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System requirements for Premiere Pro CS5

LEGEND ,
Mar 12, 2011 Mar 12, 2011

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Adobe has on its website the Adobe Premiere Pro CS5: System Requirements

Unfortunately, this overview is severely lacking in realism and a lot of people were disappointed when their system met these minimum requirements, but still would not do what they expected, or at least not without jerkiness, hiccups and similar issues.

The problem with these requirements as stated is that they are really bare minimum requirements to install the software, but unfortunately it does not tell how well a certain system will perform with the myriad of codecs used and the different needs and expectations people may have about their editing rig. Since this issue is nearly a year old now and nothing tangible has changed, I decided to write this article to help people understand what is realistic to expect, what influences the hardware choices in order to use CS5 to full satisfaction.

CAVEAT: This is my personal opinion, in no way authorized or endorsed by Adobe, who have not seen anything I write here till the moment it has been published here.

Context:

The nature of one's editing projects can have a major impact on the hardware required to run projects effectively. Long form documentaries, delivered on BRD demand different hardware and priorities in hardware setup then music clips with lots of multicam work and color effects delivered to the web, or wedding video's delivered on DVD. And unfortunately, there is no simple rule saying that if you edit X, you need Y hardware.

The second thing that has a major impact is the source material, the codec used. Back in the old days things were very simple, you had DV material from a tape based camera and that was it. Nowadays, things have grown much more complex. The number of codecs used in source material has grown enormously, the number of formats and frame rates has grown in a similar fashion. We used to have 480, now we have added 720, 1080, 2K, 3K, 4K plus various DSLR and other formats, we had interlaced, now we have progressive as well, we used to have 25 or 29.97 FPS, now we have 24, 25, 29.97, 60 and even more frame rates. We had DV, now we have MPEG2, HDV, XDCAM, P2, AVCHD, RED, Cineform, Matrox, and numerous other codecs.

This makes it all the more confusing for people to know what they need when they start out with video editing to run CS5 successfully.

The codec issue:

Some codecs are easy to handle for a computer, others are difficult to handle. It is generally known that DV material is very easy to handle and AVCHD is pretty tough to handle. The general rule is that the more compressed the material is, the harder it is for the computer to edit this. GOP (Group of Pictures) structure is an extra burden. The higher the resolution, the harder it is on the computer.

To simplify matters one could differentiate codecs and source material in three categories, based on their properties:

Codec.png

Of course boundaries when using three categories are not always very clear, but the tendency is rather clear. Easy codecs are in the upper left corner, difficult codecs are in the lower right corner. For that reason we have identified three categories, Easy, Intermediate and Difficult.

This is somewhat similar to the color coding PR uses with none, yellow and red in the time line. It is not complete in the overview of common codecs, but is intended to show what the impact can be of different codecs and the hardware requirements.

I realize this is a limited overview and generic in nature. It will not answer all questions, but may be helpful to avoid disappointments. It also has a number of limitations. For instance, uncompressed MS AVI SD material. No GOP structure, no compression, low resolution, that should be at the top left corner, right? Wrong. Uncompressed does not burden the CPU, but is a definite burden on the memory and disk I/O system.

What does that mean in terms of requirements?

System requirements:

System requirements CS5.png

If the codecs you generally use are slightly more than just plain "easy", look at the improvemnts in the next column and repeat for the next column if applicable.

I hope this can benefit people to understand there is more to choosing a system than just following the Adobe site.

Additions or suggestions for improvements are welcome.

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replies 122 Replies 122
Mar 13, 2011 Mar 13, 2011

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I'd be especially interested to see people's responses based on real-world experience.

