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New Build; Video editing, photo editing & office usage

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November 11, 2009 12:36:34 AM

My old PC is on its last legs and it's time for a new PC. I can reuse the monitor, SATA drives, mouse, keyboard, speakers and XP Pro (is it worth going to Win 7 64bit?)

I'm looking for advice on building a new system. My wife does some video editing/rendering and some photoshop work. Otherwise the PC is used for web surfing and office type stuff. I don't do any gaming. I'd like to stay in the $500 mark but I don't know if that's realistic. I can stretch that budget if it buys me much more for little $. I think I need the following components: CPU, motherboard, RAM, case, power supply and DVD R/W. I'd like a case that can hold 6HDDs or more. Thank you.

Location: Canada
Overclocking: Not sure if I need it
Video card: Will the mobo vid card do the job? Do I need it?
Monitor: I have 22" LCD
November 11, 2009 1:07:49 AM

Hmmm. Since you are doing movie rendering, you will need a graphics card far beyond that of the onboard breed!

Instead of buying an i7, I would shoot for a Xeon 3000-series. (The 5000s only work in pairs, but I can be wrong...)

The xeons are about $30 more on average than the i7's, and can handle ECC memory, more advanced mathematical calculations (rendering), and are tested to a higher degree by Intel.

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

Then an Nvidia Quadro GPU would be nice for the rendering. You could also choose an ATI mainframe card, but I'm not 100% familiar with ATi's workstation cards...

-------------------------------

Wait a minute. I just read the budget part... :\

Scratch what I just said... :( 

I think you should shoot for an AMD Phenom II x3 BE (or x4 if you can stretch), a decent MB that suits your needs (a mobo is a personal thing), and an ATi 4870 should be fine. Ram - G.Skill, Corsair, and Kingson are popular choices. For a power supply, corsair is the best, hands down. But they're pricey. After you're done with the config, enter accurate information here: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

Sony/NEC makes some good DVD burners and so does Samsung.
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November 11, 2009 1:17:31 AM

That sounds fine. I think we can do that... let me see.

AMD X4 620 Propus CPU and 4GB DDR3 -174
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Gigabyte 785G DDR3 board, has 6 SATA ports -95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec P183 6 HD bays, quiet. You can pay less if you need though. -140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair 650TX Excellent PSU, overkill on the power but it has 8 SATA connectors and is very quiet. -100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That puts you a bit over, but it gives you a very nice case and quiet PSU

An alternate case to cut costs:
Antec 300 Illusion
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 11, 2009 1:19:11 AM

As to video editing or rendering, it's going to depend on the type of work. What is she using now?
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November 11, 2009 1:29:19 AM

Thanks proximon for making my last post look dumb! :p 

Uhmmm... Everything looks good at Proximon's side.

If you're doing professional movie editing, I would shoot for an Nvidia Quadro FX, or ATi FireMV.
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November 11, 2009 2:29:01 AM

To my knowledge, none of the non-professional video rendering programs in the market today support using the GPU for it. So, forget getting a high-end graphics card - it'll make photo editing a little faster (Photoshop CS4, for instance, can make use of the GPU for some tasks), but isn't worth the money in your case. Focus on CPU performance (AMD Phenom II X4?) as it'll make a bigger difference.

Agree that the on-board GPU won't make you happy, though. Get a $80 or so graphics card if you want a good compromise.
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November 11, 2009 3:06:45 AM

lok said:
To my knowledge, none of the non-professional video rendering programs in the market today support using the GPU for it. So, forget getting a high-end graphics card - it'll make photo editing a little faster (Photoshop CS4, for instance, can make use of the GPU for some tasks), but isn't worth the money in your case. Focus on CPU performance (AMD Phenom II X4?) as it'll make a bigger difference.

Agree that the on-board GPU won't make you happy, though. Get a $80 or so graphics card if you want a good compromise.


Well, lok, what we were just doing was try to determine what video editing environment kalmos is using.

