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Old March 31st, 2011, 08:14 PM   #1
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Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

Need help finding the right CS5 Prem Pro PC. Please help

Gents:

Based on recent developments, I’ve finally decided to have a PC specifically built to for an upcoming upgrade from Premiere Pro CS3.2 to CS5. Since I can’t build it myself, would you please be willing to offer some recommendations for online solutions that are: safe, reliable, reputable, reasonably priced, fair and offer some kind of a guaranty or warranty?

I’m thinking that a custom configured system from one of the major manufacturer would be overly pricey part per part and offer limited choices. My budget is roughly $1,000-1,200.

For parts, (considering I don’t want to spend $1,500 or $2,000 for a top of the line or upper end machine) please list in detail what combination would you choose if you were in my shoes that would meet the following goals/criteria:

It doesn’t have to have the best and speediest components, just be reliable, stable, yield smooth playback quality and render well at a reasonable speed. I’m not a power user by any means so it will receive moderate use, the CPU won’t be maxed out.

What questions should I have asked or important considerations that I should keep in mind when making my choice?

Another objective is not only to buy a full-fledged & dedicated CS 5 machine for myself but another unit with lesser firepower that my wife can use and also function as acceptable back-up in case something goes wrong with the first.

I noticed “Dell 7 days of deals” started today. I’m not yet attracted to what they have but wanted to just list the core specs of a couple of their “deal” systems and leave them to you experts to critique and offer suggestions as to what I should do, not do, why and steer me along the right path.

1) Studio XPS 7100: AMD Phenom II X4 945/ATI Radeon HD5670 1 Gig VRAM/8 gigs memory.
2) Studio 8300: i5-2300 @ 2.8ghz/ATI Radeon HD5450 1 gig VRAM/6 gigs ram

Are ATI Radeon cards up to the demands of CS5 or are Nvidas card the way to go? How does one differentiate on card from the next within NVIDA?

I was wondering how a variation of or an upgrading of these key components would potentially fit my needs, expectations and budget. I had asked a similar question about 6 months ago however the parts market and choices has changed,

Thanks for any and all help offered. Please contribute and get this discussion started!
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Old April 1st, 2011, 12:32 PM   #2
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

IMO, the minimum for capable, smooth performance with CS5, you should think in terms of Intel i7, 12 GB RAM, and an Adobe recommended nVidea graphics card for MPE. Also, Win 7 64 PRO would be best OS in order to enable 24 GB RAM at a later date.
To cut costs, the way I've done it is to get a good i7 system (Dell XPS will do) with minimal RAM, system drive only, and low end graphics card. Then add the 12 GB RAM, extra hard drives, RAID drives, nVidea card, BR burners, etc. yourself. You could even do it in stages as the funds became available, but you would end up eventually with a capable system that you could even continue to add to & reconfigure for greater performance at a later date.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 07:33 AM   #3
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

by no means am i an expert but building a pc is very easy. I'm currently building a system that is going to be supper fast and so far I have invested $1500. What I got was for a case is the Antec DF-85 VERY big case lots of room cost is $159. I needed the room in the case for the liquid cooling system cost is $300-500 for my particular system. For the motherboard I went with the ASUS MAXIMUS IV EXTREME at the moment its the highest end motherboard with all the bells and whistles cost $364. Now for Graphics i went with the GeForce GTX 570 but after doing some reading i understand CS5 doesn't support the card for cuda but there is a hack to fix that. For the CPU i went with Intel's i7 Sandy Bridge 2600k 3.2Ghz this is the latest chip from Intel on liquid cooling this chip can be over clocked to 5.0Ghz. Because of the Motherboard i chose it didn't come with a Fire Wire port i had to get a PCI card. Now if your still not interested in taking on the task i recommend a company called Cyber Power Pc i bought my first custom computer from there 3 years ago and its still running strong.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 03:12 PM   #4
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Pelley View Post
Need help finding the right CS5 Prem Pro PC. Please help

Gents:

Based on recent developments, I’ve finally decided to have a PC specifically built to for an upcoming upgrade from Premiere Pro CS3.2 to CS5. Since I can’t build it myself, would you please be willing to offer some recommendations for online solutions that are: safe, reliable, reputable, reasonably priced, fair and offer some kind of a guaranty or warranty?

