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PC Build for 4K video

Participant ,
Nov 28, 2016 Nov 28, 2016

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I searched the forum but didn't see a recent post for this question, so I thought I'd start one. I am getting ready to build new computers for our editing suite. With 4K video being here, I'm wonder on what elements I'll need to build a machine for Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects that can handle multiple cameras of 4K video without lag and that renders quickly. We spend the majority of our editing time with computer related delays. I'd like to circumvent that Any advice?

[Moved to hardware forum by mod]

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Enthusiast ,
Nov 28, 2016 Nov 28, 2016

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1. i7 Broadwell E CPU.....at least 6850K six core at $589 , up to $1578 for 10 core monster....on good X99 motherboard

2.  NVidia 1080ti GPU.....expected out soon, will be near Titan X in performanc for less....around 8 to 9 hundred.

3. 64 GB system memory.....at least 32...no less

4. One Samsung 256 GB or 512 GB, 850 Pro SATA III SSD for " boot drive" with ONLY OS, programs, and windows page file on it.

5. One Samsung 960 Pro NVMe PCI SSD as " project drive" to hold hold ALL files except what is on boot drive. This drive is available soon in 1 and 2 terabyte versions......unsurpassed in speed......over 3 GB/sec read, 2.5 GB / sec. write.

6. Your choice of either SSDs, or, large "enterprise level" 7200 RPM HDDs for archiving and backing up.....NOT to be used during editing.

7. Quality and plenty sufficient power supply

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Mentor ,
Nov 28, 2016 Nov 28, 2016

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make this one a sticky and then most posters on here can go on hiatus for 6 months until the "new" stuff comes.

very concise.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 28, 2016 Nov 28, 2016

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One small comment that might help with delivery.

5. One Samsung 960 Pro NVMe PCI SSD as " project drive" to hold hold ALL files except what is on boot drive. This drive is available soon in 1 and 2 terabyte versions......unsurpassed in speed......over 3 GB/sec read, 2.5 GB / sec. write.

I would say one or more and just make sure your x99 motherboard has enough PCIe slots available so that your computer can start with whatever is available and grow as required.  I have one 512GB and they are fantastic.  Availability is advertised as December 8, 2016.  Adapter boards allow plugging in more SSD's as required above the one socket on the motherboard.

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New Here ,
Dec 02, 2016 Dec 02, 2016

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To JFPhoton and others:  This is very helpful info.  Thanks.  Some questions please as we try to design our Premiere Windows editors...

Conventional wisdom was to have at least 3, and ideally 4, hard drives to separate Premiere functions.  You basically use 2 because your third one is only for archiving/backing up.  (If you are using the third drive only as the archive or backup, and not for any editing process, couldn't you/we just as easily archive or backup over our Ethernet to another server?  It's not as fast, but that is after the edit.)  Would it be better to use that third drive space/bus for the media drive or scratch disks or export/render?

It sounds like you assign your source media, cache files, previews, and exports/renders to the same SSD.  Are these coming SSDs etc so fast that it doesn't matter any more to have only 2 integral drives? Does the large amount of RAM plus the high speed of the SSD mean that additional drives are not needed?

Is a USB 3.1 external drive (SSD or 7200 rpm HDD) fast enough for any of these functions?

Thanks again,

Lance/SCTVMC

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 02, 2016 Dec 02, 2016

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You definitely don't need to use up internal space for backup. Like you say, it can be handy just for speediness, but if you have to make a choice between backup drive space and working drive space, go for the working drive. Especially with USB 3.1 or Thunderbolt/USB-C external drive input-output is plenty fast enough for any backup drives (or ethernet, like you mention). With 4K, mutli-terabyte, fast-access storage will be critical to our workflows. Having recently completed a 4K After Effects project that involved multiple composites of animations and greenscreen keys and done a lot of research over the past month, I want our next workhorse PC to have this for storage:

- C: Drive -- SSD for Windows, Applications (Adobe), and Windows Page File

- D: Drive -- 12TB Raid0 of 7200rpm drives for storage. Probably 2 6TB drives. You may think that SSDs will get you faster 4K playback, but the consensus I've found most places is that SSDs for media storage for your working projects is totally wasted overkill.

- E: Drive -- M.2 for all the Adobe garbage (Cache/Previews/Peak/Etc.), but also as backup storage in a pinch, especially with their expanding capacities coming soon as Bill pointed out.

- F: Drive -- M.2 or U.2 for games (most of our clients are in the videogame industry and we have to have lots of games on hand for footage capture and we need the drive to never be a bottleneck in game performance)

This could technically leave a PC tower with room for drive space that you could put your backup drives in, but I don't know why you'd do that unless speedy backups are a priority for your pipeline which from your original post it doesn't sound like you really need.

