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Is this a good build for Adobe C5 Premiere/After Effects PC?

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August 11, 2012 11:15:19 PM

I would be grateful for your thoughts on the wisdom of this new build? I am limited in my knowledge. I only have one previous build. Thank you ahead of time for your thoughts.

I am ordering the parts today for a new dedicated video editing PC. While I want pretty good speed for the editing process, it does not need to be a ferrari. I wanted to stay below $1000, but alas, I have arrived at over $500 above my planned budget, so any savings that would not significantly hurt speed would be very welcome. Also, any compatability issues. The system will be uded exclusively for CS5 Premiere, After Effects, and a few other milder prorams. Our family has a hobby of filmmaking, but we have begun to tackle larger projects and our old platform is SLOW. The video card has to be an NVIDIA that has CUDA technology to support the Adobe Mercury Playback.



Tower: $50 Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


PSU: $100 OCZ ZT Series 650W Fully-Modular 80PLUS Bronze High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: $340 Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770K

Cooling Fan: $35 COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 2011/1366/1155
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MB: $170 Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI Dual LAN Dual UEFI BIOS ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD5H
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007R21JK4/ref=ox_sc_a...

Memory: $130 G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL9Q-16GBXM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: $220 EVGA 015-P3-1480-KR GeForce GTX 480 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: $135 Hitachi GST Deskstar 7K3000 HDS723020BLA642 (0f12115) 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Additional HDDs. I have one more Iternal 1TB Samsun F3 from last yers build tha I will transfer to the new build. Additionally, I have multiple ruged external HDD for storage of data. I will put in a RAID or? in the coming months,as I can't spend the money right now.

SSD: $180 SanDisk Extreme SSD 240 GB SATA 6.0 Gb-s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SDSSDX-240G-G25
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006EKJ8UI/ref=ox_sc_a...

DVD: $20 SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 24X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM SATA Model SH-222BB/BEBE - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Card Reader: $8 Rosewill RCR-IC001 40-in-1 USB 2.0 3.5" Internal Card Reader w/ USB Port / Extra Silver Face Plate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: $140 Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit - OEM

Mouse: $7 BTC M810PU Stylish USB Optical Desktop Mouse - Black
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002U0KE8Q/ref=ox_sc_a...

Keyboard: $12 Ultra Slim Design BTC 6311U USB Chiclet-style Keyboard -Polished Finish -Black
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005DMFDKW/ref=ox_sc_a...

Monitor: I will recycle the monitor from the SLOW system.

Cables: Do I need to order any kind of cables or tools to build?


Peace,

Michael

Best solution

August 12, 2012 2:34:58 AM

Not a bad build, here are a few pointers:

GTX570 or 580 would be a better choice for the GPU, but the 480 should work fine. Keep in mind that the GPU only helps with a few very specific things. I mostly use it for color correction, but it also kicks in a little with video speed changes, flipping video, and a few interesting transitions. Everything else is 100% based on your CPU, Ram and HDD throughput, so if you do not need to use the things it accelerates then it would be much more worth it to invest in RAIDing your HDDs (as that is the only real weak point in the build)
Consider a GPU with double the stock Ram. You may never need it, but they are not that much more expensive, and it is nice to know that it is there.

Win7Pro is great, but not really needed. 7Pro is a must if you intend to upgrade to more than 16GB of Ram, or need to put the computer on a domain, otherwise there is no particular advantage to it over Home. If you are a student, please talk to your school. My local college here has Win7Pro for $10, Office Suite (full) for $15, and Adobe Software for extremely cheap (though 1/2 the kids pirate it out of principal lol), that can save a lot of money to reserve for hardware.

If you do think you would like to up it to 32GB or Ram in the future, then get a 16GB 2x8GB kit (and keep the win7Pro). They are not that much more expensive, and it will give you a clear upgrade path (besides Ram is dirt cheap and never hurts... you may upgrade in a year just for the hell of it).

For the power supply: I would suggest getting something smaller or larger. GPU acceleration in Adobe software does not (currently) support SLi, which means that you would only ever have 1 GPU in there, and could easily get by with something in the 550-600W range. If you intend to game a little, 650W simply will not cut it for SLi and you should look at something in the 750-800W range.
As for OCZ, I have to say that I use them (750W) and it works like a champ, and the voltages are rock solid on my unit. But, OCZ is NOT a 'good' brand. I have other decent PSUs laying around that can get me by in the event of a failure, and I got mine on a killer sale, and a rebate, which brought the price down to $45 which I simply could not pass up... I would be hesitant to purchase a lower watt unit for more than double that price when there are other more reputable brands in the same price range (like Corsair or Antec).

