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I7 Computer build for video editing Premiere CS4

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June 17, 2009 9:22:27 PM

I am going to purchase a computer for mainly video editing (premiere cs4) and wanted to get some advice. I am looking to spend (including tax and shipping) under $1,500. Here's what I've decided so far:


Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
$279.99

2 X POWERCOLOR AX4850 1GBD3-PPH Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
$149.99 X 2 = $299.98

LG Black 6X Blu-ray Disc Burner & HD DVD-ROM Drive SATA Model GGW-H20L
$159.99

2 X Western Digital Caviar GP WD10000LSRTL 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - Retail
$129.99 x 2 = 259.98

IT SOUNDS LIKE THIS IS THE WAY TO GO WITH RAM
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
BUT I AM DEFINITELY WANTING 12GB TOTAL. IS THAT POSSIBLE?

GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail??? NOT SURE

I also want to be able to make sure that the MOBO I get allows me to easily overclock. Is it pretty safe to overclock this to 3.3 ghz?

I'm inexperienced when it comes to computer builds so any advice you give will be great.
June 18, 2009 6:49:11 AM

You can use the May System Builder's Marathon as a guide. All systems—including the one that came in a bit over $1300, were built specifically for performance and overclockabililty.
a b à CPUs
June 18, 2009 11:54:31 AM

If you are editing massive files/multiple files, then the 12GB would be worthwhile, but most people wouldn't need it. Good build
Related resources
June 18, 2009 12:12:08 PM

I've been doing some research in this area over the last week and haven't finished yet, but I'll shared what I've found out. Info if probably over the top, but I've been spending alot of time because I want the machine to perform to peak for the money spent.

OVERCLOCKING
You can overclock the 920 easily with the Mobo you've selected and is good value for money. You'll be able to get 3.4-3.8 easily but you'll need:
* an aftermarket heat synch / cooler.(without getting complicated with a liquid cooled system, I like the Thermalright 120 or the Skythe Mugen 2 air cooling solutions (but you need to double check if these will fit on your chosen Mobo with the cards you plan to install as they are quite large)
* a case with excellent cooling design and tidy cabling
* if you search the internet for overclocking 920 for your board you'll find enough info to get this done. Here's an excellent article on the Core i7 architecture with a good introduction to overclocking on the platform.

VIDEO CARD
Although the 4850 was recommended to me, feedback I've received so far from other forums (I haven't confirmed this to be true) is that Premiere will not utilize the 2nd GPU in a dual GPU / graphics configuration (e.g. with either CrossireX configuration with two separate video cards or single card with dual GPU's, 2nd GPU is not utilized), so your second 4850 you've included may not be giving any added performance there (unless you're wanting to use for games). I'm considering the GTS 280 as i also like to play games occasionally.

STORAGE
Minimally you need separate physical storage drives for your OS/applications and your media/video.

For OS/application drive:
You could do perfect with a smaller cheaper version of the drives you've already selected (say 300GB). For me, I'm going for the instant access times when loading apps, etc. with a 128GB solid state drive from Corsair for about $325,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

but am also considering an interesting option included with Mobo ASUS P6T Deluxe - an onboard SAS RAID controller (SAS ports look like SATA ports, but you can put 2 x 10,000 (test result showed 137 MB/S Read Avg) or 15,000 RPM (showed 172 MB/S) SAS drvies in RAID 0. It gives almost 3 times the storage for same price as solid state drive, but also I hear these drives are quite loud, so I’m not sure yet.
Here is some more info on the latter option:
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/910/1/
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N...

