What PC to build?

LEGEND ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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A question often asked is what system to build for NLE.


Basically you can think along three roads, a budget PC, an economical PC and the warrior PC. Notice that MAC is not mentioned here. There are three reasons for that, one is I'm not qualified to really advise on MAC's, two is that they are way overpriced and three they are severely limited in component choices. So this is all about PC.


Whether you want to have a budget, economical or warrior PC, there are a number of common components that you will always need, a case, a PSU, CPU cooler, monitor, keyboard, mouse, DVD/BR burner and stuff like that so I'm not going into those components.


So what is this all about?


1. CPU
2. Motherboard
3. Memory
4. Disk setup
5. Video card


This is certainly not intended to be a full description of what to buy, but only to point you in a direction that will make it easier to make your own list of components required.


CPU
Budget: i7-860, Economical: i7-930, Warrior: Dual X5680


Motherboard
Budget: ASUS P7P55D, Economical: ASUS P6T WS Pro, Warrior:  SuperMicro X8DAH+


Memory
Budget: 8 GB, Economical: 12 GB, Warrior: 24+ GB


Disk setup
Budget: 3-4 SATA disks, Economical: 5-8 SATA disks (plus raid controller), Warrior: 12+ disks and Areca ARC 1880iX-16/24 controller

Video card
Budget: ATI HD 5670, Economical: nVidia GTX-285, Warrior: nVidia Quadro FX 3800+


Effectively at this moment (March 2010) that means in approximate costs for the 5 components and not counting everything else you may need,

Type PC
Approximate budget
Budget$ 1,200
Economical$ 2,100 (excluding RAID controller)
Warrior$ 8,500 (including Areca RAID controller)


These figures are around minimum to budget for. I hope this gives you something to ponder about.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 18, 2010 Mar 18, 2010

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man thats a nice OC. i have not seen one go to  4GHz in months. much less 4.2GHz.

mine is @ 3.8GHz.

Scott

ADK

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LEGEND ,
Mar 18, 2010 Mar 18, 2010

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Of course I would not operate in a normal video editing mode at that speed.  The motherboard is my ASUS P6T7 WS Supercomputer.  While it may be an ideal CUDA platform, it is a lousy disk performer.  I have a faster (R)AID array than Harm (because a risky eight disk RAID 0), but cannot even come close to his disk intensive AVI encoding score of 1.4 seconds, the best I have seen is about 3.9 seconds.  Also if you scan the Results page you will see it is not my setup, all AVI results for this MB are lousy.  I cannot verify this but I suspect that the two nVidia N200's that are on this board may be the cause.

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New Here ,
May 06, 2010 May 06, 2010

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Thank you very much for your extensive efforts to educate...your advice is succinct and pertinant, the fruit of many years experience, I'm sure. Thanks for sharing with us.  I've read the links you sent & printed them to use while I compare options.

If I had more time, I'd build one...best way to learn! Thanks again.

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New Here ,
May 08, 2010 May 08, 2010

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Greetings, I've read this thread with eager (but, admittedly ignorant) interest.

I'm creating patient-education programs with audio/video/graphics/animation etc... and need to keep my focus on the content vs. the technology.

Are there any technically sound, pre-configured and optimized for "Adobe CS5"  available for those of us who don't know enough about hardware to build a sytem ourselves?

Sara

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LEGEND ,
May 09, 2010 May 09, 2010

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There are many configurations posted here in different price brackets. Depending on your budget, I would take the list of components that were used in good and stable performing systems that fit your budget and ask a system builder in your area for his comments or suggestions and ask him to make you an offer you can't refuse. You will then also have the support close by.

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Guru ,
May 10, 2010 May 10, 2010

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Send me a PM Sara and I will help you.

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New Here ,
May 11, 2010 May 11, 2010

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Hi Harm Millaard,

First of all I would like to thank you for the great posts I've seen here, about hardware in general, and the rich information you have been providing for long. Then, as I need to assemble a NLE PC capable of dealing with 2 or 3 simultaneous layers of AVCHD and TOD video files with average 35GB size, with a 2.500,00 € [$ 3.000,00] budjet, after reading most of your articles I've managed to come with the following configuration:

CASE:
- 1x CoolerMaster RC-690 II Advanced (89,90 €)
- 1x Fan 80mm NoiseBlocker Silent X1 Black/ Blue (4,40 €)
- 2x Fan 120mm NoiseBlocker Silent XL2 Black/ Blue (6,00 €) (12,00 €)
PSU:
- 1x Corsair HX-850W (165,00 €)
MOTHERBOARD:
- 1x Asus P6X58D-E Skt1366 iX58 (224,00 €)
PROCESSOR:
- 1x Intel Core Quad i7 930 2.8Ghz Skt1366 8Mb (277,00 €)
COOLER:
- Noctua NH-D14 Fan 140mm (69.90 €)
GRAPHICS:
- Asus GeForce PCI-E GTX470 1280Mb GDDR5 (359,90 €)
RAM:
- 2x Pack 3x 2048Mb DDR3 GSkill PC3-16000 (2000) CL9 RipJaws Tri-Channel (194,90 €) (389,80 €)
HDD-SYSTEM:
- SSD Intel 2,5" SATA-2 80Gb X25-M (225,00 €)
HDD-PRODUCTION [RAID0]:
- 4x Western Digital SATA-2 1TB 7200rpm 32Mb Black (85,90) € (343.60 €)
HDD-STORAGE:
- N/A [available USB 2.0 2TB device]
BR-RW:
- 1x DVDRW Blu-Ray LG BH10LS30 8x SATA LightScribe bulk (189,00 €)
DVD-RW:
- 2x DVDRW SATA Asus 24B1LT 24x LightScribe Black bulk (26,00 €) (52,00 €)
OTHERS:
- PCI OEM w/ 2 Firewire + 1 Mini-Firewire (9,90 €)
- Sharkoon Media III Card-Reader (5.25/3.5/USB) (10,90)
OS:
- 1x Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit PT OEM (112,90 €)

---

TOTAL: approximately 2.500,00 €

---

Well, what can you say about this assembled machine? What modifications would you do? Any recomendations?

Regards.

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LEGEND ,
May 11, 2010 May 11, 2010

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Two questions and one remark.

Question 1: Doesn't the motherboard have two on board firewire connectors? If so, you don't need the PCI card.

Question 2: Do you need two DVD burners PLUS a BR burner? The BR can also burn DVD's.

Remark: I know SSD is a hype nowadays, but is boot time that important? For editing it makes no difference and you can save a bit by choosing a Velociraptor for boot and another WD disk for expanding a raid.

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New Here ,
May 11, 2010 May 11, 2010

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Thank you for your fast reply!

Notes: The "2x" DVD is a typo! It was from another custom machine! And extra Firewire is needed for several peripherals [client arguing]. And I guess you may be right with the SSD HDD..

Now, imagine you can spend more 500,00 € [maybe $ 750,00], what would you do to increase performance and reliability? And for Win7 what are the main settings that I should do?

Software to use: Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas, Corel Video Studio Pro, Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate Collection.

PS: I had some problems in the past with some PC configurations that used to stuck / crash during HD editing [not rendering], that's why I chose that particular graphic card.

Regards.

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LEGEND ,
May 11, 2010 May 11, 2010

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With € 500 extra budget, I would get Win7 64 Pro instead of Home Premium and keep the rest for the future. It is not enough for a nice raid controller, let alone extra disks for that controller. Build it, try it and see if you have any bottlenecks that need attention.

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New Here ,
May 12, 2010 May 12, 2010

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Please, tell me what difference will Pro Win7 produce in spite of the Home Premium version, concerning a NLE PC.

Thanks.

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Enthusiast ,
May 12, 2010 May 12, 2010

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the biggest is the 16gig memory limit, whilte 12 is ok 24 is best

with pro you can have up to 192 home is 16

also with Home you cant be on a domain. fine for at home networking but if in a corp environment with a domain you cant connect.

Scott

ADK

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Explorer ,
May 12, 2010 May 12, 2010

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Harm:

I'm a video editor using a Sony ZI and editing in HDV burning in SD. Hope to up grade to NX5. Need a new computer to use Cineform Neo 4k and CS5 Production Studio.

The following suggestion has been made:

Gigabye GA-P55M motherboard with Gigabit Ethernet, Firewire and eSATA ports,

8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM (4x2 GB)

Intel Core i5 750 quad core processor (2.66 GHz)

2x1 TB 7200 rpm WD "Black Series" HDs-32 MB cache

nVIDIA GTX 285 video card - dual monitir support

2x LG DVD Rewritable drives with Nero software

Mini tower case with room for 3 Hard Drives

Win 7 Pro 64 bit

Rosewill 650 watt 80 plus Certified power supply- energy efficent and quiet

3 yr warranty

$1700 approx

What do you think of such a set-up? How can it be improved and hopefully lower cost or at least not increase it too too much?

