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Attempting to Build Best Encoding PC under $600

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July 22, 2012 7:17:12 AM

Hi all,

I am trying to put together the best encoding-only machine money can buy for under or around $600 (not including optical drives). I plan to be using it for ripping and encoding DVDs and Blu-rays (likely with Handbrake, and likely 3-4 encodes simultaneously). Now, if there's something I'm really missing, and I have to put in a few hundred to get there, I'm open to consideration. But from what I understand so far, as long as I am utilizing Intel's Quick Sync, I'm gonna be encoding at close to the highest speeds currently available.

Here's what I'm thinking:

CPU:
Intel Core i5-2500k - $220

Motherboard:
ASRock z77 Extreme4 - $125

Memory:
Pareema DDR3 1600 2 x 4GB - $40

Hard Drive:
Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 5900RPM SATA 6.0 - $100

Power Supply:
Rosewill Green Series RG630-s12 630W - $60

Case:
XCLIO Nighthawk Black Finish 0.6mm SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $60




Would love to hear people's thoughts. Thanks!!!
July 22, 2012 3:58:42 PM

Thanks for the suggestions--unfortunately I won't be pulling the trigger on this for a least a couple of weeks, so I'll take a look at the sales at that point. I'm also more concerned with the parts that will impact encoding speed specifically, so would love to hear people's thoughts on CPU / GPU / MOTHERBOARD / MEMORY.

Thanks!
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2012 4:20:51 PM

For $5 more you can get some RAM that is not complete garbage.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Why do you need such a massive PSU if you're not running a GPU? Also I would recommend looking into a Radeon HD 7000 series eventually. You can run any of them on a 500w PSU and their computation/$ is best on the market.
July 22, 2012 4:29:56 PM

Does Handbrake support Quick Sync? Last I checked it doesn't. A quick google search brings up lots of people asking, but nothing from the handbrake site mentioning it.

There's a chat log from earlier in the year where someone asks when they're going to add quick sync support. The reply is "don't hold your breath."
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2012 5:06:17 PM

The motherboard doesn't really help at all for encoding. Well... I guess the chipset would effect it because of Quick Sync if you use it but not by much.

Check out my $650 build here:
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
Drop the video card from my build (-160)
Switch to this PSU (-18)
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-430-Watt-Certified-Compat...
HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Upgrade the i5 3450 to the i7 3770K (+130)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 22, 2012 5:14:48 PM

Okay, good point on the ram. Will look into something better.

I see what you're talking about with Quick Sync in Handbrake -- I had read an Engadget article that said otherwise. However, DVDFab looks like it supports Quick Sync fully and has worked out all the kinks. So DVDFab it is.

So, for my Quick Sync setup, can anyone see some improvements, or is this pretty much as good as I can get it (with better choice of memory)?
July 22, 2012 5:17:59 PM

I need a bigger power supply because I will have as many as 8 DVD/Blu-ray drives and as many as 4-8 Hard Drives in this box down the road. I am building a encoding PC for converting huge media libraries and will be hotswapping loads of hard drives, and will be likely using many BD drives at once to rip discs.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2012 5:17:59 PM

I'd go with the extra memory or a better CPU. Personally I say go CPU as you can always add more RAM in later when you have money. But your choice.

I think 8GB would be enough, but this is just for a heavy video editor/photo editor. But doesn't mean it's the same while encoding. Though when I'm rendering/exporting out a video, 8GB seems fine paired with my i5 3570K.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2012 5:19:15 PM

rflusser said:
I need a bigger power supply because I will have as many as 8 DVD/Blu-ray drives and as many as 4-8 Hard Drives in this box down the road. I am building a encoding PC for converting huge media libraries and will be hotswapping loads of hard drives, and will be likely using many BD drives at once to rip discs.


I would try to include an i7 or Xeon on the budget then. i5 is good but you need some serious horsepower unless you mind spending loads of time on 1 blu-ray.
July 22, 2012 5:20:29 PM

aznshinobi -- as far as I understand it, the CPU doesn't take on much of the load when encoding or ripping when using Quick Sync. Please correct me if I'm wrong! I don't want to spend more money on CPU power I won't use. This will be exclusively an encoding/transcoding/ripping machine.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2012 5:21:18 PM

What takes on the load then? Something has to be processing the data...
July 22, 2012 5:27:03 PM

As far as I understand it, the GPU with Quick Sync takes on almost all of the load. I just read something that compared CPU only encoding, CUDA, and Quick Sync, and during the Quick Sync encoding, they said the processor was barely utilized. Wish I could find it--will look later and try to post a link.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2012 5:39:59 PM

rflusser said:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-core-i...

"But the Quick Sync-optimized path is most impressive, wrapping up in 41 seconds and barely touching the processor cores at all."


Interesting read. I would still recommend an Ivy i7. It would have the Intel HD 4000 and 8 threads. They used an i7-2600K in those tests.
!