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System for editing HD in Adobe Premiere

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April 20, 2009 5:15:09 PM

I have an AMD 3500 with a NVIDIA 6600 and 1gb of RAM. I just bought a HD videocamera and I know that editing and processing HD can be quite hard, so I know I have to upgrade my computer. I was hoping to get some help here. I've been reading that the new core i7 are the way to go, but I find their mobos much more expensive than the old sockets. And do I need a quadcore for this or a dual core is fine?

About Hard Disk, I was thinking of a 1tb 7200rpm HD, or maybe 2 or 3 500gb HD working on a raid. What do you suggest? About videocard, I don't expect to do that much difference, so I wasn't thinking of changing it... And RAM, possibly 2 or 3gb. But this is all some ideas I made from what I've read. I was hoping someone could help me on my specific case.

Thanks!

David
April 21, 2009 1:14:11 PM

Nobody absolutely needs i7 to go videoediting. i7 is the premium platform. If you can afford i7, it's the way to go. Otherwise, look at a combo of P45, Q6600 & 2x2GB DDR2-800. i5/P55 won't be out til Oct (pushed back twice). If you prefer AMD, their Phenom II x4 920/940s are pretty popular right now. Go with 790FX/GX + SB750. And the same DDR2. Even tho AM3 is out, I'd wait a bit for them to mature.

So you can go with either LGA 775 or AM2 at the moment. I recommend a quad core for this task cuz I do video encoding and it makes DAY & NIGHT difference compared to dual core.

3 500GB W.D. BLACK, 1 standone for OS & 2 on RAID 0 for data (videos). Watch it fly when you're encoding/decoding.

Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

You can go with onboard video (790GX or G41/43/45) if you don't game and don't do 3d rendering at all. If you do sometimes or do high def, pick out a ATI HD 3450 or
Geforce 8600. Look for one with no fan.

Pick out the parts at your e-tailer. Post your selection.
April 22, 2009 1:07:46 AM

Hi there.

As someone who uses Premiere Pro & After Effects CS4, I can provide you with what works best. I will need to know some things first.

1) What video format does your camera use? If AVCHD, you will need the i7. I have a Q6600 overclocked to 3.0GHz and it cannot handle AVCHD very well. The i7 920 at its stock 2.66GHz is about 15% faster than my Q6600 at 3.0GHz.

2) Do you use Premiere Pro CS4 or an earlier version? If CS4, you want 12GB of Ram. Premiere CS4 is now able to use more than 4GB of ram when run on Vista x64. A great article over at DigitalContentProducer.com tests the performance of Premiere with 4GB vs 8GB+ and Premiere's performance was 50-600% faster with 8GB+.

3) What is your budget?

RAID: this is another great way of improving performance and another great reason for using Intel. Premiere has a "media cache" where it stores video and audio from projects. While editing in Premiere, you want to see how your video looks and you hit play. Premiere renders the video and stores it in the media cache. Where the media cache is located is very important to the performance and speed of that rendering. Because Premiere must read the original video and then render it, you want to use 2 separate drives, 1 for the source and 1 for the render/media cache. This is where Raid comes into play. I am going to give a brief overview of what I recommend and why it helps performance.
1) Using 4 drives, lets say 2-250GB drives and 2-1TB drives. The 2-250GB drives split into 2 different Raid arrays: a Raid 1 array for the OS+Apps and a Raid 0 array for page file and media cache. Raid 1 mirrors the data across 2 drives; so, if one drive dies, the other drive still has the data and you lose no data and no downtime resintalling/restoring the OS & Apps. Raid 0 "stripes" data across the 2 drives; thus, about doubling the read/write speed. However, if one drive dies, all the data is gone. The page file & media cache are not important data. In fact, the media cache should be deleted every 2-3 months. Creating 2 different Raid arrays can only be done on Intel motherboards; this is why I said to use Intel.
2) The 2-1TB drives will be used for storage and run in a Raid 1 array to protect your data. The original footage will be stored here. Also, Raid 1 provides slightly better performance when data is being read. Its a process called "Split Seeks" where the OS is able to read from both drives at the same time. Its rather technical, but it does help.

If you don't mind the risk and want better speed with booting up and opening programs, you can just use Raid 0 for the OS, Apps, page file and media cache. If you do this, you will definitely need to create a separate partition for the OS+Apps as C and a D partition for page file and an E partition for media cache. I can help you with the exact sizes of those partitions once we know the amount of ram and which Raid 0 or 1 for the OS+Apps.

I can also provide you with step-by-step instructions for setting up Raid on an Intel board as I have done so for several others.

You don't want onboard video for editing HD video within Premiere. Preferably, an Nvidia video card, such as the GTS 250. When applying Effects, some can use the video card(which must have OpenGL 2.0 support) to render these effects in real-time. More power equals less time rendering. And when you want to see what different effects look like, quicker rendering times help a lot. I like the GTS 250 because it it a dual slot and heat is blown out of the case and it is only $120-30. And the possible CUDA support in future Adobe releases is 99.9% guaranteed because CS4 already supports it but only with Nvidia's $1500 CX Quadro video card.

Back to hard drives: you do not need or want Raid 0 for video storage. The fastest AVCHD can go is a whopping 3 MB per second, which equates to 24megabit. Even Panasonic's $10,000+ cameras only go up to 12.5 MB/s(100 megabit).

I hope I haven't confused you. I have a tendency to do that, which is why I would not be a great teacher.
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April 22, 2009 1:30:12 AM

I should add that you really should upgrade your video card since your 6600 doesn't support OpenGL 2.0. You need a card that supports at least OpenGL 2.0, and most cards currently support 2.1 or 3.0, so they will work fine.
April 23, 2009 10:09:41 PM

specialk90 said:
Hi there.

As someone who uses Premiere Pro & After Effects CS4, I can provide you with what works best. I will need to know some things first.

1) What video format does your camera use? If AVCHD, you will need the i7. I have a Q6600 overclocked to 3.0GHz and it cannot handle AVCHD very well. The i7 920 at its stock 2.66GHz is about 15% faster than my Q6600 at 3.0GHz.

2) Do you use Premiere Pro CS4 or an earlier version? If CS4, you want 12GB of Ram. Premiere CS4 is now able to use more than 4GB of ram when run on Vista x64. A great article over at DigitalContentProducer.com tests the performance of Premiere with 4GB vs 8GB+ and Premiere's performance was 50-600% faster with 8GB+.

3) What is your budget?

RAID: this is another great way of improving performance and another great reason for using Intel. Premiere has a "media cache" where it stores video and audio from projects. While editing in Premiere, you want to see how your video looks and you hit play. Premiere renders the video and stores it in the media cache. Where the media cache is located is very important to the performance and speed of that rendering. Because Premiere must read the original video and then render it, you want to use 2 separate drives, 1 for the source and 1 for the render/media cache. This is where Raid comes into play. I am going to give a brief overview of what I recommend and why it helps performance.
1) Using 4 drives, lets say 2-250GB drives and 2-1TB drives. The 2-250GB drives split into 2 different Raid arrays: a Raid 1 array for the OS+Apps and a Raid 0 array for page file and media cache. Raid 1 mirrors the data across 2 drives; so, if one drive dies, the other drive still has the data and you lose no data and no downtime resintalling/restoring the OS & Apps. Raid 0 "stripes" data across the 2 drives; thus, about doubling the read/write speed. However, if one drive dies, all the data is gone. The page file & media cache are not important data. In fact, the media cache should be deleted every 2-3 months. Creating 2 different Raid arrays can only be done on Intel motherboards; this is why I said to use Intel.
2) The 2-1TB drives will be used for storage and run in a Raid 1 array to protect your data. The original footage will be stored here. Also, Raid 1 provides slightly better performance when data is being read. Its a process called "Split Seeks" where the OS is able to read from both drives at the same time. Its rather technical, but it does help.

If you don't mind the risk and want better speed with booting up and opening programs, you can just use Raid 0 for the OS, Apps, page file and media cache. If you do this, you will definitely need to create a separate partition for the OS+Apps as C and a D partition for page file and an E partition for media cache. I can help you with the exact sizes of those partitions once we know the amount of ram and which Raid 0 or 1 for the OS+Apps.

I can also provide you with step-by-step instructions for setting up Raid on an Intel board as I have done so for several others.

You don't want onboard video for editing HD video within Premiere. Preferably, an Nvidia video card, such as the GTS 250. When applying Effects, some can use the video card(which must have OpenGL 2.0 support) to render these effects in real-time. More power equals less time rendering. And when you want to see what different effects look like, quicker rendering times help a lot. I like the GTS 250 because it it a dual slot and heat is blown out of the case and it is only $120-30. And the possible CUDA support in future Adobe releases is 99.9% guaranteed because CS4 already supports it but only with Nvidia's $1500 CX Quadro video card.

Back to hard drives: you do not need or want Raid 0 for video storage. The fastest AVCHD can go is a whopping 3 MB per second, which equates to 24megabit. Even Panasonic's $10,000+ cameras only go up to 12.5 MB/s(100 megabit).

I hope I haven't confused you. I have a tendency to do that, which is why I would not be a great teacher.



Hi,

My camera is a Canon XHA1s. I'm not sure what you mean about video format, but the camera films in minidv. At the moment I'm using Adobe Premiere CS3. As for budget, I really don't want to exceed $700 cause I really want to invest in acessories for the camera, like a 35mm adaptor that will cost me about $1000. What's the best choice for that budget and given my situation?

Thanks

David
April 24, 2009 6:32:52 AM

So, your video format is HDV, which Premiere can handle fairly easily with 4 cores.

Do you need an OS?

I went ahead and designed a system for you on newegg.

