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£500 Video Editing Workstation

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November 14, 2012 10:16:16 AM

Hi everyone! I'm a musical comedian (like Lonely Island or Flight of the Conchords), putting together a cheap but powerful computer for producing HD videos for YouTube and recording sound. From a day or two of research, I've gathered that AMD Bulldozer (e.g. FX-8120) might save a few quid over Intel i5/i7, given that I'm not gaming, because vid editors Vegas and Lightworks can both use 8 cores.

I don't think I need a fancy graphics card, it'd be a "maybe one day". Then again, if I have to spend £20 on one, perhaps I should spend more.

Approximate Purchase Date: Before Xmas, but could hold out longer.
Budget Range: Ideally under £500 without peripherals. £600 looks more realistic :( 
System Usage: Video Rendering (prob. Vegas Pro 11), Sound recording. NO Gaming or 3D.
Buying a Monitor: No, might upgrade later.
Parts to Upgrade: Whole tower: Mobo/CPU/Cooler, RAM, SDD/HDD Drives, Sound(/Graphics?) cards, Case/PSU
Parts Not Required: Peripherals, OS, software.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Whatever's cheap. I've quoted prices from dabs.com, but Ebuyer or Amazon or whatever, I'm not fussed.
Location: Liverpool, UK.
Parts Preferences: None.
Overclocking: Yes, but not risking long-term damage, and not if the fan upgrade is pricey.
SLI or Crossfire: No.
Monitor Resolution: 15" LCD, 1280x1024 I think.
Why Upgrading: Last desktop is 10 years old, and I have no computer fast enough to edit videos.
Additional Comments:
  • Quiet is good for recording, but not necessary. I doubt a tower would add noticeable ambient sound, and if it does, I'll put it in a different room.
  • I will want an SSD bootdrive / working directory for current project (128GB), and big slow HDD storage. Presumably there's not much to choose between them (?)
  • I'll need a sound card with 2 line inputs for recording guitar & voice.

    I've got no idea about components, I've put together 2 alternate motherboards and a list of the other stuff I need, but you can largely ignore what's below because you know more about it than me ;) 

    £236 — AMD FX Octocore + Motherboard:
    £116 AMD FX-8120 Black Edition AM3+ 3.1GHz 16MB 125W (includes heatsink and fan) - maybe get a better one, separate fan, and overclock?
    £99 Asus M5A99X EVO R2.0 AM3+ AMD 990X SB950 DDR3 ATX
    £21 Sapphire Technology ATI Radeon HD 5450 650Mhz 1GB DDR3 PCI-Express DVI (Low Profile) (just picked random cheap card — might be worth spending more)

    £282 — Intel Core i5 + Motherboard:
    £165 Intel Core i5-3570 S1155 3.4GHz 6MB (includes graphics)
    £15 Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 CPU Cooler
    £102 ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 S1155 Intel Z77 DDR3 ATX

    £314 — Sound, Disks, Core and Case
    £65 M-Audio Audiophile 2496 - 4-In/4-Out Audio Card with MIDI and Digital I/O
    £78 OCZ Technology 128GB Agility 3 SSD Series SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" Solid State Drive
    £62 Samsung 1TB Spinpoint M8 2.5" SATA 3Gb/s 5400RPM 8MB 9.5mm
    £29 2 × Corsair 4GB (1 x 4GB) XMS 1600MHz DDR3 DIMM 240-pin CL11 (check 240 pin motherboard compatibility — worth going 1866Mhz?)
    £13 Best Value OEM-717 Midi-Tower with HD Audio (No PSU) Black
    £67 Corsair Memory TX650 V2 650W ATX Enthusiast Series

    Thanks a lot everyone :) 
    November 14, 2012 10:34:23 AM

    I would definitely go with Intel. As for memory, get 2*8GB sticks for best performance. Depending on what software you use, a video card will help speed up encoding. I would go with an Nvidia 5 series, like the 550 if you need something cheap. Do you need that sound card? If not ditch it. I would get a faster secondary storage drive too, something with 7200 rpm spindle speed. The rest looks pretty good.
    November 14, 2012 10:46:03 AM

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core Processor (£131.80 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme3 ATX AM3+/AM3 Motherboard (£82.85 @ Amazon UK)
    Memory: Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory (£27.79 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£55.00 @ Ebuyer)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 5450 512MB Video Card (£21.49 @ Amazon UK)
    Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case (£39.95 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green 380W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£38.65 @ Ebuyer)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer (£11.96 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Total: £409.49
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-14 12:45 GMT+0000)

    Best get this and just add a Sound Card.
    Related resources
    November 14, 2012 10:46:59 AM

    Hey, so 500 pounds is approximately 816 usd so there's build under this budget :) 
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($289.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: Asus P8H77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($115.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Corsair XMS3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($68.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($61.74 @ Compuvest)
    Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($36.43 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 520W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($77.64 @ Newegg)
    Total: $760.77
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

    So there's room for some budget video and peripherals
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-14 07:46 EST-0500)
    November 14, 2012 11:16:37 AM

    I would get the AMD build. Though at least a 6670 as a video card, he'll need it for the video editing.