When folks respond, please be sure to state as many details as possible, but most especially whether you've installed the recent updates, since that has a big impact on performance.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 13, 2011 Mar 13, 2011

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>people's responses based on real-world experience

My CS5/AVCHD 1st Impressions http://forums.adobe.com/thread/652694?tstart=0 includes a link to the computer I built... since the GTX 285 is no longer sold, I would now go with a GTX 460 or whatever is the current "best bang for the buck" - AND I would buy 4Gig-by-3Sticks memory to be able to expand from 12Gig to 24Gig if needed


For my home hobbyist, family movies (which means that I am not trying to recreate Star Wars with video effects or many layers) AVCHD editing is "as smooth as spreading warm butter on hot toast" (also the MP4 video from wife's Flip camera)


My 3 hard drives are configured as... (WD = Western Digital)
1 - 320G WD Win7 64bit Pro and all programs
2 - 320G WD Win7 swap file and video projects
3 - 1T WD all video files... read and write

Bottom line is that CS5 and AVCHD on my current computer is MUCH faster than SD DV AVI on my previous Pentium 4 computer

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New Here ,
Mar 13, 2011 Mar 13, 2011

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on #2. is it a external sata with a usb connection or u have something like a Drobo?

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Participant ,
May 20, 2016 May 20, 2016

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LATEST

Hi Todd.  Is there a publication explaining what effects when using Premiere Pro (PrP), Media Encoder and After Effects (AE). an example I am trying to find out if when previewing an effect i have added in PrP or AE, is it relying on CPU, GPU or RAM - or combination of them.  When rendering is it using CPU and maximising cores and multi threads?   Classic question I get asked - Would it be better to Buy an iMac 5K or a 6 Core Mac Pro.

How has Metal improved working with Adobe PrP and AE?

Is the Mercury Engine automatically available to enable if your GPU is 1024 MB or bigger?

The Macs would be OS - El Capitan with latest Adobe CC Applications.

Ced Robertson.

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Guest
Mar 13, 2011 Mar 13, 2011

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This is great information.  I had no idea my GOP's were choking my system so much, but it makes complete sense; those ginormous multi-mega-pixel images X hundreds

Thanks for the info!

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New Here ,
Mar 13, 2011 Mar 13, 2011

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I'd move HDV into the "intermediate" category - XDCam EX is essentially the same codec.

I'd put DVCPro50 and DVCPro HD into the "EASY" category, along with DV.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 15, 2011 Mar 15, 2011

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Fantastic article. I really like how you differentiate the needed hardware based on the CODEC to be used. This is a great approach and one I think I will "borrow" for future articles on Videoguys

Just a heads up, I've updated our DIY8 article to reflect the latest info and chipset pricing. Intel Hex core has fallen to $599. I'm still onthe fence about the new Sandy bridge chips. while I thinkt ehy are fantastic for laptops, not so sure I like them for workstations. When you add PCIe cards for I/O (eg Matrox MXO2 Mini or AJA Kona) and an exteral RAID controller, I'm concerend about throughput bottlenecks.

Once agian, great job on the article.

Gary

Videoguys.com

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Guest
Mar 28, 2011 Mar 28, 2011

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First off, Harm...I've been reading your responses all over the Adobe forums and I have to say thanks. You seem to be very knowledgeable and I'm hoping you can shed some light on issues I've been having related to system requirements.

Basically, I'm barely a step above hardware illiterate -- an important step, but still. I saw the article Adobe posted on system requirements and was immediately concerned that I do not have the correct graphics card for my workflow to, well, flow.

I've seen how this works, so let me get down to the meat and potatoes:

(copied verbatim from the "about this mac" menu)

Mac version 10.6.6

Processor: 2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon

Memory: 10GB 667 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM

Running off a 1TB drive

(copied verbatim from the "more info" tab)

Model Name: Mac Pro

  Model Identifier: MacPro1,1

  Processor Name: Dual-Core Intel Xeon

  Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz

  Number Of Processors: 2

  Total Number Of Cores: 4

  L2 Cache (per processor): 4 MB

  Memory: 10 GB

  Bus Speed: 1.33 GHz

  Boot ROM Version: MP11.005C.B08

Adobe CS5 Production Suite installed

Drobo RAID via Firewire 400 (pretty sure it's 400, not 800)

Here's what I am in dire need of: someone to tell me once and for all that my system is (a) just fine, or (b) needs work. I am on a borrowed system essentially. I started work at an ad agency and came onto a system that had been used for video by someone who did not do video by trade. The girl before me was a graphic artist who, unfortunately, got roped into video work because there was no one else to do it. Anyway, since I took over working on this machine, the system drive has failed once and it was just cloned again this morning because the disk utility said the disk was failing yet again.

