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Best CPU for video editing computer build?

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May 13, 2008 11:33:55 PM

Hey guys, I am building a video editing system. My budget is about $3000 and I need to know what would be the best processor for an editing machine. I currently have an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 in my other personal machine and have been very pleased with the whole 775 chipset and Intel system and mobo.

So let me know what CPU I should go with that will realistically fit into my budget also keeping in mind that the 775's are fazing out and why you would go with your choice.

Whats the best Quad Core out right now in my price range?
May 13, 2008 11:42:14 PM

Q6600 is best bang for the buck. But with $3000 budget, consider getting q9450 for best performance. Skip q9300, as it perform the same as q6600 clock per clock, can't oc as high due to low 7.5x multiplier (compared to 9x) and cost more.

Q9450 is ideal.
May 14, 2008 12:12:31 AM

I cant seem to find the Q9450 on Newegg or ZipZoomFly.
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May 14, 2008 12:17:37 AM

on that budget, you might consider a dual quad mac? I thought macs were supposed to be good for video editing. Theres also dual quad xeons that might be worth considering on that budget.
May 14, 2008 12:22:18 AM

Spitfire7 said:
I cant seem to find the Q9450 on Newegg or ZipZoomFly.



Newegg's is enthuists' nest, they storm everything clean. Microcenter is also a respectable retailer. Consider buying from them.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Don't get Mac. It's a ripoff for the sky price they charge. You can assemble a dual quad using server motherboard for octo core solution for less.
a c 480 à CPUs
May 14, 2008 1:14:37 AM

Definitely get a Quad Core for video editing / encoding.

Using DivX 6.7 to encode movies the performance difference between a Q9450 at stock speed and an overclocked E6600 @ 3.0GHz is huge. Using the same DivX settings for both rigs the Q9450 @ stock speed can encode movies at a little more than twice the speed (about 110% faster).

Overclocking the Q9450 should result in even faster encoding rates. I haven't tested the H.264 codec yet.
May 14, 2008 1:28:16 AM

Please note that I do all editing of standard-definition video; I have (unfortunately) no experience editing HD video.

From my experience working with digital video, it's at least as important to have a good video capture card (NOTE: Not graphics card, in the sense of a GeForce or Radeon card) as a fast CPU on an editing machine.

Here's a good real-life comparison:

At my school, I use a purpose-built video editing station, complete with the works; breakout box, external TV monitor, etc. The computer itself isn't very impressive; it has a 2.66 GHz P4, 512MB RAM, multiple hard drives, and a GeForce 5600 AGP grahpics card.

For video editing at home, I use my computer; a 2.2GHz Athlon 64, 1GB RAM, X600 PCIe card (I don't play many games...), and a 250GB HDD.

Hardware-wise, my personal machine blows the school's editing station out of the water, but the machine at school is considerably faster at editing video. My machine becomes sluggish when I start adding multiple video effects, whereas the station at school continues, unflustered. The difference becomes even more pronounced when encoding the final video to MPEG.

How could it be? That, my friend, is the magic of the VIDEO CAPTURE CARD! The video capture card does realtime processing of all the video effects, filters, etc. and also does hardware-accelerated MPEG rendering.

Essentially, the video capture card is optimized for displaying, editing, and encoding video. It's specialized for one specific task, whereas CPU rendering utilizes the CPU, which is not optimized for video, and which is already doing a multitude of other things.

Unfortunately, I don't know a great deal about the video capture cards themselves; all I know is that Matrox makes some very high-end video editing solutions, and that PNY makes "Professional Video Editions" of nVidia Quadro graphics cards, which come with breakout boxes.

Pretty much any quad-core CPU with lots of RAM (at least 2 GB; I'd go for 4) will do the job, as long as you pair it with a dedicated video processing card.

Finally, you'll want a lot of hard drive space, a lot of RAM, and dual displays.
May 14, 2008 7:12:50 AM

Ok guys thanks for the tips. I believe I will be going with about 8GB of Ram, the Q9450 CPU, and will look into the editing video cards.

In regards to the CPU, is it better to have a higher Architecture 45nm or 65nm or should I be looking at the FSB or cache? I keep seeing trade offs with some of the better CPU's compared to the older CPUs. Seems that some of the good CPU's have the higher 65nm, but lower cache or FSB 1066 compared to 1333. Whats the most important thing I should be looking at when comparing these CPU's?

