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Need help building a Photo/Video editing system

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August 11, 2008 6:05:22 PM

Dear All,

I posted my original question in the New System Build section of the forum. See http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/254596-31-workstation-photo-video-editing.

I need your help building a powerful workstation for Photo/Video editing.

I am looking for a 64Bit system with 8GB of RAM. Can someone mention some components that will work together to build such a system?

Your input is highly appreciated.

Thanks.

-Amit
a c 127 à CPUs
August 11, 2008 6:07:07 PM

How much do you want to spend???????
a b à CPUs
August 11, 2008 6:18:49 PM

GPU - Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB GDDR5 TV-Out/Dual DVI/HDMI (PCI-Express) - Retail
PCU - Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 LGA775 'Yorkfield' 2.83GHz 12MB-cache (1333FSB) Processor - Retail
Monitors - LG L207WT 20" Widescreen LCD Monitor - Black
PSU - Corsair TX 750W ATX2.2 SLI Compliant PSU
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-X48-DS4 Intel X48 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard
Case - Antec Nine Hundred Ultimate Gaming Case
Memory - Corsair 4GB DDR2 XMS2 PC2-6400C5 TwinX (2x2GB) X2 - 8GB total
HD - Western Digital Caviar Blue 640GB SATA-II 16MB Cache - OEM (WD6400AAKS)
Optical Drive - Asus DRW-2014L1T 20x DVD±RW SATA Dual Layer Lightscribe ReWriter (Black/Silver) - Retail
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-Bit - OEM (66I-01939)

About $2,500.00
Related resources
August 11, 2008 6:19:17 PM

video/photo editing are more CPU dependant than games, so you will want to put your money into a reasonably fast quad-core cpu, 8gb of ram, and a fast hdd (or two).

you could get away with a midrange video card, and still have a very flexible system for gaming as well.
a b à CPUs
August 11, 2008 6:33:56 PM

You want a fast quad core and LOTS of RAM. The video card is less important.
August 11, 2008 6:35:12 PM

Also, you'll probably be best to decide what video editing software you plan to use before deciding on the hardware. For example, Avid software really doesn't like ATI graphics cards or AMD CPUs, whereas some other software works better on ATI cards than Nvidia.
August 11, 2008 6:58:40 PM

Get the gigabyte version of the 4850 and you will be set. The 9450 will be plenty powerful and save you a bundle. Any motherboard with at least one PCIx16 1.1 slot will be all you need and full, 1600fsb quad core support. Make sure it is stable, and give yourself the ability to do a moderate overclock if you decide later.

An eight gigabyte DDR2 800 dual channel kit will give you the most stability and decrease load times if you are using more then one heavy application. Although, I have heard of many issues in regards to overclocking and bios setting that result when that much memory is loaded into your operating system. Make sure your mother board can support that much ram and at the speed you get it ( this kit looks good http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...).


August 11, 2008 7:40:25 PM

Dear All,

First of all thanks for your input. I not sure how many of you actually read the related post that I linked in my original post so here's the summary:

1) I need a system with 64bit Windows XP/Vista Ultimate working on it.
2) I will be putting 8GB of System RAM to get the most out of the system. See http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vista-workshop,1775.html
3) I am currently planning on using nVidia QUADRO grafix card (3700 - 512MB) or higher.
4) Need to have lots of disc storage so I am planning on having as many 1TB HDD in the system as I can have depending on the case.
5) Thinking of having a RAID 5 for some data protection. I am bending towards FSB 1600 since I will be using SATA drives as the highest capacity SAS drives are only 300GB only. SAS drives are also more expensive but will give me better throughput. Since SATA are maxed out @ 7200 rpm I am thinking a native FSB 1600 will give me some benefit here.


@jimmysmitty,
Quote:
How much do you want to spend???????

I do not want to spend more than 4K (this does not include the monitor). Since this system is used for Photo/Video editing. I already have professional refernce monitor in mind that I will be using with this system.

@evongugg
I am reviewing your part list and get back to you once I am done. Thanks.