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New Here ,
Dec 02, 2016 Dec 02, 2016

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Hi Matt,

A big concern for us is improving rendering times.  In your configuration, where would you render your export files TO in order to make rendering the fastest possible?  Which Drive?

Thanks again,

Lance

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New Here ,
Dec 02, 2016 Dec 02, 2016

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And a follow up question if I could please...

Of all the functions involved in editing/playing files in timeline with best resolution and frame rate, scrubbing etc., plus previews, cache, and finally exporting/rendering, which of these is the most likely to be hurt by slow SSD or HDD rates.  Or said differently, which Premiere function really needs fast access and transfer the most?

Thanks,

Lance

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 02, 2016 Dec 02, 2016

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In that configuration (theoretically, keep in mind I don't have this system yet to actually test) I would render to an external--usually the same drive I'm backing up the project to, or even the SSD or one of the M.2 drives. The drive your rendering TO is never going to be your bottleneck as the process of pulling from a drive, going through your CPU and GPU to create to a video format, and writing the final file as far as my understanding goes is never going to tax any modern I/O standard. If you're rendering a 4K file to a USB 2 thumb drive, maybe. That means you have plenty of overhead to write to any drive that isn't the media drives you're pulling from. So, for us, it comes down to the question of why spend more money on yet another drive? But, you could always put in one more 7200rpm 500GB drive or something cheap like that to render to internally.

To answer your second question: any slow drive that isn't the WRITE drive for your final files will affect performance. A Raid0 configuration basically makes your media/storage drive I/O more than fast enough for any preview/scrubbing as well as conforming functions. If you have anything less than a 7200rpm drive for (in my sample configuration) drive E: where all your conformed/cached media goes, then you will definitely notice a performance drop. With an entire 4K project, that cache drive ("E") with anything other than an SSD is going to cost you performance, and the same can be said of anything less than an SSD or Raid (0 or any RAID really--we're just gonna use 0 because we'll have external backups) configuration for your media-storage drive(s).

At least that's the theory! Hope that helps a little

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 02, 2016 Dec 02, 2016

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Bill Gehrke on this thread can tell you from his extensive testing exactly what you want to know. Bill advises against using RAID, if possible.....two 7200 rpm 6 GB spinning hard drives in RAID 0 can only hit between 360 MB/sec and 180MB/sec. data transfer rate when empty and not fragmented, PLUS the risk of losing all your data if ONE drive fails ! Also, the SATA interface is "half duplex", which means the drives can only read OR write......they cannot do both at the same time like the new PCI SSDs can. The speed at which the drive that serves up your media files is critical to good performance.....Bill's testing shows that.

      The new Samsung 960 Pro NVMe PCI SSD performs TEN TIMES FASTER than that spinning hard drive RAID 0 !!

Of course, if you need to have a huge capacity for where your video files are going to be served up, you would have to consider an expensive Areca add-in card and a sophisticated array of MANY spinning hard drives in a RAID 3 configuration ....something that cannot work well directly off a motherboard. Or, just RAID 0 off the motherboard a number of quality and reliable SATA III SSDs, like the Samsung 850 Pros. But, RAID 0 is risky.

        Bill is going to test using JUST ONE  Samsung 960 Pro PCI SSD for EVERYTHING to see how the performance compares with a traditional setup of having a boot SSD and a 960 Pro for all else. Looking forward to his test results. With the new SSDs, it is no longer necessary to have separate drives for various functions. The massive data rates coming with 4K codecs and higher will DEMAND very fast storage, especially with multiple video tracks on the timeline.

         This new 960 Pro  is so fast, with the larger capacity now, it may be a " one drive " solution  for editing. Large, quality " enterprise level " spinning hard drives can be used for archiving and backing up. Some have 128MB caches that allow a 200MB/sec transfer rate for a reasonable price.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 03, 2016 Dec 03, 2016

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The single Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB drive with everything on it is up and running and testing with my hardware intensive Premiere Pro BenchMark (PPBM) is very good the only test that was not quite as fast was the Disk I/O test and it still was a great result.  I will be doing more testing soon with some of my real projects to see if I have any other comments.  I am running CC2017.1  My only confusion with everything on one SSD is finding the test files,  It will take some time getting used to looking at the C:\ drive.  Actually I have four different boot configurations Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and now two Windows 10 configurations.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 03, 2016 Dec 03, 2016

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Oh see! That's what actual real-world testing will get you over my

theorycrafting :). Sorry to spread misinformation, but glad I'm on this

thread as it's caused me to make different choices about how to approach

our next system.

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New Here ,
Jan 27, 2017 Jan 27, 2017

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Hi Bill,

Did you ever conclude your Samsung 960 drive tests, particularly the disk I/O tests?  Isn't the I/O speed the most important part?

If all tests not finished, any other tentative conclusions?

