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The Pentultimate Video MonsterBox on a shoestring?

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Last response: in Apps General Discussion
January 17, 2002 4:07:50 AM

Hello all, especially those who have contirbuted so much.

After reading many of the posts about system configuration I thought I may garner some help in deciding several unanswered questions I have about making a high end video editing box without wasting my childs inheritance.

I've decided to build the monster box myself but being something less than spec. savvy I could use the advice of the electron gifted. In keeping with the previous fine thread I will attempt to lay out the configuration of my machine in its future guise as I see it and ask for comments and critical analysis about my components.

I'll give you an idea of what I am looking for.

I've decided to start editing video if I'm going to get into Sundance in two years. I need a workstation that will run multiple apps.(premier 6, photoshop, dreamweaver, after-effects, etc.) with speed and reliabilty. I'll trade 2 seconds of rendering for $200. I have ADSL and occasionally play a slew of Starcraft games. Biggest bang for the preverbial buck. The configuration below is my starting point.

I'm thinking the Athlon XP 1700+ ($122 at Newegg).
I bought a Soyo SY-K7V Dragon+ motherboard after reading the review of the Soyo on this site.

Soyo SY-K7V Dragon+ with 512MB of Micron Critical DDR SDRAM.
Do I need more?

Western Digital 80GB 7200rpm.
Upgrade with another when I need it.
Should I set up another drive and use the striping HD link mode of the Dragon+?

The sound chip onboard the Dragon+

How good a card do I need? I occasionally play a round of Starcraft.

ADS PYRO Basic DV FireWire Digital Video 1394


Volcano 7?

Windows XP to go with the Athlon?

Something funky.

Is there anything else I need but don't know about. I would like a DVD and R/W CD Burner but those can wait.

My budget is flexible. Thank you for your help.


<b><font color=purple> Ain't no sunshine when she's gone. </font color=purple> </b>

More about : pentultimate video monsterbox shoestring

January 17, 2002 9:00:59 PM

This is not a monster but will do untill you will be able to fork out the real $$$.

For capture/Edit card get the Pinnacle DC1000DV
Inputs and outputs - Composit, S-VHS and DV.
Main advantag - Capture and edit native in Mpg2 DVD compatible high quality 4:2:2 Pre Filters. Most Editing is done in real time. (as long as you don't try to create a Indian/Turkisch weddings).you have options to monitor your work on a TV monitor at all times.

Come with Full version of Premier 6. If you buy the DVD1000 card you also get a full version of Impression DVD authoring program. DC1000 only come with Impression SE (light version).

You will want a second hard drive for video material only. Probably a Raid in the feuture. Just making a Raid from two drives and using it for system and video is not good. Better seperated drives in this case. You might want to get a second 30G drive for system and use the 80G for video only.

Take to mind that a 80G drive can hold about 25 to 30 hours of raw video matrial. BUT :
1. you capture the video -some space
2. Edit and do final rendering -some more space
3. work on your audio witha external program -some more little space has gone.
4. bring it all to a DVD authoring program and make a DVD Folder -Bye Bye 4.3G
5. Make a Image from the DVD folder -Some more 4.3G went fly by.

With a 60G Raid I can fit about 3 to 4 hours of final project. Normaly I have to delete files in the middle of work just to find out that I need them after again.

As long as you dont try to buy a Display card with Integrated ViVo like the ATI All In Wonder almost all cards will work nice. ViVo cards and real video editing cards just don't go together.

Intel / AMD - <A HREF="" target="_new">IBM are still the best</A>
January 17, 2002 9:41:31 PM

Dude the card you told this guy (who is clearly on a budget) to buy is $1k. I'm sure it is a nice card but it should be for the price. All he really needs to get his feet wet is a firewire card for cheap and some software. Have you seen any of the free software and seen what it can do? Virtual Dub is a right fine program for the nothing that you pay for it. I don't doubt for one minute that a dv1000 with Premier would be great but I wonder if it is worth the cost.

Remember if you ain't Muslim you ain't Shiite.
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January 17, 2002 9:45:32 PM

Best bang for the buck on video is gForce2 mx 400 ddr 64MB for 50 bucks.

Remember if you ain't Muslim you ain't Shiite.
January 18, 2002 5:28:22 AM

Lakedude and Scuba,
Thanks for taking the time to help.

Added info: I already have Premier 6.0 and firewire. My thought on hard drive was to take the drive out of my present system load up Windows XP and transfer the data onto my new 80Gig WD drive to use for the present. My thought was then to garner two additonal big drives and link them with the RAID on my Dragon+ and use these two linked drive for video storage.

I have another question as well. What's the easiest way to output to VHS and what kind of output hardware do I need?

RenMan - Not on a budget other than common sense. Already pushing 5k for a new hobby.

<b><font color=purple> Ain't no sunshine when she's gone. </font color=purple> </b>
January 18, 2002 9:02:48 PM

You need to decide if you want a monster box or a shoe box with little Video options.