@pinaplex
Quote:
video/photo editing are more CPU dependant than games, so you will want to put your money into a reasonably fast quad-core cpu, 8gb of ram, and a fast hdd (or two).
you could get away with a midrange video card, and still have a very flexible system for gaming as well.

I WILL be using Adobe products. Adobe After Effects uses OpenGL to render fast previews as well as native OpenGL support. That is why I am looking for a card with OpenGL support. I nVidia consumer cards to my knowledge do not support OpenGL. Please correct me if I am wrong as it will save me money if I am wrong.

@cjl
See my reply to @pinaplex above in this post itself.

@MarkG
I WILL be using ALL ADOBE products i.e. Adobe Creative Suite CS3 with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom v2.0 with native 64bit support.

@E3210
I was thinking of using ASUS P5E3 Premium/WiFi @n. It has X48 chipset with navtive FSB1600 support. But after reading http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-core-2-extreme-qx9770,1727-3.html I found that with X48 chipset
Quote:
If DDR3-1600 memory is used, only one memory module is allowed per channel. Thus, the buyer must use 2 GB modules to reach 4 GB of RAM.


@ALL,
Do I need a Core 2 Extreme or a Xenon processor? What is the advantage of having Xenon over Extreme? I wanted to get a 45nm for its low power consumption. Not sure which one I should be buying?

Do I need a server Motherboard to have 8GB of RAM? The X48 chipset with native FSB1600 requires DD3. DDR31600 does not support 8GB RAM. What do I need?

I need a grahics card supported by Adobe. See i.e. I need a motherboard that will support one of the listed card. I am an nVidia fan so I am looking for an nVidia card only i.e. a motherboard that will support one of the supported nVidia card.

Your help will be highly appreciated here.

I do not want to pay some system builder huge amount of my hard earned money to build me a Workstation system that I can build with all your help. So please keep providing me your input.

Thanks again.

-Amit

August 11, 2008 7:54:35 PM

My video editing system:

Motherboard: Asus Rampage
CPU: Q9450
RAM: 4gb OCZ Platinum (not actually recommended - some minor compatability problems with mb, even with latest BIOS)
Video card: Asus EN8600GT (Nvidia 8600)
Power supply: Antec Neopower 650
Case: Antec 900
Main drive: Seagate 7200.8 250gb (transplant from my previous system)
Capture drive: Two Western Digital RE2 500gb (RAID0)
Capture board: Blackmagic Intensity Pro

I should add, however, that I am probably getting rid of the Intensity Pro, as bought it to do S-video captures and it can't handle ANY sort of panning in the original source.

Re X48: X48 does NOT require DDR3. The Asus Rampage is an X48 board and supports DDR2.
August 11, 2008 8:02:21 PM

Listen here you twit we all read your other thread and disregarded it completely. You don't seem to fully understand what a server is nor what the hardware you are considering does. We do so shut your trap and listen to us or bugger off.

You don't need that card if you simply opt for a windows operating system, because open gl is for linux. All the software you will be likely to run will be on a windows anyway you. Trust us, we know are stuff. You are only going to spend 4k on your system, but the software that you would need to get to push any of the builds we have suggested will cost you more then 10k. You are talking professional grade you you just want to run adobe photoshop and nero.

If you were a proffessional you wouldn't be here, you would already know what you need. So I am going to assume that you are not and advise you to listen.
August 11, 2008 8:08:56 PM

+1, the build with professional grade software will cost more then 10k. Almost each piece of software (depending what you get) could be $1k minimum or more.
August 11, 2008 9:43:00 PM

@E3210,
No offense to you Sir, but I am here to take advice from all you GURUs. If I knew everything I would not be here.

With that said, I am in a professional business. Although just starting out with the hopes of growing. I do professional wedding photography. Adobe Lightroom with Adobe Photoshop is bread an butter for me. I also use Adobe After Effects for creating VIDEO SlideShows. I use Adobe Premiere to put together the slideshow. I also use Adobe Encore to create the final DVD. And I am using SmartSound SonicFire to create my background music. In short I am currently using MOST of the applications from Adobe Creative Suite and things are running extremly slow for me. That is why I am planning on having a WORKSTATION system for me.

