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Specialised rig question

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May 10, 2012 1:08:47 PM

Hello everyone,

Now first all I thank you for your replies on my last post. I ended up upgrading my E8400 to a Q9300 and it did make a difference when video editing on Vegas, Premiere as well as Photoshop and AfterEffects.

However my rig is not purpose built for video editing, and I am hesitant to convert it because that would leave me with my backup machines for illustration and other work when the rig is encoding or processing effects on a scene.

Here are the systems I have as well as their respective use :

Main workstation
Q9300 @ 3.2 gHz
6 GB (2 x 2 gb + 2 x 1 gb DDR 6400)
500 gb 7200 RPM 16 mb cache OS HDD
1 tb 7200 RPM 32 mb cache (files/projects)
500 gb 7200 RPM 16 mb cache USB 2.0 (storage)
ATI HD3850 512 mb GDDR3
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Software Used :
Photoshop CS4
Premiere CS4
AfterEffects CS4
Vegas Pro 11
Ableton Live 8.1
ArtRage Pro 3.5
Toon Boom Studio 4.5
TVPaint 9 Pro

Very light gaming, only free MMOs available on Steam (not a factor when building a system)
Illustrations, drawings @300DPI, up to A0 size
Video editing, live action up to 720p@25 fps
Video animation at 1080p@25 fps, animated digital paintings style (no simple coloring)
Music composition

Backup system
Athlon x2 4400 @stock speed (2.2 gHz I think)
4 gb DDR2 5300 ram (4 x 1gb)
250 gb 16 mb cache 7200 RPM HDD
Geforce 8300GS 256 mb
Windows Vista Business 64 bits

All the same software as main system

Almost no gaming, for use when main rig is encoding, but mostly relegated to viewing final output as the backup machine is connected to a TV

Other systems
Athlon 64 3000 /2 GB / 2 x 40 gb HDD/ 5200FX - old Adobe Premiere editing rig
P4 HT desktop replacement notebook - video preview (helps me optimise my streams for older systems)
Atom n270 netbook - for writing my scripts on the go (Celtx) as well as doing low res sketches
Atom n270 nettop - no idea why I bought it, but hey it was 50€ on eBay... I use it to do my writing as it has a higher resolution than the netbook and consumes less power than both the backup and main systems

_____________

So I have been doing some reading, and I realise I need to have a harddrive configuration for video editing : 3 HDDs, one for OS, one for the source files and one for the final output.

The thing is, the Athlon x2 just won't cut it for the work I am now doing, specially after effects. I can draw my animation frames and to the preliminary line animation sketches, but anything more than that just stresses it. I need something with the same power or greater as my main rig.

So I have two choices, given my budget :


Option 1 : Buy a G41 mobo (I know they don't overclock well, but it will overclock enough), 8 gb ddr3 ram, a simple case with a 550W PSU, 3 HDDS 1 tb 32 m cache 7200 RPM, a GT440 or GTS 450 card (GDDR5) and migrate my q9300 there, and OC it to 3 gHz. The old rig will then get the E8400 OC'ed @ 4gHz, which will allow me to do more more than the athlon while the Q9300 is encoding. The Q9300, when not encoding, will be the main work machine, with only work software installed. Cost of such upgrade : 320€ to 390€

Option 2 : Build a Phenom II X6 1045T system, with same number of HDDs, 16 gb DDR3 ram, same case and PSU, same gfx card and a 970 series mobo (don't remember the model, I'm not at home). In this case, the gfx is optional. Cost of such upgrade : 440€ to 540€ (which at max is 80€ overbudget).

In either scenario, the main rig will be the main work machine as well as the encoding machine, where the new backup system will be used to creating additional content only when the machine will be processing a scene. Granted, having a Q9300 as a secondary work system would be better over the E8400, but those extra 120€-150€ could be used to buy extra equipment (I need a midi keyboard for composing, as well as a printer)

So this is directed towards video editing pros and enthusiasts that work doing animations and/or use after effects a lot. Will the extra money I spend guarantee I get a much better system for my animation needs? Please understand, i5, i7, and FX (the 8 core rigs) are way beyond my budget, I am already stretching it thin as it is spending 300-540€ more. Also, keep in mind that this is my first production so think back to when you started out as well, I am making the best I can with what I have or can get. I can manage with my current builds, but I need to spend less time waiting for the scenes to process. Also, 1055T - 1100T are out of the question as they are way too expensive here in France, whereas the 1045T is 110€ and can be overclocked quite a bit.

I thank you in advance for your responses.

More about : specialised rig question

a b B Homebuilt system
May 10, 2012 3:04:00 PM

I am not a specialist in any of your fields however I do build and upgrade a lot of computers. You can get a new z68 or z77 board an i7 and 16gbs of ram for around $500-$600 (U.S.).

You might be better served to just spend a bit of money now and go big rather than spending a small amount of money on out dated tech and not being happy with your results.

Even with a new board I think you might struggle to get your chip to 3.0 and even if you do you might be disappointed in the performance lift.
Related resources
May 10, 2012 4:14:15 PM

I considered that, you know - Moving my q9300 to a cheap case then using buying a just two hard drives instead of three and repurposing the 32mb cache hdd as part of the build. Thing is, unlike in the Americas, components tend to keep their value longer, even when newer tech is available, which is very annoying.

