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Building New Video Editing Workstation

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October 2, 2010 7:55:50 PM

I am in the process of building a PC with the primary purpose of video editing, not gaming. I will be using Adobe Premier Pro CS5. I have been researching for several weeks, and have a few questions about what I have selected to date (please be critical) - Also, I would like to keep in the $2K - $3K range when I am done. Here is what I am thinking of components selected to date:

OS: Windows 7 64 bit ultimate

Processor: Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition Gulftown 3.33GHz LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor.
Question: Should I go with the Intel Core i7-970 Gulftown 3.2GHz LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor instead? It is $100 cheaper. As I will be doing video editing, I need some speed.

Motherboard: MSI Big Bang-XPower LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard.
Minimum needs: 2 PCI express 2.0 16 slots, 2 eSATA, 2 USB 3.0, SATA 6 GB/S (for future) and SATA RAID (0/1/5/10)
Board looks good for next few years expansion. ASUS Rampage Extreme only has one eSATA so I could not use, and the GIGABYTE-UD3/7/9 all look good (UD3 was Toms 2010 choice award), however, I like the components used on the MSI board better (caps will not dry out, etc.), and the overclocking genie (of which I will never use but it is cool to have).

Here is the tough one for me I am struggling with - video card. I reviewed what is compatible with CS5 from the Adobe website (mercury engine, CUDA, etc...). I do not want to spring for the Quadro series (quite spendy), and believe I am going to settle for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470. I understand some of its shortcomings such as running hot, power, etc., but believe it is the most cost effective for running the CS5 and is poised for future apps. Also, I am not a video professional, I want to edit personal items. I have a Panasonic HDC-TM700 camera for my raw video, and also have tons of mini-DV tapes I need to convert and edit. CS5 is overkill for what I need to do, but it is what I already purchased, and my current PC is not powerful enough (only running XP home 32 bit on a laptop). Any guidance on this will be appreciated. I have spent several hours and weeks on this and am at a standstill. If you agree on the GTX 470, which should I buy? I like the MSI N470GTX Twin Frozr II GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 as it has good components and good cooling, but I know Gigabyte’s GV-N470SO-13I Super Overclock edition also looks interesting. Which NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 should I buy???

Help please. After I select these components, I move onto case, power supply, hard drive (primary to be WD raptor), Blu-Ray burner, 2 monitors, etc.
October 2, 2010 8:02:56 PM

Sorry - I should also mention I have not narrowed down the video card selection to only the two listed above. I am open to anything.
October 2, 2010 8:21:28 PM



you need more threads not a lot of speed
went with the evga gtx470 for lifetime warranty
the cpu coolers are effective and quiet
Related resources
October 2, 2010 8:23:55 PM

Have you considered a Xeon? Is the monitor in the budget?
October 2, 2010 8:37:35 PM

^+1. If you don't have an IPS based LCD OP, you should invest in one now.

+1 for obsidian86's build EXCEPT the motherboard. You can get a true 2P workstation board with 12 DIMM sockets for ~$300-350. That will save you $300 or so over the SR2. That build also needs RAM, I'd say 12GB DDR3 should be fine. Upgrade to 24GB down the road when needed.

Quote:
I like the components used on the MSI board better (caps will not dry out, etc.), and the overclocking genie (of which I will never use but it is cool to have).

That is just marketing cr@p. Don't believe it. Gigabyte/ASUS use quality caps,etc. and I would say Gigabyte/ASUS has a lower failure rate, I have yet to have a Gigabyte/ASUS board die on me after having built 100+ PCs.

Quote:
hard drive (primary to be WD raptor),

Ditch the Raptor and go SSD for a little more money and less space. An SSD will make a BIG difference for an OS + programs drive. If you get a big enough SSD, you can easily put your RAW image files,vids,etc on it while working and then once done, move them to a storage drive (ie Samsung F3). With your budget, I'm pretty damn sure you can afford a 120GB SSD easily.

Quote:
Processor: Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition Gulftown 3.33GHz LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor.
Question: Should I go with the Intel Core i7-970 Gulftown 3.2GHz LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor instead? It is $100 cheaper. As I will be doing video editing, I need some speed.

That is NOT worth it at all. DO NOT get the i7 980X or anything more than a i7 950 (on a single socket board).

October 2, 2010 8:41:43 PM

those westmere's will hit 2.8ghz with those coolers effortlessly thats why i chose the sr-2 instead of the others

and yeah drop that raptor for an ssd
October 2, 2010 8:46:05 PM

sp12 said:
Have you considered a Xeon? Is the monitor in the budget?

Monitors not in the budget. Have not considered Xeon - will look into it.
October 2, 2010 8:59:50 PM

The problem with Video Editing is that often only parts of the program use the later features while other parts are still single thread. For example I have a Core 2 Quad and an i7. If I am converting avi to MPG 2 the i7 is 40% faster. However if I am converting from avi to MPEG 4 then both systems run at an identical speed. Both systems are CUDA capable. The Core 2 Quad has a GTX 260 and the i7 a GTX 460 yet there is no real difference between the two of them in terms of CUDA support and performance. Depending on what filters I use there is no real performance difference a lot of the time. You will find your resources are not used up and the software will bottleneck things.