Kalmos: If you're using some non-professional software, go with lok's advice. Otherwise, get a Quadro FX.
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November 11, 2009 3:19:26 AM

She's using Sony Vegas for video and Photoshop for pics. My current dying slow dog is a P2.4 with 2x512MB RAM and tons of HDD space. It has ATI all-in-wonder video card (can't remember the exact model). The current PC served me well for many years but it's time to upgrade.

I'd be willing to stretch the budget to the $700-800 mark. For some reason I thought that rendering and editing is all about CPU and memory with little video processing :o 
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November 11, 2009 3:38:42 AM

Hmm.. I think sony vegas can use Quadro, but I don't really think you'll need it. The CPU is really what matters... I'm doing a config now, I'm going to upload the results in a sec, but it's well within budget so far! :) 

EDIT:

Here is my config. I threw in a graphics card as well. Note: If your previous computer's hard drives are using the IDE (ribbon cable) interface, you will need an IDE controller card! (Just ask.)

Case: Antec 300 Illusion - Not the quietest case, but looks darn cool!

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

OR

Case: Antec P183 - can also hold 6 3.5" drives, is VERY quiet, but is pricey.

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

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P - 6x SATA, DDR3 1333+, 8xUSB, 2xFireWire

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

GPU - Powercolor Ati 4670 - Good card, 1GB GDDR3

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

PSU - Antec TruePower New 550W - Semi Modular, 9x SATA Connectors, 80 PLUS cert.

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

CPU - AMD Phenom II X3 720 - 2.8GHz, 6MB L3 Cache, 95W TDP

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

Memory - Patriot Viper II Sector 5 - 2x2GB, 1333MHz

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

DVD Burner - Sony Optiarc/NEC Black DVD±R/W (DL) - 48x CD, 24x DVD+R

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 11, 2009 4:54:44 AM

I think the budget is unrealistic for the proposed usage. For one, photo work requires the use of a non TN panel for you monitor. The best ones in the $5000 range are the Dell U2410 ($529) for next 2 days....and the older 2408 WFP.

For the case, the Antec 1200 / CP-850 is a not so obvious choice. A bit over powered but it's so darn inexpnsive, it can serve as the base for many future adds. I figure you are in the $1,000 - $1200 range sans monitor to do the mentioned tasks well for a number of years.
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November 11, 2009 5:08:55 AM

Jack, he just said that he is willing to stretch his budget to the "$700 - $800 mark".

And while a 1200 would be nice (and yes, I have a 1200 myself), it's over budget. The 300/P183 should be fine. I do a lot of video editing (yes, vegas) and photoshop (CS4 extended) on the macbook I am typing on right now. It's graphics card is a lovely GMA 950, its display (i'm not really a display person) I think is a TFT panel, and it has 4GB of DDR2 667 / 320GB @ 7200RPM / 1.5GBps HDD.

Now, if I was doing photoshop/vegas for a living, I would definitely get a Quadro FX instead of a radeon, a Xeon Processor, etc. But then again, I would rely on the computer at the office...
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November 11, 2009 7:59:49 AM

They are happy with their monitor. This is someone editing movies at home, not a professional.

Sorry guys, but video rendering does not need a strong GPU. There is nothing happening on screen that a Radeon 4200 chipset can't handle. If the GPU is capable of playing Blu-ray smoothly, it can handle it.

No if you are talking about actually using the GPU to render or assist in rendering, then yes you might want something. But that's beside the point. The OP will be most helped by a strong CPU.

The build is simple. In order of priority:

- The strongest affordable CPU
- A case with at least 6 HD bays
- A PSU to handle those


I'll stand by my initial build.
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November 11, 2009 1:49:23 PM

Zinosys said:
Jack, he just said that he is willing to stretch his budget to the "$700 - $800 mark".


I don't see anyone making a $800 budget w/ a $500 monitor.

Quote:
And while a 1200 would be nice (and yes, I have a 1200 myself), it's over budget.


It's not over the more realistic budget I suggested. And I said it wasn't an obvious choice for a reason. Where budget constraints are tight, machines are generally kept for significantly longer periods which means periodic upgrades. A good PSU / case combo provides a good base when you are building a PC a few hundred dollars at a time.