I’m thinking that a custom configured system from one of the major manufacturer would be overly pricey part per part and offer limited choices. My budget is roughly $1,000-1,200.

For parts, (considering I don’t want to spend $1,500 or $2,000 for a top of the line or upper end machine) please list in detail what combination would you choose if you were in my shoes that would meet the following goals/criteria:

It doesn’t have to have the best and speediest components, just be reliable, stable, yield smooth playback quality and render well at a reasonable speed. I’m not a power user by any means so it will receive moderate use, the CPU won’t be maxed out.

What questions should I have asked or important considerations that I should keep in mind when making my choice?

Another objective is not only to buy a full-fledged & dedicated CS 5 machine for myself but another unit with lesser firepower that my wife can use and also function as acceptable back-up in case something goes wrong with the first.

I noticed “Dell 7 days of deals” started today. I’m not yet attracted to what they have but wanted to just list the core specs of a couple of their “deal” systems and leave them to you experts to critique and offer suggestions as to what I should do, not do, why and steer me along the right path.

1) Studio XPS 7100: AMD Phenom II X4 945/ATI Radeon HD5670 1 Gig VRAM/8 gigs memory.
2) Studio 8300: i5-2300 @ 2.8ghz/ATI Radeon HD5450 1 gig VRAM/6 gigs ram

Are ATI Radeon cards up to the demands of CS5 or are Nvidas card the way to go? How does one differentiate on card from the next within NVIDA?

I was wondering how a variation of or an upgrading of these key components would potentially fit my needs, expectations and budget. I had asked a similar question about 6 months ago however the parts market and choices has changed,

Thanks for any and all help offered. Please contribute and get this discussion started!

Bruce:

Am I correct that your budget is for a CPU box only and includes the cost of Win7 but the upgrade from CS3 to CS5 will be separate? Am I also correct that you shoot with a single Canon XHA1 and have been using CS3/Encore to produce a local access tv show, working with one or two tracks of HDV? Will you be moving some of your current system's components (hard drives, dvd burner, etc) over into the new box?

If so, it means you can get by with more modest hardware than you would need if you were working with AVCHD footage and/or doing multi-cam editing.

However,you are correct that the two Dell systems you noted are far too modest for your needs. If they are like most Dell systems, they will have power supply units that are small. Also, system cooling efficiency in these boxes tends to drop off greatly as you add components to the box. Space in the box may be very limited, as well, You would find future incremental upgrading very difficult if not impossible.

While I have not been paying close attention to off-the-shelf major brands --- though I do realize that not everybody can or wants to assemble their own system --- I can suggest some general guidelines for what to look for in a system and what to avoid.

1. For a good overview of what you need for editing HDV (as opposed to, say, AVCHD) look at Harm Millard's posting here: Adobe Forums: System requirements for Premiere Pro CS5. This is a good explanation of relating hardware needs to editing projects under CS5.

2. I think you will want an I/7 processor for a couple of reasons. One is that you need hyperthreading to be able get many of the advantages of the upgrade to CS5. WIthout the hyperthreading, systems with Intel i/3 and i/5 chips and systems based on AMD processors will be muuuuccchhhhhhhhh slower and more less smooth when editing even HDV in CS5. Likewise, they will be slow when transcoding.

There is a long thread in this forum which discusses the merits of the new Sandybridge I7 systems and suggests that they might be the most economical systems to look for.

i7 980x Now or Wait for Sandybridge?

Although this thread has a lot of discussion for self-assemblers and over-clockers, the eventual assessment seems to be a less expensive I7-2600K with 8 gb of DDR2 RAM can give you performance with CS5 apps on par with more expensive i7/9xx systems using more (and more expensive) DDR3 RAM.. I don't know about the availability of I7 2600k systems but be sure you are looking at ones with the "k" designation. For editing with CS5 you want a 2600k rather than a plain 2600 processor.

