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Looking to build a moderately price system for amateur video editing

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October 26, 2012 6:17:41 AM

I am a true neophyte here, so please forgive me if I sound oblivious (I am), or don't follow the proper protocol.

I'm looking to build my first computer - one that is powerful enough to do some decent video editing. I've used Premiere Elements in the past (version 7), but my current system isn't powerful enough to handle all the HD stuff. The videos I make are purely for my family, so I'm not doing anything particularly fancy, but they can get kind of long (greater than an hour). I haven't decided which software to use - may switch over to Sony Movie Studio, or may stick with Elements. Either way, it will be one of the cheaper, simpler programs, not one of the programs that cost several hundred dollars.

I'm not concerned about getting the fastest machine out there, but I want something reliable that will last me a few years before it's obsolete (or something I can upgrade in a couple years if needed as opposed to buying a whole new system like I'm doing now).

This will also be my "main" computer as well, but nothing else I will use it for needs much computer power (internet, banking, etc.). No serious gaming.

Thank you in advance for your help. If I'm missing any pertinent information, let me know.

With that in mind:



Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Within a week or 2, but no set date

Budget Range: Around $1500 if possible. I may consider going as high as $2000 if needed.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Video Editing, internet

Are you buying a monitor: Probably not, or if I do it will be at a later date.



Parts to Upgrade: Everything except I do have an external blue ray burner (LG BE12LU38)

Do you need to buy OS: Yes - leaning towards Windows 7 64 bit Professional


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preference - whatever is reliable and has competitive pricing

Location: East of San Francisco

Parts Preferences: No preferences - whatever those in the know recommend. I'm willing to pay a little extra for reliability.

Overclocking: Maybe - honestly, don't know much about overclocking, so probably not unless someone tells me otherwise

SLI or Crossfire: This is where my ineptitude steps in... have no idea

Your Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024

Additional Comments: I'm a little nervous about my first build, so I would like a tower that has the easiest access for this. I'm not concerned about size.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: See above - my current computer can't handle video editing with HD files well.

October 26, 2012 8:28:02 AM

First thing that has to be said, is you don't NEED to spend that sort of money, for "home" video editing. What does cost money is High-end photo/video work (eg Adobe CS6, or Vegas Pro, and the like), or gaming. What you do, seriously, need, is a better monitor. It's handy to have two, for video work, so would suggest you set aside a chunk of your budget, for a GOOD quality monitor (worth its weight in gold, for HD video work), like a Dell U2410. Then your existing one becomes the auxcilliary. You could go for a professional monitor, but that's probably over the top, for amateur use. Overclocking? In a sense, there's no point, if funds are not too tight, in not giving yourself the option, if only for the future. SLi/crossfire? Video editing software doesn't like it, and if you are not interested in high-end gaming, totally no point.
I will put together a nice system, capable of taking you up to the semi-professional level, but, as I said, you don't strictly NEED that, so you could cut back.
October 26, 2012 8:36:15 AM

Here, I invested a lot in the CPU and storage which I believe are of most importance for video work.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-2700K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($284.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI Z68A-G43 (G3) ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($68.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($44.99 @ NCIX US)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($136.45 @ B&H)
Total: $1035.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Plus a nice new screen
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/samsung-monitor-s24a450bw1
Total: $1270.36
Related resources
October 26, 2012 8:42:05 AM

Get a 3770K, Z77 Extreme4 (comes with free RAM @Newegg, decent VRM so you can OC), getting a single 3TB HDD is cheaper (let alone 2TB), and a CPU cooler.
October 26, 2012 9:12:35 AM

This would certainly be high end, but you do want quality, high performance, components, some sort of graphics card, and a good IPS monitor. The only thing which might be added, to it, to improve it, is a second hard drive, or larger hard drive, but thought I should draw the line, somewhere.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V PRO ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($189.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($81.57 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.93 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.00 @ B&H)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($227.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($101.60 @ Mac Connection)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MK III 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($55.71 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS224-06 DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Monitor: Dell U2410 24.0" Monitor ($449.00 @ Dell)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($136.45 @ B&H)
Total: $1860.78
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

You certainly could cut back on this, for "amateur" use, without losing much in real performance.
October 26, 2012 9:21:30 AM

Someone Somewhere said:
Get a 3770K, Z77 Extreme4 (comes with free RAM @Newegg, decent VRM so you can OC), getting a single 3TB HDD is cheaper (let alone 2TB), and a CPU cooler.

With respect, the Extreme4 is a gaming mobo, and 2x4GB of RAM isn't much use, for video work. Overclocking, in itself, is of dubious benefit, for photo stuff. You need high performance, yes, but absolute stability/reliability is more important.
October 26, 2012 9:39:30 AM

So? Get another 16GB of RAM; you get a total of 24GB.

Why exactly is the Extreme4 a "gaming" mobo?

Unless it is bottlenecked by something other than the CPU OCing will speed stuff up. If he's not OCing why did you get a K-series chip? Photoshop is generally CPU bottlenecked; why else would you see an increase between the i5 and i7?

For most people (including gamers) stability is important. The question is whether the ASUS mobo is going to be noticeably more stable than the ASRock, and if it is worth an extra $50 and less RAM.
October 26, 2012 11:31:00 AM

Someone Somewhere said:
So? Get another 16GB of RAM; you get a total of 24GB.

