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High Def Editing System (advice please)

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September 3, 2007 7:56:34 AM

I've built a lot of computers (20+) but only a few were high/mid level gaming systems and most were just low budget boxes for schools and internet browsing, and none of them where built in the last three years so as far as hardware goes I am really out of the loop.

I'm looking to build a system for high def video editing and effects work as well as H.264 and DVD compression. The high def I will be dealing with will be 1080p @ 24fps 4:4:4 color (one second of video is about 140MB to 170MB). I would like to keep costs as low as possible (within reason) but I'm looking at spending $2000 to $3500 on this system.

Right now my current box has a hard time running iTunes and Firefox at the same time. I can't playback full sized H.246 in real time and doing anything is generally a pain. What I want to do with this new system is get all the core components together and then add on all the extras needed for extreme video editing.

Here is how I want to start my system out:

Full Newegg wishlist

SUPERMICRO X7DAL-E Server Motherboard
2 Xeon 5030 2.67GHz CPUs *1
2GB DDR2 Crucial RAM *2
Western Digital 160GB 7200RPM HDD *3
Samsung 400GB 7200RPM HDD *4
GeForce 7300 128MB Video Card *5
Veiwsonic 20" Widescreen LCD
18X Asus DVD-R Drive
620 Watt Corsair Power supply
Chenbro Server Workstation Chassis
The sound card and firewire card from my old computer.

*1) I know these aren't the fastest but at $160 a piece for hyperthreaded 64 bit prossessors they seem like a great start for my system without spending a TON, in a few years I can upgrade to faster Woodcrest CPUs
*2) I would upgrade this to 4GB within the next 6 months of the systems life
*3) This HDD is for the OS and programs, no large files will be going on it, but the occational game might get installed on it as well
*4) This HDD is for audio and storing video files, the plan is to later upgrade and add a raid card with 4 more HDD on Raid 0 for the high def video files because access time for those files will need to be vary fast
*5) You don't really need an amazing video card for video editing do you? Although I would like to play a few new games like Bioshock or Fallout 3, but running them at max settings is not necessary or important to me.

Planned upgrades:
The first upgrade I want to do is a Raid card with 4 HDD on a Raid 0 array for editing high definition video, I think I could manage somewhere between $500 to $700 for this but I'm not sure which raid card I should go with. I want the card to have hardware raid so that everything runs as quickly as possible and because my CPUs of choice are very low on the Xeon end of things. Every thing on this array would be backed up regularly too, as 4 HDD on raid 0 seems like it would a high chance to fail.

Next would be two more gigs of ram. I think thats relatively obvious.

After that another 20" Veiwsonic would be nice as editing on two monitors is the way to go.

Asus Xonar D2 7.1 Dolby/DTS Sound Card As far as I can tell this looks like the card to have for sound editing. Before upgrading I will be using my Creative Labs 5.1 Platinum card from my old computer.

WAAAY down the road upgrade to the fastest CPUs my motherboard can take.

In conclusion...
Please tell me if there are any problems with this system, I don't know that much about power computers. I also am wondering about the OS, I think that Vista is out for the time being due to compatability issues with a lot of raid cards and video editing software. should I be installing XP 64? My brother had it and ran into some compatibility issues, but that may have been because his 64 bit system was build right when the tech was brand new? Also, PCI-X is backwards compatible to PCI, right? Thanks, any help would be great!

More about : high def editing system advice

September 3, 2007 8:37:15 AM

wait to check out what amd's barcelona will be like, since this plans to be a long term machines...
September 3, 2007 2:32:59 PM

SlothPaladin said:
2 Xeon 5030 2.67GHz CPUs *1
*1) I know these aren't the fastest but at $160 a piece for hyperthreaded 64 bit prossessors they seem like a great start for my system without spending a TON, in a few years I can upgrade to faster Woodcrest CPUs

Two Xeon 5030 2.67Ghz Dempseys for $320 or One Xeon E5335 2.0GHz Clovertown Quad Core for $356
$36 extra will get you a lot more performance and leave the way open for an upgrade to Dual Clovertowns for an 8x core workstation. And the 4 Clovertown cores @ 2.0Ghz should easily outperform the 4 Dempsey cores @ 2.67Ghz.

