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Budget PC for Editing 4k Footage

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July 16, 2012 4:00:43 PM

After editing on MAC since 2005, I am switching back to PC based editing. I'm an independent filmmaker and I shot my last feature and short on a Canon 5D, but I'm planning on shooting future projects in 2K or 4k resolution and editing in Premiere CS6 or Lightworks. I don't have a problem waiting on renders - the difference between waiting an hour versus 45 minutes with a better processor/video card isn't worth hundreds of dollars to me. I also realize that I won't be able to edit 4k footage "realtime" without special hardware. As long as I can edit and work with the footage at 1/4 or 1/2 quality, I'll be fine as long as the system allows me to output the final version at full resolution.

Originally I was looking at spending around $3000 to put a system together (including the monitor), but realized that 1.)the more money I save up to put into a computer, the less I will be able to spend on shooting my next film this fall 2.) The next generation of processors is hypothetically coming out in 9 months to a year and 3.)I'm just really ready to not be on MAC anymore (currently have a base imac running Intel core duo 3ghz with 4gb ram and a crappy video card). I think it's a shame to spend 3k on a system right before new processors come out, but at the same time, I will need something to edit on later this year.

My thought was to build a "budget" system for $1400-$1500 (monitor included) and then once the new processors come out, build a more substantial system late next year.

I've been doing a ton of research online the last few weeks, but still have questions on some of the hardware choices. I'm planning on having 16GB ram since it's so cheap, but I'm still indecisive on the processor, video card, and whether or not to have an SSD boot disk - all decisions that could affect my build to the tune of hundreds of dollars.

In an ideal world we'd all have the top of the line, but what I'm looking for is what's good enough without having lag or stutter at lower viewing resolutions.

Processor: i5 or i7? I was reading in another forum that lots of guys were editing red code with i5's just fine - able to edit the native files in premiere at 1/4 quality prerender or full quality post render.

Video Card: I was looking at the EVGA 02G-P4-2678-KR GeForce GTX 670 FTW 2GB, but at $419 there are certainly some decent options at half that price. At the same time, i know CS6 potentially relies more heavily on the CUDA cores for acceleration than the processor. What video cards might be cheaper alternatives?

SSD for boot: How much of difference does this really make in application boot and speed? It's a nice option, but I would want a 256GB drive so that I didn't have to worry about what applications I could and could not install at a given point in time - so this would run me an extra $200-$250.

I already have a raid array set up for editing, so that's not a part of this equation.

Thanks and looking forward to your suggestions.

More about : budget editing footage

July 16, 2012 4:19:31 PM

1. i7 will be better for CS6 because of Hyper-Threading.

2. The GTX 670 is a good choice overall because of CUDA, but if you want to use more than 3 monitors at once, you should get an AMD card like the 7970. Some models of the 7970 supports 6 monitors right out of the box.

Fill out this form and I'll come up with a build:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/353572-31-build-upgra...
July 16, 2012 4:40:29 PM

Thanks!

I realize that an i7 would obviously be better... but my real question is an i5 good enough.

To clarify, i will only be using a single 27" monitor - I've never been a fan of dual + monitors. Are there any other Nvidia based cards that are cheaper than the GTX 670, but still substantial enough to pull this off?
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July 16, 2012 5:16:34 PM

brittpitre said:
Thanks!

I realize that an i7 would obviously be better... but my real question is an i5 good enough.

To clarify, i will only be using a single 27" monitor - I've never been a fan of dual + monitors. Are there any other Nvidia based cards that are cheaper than the GTX 670, but still substantial enough to pull this off?


The i7 is worth the $100, although an i5 works fine... if you had a $3000 budget I would've suggested an i7-3930K and an X79 motherboards. They are monsters with 6 cores/12 threads of processing power.

Nvidia doesn't have any new cards in the $250-350 range, but you could get an older card such as the GTX 570. Or you could wait for the GTX 660 Ti to come out, but that would take a few months.

If you want to go with AMD, the 7850 is a good choice for $250.
July 16, 2012 5:18:26 PM

You will probably want a professional video card unless you're planning to have the machine double up as a gaming rig.
July 16, 2012 5:25:48 PM

I do game at home as well. What do you mean by professional card?
July 16, 2012 5:37:43 PM

brittpitre said:
I do game at home as well. What do you mean by professional card?


Nvidia has a line of cards called Quadro that is meant only for professional use. They benefit from the special drivers used for them. However, they are much more expensive and a Geforce card is a much better deal.
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