3. As I recall, you are editing broadcast programs (presumably on deadline) and (if I recall correctly from other posts) are moving to CS5 for better encoding from HD to DVD. To get the benefits of moving up to CS5, you want and need hardware/GPU accelerated "Mercury Playback Engine" which you only get with nVidia cards. (Specifically, CUDA cards with a least 1 gb of on-board RAM, preferably DDR5 RAM). CS5 will run with ATI-based graphics displays but you can't get the transcoding and playback benefits of hardware enabled MPE.. Some people have posted about being happy with software-only MPE and editing on minimally equipped laptops. I find those set-ups intolerably sluggish for editing HD and for transcoding. For specs on an upgrade video card (if your system does not come with one), look for an nVidia GTX 4xx or 5xx chipset and 1 gb of RAM, preferrably DDR5. The name or specs will say "Fermi" somewhere in the title. I think I recently read that NewEgg had MPE-usable GTX 5xx and 4xx cards for around $150.

Also, even if the system you buy has integrated graphics (which you can disable), you want the system to have a PICE16 slot and a power supply big enough to allow you to run an nVida GTX 4xx or 5xx card. Integrated graphics use your system RAM rather than their own and can really gum up your use of CS5, so you defintiely want to shut it off and use a card. The power supply is important because PCIe graphics cards will need a couple hundreds watts of power from your PSU which may be more than some units can supply.

Incidentally, the so-called "hack" for enabling "non-certified" l nVidia cards is nothing more than adding the name of your card to a list. Anybody, who can find a file on the computer and write an e-mail, can do this.

4. Be sure that you are getting a 64-bit version of Windows 7, at least "Home Premium" or "Professional." CS5 does not run under the 32 bit versions (such as Win 7 Starter Edition" which major brand computers may ship with less expensive systems.)

Hope this helps. If you are interested in better information on Sandybridge-based editing systems, you might try a PM to Scott Chichelli, a forum member who is now building Sandybridge systems for video editors..
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 03:41 PM   #5
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

Oh, and regarding your question about differentiating between nVidia cards, here are my suggestions. For your needs with editing HDV, you probably want one of the least expensive cards with an nVidia GTX4xx or 5xx chipset and with at least 1 gig of RAM, preferably DDR5 ram. There is a long running thread about nVidia cards in this forum. I would scan through the last few pages to see what folks have to sya about the cards (and maybe find out if GTS cards would work). Using those recommendations, I would go to Newegg.com and go through the reviews/feedback on the particular chipset cards. Obviously, you avoid the ones with bad reviews and high numbers of reports of defects and failures.

By the way, another thing to be careful about in considering off-the shelf computer systems: many of the cases are pretty small on the inside. A lot of them (particularly the recent Dell cases I have seen) do not have enough room between the the back of the case (where you mount cards) the front drive cages for you to be able to fit a PCIe 16 video card. Both the ATI and nVidia based cards are long and too thick for those spaces..
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 05:19 PM   #6
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

Bruce,

I am one of the posters who made many posts in the thread that Jay linked to. You do not want to go with anything less than an Intel i7 CPU for CS5 nowadays. And if you do go i7, go with either an i7-950/960 processor with an X58 motherboard or an i7-2600(K) processor with a P67 motherboard (but keep in mind that in my testing the i7-950/960 needs to be heavily overclocked just to significantly surpass a stock-speed i7-2600(K) when both systems are equipped with identical two-7200rpm-disk RAID 0 arrays and identical disks on onboard Intel SATA RAID controllers with regards to overall performance). I did experiment with disabling HyperThreading on my previous i7-950 system and 12GB of RAM, and found that the overall performance in Bill's and Harm's PPBM5 benchmark test degraded from 311 seconds to 345 seconds (with the RAM running at DDR3-1066 speed) -- around 10%. So, if you go with an i5-2500 instead of an i7-2600, you'd end up with a system that's around 20% to 25% slower in terms of overall PPBM5 benchmark times, assuming that both systems are identically equipped and are tuned optimally; that's because the Sandy Bridge i5's have only 6MB of L3 cache versus 8MB in the Sandy Bridge i7's. However, the two i5-2500(K) systems on the PPBM5 list also had very slow MPE GPU-mode performance compared to the i7-2600K, suggesting that something else might have bottlenecked those two systems; for example, the lone (overclocked) i5-2500K on the list was crippled by the combination of 4GB of RAM and the use of version 5.0.0 -- the very first release -- of CS5, resulting in abnormally slow MPEG-2 DVD encoding times and MPE software-only performance.