The basic is a Fire wire card. you ca use it for capturing and exporting back to your DV camera. From it you will be able to play out to VHS. some cameras can serve as a DV bridg meaning you can play out from the coomputer to the camera and just use it as a converter to VHS on the fly.
That will be the most cheep system.
After this you are starting to get into speciality cards. Each one have a diferant price and can do diferant things.

The Raid is recomended in any case.

Intel / AMD - <A HREF="" target="_new">IBM are still the best</A>
January 18, 2002 11:55:21 PM

If your dv camera does not convert for you or if you don't want to use it that way get a video card with composite and or svid out (which ever your vhs vcr has) and a y cable for your sound card. Vid cards with composite or svid out are pretty cheap. The cable you need will be a stereo mini to dual rca male or females depending on if you are hooking the y cable direct to the vcr or are using an extention cable with the y cable.

Remember if you ain't Muslim you ain't Shiite.
January 19, 2002 3:31:28 AM


My $.02:

You didn't say what your primary video source is. If it's a new DV camcorder, you can get by with the just the firewire card and some editing software (your choice). I think only Sony DV camcorders can act as D/A and A/D converters (passthrough), and that would be convenient, both for inputing old analog video and outputing to VHS for distribution to your relatives, etc.

However, even without the passthrough D/A conversion, you can still transfer to VHSwith almost any DV camcorder, but in two steps . First copy out your edited master(piece) to DV tape, and then, copy it to VHS from the camcorder. This sounds like more work than you want, but my guess is you will want to archive your DV masters anyway, and this simply becomes the first step. If you archive to VHS, you'll lose all that quality you've paid for with DV. this will entail more wear and tear on the DV camcorder so you might want to get a DV tape rewinder.

As Scuba says, you're asking for trouble if you mix an ATI All-in-One with another capture board. They are both very possessive and will fight each other for control.

If you expect to use a lot of archival analog video as the source, finding a easy way to convert it to DV is important.

January 24, 2002 1:48:03 AM

A lot of people have had some really good points. Something I would add/emphasize, I would not encourage XP as an OS. I run extremely stable with Win2k. Other than MAC, there is not another OS I would rather edit with.

For cooling, I would recommend the Swiftech. I run AMD and it runs HOT. I have tried a few cpu coolers and the best I've found is the Swiftech MCX462. It's like $69 but it's worth it.

Last thing I would be critical about, I have serious reservations with Western Digital hard drives. In the past 5 years, myself and a colleague have crashed a total of around 10-12. We now exclusively use IBM 60GB GXP's, and have not had a single hiccup.

If you will capture with analog you will need something other than Firewire. I would reccomend the Pinnacle DV500+ ($500) or the Pinnacle ProOne ($1,000). I would go with the ProOne over the DV1000.
January 24, 2002 2:03:32 AM

If I may..
What's wrong with XP. It was my understanding the it was windows most stable OP and that the Athlon XP's were designed to optimize on it. Your nix on the WD hard drives make me a little nervous too. Could you elaborate on the crashes.
Thanks for everybodys help.

<b><font color=purple> Ain't no sunshine when she's gone. </font color=purple> </b>
January 24, 2002 2:47:23 AM

Aside from the issues regarding security holes that MS has admitted to, XP has issues with speed. If you're video editing, you want a FAST machine. I've been told by a friend who is a network admin that XP is NOT that, (fast. there's supposed to be a patch you can download to get xp AS FAST as Win2k and Win98.) (Of course, I have another friend who games with it, they have no complaints.) Another issue with XP... I'm constantly ripping stuff out of my machine an replacing it with new stuff. Try taking a hard drive or cdrom out of XP and replacing it with a new one. In an article in the WSJ, in numerous reviews I've read as well as personal accounts from friends, trying this will remedy your computer useless until you re-register it with MS. I would prefer not to talk to MS if at all possible...(no offense to Mr. Gates & co.)

The issues with the Western Digital HD's is simple. They die. Much like my late great-grandmother (bless her soul), they stop breathing. I have RMA #'s all over my office from calling WD and getting hard drives replaced. Loud clicks mostly. Loud clicks scare me. It doesn't take long after that (few days to a few weeks) and it just freezes up.

Let me know what other questions you have. Glad to help.
January 24, 2002 2:43:40 PM

With all deu respect to M$,
Wait for the first service Paq before using it for any thing but a home computer.
There are numeros problems concerning WinXP and video editing. Mostly WinXP + DX8.1 + Video editing.

And concerning WD drives,
I have stoped using them after a long searies of head crashes and such. In one of them I have lost lot's of Important data. The crash was so spontaniusly that there was not time to back up the data before it.
The man was working on the computer, and in the middle Head Crash and the new acounting system went dead.

Intel / AMD - <A HREF="" target="_new">IBM are still the best</A>
January 25, 2002 12:39:15 AM

Props to's like he read my mind.