For your video storage:
The hard drives you mentioned are fine for standard definition video. However, if you want to edit high definition or otherwise have complex / advanced ideas for your projects, you'll need something with higher read rates than just those single drives. This gets pricey, so depending on what you're intending to do, may not be appropriate for you. Options I've investigated for this so far are:

* Native SATA RAID solution included with Mobo configured for RAID 0 with 2-4 drives, although onboard RAID solutions vary in performance and some provide almost no improvement vs a single drive. this requires investigation for your particular motherboard (or you could just buy the number and size of drives you want, then if performance is not suitable, add card from next option and use the drives you already bought)
* PCI Express RAID controller card (about $300 will get a decent card for this purpose) configured for RAID 0 with internal SATA ports to connect to 3-5 SATA II hard drives. For performance, the RAID controller has to have substantial cache memory and chip, will usually indicate DDR, etc. in the description (e.g. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
Above options require a computer case with plenty of space for lots of hard drives and good cooling design.

* You can also go with an external SATA drive RAID enclosure with eSATA connector, but these tend to be more expensive, but its easier to expand capacity later, replace drives that fail, etc.. Some of these even support SAS drives now. Some have a RAID controller card built in the enclosure, so all you need is to connect it to your computer via eSATA cable. Others come with a PCI Express RAID controller card with eSATA ports on it or require you to boy one t

Note that RAID 0 provides the best performance but also increases random chance of volume failure (if one of the drives fails), so you'll need seperate backup of your video files. Alternatively, RAID 5 will allow recovery of a failed disc by simply replacing it, but performance will not be as good in this configuration (whether you notice a difference in performance btwn RAID 5 & RAID 0 depends on your chosen solution).
June 18, 2009 12:15:32 PM

Do you game on it too? Because Adobe Premiere CS4 uses CUDA and not OpenCL.
Crossfire/SLi isn't going to help one single bit if it's purely a video editing rig.

I'll assume you've sorted out your storage system on another build for footage archival.
June 18, 2009 12:32:54 PM

wuzy said:
Do you game on it too? Because Adobe Premiere CS4 uses CUDA and not OpenCL.
Crossfire/SLi isn't going to help one single bit if it's purely a video editing rig.

I'll assume you've sorted out your storage system on another build for footage archival.



Not actually true about 4850 not helping.... the reason the 4850 is now good for video editing is due to newly developed support via AMD Encoder Plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro Beta that enables consumer ATI Radeon based cards to utilize GPU-acceleration in CS4, although in early stages so difficult to say how much this improves things. Details available here: http://forums.amd.com/amdlive/messageview.cfm?catid=366...
NVIDIA by contrast requires purchase of their pro "Quadro" branded cards for this type of support ($1000+)

Also here is the link I mentioned on intro to overclocking on the i7
http://pcper.com/article.php?aid=634
June 18, 2009 3:08:08 PM

me24940 said:
Not actually true about 4850 not helping.... the reason the 4850 is now good for video editing is due to newly developed support via AMD Encoder Plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro Beta that enables consumer ATI Radeon based cards to utilize GPU-acceleration in CS4, although in early stages so difficult to say how much this improves things. Details available here: http://forums.amd.com/amdlive/messageview.cfm?catid=366...
NVIDIA by contrast requires purchase of their pro "Quadro" branded cards for this type of support ($1000+)

Also here is the link I mentioned on intro to overclocking on the i7
http://pcper.com/article.php?aid=634



Yeah, I had read about that and that's why I was leaning towards that particular card
June 18, 2009 3:09:01 PM

mi1ez said:
If you are editing massive files/multiple files, then the 12GB would be worthwhile, but most people wouldn't need it. Good build


And I would be able to do that with my motherboard? Could I just purchase two of the ram sets I mentioned?
June 18, 2009 3:11:59 PM

Thanks me24940, those are some great ideas. I already have a couple 300 gb drives I was thinking about using for OS. I had no idea the storage drives might not be quick enough for HD, and yes, that is something I am looking for. That's going to be a bit tricky to work to stay under $1,500 but you've given me plenty to think about.
June 18, 2009 5:20:14 PM

Okay, in regards to video storage for HD video, how would this look:

2 Western Digital Caviar Green 1 TB Bulk/OEM Hard Drive 3.5 Inch, 32 MB Cache, 7200 RPM SATA II WD10EADS @ $85.00 each = $170.00

HighPoint RocketRAID 3510 PCI-Express x8 SATA II Hardware RAID Controller with Intel 2Nd Generation PCI-Express I/O Processor - Retail @$330
June 19, 2009 11:51:22 PM

unceasingFaun said:
Okay, in regards to video storage for HD video, how would this look:

2 Western Digital Caviar Green 1 TB Bulk/OEM Hard Drive 3.5 Inch, 32 MB Cache, 7200 RPM SATA II WD10EADS @ $85.00 each = $170.00

HighPoint RocketRAID 3510 PCI-Express x8 SATA II Hardware RAID Controller with Intel 2Nd Generation PCI-Express I/O Processor - Retail @$330


Looks really good! If you find the performance isn't sufficient you would have options to upgrade later with that RAID card (e.g. add a third or fourth drive, WD 10k velociraptors, SAS 15k drives). I've been looking at the RocketRaid 4310, so not sure the difference with the card you pointed out. Here it is for about $280 http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=HI-RR4310&c=fr&pid=a83...

Also, to avoid possible/likely RAID failure with these consumer drives, you need to enable Time-Limited Error Recovery (TLER), read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-Limited_Error_Recover...
I've read several strongly worded posts about people learning the hard way about RAID arrays failing because people don't bother to consider TLER... Might want to search for those particular drives to see if others have successfully enabled TLER on them.

Also, while on the topic of high performing storage....here are some crazy articles on serious RAID peformance (using SSD drives)
http://www.nextlevelhardware.com/storage/battleship/
http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?p=5789768
http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews.php?/storage/ocz_ver...
June 20, 2009 12:23:19 AM

Interesting, ATI Stream Encoder Plug-in, I'll have to take a good look into that.

The real benefit of going with hardware RAID is for RAID with parity e.g. 5, 6 ,50, 60..etc. Even with hardware RAID5's increased write speed they're still more suitable for storage rather than high throughput purposes like HD editing. And of course reliability (less prone to corruption).
For the cost of a hardware RAID card, you can put it into 4drive RAID10 (using onboard host/driver RAID) array instead for storing HD materials that needs to be worked on.
June 20, 2009 12:32:46 AM

me24940 said:
Also, to avoid possible/likely RAID failure with these consumer drives, you need to enable Time-Limited Error Recovery (TLER), read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-Limited_Error_Recover...
I've read several strongly worded posts about people learning the hard way about RAID arrays failing because people don't bother to consider TLER... Might want to search for those particular drives to see if others have successfully enabled TLER on them.


Those would Seagate's ES series and WD's RE series. Same physical hardware as desktop counter parts, but with TLER implanted.
They're more important for running RAID without any redundancy e.g. RAID0 as any timed out drive in the array will effectively render it useless until it's picked up again. RAID array with redundancy will keep on working in degraded mode and where the drive is picked up again, rebuilding will commence.

I choose to go with desktop-class drives for my 4x1TB RAID5 array running on Dell PERC 5/i for that reason.
June 20, 2009 10:56:27 AM

Wuzy, on your point about hardware RAID not being for HD video editing.... it is how its done for both Final Cut and CS4 professsionals - if you read around you'll find this to be the case for high def video. Different video formats require certain sustained READ speeds in order to perform in CS4 or Final Cut, and single SATA 7200 RPM drives struggle.

There are many benchmarks showing both burst and average reads well in excess of single drive performance with hardware PCIe based SATA/SAS RAID controllers, but I haven't been able to find anything showing similar onboard RAID performance for consumer motherboards, with the only exception of high RPM drives like the velociraptors, SAS 15k's, or SSD's which are cost prohibitive for entry level editing for the size / number of drives you would need. Have you run any tests on your RAID 5 or have you seen any performance results published for SATA onbaord RAID solutions (RAID 5 or 0)? I've been searching but everything thing I've found shows negligible performance over a single drive.... something that changes with a decent hardware raid controller.