The EVGA 9600 GSO has a $20 MiR ($50 after rebate)
The OCZ 1066 4GB(2x2) is $10 off with the Q8400 CPU combo

The total with $10 off but no case or OS is $630. Almost everything has free shipping too. I would also check Microcenter. Their site is tricky sometimes. I selected the nearest store to me and found the Q8200 for $140 and the Q9400 for $180. All of the Q8/9xxx CPUs can be easily overclocked to 3.0GHz with the Q84/9400 up to 3.2-3.4GHz. The Q9400 has a little more L2 cache which means it would be 3-4% faster than the Q8400. The Zalman 9500 CPU heatsink/fan will work great to keep the temps down when overclocking.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

I chose 2 Seagate 7200.12 500GB because they are the fastest and lowest power 7200rpm drives ever and their price can't be beat. Using 2 drives with Premiere will cut your encode/render times down and improve real-time editing even more. And you can do a combination of Raid 0 for OS, Apps, page file and media cache and a Raid 1 for data storage & protection. You could do a 100GB Raid 0 which leaves you with 400GB for Raid 1. It looks as though you are getting into video editing for money so using Raid 1 to store the video is important.

If you aren't using Vista x64 now, look into getting it thru either MS for $10 if you already have Vista 32bit or with the Seagate drive which will give you $20 off for Premium or $55 off with Ultimate(for performance, there is no difference between Premium & Ultimate). With Vista x64, you will be able to use all of your ram installed whereas 32bit only allows about 3.25GB of 4GB. Also, if you upgrade to CS4, you will need Vista x64, so why not install it when you build your new PC.


PS Which 35mm adapter are you looking at? I hear the various Letus adapters are amazing but cost an arm and both legs.

And why did you choose the XHA1s over, say the Z5 or HMC150? I don't know if you know this but the Z5 has the same 20x zoom range but has better low-light sensitivity and a much higher res LCD screen. I am looking at cameras around this price range, so your feedback would be greatly appreciated. Although, for me, I really like the HMC150 or Z7 due to their tapeless workflows, which don't need capturing and don't have tape dropout.
April 24, 2009 9:38:53 AM

Hi,

First of all thank you so much for your help. Most of that stuff, I don't even know, cause there's been a while since I actually looked at the computer market. Anyway, I chose the A1s because I got a hell of a deal out of it, and most reviews on the net stated that it's the best bang for buck, and there are some very nice presets online for the A1s to shoot at low light. Also, since this is the most popular prosumer camera in the market, there is also a lot of help and presets online, so you will never be "alone" (oh, and the cards are expensive as hell, so I prefer minidv tapes).

About 35mm adaptors, take a look at some footage done by the SGBlade (www.shoot35.com) and see if you like their bokeh. A lot of people (myself included) thinks it looks amazing, and it's a lot cheaper than buying a Letus Extreme, or something like that. And there's something you can't forget, even after buying the 35mm adaptor, you still need the lenses! And good lenses don't come cheap, especially if you go with Canon or Nikon.

Bye

David
April 24, 2009 7:13:12 PM

Coming from photography, I can offer some advice that will save you a good amount on 35mm lenses: You don't always need the best Canon or Nikon lens for one reason: those lenses are designed for far higher resolution than HD camcorders need. HDV is 1440x1080 native equaling 1.55megapixels. Go to photozone.de and look at the Canons and some of the lenses have been retested with newer cameras which are higher res. Most of the good lenses can reach the max resolution of an 8MP camera whereas many struggle with a 15MP camera. Therefore, an HD camera doesn't require much res from the lens.
Canon's pro brand is their "L" lenses and the 35mm/Full frame lenses are "EF" whereas their smaller senser size lenses are "EF-S" which you can't use(I think). Nikon's 35mm/FF lenses are "FX" (DX is their smaller sensor lens).

The aspects of 35mm lenses to focus on are Bokeh, Distortion and Color Fringing. The best lenses are the Zeiss which come in Nikon and finally Canon. There is also an adapter for Canon cameras to use Nikon lenses which might work on a 35mm adapter.

Just so you know, I'm a Sony camera guy due to their Image Stabilization built in the camera(Nikon & Canon are in the lens) and my hands aren't very steady.

Also, have you checked out Lensrentals.com? They rent the Letus adapter and all Canon & Nikon 35mm lenses plus other video accessories.

If you haven't bought a GlideCam or something similar yet, go to Vimeo.com. There are tons of videos there giving tips and pointers for shooting video. Some of those tips are for building your own "GlideCam".

Isn't there a Canon video camera that can use Canon photog lenses?
April 24, 2009 7:26:48 PM

For the best lens for the money, the Tamron 28-75 2.8 is only $350. Its very sharp and of good build quality. Most Tamron lenses are great quality at a great price. There is also their 60mm Macro 2.0 and 90mm 2.8.

Sigma lenses are a good value also. Their 50mm 1.4 is very sharp and has good bokeh due to 9 rounded aperture blades and has low CA(chromatic aberration). Sigma 70mm 2.8 is very good also. Their 12-24 ultrawide has the LOWEST distortion of any ultrawide zoom lens and also has good res but not very good CA.

If you go Nikon mount, there are an abundance of good old used Nikons. Plus, Sigma & Tamron make the same lenses for C & N.
April 25, 2009 5:35:02 AM

specialk90 you seem to really know your stuff could you tell me what you think of a build im doing for CS4 and blender work

im currently on an old p4 3g with 2.5 gb ram and its not running great obviously ;)  its basically a learning rig and photoshop machine

im thinking of a workstation build that can grow for the future (animation high res 3d RAW batch processing etc)so this barebones from supermicro appeals to me

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/supermicro-5046a-xb...

i would be going it the 920 i7 and choose this case/mobo as it will support xeon chips and ECC in the future.....and being single processor its a bit cheaper and dual is overkill for me...i love the front load bays and IO options

gpu - at first im going to go with a mid range standard card like a 260....again in time may go to a quadro cx or something super powerful but its overkill now im mainly in photoshop and still learning blender....wont need premier and AE for a while

HDD array - im thinking that raid array you just went through is the best ive seen yet....i was worried about cs4 not using the same disk as OS for pagin file and that seems to address it....in the future maybe run SSD's for the OS and scratch disks and big disks (probably WD) for the storage

i will be shooting some stuff with a prosumer type canon dslr (hopefully!)

any input appreciated :) 
April 25, 2009 10:24:15 AM

Whitewhale, I really like Supermicro and that barebones setup but its price seems a little on the high side. Quickly adding numbers up in my head without looking at exact prices, you could get a X58 board($200), PC Power & Cooling 750w($130), awesome Lian-Li case($300) and i7 920($230@Microcenter) for $860 and that Supermicro costs $800 according to the article. I included Lian-Li because I have a $350 case from them and two of my main reasons for getting it were noise suppresion and # of drives it can hold(8). However, it looks as though that Supremicro case is extremely quiet.

For video card, look at ATI FireGL V5600($300-350) which is extremely powerful for the money. ATI has priced their Workstation cards to take market share away from Nvidia and they are doing a great job at it. An inexpensive choice is to find a 8800GTS 640MB and "Soft-mod" it to a Quadro FX4600. I have a 8800GT 512 and do not like it for After Effects so I have been looking into the 8800GTS or ATI V5600. TomsHardware just did an article testing the GTS 280 against Workstation cards in addition to the ATI 4870(in earlier article). The ATI V3600 smoked the GTS 280 and it only costs $150.

FYI, currently, Adobe CS3/4 cannot be installed on flash based devices.

With Photoshop x64 and 12GB of ram, you will never hit the scratch disk.

What is your budget?
April 25, 2009 3:26:38 PM

i hadnt really thought about ATI cards as an option but maybe i have been seduced by nvidia.....i was thinking of softmodding the 8800 but i wasnt sure it will still an option...i have riva tuner and could probably get it done but im a little wary of the process....i will definitely check out the ATI cards

the main reason i like the supermicro is the ECC/xeon compatibility that most single socket x58 boards dont support at the moment....for the future...i anticipate doing alot of renders in blender and hopefully maya (this machine wont be replaced for a while)...otherwise i would go with probaby the p6 deluxe...im concerned about using fast non-ECC ram if doing long renders, but maybe im being overly cautious...there is certainly a price factor with the supermicro when u consider the build u listed has the chip too :/ 

my big concern with page file/scratch disk (im not knowledgable about this at all) is future renders from blender or maya not so much photoshop, like u say 12 gb or ddr3 should handle anything photoshop throws at it, although 3d painting and real time rendering may tax it a little not sure

budget is not a huge concern....im an australian so our $ is different but really im just looking to get most bang for buck but wont cut costs to lose upgradability...but at the same time not looking to throw money at the thing!

thanks for the help :) 
April 25, 2009 10:38:56 PM

Whitewhale, if you have the 8800GTS 640, you should soft-mod it. Its VERY easy according to everything I've read, and you can just as easily go back to the gaming driver. A quick summary of how its done: 1) using RivaTuner, check a box that switches the card to Quadro; 2) uninstall regular driver 3) reboot 4) install workstation driver 5) reboot.

What I would do is download a complex 3D model for Blender and test out the GTS with regular driver and then soft-mod it and test again. Nvidia was losing a ton of money from people soft-modding so they started laser cutting their chips starting with the 8800GT, which is, of course, the way things always work for me - I just miss out on the good stuff.

For ECC, take another read of that article because I don't think it supports ECC. i7 CPUs cannot support ECC as far as I know. What I think they were talking about is the fact that Intel hasn't released any single-CPU Xeon Nehalem WS motherboards and processors so Supremicro had to use a X58 + i7 system.

For rendering, do you know how long it takes using the i7 or similar quad-core? The i7 overclocked to 3.4GHz shouldn't take more than overnight to render. I have been using an older Q6600 OC'd to 3.0GHz(which is slower than i7 @ 2.66GHz) and have had no problems with 12-14hr render/encode jobs.