    The Intel build actually goes overbudget when converted to prices in the UK, and it doesn't have a GPU. The IGP would be mediocre and it would put alot of strain on the CPU.
    November 14, 2012 12:34:14 PM

    If you are on a strict budget I would recommend looking for a second hand PC from an enthusiast. You can get some good deals on places like AVFORUMS and even the classified sections here. Gumtree as well maybe...

    I picked up a SB i5-2500k setup (mobo, ram, cpu) for £200 recently from someone moving onto IB.

    If you are new to this whole build thing you might miss out some parts too. I don't see thermal paste in your build. Not expensive, but failure to use it can be...

    This is one I looked up within one minute and is pretty decent:

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/desktop-laptop-classifie...

    I know you don't need it for gaming, but they are the ones who build the best and upgrade and hence sell the most. If you look it has a system ssd, is water cooled (silent), Includes a better monitor. It is an older i7, but at 4.2Ghz pre clocked for you it should be plenty fast.

    Also it is just over in cheshire, not far from L'pool at all. I am not the seller btw. Having looked at the pictures of the build it is pretty cool, maybe not for everyone but a conversation piece for sure...
    November 14, 2012 1:04:30 PM

    Thanks for all your replies so far! PCPartPicker is excellent. If I don't find something second-hand, I'll start with the build cutebeans found (good points, excella). The system: http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/nGZ2

    Here's my questions:
  • Why's there no heat-sink/fan? Does the AMD FX-8320 come boxed with one, or is the build just incomplete there?
  • Is it worth having a SSD bootdrive? I guess it depends how much Sony Vegas accesses disk, and how much Win7 uses swap (page file?)
  • Why spend £40/$50 on a case?
  • Is the power unit sufficient? Most builds I've seen spend more on one.

    Americanbrian, I'm getting on the 2nd hand listings right now, thanks so much, and I gig in London and around the country frequently, so that's easy for collection too. That case is awesome, I'm totally down with ridiculous cases. And I'll learn about thermal paste (is it for better contact between heat sink and CPU?).

    Cheers fellas!
    November 14, 2012 1:25:25 PM

    ^^ Re: thermal paste

    Exactly that. If you plan to OC your system (from fresh) it is highly recommended that you don't skimp out on cheap thermal paste or pads. If you mate the H/s Fan with the CPU without paste it "can" be ok, but if air is in between it is a good way to blow a cpu (often quite expensive).

    As for the post I linked the seller has 9 +ve feedback from unique users on previous sales made on that forum so it is likely he is genuine. The listing has been sitting for a few days and if you look negotiation is the norm for the forum so you may be able to beat down the price.

    Also I would not recommend a low spec PSU. If you plan to OC ever you need to have good clean power that can tolerate large load changes.
    November 14, 2012 9:35:34 PM

    Stock thermal paste that come with the CPU are okay. You'll only need aftermarket pastes if you're an enthusiast overclocker and you want to OC to extreme lengths just for the hell of it.
    November 15, 2012 8:16:01 AM

    ^^ I personally disagree with that. I have seen real problems present due only to bad thermal paste.

    For example dell laptops (inspiron 15r) come with SUPER SHITTY thermal paste. It cracks off, causing air cavities and the CPU overheats causing crashing.

    I simply don't trust that thick white crap that most manufacturers favor. Go for some MX-4 or similar (i think there is a newer one).

    I do not super overclock anything at all. Medium OC's all round. (i5-2500k 4.4Ghz, 48070x2@850Mhz [triple slot cooler], and GT 525m @ 740Mhz)
    November 15, 2012 10:16:25 AM

    Dunno about Dell or any laptops for that matter, but the Intel and AMD stock pastes are okay. Difference with aftermarket pastes in terms of temps should be around 3-5 degrees.

    If you *must* get one though, consider the Artic Silver.
    November 15, 2012 10:22:15 AM

    Always used the stock pastes and never had any problems.

    It took 3 years before I needed to change the paste.
    November 15, 2012 11:35:46 AM

    ^^ with overclocks?

    Arctic silver is OLD, though I still keep it around as I have two tubes bought ages ago that I use on friends builds if they don't buy stuff themselves.

    There is more like 10 deg C delta with the most modern aftermarket pastes under load....
    !