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Creating a PC Video Editing Station

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May 2, 2003 8:54:06 PM

I'm a film/video student who's never used anything for editing other than the macs they supply at school. Now that I want to set up my own personal station, I figured it would be cheaper to modify my PC rather than to buy a brand new dual gig mac.

I suppose my question here isn't limited to just the video card, but if anyone has any knowledge on this, what should I be looking into getting to start editing my own videos on my PC? (all peripherals included if you can :) )
May 3, 2003 4:34:20 AM

In the order of importance, I think you should consider the following components and peripherals:

CPU - The faster, the better, I would say at least 1.8 GHz speed. You'll be doing a lot of rendering/conversion, and so the CPU speed really matters here.

Hard Drive - The faster and bigger, the better. It should have a speed of at least 5400RPM. As for the size of HD, it depends on how much stuff you want to store. But just remember 60 minutes of uncompressed video file needs about 11GB of disk space. Some pros also suggest using a separate HD for videos and scratch work.

RAM - 512M to 1GB should be sufficient. RD, DDR or SD type? It doesn't matter, you won't see much difference.

IEEE1394 port - (or called Firwire by Macintosh or iLink by Sony) A must for DV camcorder users. It's for transferring digital videos between the camcorder and PC.

Graphics Card - Any decent one would do. Since you're not doing games, there's no need to go for a top-end-super-fast 3D vid card. You may consider one with vivo (video-in & video-out) feature. This would save you $ less a dedicated capture card which is useful if you want to capture analog videos, say from VHS tapes.

CD or DVD Burners - Needed if you want to put your masterpiece on VCD's or DVD's.

Monitors - Serious users would only consider CRT monitors as they are better than LCD's in many respects.

Now on the software side. You should use a stable O/S like Windows2000 or XP for your PC. You don't want a system crash during an hour-long video encoding, right? As for video editing software, there're quite a lot in the market. Choosing the right one for you isn't an easy task. But you may get opinions from other users and maybe get a try version to try it out first. Good luck.
May 4, 2003 5:13:50 AM

If your just editing(adding special effects, changing the lighting, etc.) you need a fast CPU, lots of memory, and a big 7200rpm(or faster) hard drive. If your just encoding, all you need is a fast CPU and a big hard drive. If you need to capture, you need a capture card, fast CPU, big hard drive, and lots of memory(512+). Run windows xp or win 2k. Don't run anything else, as these two are less prone to crashes.

Oh, a common misconception is Macs are better than PCs for video editing. If you turn the time back 4 years, that would be true. Presently, PCs are superior to Macs in just about everything because of superior hardware.
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May 4, 2003 11:59:09 AM

Really for Admiral.. but just to add to the above.

To that I'd add that a P4 HT or better yet a DUAL AMD would be best (I use dual XP1800+ on a A7M266-D) Dual processors really helps when rendering effects and mixing in audio, etc.

As for HDs, 2 ALWAYS <b>2</b>, and at least 7200RPM and preferably 8mb cache. Smartest choice IMO. 1 X 36GB WD 360GD (w/ 8mb cach) as the main drive on the primary IDE channel, and then 1 X 80-120GB WD or IBM (w/ 8mb cache [although less important than on the primary drive]) on the 3rd IDE channel or SATA channel (best). Do not share the hard drives with any other device. Make the 36gb drive your C: drive and the one to do your work on, use the 80+gb drive as storage (raw video,etc.), and assign your windows swap file to it (makes your system run faster under stessful apps like rendering/editing). You could go with a lager storage drive, but I don't see the need for over 120GB, unless you don't plan to burn anything. And sometimes a larger drive will slow the system a bit.

As for ram you will see a slight difference between DDR and SDRAM, even PC2100 is better. But the difference between the DDRs (2100/2700/3000/3200/3500,etc.) and between DRR and RDRAM, negligeable in this case. The AMOUNT of ram however will speed up video rendering times, but anything over 2gb is likely just overkill.

As for monitors, dual monitor setup is best, and while I agree at least one (primary) has to be a CRT (best quality and size you can find), the other could be LCD, and especially a GOOD LCD with low refresh. This will reduce strain on your eyes after staring at the screen all freakin' day, but keep the CRT as your final product screen, and leave the LCD for things like toolbars, and timelines, etc. However, if you are only going with one, it should/must be a CRT for the best colour and for realistic motion/refresh.

Lancer, actually MACs still rule the video editing world for one main reason, the code is still optimized in Adobe for Macs and so are many other programs. However the difference is no longer as great as it used to be. Macs are just getting old even with dual G4s and the new DDR, but they still rule Adobe apps. Wait for the new IBM chip, that may make a big diff. The place where PCs really rule is the audio and Animation stuff which is just glacial on Macs.

- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! <font color=green>RED</font color=green> <font color=red>GREEN</font color=red> :tongue: GA to SK
May 4, 2003 4:42:56 PM

Quote:
Lancer, actually MACs still rule the video editing world for one main reason, the code is still optimized in Adobe for Macs and so are many other programs. However the difference is no longer as great as it used to be. Macs are just getting old even with dual G4s and the new DDR, but they still rule Adobe apps. Wait for the new IBM chip, that may make a big diff. The place where PCs really rule is the audio and Animation stuff which is just glacial on Macs.

I don't want to turn this into another MAC VS PC thing, but what you said is untrue. There are tons of benchmarks out there that show a single P4 beating a dual mac using a variety of programs. It is a fact that PCs are better in video editing. No mac user will ever admit this. I realize this is a PC heavy board, but I made the same comments over on dvdrhelp.com where the whole site is dedicated to video editing. The Mac user simply called me ignorant and said pcs are just advanced copy machines. Yet, he provided no facts at why Macs are better. I think the best arguement(I am not stating this is true, but it MAY be a valid one) is the OS for Macs are more stable. I personally don't think it's true, because I sometimes use Macs at school and they freeze sometimes to. I think MS is getting some good operating systems out such as xp and 2k which doesn't really freeze that much anymore.

Here are two benches:
http://www.barefeats.com/pentium4.html
http://www.digitalvideoediting.com/2002/11_nov/reviews/...
May 14, 2003 4:41:38 PM

Okay, so I think I've got my new setup figured out. Let me double check with everyone to make sure there aren't any compatibility issues or lacking components needed for video capture.

Mobo: Abit IC7-G Max2 Advance
CPU: Pentium 4 3.06 HT
RAM: 2 gigs of dual ddr 400 (corsair)
HD1: Western Digital Enterprise Serial ATA Hard Drive WD Raptor 36.7 GB 10,000 RPM
HD2:The Special Edition Western Digital 120GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB Cache - Ultra ATA/100 hard drive
Video Card: Radeon 9700 Pro All-in-Wonder
Sound Card: Audigy 2 (should I jump up to the platinum or platinum ex just for video editing?)

So should everything work? I've all ready bought the IEEE 1394 card.
May 14, 2003 6:58:11 PM

Wow, that would be my dream system. :)  Anyway, your spec looks fine except:

1. 2GB of RAM is overkill. 1 GB should be fine. Hey, I'm using 512MB of DDR RAM for video editing and have never encountered any problem so far.

2. It's not worth to get the WD Raptor. First its size is quite small for such an expensive drive. Although its performance is comparable to a SCSI drive, I would say any 7200RPM PATA hard drive will perform just fine too. I have 2x80GB PATA drives set up in RAID 0 and again haven't got any problem, not even a single frame dropped during capture. I would say the WD 120GB /w 8MB cache is a excellent choice for video editing. Get two of them if your mobo has onboard RAID controller.

Also, make sure your IEEE1394 card is OHCI compliant so that you don't have to worry about compatiblity issue.
May 15, 2003 12:09:32 PM

Actualy I don't know about Eltz's comments aout the raptor. If you can get it and put your swap on the second drive you will be faster and more reliable than his setup. Raid doesn't really give you MUCH in improved performance, bu it can lead to many additional headaches. And straight up against the Raptor, I bet it would lose with a secondary swap.
As for the memory, it might be overkill, but if you can afford it, it WILL make rendering faster. But you may be better off putting the money elsewhere. The differences in 1 & 2 gigs will be minor so decide on what your money is best used for. Did you plan on adding a DVD-burner.

I personally wouldn't chose the Audigy for your audio card if you can afford better (perhaps where you can spend the memory diff.) RME, and M-AUDIO make better audio cards. RME has a 110+ db SNR, pretty much best there is and not fo much more money, the M-audio is also equal or less in price than the Audigy. The breakout box and front plugs are handy, but you can bring your connectors to the front anyway.
I think your setup is fine though. You could go with different HDs but I wouldn't raid them, there is minimal performance gain and more potential headaches. The advantage of having a DUMP/WORK drive is that you can always add another and then simply swap between them, all the while leaving the raptor as a work-drive. Alo the ability to dump all the content of the Raptor onto theDump drive and thn completely re-install clean your main drive is awesome. Avoids bit-rot.

Anywhoo, just my opinion.


- You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! <font color=green>RED</font color=green> <font color=red>GREEN</font color=red> :tongue: GA to SK
May 17, 2003 11:57:43 PM

1. the only person that would ever think the raptor sucks are the ones that can't afford one^^
2. SATA RAID 0 with those two drive will be better
3. get a canterwood chipset (i donno if u did or not)
4. and if u got the canterwood use dual channel set from corsair the one gig dual ddr (2 gig dual ddr is not possible at the moment unless u bought those 1 gig rams)
5. i'd recommand getting a 200GB. WD HDD raptor for windows/apps and the 200 one for projects
6. u can wait a while ffor 9800pro AIW
7. Audigy 2 is probably ur best choice only thing i seen beating it was the Soundstorm from Nvidia NForce 2 chipset
May 18, 2003 9:23:07 PM

Also the Audigy does have Firewire (1394)on it as well
!