Please note that I did not include the i7-970 in my recommendations: Despite having six cores and 12 threads and a new lower price, it still costs twice as much money for a level of stock-speed performance that's only slightly higher than what a stock-speed i7-2600 can achieve.

As for the GPU, Nvidia-based GPUs with 1GB or more RAM (especially DDR5 RAM) are recommended (as Jay stated), provided that you perform the software TXT file tweak described (you add the given GeForce or Quadro card to the cuda_supported_cards.txt file if the card in question isn't already on the list). ATi/AMD graphics cards cannot use MPE's GPU accelerated mode at all; they will run in software-only mode (as will Nvidia cards with less than 896MB of RAM or without CUDA support).

And because of your $1,000 to $1,200 budget, a hardware PCI-e RAID controller card is out of consideration at this time. But if you do want the capability of adding one in the near future, the older i7-9xx/X58 platform is better suited to this use although the i7-2xxx/P67 platform is more than acceptable provided that the motherboard that you choose has a secondary PCI-e x16-length slot that runs electrically in x8 mode. That is because even the very fastest of the currently available Nvidia GPUs do not take full advantage of x8 bandwidth, let alone x16.

And whatever system you configure for CS5, don't go to the big-name brands of pre-built PCs such as Dell or HP: These big-name companies typically have their systems housed in cases with extremely poor airflow and are seriously cramped on the inside, and make it very difficult if not impossible to configure a system with even the minimum recommended components for video editing (such as three or more hard drives). Instead, go to a company that specializes in video editing systems and custom-configure a system there.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Randall Leong; April 3rd, 2011 at 08:37 AM.
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Old April 3rd, 2011, 11:45 AM   #7
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My first quick follow-up is to ask a couple of questions.

Thanks to all of the extensive comments, suggestions and personal experience offered to date which was generous, helpful and greatly appreciated.

As I digest this and other material more questions may arise because I want to get it right the first time!

1) Keeping in mind I'm not a power user, can I get by on a secondary system with an:

XPS 9100 system with an i7 930 (2.8 ghz/ 8 Mb cache)

8-12 gigs of ram

Only 2 hard drives total will fit into the case not 3. I'd have to install/buy the second seperately.

525W power supply- Dell choice

ATI Radeon HD5670, 5770 or 5870

2) Is there a chart somewhere online where I can directly compare the equivalent models from Nvidia and ATI Radeon? Does one exist? What Nividia model be equivalent to the 5770 or 5870?

3) How vital is having that 3rd hard drive as opposed to being limited to two?

Would the above system run acceptably as it's only intended to be my secondary and back-up workstation?


More to come.

Thanks so much.
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Old April 3rd, 2011, 07:44 PM   #8
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Pelley View Post
My first quick follow-up is to ask a couple of questions.

Thanks to all of the extensive comments, suggestions and personal experience offered to date which was generous, helpful and greatly appreciated.

As I digest this and other material more questions may arise because I want to get it right the first time!

1) Keeping in mind I'm not a power user, can I get by on a secondary system with an:

XPS 9100 system with an i7 930 (2.8 ghz/ 8 Mb cache)

8-12 gigs of ram

Only 2 hard drives total will fit into the case not 3. I'd have to install/buy the second seperately.

525W power supply- Dell choice

ATI Radeon HD5670, 5770 or 5870

2) Is there a chart somewhere online where I can directly compare the equivalent models from Nvidia and ATI Radeon? Does one exist? What Nividia model be equivalent to the 5770 or 5870?