"*5) You don't really need an amazing video card for video editing do
you? Although I would like to play a few new games like Bioshock or
Fallout 3, but running them at max settings is not necessary or
important to me."
Correct. But Im just not sure a GeForce 7300 would run BioShock at any setting.
Related resources
September 3, 2007 3:20:30 PM

I would think that you would want at least a 24" monitor so that you can view the hd content in its native resolution. Maybe a nice hd tv would work as well in addition to something like a 20" for all of the other functions. Make sure that the screen is calibrated properly so that 4:4:4 color is not undone. Just a thought.

EDIT
also, 4 400gb hdds will go very fast. I dont know how much video you are planning on processing at one time, but 3 hours will pretty much max out your storage space. If you are only working on a few small projects at a time, you will still need a major backup system. It would depend on how much you are planning on compressing it afterward. What are you planning to do with the video once its done? Having video of that quality requires some very expensive equipment to just playback properly.
What is your source? What are you planning on using for a capture card? many of the high end capture cards have very demanding required system specs, so you should look into that.
September 3, 2007 4:33:34 PM

yeah you will defintally want 2x24" monitors.
if your planning on using 4gigs of ram (i would advise that you do with HD content) then you HAVE to use a 64bit system.


also curious...what are you using to edit?
September 3, 2007 10:05:45 PM

Thanks everyone, your replies have been very helpful!

@WR2
I think I will go with one 2GHz Clovertown rather then the two Dempseys processors, I didn't really know what route would be better, and didn't know if a duel socket motherboard need two CPUs or not.

As far as video goes would something like this GeForce 8600GT with 256MB of ram do the trick? If I'm not getting Vista do I even need to bother with a DX10 card?

@jamesgig
A 24" would be the ideal way to go, the attractive thing about the 20" was the low price. Going with 24" will just mean a longer wait for a second monitor.

I am working with animation, stop-motion to be specific. Right now I am gearing up to make a big project, and by big I mean 15 to 20 minuets long. I plan to shoot in much the same way Corpse Bride was done, using Prosumer DSLR cameras to capture frames in raw and then downsize the footage to 1080p. I am looking at shooting the project on a Nikon D40 using the NEF (Nikon's RAW format) @ 3008x2000. Becouse most of my editing is done in the storyboarding phase I tend to have very little excess footage. However I usually have 3 different versions of each shot so that works out to around 80 minutes of 1080p footage so all the video files should be under 800GB.

@skittle
Right now my current system can not run a modern NLE, so I have been getting by on an archaic copy of Premiere 6, the next upgrade I plan to do is my NLE, I was looking at Premiere Pro CS3, but I want to look into Avid as well before spending any money.
September 3, 2007 10:49:03 PM

Ok, well I'm not well-versed in this kind particular field of work, but I do know that getting the 51xx series xeons will get you a huge performane increase over the 50xx series. Hell, you could go dual dual-core and still get pretty decent performance. The only problem is the FB-DIMMs. Other than that I think the only change you should make is a Tyan mobo. They have some pretty good setups that you could look at, but it's mainly personal preference.
September 3, 2007 11:02:16 PM

I work with video myself. Good choice on the clovertown...Quad core would help considering most video applications are multithreaded. The 8600 GT is good for HTPC and Video but don't expect great gaming. They aren't very good gaming cards. If you want something for gaming you're going to have to nab a previous gen card...Either that or nab a current higher end dx10 card for hidef video decoding...a 2900 XT should do it. Or if you'd like nab a 8800 GTS or GTX. I know you don't want to spend much on video but if you plan to play games casually here and then you might want to get a card that can game as well as offer hidef video decoding.

Get more ram..2 gb isn't much. I have 2 gigs in mine and I run into problems with Premiere pro, After Effects, and Photoshop open...Atleast 4 gigs...get two 2gb matched modules..or nab 8 gb if you want..ram isn't that expensive..and if you don't plan to overclock you can get away with more. But that depends on your operating system route. nab 64 bit XP atleast...If I'm correct it can recognize 4 gb?...could someone confirm?..

I know 32 bit xp can only notice 3-3.5 gb of 4 gb...But not sure about the 64 bit XP. Personally I'd stay away from vista for a while. But the one upside to vista is you can add more ram..but the software compatibility and all that jazz is keeping me FAR away from vista.

What sound card does your old computer use? I honestly think you should just nab yourself a XFI sound card. But it's up to you if audio is really important or not.

Here's a list to tier PSU's...Try to stay above tier 2...Your psu should be perfectly fine..But if at any time you think you need more wattage or anything this list should help..

http://forums.overclockersclub.com/index.php?showtopic=...

