Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

New Build: Hi-performance Image Editing

Last response: in Systems
Share
July 13, 2012 11:29:37 PM

First, thanks to everyone who has given me direction and advice on this forum - it's been a huge help. I've just bought the components for my new photo/video editing computer. Here's the specs:

1 Intel i7 3930K CPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 ASUS P9X79 DELUXE - LGA2011 - X79 - 8x DIMM - PCIe 3.0 Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (8 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 PC3 12800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 EVGA 025-P3-1579-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) HD 2560MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 Crucial M4 CT256M4SSD2 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2 Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 LG Black 14X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 12X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA BDXL Blu-ray Burner,3D Play Back
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 Antec Eleven Hundred Black Super Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750M 750W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Semi Modular
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1 XIGMATEK CCO-UCOIAB-U01 USB 3.0 Accessor Ultimate 5.25" Super-Speed Card Reader
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4 Enermax T.B.SILENCE 120mm PWM Twister Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4 Silverstone 120mm Case Fan Filter
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I hope I haven't overlooked anything or chosen any non-compatible components. I'd like to hear anyone's feedback, positive or negative. All of the components shouuld be here by Tuesday at the latest, so I hope to have the machine up and running by next weekend. Wish me luck.
July 13, 2012 11:44:55 PM

Hmm even though budget may be less on an issue i would double check if your software leverages on a GPU and/or if a workstation/pro class GPU/Drivers prolly net you the best gains ^^
July 14, 2012 1:06:22 AM

Thanks - I'm building now to last at least 3 years without an upgrade. Right now, I'm a bit beyond what PS CS6 needs, but I don't expect that to continue. I suspect by the time I'm ready to upgrade, I'll be a bit behind the PS curve.

One question for you or anyone else. What version of Windows 7 do I get? I've read that the OEM version isn't legal for home built computers. I've also read that if you change any of the hardware on your initial build, the OEM version becomes non-functional. If that's the case, then the full version might be better. Does anyone have a recommedation?
Related resources
July 14, 2012 3:23:22 AM

Windows 7 has memory limits on each version. Here they are, assuming you get the 64-bit build:

Windows 7 Starter: 2 GB (only available in x86, 32-bit)
Windows 7 Home Basic: 8 GB
Windows 7 Home Premium: 16 GB
Windows 7 Professional: 192 GB
Windows 7 Ultimate: 192 GB

Obviously if you get the 32-bit build, then you are limited to 4GB, no matter what version of Windows 7 you get.

This means you need to get either Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate. I have had a license for Ultimate since Windows 7 came out. I'm not sure that Ultimate really has any advantages over Professional that are worth more than $2, and only then if you speak some strange language... I think the only real benefit is the language packs, now. Vista Ultimate actually had some worthwhile benefits, which is why I sprang for 7 Ultimate. I was disappointed to find that they got rid of the neat free programs that were available to Vista Ultimate users.

So, my recommendation is that you just get Pro. You are legally allowed to use an OEM license so long as it is installed on a new computer system. Unfortunately, you generally have to buy the OEM copy from the retailer at the time when you buy a computer part. You may be forced to buy some peice of hardware at the same time as your copy of Windows 7 Pro OEM. Also, when you buy an OEM copy of Windows, it is permanently bound to that physical set of hardware. If you upgrade too far, then you have to buy a new OEM copy of Windows. Because of the way I slowly upgrade my PC, and how it may be a completely different computer, other than the chip itself, in a 2 year period, I buy the full retail copy of Windows, which you are allowed to use so long as it is only used on one physical system at a time (this is the way I understand it, anyway).
July 14, 2012 3:47:36 AM

I'm not sure I understad your point on memory. If I were to buy Windows 7 (64-bit), what would be the impact of 8GB limit you mention with the Home Basic and the 16GB with Home Premium? Does this mean that Windows could only access that much memory? Why would that be signficant? What would be the implications for other programs such as PhotoShop and/or Premiere Pro? They could still access the 32GB of RAM memory I'm installing, right?
July 14, 2012 3:51:05 AM