The more HDDs the better! In fact, I would highly suggest that you put extra drives as a much higher priority than getting the GPU (unless you are also gaming on the rig).
Your drive arrangement should look something like this:
1) CD/DVD burner (future; blu ray burner)
2) System SSD
3) Render drive/scratch disc, does not need to be large, but the faster the better. This is what you use for your scratch disc for projects, and what you export to. If you have a large enough SSD you can use a portion of it for this reason
4) Storage drive, this should be a RAID 1, 5, or 10, and the bigger the better

I would reuse your F3 as the render drive, and then purchase 2 3TB HDDs to put in RAID 1 to store all projects and documents.

For the SSD I would choose something else. If you have to go cheap and large then go with Mushkin as they are cheap but relatively reliable (and screaming fast!). However, if this is a system that needs to be reliable for school or work then I would highly suggest moving over to an M4, Intel, or Samsung (in that order worst to best). Do not store any documents on it that are not backed up. Do not use it as a scratch disc as you will burn through the drive (unless that is the plan and you can afford to replace it... in which case they make killer scratch discs).

Personally I am using a 240GB OCZ Agility3, which I am rather regretting now that the prices have dropped so much over the last few months. I have only recently started using Mushkin in budget builds and they are FAST (but not necessarily reliable... though none have died on me yet). In a year or two when I burn through my SSD (I am using it as a scratch disc) I will be replacing it with a much better quality drive... but by then the price will be much more reasonable than they were when I first purchased it.

For your accessories; Make sure that the card reader can do high capacity (32+GB) SD cards as many cheap ones will not, and if you use a video camera with SD media then you will want the largest cards you can afford (gotta love pny pro cards... cheap and quick, and get the job done!). Keep in mind that you will spend a lot of time on that keyboard. Get one with the layout you like, and that have keys you can work on. Personally I cannot work on a cheap 'quiet' keyboard. I need that tactile feel of real keys (grew up on old heavy/weighty keyboards), while others absolutely hate my keyboard because it is loud and stiff. Whatever your preference, it is something you will use for several hours every day for the rest of your life... it is worth a little extra to get something that works for you. Same goes for the mouse, but a cheap mouse is more easily forgiven than a keyboard (so long as it does not have a mind of it's own and jumps all over the screen at random). Both keys and mouse should be Logitech... no matter your preference for feel, they are simply the best (unless going into exotic/expensive parts).

You are missing one important thing:
Headphones or speakers. For headphones you want something crisp and accurate, Sennheizer makes some great ones (Do not get Dre stuff... it sounds nice for listening... but it is so in-acurate for doing work with). If getting speakers you absolutely want to go digital (optical SPDIF), and then pair it with Creative XFi MB2 software to add a little life to it (pure digital can be a little too flat sometimes, and you want to have fun listening to stuff sometimes).
Either way you go, you get what you pay for.



Last notes:
Look for a local Micro Center, they have the lowest price on CPUs. Period. And they occasionally have good sales on other things (like coolers, SSDs, and mobos... though everything else is basically over-priced).
If spending $170 then go with ASUS, it may just be my preference, but they are simply better. However, you would do just fine with a cheaper ASRock Extreme4.

All-in-all it looks to be a decent build, best of luck!
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August 12, 2012 3:15:18 AM

Wow!!! caedenv, I am amazed at the kindess you have displayed!!! That was no small kindness to answer me with such a lengthy, thoughtful, and educational response. Just amazing that ou wuld show sch kindness to a stranger across cyberspac. Thank you, Thank You!!! I just read your post with my eldest daughter and I am about to re-ead it and take some notes and make some modifications as you have recomended. Honestly, Raid really sounds intimidating, as I really don't understand it at this point; however, I will go in that direction. I will study what it is and how to do it this evening.

Question: If I skip the raid at this point, is it hard to change configuration in a month or two when I could spend the additional $135? Or would it be a mistake at the small increase? I would have more funds and time at that point as we are just entering post production-editing, for a documentary and I hope to have this system up and running yesterday as my old sysem is really hampering our efficiency and my funds are a bit tight with all the other expenditures we encountered during pre-production and production.