Hard drive space is always issue...But good to see you're planning to get a raid upgrade in the future with a raid card. For high def video it's pretty much a must. I'm planning to build myself a new rig in the future as well..gonna nab 2 raptors and raid them for the system drive...then a 4-5 spare drives...3 raided for video storage...and 2 JBOD for important file storage...

If I was you I'd nab a bigger PSU though..considering you want to upgrade in the future as well may as well future proof yourself on the power supply to hand all the hardware you can throw at it. Try to atleast get a 750Watt...

Ohh one more thing about the ram. Get 4gb now...if possible. Later down the road they might make revisions or slight changes to the modules you currently have. If you end up buying them again in the future and they are slightly different you could have compatibility issues. For ram it's always best to buy all your ram at the beginning imo...all from the same vendor so you know they came from the same shipment for 100% compatibility.

I can't stress enough the size of the monitor though. You really shoud nab a 24 incher atleast. You want to run in the native res of the high def video. It's a must. The problem is the types of 24 inchers out there. If color accuracy is very important then it's going to make an even bigger impact on your pocket book....

TN = Lowest color accuracy, as well as dark shades. Fastest in terms of response time and input lag..

PVA/MVA = Highest contrast ratio which means best blacks, high response time and input lag means you can see ghosting. Blacks also crush which means you lose detail in very dark areas.

IPS = Best color accuracy of all the panels. Not as fast as tn in terms of response time and input lag but quite close. Faster then PVA/MVA. Contrast ratio isn't as high as PVA/MVA but you don't lose details in dark areas.

IPS would set you back quite a bit. They don't make many IPS monitors thanks to the crappy flood of TN's hitting the market. a professional grade 24 incher can set you back 1500. Which would be the Nec 2490. You can nab a Planar 26 inch which uses the same IPS panel in the nec 2690WUXI..Only difference is the planars firmware is no where near the level of the 2690 so it has its faults. Although this plana would set you back 900-999. Overall it's a tough choice.

With my new rig I decided to stay away from LCD's...I'm planning on nabbing a Sony FW900 trinitron. The only widescreen CRT...They retailed for around 2,300...Although they are discontinued now thanks to the switch to LCD's. You can nab them on ebay used for 200-450...Or refurbished from some places...I found one place that actually has a warranty on the refurbished models also for a year. I'm planning to nab one of them...the place seems to strictly deal with this monitor..they can't shut up about it which is a good thing ^_^. CRT's have delay just like LCD's but it's so faint you can't notice it. LCD's have a higher delay....and considering my editing projects are tightly beat based on the music I have to nab a CRT...Also almost all major film companies still use CRT's....They offer more accurate color then LCD's can...they also offer true dark shades which LCD's can't even compare. Although LCD's do have their benefits. Wide Gammut and very bright displays in terms of color. But yea...it's a tough choice..

If you have any questions feel free to ask. I'll try to help out in anyway I can.
September 5, 2007 6:48:36 AM

@kamrooz
Those Sony CRTs on Ebay are the best choice for my budget and as I don't need an LCD I think I'll go that route

My current system has a Sound Blaster Live! Platinum 5.1 card, it was state of the art in it's time and still beats the hell out of on board sound but I would like to get a new card for higher quality recording eventually.

@Dante_Jose _Cuervo
Can you give me a good reson to go with Tyan vs the Supermicro motherboard, I'm not that familiar with the brands (as I've said I've been out of the hardware loop for a few years, and even when I was 'IN' was not building systems in this class), but I found this Tyan board which costs the same as the Supermicro board I had been looking at. When I started building the system I went with a board that had everything I needed on it and had been rated by customers, 9 out of 9 people gave positive reviews to the Supermicro which is why I picked it, while that Tyan board has no reviews. Right now I have both in the wish list because I'm not sure what the best choice is. I'm not going to start buying any components until October so that I can get something that will work great figured out.
September 5, 2007 1:07:44 PM

Already covered but nix the Dempsys, bad chips.

Also a non redudant bit of advise, if your are doing a lot of high def you should look at a professional gpu, like these.

http://tinyurl.com/yqmv9l

Look at Nvidia, PNY and ATI's websites to see what they offer towards HD work. A lot of options are affordable and help with HD displays and often render times,

Dung
September 5, 2007 3:36:02 PM

SlothPaladin said:
@kamrooz
Those Sony CRTs on Ebay are the best choice for my budget and as I don't need an LCD I think I'll go that route

My current system has a Sound Blaster Live! Platinum 5.1 card, it was state of the art in it's time and still beats the hell out of on board sound but I would like to get a new card for higher quality recording eventually.