Yes, Windows will only be able to see 8GB for HB. You definitely want max memory using Premier Pro. I would suggest following their suggestions and set up a RAID array for the project files as well. You can use the 2 Seagates for the array.
July 14, 2012 4:49:45 AM

rcheek said:
I'm not sure I understad your point on memory. If I were to buy Windows 7 (64-bit), what would be the impact of 8GB limit you mention with the Home Basic and the 16GB with Home Premium? Does this mean that Windows could only access that much memory? Why would that be signficant? What would be the implications for other programs such as PhotoShop and/or Premiere Pro? They could still access the 32GB of RAM memory I'm installing, right?

That means that if you get Windows 7 Home Premium, then Windows will only be able to see 16GB of your RAM. If Windows can't see the memory, then it can't give the memory to the programs that want it. That means that if you install Home Premium on your computer, then it would be as if you only had 16GB of RAM installed in your computer.
July 14, 2012 1:36:35 PM

So if I understand you correctly, if I opt for Windows Home Premium none of my software (Photoshop, Vegas, Premiere Pro, Lightroom) will be able to use more than 16GB of my RAM? Even if I have 32GB installed? Windows allocates memory to the programs, and Windows can only allocate memory it can use?

As for the RAID array, I'll have to check into that. I'm not sure what it means. Would I still be able to use the two 3TB HDDs for file storage? That's my intent. How does the RAID array work in terms of speed and memory?
July 14, 2012 1:49:56 PM

rcheek said:
So if I understand you correctly, if I opt for Windows Home Premium none of my software (Photoshop, Vegas, Premiere Pro, Lightroom) will be able to use more than 16GB of my RAM? Even if I have 32GB installed? Windows allocates memory to the programs, and Windows can only allocate memory it can use?
Exactly

rcheek said:

As for the RAID array, I'll have to check into that. I'm not sure what it means. Would I still be able to use the two 3TB HDDs for file storage? That's my intent. How does the RAID array work in terms of speed and memory?

You use both 3TB drives to create a single 6TB Volume. It acts like a single drive that you can put anything on, use it normally as a data drive. If both drives are connected to a 6GB SATA3 connection, you'll probably see a 40-60% speed increase in working with projects.

July 14, 2012 2:25:36 PM

My plan was to use the 3TB HDD drives for storage. The 256GB SSD would be my boot drive and hold software, including the OS. The 128GB SSD would be what Photoshop calls a "scratch drive" where actual work on files would take place. The HDDs would only be used for file storage, retrieval and saving. With this construct, would I see a noticable increase in speed with a RAID array, since I'd only be interacting with the HDDs to open an save files?

Also, I'm reading now about Windows 7 Pro and it seems that if I buy the full price version (not cheap!), I cannot install it on both my desktop and laptop. To do that, I'd need to buy TWO full versions. Is that a correct understanding? If so, it's awfully expensive. I know Microsoft wants to pre-empt theft and abuse of their product, but they risk alienating legitimate customers to marginally decrease the amount of theft. If this is an accurate reading, I won't be upgrading my laptop.
July 14, 2012 5:07:17 PM

rcheek said:
My plan was to use the 3TB HDD drives for storage. The 256GB SSD would be my boot drive and hold software, including the OS. The 128GB SSD would be what Photoshop calls a "scratch drive" where actual work on files would take place. The HDDs would only be used for file storage, retrieval and saving. With this construct, would I see a noticable increase in speed with a RAID array, since I'd only be interacting with the HDDs to open an save files?

Also, I'm reading now about Windows 7 Pro and it seems that if I buy the full price version (not cheap!), I cannot install it on both my desktop and laptop. To do that, I'd need to buy TWO full versions. Is that a correct understanding? If so, it's awfully expensive. I know Microsoft wants to pre-empt theft and abuse of their product, but they risk alienating legitimate customers to marginally decrease the amount of theft. If this is an accurate reading, I won't be upgrading my laptop.