Quote:
The 300/P183 should be fine. I do a lot of video editing (yes, vegas) and photoshop (CS4 extended) on the macbook I am typing on right now. It's graphics card is a lovely GMA 950, its display (i'm not really a display person) I think is a TFT panel, and it has 4GB of DDR2 667 / 320GB @ 7200RPM / 1.5GBps HDD.


It's TFT panel, my son has one. He doesn't do final photo editing on it because he's getting graded on his results and the TN would negativey affect his grades. Right now he does some of the work on the MBP but final color editing is done on an Nanao 22" CRT. The U2410 went on sale 2day which is what he's been waiting for .... as soon as he gets his arse outta bed, I expect he will be placing an order. TN monitors intended mostly for gaming audiences are not only incapable of accurate color rendering but many are intentionally oversaturated. Looks great on the store shelf and helps counter the effects of the flourescent lighting, but one at home , quickly gets harsh on the eyes.

Quote:
Now, if I was doing photoshop/vegas for a living, I would definitely get a Quadro FX instead of a radeon, a Xeon Processor, etc. But then again, I would rely on the computer at the office...


Here's a line I give my crews : "The gainfully employed don't stop working when they leave the office." Also cuts out ay thought of telecommuting if gonna skimp on the home stuff. As for the card, again, I don't mess with video but don't see a real need for a $1,000 rendering card for photo work. Even AUtoCAD runs just fine on a standard run of the mill gaming card.

I don't do photo work fo a living but I do use photography for forensic work, failure analysis and court testimony....not to mention family photos. I have had instances where printed photos of pipeline installation left one wondering what kind of pipe was installed because you couldn't tell if the pipe was blue (SDR 18) or aquamarine (SDR 35). On screen (laptop TN) they looked bright blue....in print looked kinda in the middle. The latter has half the pipe thickness. My testimony in court would have been immediately questioned of I was testifying that it was SDR 18 and my photos seemed to imply it was SDR 35.
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November 11, 2009 2:31:27 PM

Yes, this is for home video editing and not a pro-shop. We already have a monitor that will be used.

I never had AMD and I'm biased towards the Intel platform. Any suggestions on this? What chipset would be best?

Should I stay with XP Pro or look into upgrading to Win7 64bit? Why?
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November 11, 2009 4:46:45 PM

Hey, would Intel i5 or i7 be a big jump in price and performance? Should I consider it?
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November 11, 2009 5:03:50 PM

Now, Jack, I'm not trying to compete with you in any way.

But here, as kalmos is saying, it's not a professional environment. And while a non-TF (I'm still not a display person :( ) panel would be nice, this application just doesn't really need it...

I'm not graded on my photoshop, I'm not doing forensics the way you do, and I'm sure kalmos isn't too.

I respect the work you do and respect the fact that your work requires special tools to get the job done. And while it would be nice to have those tools, it just won't fit in the budget in this situation.

Quote:
Here's a line I give my crews : "The gainfully employed don't stop working when they leave the office."


^^I have to agree with that line. I was suggesting a quadro card because photoshop can use it to perform the filtering algorithms.

What I was trying to do is build a PC within the budget proposed, including taxes, etc.

Quote:
It's not over the more realistic budget I suggested. And I said it wasn't an obvious choice for a reason. Where budget constraints are tight, machines are generally kept for significantly longer periods which means periodic upgrades. A good PSU / case combo provides a good base when you are building a PC a few hundred dollars at a time.


^^ I also agree. A case is an investment, and especially a PSU. Any PSU should last two or three builds. The same goes with a case. But because this is a home PC, and not a enthusiast PC, I thought it would be nice to take the cold / silent ratio to the right. Therefore, I suggested the P183/P193.

What I'm saying on this forum is my opinion, and not a fact.
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November 11, 2009 5:15:57 PM

kalmos said:
Hey, would Intel i5 or i7 be a big jump in price and performance? Should I consider it?


Hmm... The i7 would be a HUGE performance jump, but I don't see any real need for it in the situation you described.