BTW.... TLER can be bought enabled for the drives you mentioned or often enabled on consumer drives after purchase.
June 20, 2009 2:23:23 PM

1947379,15,441347 said:
Wuzy, on your point about hardware RAID not being for HD video editing.... it is how its done for both Final Cut and CS4 professsionals - if you read around you'll find this to be the case for high def video. Different video formats require certain sustained READ speeds in order to perform in CS4 or Final Cut, and single SATA 7200 RPM drives struggle.]

Thanks again. I was looking into budget and was considering this rather than the setup I mentioned earlier for hard drives:

2x1tb 7200 rpm HD raid 1 for storage of video = $200
OR
1x1tb 7200 rpm HD for storage = $100 and back up to external 1tb (already have) = $100

1 raptor 1000 rpm 250 gb hard drive for OS, apps, and cached video =$250
OR
3 7200 250 gb hard drive set to RAID 0 for OS, app, and cached video = $150
(WHICH WOULD BE BETTER?)

1 300 gb 7200 rpm hard drive (already have) for docs/pics/personal

I'm thinking about pushing the SATA II as a future upgrade. Would my casing/MoBo only handle 4 internal hard drives? Could I use an external in raid?

June 20, 2009 10:06:58 PM

Quote:
]Wuzy, on your point about hardware RAID not being for HD video editing.... it is how its done for both Final Cut and CS4 professsionals - if you read around you'll find this to be the case for high def video. Different video formats require certain sustained READ speeds in order to perform in CS4 or Final Cut, and single SATA 7200 RPM drives struggle.
It might help if you got some reading glasses and see I was talking about the usage of true hardware RAID vs. host/driver RAID. ;) 

There is some (less than 10% usually) speed difference for sustained transfer rate between hardware RAID10 and host/driver RAID10 using 4 drives, IMO not worth the price of a hardware RAID card which is utlised the most for RAID w/ parity as I mentioned above.
June 20, 2009 10:31:28 PM

Quote:
2x1tb 7200 rpm HD raid 1 for storage of video = $200
OR
1x1tb 7200 rpm HD for storage = $100 and back up to external 1tb (already have) = $100

1 raptor 1000 rpm 250 gb hard drive for OS, apps, and cached video =$250
OR
3 7200 250 gb hard drive set to RAID 0 for OS, app, and cached video = $150
(WHICH WOULD BE BETTER?)

Depending on how frequently you move data between the scratch and storage disk, with 4x1TB RAID10 (2TB of space) you could even use the storage space as working(cached) area also. Then you could use a 60 or 120GB SSD for OS+app only. Otherwise a VelociRaptor as you suggested. Just depends on the budget.
For best performance with NLE(non-linear editing) I find separating OS+app from scratch space on different drives/array to be preferred.

The much cheaper option would be one 1TB standalone + backup as you suggested. If you went with 2x1TB RAID1 you'd still need to have an external backup. RAID1 is only there to prevent mechanical failure, and that's all.
e.g. with my 4x1TB RAID5 array I still backup my most important data onto a 1TB periodically.
Cost/performance wise 3x250GB RAID0 would be the better choice over single VelociRaptor.
June 21, 2009 11:28:22 AM

If you want drive speed, capacity and redundancy then get an ARECA raid card. You will get a 50% improvement in drive performance just by using the raid card. To give you an example I am getting 480mb/s read and 180mb/s file copy from four samsung F1 drives in a raid 5. Two drives striped is good for 320mb/s read. Also you can slice your boot drives and reduce the latency by 30-40%. It's cheaper, faster and more reliable than running 10000rpm drives.
June 21, 2009 9:59:20 PM