@Dante_Jose _Cuervo
Can you give me a good reson to go with Tyan vs the Supermicro motherboard, I'm not that familiar with the brands (as I've said I've been out of the hardware loop for a few years, and even when I was 'IN' was not building systems in this class), but I found this Tyan board which costs the same as the Supermicro board I had been looking at. When I started building the system I went with a board that had everything I needed on it and had been rated by customers, 9 out of 9 people gave positive reviews to the Supermicro which is why I picked it, while that Tyan board has no reviews. Right now I have both in the wish list because I'm not sure what the best choice is. I'm not going to start buying any components until October so that I can get something that will work great figured out.

If you are waiting for October then don't even look at MB right now as a new intel chipset will be out soon and AMD quad-core as also due real soon useing cheaper DDR2 ECC.
September 5, 2007 6:01:53 PM

Another option you may want to consider as it will give you quite a better performance @ less cost starting out.
Instead of going for a workstation Xeon build go the C2Q desktop route.
C2Q 6600 Abit IP-35 Pro option at the moment - about $1500 plus $140 in rebates.
Antec Nine Hundred Case
Antec TP3-650w Power Supply
ABIT IP35 Pro Motherboard
C2Q Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz (overclocked to ~3.0Ghz 1333Mhz FSB) Q6600 vs E5335
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Two Kits for 4GB
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB HD
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB HD
SAMSUNG 206BW 20" Widescreen (as 2nd monitor)

Add that Sony Widescreen CRT from Ebay and you'll have a much more powerful system than what's been suggested so far. With enough savings to help with the software upgrade.
What you loose is the option to go with 8 CPUs cores late on.



September 6, 2007 11:14:21 PM

@WR2
Your 'C2Q 6600 Abit IP-35 Pro option' link, links to my wishlist. But I think I want to stick with professional hardware rather then getting the stuff for consumers. I really dislike the idea of overclocking becouse I want this system to be rock solid, and stay that way for a LONG time. After I build this I won't be starting from scratch any time soon and if I'm stuck with one good computer for the next 4 to 6 years I want it really open to upgrading.
September 21, 2007 1:50:57 AM

I'm planning on buying these parts next week, but I'm wondering if I need a CPU Retaintion Kit for the case. I'm not that familiar with the server components I would like to know if I need this stuff.

I upgraded the power supply to a SILVERSTONE 750W model, I'm also wondering what the TYAN specs mean when they say "1 x PCI-E x16 slot (w/ x8 signal)", is that just a PCI-E x8 slot that is PCI-E x16 sized? Should I just go with the SUPERMICRO board which looks like it has a real PCI-E x16 slot? Please help me on this! From what I understand TYAN is a better name but the SUPERMICRO board has more reviews, so any help choosing the right board would be much appreciated.
September 21, 2007 12:52:31 PM

Working with High Def video you will need more then 3 of those 160 Gig drives.

Not sure if your setup supports Sata, but you can get a 500 gig Seagate for 120.00 which gives you more space and costs less then 3 smaller drives and gives you room to expand down the road.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Just installing software and some games I've burned through 177 gigs of my 750 Seagate
September 21, 2007 10:05:13 PM

I'm not buying the raid array right now, I will be using 4 320GB or 400GB hard drives on raid zero which should be plenty of space for animated high def shorts. That 160GB hard drive is just for the OS and program files, I'm not buying this system all at once due to my financial priorities. As I stated earlier I will be getting a hardware raid card and four more hard drives later.

Right now I would really like to know if I need the CPU Retaintion Kit and which motherboard to get.
September 21, 2007 11:51:46 PM

A 4 drive raid 0 is going to be quite likely to fail, and backing up video is an immense pain, and requires a ton of space. You have money to work with, so an array with redundancy/parity might be the way to go. Raid 10 has equatable performance to raid 0 (though it doubles your cost). If data integrity is of concern to you, raid 0's failure rate is about equal to the failure rate of one drive*the number of drives in the array. Raid 10's failure rate is far smaller, I believe (1/failure rate of each striped array)^2.