I would go with an i7 instead of the Gulftown. 4 GB RAM is enough 8 GB makes no difference. Stick with the Raptor as Video Editing requires a lot of HDD space. I use Raptors and they never ever come close to their limits. I have had avi files as large as 90 GB so the space is essential. Go for a GTX 460. The 460 is holding the sweet spot at the moment and the 470 will not give you any real advantage.
October 2, 2010 9:20:33 PM

Wamphryi said:
The problem with Video Editing is that often only parts of the program use the later features while other parts are still single thread. For example I have a Core 2 Quad and an i7. If I am converting avi to MPG 2 the i7 is 40% faster. However if I am converting from avi to MPEG 4 then both systems run at an identical speed. Both systems are CUDA capable. The Core 2 Quad has a GTX 260 and the i7 a GTX 460 yet there is no real difference between the two of them in terms of CUDA support and performance. Depending on what filters I use there is no real performance difference a lot of the time. You will find your resources are not used up and the software will bottleneck things.

I would go with an i7 instead of the Gulftown. 4 GB RAM is enough 8 GB makes no difference. Stick with the Raptor as Video Editing requires a lot of HDD space. I use Raptors and they never ever come close to their limits. I have had avi files as large as 90 GB so the space is essential. Go for a GTX 460. The 460 is holding the sweet spot at the moment and the 470 will not give you any real advantage.


Are you suggesting the Intel® Core™ i7-950 processor or the Intel® Core™ i7-920 processor? I was also originally thinking of the GTX 460 but that was not on the Adobe list (see below - I am not springing for the Quadro). Does the 460 support the mercury engine?

Manufacturer Model Support

ATI Fire GL V5600 Full support
ATI Fire GL V5700 Full support
ATI Fire GL V7750 Full support
ATI Fire GL V7700 Full support
ATI Fire GL V8650 Full support
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 Full support
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Full support
NVIDIA Quadro 380 Full support
NVIDIA Quadro 4000 Full support
NVIDIA Quadro 5000 Full support
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 Full support
NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 Full support
NVIDIA Quadro FX 5800 Full support
NVIDIA Quadro CX Full support
October 2, 2010 9:25:29 PM

The 460 can work with a hack, but it has pretty bad performance compared to the 470 in that it has much reduced DP performance.

You'll definitely need a larger HD than an SSD, but the raptors are not good purchases at all at this point.
October 2, 2010 9:58:01 PM

If Adobe lists the GTX 470 then the 470 it must be. I thought the 460 may a be a good way to avoid the heavy power issues the 470 faces but one must go with the specifications supported by the software provider and the 470 is a good price compared to Quadro. I would go with the i7 950. It has a respectable clockspeed and a reasonable price. Going back to the Raptor debate I would still go with the Raptor as I have found it is superior to many other standard HDD's but has some capacity (600 GB) which the SSD offerings simply cant compete with. It would be a good idea to have some RAID 1 storage in the form of a couple of 1 TB drives as storage will become an issue as you create more content. Íf you go for the i7 you will save a good deal of money so tossing in RAID 1 array will should be no problems.
October 3, 2010 2:15:28 AM

GTX 470 it is. And thanks to all for pointing me to the i7 950 - this will save me $600 that I can contribute to the hard drives... So, the last question is which NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 should I buy? obsidian86 recommends the evga gtx470 which seems reasonable. Any other comments on this item?
October 3, 2010 4:40:10 AM

the evga has a lifetime warranty
October 3, 2010 4:05:29 PM

Quote:
Both systems are CUDA capable. The Core 2 Quad has a GTX 260 and the i7 a GTX 460 yet there is no real difference between the two of them in terms of CUDA support and performance. Depending on what filters I use there is no real performance difference a lot of the time. You will find your resources are not used up and the software will bottleneck things.

That sir, is the key. I'm assuming the OP is doing some serious work else his budget,etc is way overkill.

Quote:
I would go with an i7 instead of the Gulftown. 4 GB RAM is enough 8 GB makes no difference. Stick with the Raptor as Video Editing requires a lot of HDD space.

Depends. I do a lot of work with multiple RAW images and edit HD vids at the same time and 4GB is not enough for this and basically have a bunch of other stuff open. I usually run Premere, Photoshop, Paint.NET and Sony Vegas at once. In rare cases I may even have Maya or 3DS open at the same time as these programs. Even 8GB is not enough for this kind of work. It's better to have more RAM than less RAM. In any event, OP can get 4GB and see how that works out for him and increase RAM capacity as needed.

Quote:
those westmere's will hit 2.8ghz with those coolers effortlessly thats why i chose the sr-2 instead of the others

I would personally recommend against OCing production builds.

As for the Raptor, yes it has more storage and good sequential read/write so it is still a good choice for vid editing. However, I think OP still should go with an SSD for the OS drive and scratch disk.
A good 90GB SSD should be enough to handle most HD vids,etc while being edited. Once done, OP can move them to a F3,etc.

Btw, I know you can hack any 2xx or 4xx card for Premere CS5, any one done this with a GTX460?
October 5, 2010 12:00:18 AM

Funny the OP and I have similar needs and started these threads about the same time, I'm going to school on this thread and I'll contribute what I can from whatever comes out of my thread.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/296245-31-build-video...

I need to use Maya as well so may end up with a different Graphics card, but we have the same camera so it's interesting we are in the same build situation.

!