Also if your going to use two graphics cards in crossfire I would suggest using the new HD 4770. It has very similar performance to the HD 4850 but it has half the power consumption and runs cool. The XFX card would be a good choice because it has the double width cooler which vents out the back of the case and this will help reduce temps inside the case. Just an idea anyway.
June 22, 2009 7:45:01 PM

"...you can slice your boot drives and reduce the latency by 30-40%. It's cheaper, faster and more reliable than running 10000rpm drives.[/quotemsg]"

Malcolm,
By "slice" do you mean striping two drives in RAID 0 for the boot drive? I;ve been looking for advice on whether it is worth buying a high speed boot drive (for Vista 64) and/or using a two disk raid....versus just 1 7200 RPM drive. My use is video editing and related graphics and rendering. Once my system is booted and my project is loaded isn't everything in memory at that point? If so, it seems to me that I'd gain very little speed from a boot RAID while working on a project.

Thanks for any guidance on this!
Jim

June 22, 2009 9:25:11 PM

Slicing is a way of partitioning which reduces the travel of the hard drive heads and therefore reduces the latency. If your handling a lot of data then yes the raid will make a big difference. The hard drive is the slowest component in any computer and your always going to be restricted by it. If you want just try it for yourself. Setup on one drive and see how fast or slow your video editing is then setup four drives in a raid 0 and see what the difference is. The areca raid card is a way of having speed, storage capacity and redundancy in one lot. Onboard raid doesn't come close to hardware based raid. Just try it and what difference it makes because I really think the software will be accessing the hard drives all the time.
June 23, 2009 10:59:02 AM

Malcolmk said:
If you want drive speed, capacity and redundancy then get an ARECA raid card. You will get a 50% improvement in drive performance just by using the raid card. To give you an example I am getting 480mb/s read and 180mb/s file copy from four samsung F1 drives in a raid 5. Two drives striped is good for 320mb/s read. Also you can slice your boot drives and reduce the latency by 30-40%. It's cheaper, faster and more reliable than running 10000rpm drives.



Thanks Malcomk, this confirms what I've been reading over the last couple weeks; onboard RAID adds only marginal performance over a single SATA 7200 and doesn't compare to a decent dedicated PCIe hardware RAID solution with the same drives. Which ARECA card do you have? I've been looking at the RocketRaid 4310 (has Intel IOP348 XOR 800Mhtz 256MB) for around $300.

Although I have to mention, I saw some really sick performance of 6 SSD drives on onboard RAID 0 & RAID 5 w/ Intel's ICH10R. http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?p=5789768 Its just that I haven't been able to find any proportionately comparable results with 7200 SATA drives and onboard RAID, which doesn't seem to be much better than single 7200 drive from all the test results I've been able to find.

My plan is to go with 120GB Corsair SSD or OCZ Vertex 128GB SSD for OS & Apps, and a PCIe RAID controller with 4 or 5 650 GB 7200 SATA drives in RAID 0 or RAID 5 for video and other storage (+ seperate NAS backup). With the numbers you've shared, I'll probably go with RAID 5 so I don't have to do full restores in event of single drive failure.
July 1, 2009 2:23:33 AM

Hardware raid is the way to go but I would personally stick to the Areca cards. I had a highpoint card once and it killed all my drives. I think it was a problem with the highpoint firmware or drivers. I have three areca cards and have never had a problem.
July 3, 2009 2:37:16 PM

I'm currently making a SD definition feature length film using Premiere Pro CS4 and I can say the order of priority for components is this. RAM (more amount than speed), processor (could be most important), hard drive speed, graphics card.