For Scratch disk and drive setup: what about getting some Raptors and/or Velociraptors? To be honest, if you are worried about bit errors, then SAS drives are what you need as they have a far lower error rate than Sata. You can get a good 4port SAS hardware Raid controller for $250 US and use it just for important data & rendering. With 4 ports, I would say to use either A) 2 74GB 10k or 15k rpm SAS drives in Raid 0 for scratch disk and 2 1TB+ drives in Raid 1 for storage or B) 4 1TB SAS drives in Raid 10 for scratch disk and storage. For SAS drives, you can't beat Seagate's 10k.7 & 15k.6 models or even their Savvio 10k.3 or Savvio 15k.1 which are 2.5" drives. However, the Savvio drives are more expensive due to being 2.5". For 7200rpm SAS, Seagate's ES.2 and soon to be released Constellation drives are great.

If you aren't that worried about bit error, then maybe try this:
A) 2 Raptors in Raid 0 for OS, Apps, page file & scratch disk and 2 drives in Raid 1 for storage or 4 in Raid 10 for faster speeds and more redundancy/data protection.
B) 2 drives in Raid 0 and Raid 1 like I talked about earlier and a single Raptor for scratch & page file.
April 27, 2009 10:06:09 PM

Specialk90:

My lcd screen is also not that good. I think I will need a 16:9 lcd screen to edit HD video. Any recommendation? Cheap, if possible.

Also, can I use my current hard disk as my main Windows OS? And use the raid for edit/render video? Or will my Hard disk slow the performance of the raid?

Thanks

David
April 28, 2009 10:58:41 AM

For good LCDs, check out Dell's Ultrasharp. I have had 2 20"ers for the last 2yrs and love em. Their price has come down a lot since I got mine. Their quality and price are hard to beat.

Yes, you can use your current drive for the OS.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
May 2, 2009 7:16:47 PM

specialk90

I have enjoyed reading your posts. I recently purchased CS4 which includes Premiere. I have a quad core 6600 with 4 gigs RAM, Velociraptor 300 gig and 1 tb 7200 rpm drive. I have Vista 64 Ultimate installed.

I plan to get jump into non linear video editing and want a solid hardware platform. Dell has an i7 system I am considering.

i7 920
6 gigs tri channel ram
ATI 4850 512M or 4870 1GIG
2 - 300 gig Velociraptors in RAID 0
I will add another one TB drive (Not sure what MB they are using and whether or not I can also run RAID 1 simultaneously with RAID 0)
BD RW
475 watt PS

I am sure this will serve the purpose but want to make sure I am not missing anything. 12 gigs of RAM is a big cost adder.

The primary application will be rendering low altitude flight HD video footage with a lot of motion.

I am fascinated with the Quadro, though out of league, and curious to know more about graphics board options that may prove a better solution than the ATIs I am considering above.

Thanks a ton!

Don

May 3, 2009 3:37:11 AM

Grady,

If the PC has an i7 in it, then it is using the X58 chipset which means it can utilize Intel's Matrix Raid(Raid 1 & Raid 0). My friend has a 2yr old Dell XPS that came with 2 drives in Raid 1, and it has Intel's Matrix Raid.

PLEASE listen to this: if you get a Dell, DO NOT pay for any upgrades and buy the upgrades separately. The only upgrade that isn't a total ripoff is a CPU upgrade as it isn't the easiest thing to upgrade yourself. I remember configuring a PC on their site and to go from a 250GB drive to a 1TB drive was $300 and 1TB drives were only $95-100 at the time. Upgrading the Ram from 2GB to 4GB cost more than twice what 4GB costs separately. Ram is about the easiest part to upgrade yourself too. I would hate to see what Dell is charging to upgrade to a 300GB Velociraptor because they have some of the lowest prices on hard drives when purchased separately, including V-Raptors, and I bet their upgrade price is ridiculous.

I can keep ranting about Dell but I will stop for now.

One major reason to build your own PC instead of Dell is due to the Power Supply. Dell puts in the absolute BARE minimum which doesn't allow for any upgrades down the road. My cousin has a Dell XPS, which is supposed to be their "Performance" line and the dang PC had only a 300w PSU in it and, of course, no 6pin gfx card power plug.

Before I forget, another reason is Dell won't allow you to overclock, AFAIK. Getting another 25% in speed really helps in Rendering & Encoding.

For my recommendations:
1) 12GB of 1333MHz ram; the X58 boards can only run at 1333 max with all 6 slots full and this must be forced in the BIOS because the system defaults to 1066 with all slots full. Rendering/Encoding in Premiere CS4 benefits greatly with 8GB or more.

2) Video card: Nvidia's desktop cards & drivers have better OpenGL support, which is important in Premiere, AE & Photoshop. Unless you are an After Effects power user, then you don't need a workstation class card.

3) Hard drives: For the OS + Apps, Raid 0 no longer provides any benefit due to drives now having very high read/write speeds. Raid 0 will actually slow things down a little so using Raid 1 would be better. Why? Raid 1 provides a nice feature called "Split Seeks" which allows the OS to search both drives at the same time. This lowers Random Access time whereas Raid 0 increases it and Read speeds are usually boosted 5-10%. Write speeds are unaffected though. The OS + Apps benefit more from lower random access than higher throughput, which is why SSDs provide such great performance.

What video format/codec do you edit with?

I ask because some video formats that cameras record to require a lot of processing power while editing. For example, editing AVCHD in Premiere is sooo slow so I transcode it to uncompressed which runs 80+MB per second. Now, editing goes very smoothly. Also, this requires fast drives in Raid since I'm using more than one stream. I have 3 150GB Raptors in Raid 0 for the uncompressed video since this video can be easily transcoded again should one of the Raptors fail.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
May 3, 2009 5:46:54 AM

Greatly appreciate the comprehensive response. I have always built my desktops. This deal from Dell seems quite good. Here are the specifications; or you can go here:

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=d...

i7 920 processor
6 gigs tri channel RAM upgradable to 24 gigs (300 to upgrade to 12 gigs)
ATI 4850 512 meg graphics card
750 gig 7200 rpm drive
475 watt power supply
Vista Home 64 bit
2 - DVD drives, one ROM and one R/W
nice case
2 year warranty

$1,149

Upgrades

BD r/w $170
RAM costs $50.00 per gig
2- Velociraptor 300 gig RAID 0 $300.00
Upgrade to ATI 4870 1 gig $100.00

Very anxious to hear your opinion. Building a comparable system using a decent Antec case/ps, Asus board with equivalent I/O costs more. I have a copy of Vista Ultimate and Office 2007 so I could utilize those with a custom built box.

Thanks a ton!

Don
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
May 3, 2009 6:01:16 AM

I forgot to respond to your codec question. I am also in the market for a prosumer HD camera. I suspect the output will be AVCHD. I am new to this and can only surmise that AVCHD is highly compressed. Don't you have to transcode to edit anyway? I worked for a company named miro Computer Products 12 years ago who was then sold to Pinnacle. That is where my limited video editing started and ended.

On a side note, sharing your extensive knowledge is appreciated. Thanks again!

Don
May 3, 2009 7:58:48 AM

1) Where do you find 2 300GB V-Raptors for $300? It wasn't an option on the Dell config.

2) Do you need a Blu Ray burner? The BD-R discs are $7+ each.

3) You definitely need more than 1 hard drive for video editing and if you do this for work, then you should use Raid 1 or 10.

Here is the V-Raptor 150GB for $135 at Dell.

http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/System_Driv...

Here is a Newegg Wishlist I put together for you. It doesn't have any hard drives or DVD-RW drives because I don't know whether you prefer Seagate or WD and whether you need BD-R($170) or just BD-ROM($100). For storage, I would use either the Seagate 1.5TB(2 of them in Raid 1) or 2 1TB WD Black in Raid 1. For the OS+Apps, you could use 2 150GB V-Raptors in Raid 1 and then a Raid 0 for Media Cache & Scratch disk. Raid 1 for the OS+Apps will provide better overall performance than Raid 0 due to "Split Seeks" which lowers the Random Access and increases the Read speed a little whereas Raid 0 will increase Random Access. Lower Random Access benefits the OS+Apps more than sequential read/write due to a lot of random reads.

$1056 - Free shipping on a lot of stuff including the Antec 900 case.
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

i7 920 + Xigmatek Dark Knight cpu heatsink/fan so you can OC to 3.2-3.4GHz easily.

12GB(2GBx6) Geil 1333 ram at 1.5v -the voltage is crucial for it to work properly.

ASUS P6T SE - you didn't seem like a hardcore gamer so the more expensive ASUS boards provided no benefit

PC Power & Cooling 750w - 83% efficiency, one of the best quality PSUs available(I have this one and love it) For a few $ less, they have a 610w but the 750 provides plenty of future upgrades

Antec 900 case - great airflow and good quality. I originally chose the P180 as it is quiet but the 750w PSU won't fit. I know this because I have this case too. Plus, the P180 is a bit cramped on the inside.

XFX GTS 250 - good price and blows heat out of the case. Again, everything I've read and heard says that Nvidia's desktop cards have far better OpenGL support within Adobe's programs(PS, Premiere, AE & Bridge). You really don't need more power for video editing. However, if you did find good information stating that ATI's desktop cards work as good as Nvidia's, then I would get the new 4770. This card uses a lot less power and is only $100 and is rather powerful.

For the i7, look at Microcenter.com as they have it for $230 all the time and you should be able to have it shipped if there isn't one near you. Their prices on CPUs and other parts are lower than newegg most of the time.

Let's say you get 2 150GB V-Raptors($280) and 2 1.5TB($250) and a DVD-RW drive($24) - the total price comes to$1610. You get a PC which is far faster than the Dell for about the same price thanks to twice the Ram and Faster Ram, Overclocking to 3.4GHz and a much BETTER PSU. The Dell case most likely does not have room for more than 3 or 4 drives AND their PSUs usually only have a couple extra Sata power conectors which is a problem. My cousin's XPS had 1 extra Sata power and ZERO Molex plugs and could only hold 2 drives. Dell likes to use as few fans as possible so the temps are higher. I don't know where you live but its guaranteed you pay tax on the Dell but maybe not on newegg. With Dell, you get little upgradeability.