There are two reasons that a person might want to configure their drives in a RAID array. One reason is to improve performance. The other is to improve protection and availability.

- A RAID0 array with striping uses the full storage space of all drives in the array and splits the data up amongst the drives. That means that when you read from or write to the array, you can do so at N times the speed of a single disk (where N is the number of drives in the array). So if you use those two drives, you read and write twice as fast. The danger in using a RAID0 striping array is that if one drive dies, you lose all the data on the whole array, so you are far more likely to lose your data if you use this type of array.
- A RAID1 array mirrors all the data from one hard drive to another hard drive. That means that you only get to use the storage space of one drive. So your two 3TB drives would end up as one 3TB RAID array. What this gives you is the security of knowing that if one drive dies, you still have all of your data on the other drive, and it also means that if one drive dies, your system can continue running because the other drive simply takes over for it. You may or may not gain any performance when using a RAID1 array. Most hardware controllers don't read data from both drives to give you added read performance, but if you are using Linux, the RAID system treats a RAID1 array as if it was a RAID0 array for the purposes of reading data. With a RAID1 array, writing performance is never improved.
- If you have 3 or more drives, you can improve performance AND security/availability with a RAID5 array. You can lose one drive in a RAID5 array and still have all of your data.
- If you have 4 or more drives in an even number, you can combine RAID0 and 1 into a RAID10 (sometimes called a RAID0+1) array. You get twice the performance of one drive, half the storage space of the total number of drives in the array, and the ability to lose one (or two, if you're lucky) drives in the array without losing any data.

RAID arrays become very expensive, because you are generally using them to gain some security. The only use for a RAID0 striping array is create a fast array for temporary data. The risk of losing all of your data when using this type of array is just too high to be used for permanent storage. I have four 1TB 7200rpm drives configured in a RAID10 array in my system. It performs extremely well and I don't have to worry as much about losing my music or anime collections. If you do decide to set up a RAID array, never treat it as if it is a replacement for backing up your data. You should still always back up your important data to another drive in case of a catastrophe.

Because you have an SSD as your boot drive, I don't see any reason to worry about the performance of your storage drives. If you want to configure them as a RAID1 array to protect your data, then that would be an excellent use of RAID, but it would mean that you only have 3TB of storage, rather than 6TB.
July 14, 2012 5:36:41 PM

Currently, I back up my image and video files weekly to external storage drives - a series of 2TB Seagates. I expect to continue that practice with the new machine. I'm also checking into cloud storage, but the upload times make it problematic. If I had a hard drive go down, I'd lose some of my work - but only one week's worth in the worst of cases.
July 14, 2012 6:12:57 PM

rcheek said:
Currently, I back up my image and video files weekly to external storage drives - a series of 2TB Seagates. I expect to continue that practice with the new machine. I'm also checking into cloud storage, but the upload times make it problematic. If I had a hard drive go down, I'd lose some of my work - but only one week's worth in the worst of cases.


That's a good practice, and it should be all you need to keep your work safe. You won't need the extra performance of a RAID array with your SSD configuration, either. The way you have it set up will serve you just fine.
July 14, 2012 7:31:46 PM

Actually, Adobe Premier Pro suggests using a RAID array for faster production. Your project files (could end up being hundred or thousands of audio and/or video clips- depending on the size of the project) are normally stored on a separate drive than the finished product - which means if your project files are stored on a RAID 0 array, your work in processing audio/video is twice as fast, as explained by NOBOX above.

Since you already have good procedure in backing up your data, I suggest creating an ARRAY with the 2 3TB drives as your Scratch Disk inside Premier Pro. That will give you the best performance for Photoshop and Premier Pro. You can do like you wanted with the other drives. I have a similar setup and use CS5.5 and Photoshop7.