I also talked with DELL got some quotes about their professional workstation T7400 which is currently being quotes for ~7K to me. I was thinking if I can get something similar built under 5K with help from this forum that would save me some money to spare on other things I need.

Oh, and THANK YOU for reading my other post. Since you read that post I titled it Workstation for Photo/Video Editing. I did not say PC or desktop as I am really looking for a workstation with some power that can do batch processing stuff quickly.

@Shadowthor,
I already have professional software to use. All I need is help building a proper system.

-Amit
August 11, 2008 10:01:49 PM

None of that is really professional grade. When you start getting into cinema effects and 3d rendering then a workstation card with a powerful computing platform becomes more necessary. If you just want to play with pictures and such a quad core desktop will do you just fine. Spend the extra money on advertisement.

Might want to invest in a m audio sound card for your audio.
August 11, 2008 10:18:36 PM

ac - I'd suggest taking the advice you get here with a big grain of salt, as almost everyone on these forums is gaming oriented. People may claim to have expertise regarding X, but there's no way to tell for sure unless you have some decent knowledge of X yourself, which it sounds like you don't. Trying to assemble a system for your specific purposes based on comments from random people in internetland may be successful, or may be a waste of your money. I'd seriously consider hiring an experienced system builder solely to discuss the price/performance tradeoffs with you and to specify an equipment list based on that. Such an investment of $100-200 could save you from wasting a lot more money.

If you don't want to do that, at least post your question on a forum that focuses on photo editing, populated with people that have hands-on experience in the field.
August 11, 2008 11:04:29 PM

@Mondoman,

I did talk with DELL before posting here. They are proposing a Xenon based system. I don't know which Motherboard as it will be some server board that they use. It is their T7400 system which can support upto 64GB of RAM. They also told me to buy their PERC card for RAID. You can also go to their website and choose customize T7400 and see what they offer.

Looking at T7400, I was thinking if I can come up with something similar and still save some money using the help from here.

Which forums are you referring too that will be more focused on say my kind of needs?

-Amit
August 11, 2008 11:14:39 PM

achugh said:

I WILL be using Adobe products. Adobe After Effects uses OpenGL to render fast previews as well as native OpenGL support. That is why I am looking for a card with OpenGL support. I nVidia consumer cards to my knowledge do not support OpenGL. Please correct me if I am wrong as it will save me money if I am wrong.


Nvidia consumer cards have supported OpenGL for years; the Adobe page you linked to says that the Geforce 7 and Geforce 8 cards are supported, so if that's the case there's no need to spend a lot more money for a Quadro card.
August 11, 2008 11:39:44 PM

"I WILL be using Adobe products. Adobe After Effects uses OpenGL to render fast previews as well as native OpenGL support. That is why I am looking for a card with OpenGL support. "

Firstly 64 bit Vista only supports Direct3D. Secondly the Quadro 3700 is a great card (yes I have one) but will do little or nothing for Adobe's range of products. It's a CAD/DCC product.

RAID 5 is a good option, however RAID 0 with quality gear is also very reliable. If you are going to use RAID 5 I suggest you opt for a high end RAID controller, the onboard solutions are really only suitable for RAID 0 at the pro level.

"I'd seriously consider hiring an experienced system builder solely to discuss the price/performance tradeoffs with you and to specify an equipment list based on that. Such an investment of $100-200 could save you from wasting a lot more money. "

This is great advice. Make sure consultant doesn't sell computer components to ensure you get unbiased advice. Most importantly get a machine that doesn't extend too far beyond your ability's, your not a professional, that's obvious from your posted threads. No need to go to 1600Mhz ram. A QX9650 will be well matched to some good low latency DDR3 1333Mhz RAM and will clock to 4Ghz+ on the stock cooler. Good luck.
August 12, 2008 2:37:09 AM

@Vertigon,
Quote:
Firstly 64 bit Vista only supports Direct3D.

