Help: Building High Perfomance Photo/Video Editing Computer

Hey guys, I am looking into building a high performance PC to be used almost exclusively for picture and video editing, and storage of media. This will be my first ever build, so the simplicity of the build is something to consider. Additionally, I am looking for a smallish form factor that I can mount on a large table next to my monitor, and it should be as quiet as possible.

These are my goals:
-High performance CPU
-Lots of RAM
-2+ TB of storage
-Smallish case (roughly 6"x16"x16" dimensions, +/- 2" each way)
-Be able to run multiple displays (2 or 3)

My budget for everything (minus monitor) is $2,500 MAX. I feel like this should give a lot of flexibility in building a high end system.

I'm pretty lost when it comes to this kind of system, as I've only ever been into gaming rigs. I'm assuming that the GPU is less of a concern, and I should focus on getting a powerful CPU. I'm pretty set on Intel i5/i7 right now.

Is there any huge advantage of choosing the LGA 2011 i7 and X79 chipset vs. the new Ivy Bridge chips and a Z77 chipset? Would it be worth the cost?

What would you guys build with these goals and budget in mind? Thanks, your help is greatly appreciated :)
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  1. This is a basic outline, you would not need a GPU for this build to run 2 monitors either. The case is personal preference really but this is a good case that is pretty quiet and not huge. The problem with the 2011 is you need to buy a GPU for it and right now Quick Sync with the new Ivy Bridge 1155's helps speed up video encoding faster than any GPU can. This is also only $1000 but you can add more RAM, storage, or w/e you want to it.
  2. Thanks for that build. That leaves quite a bit of budget left over. What can I really do to make photo/video editing a breeze?

    I'm going to use this computer for HD timelapse videos, HDR editing, gigapixel+ panorama stitching, etc. Will that build truly blow through tasks such as these with speed?
  3. i got you...this total comes to $2607.91 less the moniter and OS, but this would be what you want. all of these prices come from

    I'll start with the motherboard.
    ASUS P9X79 WS LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 SSI CEB Intel Motherboard with USB BIOS
    I chose this board because of what you intend on doing with the computer. its a 2011 board, and is capable of not only housing the 2011 line of i7's, but should you get the whim to upgrade you can throw a massively powerful Xeon cpu in there as well. also, when the ivy bridge 2011 intel and xeon cpus come out you can upgrade to those as well if you like. Plus you get quad channel memory with a max of 64GB.

    for the cpu i chose this.
    Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 2011 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor BX80619i73930K
    I'm sorry but if you want performance, this cpu is the way to go. no i5 can touch it, plus its unlocked should you want to see how far you can push it.

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 64GB (8 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL
    64GB of 1600MHz in 8 8GB sticks is enough to keep you happy for a very long time. the amount you pay for higher frequency ram of this caliber doesnt equate to the nominal performance gain, so I'd stick with 1600. If you dont know what to do with all this ram, check out this youtube video from asus describing ram cache and ram disk.

    Oh, so none of the 2011 cpu's come with their own fans, so i chose this. i actually own this particular unit. very quiet, and with your request for a smaller case, this will fit right in with no problems whatsoever.

    CORSAIR CWCH60 Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler

    Here is a good 2TB HDD. set some ram cache to this and this sucker will fly!!
    Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    Since you said you were dealing with video editing im assuming youre dealing with some pretty large files, so I thought a blu ray burner would be a good fit. it also burns dvd and cd...but with blu ray you can burn up to 50 GB on a single disk. I also have this drive and ive had no problems with it at all.
    ASUS Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 8MB Cache SATA Blu-ray Burner BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS

    So, Nvidia makes these video cards called Quadro, and these cards are made specifically for workloads such as yours. the card i've selected is a midrange card, yet it still carries ddr5 memory and will allow you to accomplish what you need done...including multiple displays.
    PNY VCQ4000-PB Quadro 4000 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Workstation Video Card

    i referenced this nice psu calculator with the items selected, and came out close to 700 watts.!psu-calculator/c1ig3

    CORSAIR HX Series HX750 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

    I couldn't find a case meeting your specs, but i came close. measurements are 8.43" x 19.25" x 19.65". It comes stock with 3 fans, which should be more than enough to keep the system cool, provided you dust it every now and then and allow for circulation.
    SilverStone Kublai Series SST-KL04B-W Black Plastic front panel, steel body ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

    Now, all you would need are the moniters, the OS, and some blu ray discs and youre all set :) also, keep in mind these prices are before any rebates, so the price should be less. I hope this helps, and if you do decide to follow my build, everything will fall together quite nicely, compatibility assured.
  4. Check out my signature builds!!
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