May 14, 2008 4:15:33 PM

Remember the Q9450 has only 410m transistors compared with the 584m of the qx6700 and 854m of the QX9650. All things considered I'd go with a Q9450. Angry duck is dead on when he talks about the importance of a proper capture card, especially if your looking at becomng a proper editor. A good GPU on the capture will allow you to do real time transitions etc.
The other important thing is hardrives especially if your looking at feature length stuff. I run 2 drives striped, if I was editing I might look a 4 cheaper drives, striped. As for ram I like to match the CPU speed, so some 1333 would be nice unless you get your hands on a cheap QX6700 and hsf, then you can oc like a maniac and run a raid setup with a proper capture card, you'd be rockin!!
May 14, 2008 7:24:12 PM

If you earn money from video work, then I'd look into a purpose-built editing station. While these machines are expensive, they are pre-optimized for a particular editing program, which means the optimum performance and stability.

If you're not using the system to earn a living, then even your current E6600 system could be (relatively) easily and inexpensively converted into a pretty decent editing machine, simply by adding a capture card, more RAM, etc.

Which editing program are you using, by the way?
May 14, 2008 11:15:42 PM

Vertigon said:
Remember the Q9450 has only 410m transistors compared with the 584m of the qx6700 and 854m of the QX9650. All things considered I'd go with a Q9450. Angry duck is dead on when he talks about the importance of a proper capture card, especially if your looking at becomng a proper editor. A good GPU on the capture will allow you to do real time transitions etc.
The other important thing is hardrives especially if your looking at feature length stuff. I run 2 drives striped, if I was editing I might look a 4 cheaper drives, striped. As for ram I like to match the CPU speed, so some 1333 would be nice unless you get your hands on a cheap QX6700 and hsf, then you can oc like a maniac and run a raid setup with a proper capture card, you'd be rockin!!

Extreme edition cpus make no sense when price is considered. You can get dual quad for octo core solution on a server motherboard, with 32gb of ram, for less than a single cpu desktop using the "extreme" edition processor. For video editing/encoding, which basically scale linearly with cores and can use lots of ram, the octo core machine will wipe the floor with any "extreme" cpu PC.
May 15, 2008 5:35:15 AM

"the octo core machine will wipe the floor with any "extreme" cpu PC"

Well that was tested by people who actually had components in their hands and far from wiping the floor with a single socker extreme cpu, the dual socket 1600FSB unit got a battering in some tests.See:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-skulltrail-pa...

When you look at the Adobe premier pro test and Maincocept encoder test the single socket QX9650 beat the skulltrail platform convincingly.As for the other tests bar xvid the single socket solution only lagged marginally. What you need to remember is that spitfire won't be encoding from one format into another, I am assuming most of the video will remain in its original format and splicing it together will be spitfire's main concern. Even the reviewers said:

"We compare the performance of the dual-socket Skulltrail system to that of Core 2 Extreme QX9770 and QX9650 CPUs. All three are Penryns and share identical features, but the test results were not what we expected. "

It was actually this test that made me opt for the single QX9650 solution and reading intel's white papers regarding transistor counts on the cpu's.

So if a dual socket 771 solution running at 3.2Ghz/1600FSB can't do much which octo core solution can?
May 15, 2008 3:54:48 PM

As to the capturing/editing card end of things: For quite a while I had a Matrox RT.X100. This is an older PCI card. Matrox has a new PCIE card, the RT.X2. I have no intention of buying from Matrox again. I found the RT.X100 to be quite glitchy, and Matrox's support is rather poor. They steadfastly refuse to provide any 64-bit drivers. For the most part, unless you use their cards on a very small specific list of outdated motherboards, they'll tell you to get bent. I sold the RT.X100 while I was unemployed over the summer, don't think I'll miss it much.

My unemployment problem was solved a few months ago, I'm doing better than ever. I intend to order a Blackmagic Intensity Pro. Its a PCIE card, does analog capture (which I need), not only works in 32 and 64 bit environments but on Macs as well (in fact, I plan to buy it from apple.com). And it costs way less than the RT.X100 did, and way way less than the RT.X2.
!