Am I convincing you against Dell yet? ;) 

If you can, see what the RMA process is like at Dell for hard drives purchased thru them. I say this because, after reading many reviews on newegg, it seems that most people don't know what they are doing and newegg's drive shipping is poor. I haven't bought any drives from newegg for 16months but I do know that they were really good about wrapping the drives in bubble wrap and placing them in peanut foam. I have been running 8 Seagate 7200.11s for 16 months & 24/7 without a problem and I just bought a 1.5TB two days ago(from Worst Buy) to backup my Raid arrays and this drive screams. The funny thing is I paid the same amount per 500GB 7200.11 as I did for the 1.5TB. The 1.5TB Seagate is on sale on Dell for $125($130 @ newegg).
May 3, 2009 8:48:51 AM

I see your Video Camera response now so I'll add what I can.

What is your budget?

Because it will be during the day, Low-Light Sensitivity is not a major factor. However, due to lots of motion, you want to stay far away from CMOS cameras. CMOS records using a "Rolling Shutter" which causes flashing light to be recorded in only half of the frame. Another problem is with motion and panning quickly. The motion can produce a distorted look, kind of like jello. The more expensive the camera, the less pronounced these negative side effects are.

With that said, you should look for a CCD camera. Unfortunately, most prosumer cams are CMOS based. To be honest, your best options are either the Canon XH-A1s or Panasonic HMC150. The Canon records HDV to tape and the Pany records AVCHD to SD cards. The HMC150 records at 21megabit/s with a max of 24 mb/s in MPEG4 and the Canon records at a constant 25mb/s in MPEG2. About 11mb/s MPEG4 is equal to 25mb/s MPEG2 in terms of quality and using the exact same source. However, MPEG2 vs AVCHD(MPEG4) doesn't determine the quality of the video. Both HDV(MPEG2) and AVCHD(MPEG4) are fairly compressed but HDV is certainly easier to edit as it doesn't need as much power to decode.

Now that I think about it some more: recording with a constant bitrate(like the Canon & Panny) with a lot of motion introduces compression artifacts into the video; thus, degrading the quality.

With lots of motion, using a camera with Variable bitrate recording provides much better quality. I can't go into detail as good as other sites do so google Variable vs Constant bitrate and motion.

I am sorry to say but, in my mind, the budget for a good camera and accessories for lots of motion is several thousand $$$$.

I probably confused you more than I helped because HD Video is a lot more complex and I only touched the surface.
May 3, 2009 9:39:35 AM

I just checked that Dell and it only has 3 drive bays.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
May 3, 2009 6:11:14 PM

Thanks again. This is really great information. I live in California so I will be paying tax on both Dell and Newegg. I have purchased a lot from Newegg and have had only one drive from them fail. It was a Seagate 320 gig I purchased to replace a slow 5400 rpm drive in my Samsung netbook.

I actually started a company using high speed sensors, 5000 fps @1024x768, for golf swing assessment. I know a little about CMOS as we spent a lot of time with Micron imaging designing the camera writing code for the FPGA.

Anyway, back to computers. I like the system you proposed. The rep at Dell said he was cutting me a deal on the velocirpators and I get another 7% off through my company. I am going to do a little spreadsheet comparison, and call Dell to see if the case will accommodate 4 HDDs and if I can update the PSU.

I will keep you posted with progress.

Regarding the camera, the unit that will be trasporting the camera has a limited payload. I will need to find out how much weight it can manage.

More to come,

Thanks again,

Don
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
May 3, 2009 6:19:16 PM

One last thing. I am confused with your recommended HDD configuration. The storage piece I understand, i.e. 2- 1.5 tb in RAID 0.

I am confused about the OS and scratch disk configuration. Can you configure/partition a pair of drives with both RAID 0 and RAID 1 specific to the partition?

Now that would be very cool.
May 4, 2009 3:42:32 AM

For the Dell holding only 3 drives, you can find that info, just like I did, by going to the product page and reading its specs as well as clicking on the pictures to see the system from different angles as well as with the side removed.

For the Hard Drives: I listed 2 1.5TB in Raid 1 for storage and 2 150GB V-Raptors in Raid 1 & Raid 0. Intel has a cool feature called Matrix Raid which allows taking a set of drives and creating 2 different Raid arrays. I have been using this feature ever since I learned about it a few years ago, and I use 4 Raptors in Raid 10 for OS+Apps and Raid 0 for scratch disk & media cache.

So, for example with 2 150GB V-Raptors: create a 60GB Raid 1 array first for the OS+Apps which leaves 180GB for a Raid 0 array.

Being able to Overclock the i7 CPU by at least 25% should be a good enough reason to build your own plus you would need 1333 ram to overclock. Encoding & Rendering video takes a long time and benefits greatly from more CPU speed as well as more Ram. That Dell does not have good airflow for the drives as it is, which Dell is notorious for.

I totally forgot to mention that the Dell comes with 6GB of ram but uses only 1GB sticks so if you wanted to upgrade to 12GB, you would still have to buy 12GB yourself.

For video card, you want an Nvidia gfx card due to CUDA. Within the next 12 months, Adobe will offer CUDA support within Premiere Pro & After Effects. Right now, Premiere Pro supports CUDA only by using Nvidia's Quadro CX($1500) which comes with a Plug-in so Premiere can use the video card to encode video. Using the CX+Premiere+Plug-in, it is able to speed up encoding by 50%. There are many other applications which use CUDA and application support is growing faster every year.

Since you are in CA, you could get some of the parts from Microcenter.

You can get the i7 920 for $230 vs $290 at newegg.
The Seagate 1.5TB drives are $130.

What software will you be using for the video?

What is your budget for the camera?
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
May 4, 2009 5:00:01 AM

I'm leaning toward building a system. Didn't I read about some software able to emulate Quadro with a lower cost NVIDIA card?

Anyway,very cool stuff about RAID options.

I purchased Adobe CS4 Production Premium. Came with After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Flash, Illustrator, Soundbooth, OnLocation and Encore. Camera budget is around $1,000.

Will the i7 920 run stable overclocked at 25%? That's amazing. I know you recommended a cooling fan in an earlier post. Will that satisfy the cooling requirements if I overclock that much?

I going to create a parts list tonight and post it for your review. I hope you don't mind taking a look. I am not a gamer but don't want to compromise. I am definitley going with 12 gigs RAM and the HDD configuration you recommend.

Thanks,

Don
May 4, 2009 5:40:36 AM

About emulating Quadro: the 8800GTS 640MB is the last card that can be "Soft-Modded" to a Quadro (FX 4600). Stupid Nvidia realized they were losing a lot of money to "Soft-Modding" so they started laser cutting the chips beginning with the 8800GT(G92), which is what I have :( 

Within Adobe's programs, only After Effects can benefit from Quadro/FirePro Workstation cards with complex 3D work. With the new OpenGL accelerated features in Premiere Pro, After Effects and Photoshop, a Nvidia 9800GT will run them just fine.

For overclocking the i7: I have a much older Q6600 (Intel's first quad-core) which runs 2.4GHz stock and I push it to 3.0GHz without it having any stability issues. Believe me, when I first began overclocking, I was pushing 3.6GHz but I could not stand a random reboot, even if it only happened once a week. The i7 can run at 3.4GHz with 100% stability and can go even higher. The i7 is far more efficient and better designed than my Q6600, and my Q6600 at 3.0GHz is slower than the i7 @stock 2.66.

The Xigmatek Dark Knight is a little better than my Zalman 9700. If a Zalman 9700 is good enough for a hotter Q6600, then the Xigmatek is fine for the i7 pushed to 3.4GHz.

For video camera: I don't know which camera will be best for your needs(lots of motion/movement) but the camera will most likely record to AVCHD. This means transcoding from AVCHD to another format/codec would make your editing life much, much easier. My Q6600 at 3.0GHz can't handle AVCHD very well so I transcode it. The only downside to transcoding is needing a good amount of space and speed.
May 7, 2009 5:04:58 PM

Hi specialk90:

I've been following this thread because I want to get into video editing and own an HD-capable camcorder (Canon HV 30). I purchased Adobe CS4 Production Premium and 3DS Max 2009 with my student discount .

You have been extremely helpful with all of your suggestions. It is greatly appreciated. Wish I had this information when I first started, it would have saved a lot of time on research. You've basically answered most of the questions, but I wonder if you could touch on the OS.

I hate the thought of spending money on Vista 64 when Win 7 is expected in a few months. I am inclined to download the Win 7 RC and use it then upgrade to the full version when it comes out. Is this a wise move in your opinion? Everything I've read about Vista makes me want to avoid it.

Thanks again for offering us your expertise.

May 8, 2009 1:08:44 AM

Hello specialk90,
I just found this thread while searching for a good graphics card and this is so great because I am currently building a PC system. Thank you for all your contributions because I've learned so much.

I hope you don't mind, I just have some questions..

Yesterday, I bought about $1100 worth of computer parts..
Gigabyte Mobo GA-EX58-UD3R (not my first choice but Asus and Intel Mobos were out)
Intel I7 920 (plan to overclock it)
Corsair 1000W Power Supply
4GB RAM
Kingwin CPU Fan
Antec case

I currently have the CS3 bundle and wasn't really looking forward on getting CS4 (atleast not yet) and like what drixle45 mentioned, I'm not a fan of Vista and I'm honestly waiting for Windows 7.

My plan is to stick with Adobe CS3 for now BUT build a fast computer so later down the road, if I decided to run CS4, I can upgrade my softwares (including vista 64) BUT not hardwares (atleast not the major parts). Do you think this is a good idea?

I have the Sony HVR-V1U and for the meantime, I'll be happy to edit HD footages without ease and fast render times.

And also, regarding hard drives. My plan was to have a single 500GB for my OS, then 2 1.5TB RAID 0 for video storage, and 2 500GB RAID 0 for scratch disk. Is this a good set-up?