Aside from that misfortune, PPro has a ton of bugs, runs about as fast as cold molasses and frequently leaves artifacting and lines in exported video projects, none of which are longer than 10 minutes. My native format for video is .MXF from the Sony XDCAM HD -- beautiful stuff, comes in just fine, works wonderfully on the timeline until I start keyframing, then I grab a pillow and take a nap for 2 minutes at a time while it loads the frame I'm working on.

I'm rambling a bit, so I will tie this up and allow you to respond...if you require more information I'm more than willing to provide it, assuming I know what you're talking about. You may need to dumb things down for me, sorry.

Thanks!

Kristin

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LEGEND ,
Mar 28, 2011 Mar 28, 2011

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Kristin,

I feel for you and especially with a system as fast as molasses in winter now that spring has begun, but basically the system is pretty slow. Possibly the unresponsive nature of the system makes you feel there are a lot of bugs, but I think it is more the capability of the system, than bugs. CS5 is not bug free, no program is, but by far the most stable and reliable version ever brought to market IMO.

What you are facing is a system with rather dated and slow Xeon CPU's and an insufficient hard disk setup. The Drobo is good for backups, but nothing else. Whether you want to remain on a MAC platform or switch to a PC environment is your choice, but it seems very advisable to prepare for a complete overhaul with better CPU's and a better disk setup.

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Guest
Mar 28, 2011 Mar 28, 2011

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It didn't stand to reason that CS5 was quite that buggy. I know it's not perfect yet, but it will get darn close. Unfortunately, I don't have much control over switching from Mac to PC platforms. Can you offer any advice for a better build on the current platform? Honestly, any specifics you have, even if its directing me to a thread that could shed some light on the subject, that'd be amazing. The higher-ups here are rather dead-set. I will need to make a very compelling case to see any improvement. Assuming I don't tear all of my hair out and/or throw this thing out the window before then.

Thanks for the speedy response by the way. Take care,

Kristin

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LEGEND ,
Mar 28, 2011 Mar 28, 2011

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With the large majority of users on PC instead of MAC, this was written from a PC perspective, but may help in understanding the system requirements. Reread #1.

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Explorer ,
Mar 28, 2011 Mar 28, 2011

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Hi Everyone,

I am new to this forum and have some questions before I purchase Adobe® Creative Suite® 5 Production Premium software.  I am planning on starting a business taking photos, and video from many sources, cameras for editing.  Primarily, I will be working on Weddings and similar events.  Below are the questions:

1.    Is Adobe® Creative Suite® 5 Production Premium the Software of choice? (I welcome other choices)

2.    Does my computer have the necessary requirements? (See below for my computer hardware)

3.    Any other third party software recommended?

4.    Hardware recommendations additions for the computer

5.    Camera choices, video camera choices and accessories choices.  (keep cost concerns in mind)

Computer:

Windows 7-64 bit Professional

Processor:     Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 x990 @3.47 overclocked to 3.91 (six core)

Memory:         24 GB

Disk Drives:   1) C300 True Solid State Hard Drive (256 GB) C: Drive

                        2) WD Caviar Black 2 TB SATA Hard Drives D: and E: Drives

RAID:             None

Video:            NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti

Audio:            ASUS Xonar Essence STX Audio

Motherboard:Asus Rampage III Extreme

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New Here ,
Apr 12, 2011 Apr 12, 2011

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Adobe software tends to be the industry standard when it comes to multimedia.  Since you are looking at photography, video and multimedia I believe Adobe Creative Suite would be best as all the software is right there.

Your computer should be fine when it comes to handeling file types.  You have a strong rig that is well built, I believe you should be able to handle almost anything you throw at it.

As for third party software, I don't think it is necessary-unless you need it for something specific.

I'd possibly suggest RAIDing the two caviars.  You will get redundancy, faster read writes and that.  I'd wait to see what the others around here say.

As for video cameras, you can go prosumer or professional...your choice.  I have a Canon Vixia M31 (prosumer) and that seems to do a nice job.  As for a cameras, stick to DSLRs.  Canon makes a bunch of nice gear.  I'm not to much into that gig yet, but am expanding from web design and development to multimedia (video/audio).  Don't forget tripods, cables and that...it really depends on what you want to do.

