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computer for church

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October 29, 2007 5:53:24 PM

i am in charge of building a new system for my church i have 1100-1200 to do it...and dont need an os i have checked out price watch and feel like i can do it but what would you suggest i need it to do video and sound editing through the week, and on sundays produce a live video feed to the projectors from our camera in our projection software.

would you say spend more on cpu, memory, or video card. i looked at a barebones system with

cpu: core2 quad q6600
mb: asus p5k
mem: 4gig ddr2 800Mhz

on video i didn't know if i should go 1 or 2 sli cards
because im still using XP until our projection software is compatible with vista
i didn't know if sli cards or any of that new hardware would work with xp

i have more ?s but these are the big ones and need to build this week

More about : computer church

October 29, 2007 6:26:01 PM

I don't think there is any point to spending a lot of money on graphics cards. They assist in the rendering of scenes for games, and to a lesser extent decoding HD video. I would focus on spending money on cpu power. I don't know prices on such things, but perhaps a dual xeon or dual barcelona system would be plausible?
October 29, 2007 6:30:16 PM

so basically for the video editing purposes and even live camera feed it is more on the cpu...
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October 29, 2007 6:32:42 PM

Quote:
so basically for the video editing purposes and even live camera feed it is more on the cpu...
Yep. I'm not to familiar with live feeds, etc., but I'm pretty sure you don't want to spend $600-800 on sli. :) 
October 29, 2007 6:34:55 PM

especially since i need 2 monitors 1 for software and one that goes to projectors...im learning now...would would an nvida 8600fx do the trick i think i saw one on newegg for 125$
October 29, 2007 6:36:29 PM

right now the church has 512mb ddr
pent 4 2.8
and cheap nvida card and it runs the live video from the camera to proj, and runs our projection software it just has about a 1sec lag and it dont line up with voice...so i figured that was a combo of the three
October 29, 2007 6:42:37 PM

I've helped out my church's audio-visual set a few times, so speak with a bit of experience.

There's no reason at all to get two cards for SLI. One medium card, either a 8800 GTS or HD 2900 should do everything that you need, both now and for the next few years. Concentrate more on cpu power, getting the biggest and fastest you can.

If you're using XP, unless its XP64, you only need 2 gig of ram, though 3 gig might be used by getting 2x1 one gig and 2x1 512 mb. Most likely, 2 gig will be enough. We've never had a need for more than that. If you haven't bought the OS already, I'd personally recommend XP64 Pro over the 32 bit variety of XP Pro. The driver problems that used to plague XP64 have pretty much disappeared now that Vista is here, and by getting 64 bit software when possible, it will make a future transition to Vista or whatever 64 bit OS might be in place in the future a bit less costly.

Just some thoughts and opinions.
October 29, 2007 6:47:15 PM

Quote:
right now the church has 512mb ddr
pent 4 2.8
and cheap nvida card and it runs the live video from the camera to proj, and runs our projection software it just has about a 1sec lag and it dont line up with voice...so i figured that was a combo of the three


A quad or C2D will out perform that old P4, and whatever video card you buy will probably be better than that nvidia from the p4 era. I'm guessing it's 64-128MB if that.

Just make sure the video card you get has dual display outputs.
October 29, 2007 6:56:11 PM

sailer said:


If you're using XP, unless its XP64, you only need 2 gig of ram, though 3 gig might be used by getting 2x1 one gig and 2x1 512 mb. Most likely, 2 gig will be enough. We've never had a need for more than that. If you haven't bought the OS already, I'd personally recommend XP64 Pro over the 32 bit variety of XP Pro. The driver problems that used to plague XP64 have pretty much disappeared now that Vista is here, and by getting 64 bit software when possible, it will make a future transition to Vista or whatever 64 bit OS might be in place in the future a bit less costly.