From whatever I can google, it appears that Vista 64-Bit does support OpenGL. Can you please refer to someplace that says OpenGL is no supported in Vista 64-Bit?
Quote:
Secondly the Quadro 3700 is a great card (yes I have one) but will do little or nothing for Adobe's range of products. It's a CAD/DCC product.

Thank you pointing that out. I need to research on nVidia site as to which cards support OpenGL 2.0.
Quote:
RAID 5 is a good option, however RAID 0 with quality gear is also very reliable. If you are going to use RAID 5 I suggest you opt for a high end RAID controller, the onboard solutions are really only suitable for RAID 0 at the pro level.

Can you recommend a solution that uses SATA drives? Which extra card do I need?
Quote:
Most importantly get a machine that doesn't extend too far beyond your ability's, your not a professional, that's obvious from your posted threads. No need to go to 1600Mhz ram. A QX9650 will be well matched to some good low latency DDR3 1333Mhz RAM and will clock to 4Ghz+ on the stock cooler.

Can you recommend an ASUS board as I like them? Along with some memory that goes with the board?
Quote:
Good luck.

Thanks I need it and as much help as I can from qualified people like you.

-Amit
August 12, 2008 2:54:14 AM

"Firstly 64 bit Vista only supports Direct3D".......my appologies, what I should of said is with vista 64 and the QX3700 under 3DS max, open gl is no longer supported in vue of Direct3D, which may be unapplicable to you, however due to open gl dropping in popularity, you should research the extent to which your applications rely on open gl. There are also many recorded issues with open gl and vista 64. Further reading:

http://www.opengl.org/pipeline/article/vol003_7/

Sorry I am busy right now but will respond to the rest later.
August 12, 2008 4:52:14 AM

IIRC, that article is almost as old as Vista. Things have changed since release and Service Pack 1 along with new drivers for video hardware have improved things since this article was posted. It would be nice to see more current information... though as I've said, things have improved and Vista is on par with XP and in some cases ahead of it.
August 12, 2008 12:26:18 PM

@Vertigon,
I saw that link also before I posted my last post.

@Zoron,
I agree with you that since Vista SP1 things have changed and I am also looking for more recent information.

ALL,

I was looking at the nVidia website and found these two articles:

Quadro Solution Benefits http://www.nvidia.com/page/technology_vista_quadro.html
GeForce GPU Benefits http://www.nvidia.com/page/technology_vista_gpu.html

The latest GeForce GTX280 is a PCI Express 2.0 compliant card with 1GB DDR3 memory and HAS OpenGL 2.1 support.
The Quadro FX3700 is also PCI Express 2.0 compliant card but has 512GB DDR2 memory. It supports OpenGL 2.0

Looking at the above Solution Benefits URL only Qudaro Solution is boosting that is OPTIMIZED for 64-Bit support. Does that mean GeForce card will not work at its best when used under Vista 64-Bit? The GTX280 is cheaper and has better memory but it will cause be grief with Vista 64-Bit than I better get the Quadro FX3700.

Can someone provide some information here about GTX280 and Vista 64-Bit support?

Thanks.

-Amit
August 12, 2008 1:11:32 PM

Ok let me first make it clear that I don't operate a video editing system, but that I own a QX9650 and FX3700 which I use everyday, along with the RAID 0 system I have in place. I used open gl compliant card for years and personally for the little that they bring, they aren't worth the hassle, give me DIRECT 3D anytime. However that doesn't help someone who uses software solely design around open gl. This is something you should ask directly to the software vendor and not rely on in a forum. I don't belive the FX card will help you as I have always looked at CAD/DCC benches:

http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_11761.html

The FX3700 is the same card as the Geforce 8800's, your paying the high price for the drivers, and I can tell you despite the high price tag are worth it for CAD/3D because nvidia write 2 booster drivers, powerdraft for CAD and maxstreme for 3DS max, which basically make all the difference when there is alot of geometry on the screen. See they both use the G92 core chip:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_Quadro

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_8

Also when you place them side by side and look at the PCB, you can't tell the difference. My point? Ensure this card will aid you in editing because it's expensive. You can SLI the 3700's, you can't SLI the 1700's.