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Explorer ,
Apr 12, 2011 Apr 12, 2011

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Thanks so much.  I feel better about spending the added price on CS5.5 Production Premium which includes Premiere Pro.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 12, 2011 Jul 12, 2011

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Harm,

A while back you gave me some advice re a kit build for Production Premium, which I submitted for consideration, and for your thoughts I thank youl. Several months on, the powers that be (UK Civil Service) have decided to go a different purchase route. The request has ended up in the hands of a well known computer supplier 'chain' (a prefered supplier) and because they can't supply the Sabertooth board you recommended they have come back to my bosses with a their recommendation based on what they will supply. My question is, would you accept it, will it take advantage of CUDA and do you foresee any problems:

I am shooting with a Panasonic AG-HMC151E AVCHD. H.264 MPEG-4 compression.

The chain are quoting:

Windows 7 64 Ultimate

CS5.5 PP

on:

Intel DX58sO2 Extreme

i7-970

Trudata 12GB DDR3 PC3-8500 1066MHz Unbuffered 204-pin

HP NVIDIA Quadro 4000 2.0GB

1 x WD 450 velociraptor 10k

3 x WD 1TB AV-GP Greenpower 64MB SATA-II (NO RAID)

800W PSU

The problem with preferred suppliers is you get what you are given. Do you think there any 'conflicts' in the above spec?

Appreciate your opinion

Regards

Peter

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LEGEND ,
Jul 12, 2011 Jul 12, 2011

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Sorry to say this, but the chain made a few wrong choices. The AV-GP hard drives are not compatible with PCs at all - but instead they are designed specifically for standalone HDD-based DVRs and PVRs. And their "800W" PSU could have been a generic one that could have handled or provided barely half that much before failing. And the Quadro 4000 costs way too much money given its hardware specs (it is based on the original power-hungry GF100 that the GTX 480, GTX 470 and GTX 465 were also based on, but cut to only 256 cores on the Quadro 4000 versus the 480, 448 and 352 cores on the GTX 480, 470 and 465, respectively). For so much money, there is zero practical performance improvement in CS5 over the cheaper GeForce GPUs. And as I have found out, 12GB of RAM is not quite enough RAM for CS5.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 20, 2011 Jul 20, 2011

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Thanks RjL appreciate all the input from the experts. This leaves me at the starting blocks again and as many of you have experience of CS5.X would you be good enough to list a minimum build that will make use of the upper capabilities of the programme?

I have taken the input about PCW but still have to go through this process of at least two quotes.

So any kit spec advice would be appreciated.

Peter

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LEGEND ,
Jul 12, 2011 Jul 12, 2011

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Peter,

In addition to what Randall correctly mentioned, there is also the issue with the Intel mobo's, not an optimal choice IMO because it lacks expansion capabilities, is not easy to overclock and the memory only allows running at stock speed.

Overall, I think this is a very mediocre proposition. I wonder what their quoted price would be, but I guess you can do much better in terms of BFTB by looking elsewhere. I would suggest 'the powers that be' to get another quote from another supplier.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 12, 2011 Jul 12, 2011

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Harm,

I did forget to mention that the DX58SO2 is missing a few voltage settings that are necessary to successfully overclock the i7-9xx CPUs more than moderately. But being an Extreme Series motherboard, its BIOS does allow running the RAM above their stock speeds. But even with that, I found that I could barely achieve an overclock to 3.9 GHz with any of the 45nm i7-9xx quad-core CPUs on Intel-branded X58 motherboards when entry-level X58 motherboards from other brands could run stably with those same CPUs at 4.2 or 4.3 GHz.

And don't plan on using the eSATA port(s) on the DX58SO or any other Intel Extreme Series motherboard: Intel is one of the few motherboard brands to use an eSATA chipset from Marvell rather than the more common Jmicron. The speed, especially the write speed, of the Marvell eSATA chipset is pathetically slow compared to that of the Jmicron eSATA controller. I could not get an interface speed of more than about 50 MB/s from the Marvell 61xx eSATA chipset (versus more than double that on the Jmicron eSATA controller) unless I also install the Marvell 61xx RAID driver - and then, the installation of that driver creates new compatibility issues.