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August 12, 2012 3:16:52 AM

Thank you sir for your respne! I intend to read ove the build shortly. I gately appreciate you taking he time to post an answer to my question, as I kow your tim is valuable to you. Goodevening!
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August 13, 2012 2:09:01 PM

mikeysp said:
Wow!!! caedenv, I am amazed at the kindess you have displayed!!! That was no small kindness to answer me with such a lengthy, thoughtful, and educational response. Just amazing that ou wuld show sch kindness to a stranger across cyberspac. Thank you, Thank You!!! I just read your post with my eldest daughter and I am about to re-ead it and take some notes and make some modifications as you have recomended. Honestly, Raid really sounds intimidating, as I really don't understand it at this point; however, I will go in that direction. I will study what it is and how to do it this evening.

Question: If I skip the raid at this point, is it hard to change configuration in a month or two when I could spend the additional $135? Or would it be a mistake at the small increase? I would have more funds and time at that point as we are just entering post production-editing, for a documentary and I hope to have this system up and running yesterday as my old sysem is really hampering our efficiency and my funds are a bit tight with all the other expenditures we encountered during pre-production and production.

There are 2 types of RAID controllers:
1) Software RAID, this is found on all motherboard controllers, and most sub$300 RAID cards. For what you are doing it is likely fine (works well enough for me anyways), but it uses the CPU to do all advanced math, and is prone to errors which causes you to have to rebuild the RAID array of anything sneeses (which takes several hours). The overhead of this type of array gives minimal performance boosts, and will eat into your CPU usage (not such an issue with current gen parts though).
2) Hardware RAID, this is found on expensive (worth it!) RAID cards. It releases the CPU from any overhead, has built in real-time error correction so that you do not have to rebuild the array (except in extreme cases, and even then the rebuild process goes much faster... though still several hours), and you can get much more speed out of the array this way. Also, this allows you to run RAID on the controller, and AHCI for onboard drives which will yeald better performance out of your SSD system drive. This may not be practical right now, but if your daughter is going to be doing a lot of projects in the future, then this is definitely worth investing in down the line at some point.

There are 3 basic types of RAID:
RAID0 (which is not really RAID) does what is called 'striping' on 2 or 4 drives. All that this means is that it writes one line on one drive, and the next line on the next drive, and then the RAID controller will take both drives to deliver a massive speed improvement on reading and writing. For an onboard controller it is really between 1.4-1.6x increase, and if you have a true hardware controller then it is closer to 1.8-2x increase. Because there is no redundancy, you get the keep the total space available for storage (storage=n), but if a single drive fails then you are screwed. This is great for system drives as you can always re-load all of your software programs. Terrible for storage.
RAID1 (which is what you want for this type of build) simply writes the same information to 2 or 4 drives. This means that the write speed will be the same or slightly slower than a single drive, but then the read-back should be similar in speed to a RAID0. Because the same informaion is writen on each drive you get 1/2 of the sum total of space (storage=n/2).
Lastly is RAID5, which is the best style of RAID available. You need a minimum of 3 drives, but it is most effective with 5+ drives in the system. Basically each drive gets a stripe of information (similar to RAID0), and then the drives alternate in each stripe to get a 'parity' bit. Because of the parity you loose the space of one drive, but if any single drive were to die then you will not loose any information (storage=n-1). Because you only loose the space of a single drive, this is often the best compromise between speed and redundancy.

There are a few other popular ones such as RAID10 (aka 1+0) which is simply 2 RAID0 arrays mirrored together so that you can loose up to 2 drives without loosing data (though not any 2), and you can get massive speed out of it. There is also RAID6 which is like RAID5 but with 2 paritys instead of 1 (storage=n-2). But for most people (especially starting out) it is best to stick with RAID1 or RAID5 for storage.