Don’t worry so much about the graphics card, I would do away with the second one altogether, get rid of the raid card and buy 2xSSD's and 1x1TB drive with the extra money. Use one SSD for the operating system the other for the footage, don’t make your cache disk in Premiere the same as the one that contains the footage, it hates this. ALWAYS back up your project, Premiere crashes like a bag of hammers regularly and I almost lost my whole project twice already. Your processor is great, 6GB of Ram should be fine for SD footage but you might want more for HD. Don’t even think about using ATI's video editing decoders/plug-in/rubber chickens, forget it. With that system you will get decent playback on unrenderd footage without too many effects.#

Also I'm using windows 7 RC, which Premiere seems to like, and is also very friendly with the SSD's, so if you are going to buy an OS hold on for that maybe.
July 28, 2009 9:30:14 PM

Hi i am looking into making a PC build with the Motherboard from Intel intel dx58so and the i7 core, 6-12 gb ram but i am in doubt if i should buy a 3.0 gh or just a smaller one, now i only do DV project with som HDV sequence but one important project is in DV. I wonder if a i7 quad 3.0gh is good enough for hd content hd/hdv, i cant seem to find out if it is strong enough or if i need dual processer.
And when it comes to the harddisk i read about ssd and was thinkin of making a ssd raid0 and use it only for windows and premiere pro cs4, and with a WD 1 tb harddisk on the side. but i read up on the net that its hard to find a standard for sd, because if you delete stuff in them over time the sells wil not work an replacement is needed. so its a jungle to find out which ssd card is good.
i would love some input, i really just wanna make my movies not a computer wizard (but not dumb at it):p 

December 18, 2009 2:27:59 PM

unceasingFaun said:
Yeah, I had read about that and that's why I was leaning towards that particular card

The ATI plugin does not work if you have an INtel CPU, only and AMD cpu!
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
February 18, 2010 2:34:14 PM

hey peoples..what os the best motherborad and cpu i should used for my computer to do video editing""can anybody tell me?
March 13, 2010 10:53:07 PM

i7
April 15, 2010 7:37:08 AM

unceasingFaun said:
And I would be able to do that with my motherboard? Could I just purchase two of the ram sets I mentioned?


I just bought a system for video editting as well. I went with the i7 930, 12 gb, of ram, ATI 5770, and the gigabyte x58a-ud3r mobo. You're better off buying the 12 gb of ram together. $370 for corsair ram on new egg compatible with the 1337 socket mobos. They test ram in sets when they sell it, this way you know it works together. I also think most new mobos should have their own raid controllers although intel ones are nice. Have to do more research on this as I had someone set up my RAID 10 for me.

I also have a question for anyone who might know. I have the 12gb of ram, however when I am rendering or encoding CS4 really only uses around 4gb. Is there an add-on to boost this or am I just not going to get higher usage rates?
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 4:33:40 PM

So, if you decided, can you give your final "ultimate computer" spec/build?
Thanks.

me24940 said:
I've been doing some research in this area over the last week and haven't finished yet, but I'll shared what I've found out. Info if probably over the top, but I've been spending alot of time because I want the machine to perform to peak for the money spent.

OVERCLOCKING
You can overclock the 920 easily with the Mobo you've selected and is good value for money. You'll be able to get 3.4-3.8 easily but you'll need:
* an aftermarket heat synch / cooler.(without getting complicated with a liquid cooled system, I like the Thermalright 120 or the Skythe Mugen 2 air cooling solutions (but you need to double check if these will fit on your chosen Mobo with the cards you plan to install as they are quite large)
* a case with excellent cooling design and tidy cabling
* if you search the internet for overclocking 920 for your board you'll find enough info to get this done. Here's an excellent article on the Core i7 architecture with a good introduction to overclocking on the platform.

VIDEO CARD
Although the 4850 was recommended to me, feedback I've received so far from other forums (I haven't confirmed this to be true) is that Premiere will not utilize the 2nd GPU in a dual GPU / graphics configuration (e.g. with either CrossireX configuration with two separate video cards or single card with dual GPU's, 2nd GPU is not utilized), so your second 4850 you've included may not be giving any added performance there (unless you're wanting to use for games). I'm considering the GTS 280 as i also like to play games occasionally.

STORAGE
Minimally you need separate physical storage drives for your OS/applications and your media/video.