3) How vital is having that 3rd hard drive as opposed to being limited to two?

Would the above system run acceptably as it's only intended to be my secondary and back-up workstation?


More to come.

Thanks so much.
In the case of CS5, even the fastest ATi card is nearly as slow as the slowest of the GeForce cards with less than 512MB of RAM. Hence, in software-only mode, the GPU is largely irrelevant; any difference in the performance between the two manufacturers of GPUs is strictly due to the drivers.

And Dell does not currently offer an Nvidia card even as an option for that system.
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Old April 3rd, 2011, 10:28 PM   #9
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

I believe that the XPS 9100 will take 3 SATA HD in the case (I have the previous version- XPS 435), plus an outboard eSATA drive, plus USB drives, plus you could use a WD USB3 external drive (almost as fast as the eSATA connection). A common HD config is to have a SATA system drive, a RAID 0 config (for all media), then can have an external eSATA/USB 3 drive for the project files, render exports, etc.
I would rec getting the tri RAM configuration with minimum of 12 GB- expandable to 24GB with Win7 64 Pro.
Adobe Mercury Playback Engine will utilize only select nVidea CUDA GPUs.
I would rec not spending any extra on the ATI card because if you ever endup wanting to use MPE in hardware mode, you will be junking the ATI card anyway.
BTW, I have been through several generations of Dell XPS boxes that I have configured for HD video editing, and have been quite satisfied with all of them.
The 525 w power supply is fine- just watch out re adding an nVidea CUDA graphics card. Be sure you check the power specs because some of them can draw as much as 200w, and others that will do the job just as well for MPE are down at 100-120w.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 01:24 AM   #10
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

"2) Is there a chart somewhere online where I can directly compare the equivalent models from Nvidia and ATI Radeon? Does one exist? What nVidia model be equivalent to the 5770 or 5870?"

Well, There are a lot of charts on sites like Tom's Hardware and gamer sites, but I do not think they will tell you much that is useful for CS5.

And, again, as everybody is saying, ATI chipsets simply do not support MPE playback and etc. in CS5 so there is no equivalency there.

Now, AFAIK, if the Dell has connectors to power an ATI "crossfire" card, those connectors will also hook to an nVidia "SLI" card so there is no need to worry about equivalency on this aspect. They all run in PCIe16x slots and that is what you want.

Probably the thing you want to focus on is the size of the cards, but I cannot recall any specific sites or charts with comparisons of sizes. Actually, it takes some effort to find physical dimensions of cards and you pretty much have to identify specific cards in order to locate that kind of information. NewEgg is a good place to start because it will help you indentify a number of cards in you price range. You have to use a search engine like google to try to find the actual dimensions for your candidate cards. As long as the nVidia chipset card has 1 gb of RAM and CUDA, and is no large than either of the ATI cards you mentioned, you should be fine.

By the way, have you searched on the Dell website to see if they have any nVidia cards? If, for example, Dell offers an EVGA GTX470 as an upgrade, you could price it on NewEgg and probably find it for a lot less money. You could go to the EVGA website and maybe find the dimensions and compare that with other, less expensive EVGA "Fermi" cards.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 07:34 PM   #11
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

I just noticed that NewEgg does have some dimension specs for some cards. Here is an EVGA card based on the nVidia 450 chipset: :

Newegg.com - EVGA 01G-P3-1450-TR GeForce GTS 450 (Fermi) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

This card is $129 and will work very nicely for editing with HDV (which has much more modest needs than AVCHD). Don't know if it will fit in an XPS9100 case but it is worth checking out.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 09:17 PM   #12
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

if you want to waste money buy a dell... if you want to save your self a great deal of money build your own..... I built my comp today and it is amazing and i spent around $1600-$1700 and i went with a lot of the most expensive stuff. I bet if dell was to offer the parts i put in they would charge $3000

https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/M...px?ID=15778145

NOTE: get more RAM then what is on that page.... i reused some ram i already have

The only reason my comp cost so much was due to the liquid Cooling but in the configuration that is on that link the computer will run
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Old April 5th, 2011, 07:46 PM   #13
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Please bear with me as I continue trying to fine-tune this adventure & thanks for pitching in with valuable contributions as things progress.