Message was edited by: RjL190365

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 12, 2011 Jul 12, 2011

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RjL/Harm

Thank you SO MUCH for your pearls of wisdom.

A, we are a UK Gov service.

B, the procurement is being made by the local council, a partner.

C, their prefered supplier is PC World Business Centre.

And I am stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to get something decent that will give 3/4 years of service (if we still have jobs that is).

The PC World build solution works out around £4,700 plus tax.

So, where do I go from here? I'm on my own fighting several corners and people who either do not know what they are doing or have their own agendas.

Here is what I want, and maybe you can define what I should be asking for.

CS5.5 PP taking advantage of all it has to offer.

As Harm previously suggested a Sabertooth from Asus (or maybe there is now something better on the market)?

A 10k C drive plus 3 x 1TB SATA + one external 1TB

A GPU that works.

Appropriate PSU.

Experts all, I bow to your wisdom, can you suggest what my current wish list should be so I may carrry it forth and argue my case?

Regards

Peter

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Explorer ,
Jul 12, 2011 Jul 12, 2011

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PCWB? My nan would be a better choice and she's dead 😉  Convince the buyer to consider an independent expert.  DVC are in the South. Zen Computer Services are in the North.  Both have been going for years and they know Adobe editing systems inside out.

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Explorer ,
Jul 16, 2011 Jul 16, 2011

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Peter,

I agree with the replied statements. I am using 24 GB RAM, Intel(R) X990

overclocked, two Solid State Drives (one for the OS and one for working on

the current projects, along with several standard Large SATA and USB Hard

Drives for storage. I am not using RAID but plan on updating shortly.

Photo_1985

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 20, 2011 Jul 20, 2011

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Hi Photo_1985, I'm interested in the fact you are using SS drives as I thought Adobe would not allow installation of CS5 on a SS drive (assume for reasons of piracy)??

Peter

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 20, 2011 Jul 20, 2011

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Just wanted to let you all know we've published a DIY update on our blog: goo.gl/HQMjG

Videoguys DIY Update: Sandy Bridge - Getting closer with the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO Motherboard

Over the past few months we've taken some heat on some NLE user  forums for our recommendation to NOT use Sandy Bridge CPUs for building  your NLE workstation. We didn't take this lightly and we understood the  frustration it would create for people wanting to build a new NLE  workstation. You want to use the latest technology and take advantage of  the speed and performance per dollar of the Sandy bridge CPUs.

Our Sandy Bridge concerns where not about the CPU, but rather the  available chipsets and motherboards. The first chipsets had very real  potential problems that gave us reason for the concern. The two biggest  being the shared PCIe bandwidth and the integrated graphics. When  building a computer for video editing job number one is to avoid any  system bottlenecks.

While a system can be great for gaming, it may not be good for video  editing. Gamers want the highest possible video framerates and the  quickest possible seek times. For HD video editing we are working with  very large files, that can be very heavily compressed.  A bottleneck  anywhere can create all kinds of performance, stability and workflow  issues. So when we post a new DIY build, we are looking for a system  that can handle the most rigorous video editing timelines, with as much  realtime performance as possible. When we have to render or encode, we  want it to be the fastest possible, while delivering files that are 100%  defect free.  That's why it's important to start with the chipset  first, then find the right motherboard and from there add the components  that will maximize the performance for video editing.

As I said earlier, the first couple of rounds of Sandy Bridge  motherboards did not impress me. While I know that some system  integrators and expert DIY builders are using Sandy Bridge today with  great success, I wanted to wait until I found a chipset and motherboard  that addressed my main concerns without sacrificing Sandy Bridge  performance. We may have found it! I've been doing some research on the  Asus P8Z68-V Pro and I'm very interested in it. It addresses two of our  main Sandy Bridge concerns: PCIe bandwidth and Integrated Graphics. http://goo.gl/HQMjG

I'm still not ready to recommend Sandy Bridge or the Asus P8Z68-V Pro  motherboard yet. It is very new and I want to see more feedback from  users. Both for video editing and gaming and just general computers. We  are going to keep looking into it, and if it meets our expectations, we  will begin our DIY9 build around it. That said, I really want to see a  Sandy Bridge motherboard with integrated Thunderbolt! read more...

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