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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 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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Very nice little guide!

the only thing i would make comment on.

the 860 and 920/930 are the same price.

the boards for each are only $30 apart. (p55 being slightly less)

so the cost of a P55 vs X58 are not that big a jump.

4 vs 6 gig or 8 vs 12gig not a big stretch..

however for many the 860 is more than they need. (DV, HDV)

FYI the 860 overclocks very nicely to 3.6GHz without voltage increases.

As to the Apple my biggest reason for not recommending them to clients right now is not about cost or choices.

its all about OSX inability to properly mutli-thread.

at least Adobe is much better on an Apple right now that Final Cut! FC is rather embarressing.

Scott

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Participant ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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I was on the verge of pulling the trigger on this deal :

http://www2.dell.com/ca/en/home/desktops/desktop-studio-xps-9000/pd.aspx?refid=desktop-studio-xps-90...

From $1,938
You Save $440
Now $1,498 (before taxes)

Then a friend looked around for me and assembled this hypothetical build :

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Edition 64BIT Dvd OEM
•Limit 5 per customer.
•Usually Ships in 1 to 2 Business days.
Yes $145.87 $145.87

Western Digital WD1001FALS Caviar Black 1TB SATA2 7200RPM 4.2MS 32MB 3.5IN Dual Proc Hard Drive OEM
•Limit 5 per customer.
•Usually Ships in 1 to 2 Business days.
Yes $98.88 $98.88

XFX Radeon HD 5850 XXX Edition 755MHZ 1GB GDDR5 4.5GHZ 2XDVI HDMI Display Port PCI-E Video Card
•Usually Ships in 1 to 2 Business days.
Yes $334.80 $334.80

LG BH10LS30 Bluray Writer 10X BD-R 16X DVD-RW Lightscribe SATA Retail Box
•Limit 2 per customer.
•Usually Ships in 1 to 2 Business days.
Yes $169.88 $169.88

Asus P6T X58 ATX LGA1366 DDR3 3PCI-E16 PCI-E1 2PCI CrossFire SLI SATA2 GBLAN Motherboard
•Usually Ships in 1 to 2 Business days.
Yes $253.80 $253.80

Antec Truepower New 750W Modular Power Supply ATX Active PFC 80 Plus SLI Ready Blue 120MM PWM Fan
•Usually Ships in 1 to 2 Business days.
Yes $125.01 $125.01

Antec P183 ATX Tower Case Black 11 Drive Bay 4X5.25 1X3.5 6X3.5INT No PS Front USB & Sound
•Usually Ships in 1 to 2 Business days.
Yes $146.65 $146.65

2 X OCZ XTC Platinum OCZ3P1333LV6GK DDR3-1333 6GB 3X2GB CL7-7-7-20 Triple Channel Memory Kit
•Usually Ships in 1 to 2 Business days.
•$20.00 CAD Mail in Rebate for this item - click here
Yes $168.71 $337.42

Intel Core i7 920 D0 Stepping Quad Core Processor LGA1366 2.66GHZ Bloomfield 8MB LGA1366 -SLBEJ-
•Usually Ships in 1 to 2 Business days.
Yes $324.32 $324.32

Payment Detail
Shipping & handling $0.00
Insurance $29.05
Sub Total $1,936.63
GST(5%) $98.28
No PST - Outside BC residents $0.00
Total $2,063.96

In both cases, I was going to add at least 1TB as a 2nd HD.

Rig will be for Photoshop, Sonar audio editing, and full screen HD video playback (not editing). No gaming. No overclocking.

Dell's video card is a 5770. The custom build is a 5850. Both may be overkill. Dell's PSU is 475W. The custom build's is 750W. Dell's OS is Win7 Home, the custom build's is Win7 Pro. Dell's blu-ray only writes CD/DVD. The custom build writes BD/CD/DVD.

Is either one of these a no-brainer? Any red flags? Please note that price *is* an issue right now, as I'm being hit with all kinds of emergencies simultaneously... but my current rig (7 years old, upgraded to an Opteron 180 somewhere along the way) is falling apart on me. After a false-alarm HD failure scare this past weekend, I don't want to keep pushing my luck.

