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Building a video-editing rig

Last response: in Systems
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April 26, 2011 12:03:47 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: within two weeks

Budget Range: $1200-2000 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: video editing, net surfing,

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (e.g.: newegg.com

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Sandy Bridge CPU

Overclocking: probably not

SLI or Crossfire: don’t think so

Monitor Resolution:, 1600x1200

Additional Comments:, I treasure quiet and reliable.

Here’s the deal. I’m retired from teaching criminal justice in a university, but help out my wife with her YouTube cooking channel (bettyskitchen). We have shot over 900 videos in the past two years and three months, so it’s turned into a quite a cottage industry for us. We make some money from Adsense, not crazy money, but enough to justify some equipment purchases (and it’s deductible).

I hate to admit it, but so far, we have been shooting on a Canon point-and-shoot in standard def. My wife has been editing the vids with Windows Moviemaker on her three-year old Dell running 32-bit Vista.

I plan to take over the editing chores to relieve her of that duty. These finished videos generally run about 10 minutes, with a maximum of 20 and some shorter than 10. I would like to make them a bit more polished and professional than they have been with our limited equipment and expertise and don’t mind investing some time and money toward that end.

After some research, I recently bought a Panasonic HTC-TM700 video camera and a shotgun mike to upgrade to high-def. Like our old camera, the Panasonic writes to SD cards, but, unlike it, outputs in AVCHD, which creates a problem. Moviemaker won’t handle that sort of file. Also, I’m pretty sure the specs on her computer would make for an excruciating editing process even if it did. I’m thinking that either Adobe Premier or one of the Sony Vegas packages would serve nicely for the editing jobs I have in mind.

Okay, time for a new rig. I have built some computers in the past and feel reasonably comfortable doing so. I think I can design and assemble a system that would out-perform anything I can buy for the same money. I have been doing more research and have come up with the following blueprint:

CPU Intel Core i7-2600 3.4GHz (Sandy Bridge)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Everybody’s sweetheart now. Notice it’s not the overclocking version since I cherish reliability and long life over wringing the last bit of performance possible, and the stock cooler should do fine. Or is this a mistake and am I missing a bet by not clocking?

MOBO ASUS p6X58D-E
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Since I don’t plan to overclock, so this may be more than I need.

GPU EVGA GeForce GTX 460
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Low power draw leads to cool, quiet running. Dual head.

PSU OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It’s modular and should handle the load (Newegg calculator says 530 watts is ample for this equipment).

RAM Kingston HyperX12 GB (3 x 4GB) DDR3 SDRAM 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It’s the only 12 GB pack approved by ASUS and apparently that board is fussy.

OS drive OCZ Vertex 2 60GB SSD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This should easily contain the OS and a few other programs, right?

Storage HDs not sure what size, probably two WD 7200 units. Big is cheap now.

Optical drive(s) I don’t plan on writing to BlueRay so anything might do. Mistake?

Case probably Antec 300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Lots of quiet cooling potential and cheap. Only concern is that the bottom mount for PSU might keep some cables from reaching.

Monitor(s) I have some options already, will see how they work out before worrying about buying new ones.

OS Win7 64-bit, either Home Premium or Professional. Does it matter?
Editing software As stated previously, Adobe Premiere or (most likely) Sony Vegas, probably the Platinum version, although I would be open to other suggestions.


The total price for this rig should come in south of $1500. I am not really constrained by a budget figure,
just shooting for the sweet spot where throwing more money at it doesn’t really enhance performance
much. I’m not a gamer, but imagine this machine would hold its own nicely on most should some weird
second childhood grip me.

I’m turning to you guys for your hard-earned wisdom. Is this rig balanced? See any weaknesses? Any
thoughts will be appreciated.

Best solution

April 26, 2011 12:48:27 AM
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April 26, 2011 1:44:56 AM

2303336,2,605729 said:
You need a socket 1155 mobo

And right your are, sir. Not sure how I let that error creep in, but you have already saved me considerable hassle. I think I must have been influenced by a build discussion of the VideoGuys where they were touting that board as the best thing going for editing when coupled with a Sandy Bridge precursor, but obviously things have changed with Sandy. So, back to the drawing board, but your suggested MOBOs look good.

I also liked your HD suggestions.

Re the video card--and this is up for discussion to whomever is willing to chime in--I understand that gobs of video card power isn't required for video editing, but you do need to take some of the heavy lifting off the CPU for best results, right? Maybe the GTX 460 is overkill, though. I would love some suggestions from anyone who knows more than I, meaning pretty much anybody.

Also, the RAM that you suggest adds up to 8GB. I would like to hear from anyone with an opinion as to the amount that would be desirable for this application.

Thank you, Mosox, for your time and trouble in straightening me out.
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May 13, 2011 12:13:19 PM

honestly, for your rig i would recommend this and save you some money.

1. Go with the 2600K and get the intel HD300 Graphics. No $100 plus graphics card needed. The reason Nvidia gfx card was recommended was for Cuda. Also, understand most people on these forums play Video Games that need major cards to keep up with their frame rates. For editing, HD3000 will be enough (worse comes to worse you can buy one later, but I doubt it). Read this excellent article for your own decision: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/video-transcoding-a...

2. Get the newly released Z68 mother board so you will be able to use the your new processors Quicksync capabilities. This is a game changer. Video Guys do not update their stuff frequent enough unfortunately.

3. Your sandy bridge CPU and Motherboard will not accept 12GB of RAM. It will take 4, 8, or 16 to work efficiently. I won't explain (except RAM needs matching pairs). Go with me and just get 16GB (it's so cheap these days and you can use what you saved on your gfx card on this). Stick with a name brand. You don't need to go exotic. A good deal is around $150; don't spend more than $200.

4. I would highly highly recommend a larger SSD OS drive if you do much more than editing. At the least it'll be great for output or scratch files. 90GB Vertex 2 (32nm) is a great option. 120+ even better.

5. Storage drives. If you are alright with it, get a couple Samsung Spinpoints 1TB and put them in RAID 1. It'll double as quasi-backup (if you don't put your editing computer on the internet). I think you'll be safe as long as you keep the virus' away. I think you can get these drives for no more than $65 a piece so they're a bargain as well as high performing. The only issue i have with 1TB+ drives (though to keep it simple it may be totally fine) is it seems their reliability goes down--hence, the 2 1TB in RAID 1.

6. Consider another drive for a cheap "Rendered" or output/ media drive and keep it separate from your source footage.

If you're feeling a little more exotic or want food for thought on that SSD, check out this I just came across. I have no benchmarks so I can't verify: http://www.maximumpc.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=111...
RAID 5 would only be a good thing with 3 Samsung Spinpoints--I'd only be considering heat in your Antec 300 case. Maybe if you sprung for the 300 Illusion case which comes with 2 more case fans it would help?

Best of luck, Nathan
!