Thank you very much for your time.

niM
May 8, 2009 8:43:47 AM

I'd like to say Thank You for the kind words. I really do appreciate it.

drixle45, I don't know how CS4 will work on Win 7. For that, you should ask around to see what kinds of problems people are running into, if any. I must use Vista x64 for certain Raid drivers in addition to stability. I just switched from XP 32bit to Vista x64 and I like Vista more than XP. I, too, had been hesitant but I needed the extra Ram. If you don't mind having problems with Win 7 and reinstalling everything in a year, then try it.

nimdivino,
1) why did you get only 4GB of ram? I ask because the motherboard is Triple Channel and runs much faster with either 3 or 6 ram slots used.
2) What will your Backup plan be? With multiple Raid 0 arrays, you are asking to lose data. Remember, one 1.5TB drive has a problem, you lose ALL 3TB of data. You really don't need 2 drives in Raid 0 for the Media Cache. Also, the HDV files are only moving at 4MB/s, and a single Seagate 1.5TB drive can handle at least 5-6 HDV streams at a time.
3) You didn't list a video card so it appears that the 1000w PSU is way overkill. I use a PC P&C 750w with 11 drives, Q6600 OC'd to 3.0GHZ, 6 120mm fans and a 8800GT. For Media Cache, everything I've read says to limit the size of it and delete its contents every 2-3 months because it likes to cause errors when getting large.
4) I don't know if you work with deadlines, but using Raid 0 would be dangerous if you were. Once I know you storage needs in more detail, I can offer some ideas.

FOR BOTH OF YOU:

64 bit + 8GB or more Ram will provide one of the biggest performance gains. Even with CS3, After Effects can use all the ram you have and Premiere can use at least 3GB of ram. With CS4, Premiere is much faster because it can use more ram now. DigitalContentProducer.com recently tested Premiere CS4 with 4GB ram on 32bit vs 8GB on 64bit(plus a single 4GB vs 16GB Mac test). Premiere was 40-600% faster with 8GB of ram for rendering/encoding. This is why I moved to Vista x64.

For a real video workstation, you really SHOULD NOT use it for anything else. I have VMWare Workstation installed with XP and 7 VM's for all my internet stuff and playing around. I learned the hard way with XP and installing too much crap. There is a reason why Apple OSX has a reputation for working so well - its because there are only a handful of programs for it whereas 1000s for windows. If you only install a few programs in addition to Adobe and other 3D apps, then you will have very few problems. I have had ZERO problems with Vista x64 besides something that 99% of users will never encounter(a 3ware Raid card needing updated firmware to run in Vista). From what I've seen firsthand with 7, it is almost identical to Vista.

If you don't already have Vista x64, then I wouldn't waste the money on it yet and try 7 x64 first since its free. You can download it quickly via torrent(which is what I did).
May 8, 2009 9:11:59 AM

drixle45 and anyone else interested in video: learn After Effects and Illustrator. I started with Photography and never thought Illustrator was worth my time. Then I moved to Video Editing & Compositing and quickly learned about Vector graphics(ie Illustrator). Photoshop is nice to know but Illustrator & After Effects are a powerful combination. With those 2 apps, you can create a ton of video from nothing. Also, Lynda.com is a fantastic source and is only $25/month. When I decided to go Video, I had no idea how much I had to learn - AE, Premiere, Illustrator, Photoshop for video, Soundbooth, advanced Grading & Color Correction(this is very important and often overlooked) and NTSC Broadcast settings. This doesn't include learning more of Propellerhead's Reason for audio creation. And now I want to learn Cinema 4D while I am still learning everything else. Just shoot me. If I could start over, I would have just gone the Music Production route - a total of 2 apps to learn!

Just want to give a quick tip: try not to use 24p unless you are atually filming for a Feature Film/Movie. Use 30p or 60i. 30p will be better in low light and 60i can be better for fast action and is certainly better for Slo-Mo.
May 8, 2009 6:20:13 PM

Hi Specialk90

Once again, thanks for helping me. I'm ready to order my new pc, I just had two questions. First, is it worth the extra cash for the Core i7 920 as opposed to the Core 2 Quad Q8400?

And second, I don't want to install Vista because it has some issues with my soundboard (M-Audio Fast Track). I don't know why and M-Audio staff were unable to solve that issue for me, so I use XP instead. Is there a 64bit version of XP? And, in that case, does the hardware need to be purchased with that in mind or does it work for both 32bit and 64bit? The only difference would be the ability to use more RAM right?

thanks

Here's the link of stuff you advized me to get:

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

Thanks!

David
May 8, 2009 10:44:30 PM

David, can you provide me with ALL the details of your system when you tried Vista and which Vista edition did you try. I have been very lucky with my M-Audio FireWire 410 working without any problems at all in XP 32bit and now Vista x64. However, I have read numerous complaints about various M-Audio products not working properly with all operating systems. I really believe your Fast Track will work with Vista.

Side Note: I probably will never buy another M-Audio product do to all the problems I have read about. It might be in your best interest to find an alternative. One brand that comes to mind is PreSonus.

$200 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$280 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Oh yeah, and E-MU which is Creative's Pro brand and is really good quality.

There is XP Pro x64 but Adobe CS4 does not work properly in it and is not even supported by Adobe. For example, the OpenGL acceleration does not work. Another downside to XP x64 is software and driver support, which is lacking. Most vendors focused support for Vista x64 because XP is an old OS(MS stopped support for XP in April). Going into the future, no one will be releasing supported drivers/software for XP 32 or 64 bit.
One possible option is to try Windows 7 x64 which the RC(Release Candidate) has been released or is being released this month, and it will allow usage until July 2010. Win 7 is almost identical to Vista so drivers & software should work just fine on it. And because it is almost identical to Vista, vendors can easily update (many have already done so) their drivers. What I'm saying is to stay away from XP x64.

For CPU: the i7 920 would be worth it if you were editing AVCHD, which you are not, or if you were working with time critical deadlines and needed the faster render times. Actually, one more reason is being able to use 12GB of Ram vs only 8GB. If you plan on using After Effects heavily, the more Ram the better.

What do you use your Fast Track for?

Unfortunately, the Gigabyte motherboard in the wishlist is now deactivated but the ASUS P5Q SE is the same price($95). The additional cost of i7 would be about $100 for motherboard, $50-100 for CPU depending if you get from Microcenter or newegg and $68 for 12GB Ram(vs 8GB) plus $30 in Rebates which brings it to $38. At a minimum, roughly $200 difference for i7 + 12GB ram.
May 8, 2009 11:27:34 PM

David, I just found another great Midi controller from Mackie - Mackie Onyx Satellite FireWire Audio Interface at zzSounds for only $180. I had a Mackie $1200 8 channel DAW mixer for the last 2 yrs and it worked perfectly(I sold it when I decided to go the Video route instead of Music Production - stupid me). Mackie is the real Pro brand and I trust their gear over M-Audio, PreSonus & E-MU.

If you have a Guitar Center near you, I would stop by and see what they say about your Vista/Fast Track issues. I bought my FW 410 and Mackie from them and the sales people were extremely knowledgeable.
May 9, 2009 12:17:30 AM

specialk90 said:
David, can you provide me with ALL the details of your system when you tried Vista and which Vista edition did you try. I have been very lucky with my M-Audio FireWire 410 working without any problems at all in XP 32bit and now Vista x64. However, I have read numerous complaints about various M-Audio products not working properly with all operating systems. I really believe your Fast Track will work with Vista.

Side Note: I probably will never buy another M-Audio product do to all the problems I have read about. It might be in your best interest to find an alternative. One brand that comes to mind is PreSonus.

$200 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$280 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Oh yeah, and E-MU which is Creative's Pro brand and is really good quality.

There is XP Pro x64 but Adobe CS4 does not work properly in it and is not even supported by Adobe. For example, the OpenGL acceleration does not work. Another downside to XP x64 is software and driver support, which is lacking. Most vendors focused support for Vista x64 because XP is an old OS(MS stopped support for XP in April). Going into the future, no one will be releasing supported drivers/software for XP 32 or 64 bit.
One possible option is to try Windows 7 x64 which the RC(Release Candidate) has been released or is being released this month, and it will allow usage until July 2010. Win 7 is almost identical to Vista so drivers & software should work just fine on it. And because it is almost identical to Vista, vendors can easily update (many have already done so) their drivers. What I'm saying is to stay away from XP x64.

For CPU: the i7 920 would be worth it if you were editing AVCHD, which you are not, or if you were working with time critical deadlines and needed the faster render times. Actually, one more reason is being able to use 12GB of Ram vs only 8GB. If you plan on using After Effects heavily, the more Ram the better.

What do you use your Fast Track for?

Unfortunately, the Gigabyte motherboard in the wishlist is now deactivated but the ASUS P5Q SE is the same price($95). The additional cost of i7 would be about $100 for motherboard, $50-100 for CPU depending if you get from Microcenter or newegg and $68 for 12GB Ram(vs 8GB) plus $30 in Rebates which brings it to $38. At a minimum, roughly $200 difference for i7 + 12GB ram.



Hi, thanks once again! I use the M-Audio Fast Track to record music. I can't remember wich exact Vista edition I had on my PC, but I remember downloading every update there was available back then and the problem with my sound card wouldn't go away. What happened was, everytime I played audio, there woud be glitches in sound and static sound very irritating. I had to install XP and everything was fine again.

Do you think that Win XP 32bits, a Quad Core and Premiere CS4 would be a good choice? I'll go with 4gb RAM.

One more thing, I'm thinking of getting a third HD just for OS and apps. The other two will be for video editing only. What would be the best way to configure them? One for storage, the other for rendering? And does that ASUS board support RAID system?

Thanks!

David
May 9, 2009 6:17:29 AM

David, to be honest, the best choice for OS is Windows 7 x64. I can tell you from experience that x64, Premiere CS4 and 8GB of Ram is sooo much snappier and faster than XP 32 bit and 4GB of Ram. I have a 2nd PC with a quad-core and put 8GB of ram in it and tested Vista x64 + CS4 on it before I decided on whether or not to make the switch to Vista x64. I now have Vista x64 on my production PC and will never go back to 32bit and I envy those with i7 systems because they can easily use 12GB of Ram.

