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Newbie looking for video editing PC requirements

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September 18, 2007 4:19:54 PM

Not absolutely sure if this is the right place to post, but here goes.
I need to upgrade my PC very soon and upgrade to a more powerful model. Unfortunately, PC's are not my area of expertise, so I desperately need some advice. I use my Pc for video editing and my current AMD 2200+ has served me well for 3 years. However it's age is clearly showing and can no longer keep up with the demands that I place on it.

So the question is. What would you recommend for me to get that will get the most out of my PC for editing requirements.

I reckon I should get good useage out of....
CPU - Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
RAM 4 GB Kingston DDR2
GPU - NVidia GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB
650W Thermaltake PSU
MOBO - ASUS P5N32-E SLI Plus
HDD - Probably 2 x 500GB SATA2 drives (configured to raid stripe) and maybe an extra 80GB drive to install the OS

I know that I would be advised to purchase a Matrox card, but since the RT.X2 is around £1k at the moment, I think I may have to wait a little before I make that particular purchase.

I am a self confessed novice with PC's and would welcome anybody with experience to point me in the right direction.

Cheers
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
September 18, 2007 4:52:25 PM

You seem to be headed in the right direction. It would help if you could set a budget target too.

This may seem a little backward but have you decided what editing software and OS you'll be using?
It can sometimes make a difference in hardware recommendations. For example if the editing software you want to use isn't multi-threaded a 3.0Ghz C2D E6850 will usually outperform a 2.4Ghz C2Q Q6600.
September 18, 2007 5:08:05 PM

Be careful with that last statement... I believe Toms did some benchmarks which showed very slim performance margins that were not worth giving up 2 extra cores.
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a c 90 B Homebuilt system
September 18, 2007 5:49:09 PM



A quad core won't always beat a dual core in the programs most important to you - even in the most recent versions of software.
And if you're planning to use video editing software that is a couple years old, and not going to upgrade the program, its almost certain that the fastest CPU will give the best performance.

But for modern video editing software, if your budget allows for it, going to the work station dual socket motherboards and dual Xeon quad cores (8 cores total) is where you'll find the best video editing performance.

September 18, 2007 6:16:51 PM

Very well put. I can't argue with that.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
September 18, 2007 6:32:20 PM

deuce271 was right in suggesting that a Quad core will be hard to pass up.
(And an Q6600 Quad overclocked to 3.0Ghz will beat a 3.0Ghz dual core 99.98% of the time)
Almost everyone upgrades softwware sooner or later.

We forgot to ask - what other things will you be using the computer for? If its a general purpose PC or if you want to do some gaming on the side thats good to know as well. If you earn a living doing video editing mention that as well.


[:wr2:5] Just so you know what serious graphics guys (with serious budgets) are looking for:
A suggestion for someone that had a $4000 budget just for the computer.

Xeon X5355 Clovertown 2.66GHz Quad (2 x $788each) $1576
SUPERMICRO X7DAE-O Dual 771 socket 5000X chipset EATX Server Motherboard $444.99
8 GB RAM Kingston 4GB(2 x 2GB) FB-DIMM DDR2 667 ECC Server Memory (2 x $299.99) $599.98
PNY VCQFX1500-PCIE-PB Quadro FX1500 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card $499.99
SAMSUNG T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0 HD (3 x $109.99) $329.97

A nice EATX sized case and power supply:
COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000 Tower Case $199.99
SILVERSTONE ZEUS SST-ST65ZF 650W Power Supply $139.99

Thats roughly $3,790 @ the NewEgg e-store.

[:wr2:4] @ bluesproggit Don't worry - we'll keep you a house payment or two under that build.
September 18, 2007 6:39:42 PM

Those type of vid cards for editing/CAD are very very expensive. Had to get one for my CAD workstation at a previous position, ran the company over $800. Of course, my 8800GTS 320MB doesn't run Pro/E nearly as well as my workstation does, and I like to think my home computer would dust my work computer. Of course my work computer would get dusted playing games by my home computer, CAD/Video editing is a completely different beast.
September 18, 2007 7:30:08 PM

I use Pinnacle 10 Plus and have tried several other programs. I Have Avid Liquid 7 as well as Sony Vegas Platinum. The CPU is the biggest bottleneck followed by the I/O for storage.

