard drives I have for back up of DVD's . I would like to convert all of these to MPEG4/h.264. What would be my best option to do this with a dual prcessor workstation mother board or just a regular desktop motherboard. I also like to do a little gameing, no cutting edge games but i would like to be able to play these games at good resolution with decent fps. The games i enjoy are C&C red alert (all) and the lord of the rings RTS games. Money is not an issue as I want to be able to do this video and encoding work as fast as possible. So what would you recomend as far as motherboards, cpu, ram and hard drive set ups. Thinking of using Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives in a raid to use for the encoding and operation system in a RAID 0 set up. So what do you think.
What a coincidence as I just finished a build with exactly the same intentions you have. Basically, just pop in an E6600 or higher C2D with 2 gigs of Corsair, OCZ, or any other top dealer DDR2800 RAM and a decent Gigabyte or Asus like the DS3 or P5B and you're ready to go. For the hard drive, go with a few of those Seagate 7200.10 of a large size in RAID 0. For a video card, the 7600 GT is perfect for me. It does all the video playback and 3D rendering for effects and stuff blazing fast, and plays games like BF2 or any moderately demanding game at great settings.
It certainly would. Good video encoders are multithreaded and will scale nicely with the number of cores, so 8 slower cores generally will beat 4 faster ones. It would take a 3.0 GHz or so Core 2 Quad to beat a pair of the slowest Xeon E5310s, which run at 1.6 GHz. The Xeons would also be a lot easier to cool than a single Core 2 Quad. However, the Xeon quads will generally perform worse in gaming than a Core 2 desktop chip due to slower clock speeds (unless you spend a lot more on the Xeon setup than the C2Q one) and high-latency FB-DIMM memory. They should be acceptable, especially if you have a decent GPU.
Here's what I'd suggest:
CPUs: 2 Xeon E5310 1.60 GHz 1066 MHz FSB
Motherboard: A Tyan or Supermicro dual 771 board of your choice with a PCIe x16 slot
RAM: 4 1GB sticks DDR2-667 FB-DIMM
GPU: Pick one to suit your budget and intended use. I'd suggest an NVIDIA 7600GT for a less-expensive setup, an ATi x1950 Pro for a more powerful one, and an NVIDIA 8800GTS if you want a lot of gaming power. If it were me, I'd get the x1950 Pro as it's not much more expensive than the 7600GT and will be much more powerful, yet cost a ton less than a NVIDIA 8800 card.
HDDs: I'd set it up in the following way: two 10,000 RPM WD Raptors in RAID 0 as a scratch/temp drive and 3 good 7200-rpm SATA drives of an appropriate capacity in RAID 5 for your data storage and OS. Then get two identical good 8-port PCIe SATA RAID controllers such as the 3ware or Areca units.
PSU: You will need an EPS12V PSU of about 600-700W, depending on your GPU. I'd spend the little bit extra and get an 80-85% efficient one as they run cooler and suck less juice from the wall.
Case: Get a well-ventilated ATX/EATX server case. This will be huge but everything will fit nicely and it will be much easier to work in than using a standard ATX case, even if your motherboard is ATX and not EATX. If you have an EATX motherboard, then you have to use a big server case.
That should get you started. Note that with 4GB RAM you'll want to use a 64-bit OS to harness it all. If you use a 32-bit OS, then you'll only see about 3.3 GB of that memory. Plus, a 64-bit OS yields faster encoding times by up to about 10%.