While an i5 (or socket 1156 i7) would be nice, and could be in budget, the upgrading options for i5 are bleak in the foreseeable future.

Intel has made plans for an i9, i7 930, etc... But we haven't seen anything 1156 yet...

AMD sockets are backwards-compatible, (correct me if I'm wrong), and I think their CPUs are too.

So, upgrading would be easier with AMD.

Quote:
I never had AMD and I'm biased towards the Intel platform. Any suggestions on this? What chipset would be best?


Honestly, me too! I've never had an AMD machine, but several of my friends have AMD boxes. From my usage experience, they are fantastic chips as well.

It seems that intel is trying for the Performance sector, and AMD is more of the Price sector. Basically, with AMD, you get better bang/buck, but intel, you pay more and get more.

Quote:
Should I stay with XP Pro or look into upgrading to Win7 64bit? Why?


Windows 7 is going to give you a lot more features (DX11, better security, full 64 bit capability, etc. Go for 7 if you can do it.

-----------------

As of now, Proximon has the best build for your uses. Proximon is very much respected here on the forums.

I agree with his Case/Mobo. His PSU is better than mine, but more expensive. It's also [probably] going to last longer. But mine is semi-modular (good for cable management, bad for efficiency) and mine has 9 sata ports.

The Phenom x3 I chose will be better at doing one thing at a time, and Proximon's chip will be better multitasking and multithreaded applications.

I have to say I'm neutral on ODDs. They're almost the same, except for the nice [but expensive] Plextor ones.
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November 11, 2009 5:37:32 PM

kalmos said:
Hey, would Intel i5 or i7 be a big jump in price and performance? Should I consider it?


Well, normally it would be over 500, but I just found this deal...


i5 750, Gigabyte UD2, and OCZ Obsidian DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

You would need a GPU with that however. This would be more than enough:

4650
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Add in your case and PSU and optical and you would still be in good shape.

Here is what would be my choice for processor hungry apps, if you can swing it:

i7 860, Gigbyte UD3R, OCZ DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

You could do that last build with the GPU I linked.

I see you are in Cananda, and I presume you meant Canadian dollars. You can't get these deals there.

See:
http://www.ncix.com/
http://www.newegg.ca/
http://www.directcanada.com/

For your prices.
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November 11, 2009 5:45:33 PM

Oh nice proximon! Those are great deals.

And smart thinking. Since the OP said he is willing to stretch his budget, let's round it off to $650-700 USD.

HIS makes good cards, and I think that's their "iSilent" cooler...
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November 11, 2009 6:16:35 PM

I wish I knew up front it was Canada :p 

i5 750
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42499&vpn=BX...

Gigabyte UD2
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=42284&vpn=GA-P55M-UD2...

G.skill 1600 CL9
(Should run at CL8 1333)
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=30384&vpn=F3-12800CL9...

Antec 300 case
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=29812&vpn=TH...

EA650 PSU
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30037&vpn=EA...

Powercolor 4650
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42873&vpn=AX...

LG optical SATA drive with Lightscribe
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=41927&vpn=GH...

Once you have these in your cart I think NCIX will give you a "bundle deal" also.
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November 11, 2009 6:18:03 PM

I agree with Proximon 100%. Good parts there, and I hear NCIX is great too.
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November 11, 2009 6:43:47 PM

Thanks guys. That's awesome info. Any insight on Tigerdirect.ca?
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November 11, 2009 6:43:52 PM

Well, what about upgrading? AMD is known for making it easy with backwards-compatible sockets, right?

Won't you be able to fit a new AMD CPU in an older AMD socket? Or is it new sockets can use old processors? :\
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November 11, 2009 6:50:50 PM

kalmos said:
Thanks guys. That's awesome info. Any insight on Tigerdirect.ca?


From my experience with Tiger in the USA, it seems fine, just a little pricey on some items, and not as good as newegg.

If you can, go Newegg.ca. They should have the combo deals Proximon and I were talking about.
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November 11, 2009 10:18:07 PM

Zinosys said:
Now, Jack, I'm not trying to compete with you in any way.