Raid 5 could also be an option, as the writes you will be performing will generally not be smaller than stripe size (which would require parity recalculations).
September 22, 2007 12:44:10 AM

A CPU retention kit is a backplate for the reverse side of motherboards that allow mounting of heavy aftermarket heat sink fans. A "Nocona kit" would be for the Xeon CPUs/Motherboards that came out around 2004 and so its not something you need.

"1 x PCI-E x16 slot (w/ x8 signal)" is fairly common and nothing to be concerned about. Most often you see this in SLI setups when 2 x16 slots share bandwidth between them - x8 each. It took me a while to figure out what the Tyan " 1 x Inversed PCI-E x4 slot (w/ x8 signal) for risers, in-lined with the first PCI-X slot" was all about 'cause that was the most unusual placement of any type PCI slot I've seen. Finally realized that it was a slot for a PCI-e raid controller. But I dont think I've ever seen a PCI raid card without the IO backplane mounting bracket.

The Tyan vs Supermicro question is similar to the AMD vs Intel question. Both will get the job done. Asus and MSI also make good server motherboards. It's more important that you choose a motherboard with the right mix of features that match the hardware you'll be adding later. These days a PCI-e X16 for video, PCI-e x8 for video capture/editing and PCI-e x4 or x8 for RAID is probably about right. But you see all kinds of options since a lot of people want to carry forward some expensive items like PCI-X hardware and even some less expensive PCI stuff like firewire.

Do your planning backwards. Figure out all the hardware you'll be attaching and then pick a motherboard to match those requirements.



September 22, 2007 10:11:15 AM

Thank you, I think I'll go with the Supermicro as it will leave me more open to use some legacy hardware like sound card and firewire with the flexibility of going PCI-X or PCI-e for raid later.
September 22, 2007 3:48:06 PM

Now that you've settled on your motherboard and it is ATX sized you might want to re-visit the case choice.
You should be able to use a regular ATX full or mid tower case instead of the Chenbro server case. You'll get a quieter system. Examples of ATX Mid & Full cases. You can also get a 5.25" removable HD adapter for an extra hard drive option in the cases. Example of 5.25" bay HD adapter
September 22, 2007 9:48:35 PM

I really like the Chenbro case, it was my plan to buy the hot swappable SATA mounts for it when I added raid to the system. I realize that the Chembro is pretty loud which is why I had added these fans to replace the stock fans with something quieter. I know I could save a bit of money on an AXT case but when you look at the higher end cases the prieces become more comparable and it's VERY RARE for me to move me computer so weight is not a huge issue. Good labeling on the hot swappable drives would lower the risk of me removing the wrong disk in the event of a disk failure on raid10.
September 24, 2007 3:34:11 AM

It seems to me your overkilling it a bit, and you say noting about what programs u will use to edit! and how u edit real time or not. i edit HDV on this system

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
Crucial Ballistix 4GB (4 x 1GB)DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
ATI 2600PRO
80GB HD for system and program installs or 2x 80GB in raid 0
2x SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA in raid 0
5x External eSATA 500GB Hard drives
i use win xp pro so i only get 3.5GB or ram but still get full 3BG free once all stuff loaded up.
and for video
Canopus FireCoder card http://www.canopus.com/products/FireCoder/index.php with is the muscle for video editing no meter what CPU u get they pretty much suck for video encoding compared to specialty hardware coders.
(used with EDIUS Pro 4)

i also use Adobe After Effects 7, those pro tools,
and for more basic i use Adobe Premiere Elements 3, or Sony Vegas movies

how i work..

copy video from tape to my 1TB raid 0 part of PC edit video and start encoding. Depending on situation i ether move original to my external storage drives or erase or keep it for while HDV is same about 13gb for hour so even my workspace HD can keep a lot of tapes

working with FireCoder is deferent it takes all the load for you and render effects, video in real time on your screen freeing up CPU it also can encode video once u done very fast.
so i would rather concentrate on nice hardware based video edit/capture card then those xeon's and dual cpu systems (not that they don't they do but depend on program u use operating system)

ALso it's bad to put that many HD's in raid 0 it might bite u in rear 1 day. and u always have ur HD on and working for no good reason, and 1 hd might fail or ur sata controller.

i have paid 1000$ for my computer and 500$ for FireCoder card i can edit HDV with no prob at all my PC see no difference editing DV or HDV. the only thing i would improve is to get solid state HD's 32gb for windows is plenty and 2x 32gb in raid 0 for workspace that be best.

thats my thoughts
!