Can’t but help wondering why Adobe certifies so few cards considering all the models that Nvidia makes by themselves which leads into the following questions:

1) Do all of their cards (except for a select few) require the hack, can a relative novice/non techie do it themselves or is there a software program that one can launch and let it roll? Do the 4xxx and 5xx series require the hack too?

2) Is it mandatory to have a GPU accelerated card to effectively use CS5 or can a non-certified or hacked card successfully run “software” only mode? What is the difference in rendering/ encoding speed between those 2 modes?

3) Even within any given card model, if you type it into Amazon.com for example to compare prices, dozens if not hundreds of choices pop-up. How do I know which variation to choose? What are the considerations here?

4) Which of these 3 CPU’s would you buy and why? What is the prime advantage?

a) i7-2600k-3.4 Ghz
b) i7-930 at 2.8 Ghz
c) i7-950 at 3.06 Ghz

Which of the above offers the best price to performance ratio?
Is there much of a material difference?


5) Where can I find the so-called “long Nvidia card” thread?

6) How much maximum should I pay for 12 gigs of DDR3 memory? Preferable brands or specs to keep in mind??

7) In regards to the power supply and PC case/housing what recommendations and suggestions would you make that are reasonably priced, reliable will have enough room for air circulation and could handle 3 internal hard drives, firewire card and a burner?

8) Is it essential or a luxury to have a video card that has dual cooling fans and is
overclocked? How much more performance is squeezed out by overclocking?
Not to be omitted is the motherboard. What did you buy and what factors are important?

Sorry for the question barrage however I’m still negotiating the learning curve. Thanks!!
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Old April 6th, 2011, 08:29 AM   #14
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

I will try to answer as many questions as i can..... i will re post with the results of my new system (should be running this weekend) but from what i have read it should be amazing

1.) you have to do the hack and its very easy to do. here is a video on how to do it
YouTube - How to Unlock Adobe Premiere CS5 to use almost any NVIDIA graphics card with CUDA acceleration.

2.) its not mandatory to have but i would HIGHLY advice getting one. right now i have a PC that doesn't run CUDA and its horrible especially when you add fades and different effects.

3.) i wouldn't buy parts amazon. id recommended newegg. some of the better brands are EVGA and Asus. try to get a card that's not "Super Clocked" its a waste of money you can over clock it your self in 5 minutes and achieve the something

4.) it seems the 2600k its going to be the best right now. from what I read above just to get the 950 to preform the same as the 2600k you have to over clock it like crazy..... if your willing to spend a little more money on a motherboard you can get one that has a "Auto overclock"

5.) cant answer

6.) you can get 12gb of ram from $130-300 or more

7.) as far as power supply i went with 1000w. in my particular situation i needed a case that was going to be big enough for a water cooling system (Id recommend one at-least for CPU) i went with the Antec DF-85 its a fairly inexpensive case and its nice

8) The cooler you can get any PC part the better. overclocking makes thing faster and smoother. But when you overclock you create more heat that's why i use water cooling.

9.) when looking at motherboards the first thing you need to look for is the chip set the i7 2600k is a 1155. the next thing is the options. i went with the ASUS maximums iv because i has the most options it has a click-able BIOS, you can control it from another PC via usb or if you have an Iphone you can also monitor it from there as well.


I would recommenced spending sometime on Newegg or a place like that and read reviews find out what people think about the product they received. Hope this helped let me know if you have any other questions be glad to help
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Old April 6th, 2011, 09:27 AM   #15
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Re: Need sage advice in getting right CS5 PC

Bruce,

I have replied on the other forum.

Tom,

FYI, a heavily overclocked i7-2600K @ 4.7 GHz is still slower than a moderately overclocked i7-920 @ 3.7 GHz. See PPBM5 Benchmark

Also read Adobe Forums: Tapeless workflows and Sandy Bridge or...
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