For OS/application drive:
You could do perfect with a smaller cheaper version of the drives you've already selected (say 300GB). For me, I'm going for the instant access times when loading apps, etc. with a 128GB solid state drive from Corsair for about $325,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

but am also considering an interesting option included with Mobo ASUS P6T Deluxe - an onboard SAS RAID controller (SAS ports look like SATA ports, but you can put 2 x 10,000 (test result showed 137 MB/S Read Avg) or 15,000 RPM (showed 172 MB/S) SAS drvies in RAID 0. It gives almost 3 times the storage for same price as solid state drive, but also I hear these drives are quite loud, so I’m not sure yet.
Here is some more info on the latter option:
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/910/1/
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N...

For your video storage:
The hard drives you mentioned are fine for standard definition video. However, if you want to edit high definition or otherwise have complex / advanced ideas for your projects, you'll need something with higher read rates than just those single drives. This gets pricey, so depending on what you're intending to do, may not be appropriate for you. Options I've investigated for this so far are:

* Native SATA RAID solution included with Mobo configured for RAID 0 with 2-4 drives, although onboard RAID solutions vary in performance and some provide almost no improvement vs a single drive. this requires investigation for your particular motherboard (or you could just buy the number and size of drives you want, then if performance is not suitable, add card from next option and use the drives you already bought)
* PCI Express RAID controller card (about $300 will get a decent card for this purpose) configured for RAID 0 with internal SATA ports to connect to 3-5 SATA II hard drives. For performance, the RAID controller has to have substantial cache memory and chip, will usually indicate DDR, etc. in the description (e.g. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
Above options require a computer case with plenty of space for lots of hard drives and good cooling design.

* You can also go with an external SATA drive RAID enclosure with eSATA connector, but these tend to be more expensive, but its easier to expand capacity later, replace drives that fail, etc.. Some of these even support SAS drives now. Some have a RAID controller card built in the enclosure, so all you need is to connect it to your computer via eSATA cable. Others come with a PCI Express RAID controller card with eSATA ports on it or require you to boy one t

Note that RAID 0 provides the best performance but also increases random chance of volume failure (if one of the drives fails), so you'll need seperate backup of your video files. Alternatively, RAID 5 will allow recovery of a failed disc by simply replacing it, but performance will not be as good in this configuration (whether you notice a difference in performance btwn RAID 5 & RAID 0 depends on your chosen solution).

January 28, 2011 2:13:47 PM

Just found this old thread on my laptop while my desktop is chunking away at a 2 hour 1920x1080p clip with Adobe Media Encoder CS5. I'm running an i7 920 with 6 gigs of ram, and a 1T 7200 OS HD and another one for source and rendered media.

The 2 hours is broken down into actually 12 sequences from Premiere. I'm rendering CBR (constant bit rate) because it's tutorials of an overhead shot of a music keyboard that the make up of the image doesn't really change (I own sudosonic.com). It takes roughly 2 hours to render a 7 minute clip thats around 2 gigs. There's no way there's a bottleneck in the HD because as you know you can transfer 2 gigs around on a 7200 in about 5 minutes. Also my RAM usage stays around 3gigs. Basically what I'm saying is the processor can't process and write data to the drive faster than the drive can accept it-not even close.

Point is, if I had 12 gigs of ram, or a Raid hard drive configuration,..it really wouldn't make a difference. Rendering video is highly dependent on your processor speed and number of cores. My i7 920 is pegged at 100%. And has been that way for hours.

I can still open (with some lag) browsers, Outlook, run skype, messenger, etc, but you don't want to open up large photoshop 500mb photoshop files or anything like that. You'd risk locking some things up.

If you're rendering video everyday, or even 10 days out of the month, your best bet is to save money on all that raid business and just get another computer or a laptop. If you're only rendering a project that's 30 mins every couple months, or you're editing video with no title effects or layers, then I'd say don't even bother getting more than a cheap 64 bit processor and 3 gigs of ram.
!