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LEGEND ,
Jan 28, 2017 Jan 28, 2017

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First of all I never finish testing!  And yes I have published some results.  Actually I consider the CPU test as most important and then the Disk I/O, but of course it depends a lot on your media.  I am now working on GPU testing.

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Explorer ,
Feb 03, 2017 Feb 03, 2017

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Bill thanks for all the testing and input.

I'm still wondering which should take priority for using the fast M.2 SSD drive:

The OS and Premiere

or

raw video data for scrubbing and final 4K video for viewing?

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LEGEND ,
Feb 03, 2017 Feb 03, 2017

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Definitely not the OS and applications. as once you open the OS and your applications they basically run out of memory.  Place all your project files, media and the exports on the fastest drive you have.

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Participant ,
Nov 29, 2016 Nov 29, 2016

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Thanks!

With the CPU is the speed (3.4GHZ vs 3GHZ) more important or less important than the number of cores (6, 8, or 10)?

I'm going to try to build this in pcpartpicker.com to see what we're looking at.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 29, 2016 Nov 29, 2016

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I have an 8-core i7 running at overclocked 4.5 GHz recently I had a submission of my Premiere Pro Benchmark (PPBM) by a proud owner of the new 10-core i7 and he was running his at overclocked 4.2 GHz.  My score on the Premiere based CPU intensive score with CC 2017 was 250 seconds, he beat my good score by scoring 205 seconds!  If you can afford it cores and clock speed count. 

By the way his CPU intensive score with his overclock beat the score of a dual version 3 10-core (20 total cores) non-overclockable Xeons.

By the way his custom computer with the conservative overclock was designed specifically for his workflow; it was built, tested, delivered and fully supported by ADK

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Participant ,
Nov 29, 2016 Nov 29, 2016

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How's this seem (PC Part Picker link):

Core i7-6950X 3.0GHz 10-Core, GeForce GTX Titan X 12GB, Level 10 GT Snow Edition ATX Full Tower - Sy...

(not priced on list is $1600 additional for processor)

It's a lot more expensive than I had heard should be sufficient... Is this overkill?

FYI - I dont do any gaming. This is simply for video production (Premiere Pro and After Effects). I'm thinking of getting the Atomos Ninja Assassin 4K video recorder to add to my gear and I'll need a machine that will handle it without pissing me off.

We do 1-3 camera shoots most of the time, plus animation clips, titling and what not.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 29, 2016 Nov 29, 2016

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Here is a interesting data rate chart that I just found that should give you information on what you are going to need for storage speed read rate for your editing suite versus media type.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 30, 2016 Nov 30, 2016

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On the Processor Frequency vs. Cores issue you mentioned earlier, I recommend this: https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Premiere-Pro-CC-2015-Multi-Core-Performance-Update1... and https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-After-Effects-CC-2015-3-Multi-Core-Performance-843/

Essentially, the number of cores offers diminishing returns depending on what you're doing and in general it looks to be better to spend money on faster processors over raw number of cores if you end up in an either/or scenario. In fact, at 1080p, more than 2-4 cores does almost nothing for performance in Premiere and AE. At 4K it looks like you do get more boosts up to about 10 cores--as long as those cores are on one chip. It looks like neither app (at least according to their test sequences) benefit much, and are often harmed by having more than one chip in your system.

Also don't just look at CUDA cores and processor speed on your video card. Make sure you also get the highest Memory Interface Width and Memory Bandwidth you can (both those specs should be listed somewhere in your card's specs). Those numbers vary by manufacturer, so be sure you're not shooting yourself in the foot by getting a video card with a lot of RAM but low on those other stats.

I should note that this is all theoretical for me based off research. I don't have your proposed system or a variety of systems to double-check this information.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 30, 2016 Nov 30, 2016

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Matt, here is my "experimental" system that I use and change configurations constantly

960-950-Pro.png

I have 5 versions of Premiere available with 10 GPU cards and can boot to four different OS configurations.  Notice my Samsung 960 Pro plugged directly on the motherboard which is my "all-in-one" boot/project/media drive experiment.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 02, 2016 Dec 02, 2016

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That's pretty great! I'm definitely looking to update our next PC with an M.2 drive (or U.2 depending on capacity needs). Does your multi-config rig give you any ideas of where the cuttoff or diminishing returns tend to fall out in relation to frequency vs. cores?

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LEGEND ,
Dec 02, 2016 Dec 02, 2016

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Well my older 8-core i7-5960X  was (and still is) $1000, would I at this time go for the i7-6950X 10-core which ADK conservatively has runing at 4.2 GHz and cost about $1600.  Probably yes since CPU performance is most important and who knows what media format compression's they will come up as we go to and beyond 4K resolution.  Will I upgrade probably not.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 02, 2016 Dec 02, 2016

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I totally get that. As a new build, maybe. As an upgrade, it doesn't feel worth it just yet.

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