Yes you would need a license for each computer to install Win7 on. Look into buying a bundle pack of 3 for less.
July 15, 2012 1:29:47 AM

dingo07 said:
Actually, Adobe Premier Pro suggests using a RAID array for faster production. Your project files (could end up being hundred or thousands of audio and/or video clips- depending on the size of the project) are normally stored on a separate drive than the finished product - which means if your project files are stored on a RAID 0 array, your work in processing audio/video is twice as fast, as explained by NOBOX above.

Since you already have good procedure in backing up your data, I suggest creating an ARRAY with the 2 3TB drives as your Scratch Disk inside Premier Pro. That will give you the best performance for Photoshop and Premier Pro. You can do like you wanted with the other drives. I have a similar setup and use CS5.5 and Photoshop7.

Yes you would need a license for each computer to install Win7 on. Look into buying a bundle pack of 3 for less.


He is already using a 128GB SSD as his scratch disk, and he has 32GB of RAM to let the software soak up. He has no need of the meager bit of performance you can get from doubling the transfer rate of a spinning disk. All that configuring his storage drives as a RAID0 striping array would get him is a loss of up to a week's worth of work and the annoyance and time required to restore a up to 6TB worth of lost data. That all hinges on the assumption that his backups aren't corrupted somehow and that they didn't fail to run as scheduled. Why anyone would ever throw away their important data storage drive just to squeak out an extra 80MB/sec of transfer rate is beyond me.

What he should do when working on a project is move the files required for that project to his 256GB SSD. When his project is complete, he can save it, and move it to his hard drives for storage. There is no reason to configure his hard drives into an array that doubles his chance of losing data.
July 15, 2012 1:36:30 AM

rcheek said:
Also, I'm reading now about Windows 7 Pro and it seems that if I buy the full price version (not cheap!), I cannot install it on both my desktop and laptop. To do that, I'd need to buy TWO full versions. Is that a correct understanding? If so, it's awfully expensive. I know Microsoft wants to pre-empt theft and abuse of their product, but they risk alienating legitimate customers to marginally decrease the amount of theft. If this is an accurate reading, I won't be upgrading my laptop.


Microsoft likes to take as much money from people who are scared to use Linux and can't afford to buy a Mac as possible. If you don't plan on upgrading your system very much (you plan on buying a new computer when this one no longer performs fast enough to do the work you need to do), then the OEM license makes perfect sense. I tend to upgrade my system continuously, buying a faster part every couple of months. I don't ever buy a whole new system, because I can never really afford to. That is why I bought the full retail license.
July 15, 2012 1:50:45 AM

I won't be buying a second version of Windows 7 Pro for my laptop, that's for sure. I'll be buying a new laptop in a year or so, and I"ll get that loaded with Windows 7 at that time. I anticipate keeping this configuration for 3 years before doing any real upgrades. Then, I'd like to upgrade to keep the basic set up for another 2 years before building a new computer from scratch.

I appreciate all of the information about the RAID array, and I've read more than I understand, I'm sure. But, for right now, I don't see the advantage in terms of speed. The majority of my work is on still image files, with the remainder on video files. Some of the video files are large, as are a few of the image files. But, none is so large that I can't park them on the 128GB SSD while I'm working on them, and then deposit them back on the Seagates when I'm done. So, I can't see the reason to risk the data loss with the array. My understanding is that a RAID 0 array makes a drive failure twice as likely as no array at all. I can't believe that the two Seagates in an array would be signficantly faster than the 128GB SSD.

The only other question I have is whether or not to install the old 1TB drive from my current machine into my new one. It holds all of my software. It would be easier to move the files from the old to the new drive than to re-install everything with serial numbers and production key codes. It seems like it would be easier to just install the old drive into the new machine, move the software files from the 1TB to the 256GB SSD, and then either use the 1TB as storage or remove it later. Granted, I've never done this nor have I talked to anyone who has. It may not even be possible or legal. Does anyone have any advice?

