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$1500 System for Video Editing and Virtual Machines

Last response: in Systems
February 18, 2010 12:16:29 AM


BUDGET RANGE: ~$1500 (including shipping, without including mail in rebates)

System Usage: Nikon Capture NX2 RAW Image Processing, Photoshop, AVCHD Video Editing Sony Vegas Pro 9, Adobe Premier, 3-4 virtual machines running LAMP applications, Visual Studio 2010, No Gaming at all

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitors (HP2465 24" LCDs), Keyboard and mouse, Tablet, I have an 8400GS from another system that I can use, unless it is deemed insufficient

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, Amazon, Microcenter,



MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200 (1 monitors), but capability for 2560x1600

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would like to improve the disk access the most as it is the weakest of the link. My delima is to just by a 40GB SSD for Boot drive, or to buy a 160GB SSD where I can place a few virtual machines. I would like to run 2-3 VMWare Workstation virtual machine with the guest operating system of Linux and Windows 7.
For video editing I could also put raw clips on a larger SSD for fast random access of the source clips and then write final export movie to a Hard Drive. Hopefully that will give me the best performance. I do not care for the time it takes to export the final movie, but I do care for moving back and forth fast in the timeline window, and also to render the timeline in real-time on screen while editing.

Thanks in advance for any advice!


Case: COOLER MASTER CM690 II Advanced
Any thoughts on Antec P183 Case? Will this be quiter?

CPU: Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache

CPU FAN: XIGMATEK Dark Night HDT-S1283V CPU Cooler
Do I need this if I am not overclocking?


RAM: Corsair XMS3 6GB DDR3-1600 TR3X6G1600C8 G (2 modules for a total of 12GB)

PSU: Corsair CMPSU-550VX (Is this sufficient?)
Is this sufficient or do I need Corsair TX650? I Do not game on this machine

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache
Do I need another one for RAID 0 - Will that help in any way?

SSD: Intel 160 GB X25M G2 SSDSA2MH160G2C1
SSD Option 2 (Only for Boot Drive): Intel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2R5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC (SSD) - Retail

GPU: I have an 8400GS from another system that I can use, unless it is deemed insufficient
This is not a gaming rig

DVD DRIVE: Sony Optiarc Black CD/DVD Rewriteable

BluRay Drive: LITE-ON 4x Blu-ray Disc SATA

Speakers: Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II 2.0
Speaker Option 2: Studiophile Av 40 AV40 Desktop Monitors

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Ultimate 64-bit
February 18, 2010 2:05:44 AM

Using an SSD for boot will make starting your computer fast, but that's just it. You'll still have to read pictures off a hard drive, meaning you're bottlenecked by HD speed. May I recommend a RAID 1 setup? You'll have to pay more for storage (dedicated controllers, at least two HDs) but it can fit your budget. :) 
February 18, 2010 2:51:58 AM

Hi r_manic,
How would Raid 1 help? I do not need a backup solution as I have GiGE networked all my computer, and I can backup the data on another computer.

From the SSD perspective I was thinking that every time I want to video edit I can take all the source clips and put those on the SSD. Would this speed the Video Editing NLE?

Related resources
February 19, 2010 12:08:21 PM

Two more questions on this system:

1. Is it better to have 2 500GB drives in RAID 0 configuration or just one 1TB drive?
2. Same goes for the SSD. Will it be better to have 2 80GB Intel SSD's in RAID 0 configuration instead of 1 160 GB Intel SSD?
February 19, 2010 1:04:28 PM

The i7-860 is a much better choice if you're not overclocking. Higher stock speeds and a much more aggressive turbo. You'll also save roughly 150$ over a 1366 setup. With 1156 you'll have to step down to 8 GB of RAM however. It's still going to easily outperform the 920.

SSD's are the way to go without a doubt. The OCZ Solid V2 60GB can be had for 174.00. I recently purchased 2 of these for RAID0 and I'm getting reads of 450MB/s and writes of 240MB/s. These are Gen 2 drives that support TRIM, but even nicer they have built in v1.5 firmware in which OCZ has garbage disposal built-in for RAID as well.

RAID0 is great for SSD's. For mechanical drives it's a little different story. Unless you purchase enterprise disks that were made for RAID you not only face a 2x failure rate due to the striping nature, you also run a high risk of losing your array to any bad sectors because of the way windows handles its scrubbing process. If the disk times out for more than 7 or 8 seconds the RAID controller views it as a bad disk and drops it from the array forcing you to rebuild.

That being said, there's no doubt that 2x 500gb mechanical drives will far outperform a single 1tb drive.

Cases: Both are great cases. P183 will undoubtedly be more quiet however. P193 will offer better gpu cooling, but does so at the expense of a somewhat distracting sidemounted fan enclosure.

Cooler: If you're not overclocking the stock intel hsf (while wretched) will work. If you do decide to go aftermarket the CM 212 is the way to go for budget coolers.

PSU: 550w is more than enough to power what you're setting up.
February 22, 2010 11:19:39 PM

Thanks a4mula for the suggestions. Specific questions below:

If I stick with Core i7 920 (Microcenter price is 199/-), there is not much difference let between 1156 and 1366 boards. So the real question is, if I have to mildly overclock the 920 to bring to i7 860 level, am I consuming quite a bit of power? Do I now really need an aftermarket cooler? Am I going to get a noisier system?

SSD: What is the difference bet OCZ Vertex and Solid 2. It seems that Vertex has better performance on paper. I am now thinking that I should by two SSD's: One 30GB OCZ Vertex for boot and another large capacity for work environment. I do need a large space for running virtual machines and video editing and Windows Home Server in the future.

Case: I really like P183 but is there a cheaper case that is as quite as this, may be has fewer feature? I may just go with the p183 (Future proof for overclocking).

Thanks once again!!!
February 26, 2010 6:57:04 PM

So, only two decisions to make now:

1. Is Antec P183 quieter than Cooler Master CM 690 Advanced II (in both non-overclocking mode and overclocking mode). I may just do a mild overclocking to that I can still use the stock heatsink fan. Cooler master is almost $40 cheaper, but does not come with built-in speed control, although it has one more fan in the front.

2. SSD configurations:
First option is to go with Intel 160GB G2 that can host the 64 bit OS, a few virtual machines, and temp storage for Video clips while editing a project.

The second option is to get the OCZ Vertex 30GB and a OCX Vertex 120 GB. the 30GB only hosts the OS.

The third option is to get 2 Intel 80 GB G2 in a RAID 0 configuration.

What do you guys think?
March 1, 2010 4:49:20 PM

I finally ordered the parts yesterday, except for the Intel 160GB ssd. I have OCZ Vertex 30GB instead temporarily for OS boot. Once the ssd's get cheaper I will move the OCZ to my htpc.

The only decision I need to make is the aftermarket heatsink. First of all, do I need an aftermarket heatsink if I am mildly overclocking? If yes then I need a quieter one. I am debating over Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus and Xigmatek Dark Knight S1283V.

Which one is quieter in your opinion?

Thansk & Cheers. -aamitabh
March 1, 2010 4:56:36 PM

I am using a hyper 212 and it is pretty quite.

Here is a link that will give you some info on the coolers so you can make the desc for yourself.

March 3, 2010 11:55:35 PM

Great thanks! I bought that one.