With Premiere, there are 2 areas that greatly affect performance while editing:
1) Media Cache location
2) Amount of Ram available

Media Cache stores the video and audio of the project files which are "Conformed" and indexed so next time you start up Premiere and open that project, the video and audio are already indexed. I know I am not explaining it properly but it does affect performance. Look at it this way: import a video file that contains audio, Premiere will index/conform both the video and audio, which means it is reading from the source and writing to the Media Cache folder. The quicker it can read and write, the better. This is the reason people always say you need 2 different drives.

Starting with Premiere Pro CS4, it can now create "Extra" processes to use more Ram(something After Effects has done for a while). This is because Premiere is not yet a 64 bit app unlike Photoshop CS4. Something you will learn is that After Effects is far more powerful than Premiere and editing Sequences in AE can open up many more options & possibilities. Besides Color Correction and Grading in Premiere, it really isn't that difficult to learn. However, AE is a beast to learn but it can provide so much artistic creativity that its mind blowing.

I highly suggest getting a membership to Lynda and check out their Creative section. This new section is about different artists and businesses in the various industries. I particularly like Troika and an artist Rick Morris. Troika is a company that designs all of Fox's broadcast material in addition to other networks. Rick Morris does a lot of work with Illustrator and After Effects and does a lot of work for country music channels, which is funny because he is as far from country as you can get. His work is absolutely amazing and check the link below to see his demo reel.

http://www.lynda.com/home/DisplayCourse.aspx?lpk2=618

Yes, the ASUS board supports Raid and has Intel's ICH10R chipset.

How long ago did you try Vista? I googled looking for your problems and it looks like M-Audio didn't release a good driver until some time in 2007. What you can do right now is download Windows 7 for free and try it out. If there are drivers for Vista, then the same driver should work in 7.

Also, when you tried Vista, did you try a fresh install of Vista? I really can't believe the horrid support from M-Audio. I found many people complaining about my FW410 and how it killed their firewire card and how it doesn't work with certain brands of firewire cards and that it must be the very first firewire device the OS sees. These problems spanned across both PC & Mac. All of the problems I've read about makes me believe that there was something very small and simple causing your problems. Because their drivers aren't the greatest, it could have been just about anything.
May 9, 2009 10:37:46 AM

specialk90 said:
I'd like to say Thank You for the kind words. I really do appreciate it.

nimdivino,
1) why did you get only 4GB of ram? I ask because the motherboard is Triple Channel and runs much faster with either 3 or 6 ram slots used.
2) What will your Backup plan be? With multiple Raid 0 arrays, you are asking to lose data. Remember, one 1.5TB drive has a problem, you lose ALL 3TB of data. You really don't need 2 drives in Raid 0 for the Media Cache. Also, the HDV files are only moving at 4MB/s, and a single Seagate 1.5TB drive can handle at least 5-6 HDV streams at a time.
3) You didn't list a video card so it appears that the 1000w PSU is way overkill. I use a PC P&C 750w with 11 drives, Q6600 OC'd to 3.0GHZ, 6 120mm fans and a 8800GT. For Media Cache, everything I've read says to limit the size of it and delete its contents every 2-3 months because it likes to cause errors when getting large.
4) I don't know if you work with deadlines, but using Raid 0 would be dangerous if you were. Once I know you storage needs in more detail, I can offer some ideas.

.


hello specialk90,
Thank you once again for responding to our questions. Your time and knowledge is very much appreciated.

Well I finished buying my hardwares and I was able to install the necessary parts for me to run BIOS. I can't wait to install the OS and have faster rendering times.

Anyway, here are my answers to your questions. And I do have some questions too.. =)

1. I went with 4GB of RAM because I want to stay with Windows XP 32bit for now. The tech told me that XP 32 only supports upto 4GB of RAM so having more RAM will be useless. Is this true? I do want 8GB since my Mobo will support it, but I'll wait until I get CS4 and Windows 7. I'll be working with HDV files only anyway so this is more than enough for now.

2. hehehehe. I really deserved to be shot, but I've never had a back-up since I started working on video 9 years ago. =(. But I really want a back-up now. So I bought 1 1.5TB from FRYS today for $134, and 2 500GBs.

Now if I'm understanding you correctly, I should buy 1 more 1.5TB then RAID 1 them? RAID 1 will give me 1.5TB of free space BUT I have back-up and no downtime? I will leave the 2 500GBs HDs as single drives for OS and media cache. Now that I'm thinking about it, I actually want RAID 1 for my OS as well. hmmmm. hahaha.

3. I followed your advise and I returned the 1000W PSU and bought an 850W instead for $120 less. I used that money to buy a $250 GEFORCE GTX 260. (I really have no clue if this is a good card).

- Did I buy a good Graphics card? I use after effects with all my projects, I'm not an expert at all, I don't use expressions nor 3D but its common for me to have a project with 10-15 layers and multiple compositions. I'm after with speed for previews and rendering times. Is this card good enough. I know there are more expensive cards out there but I set my limit to $250. I'm not ready to buy a $1000 card yet. I did buy a Matrox RT card before, that was a dent in my wallet. haha.

4. I completely understand your point now and I will set-up a RAID 1. I will go to FRYS tomorrow and buy 1 1.5TB.

----- I have 1 more question, I really hope you don't mind..

Okay, so I mentioned that I bought a Matrox RT card before and that came with a cable where there's input and output of RCA and S-video. I really prefer seeing my work in a monitor, I plan on buying a 19inch HD TV so I can monitor what I'm editing. The graphics card I have (Nvidia GEForce GTX 260) has 2 DVI and an output that seems to be an S-Video (although s-video is not ever mentioned in the box). I will use the two DVI because I will run dual-monitors. I don't think i want to use the S-video because s-video is analog. What can I do so I can see my previews in my HD TV at 1080i/1080p?

I know I can plug a firewire to camera, then camera to HDMI out to TV. But I don't want my camera to be on all the time while I'm editing. What do you think?

Thank you so much once again for your time and knowledge.

niM



May 9, 2009 8:37:23 PM

Hello nimdivino.

1) Yes, XP can only support 4GB of Ram. Waiting til you get CS4 to go 64bit is a good idea.
2) What motherboard do you have? If Intel with ICH7R/8R/9R/10R chipset, then I would take those 2 500GB drives and run them in "Matrix" Raid where you create a Raid 1 array for the OS+Apps with the first 100GB and then a Raid 0 array with the last 800GB for media cache & scratch dsik & page file. For the 1.5TB drive(s), I would put the raw/source footage there plus your finished project files and whatever else you want to keep. You can run the 1.5TB drives in Raid 1 but you should also get a UPS. Or get an external enclosure with eSATA and use the 2nd 1.5TB drive as a backup. When you capture your HDV, can you set 2 target locations so you can have the video going to both internal & external 1.5TB drives or just copy/paste after capture. If you only use this PC for video production and not for general use, then I would go with Raid 1.

RECOMMENDATION For Everyone: get a good UPS. Best Buy has them on sale right now for ridiculously low prices. The 1500va/865w from APC for $160 is almost identical to what I have and should cost $300+. This one piece of hardware can save so many headaches.

3) The GTX 260 is probably a little on the high end for your use but it does set you up nicely for when Adobe finally releases Mainstream CUDA support. I have a 8800GT 512 and it works fine except when I get crazy and try to do some complicated 3D work within AE. If you went Vista 32bit or even 7 32bit, you would get access to a little more Ram. XP allows 3GB and I've seen Vista allow up to 3.5GB. I bring this up because the amount of V-Ram in the video card takes away from the available Ram in 32bit. On the flipside, more V-Ram helps in AE with larger comps. I have AE's V-Ram usage set to 384MB(of 512).

As I stated earlier, CS4 + 64bit + 8-12GB Ram is very nice.

4) Whatever you do, do not get a DVI Splitter. I paid about $40 for one from Microcenter and it scared the crap out of me. I got it so I could have the video going to both my 2nd LCD and my HDTV. I hooked up the LCD first and the screen went apeshit. It ended up ruining the DVI cord and my LCD was fine after I unplugged the power because the power button would not respond.

So, you are saying you want to dock the Program Monitor on your 19" HDTV. I would only do that if the 19" HDTV is very expensive and has extremely accurate colors. For proper Color Correction and Grading, a consumer HDTV does not work well when used in conjunction with computer LCDs.

Actually, it really depends on the DISTRIBUTION of your video - web, DVD or Broadcast. For example, for the Web, using a computer LCD is the best because everyone will be watching your video on a computer LCD. Broadcast is a little different because there is a minimum and max to the colors & luminosity. This is where I am currently trying to learn because I will be producing commercials starting this summer. With DVD, most people will be watching on TVs. Most of those TVs will have very poor color balance so being able to Color Correct & Grade properly is crucial. There is a reason why you see video production setups with that small CRT monitor.

Speaking of Matrox, they now make hardware that connects to your LCD and makes it Video Color Accurate. The only downside is it costs over $1000.

You would have to get another video card for another DVI/HDMI out without using professional hardware.

Have you considered getting a HDMI capture card to record video Live and in higher quality? You can get a good capture card for $300-350. I am looking into this for HDMI or HD-SDI because I would be able to capture at a higher quality and it wouldn't be Long GOP MPEG2 which HDV and XDCAM are.

Because you capture your footage, have you also considered an actual Hardware Capture card that can also capture the video to another format?

I have so many different ideas for my own setup because I will be working with time critical deadlines and the workflow must be highly efficient.