Having said all that I found this at nvidia:

http://www.nvidia.com/object/workstation_software_partn...

but no benches are provided, which suggest they brag about what they can.

As for RAID I suggest the adaptec 3085, it will accomadate 8 sata drives and has 256 MB cache memory, which is needed on with 4 drives or more as well as independant bios and specialist management hardware far exceeding on board controller efficiency and technology. If however you opt for a 2 drive RAID 0 setup, don't bother with an extra card like the adaptec, there simply won't be enough hardware to make use of it. I have always used seagate hardrives, SCSI, SATA etc. Right now the 500GB 32MB cache are good value. If your going to opt for something crazy like RAID 0 across 7 drives I suggest you put your OS on the 8th. Good RAID 0 gear is reliable but errors occur and theres no second chance with RAID 0. Then again if your backup plan is working, no problems.
Sorry I can't recomend an asus board, I have an GA-X48T-DQ6 gigabyte board, it overclocks like a mother and is rock solid reliable, also gigabytes factory forum at tweaktown is indespensible, they really have some great people providing excellent customer service like Lsdmeasap. My next mobo will be a gigabyte, they also do alot for the overclocking fraternity.
I have some Corsair DHX DDR3 1333Mhz ram which hasn't dissapointed me once, the overview: 9-9-9-24.....not the fastest RAM about but I can get my cpu to 4.5Ghz on a divider if I want, but I'm happy with 4.2. My suggestion to you is:

QX9650 oc'd to 4.2Ghz (you will need an after market cooler as the stock one is great but overlaps the RAM slots with 8GB on board on a GA-x48T-DQ6

GA-x48T-DQ6

8GB of the best RAM you can afford so you can run it 1:1 at 4.2Ghz
Consider: http://www.mushkin.com/doc/products/performance/

Adaptec 3085 runing 8xSeagate 500Gb 32Mb Cache Hardrives, running a 32 or 64K stripe on RAID 5. If you don't feel this will be adequate, email adaptec and see if you can run 2x3805 cards reliably and another 8 hardrives giving you a total of 16.

You will need a minimum 750W name brand cpu. I have a Zalman 750W, in your case I recomend the 1000W dual heat pipe solution.

I have a Cosmos S case, I dam well LOVE it. Massive 230mm side fan, radiator ready and independant fan mounted Hard drive CASES.

I would also suggest you look at Samsung's XL30 LED monitor which I will be purchasing as soon as I get a chance to go and look at one. Otherwise Dell's 3008 is a good mid range unit at less than half the price.
August 12, 2008 1:17:15 PM

"The Quadro FX3700 is also PCI Express 2.0 compliant card but has 512GB DDR2http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDR2_SDRAM memory. It supports OpenGL 2.0"

The FX3700 definetly has DDR3 memory, I just double checked mine with GPU-Z. You will have no issues running the GTX280 with 64 bit Vista.
August 12, 2008 1:22:22 PM

Before you worry about the FX3700, check with Adobe to see how critical open GL is with After Affects, you should ask to see some benches. This could save you alot of money. If you are going to be using 3DS max or Maya, buy it, or buy 2 on a 790i board.
August 12, 2008 1:27:24 PM

@Vertigon,

Thanks. You are the man.

I am checking all the information you provided and may get back to you if I need any further help.

For now I think I got most of the information I needed.

-Amit
August 13, 2008 1:14:14 AM

achugh said:
...
I did talk with DELL before posting here. They are proposing a Xenon based system. I don't know which Motherboard as it will be some server board that they use. It is their T7400 system which can support upto 64GB of RAM. They also told me to buy their PERC card for RAID. You can also go to their website and choose customize T7400 and see what they offer.
...

I wouldn't consider Dell an independent consultant, as they are trying to sell their hardware and not anything else. I hope you didn't have to pay any money for the "consultation"!
Good luck!
!