Whenever possible, use identical drives (identical down to the model, revision, and firmware if available). You CAN raid with dis-similar drives, but it may cause errors which will force you to rebuild your RAID array (which takes FOREVER on large drives), or cause a massive loss in speed. Personally I am using a RAID1 with 2 Seagate 1TB drives, but they are from different years. I have not had any errors causing me to need to rebuild the array, but the speed of the RAID is a little slower for both reading and writing than either drive is on it's own. If I were using identical drives I would expect a slightly slower write speed (though negligable difference), and a decent boost in my read speed. However, this is more an issue of having a 6 year old 1TB drive which I no longer trust, and having some large files that I really need to have backed up in the first place, so it is worth it to me to have the slower speed for now until I can build my file server next year with RAID5 (possibly in SSD if I can get the money :D  )



Finally, to answer your question, you can absolutely add a RAID after the fact. Just know that it is a pain in the ass (unless you happen to have a lot of free space available).

1) when building a RAID all data is lost on the drives being RAIDed, so you will have to off-load them somewhere.
2) moving from AHCI to RAID mode on the motherboard will break your system drive, so you will have to either reformat your system drive and reload all your software, or invest in something like Acronis which can reimage the drive with the proper changes in storage format.
3) do a little research as some SSDs do not like to work well in RAID mode (it breaks their internal garbage collection). However, I am using a cheap Agaility 3 drive, and have not noticed any issues with this, so I believe this to be an issue with older SSDs (except for the occasional system hang when going to sleep which I believe to be an issue of the SSD, but either way it is not a huge deal).

As a general rule of convenience I would fork over the money for the extra drive now and simply get it done with if it is a time difference of a month or two (or simply wait a few months as there will be some great black Friday sales in Nov). But if it is going to be a while (6mo+) then simply set the computer up in RAID mode (an option on the motherboard) so that you do not have to format the system drive later, and then know that you will have to off-load your files somewhere when you do eventually set up your RAID.

Best of luck, and I will post a build I am proposing for a non-profit that I work with for their mobile editing rigs they need. You will want something a little different, but it will get you an idea of what you should be looking at for hardware.
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August 13, 2012 4:27:53 PM

First I will show you my rig. This poor monster has been upgraded several times and has parts ranging from 6 years old, to some parts being just a few months old. The one HUGE bottleneck is my RAID1. As mentioned before I am getting awful performance out of it because of not using identical drives, at best it will only hit ~130MB/s, and an average of ~80MB/s which is just sad. Newer modern drives (even at a lower RPM) will not have this problem and should have an average throughput of ~150MB/s or better. The only time I have issue with it is when doing videos with more than 4 HD video streams (extremely rare, but definitely a throughput issue), or a long series of very fast cuts (like in a music video, and this is more a seek time issue than throughput issue):

mobo: ASRock extreme3 gen3

CPU: i7 2600 (non-K version), with a turbo-boost overclock of ~4.3GHz (4GHz typical)
-Note; you can OC non-K CPUs, but it OCs via the turbo-boost, and you can only change the BLCK (which can typically go up to ~110 without issues, mine is 103), and the multiplier is locked down at a max of 42x. A turbo boost OC is inconsistent, and has some limitations, but I have found it to have more than enough power for my own workloads of gaming and editing, and I get a consistent 3.8-4GHz when under heavy loads (much better than the stock 3.2GHz), and when ideling the system goes down to 1.6GHz which keeps everything cool, quiet, and low power when not pushing the system.

Cooler: Hyper 212EVO with 2 120mm quieter aftermarket fans on it in a push/pull config (re-used the stock fan as a case fan at a lower than stock rpm... silence is golden, especially when doing audio editing)

RAM: Corsair 16GB (4x4GB) 1333. At the time 8GB sticks were extremely expensive, as were 1600 speed sticks. If rebuilding it now I would definitely do 1600, and would highly consider 8GB stick. Not a huge performance difference between 1333 and 1600... but it is also only a $5-10 price difference now, and when on sale 1600 sticks are actually cheaper than 1333, which is a no-brainer.

Case: Thermaltake V3 Black edition (got it on sale for $30, and was a huge upgrade from my 10 year old case it replaced lol). Not worth the current $50 price tag, but I have been very happy with this case for the price I got it at. Currently looking at moving up to a better Corsair case, but the case is a luxury item and should be purchased AFTER getting the parts you want/need inside.

