New Build Advice: Avid / ProTools PC Editing station - $3000

Hello all -

I'm currently a film student looking to focus on editing and post-production. I'm trying to build a serviceable editing station that I can use at home and perhaps eventually rent out to other local filmmakers. I looking to combine some student loans with some tax return $$ and am trying to get the most bang for the buck. A dual-monitor SLI solution would be ideal, but may or may not be feasible within the budget given some of the desired parameters. I've built my last couple gaming rigs, but this is a slightly different animal and ideally would be a single use machine with only the necessary software.

Aside from the graphics card issue (Quadro vs. GTX 460 in SLI), the questions I have are:

1) Whether to use a SSD for the OS Drive or not. Sure, they blaze, but they have limited R/W life that I'm concerned about the constant demands of the OS chewing up.

2) How many drives are adequate for feature length editing capability? Is 7200rpm enough or should I have 1 or more at 10K? What type of RAID array is best suited for this type of work?

3) How much GPU do I need? I've seen some write ups go with as little as a 256MB card, claiming that CPU and RAM are the things most utilized in rendering. However, AVID's site recommends a Quadro FX 3800... quite a difference.

Thanks in advance for any and all insights!

Approximate Purchase Date: 2-3mos.

Budget Range: 2-3000 Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: AVID Media Creator 5, AfterEffects, ProTools 9

Parts Not Required: none

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Pricewatch, NCIX or any others I'm not aware of...

Country of Origin: U.S.

Parts Preferences: by brand or type Intel i7 CPU w/dual monitor and SLI capability

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes - although 2nd card can be added in future

Monitor Resolution: Full 1080p

Additional Comments: Quiet as possible w/ good quality speakers for ProTools work and at least one, if not both, high grade monitor(s) for color correction. AVID site recommends a Quadro FX3800 with a quad-core based system, but not sure how essential that is. Initial thoughts were based on (2) GTX460 1GB cards in SLI.

Some previously considered parts:

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX

Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601950

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7T-12GBRH

Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V version 2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply

Dell UltraSharp U2410 (464-7346) Black 24" 6ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 400 cd/m2 1000:1
7 answers Last reply
More about build advice avid protools editing station 3000
  1. in 2-3 monyhs there may be a change in the pricing of all these products
    so ask before 2-3 weeks
  2. watch sandy bridge coming out next week. In the 'best gaming CPU for the money' article a few days back, Toms dropped a big hint:

    Intel's next-generation design is expected to have a significant impact on the processor landscape, especially as it pertains to media encoding/decoding (Ed.: I wish I could say more at this point, but it'll be big; trust me).

    Sounds like you WILL want this processor for your build, regardless.
  3. Ok... after a bit more research, I've put together the following build for about $2000. The focus here is on an AVID Media Composer-ready machine with a secondary gaming purpose.

    Parts list is as follows:

    Windows 7 Pro OEM

    Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB

    Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz

    COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) (May add a 2nd kit)

    EVGA 01G-P3-1380-KR GeForce GTX 460 (Will be adding a 2nd in SLI)

    MSI P67A-GD65 LGA 1155 Intel P67

    Antec TruePower New TP-750 Blue 750W

    Using existing Antec Nine Hundred case and DVD/CD-RW drive along with Caviar Blue 7200rpm 500GB as secondary storage.

    Anyone have any thoughts or see any potential issues?

    Thanks in advance!
  4. wow. Zombie thread is resurrected from the dead! :o :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Overall it looks pretty good.

    However, Instead of $274 for the single 600 GB drive, pay $55 for a 1 TB Samsung Spinpoint F3, and buy a 90-100 GB SSD with the rest

    SATA 6Gb/sec is wasted on a mechanical drive.
  5. Suggestions


    You should get 1600 RAM for your build. Here's the same CAS 7 timing GSKILLS in 1600 flavor. A little more expensive at $160


    Get the Corsair 750HX. Better PSU for the same price after MIR.


    Get the ASUS P8P67 Pro. Much better motherboard for the same price. Actually a bit cheaper if you get the combo deal ($20 off):


    Don't bother getting a 460. It's old tech, especially since you have to pay a HUGE premium to get the stock overclocked EVGA ones. Just pay the extra $50 and get the 560. It's a full 30% better than the 460 in most situations. That's way more future proof, especially as you're looking to SLI.

    @nd ScrewySqrl's suggestion about dropping the Veloci. Just get a SSD for your boot/apps/scratch and a 1TB samsung for everything else.
  6. @Neo: So basically, redo the entire build other than the CPU and OS. :P

    j/k.. actually the ASUS board was my first choice, but out of stock at the time. I also considered the 560/470 angle having recently read the article on the Ti, but with Financial Aid currently footing the bill, that extra $50 on each card is $100 on a limited amount of funds better spent elsewhere at the moment, imho.

    Also - is the % performance increase from 1333 to 1600 really worth the extra $60/kit? Where am I most likely to see those gains? It was my impression that for the apps I'm looking toward that CPU was the most important (and this chip should be easily OC'able to at least 4Ghz) The kits you mention list P55 compatibility which has me wondering if they are designed/optimized for P67...

    @Screwy: Zombie

    Your point kind of goes back to some of my questions in the original post. Granted, I know very little about SSD technology at present, but I'm a bit leery of anything with a defined lifespan. The "limited write" concept has me a little nervous that I'll wind up having to replace the drive in 6 mos to a year if I'm doing lots of gaming / editing. Also - why do you say 6Gb/s is wasted on a mechanical drive - even at 10K rpm? *waits to be edjumucated*

    Thanks for the replys - I'm learning a great deal from this site and look forward to learning more :D
  7. the limited lifespan of an SSD is 3-5 years, so no worries about it dying 6 months in. By then you should be replacing the PC anyway.

    as for Sata 6Gb/sec, even at 10,000 RPM, a mechanical drive gets nowhere near the 3 Gb/sec of SATA 2, nevermind SATA 3. That $275 drive gets a throughput around 82 Mb/Sec, while a 7200 RPM Samsung F3 1TB gets about 72 Mb/sec

    the difference between DDR3-1333 and DDR3-1600 is about 1% on benchmarks, and about .05 to .1 fps in most games.
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