PS: I'm in Canada, these are all in CND prices.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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Dell XPS is brain damaged from the start: The BIOS is crippled, not allowing any overclocking.

In your custom system, I would definitely add a smallish 150+ GB disk for OS & programs, not waste a 1 TB dirve. The 5850 may be a bit pricey in comparison to the 5670 and not deliver any measurable benefits. For MPE you may consider the approved cards, although they do come with an additional price tag. And we are not even sure when MPE will come.

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Participant ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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Harm Millaard wrote:

Dell XPS is brain damaged from the start: The BIOS is crippled, not allowing any overclocking.

Did you miss the part where I went out of my way to mention that I wouldn't be overlocking?

The part about not wasting a 1TB drive as the OS drive makes a lot of sense, though. Thanks.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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as mentioned the Dell is silly the power supply is barely enough to boot the default config.

add harddrives and a serious video card forget it....

IMHO a 700W is minimum and a qualoty one at that not some off brand.

the only good for video dells are in the workstation area and then they are way more than a custom builder.

Scott

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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I plan to build a 64bit computer later this year, after CS5 is out, with my CURRENT plan being...

Intel i7 CPU + ASUS P6 motherboard + Win7 Pro 64bit (have that from site license @work) and 12Gig Ram

320Gig boot drive and 320Gig scratch drive and 1T data drive (SD video only, to make home movie DVDs)

Since I'm not sure the CUDA/MPE engine will do anything for me with SD video, I am still deciding between nVidia GTX 285 and an ATI with 1Gig of display ram (will also use Photoshop)

I also do NOT overclock

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LEGEND ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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If you insist on a notebook, this may be worth looking at:

http://eurocom.com/products/showroom/specselectnew.cfm?model_id=207

but prices may be a multitude of desktop systems. I can get it for around € 8,000

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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not a good company...

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Explorer ,
Aug 04, 2010 Aug 04, 2010

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John

Thanks for al the info.

I built the system you specified except that my PC has 5 disks (4x1TB disks rinnung Raid5).

It works better than the Dell pictured aside of it.

I believe I dammaged the main board when I transported the completed PC to my home from where it was assembled.

I guess with that big cpu cooler this PC should not be moved (in an automobile) once assembled.

Also with that huge GPU card a larger case would be helpful.

It produces MP4 files very quickly from a Premiere Sequence.

I am having trouble with Premiere Tape Capture.

I guess I will have to shut off all file indexing under W7.

There is also a strange problem if I pull out the head phones the sound shuts down until I restart Premiere.

Thanks

Frank Breen

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Guru ,
Aug 04, 2010 Aug 04, 2010

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Do you have speakers plugged as well? If the headphones are the only output plugged into the onboard sound on Win 7 and you pull them, then Win 7 changes the default audio output to the digital outs. If you have speakers plugged in then Win 7 will change the outputs to where the speakers are plugged into. You have to change the outputs in Premiere to reflect the change or restart Premiere to initialize the audio output change.

Eric

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Explorer ,
Aug 04, 2010 Aug 04, 2010

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I have a speaker system plugged into the audio outs on the main board - no sound card.

On my Dell PG (Vista) when I pull out the head phones from the front of the computer a little noet comes on the screen telling me that an audio device has been plugged or unplugged.

On the Dell PC the head phones shut off the speakers but I can put them in and out without any disruption.

Pulling out the head phones seems to disrupt Premiere.

I think that sometimes I cannot play any video on Premiere unitll I restart Premiere.

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Guru ,
Aug 04, 2010 Aug 04, 2010

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That is because Premiere attempts to sync the audio to the video. If the audio device changes as far as Premiere is detecting then it has to reinitialize that device before it can continue. You will see this as well sometimes if you have an audio interface that also supports the Asio driver standard. If you switch from WDM to Asio or vice versa sometimes you have to restart the application. You can first go under preferences though and check what you audio device is currently set to and change it and then change the output mapping. That normally works with Adobe but not always. The easiest way is just to restart the application if it doesn't.

Eric

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LEGEND ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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No gaming. No overclocking.

and

Did you miss the part where I went out of my way to mention that I wouldn't be overlocking?

does not appear to me as going out of your way.

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Participant ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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Sorry Harm, that wasn't intended to come across as snarkily as it did.