What video camera do you use?
May 10, 2009 9:10:28 PM

specialk90 said:
David, to be honest, the best choice for OS is Windows 7 x64. I can tell you from experience that x64, Premiere CS4 and 8GB of Ram is sooo much snappier and faster than XP 32 bit and 4GB of Ram. I have a 2nd PC with a quad-core and put 8GB of ram in it and tested Vista x64 + CS4 on it before I decided on whether or not to make the switch to Vista x64. I now have Vista x64 on my production PC and will never go back to 32bit and I envy those with i7 systems because they can easily use 12GB of Ram.

With Premiere, there are 2 areas that greatly affect performance while editing:
1) Media Cache location
2) Amount of Ram available

Media Cache stores the video and audio of the project files which are "Conformed" and indexed so next time you start up Premiere and open that project, the video and audio are already indexed. I know I am not explaining it properly but it does affect performance. Look at it this way: import a video file that contains audio, Premiere will index/conform both the video and audio, which means it is reading from the source and writing to the Media Cache folder. The quicker it can read and write, the better. This is the reason people always say you need 2 different drives.

Starting with Premiere Pro CS4, it can now create "Extra" processes to use more Ram(something After Effects has done for a while). This is because Premiere is not yet a 64 bit app unlike Photoshop CS4. Something you will learn is that After Effects is far more powerful than Premiere and editing Sequences in AE can open up many more options & possibilities. Besides Color Correction and Grading in Premiere, it really isn't that difficult to learn. However, AE is a beast to learn but it can provide so much artistic creativity that its mind blowing.

I highly suggest getting a membership to Lynda and check out their Creative section. This new section is about different artists and businesses in the various industries. I particularly like Troika and an artist Rick Morris. Troika is a company that designs all of Fox's broadcast material in addition to other networks. Rick Morris does a lot of work with Illustrator and After Effects and does a lot of work for country music channels, which is funny because he is as far from country as you can get. His work is absolutely amazing and check the link below to see his demo reel.

http://www.lynda.com/home/DisplayCourse.aspx?lpk2=618

Yes, the ASUS board supports Raid and has Intel's ICH10R chipset.

How long ago did you try Vista? I googled looking for your problems and it looks like M-Audio didn't release a good driver until some time in 2007. What you can do right now is download Windows 7 for free and try it out. If there are drivers for Vista, then the same driver should work in 7.

Also, when you tried Vista, did you try a fresh install of Vista? I really can't believe the horrid support from M-Audio. I found many people complaining about my FW410 and how it killed their firewire card and how it doesn't work with certain brands of firewire cards and that it must be the very first firewire device the OS sees. These problems spanned across both PC & Mac. All of the problems I've read about makes me believe that there was something very small and simple causing your problems. Because their drivers aren't the greatest, it could have been just about anything.



Do you think that I will have problems with other programs if I install Vista 64? I think not all programs are supposed to work on 64bit OS right?

Thanks

David
May 10, 2009 9:11:23 PM

specialk90:
wow.. thank you so much for that very detailed response.

So regarding the motherboard, I have the Gigabyte Mobo GA-EX58-UD3R. This seems like a very good board, according to reviews, its a highly efficient board and its very good in cooling because its designed for enthusiast who overclocks.

With this motherboard, I don't think I can set-up a "Matrix" array. I do want to run a RAID 1 on my OS though for obvious reasons. There are $50 250GB available at frys right now, I can return one of the 500GB to buy 2 250GB and use a single disk for scratch and media cache. Or maybe, I should just use 250GB for scratch disk also? That will save me some money.

I bought another 1.5TB yesterday to run RAID 1. I'm set with that but I don't know about buying a generator back-up. This is what you meant by 'UPS' right? Why do I need a UPS if I run a RAID 1?

I was looking for 8800GT prices and it seems that they're in mid $200 territory which is about the same price of my GTX 260. So I think its safe to keep this card. Is there a limit on how I can crank-up the v-ram on AE CS3? The GTX 260 has a RAM of 896MB, so if I crank-up the AE ram usage to say 750MB, that should help a lot in terms of preview and render right?

Hmmm, this brings up a question, does rendering a file from AE uses v-ram or is that all CPU?

Note taken regarding the video splitter, and I wasn't planning on getting a splitter anyway because I wanted a full-screen (no mouse, no tool bars) on the HD TV. I have little to none experience with color correction in broadcast etc, I do however see almost the same color and quality when I edit on a 3rd monitor (tv) and watching the finished DVD on a regular TV set. I guess, atleast for my OWN wedding work, I don't see too much changes from editing and final product thus preventing me on buying a professional grade monitor.

I do want to learn the proper color correction, and learning how to use the vectorscopes, professional monitors for broadcast, DVD, etc. I've tried reading and there is too much information out there and I feel that I need to go to school for it. I am currently applying for a job who offers free classes as 1 of their benefits in one of the top video/film schools here in San Francisco, CA. I hope I land on the job because I've always wanted to take classes (including color correction) but always push-it aside because its quite expensive. I finished with my 2nd interview, and I am so anxious right now. argh..

Anyway, back to topic.. =)

Its funny when you mentioned that HDMI capture card. There is one that I'm very interested in, and I found it while I was researching about my "HD TV" preview problem.

Its the blackmagic intensity pro. I'm very interested in this and I also read that people who currently uses cineform will benefit from this card because it will be able to shrink the size of the video but still being uncompressed.

There's a local store here that carries it, so I will drop by tomorrow and ask all the questions I have. My main question really is if it will work hand-in-hand with my graphics card. I am also very interested because it offers WYSIWYG for after effects. (I've never had that)

And oh lastly, my camera is the Sony HVR-V1U.

Thank you so much once again for your time. I know it takes quite a while to write these responses. You're just awesome.

niM









May 12, 2009 5:08:49 AM

David, Vista x64 is able to run 32bit apps just fine. Within the "Program Files", there are 2 different folders, one for x86(32 bit) and one for 64bit. 95% of apps are still 32bit and most run just fine otherwise MS would have a major problem. Even Apple's OSX is 64bit and most of the apps made for Apple are still 32bit. If you can, try out Windows 7 x64 for free. I have read about only minor problems for getting Vista x64 drivers to work in 7 x64(ie some HP printer drivers as I just installed one on my PC and came across an article about a guy who is testing a ton of drivers and software in 7 and letting people know how things go and how to fix any problems they might come across). I don't want to be the person who tells you to buy Vista x64 and then you have problems. However, if you own a Vista 32bit version, you should be able to get the x64 disc from MS for $10.
May 12, 2009 6:18:37 AM

nimdivino,

1) Your board does have the ICH10R chipset which means it can do Matrix Raid. For the hard drives, 500GB drives cost only $60 on Newegg so I wouldn't get a 250GB drive.

2) an UPS is Uninterruptible Power Supply. Its generally a combination of a Surge Protector plus a Battery Backup. When there are drops in voltage, this can cause damage to the PC Power supply but a UPS will kick in and provide a constant flow of power. In addition, when power completely goes out, the UPS kicks in and provides power so your PC doesn't get turned off. They also come with software and a USB cable so if power is out for an extended period of time and you aren't around to turn your PC off, the software will shut your PC off for you. I have found that voltage drops occur a few times a month(at least while I'm using my PC). There is a 865w UPS at Best Buy for $160-170 which would allow your PC to run on battery for at least an hour. There is one a bit less powerful for $110-120 that would work just fine. I can't tell you how many times my UPS has paid for itself.

3) I can't believe the 8800GT prices are so high when the 9800GT and GTS 250 are newer versions using the exact same GPU and the GTS 250 sells for $130.
In AE, you go into the edit Preferences. I can't recall exactly where it is but you shouldn't set more than 80% of the V-Ram(so about 700MB).
Rendering in AE uses the CPU but while working on a comp, AE can use the V-Ram to store data. If you google how AE uses Video Ram, you can get a much better explanation.

4) For Wedding DVDs, using an HDTV is perfectly fine and recommended because your customers will be viewing the DVDs on a TV. For Color Correction, there is some great info on Lynda.com which is where I have learned just about everything so far. Actually, VideoCoPilot has some great Plug-ins for AE for really low prices and the owner is an AE guru/legend. They have about 90 free tutorials for free currently. Also, CreativeCow.com has some great tutorials for Premiere, AE and many other topics.

4b) GOOD LUCK!!! on your possible job. Since you have had a 2nd interview, that should mean they really like you.

5) Yes, that Blackmagic HDMI capture card is great. I couldn't remember if it was AJA or Blackmagic that I had seen at B&HPhoto for around $350. As far as I know, it would mainly benefit if you were capturing while recording video so it bypasses the HDV compression resulting in higher quality and far greater storage size.

5b) Let me know what you learn about it because I am still in the process of deciding on the Z5, Z7 or EX1 and both "Z" models have HDMI output and cost much less than the EX1. The good and bad of it though is I won't be paying for it but I must convince my friend/Boss to fork over the money. He owns 2 companies dealing with advertising, marketing and political consulting and they outsourced their video needs but want to add video services(ie TV commercials) and this is where I step in. Trying to explain why he should spend $10k on an EX1 plus extras is not fun.

I have considered doing Wedding cinematography but I don't have the money for the gear. I don't think I have the stomach to put up with brides and all that either. Maybe after I get my feet wet in tv commercials and money saved up, I can venture into it.

Btw, very nice camera.

Thanks for your appreciation and kind words.

PS What do you mean by WYSIWYG in After Effects? I know how OpenGL being activated can sometimes alter what you see while working(but it doesn't alter the output and I do know what the letters stand for).
May 12, 2009 7:22:36 PM

specialk90 said:
David, Vista x64 is able to run 32bit apps just fine. Within the "Program Files", there are 2 different folders, one for x86(32 bit) and one for 64bit. 95% of apps are still 32bit and most run just fine otherwise MS would have a major problem. Even Apple's OSX is 64bit and most of the apps made for Apple are still 32bit. If you can, try out Windows 7 x64 for free. I have read about only minor problems for getting Vista x64 drivers to work in 7 x64(ie some HP printer drivers as I just installed one on my PC and came across an article about a guy who is testing a ton of drivers and software in 7 and letting people know how things go and how to fix any problems they might come across). I don't want to be the person who tells you to buy Vista x64 and then you have problems. However, if you own a Vista 32bit version, you should be able to get the x64 disc from MS for $10.



thank you so much for your help! I'm almost ready to order my pc. I just wanted to check a few things with you, just to be sure:

1 - RAID: Let's see if I got this straight. The secret is to use both 500gb Barracudas in RAID 1. One of the HDD will be used for renders and exports, and the other is used for source files. And I can have the OS on a separate drive (will it gain performance if I plug the HD that has the OS on a RAID or should I place it off the RAID system?). How do I make sure that my project won't be ruined if one of the drives collapses?

