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Video/Picture/3D rendering computer

Last response: in Systems
June 12, 2012 7:21:33 PM

I have a close friend that has asked about a good video editing computer. I only build gaming systems so this is new territory for me. I figured I would ask my trusted Tom’s Hardware community for their opinion.

He states: “The two major programs are Adobe Premiere CS6 and Adobe After Effects CS6.
The biggest thing I need is to be able to render videos faster and edit multiple source HD videos. Secondary programs that we use include Photoshop, Illustrator, Encore and Audition.
I’d also like to eventually move into 3D modeling and design. Maybe a program like Nuke.”

I wanted to see what hardware would be best for this. Budget is 2-3k. Obviously the cheaper the better. I have some questions.

Intel or AMD?

I know Intel is ruling the scene right now, but in something like this would say a quad core 2600K be better or would an AMD 8 core be better because there are more cores? Or would maybe a server type processor be better?

What chipset would be best?

Video card? GTX? Quaddro?

In using something like this would Lucidlogix Virtu come in handy?

What would an appropriate amount of ram be?I know with gaming 8GB of 1600mhz ddr3 is plenty. However I’m sure something like this can be much more demanding.

Would an SSD make much of a difference when rendering videos? Should we just get a small (128gb) boot drive? Or would a larger drive (512gb) be more beneficial.

Of course my first inclination was Ivy Bridge with a Z77 or a Sandy Bridge E with X79.

What do you all suggest? Please help.
June 12, 2012 9:47:28 PM

From my understanding if money is no object then it's up with the multi cpu Opteron and Xeon boards, next best thing are the old Gulftown 6 core i7's, then on to sockets 1155/2011.
I myself use a 2600k with 16Gb aram for 3dsMax, CAD, After effects, PS ect I can't say I struggle... I open and close programs a lot and I also run then at the same time, so Ive found and SSD invaluable, especially with large media banks. An SSD will have absolutely no impact on render times though, RAM and processing power do that.
As far as GPUs, you want a decent quadro, they are expensive... AMB alternatives are the ATIFirePro range, I've never used them so I can't comment.

As far as AMD vs Intel, pick a side... In my opinion they've dropped the ball in recent times but there are masses who'll disagree. Then again I think Apple is fruity and overpriced and they make a fortune...

In all seriousness though, if you are spending serious money on a dedicated work horse, you shouldn't be messing around with overclocking or hype. You should be looking at a Xeon processor, they are the pick of the litter from intel (literally). If you can find something like and Intel Q67 board that would be nice, rare though... Basically you're looking for processing power and as much ram as you can get into it, while keeping it cool enough to work under load for extended periods of time.
June 12, 2012 11:34:37 PM

Some expensive X79 Mobo
7870 CrossfireX
Tons of RAM
A power-hungry PSU
June 13, 2012 12:08:19 AM

Yer bud should be really careful investing $3k in a CS6 rig these days. My inclination would be to spend much, much less.

Check out the FX-8120/Asus M5A99X 990X AM3+ Combo for $270.

A $100 SSD for your OS/Apps. The rest is up to you. You have 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports (and 4 more SATA 3Gb/s).

4 X Spinpoint F3 1TB HDDs are $320. You could RAID a capture/scratch with a separate RAID for output. That should snap things up a bit.

I'd start with a FirePro V4900 for $160.

That's $850.

OpenCL and OpenGL compute is starting to roll. Observe the landscape for a few months and try to comprehend where we will be in the Spring of 2013. At a minimum, AMD "next gen" GCN compute cores will be mainstream and the Kaveri APU should be out. Haswell will be coming onto market and nVidia compute will improve.

Any of which should drive OpenCL and OpenGL compute to near-exponential levels above today's performance, putting a big dent in that $3k investment.