Thanks

Dave514

Scottsdale AZ

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LEGEND ,
May 12, 2010 May 12, 2010

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Dave,

A couple of remarks:

1. Only two disks. That is cutting it thin, unless you did not mention a separate OS/program disk.

2. Mid tower. I would always opt for a big tower because of the better cooling and expansion room.

3. A P55 board limits you effectively/economically to 8 GB memory. A X58 board allows for 12 GB.

4. 650W PSU with a GTX-285 may be on the low side.

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New Here ,
May 30, 2010 May 30, 2010

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Hi Harm Millaard

I seriously need help choosing the components for my next pc!

I’ve been trying to come up with a decent configuration over the last few weeks but each time I star to choose components I seem to blow my budget. I live in New Zealand where PC components tend to be more expensive than what they are in the US/ Europe.

I am currently a media assistant at a marketing firm and find that I often need to take my work home to work to tight deadlines. I plan on using on my future PC CS5 (for work) and Avid Media Composer (for my own personal projects). Potentially I would like to play around with Maya as well at some point.

I’ve never built my own PC before but I’ve decided that I would like to give it a try. That said while I can use a computer (fairly well) I still have allot to learn in terms of putting one together.

My budget is $4000.00 (New Zealand dollars)

I have come up with the following list of components so far:

CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-960 3.2GHz Quad-core with Hyperthreading

MB: Asus® P6X58D Premium Supporting SLI/CrossFire, USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s

MEMORY: 12GB Kingston HyperX Triple-Channel DDR3-1600MHz Low Latency

GRAPHICS CARD: NVIDIA® Quadro™ FX580 512MB GDDR3

DVD-RW: LG Electronics GH22NS50 DVD Writer, DVD 16R/22W/8RW, CD 48R/48W/32RW, Internal, SATA, Black, OEM   

SOUND CARD: Creative Sound Blaster 5.1 VX Sound card, 5.1, PCI

WIRELESS ADAPTER: D-Link DWA-520 Xtreme-G, Wireless Adapter, 108Mbps, 802.11b/g, PCI   

HARD DRIVES:

(RAID 0) 2x VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS, 150GB, 10000rpm, 16MB Cache, SATA-2

Caviar Black WD1002FAEX, 1000GB, 7200rpm, 64MB Cache, SATA-3

As you can see so far I’m missing cooling, a case and a power supply, potentially a RAID Controller card, usb ports (i would also like to add a HDMI output port) etc

Could you please give me a hand and modify what I have above in any way that you see fit and help me by completing the list of all the other components that i will need?

I would really appreciate your help!!!!

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LEGEND ,
May 30, 2010 May 30, 2010

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Well, you asked for it.

Lose the i7-960 and get an i7-930 instead and overclock it a bit. Half the price and the same performance when OC' ing.

Lose the FX580, get the GTX-480, much much faster and has the HDMI port.

Lose the sound card, use on board sound instead. Saves $$$, compatibility issues and bloated software.

What is the use of the wireless adapter? Lose it or if you really need one, get a 802.11 b/g/n version.

Do not raid your boot disk. One Velociraptor is sufficient.

Get at least 2 or better yet 3 Caviar Black's.

Cooler: Noctua NH-14D

Case: many to choose from, as long as it is a big tower. For instance CM HAF932, Lian Li PC-A77B

PSU: CoolerMaster is very good. Look here for requirements: eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Pro v2.5

The mobo has a number of USB ports on board.

Consider a  LG GGW-H20L BR/DVD burner.

How does this fit into the budget?

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LEGEND ,
May 30, 2010 May 30, 2010

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I second all of Harm's comments, but when you get through a very important step is to make sure you tune your OS (hopefully Win 7 64) to get rid of the garbage that Microsoft has to include to cover every possible use but features that are not necessary for an editing machine.  As an example one function that you will not need is Tablet PC components, there are about two dozen or more of these that I turn off.

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Participant ,
May 30, 2010 May 30, 2010

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Hi Bill,

Is there a list/link anywhere of what functions in Win 7 64 to turn off, in addiiton to the Tablet PC function?

Rowby

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LEGEND ,
May 30, 2010 May 30, 2010

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LEGEND ,
May 30, 2010 May 30, 2010

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Rowby, here is my first cut at my tuning list for Win 7 64 Pro

You may have to make your own decisions on each of these services based on your usage of your computer.  My goals were to set this up as a second (actually third) almost only editing and really primarily benchmarking machine.