I'm slowly walking away from the Dell set-up, mostly because of the inadequate PSU.

My main question now is... if my sole points of interest are :

1) Photoshop (ridiculously high resolutions, ie 4GB+ psd files)

2) HD video playback (full screen - currently 1920x1200 but could potentially go even higher)

3) Very intensive multi-layer / live FX / 24b wav music editing

No gaming, no overclocking, and very little video editing (I'm leaving that door open, but I've no immediate plans to).

In this scenario, would an ATI 5850 or even a 5770 be a waste of money that could be put into more or better ram?

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LEGEND ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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In your custom setup, you already have 12 GB of memory (with nice timings BTW) so I don't see any benefit of adding more memory at this time.

With CS4 the video card is often overrated, but does not bring you any measurable benefit. A $ 30 card will do nearly as good as a $ 2K card.

Dorris Day once sung:  "Que sera,sera. Whatever will be, will be, The future is not ours to see..."

and that still applies. We just don't know when MPE will come out, what it will bring, what it may mean in video cards, ...

but based on what we currently know and have, any $ 30  card will suffice.

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Participant ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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Harm Millaard wrote:

In your custom setup, you already have 12 GB of memory (with nice timings BTW) s

You mentioned "nice timings". As someone who knows very little about ram, I'm not sure what that means, but thought I'd ask you what you thought of another opinion I got in another forum telling me to ditch the 1333 and go with 1600.

Keeping in mind I'd be on an i7 920, I'm budget-conscious, what the difference would cost and what I'd get in return, how wise is that advice at this point in time?

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LEGEND ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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OCZ Platinum is my brand. That means I have it myself, so I may be biased. I know others here have had troubles with Platinum/mobo combo's, but it appears to me those were mobo problems, not memory problems (correct me please if I am wrong, BG).

The nice thing about your memory is the 7-7-7 timings and the 1333 speed is more than enough to support overclocking to around 3.6 GHz. If you want to go further, let's say to 4.0 GHz, then 1600 memory would definitely be advisable, but keep the CAS at 7.

You can find some background info here: How to get the best from a PC? Some guides...

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Participant ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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Harm Millaard wrote:

The nice thing about your memory is the 7-7-7 timings and the 1333 speed is more than enough to support overclocking to around 3.6 GHz. If you want to go further, let's say to 4.0 GHz, then 1600 memory would definitely be advisable, but keep the CAS at 7.

I WILL NOT BE OVERCLOCKING!!! 😉

If the real benefit of going 1600 is overclocking, then all the more reason to stick with 1333. Right?

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LEGEND ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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If you don't want to overclock, even 1066 is enough. That is the standard speed, but who would not want to overclock to a mediocre degree? 1600 is only for serious overclockers and a waste of money if you don't want that. Period.......... and period.......

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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actually this is completely not right.

even NOT over clocking your CPU, you can run your memory @ 1600 and should be.

1600 is NOT JUST FOR OCING. and you can OC with 1066 if you know what you are doing (dont recommend it either)

period period

Scott

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LEGEND ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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Scott,

I agree with you, but there is one handicap, who do you trust to set those settings in BIOS? Not the average editor. I don't mind to help, but if people want to change their BIOS settings to get the most out of their systems, they better know what they are doing, and unless you are willing to give all the support needed, they are on their own. I will not help on BIOS settings, if people screwed up, but if you volunteer...

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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shoot no! i am not helping either. we have thought about looking our clients out of the bios

but then i couldn't rag on Dell for it

it also depends on what board you use and ram you use.

XMP profiled (correctly profiled) Ram.

if you choose use XMP profile in the bios

"Should" auto profile.

past that i dont give out bios setting.

i dont have the patience (thank God my support guys do...)

Peace!

Scott

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LEGEND ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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Harm, I did have a one module in a set of three go bad and OCZ quickly replaced the whole set.  I have had my i7-920 experimental computer running at 4.2 GHz with my 1600 6GB Platinum OCZ with 7-7-7-20 timing.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 17, 2010 Mar 17, 2010

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Bill,

I can't say I look forward to the moment when you take over my (current) top position on the PPBM4 benchmark, but I do think you deserve it with all the effort and time you invested. Be aware that you may have to achieve a score below 23 seconds...

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