Just some thoughts and opinions.


i thought i would go with 4 gig even though not needed for xp but as soon as song show plus our projection software is vista ready then we are upgrading. that software is not available in the xp64 i will just put xp pro after i take it off the old one...do you think this will be ok?
October 29, 2007 6:57:37 PM

also the outputs that are on these new cards are saying dual link enabled for new monitors...we are using our old monitors so will this still work
October 29, 2007 7:20:25 PM

craftedinc said:
i thought i would go with 4 gig even though not needed for xp but as soon as song show plus our projection software is vista ready then we are upgrading. that software is not available in the xp64 i will just put xp pro after i take it off the old one...do you think this will be ok?


First off, as rgeist pointed out, almost anything modern will be a tremendous upgrade from what you're presently running.

I wasn't sure if you were buying a new OS for this upgrade or not, that's why I suggested XP64 if you were buying new. If you are using an XP OS that you presently have, than continue with it. If the software that you use is not 64 bit capable, than again, there would be little advantage in using it on a 64 bit OS. I was thinking of future software purchases when I suggested XP64.

Note: I just noticed you previously wrote that you don't need a new OS. I missed that, so just use what you have.

The 4 gig of ram is unusable be 32 bit XP. XP tops out in ram useage around 3.2 to 3.4 gig of ram, and sometimes a bit less. I get a bit conservative where I spend my money, and especially the church's money. Buying 4 gig of ram now in light of a future use some years down the line seems a bit foolish to me. In two or three years, DDR3 ram will become more usual, if not the norm, so any DDR2 ram that is bought now may become as outdated and buying and using DDR ram is now. If that seems strange, just a couple years ago, DDR ram was normal, while DDR2 is normal now. Nothing stays the same in the computer world for very long.

All that said, having 4 gig of ram won't hurt anything, it just might not be all that useful. At the same time, having 2 gig of ram will dramatically help. Right now, part of your problem is that with only 512 mb of ram, the computer is probably having to use the page files/virtual ram on the hard drive a lot, and that slows everything down.

As to your question about new video cards and dual links to the monitors, most of the new cards I've worked with have dual feeds, so there should be no problem there. The biggest thing I see is possibly having to buy a couple analog to DIV connectors, but those are easy to get.
October 29, 2007 7:23:35 PM

Quote:
i thought i would go with 4 gig even though not needed for xp but as soon as song show plus our projection software is vista ready then we are upgrading. that software is not available in the xp64 i will just put xp pro after i take it off the old one...do you think this will be ok?



*Edit* lol, Sailer beat me to the 32 vs. 64 bit thing. :) 
It doesn't matter if you get vista or xp, the 32bit OS will only recognize around 3.5GB of ram. If you want to go 4+GB, go for Vista 64 bit. It's newer yes, but it will get better support than the XP Pro option.

Quote:
also the outputs that are on these new cards are saying dual link enabled for new monitors...we are using our old monitors so will this still work


It's probably just dual-dvi outs. Just get a DVI to VGA converter for each out and you should be good. I'm pretty sure your old monitors are still VGA :p  The video card may even come with DVI to VGA converters in the box, I know mine did.
October 29, 2007 7:29:52 PM

thank you all...i did not know that about the memory i just wanted to make sure the live feed didn't lag. so should i stick with 2gig or 3 1 gig sticks or any sugestions there
October 29, 2007 7:33:53 PM

If you get 3 gig of ram, which I put into my business computer, get 2x1 of 1 gig and 2x1 of 512 mb. Getting the ram in pairs allows using dual channel in the ram, thus speeding it up compared to single channel, which would happen if you got a 3x1 gig setup.
October 29, 2007 7:33:55 PM

No reason to go for an 8800GTS (because it doesn't include any kind of on-board video decoding). The 2600XT or 8600GTS would be perfect (as they have built-in en/de-coders).

Check out this review:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/10/26/avivo_hd_vs_pure...

The brand new 8800GT might be an excellent candidate too, depending on what reviews say about its on-board features. On-board decoders take a ton of load off of the CPU.

I agree that CPU power should be your main focus. A Q6600 (or Q6700 - just because you have a budget alloted to you) would be just what you need. Windows XP x64 and 4 gigs of ram should have your AV crew on cloud 9 (no pun intended). Another consideration would be to buy an add-in sound card too (especially one with dedicated on-board memory) to even further unload the CPU (although this is far from necessary).