But here, as kalmos is saying, it's not a professional environment. And while a non-TF (I'm still not a display person :( ) panel would be nice, this application just doesn't really need it..


Not being taken that way.....but we are talking about using a "professional" piece of software that costs $700 on a $800 max cost PC.

If all that needs to be done is plop a meteor on the backdrop of a family photo taken on top of the Empire State Building or edit Junior's 45 minute class recital down to a 1 minute snippet for Grandma, you are 100% right. But if the intent of the photo editing is to say correct skin tones,..... on an inexpensive oversaturated TN panel, the prints will be coming out with everyone's face a bit pale.

My son just ordered the U2410 and he is by no means a professional. He couldn't afford to build the PC and get the monitor at the same time, so he broke it up into Phase I / Phase II. He took photography as an elective in HS and will be doing so in college next semester. In searching the web for calibration software, we saw many, many what I will call "hobbyists".....people who bought a digital camera 6 months ago and are just "getting into it". Their frustration about not being able to do what they expected their computer to be "fast enough" or accurate enough to do was the most common theme in their messages.

The problem is that attempting to edit color on a TN panel results in the problem I described. Due to the over saturation on the TN panel, you try and adjust the overly bright blue "on screen" and then when you print, the blue pipe comes out green. Face tones that on screen have peeps looking like everyone is blushing, once adjusted for the screen, ya get prints where people look like they've had a recent visit from a vampire. So you wind up printing out 4 or 5 prints to "get it right" at about a buck for ink and photo paper per print and you spend more money in the long run.

So, again, if using PaintShop, Pro or whatever "home version" of photo editing software, yes a budget PC fits the bill for the meteor and grandma functions.....My knowledge level stops at the meteor and my wife is in charge of grandmas. But if using the real Photoshop and if attempting to make color adjustments, that's very difficult to do if what you see on screen is distorted. I'm thinking you are probably better off using default settings set up by those who decide what's best "for most people" rather than trying to edit something which is not representative of what will go to the printer.

The budget would cover my own needs as they don't range much from meteors and grandmas. However, the budget does not really match up well with a $700 program designed to make color and other corrections to digital photos before printing. Not to mention the fact that 6 HD's worth of what I must assume are images and movies means that this is not soemthing which is going to be done on;y occassionally.

For that reason, I suggested an alternate route to **consider** . The $800 budget does not allow for implementation of the majority of the Photoshop's features, leaving two choices.

a) Build a $500-800 machine and not be able to use those features, or
b) Build a sound basis for the machine you need and upgrade it when time and money allows and it will then be useful for the software its intended to run.

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November 11, 2009 10:22:28 PM

Quote:
If all that needs to be done is plop a meteor on the backdrop of a family photo taken on top of the Empire State Building or edit Junior's 45 minute class recital down to a 1 minute snippet for Grandma, you are 100% right. But if the intent of the photo editing is to say correct skin tones,..... on an inexpensive oversaturated TN panel, the prints will be coming out with everyone's face a bit pale.


^^ I agree.

And now I see your point of view.
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November 12, 2009 1:07:04 AM

Apologies for what obviously was a poor presentation on my part.....glad I got it right 2nd time around :) 
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November 12, 2009 1:24:08 AM

No worries. :) 

And good luck to you kalmos! :) 
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November 18, 2009 2:37:49 AM

Guys, would you be so kind and spec out an i7 system? Would Intel 920 processor be the way to go?

Is it worth buying now or do you think the prices may drop in a very near future? I heard USB3 is coming so should I wait for it or other new tech just about to be released?
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November 18, 2009 3:59:25 AM

Hmm... If you need the PC NOW, get it on black friday. Even so, Sata3 and USB3 are coming by (my estimate) April of next year. Intel is also releasing the i7 930 (to replace the 920), and that's probably going to be a 32nm chip. (Cooler and much higher overclocking potential if that matters to you).

If you can, wait until the i7 930. Otherwise, if you have an extra $20 lying around, get the Xeon W3520 instead of the i7 920.

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

Xeons have a MUCH better stock cooler, and are tested to a higher standard at intel.
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