Why exactly is the Extreme4 a "gaming" mobo?

Unless it is bottlenecked by something other than the CPU OCing will speed stuff up. If he's not OCing why did you get a K-series chip? Photoshop is generally CPU bottlenecked; why else would you see an increase between the i5 and i7?

For most people (including gamers) stability is important. The question is whether the ASUS mobo is going to be noticeably more stable than the ASRock, and if it is worth an extra $50 and less RAM.

I have nothing against the ASRock, as long as it's accepted, for what it is. A budget build, to give decent features, and overclocking, in the relatively short term. For gaming, unless you want to spend a bit extra, for even higher performance, that's what you want. Ther's no point spending a lot extra on a board, that's going to last, for years, because anything you build, today, for gaming, is going to be outdated, in two to three years, and your likely to want to update. On the other hand, a system, that's good today, for video editing, will still be just as good, for video editing, in five years, or longer, provided your kit is good enough to still be operating, then.
That's why I said, you don't need much OC. A modest OC will give better performance. Pushing it too far, will reduce reliability, and the life of components.
October 26, 2012 11:34:02 AM

No it won't. How often do you recommend an Athlon X2 for video editing? It's not just GPUs that are eclipsed by newer components.
October 26, 2012 5:03:48 PM

Thank you all so much for your help. I feel so inundated by information from forums, websites, friends, etc., that it's sometimes hard to boil it down to something specific like what you've done.

Mal, the system you've presented seems to be on par with what I'm looking for, but I have an honest question for you. Why do I need a better monitor? I only use my monitor for the editing (and internet, etc.), not watching the final product. When I'm done I burn it to a DVD (and hopefully to Blu-ray with the new system), then show it to the family on the flatscreen TV. If I don't really care about editing in high quality, do I really need it? Or is this one of those things that I don't know what I'm missing because I've never used a nice monitor? When you say my old monitor becomes the auxiliary, do you mean that I would be using the 2 monitors at the same time, side by side, or it would become a back-up?

On an unrelated note, I've seen several websites that give step-by-step instructions on building your own computer. Is there one or two that are considered the best/easiest to follow?
October 26, 2012 6:15:07 PM

The advantage of two monitors, is that you can have the auxcilliary with all the tabs/processing stuff, leaving you a full clear screen, with no clutter, to actually view what your working on. It's just plain better, though obviously not essential, once used to it. Once you've used twin screens, for processes like editing, you'll never want to go back, to one.
Similar thing applies to monitor quality. If you are trying to produce Blu-ray quality, it's nice to be able to see exactly what you are recording. Then when you play back that Blu-ray disc, through a high quality TV, you'll get what you thought you were getting. Accurate colours, and no "blemishes", you haven't spotted. Unfortunately, again, it is a case of needing to have used it, to really appreciate it's value. You did mention getting a new monitor, and I was suggesting the best one you can get, short of a true "professional" panel.
Here is a review.<a http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r... /a>

As I mentioned, you don't need to spend a fortune to get a system, that is capable of some editing. There is a broad spectrum of possibilities, from that, all the way up to "professional". In that scale, I've tended to go for the "best" level, based on your budget.
October 26, 2012 7:08:41 PM

OK, I think I'm sold. I'm going to need a 2nd monitor so I can have my old and new computers running together for a while anyway, I guess it makes sense to make it a good one.

One more thing:

Finneous left a recommendation also, at several hundred dollars cheaper. If I were to compare the 2 systems side by side, what differences would I see? Would Mals be noticeably faster? Would it 'crash' less? Would I be able to use it longer before needing to replace or upgrade it? In other words, specifically what am I gaining by spending the extra money besides its a "better system"?

Thanks again
October 26, 2012 8:32:45 PM

Again, it's a question of degree. i7-2700K and Z68 mobo are last generation (2nd), whereas i7-3770K and Z77 are 3rd generation. Having said that, there's not a huge difference in performence; 3770K is slightly faster/more efficient (5-7%), slightly more features, and native support for 1600MHz RAM. Personally, I'd prefer Asus for mobo, for pure quality, but MSI are quite good too.
The 2700K build doesn't include a graphics card. You should have something, as software, like Adobe, uses the graphics card, to "help out", in the processing. You could use something less, than I suggested, for GPU (you could game reasonably well, with that one).
Where I do really think higher expenditure is justified, is on monitor. If getting a new monitor, for photgraphic work, it should be at least a reasonable IPS monitor. You could use an IPS, cheaper than the Dell, but it is a fantastic monitor.
Finally, in terms of reliability, I wouldn't say there's much difference there, except perhaps a slight edge, for the Asus, although pretty marginal.
October 26, 2012 11:13:28 PM

OK. that makes sense. Think I'll err on the side of the newer/faster/etc. machine.

Last questions (I think) and hopefully not stupid ones.

Do I need a separate network card, or that built into one of the components? If I do need one, are they all pretty much the same, or is there one you recommend?

Same question with a sound card. I don't need award-winning sound, but I do need it. Do I need a separate card (and if so which one), or is it already built in?


Once again, you have my sincere gratitude for you help.
!