Is there anything I'm missing in this system? Does it need anything or want anything? I'd like to make sure anything I add gives me value for the expense.
July 15, 2012 2:21:41 AM

It, unfortunately, is not possible to just move your programs from one computer to another because so much information is hidden in a thousand or more places in the Windows registry. The only way to get those entries set up is to run the whole installer, then go back in and set everything up the way it was on the original system. Before you decommission your current system, you will have to tell Adobe that you are no longer using your licenses for each program or the suite on the original computer, otherwise the license will not be allowed to register on the new computer. There is a way to do this in the menu of the Adobe program that you are transferring, but I can't remember off the top of my head where the option is or what it is called. It is probably in the 'Help" menu, though. You may be able to find more info on how to transfer an Adobe license online somewhere.

It is actually really nice of Adobe to allow you to do this. A lot of programs don't have a method by which to transfer a license. With the way Adobe has done things, you don't have to bother contacting their customer support.
July 15, 2012 2:46:43 AM

This isn't a debate NOBOX, you clearly have no understanding of NLE (Non Linear Editing) software and how instensive the I/O is while editing.

rcheek, you've just (unfortunately IMO) been coerced into thinking RAID0 Will fail - when in fact it's highly unlikely within 3 years time that would be the case. Those Seagate drives are rediculously reliable. And you would be Amazed at the difference in speed between what's been suggested by NOBOX and a RADI0 setup.

Now, if you're just starting to get your feet wet in Premier Pro, then by all means just foreget about RAID all together.

Professionals use RAID setups because there's no other way to get it done faster. When Time=$$$$$ then people tend to lean towards faster methods of productivity.

Just my $0.02 and good luck with your build!
July 15, 2012 5:35:24 AM

dingo07 said:
This isn't a debate NOBOX, you clearly have no understanding of NLE (Non Linear Editing) software and how instensive the I/O is while editing.

rcheek, you've just (unfortunately IMO) been coerced into thinking RAID0 Will fail - when in fact it's highly unlikely within 3 years time that would be the case. Those Seagate drives are rediculously reliable. And you would be Amazed at the difference in speed between what's been suggested by NOBOX and a RADI0 setup.

Now, if you're just starting to get your feet wet in Premier Pro, then by all means just foreget about RAID all together.

Professionals use RAID setups because there's no other way to get it done faster. When Time=$$$$$ then people tend to lean towards faster methods of productivity.

Just my $0.02 and good luck with your build!


You haven't paying attention to the conversation, and you clearly haven't even looked at his list of parts or what he said he plans to do with them.

He is buying a 128GB SATA3 SSD to use as a scratch disk, and to also use for temporary files.
He is also buying a 256GB SATA3 SSD to use as his OS/programs drive, which can be used as a secondary temporary files drive.
He is only planning on using the 3TB drives as storage.

He also said that he plans on copying the files that are going to be used while performing his editing to the 128GB SSD. He will transfer them back to his storage drives when the editing is complete.

Now I fully understand that when building a nice professional NLE system, you might want a multiple-drive RAID0 array using 7200rpm (or faster) disks. It even makes sense to buy an external RAID enclosure that uses fibre-channel drives and all that jazz. Unfortunately, it appears that two 3TB drives is the plan, and two 7200rpm drives is going to give you something along the lines of 150 to 200MB/sec if you forget about the silly burst rates that can happen if God loves you. It just strikes me as being worthless to add a higher chance of failure to a system when he is going to be using a pair of SSDs that are capable of somewhere between 400-550MB/sec without having to bother with any RAID.

If he wanted to build a RAID0 striping array, it makes no sense to waste money on 3TB drives, either. He could get 1TB drives and build a much faster array out of 6 drives than two 3TB drives. It is just a waste of time, effort and money these days to build RAID arrays for performance reasons when SSDs have become so much cheaper. It makes more sense to use the SSDs for temporary storage while the files are in use, then move the files off to the slow spinning disk drives for permanent, safe storage.




!