The answer is not that easy though. Pinnacle's Studio line does use all 4 cores but the 3rd and 4th core don't do much more than the 2nd. Sony's Vegas uses all 4 cores too much more advantage. Avid Liquid only uses 2 cores but can use 2 sockets - with dual core in each. Avid Liquid offloads most video rendering to the gpu and uses ATI exclusively. Nvidia won't work and goes to software rendering.

I have used all of the aforementioned programs on a dual core opteron 185. I have 4 GB of Ram and have tried both Windows XP 32 bit and 64 bit. 64 bit works great for Sony Vegas but both Avid Liquid and Pinnacles Studio (Now a division of Avid) work better on 32 bit

I use Pinnacle Studio because I need to edit lots of video very quickly. Vegas will render HD content more quickly but takes more time to create the cuts, transistions, titles, menus etc. Vegas also has excellent output quality. Studio's interface is so easy you can point and click through the entire editing process very quickly. It does background rendering of menu's, audio, transitions but the final rendering does take place after you are all done.

I record High School football and basketball games of my sons as the teams cameraman with my Sony HDR-FX1. I occasionally record in HD but I find no-one except for myself has the ability to playback and view HD content and Blu-Ray is just too expensive still for mutiple copies. I'm waiting for reasonably priced HD DVD burners and media which should come next year. Presently I burn HD DVD's to dual layer standard DVD's but of course I'm limited to 8.5 GB.

My system will render 1 hour of 720 x 480 Wide format video to DVD and burn the DV in about 45 minutes with Studio.

A few things that greatly affect how smoothly your system responds is the configuration of your swap file, configuration of your storage and the regular defragmenting of any drives reading or writing video files as well as your OS drive.

I have found striping your swap file across multiple independent physical drives greatly reduces access times. Also, with 32 bit windows, unless you have a NUMA system, don't try to use a swap file larger than the combined total of your Physical ram recognized up to a maximum of 4GB (4096).

I have a 10K Raptor for my OS install
I also have a 3Ware Raid controller running 2 SATA 320 GB WD's on Raid 0
750GB SATA on controller 3
320 GB on ATA1
320 GB on ATA2

combined total of 2.1 TB

I will fill it up and delete the video at least twice this year. I will go to new Quad core in 2008 and buy a bigger badder PCI Express Raid controller and more giant drives.

I wish the software makers could figure out 64 bit windows, and Microsoft could too, there are still quirks, then video editing for amateurs would really jump forward.

September 18, 2007 7:31:55 PM

^^^^^^^^^^

This guy knows that he's talking about!
September 18, 2007 8:29:50 PM

My understanding is that video editting doesn't necessarily use the capabilities of a CAD/engineering class video card. I have a Quadro FX4500 in my office workstation (G70GL chip) and from what I can tell, it's essentially a 7800GTX with 1GB of RAM and some OpenGL capabilities. But it costs something like $3k and if it doesn't take advantage of the capabilities, you'd be better off saving the (massive amount of) money and buying the 7800GTX (of course updated to today's stuff- 8800 class)

btw, that fx4500 is doing all 2d, as I'm a sysadmin. What a waste of a $8k workstation, but no one else was using it so they gave it to me just because it had a DVD-burner which I needed at the time :) 
September 18, 2007 8:40:26 PM

If you are going to be purchasing a capture card of that caliber, you should check to see what the requirements/recommendations are. Some of them have rather demanding specs and recommend raid arrays and workstation gfx.
September 18, 2007 11:18:26 PM

WR2 said:
You seem to be headed in the right direction. It would help if you could set a budget target too.

This may seem a little backward but have you decided what editing software and OS you'll be using?
It can sometimes make a difference in hardware recommendations. For example if the editing software you want to use isn't multi-threaded a 3.0Ghz C2D E6850 will usually outperform a 2.4Ghz C2Q Q6600.