GPU: GTX570. Nearly unnecessary for editing, though it is handy for real time color correction in dark shots as my camera tends to screw up color pretty bad in dark scenes (like wedding reception halls grrr), otherwise it is really for playing games, and the rig is all ready for a 2nd card for SLi (also, entirely for games, no practical work application for that)

PSU: 750W OCZ zs750. A lot of people don't like OCZ power supplies, personally I have used several and never had a problem. For your rig look at a minimum 400W if not using a GPU but want a good OC, 550W with dedicated GPU (specifically the GTX570 which is all you need), and 750-800W if doing SLi.

Blu ray reader DVD burner: Lite-ON? I don't even know, whatever was cheap at the time lol. I bought it to play back Blu Ray discs (which it does well), most of my burning is done on a dedicated burning tower.

System drive: OCZ Agility 3 240GB. Not a bad drive, but as things have changed I would now go with an M4 for stability or Mushkin drive for cheap performance. Still, very happy with my drive. Using this for OS, programs, some commonly used documents (which are backed up elsewhere), and Adobe temp/render/scratch files. SSD is a must!

Documents drive: 500GB 7200rpm Seagate. This is for my less-important files that I can get back if it fails (music, movies, personal documents that are also backed up on skydrive, etc.). I also put my system backup on this drive to save space on the project drive

Project drive: 2 1TB 7200rpm Seagate drives in RAID1. Important bulk files that I cannot replace (projects new and old). As previously mentioned, one of these drives is getting old (it is a first gen 1TB drive), and I am planning on replacing this RAID1 array with a RAID5 of 4-5 3TB 5900rpm drives within the next year or so (not sure yet if it will be in-box, in an external box via eSATA or USB3, or on a home server). Video editing does not need high IO performance (though the more the merrier), just a little redundancy, and decent throughput (more than 120MB/s is 'good enough' for most normal HD projects) which modern 5900rpm drives can deliver without issue. Plus 5900rpm drives are extremely quiet which is needed for my operating environment.


Next is the proposed editing build for ongoal. They do camps over the summer and a video at the end of each camp. They are moving over to HD cameras 'soon' and need faster relatively portable computers to do it on, and this is what I am proposing for them:
Case: itx box with good airflow, quiet, USB3, with a good quality (and replaceable! woot!) power supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

mobo: itx ivy bridge capable with USB3, wifi
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: i7 3770, no (or very light) OC due to potential heat issues with such a small box, no space for a real aftermarket cooler.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Cooler: Stock, no room in case for aftermarket cooler, and no (or very low) OC for this machine

Ram: 16GB 2x8GB 1600 Corsair
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

System Drive: Crucial M4 128GB, not the fastest, but should be reliable which is more important. 128GB is plenty of space of OS, Office, Adobe Premiere (total of ~50GB between the 3), and still have room to use this as a scratch disc
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Data Drive: 2x Seagate 750GB 7200rpm laptop drives in RAID1. The case is not big enough for 2 real drives, and laptop drives have better real-world shock absorption than desktop drives (and this poor thing may go though hell and back while being on the road lol). I have a bracket adapter that can put these 2 laptop drives in the slot of the single normal HDD bay the case has (system SSD will go in the normal 2.5" bay).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Burner: Samsung slim burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Win7 Home OEM (no need for Pro as it will not be on a domain, and cannot fit more than 16GB of ram in the case)

Total cost: $1083 (+tax and shipping)
With keys, mice, monitor, headphones, and my fee for building it I am trying to keep the total price below $1500 per box so I may make some changes before my final submission.

-May try and talk them into a single 512GB SSD instead of the laptop RAID as it is much more likely to be dropped than have a corrupt drive and all important data will be off-loaded every week or two so long term reliability is not an issue. And SSDs take drops much better than HDDs do.
-upgrade option for a GTX570 GPU (which is amazing for the form factor!), but will likely stick with onboard graphics
-May downgrade to an i5 processor as they do not 'need' the i7 for what they are doing.

For your build:
If you went with a cheaper (larger) case, cheaper desktop DVD burner, a larger ATX or mATX mobo in the same price range, and desktop 1-2TB HDDs you could easily do a build like this for under $1000. Throw in an aftermarket cooler ($30), and a K CPU ($30) and you can OC it to the moon and really unlock some performance (though the older Sandy Bridge CPU OC better, but the new Ivy Bridge CPUs have much better onboard graphics which is a must if you do not get a dedicated GPU).

Best of luck!
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August 20, 2012 12:44:49 AM

Best answer selected by mikeysp.
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