Edit: I agree with what was said above - dual channel is a must with video and sound editing.
October 29, 2007 7:40:05 PM

*edit* Sailer beat me to it again! :p  *edit*

It's usually best to do things in pairs, especially if you're doing dual-channel ram. So 2x 2GB will work,but there is probably about a $50 price difference between 4GB and 3GB of ram.
October 29, 2007 7:41:48 PM

My bad, I forgot about the video decoder, but then again, we have a separate decoder already. Same with the sound card, we have a large and expensive sound system already in place. I assumed that was true of this other church. Should have taken those things into consideration, none-the-less.

Depending on the size of the screens being run, a 2600XT or 8600GTS may or may not handle the output. Don't know for sure, only know what the church I attend did. Then again, a 2600XT or 8600GTS would most likely be a lot better than whatever is presently being used.
October 29, 2007 7:44:28 PM

also will the 8600 work with xp and directX 9. it shows to be directX10 and i thought that only worked with vista
October 29, 2007 7:47:12 PM

That's good stuff, no doubt, but its meant more for overclockers and other high end enthusiasts. You could get a 2x1 set of Corsair XMS DDR2 1066 for $129 that would work fine for your application and save some money.

ANy of the DX10 video cards will work with XP and DX9.
October 29, 2007 7:57:09 PM

the max resolution we run is only 800x600 for our projectors sake...and the cheap card and cpu already do that fine...just wanted to make sure the lag from live vid is cut...i know pretty much anything i get will be a vast improvement to what they had before i came on...i just wanted to get them the best bang for the buck...and thank you all i am confident i can help them now
October 29, 2007 8:04:17 PM

Any video card on the market should be able to handle 800x600. Get some DDR2 800 ram. No need to get overclocker ram for a system that will be run at stock. Look it up, Intel CPUs get mininal return after a FSB:MEM ratio of 1:1, in the case of DDR2 800 and a 1066FSB processor this would be 2:3 (266:400). No need to go with DDR2 1066. Corsair, Adata, Crucial, Kingston, or OCZ DDR2 800 would be perfect. Don't blow a lot of money on un-necessarily high-clocked ram. 2x1GB can be had for <$70 for all those names.

Edit: I'll post a recommended setup later on tonight, since I think I know your needs now.
October 29, 2007 8:15:22 PM

Seeing the 800x600 video use, I full agree that any of the new cards will run that. Same with the ram, adequate sets abound for around $70 with DDR2-800 ram.
October 29, 2007 8:38:40 PM

I have both a gaming computer and a number of business computers. With the gaming computer, I overclock and try all sorts of things. If something goes wrong and it crashes out and needs to have the OS re-installed, then I loose the data on some games, that's all. For the business computers, I want everything as rock solid as possible, and rarely overclock anything. Reliability is the most important thing.

That's the same for your church computer. You need it reliable, so that nothing goes wrong. Better to spend a bit more on a faster processor in the beginning, then to buy a slower one and count on the ability to overclock it, praying all the time it doesn't overheat and fail while the preacher's giving a sermon or something.

The hard drive you pick looks like a good one. I've had a bit better luck with Seagates, but WD's are fine. I use both.

I personally wouldn't get a wireless mobo for what you're doing, but otherwise the mobo looks good enough to me. There can be too many stray electrical currents in the building that might inerfere with something. But that's just a personal opinion. I'm not familiar with this particular mobo, so can't say more about it, good or bad.
October 29, 2007 8:45:36 PM

Sorry if I am repeating anything already said I am at work and only read half this post.

