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System for After Effects?

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November 26, 2009 5:03:42 PM

Hi there, and first my apologies if I make a new thread instead of existing one, and I'm sure I do. But now for the question. I am thinking of gearing up a new system optimized for After Effects, Photoshop and Premiere Pro mainly. For video capturing I use Canon HV30, and editing the footage is may main task. So I would ask you, the ones who know more about these things than me. What kind of setup I should go for? Let's say I don't have thousand bucks to spend. So any bang-for-the-buck options?

Should I go for the new i7 system?

Or an older Core 2 Quad system?

Or try to get system with two Xeon processors.

I'm not sure whats preferred more in video editing and encoding: high clock frequencies or multitude of processor cores?

And how much memory I would need for all of these different configurations?

And what I have learned, the graphics card would be one of the Quadro FX series.

Lots of questions, sorry about that. Please share your wisdom with me. And sorry if I have wrote this text somekind of irritating way, I tried to form it the way that the texts highlights are clearly seeable.

Thank you

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November 26, 2009 6:00:57 PM

In general, throw as much power at it as you can, but HD work requires high data rates coming off the storage media too.

So if you can stretch a dual Xeon 5500 series system then go for it, otherwise stick with a Core i7 920, overclock the motherbitch to 4GHz (getting a suitable cooler like the Megahalems or Ultra 120 Rev C) and drop in 12GB 1600MHz RAM - get good quality RAM like Patriot or Corsair and tighten the timings up.

Get 2 1TB Samsung SpinPoint F3 drives and put them into a 2TB RAID 0 for your media drive - striping them together will double (ish kinda) your access times helping stream your HD data into your apps better. With every drive you add to the RAID 0 the faster your access becomes. I would however store the actual projects and build files on another drive not part of the RAID, so just in case your RAID fails taking all the media with it, you still have your actual builds so technically not lost anything, other than time putting your source media back onto the drives (but if you have batch lists or logs that's not a problem).

System drive can be something simple and doesn't need to be flashy - it doesn't matter how long Windows or Adobe takes to load as long as they run fast when they get there.

Personally, I don't see the point in going Quadro unless you're getting a BIG one - I put in Quadro FX 1700 into 3 Q9550 systems last year and I see no real benefit. All the OpenGL and UI acceleration for CS4 can be done with cheaper gaming cards. The Quadro CX however was design specifically for CS4 and it rocks - the CUDA-based H.264 encoder is a scream and Photoshop and After Effects have never felt so good.

It's $1,500 on its own though.

So yeah, save the cash and don't bother with a Quadro.


If you want specific motherboard, RAM and case suggestions then let me know, although I'd recommend the Asus Xonar D2 sound card for HD audio work and a BlackMagic Design Intensity for outputting native HD feeds from After Effects and Premiere over HDMI.
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November 26, 2009 6:04:46 PM

Thanks, LePhuronn for your advice and clearing things up. I am going to search for good deals on the components you suggested.

EDIT: Hey, if those 5500's turn out to be a bit too pricy, what would be the next model downward?
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