Here’s my story. After working for more than 30 years as a carpenter, several years ago I decided I needed a change and went back to school to learn Video Editing. The school I went to has more than 80 workstations (all 8-core Mac Pro’s) and as long as it doesn’t interfere with classes, they let me use their facilities whenever I want. I prefer to work with Avid, but I can also use Final Cut.
But recently a friend of mine gave me an Avid Media Composer V3.0 new in the box. So it’s time I put together my own workstation. To get the computer I want at a price I can afford, I’ve decided to do my own build.
I figure if I can satisfy Avid’s minimum requirements, then CS4, Toon Boom and others should be okay too. Here are the Avid minimums from their website:
# Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz processor or faster
# Memory: 4 GB of RAM (6 GB of RAM recommended for Windows 7 and Windows Vista)
# Graphics Card: NVIDIA Quadro FX family3 (FX 560 or higher)
# Internal Hard Drive: Minimum 80 GB 7200 rpm hard disk
Being the minimums, I’d like to beat them wherever I can. I have a budget (before software) of $1200. After I’ve bought mouse, keyboard, and a used Wacom Intuos pad, I’m left with about $900.
Approximate Purchase Date: Before the end of August 2011
Budget Range: Under $900, anything less would be greatly appreciated and used for needed software.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Video editing, cartoon animation, storyboarding, the usual stuff. (I’m not a gamer - games freak me out, like hyperventilating into a paper bag before I even finish the training level.).
Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, Wacom Intuous pad.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com. But a local brick-and-mortar outfit - Fry’s - is guaranteeing to beat any internet price on any part. And no shipping. Sales tax is extra of course (8.5% in CA) but dealing with a human being (even a greasy sales-type) has its perks.
Country of Origin: USA
Parts and OS Preferences: Avid only works with Intel CPU’s and NVidia GPU’s. Avid MC3 only runs on XP pro, not Windows 7. Someday I’ll upgrade, probably when Avid releases MC6, and then I’ll need a 64 bit OS as well as some new parts.
Here are the choices I’ve come up with so far. I’m not sure if these parts are totally compatible with each other.
600 has more CUDA cores
FX 580 uses GDDR3 compared to 600's DDR3
[GDDR3 will probably not strain the card and achieve slightly higher performance]
600 is DirectX11 and have a FSAA (max) of 64x
FX 580 is Directx 10 with 16x for FSAA
600 mentions support for 3D while FX580 does not
I' have built video editing work stations for video editing enthusiasts and when they arrive with their parts list, most have pretty definitive opinions on what they want and, for the most part it's driven by advice from their app vendor. Minimum system requirements usually leaves people abit "wanting" ince they try and accomplish what they want to do with it.
Given the preceding, and not knowing the app well, I'd hazard a guess that your proposed build list may be a bit "light". Many video peeps still want 1366 based platforms for triple channel memory access and most are using processors just 1 notch, maybe two, below the top of the line. 8GB is the minimum RAM usually considered with most going 16 GB and some higher. I have not built one video editing workstation yet where hyperthreading (HT) wasn't a stated requirement. Storage usually involves Seagate XT Hard Drives and the latest / fastest SSD's, often in RAID.
Here's an alternate system w/ a 2600k (Hyperthreading significantly benefits video editing) with a $77 combo discount with comparable quality components.
Starting a 2nd career, undoubtedly you have a tight budget so some sacrifices are necessary. Saving money now can have drastic impacts on your working efficiency ..... it's hard to compete when it takes you twice as long to accomplish something as the next guy. In the end, only you can decide where to go all out, where to compromise and where to skimp.
GFX - This is app dependent but many users prefer to buy the generally less expensive GTX rather than Quadro cards and unlock CUDA for CS4 / CS5. The 512 MB cards are going to be very slow in video editing. I have never installed a Quadro card that cost less then $450. And, I think you want to plan such that you have room for future upgrades.....by that I mean possibility of adding a 2nd card in SLI, adequate PSU size and case cooling.
CPU - Most video editing peeps want Hyperthreading and the best at that is the 2600k. At the very least for $30 more, I'd get the 2500k even though it has no HT.
MoBo - ASrock doesn't offer industry standard 3 year warantees. This would bother me. Again I'd opt for a SLI capable board "just in case" you find the speed crimp to much to bear. I'd suggest the Asus P8P67 Pro or ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z LGA