Dont forget about a nice sound card. If you are doing this for A/V you shouldnt just use onboard.
October 29, 2007 8:47:22 PM

i really didn't really look at it for the wifi instead the ddr2 1066 memory support, but if all i need is 800Mhz memory that would be cheaper and i could go with a cheaper mobo as well right
October 29, 2007 8:48:29 PM

oh yeah and the sata 3.0Gb/s support...
October 29, 2007 8:58:56 PM

i was also looking at barebones systems at portatech.com listed from pricewatch...
October 29, 2007 9:24:31 PM

GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(Ok, a bit of an overkill - P31 would have worked - but chosen because of the 8 SATA connectors on-board)

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - $280
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write, LightScribe Technology Black SATA Model SH-S183L - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS Black SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model DVD-E616A3T OEM - $19
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(I'm a big pro-ponent of DVD & DVD Burner seperate - especially for a AV editing system)

A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1A16K - $57
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(some reviews have shown it to be faster - bandwidth - than the Raptors)

Creative 70SB046A00003 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series Sound Card - $170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(with XRAM on-board and the front panel)

LIAN LI PC-7B plus II Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(a beautiful case, I have one myself, an absolute joy to work in and dropped my temps a good 8°C)

now...

About the video card:

I would say you should go for the 8800GT (although I expect the initial stock to go very fast):

PNY VCG88512GXPB G92 GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 PureVideo HD Technology HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $260
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
EVGA 512-P3-N802-A1 GeForce 8800GT Superclocked 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $280
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But the 8600GTS would probably do fine as well:

Foxconn 8600GTS-256 GeForce 8600GTS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $115 (after MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
EVGA 256-P2-N761-AR GeForce 8600GTS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $155 (after MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That brings the total to:
w/ 8600GTS - $ 1081-1121
w/ 8800GT - $ 1226-1246
October 29, 2007 9:33:34 PM

Here's my $.02

The first thing is were will the PC be located? If your PC will be anywhere near the congregation then make sure it is quiet. This means: Quiet PSU, quiet case fans, quiet CPU cooler, quiet HDD, and quiet optical drive. Make sure you read the reviews on each of those products that you choose and make sure they are really quiet. If your PC will be where no one will hear it (i.e. an isolated sound booth) then don't worry much about the noise.

Secondly, go ahead and get 4GB of 800mhz RAM. RAM prices are pretty low and 4GB isn't much more than 3GB. Also, there isn't much price difference between 800mhz and 666 or 533 mhz RAM, so if it is just a few dollar difference, just get 800mhz. Anything about 800mhz will usually have a decent cost premium with little real world performance gain, so anything about 800mhz is a waste (unless there is just a random REALLY good sale). Also, 4GB vs. 2GB probably won't help render video or encode audio any faster, but it will help minimize swap file access and make sure you don't get a short stall during a performance.

CPU: go Quad Core for video editing. All CPU Charts show that.

Video Card: I'm not sure if this is true, but I'm under the impression that since you will be doing multiple monitors, you will want 512MB of dedicated video RAM on you card. I'm assuming that one of those $125 to $200 cards will do you fine. However, I could be completely wrong about video cards since I'm not as knowledgeable about them.

HDD: For the most GB/$, 250GB - 500GB are your best bet. Since you will be video editing, I'd go with a 500GB drive since you will get lots of space without paying a premium. 750GB and 1TB drives will give you less for your money right now. You might also thing about striping two drives (RAID-0), but I don't think that is too necessary.

Sound Card: It is for performances, so get a decent dedicated card.


With what I have mentioned so far, you are looking at approx:
$275 - Q6600
$150 - 4GB 800mhz RAM
$150 - Video Card
$125 - Sound Card
$100 - 500 GB HDD
$ 45 - Optical Drive
$100 - PSU
------------------
$945 - components listed above


This leaves you with $250 to spend on a motherboard , case, and shipping. Also, if you search a little online, the prices I listed above are over-estimates.
October 29, 2007 10:07:00 PM

thanks guys i think i got a great deal for about 1250 with all of your advice...that is after i paid for express shipping and processing...we need it before next wed...thank you so much for all of your help
October 29, 2007 10:58:54 PM

Wow, that was quick. Can we get a moderator to confirm the fastest home built system in Tom's history?
October 30, 2007 3:52:06 PM

haha that was funny also i meant to say 1150$ was the total...thanks again guys i know when i build another personal computer i will come here first
!