The best place to buy online or offline if you live in France is TopAchat so their prices are :
Processeur Intel Core i7 2600K (3.4 GHz) - 269,85 €
Carte mère ASRock Z77 Pro4-M - 94,99 € (not in stock, must wait)
-or-
Carte mère ASRock Z68 Pro3 Gen3 - 89,90 € (in stock)
Kit Quad Channel DDR3 Corsair XMS3, 4 x 4 Go, PC3-10600, CAS 9 - 74,90 €
Total 434.65€ - 439.74€ (depending on the motherboard)
Now I can get two 1.5 TB 7200 RPM 32 Mb Cache for 139.98€, but that is a total of 579.72€... that would put me in the red, albeit it would give me a full HD solution...

One thing I could do is open up the external HDD enclosure and use the HDD inside, which would require me buying only one extra HDD, that brings down the price to a little over 500€. My concern is that the hard drive has a 16 mb cache and thus risks slowing things down. I COULD offset it by setting it as my source files drive, as the read speeds would be greater than the write speeds (I'm assuming, would have to read on that), so that both 32 mb drives are set up as the OS and cache drive (1 tb) and output file drive (1.5 tb). I'd set up the smaller hard drive as the OS drive (the 16 mb cache drive is 500 gb) but I'm concerned that the 16 mb cache will limit the productivity. Heck, if the flood in Thailand hadn't happened I would not be having this problem...

I'll try to sell my E8400 (someone wants it for 70€) and I have a small video contract which should give me about 180€, so thats 250€ that serves offset the upgrade costs, but only if I get that amount. If it were sure I wouldn't even doubt getting the i7 build.
May 10, 2012 4:20:01 PM



Nice prices... but .de, that is Germany, right ? I'll have to find out if taxes are applicable (I think there aren't since its part of the european economic spaces or something like that, translating the name from french).

True that the FX 8xxx are at least 120€ cheaper than the i7 counterparts, and the one thing they do excel in is video editing... since this is a purpose machine, that suits me...

Back to the price calculating!!!
a b B Homebuilt system
May 10, 2012 4:24:17 PM

osherono said:
Nice prices... but .de, that is Germany, right ? I'll have to find out if taxes are applicable (I think there aren't since its part of the european economic spaces or something like that, translating the name from french).

True that the FX 8xxx are at least 120€ cheaper than the i7 counterparts, and the one thing they do excel in is video editing... since this is a purpose machine, that suits me...

Back to the price calculating!!!

There's only shipping to consider within EU, I live in Finland and I've bought hardware from Germany before because their prices are the best.
May 10, 2012 7:53:56 PM

FinneousPJ said:
There's only shipping to consider within EU, I live in Finland and I've bought hardware from Germany before because their prices are the best.


Is shipping expensive? Because if so, prices are pretty much the same as TopAchats..

Anyway, this is the prospective rig I'm looking at buying (more like a kit) :
FX-8120 159.80€
16 GB Quad channel Corsair XMS3 4 x 4 GB 74.90€
Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 (has integrated HD3000 graphics, which should do for now as I believe a GT440 will more than likely hold back the FX) 59.90€
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB (I'm only getting one as I will use two of my hard drives) 79.90€
Simple Case with 550W PSU (I'll move the Q9300 and older components there) 30.90€
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 CPU fan/heatsink 18,90€ x 2 (I don't want to use the stock cooler on the FX, and since I'm moving my Q9300 rig to a simple case I which has no fans on it I want the CPU to be better ventilated, plus the stock 775 fan is getting old) 37.80€

Total Cost - 443.10€

If I replace the FX with a 1045T - 403.20€

I'm tempted to "save" 40€ but something tells me i'd regret it. A 2600k rig would cost me 140€ more, which may not seem much, but at near 600€ total cost... I can not afford to spend that much. For video editing the fx-8120 is between-ish the 2500k and 2600k, and I figure if I'm satisfied with gaming on the q9300, heck, all I need down the road is a gts450 to upgrade my HD3850 and I'd be set. My max resolution is 1440 x 900 anyway when gaming.

I'm open to suggestions though. Just keep in mind this machine will be used for the sole purpose of creating animated films and short documentaries...
a b B Homebuilt system
May 10, 2012 8:02:49 PM

IMO that seems great for what you intend to do with it. I'd definitely go with the FX8 as this is the one area where it offers best price per performance.

It is probably easiest to order from France if you can get a good deal. I just used that site to show it's possible.
May 10, 2012 8:32:19 PM

Only concern I have is that there is the risk of the motherboard not supporting the FX processor if the Bios is too old. I'd have to find someone with an AM3 processor just to update it in that case or pay a tech to update it or just buy a sempron, which would be very hard to resell afterwards :/ 
a b B Homebuilt system
May 10, 2012 8:37:25 PM

Check the Asus website for info
May 11, 2012 5:51:06 PM

Did that, I guess I have to call TopAchat and ask if they know which bios revision they are selling.
May 11, 2012 6:10:00 PM

Speaking of which, the site you mentionned, do they speak english or just german? I moght give them a call and place my order on the phone, as they seem to have better prices shipping included but I can't make out half the site because it is in german...
a b B Homebuilt system
May 11, 2012 11:26:59 PM

I figure there's got to be one person that speaks english...
!