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Community Beginner ,
May 31, 2010 May 31, 2010

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Note that many people have reported problems with the LG GGW-H20L BD burner disappearing under Win7, never to return.  I'm one of them.  It worked perfectly under Vista 64 but none of the fixes proposed on the web have worked for me.  Device Manager reports a problem with the driver but the Microsoft troubleshooters say they can't find a better one.

Fixes proposed on the web and in various forums include uninstalling and letting the system reinstall, hacking the registry, running the Microsoft Auto-Fix program and disabling AHCI on the mobo.  The drive is not listed in the Win7 compatibility list and the LG website includes drivers and SW only for XP and Vista.

Others are recommending the Pioneer BDR-205.  I've just ordered one.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 01, 2010 Jun 01, 2010

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acgold777 wrote:

Note that many people have reported problems with the LG GGW-H20L BD burner disappearing under Win7, never to return.  I'm one of them.  It worked perfectly under Vista 64 but none of the fixes proposed on the web have worked for me.  Device Manager reports a problem with the driver but the Microsoft troubleshooters say they can't find a better one.

Fixes proposed on the web and in various forums include uninstalling and letting the system reinstall, hacking the registry, running the Microsoft Auto-Fix program and disabling AHCI on the mobo.  The drive is not listed in the Win7 compatibility list and the LG website includes drivers and SW only for XP and Vista.

Strange, That is what I have and never any sign of a problem and I imagine that I have burned well over a hundred successful DVD's and a few assorted BR's.  Here is what Device Manager reports for me.

LG-BG.jpg

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 01, 2010 Jun 01, 2010

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Thanks for posting that, Bill.  It's the same driver mine shows.  Hmmm....

Here's another thought.  I think the drive is connected to an IDE controller, not SATA.  Could this be the problem?  All the Device Manager data talks about IDE and I'm pretty sure the burner is not connected to any of the internal SATA ports on the mobo.  But if that's the issue, why did it work ok in Vista but not Win7?  And do you know if there's a setting I can tweak if Explorer cannot see the drive?  Or should I bite the bullet, kill a Hard drive and use that port for the burner?

Thoughts, anyone?  This is puzzling.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 01, 2010 Jun 01, 2010

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Adam, can you see your burner in your BIOS?  You are confusing me with this statement

acgold777 wrote:

I think the drive is connected to an IDE controller, not SATA. 

IDE is the old 40 pin Parallel ATA interface and that would be impossible to connect to this drive which is SATA.  Are you sure it is even connected to anything?  I am not sure what motherboard you currently have but if I remember right you also had an X7DWA-N is that correct?  I believe that to use SATA ports 5 and 6 you have to have ACHI enabled.  Now it is not going to be easy to enable ACHI.  While I have heard of a few successful people enabling ACHI after you have Windows loaded it is not easily or normally do-able.  A sure way is to start all over and reload the OS and yes I know that was the last thing you wanted to hear.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 01, 2010 Jun 01, 2010

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Yes, sorry, this is just me being stupid.  I opened up the box and it is the old Asus drive that is connected with a wide IDE cable.  The OS drive and the LG are connected via SATA to the SATA ports on the mobo (and yes, you remember correctly -- it is the X7DWA-N).

I already have AHCI enabled; I went through that whole soap opera, including the BSOD and registry tweaks, a year ago.  So we had all six SATA ports working under Vista 64, but now under Win7 we're having the problem with the LG.  (It is connected to channel 2).  The Intel Matrix RAID storage manger does not at the moment see the drive at all, but I think it is because I've been messing around inside the case and did not properly re-seat the connector; Device Manager does not even see the drive either, but it used to.  Up until the last reboot I did have a blue flashing light on the LG, but not now.

I'm on the Intel website now and I see they have an updated Matrix Storage Manager available; I'm going to try that.  In the meantime, all other thoughts are welcome.  Thanks for everything so far, Bill.

EDIT:  Reseated the power cable (duh!) and drive powers up but same problem persists as before.  Downloaded and installed latest Intel Matrix Storage Manager found here http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=17882&ProdId=2101&lang=eng

and lo and behold.  It works.

Here's an interesting thread which discusses the problem, and from which I got the link:

http://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=132422.0

It theorizes that Win7's AHCI drivers are funny and should be replaced by Intel's.  Maybe so.  Ironically, it may have been the clean install of Win7, which everyone recommends over the "Upgrade" install, which did me in.  Formatting the OS HDD wiped out the Intel Matrix Storage Manager app, which was needed in order to see all the drives.  I'm not sure it was installing the newest version that helped, but just installing a version, period.

Hope this helps others if they are having the same problem.

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