2 - i7: if I decide to go with the i7 (wich I still don't know), the only things I need to change in the wishlist is the mobo and the RAM, right?

3 - The store I'm buying the PC, doesn't have the RAM you chose. They suggested a DD2 Hyper X 2GB 1066MHz CL5 (5-5-5-15) DIMM (I'll be ordering 4, in order to have 8gb). Any differences I should be concerned with?

4 - I was told that ATI cards are way better and cheaper than Nvidia cards. Is this true?

Thanks!

David
May 13, 2009 4:01:18 AM

Hi Dave.

1) Ideally, since you want to make money with video, you should also have a backup. Using your current drive for the OS & Apps is fine and then using the 2 500GB drives in Raid 1 to hold the source footage plus the rendered projects. You would then have the Media Cache located on the OS drive within its own partition. With the 500GB drives in Raid 1, the data is mirrored on both so if one drive fails, the other still has the exact same data so you lose no data and no downtime.

A very good way of keeping performance up is to use separate partitions - ie, one for Source footage and one for Rendered Projects. Using separate partitions helps prevent fragmentation, and also reduces stress when you actually defrag since there is less space to move around.

A possible setup with the 3 drives mentioned: C partition for OS+Apps, D for Media Cache, E for Source Footage and F for Rendered Projects.

Something else to consider is the placement of your data. What I mean is that hard drives are faster at the beginning, and placing your Source Footage at the beginning will help keeps its speed up. This is in contrast to making just a single partition for the 500GB with folders for everything. Eventually, Source Footage captured down the road would be on the slower part(ie towards the end of drive). This is something I just tested and learned. When I switched from XP 32bit to Vista x64 a couple weeks ago, my 950GB Raid 5 array was very slow due to the Raid controller needing new firmware. I had the entire 950GB in a single partition and performance had really deteriorated since I first set it up. After backing everything up, I updated the firmware, deleted the array and created a new Raid 5 array and then created 2 partitions -1st one for Photos, Stock video and Source Footage and the 2nd partition for other stuff. Looking thru photos or stock video is now much quicker.

2) i7 - you are correct. There is the ASUS P6T SE for around $190-200 @ newegg which is a great board and 6GB(2GB x 3) of 1333MHz ram runs about $80-85.

3) That RAM is Kingston so it is top quality. Just one thing to look into is motherboard compatibility but I would put money on that RAM working just fine.

4) If you were looking at "Workstation" video cards, then yes ATI is way cheaper and a far better price vs performance value. For Desktop video cards, I would stick with Nvidia due to better OpenGL support and possible CUDA support in Adobe within the next 12 months. Besides CUDA and OpenGL, there is no difference between ATI & Nvidia. It sounds like an ATI Fanboy got a hold of your ear because there really is no difference.


Just want to add something about the Render/Encoding speed: the amount of Ram has the largest affect on performance within Premiere/Media Encoder. In the DigitalContentProducer.com article, they also tested 4 cores vs 8 cores and 8 cores only increased performance about 40-50% but only when there was 8GB or more Ram.

To be honest, your projects should take several hours to render so getting an extra 5, 10 or 15% would not matter if you render overnight.

I was just trying to come up with reasons why an i7 might help a lot and thought about Hyper-Threading. Adobe Media Encoder doesn't use anywhere near 100% of all 4 cores. So, with Hyper-Threading giving you 8 1.6GHz cores(with overclock of CPU to 3.2GHz), all 8 cores might be very close to 100% which means a very nice performance jump. For example, with 4 cores at 3.0GHz, Media Encoder uses only 50% of all 4 cores to render a project so thats roughly 1.5GHz being used. Now double the amount of cores and they run slightly higher than 1.5GHz, and performance should increase a good amount. Did I lose you? I'm having trouble following what I just wrote. :) 

Either way, try google to find performance tests/benchmarks of the i7 with Hyper-Threading enabled in Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder.
May 13, 2009 7:50:10 PM

Thanks once again specialk90! There's still one concept that I don't quite grasp yet: RAID. Sometimes I think I understand, but the next thing I read is completely different. I've read that RAID 0 is the best for performance, but it's not reliable, and that RAID 5 is the way to go, etc.

Anyway, RAID is merely for mirroring purposes, or does performance really increases? If so, how? From what I understood, I thought that the purpose of the two 500gb HDD working in RAID, was to read source files from one of them, and write renders and exports to the other one. But I presume that I'm wrong. Could you please explain this to me? Sorry to bother you with this, but you have been really helpful! :) 

Thanks!

David
May 14, 2009 4:00:16 AM

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Individual Disks and has many "Levels". Raid 1 is a level, so is Raid 0. Raid 10 is another level and so is Raid 5. Raid 1 "mirrors" 2 drives together and each drive has the exact same data, so should one fail, you still have 1 drive with all the data. Raid 0 actually isn't Redundant because if one drive fails, ALL data is lost. Raid 0 was designed when 4 drives put together could only muster 60MB/s. Now that drives easily top 100MB/s, Raid 0 is not as effective today because Operating Systems and most programs cannot take advantage of 200+MB/s speeds.

Also, Raid 0 does have the highest Throughput and most people think that Throughput equals Performance which it does not.

For example, the OS reads and writes very small size files so having 200MB/s speeds doesn't help. However, one aspect that does help is Random Access speed - the lower the better. This is one area where Raid 1 does help because the OS is able to use a feature called "Split Seeks" where it "seeks" for files on both drives at the same time. This, however, only helps with Reads but a large majority of drive access is Reads.

Raid 5 requires a minimum of 3 drives and really should only be used on a Hardware Raid controller. The Intel Raid that comes on their "R" chipsets(ie ICH10"R") cannot handle Raid 5 effectively. It can do it but speeds are much slower than a single drive AND people have had numerous problems. I use Raid 5 for my main storage but the drives are attached to a 3ware 9650SE-8 hardware controller, which costs $500+.

I use the Intel Raid for Raid 10 to hold the OS+Apps as well as Raid 0 for Media Cache & Scratch Disk. Raid 10 requires 4 drives and provides great speed and great redundancy. I recently had 1 of my 4 Raptors die as part of Raid 10 but since it Raid 10 is able to withstand up to 2 drives failing without losing any data, I didn't lose any data or downtime.

As you see above, I am using 2 different Raid Levels with the same 4 drives. This can ONLY be done using Intel Raid - Intel terms it "Matrix Raid". So far, I have never come across a hardware Raid controller that can do this.

For Reading Source Files and Writing Renders: I was talking about using 2 separate Partitions on the 500GB drives. With Raid 1, the OS only sees 500GB of space. What you could do is create a 300GB partition for Source footage and a 200GB partition for Exports.
May 14, 2009 10:46:01 PM

Ok, so let's see if I got it right. Both 500gb drives would basically be mirrors of each other, and each one of them would have 2 partitions, where one should have source files, and the other has the renders and exports. Is this correct? If so, why put it RAID? I thought Raid would mean to write half of each file on one disk and the other half on the other disk, this way doubling the speed. I'm probably wrong, though...

David
May 15, 2009 6:10:23 AM

What you are thinking of is Raid 0 where it "Stripes"/splits data between the drives which does increase Throughput(Read/Write speed) but makes you more vulnerable to data loss. All it takes is one drive to have a problem and ALL data is lost.

With Raid 1, the 2 drives are miirored but the OS only sees 500GB of space. When you format it and create partitions, you only have access to 500GB.

Raid 1 does increase Read speed a little but lowers Random Access a decent amount( a recent test I read about had it go from 12ms to 10ms).

The reason to use Raid 1 is to protect your data because it can handle a drive failing without losing ANY data.
May 15, 2009 9:28:49 AM

Hi there:

This thread is very relevant and informative for me. And I appreciate all the knowledge that's been shared. I was wondering if I could also get some advice?

I'm a film student. I just finished a 35mm short film that I had transferred to QuickTime Pro Res HD format on a Blu-ray disk. I have Adobe CS3 that I use for editing Standard Definition video, but I'm sure my system will not be able to handle HD editing. So I'm looking to get a new system. I hope to perform color correction and perhaps even some After Effects rendering on the HD file. I hope to submit this film to festivals. I might also upgrade to CS4 at some point.

I've never built my own desktop before. PCMag has this article on building the "ultimate machine" for CS4: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2344506,00.asp
(Curiously, it doesn't mention RAID for storage.)

I think the PCMag recommendations may be overkill for my use. I'm not a gamer. This new machine would be dedicated to HD editing, compositing and visual effects using CS3 (or also CS4 in future).

So I've toned down the PCMag suggestions to this so far:

processor: Intel core i7 940 2.93GHz
graphics card: EVGA Geforce GTS 250
memory: Kingstom 6GB 1333 MHz DDR3 DIMM
motherboard: Asus P6T Core i7
PSU: 650W Corsair TX650
storage: will try to follow the advice mentioned previously in the thread

So my questions are:
1. Do you think the list above is a good starting point for my needs? If not, can I request a newegg wishlist suited to my needs?

2. If the idea of building a desktop from scratch gets too daunting for me, I've also considered getting the top-of-the-line performance m9000t series HP desktop with a bunch of upgrades. Would that be a bad idea?
http://www.shopping.hp.com/maintenance.html?aoid=35252&...

Regards,
Alan
!