My budget is set at £1500 (not taking into account the Matrox Card). I have been editing with Adobe software for years and this is unlikely to change in the near future (although Sony Vegas looks tempting). I know that Matrox designed their cards with premiere firmly in mind, so this adds to my reasons. Think I'll stick with windows due to familiarity, however am I right about needing XP 64 bit if I want it to recognise 4GB RAM?
September 18, 2007 11:21:30 PM

WR2 said:
We forgot to ask - what other things will you be using the computer for? If its a general purpose PC or if you want to do some gaming on the side thats good to know as well. If you earn a living doing video editing mention that as well.



This PC will only be for editing, DVD authoring and other related applications. Unfortunatley I don't have any time for gaming at the moment so that would be wasted on me.
September 19, 2007 12:17:17 AM

Go with the Quad core intel. Premiere supports all 4 cores and uses them all well.

There is something you may want to consider if you really will be adding a Matrox RT.X2. Check out the system requirements according to Matrox

http://www.matrox.com/video/support/rtx2/rec/design.cfm

There are very few motherboards, video cards or systems validated. To get something validated on your budget you will likely need to build yourself. Also, Matrox has not enabled quadcore support but it will easily work fine on two of the four cores. The biggest hitch is; so far no 64 bit support.


I have not tried Vista 64 Bit but have read from other users that it handles ram and the swap file much better than XP Pro 64bit. You may want to try 32 bit windows for now and re-install with 64 bit when / if Matrox ever supports it.

Best of luck.

By the way. I have been wanting an RT.X2 for awhile now as well as a try with Premiere. If Matrox gets 64 bit support i will likely try it.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
September 19, 2007 1:32:28 AM

weinheimer was good enough to weigh in and prove its not always just a question of ordering up some high bits and pieces. Besides knowing what the system will be used for and what software will be used it seems specific hardware requirements like the Matrox RT.X2 have to be considered as well.

@ bluesproggit; while you're thinking about the RT.X2 issue - -
here is an idea of how you can build a video editing superstar in your budget range. The core components:

-SUPERMICRO X7DAE-O Dual 771 socket FSB1333 5000X chipset EATX Server Motherboard £296.63 Inc VAT
Dual socket design for future 8 core upgrade. PCI-e x16 slot and PCI-X slot. MB will accept 16GB or the RAM below.
-Intel Xeon E5345 2.33GHz 1333MHz Quad Core 8MB Skt771 CPU £302.29 (inc Vat)
-4GB (2x 2GB) DDR2 667 MOT FULLY BUFFERED ECC FB DIMM 240pin PC5300 CL5.0 £194.53 (inc Vat)
-2x 500GB SATA WD Caviar RE 3.5" 7200rpm ATA300 Hard Drive 16MB Cache (WD-5000YS) £171.06 (inc Vat)
Totals ~£915 (inc Vat) using the kelkoo.co.uk shopping engine.


September 19, 2007 9:49:23 AM

It looks like I will probably need one built sooner rather than later. If I were to build it, I would take ages, as I am working 16 hours a day as it stands. So can anyone recommend anywhere decent (and affordable) where I can order a PC built to my specs?
September 19, 2007 12:40:12 PM

What operating system are you going to use and is the video editing Adobe or some other?

You would need 64bit Vista to take advantage of 4 gigs of Ram

September 19, 2007 4:01:34 PM

GenericName said:
What operating system are you going to use and is the video editing Adobe or some other?

You would need 64bit Vista to take advantage of 4 gigs of Ram


Just Adobe. Does XP not have a 64bit version as I am hesitant to go with Vista for reasons of incompatible software.
September 19, 2007 11:21:41 PM

Well CS3 products from Adobe are all Vista 64 compatible now - I'm running Production Suite CS3 and Dreamweaver CS3 with no problems.

I'm sure you can run in XP 64bit, but to my knowledge you can't buy it any longer - they make people get Vista
!