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Old August 2nd, 2013, 02:55 PM   #1
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What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

I am trying to determine what hardware I need on a new computer in order to have smooth playback and fairly fast renders when editing HD footage with few added effects in CS6. I'm going to be editing a daily 3-hour clip down to 1 hour and exporting that hour plus smaller clips. My main concern is having slow renders.

Right now, I'm looking at an i7 with 16 gigs of DDR3 Ram. Would adding a GTX 680 and a 10,000 or 15,000 RPM hard drive for the exports drive be good enough?

In general, how much does a 10,000 RPM or 15,000 RPM drive improve exports vs a 7,200? Does having a higher-RPM drive on the drive with the source footage help at all, or does it only matter on the drive you're rendering to?
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Old August 2nd, 2013, 04:54 PM   #2
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

I'd consider going with some kind of RAID configuration.
That video card isn't on the Adobe list yet, highest version they show is the GeForce GTX 580.

System requirements | Adobe Premiere Pro

I would consider these to be very bare minimum and you want as much memory as your computer will hold. I have 16GB on my laptop and memory is so cheap now, why not?
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Old August 2nd, 2013, 07:17 PM   #3
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

I have the GTX 680M on my edit laptop, works a treat. You may have to do the famous "hack" to add it to the Adobe list...you will find numerous references on this Adobe thread to accomplishing this simple task.. There is also good information here, but they make it more complicated than it is:

Adobe Premiere CC, CS6, CS5.5 and CS5 Video Cards with CUDA Acceleration Mercury Playback Unlock Enable MPE Hack Mod Tip OpenCL David Knarr

+1 on the raid configuration, also.
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Old August 2nd, 2013, 07:38 PM   #4
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

I assume this topic has bean discussed all too often, but what RAID configuration would be best with say 4 1TB drives? And how should I allocate the drive with the source footage, the export drive, and the media cache?
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Old August 2nd, 2013, 09:31 PM   #5
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

If by "allocate" you mean "partition", I don't see much advantage to doing so. I'd be inclined to put them all into a single striped array. 4TB is lots of room to do a project in. Of course, you'd need to come up with a separate data backup scheme, possibly going with an external set of drives. I'd like to go to that "toaster" setup that's been mentioned around here, where you insert bare-bones drives into slots of a HDD controller (toaster). You'd have your project files organized into folders on the 4GB RAID, and backup the source media once, then just periodically backup the project working files.

Last edited by Mark Watson; August 3rd, 2013 at 09:41 AM.
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Old August 3rd, 2013, 09:07 AM   #6
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

Mark, by "allocate" I just meant as an example that one drive would have source footage, one would have media cache, and another would have exports.

Are you saying that I should have my OS on a drive, and then the 4 1TB drives I mentioned would be in a RAID 0, and would contain the source footage, project files, media cache, and exports? With so few drives, wouldn't it be better to just use the drives not in RAID, and then have the source files on one, the media cache on other, and the exports drives on a third?
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Old August 3rd, 2013, 09:29 AM   #7
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

Hard drives are a bottleneck for video editing. If you can improve drive performance, your renders and other file operations will not slow you down as much. In a 2-drive RAID 0 configuration, I read reports that HDD speeds nearly doubled. I don't recall if the speed improves even more by going with a 4-drive RAID, but it stands to reason that's what could be expected.

You could allocate one HDD for media, one for renders, one for final DVD production, etc. Everyone has their own way of doing it. You can search on this forum and find some great methods of organizing your work flow. I am just suggesting that with a 4-drive RAID 0, you would gain a lot in performance. The 4 HDDs would appear on your system as a single 4TB drive. Why not just have 3-4 major file folders on one drive to organize your data rather than physically storing those different types of files on separate drives (and lose the advantages of a RAID 0)?

Whatever you decide, it's not like it's irrevocable. Nowadays it's a lot easier to create RAIDs than ten years ago (my experience anyways). I know you understand the role of a speedy drive, otherwise you wouldn't be looking at 10,000/15,000RPM drives. Personally, I'd go for something with a good reputation for reliability and just 7,200RPM at 1TB each. The RAID is like getting free performance upgrade. Just the one big 'gotcha' that a single drive failure will wipe out all data across all RAID drives. There are other configurations that provide better risk management. So, you could do some benchmark testing of your own with the 4 individual drives, writing large files, rendering a typical project, etc. Take notes on the time it takes. Than create a RAID 0 and do the same tests and see what you get. Easy to convert the drives to RAID and back to non-RAID.

edit: Yes, you want the OS on a separate drive. SSD is great.

Last edited by Mark Watson; August 3rd, 2013 at 09:34 AM. Reason: dangling participle, removal of
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Old August 3rd, 2013, 09:46 AM   #8
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

Mark, thanks for the great info. How would you compare the following 2 setups (if you can without actually testing them):

1. One solid state drive for OS and Apps, One 1TB 7200 RPM drive for raw footage and project files, another 1TB for media cache, and two additional 1TB drives in RAID 0 for exports.

2. One solid state drive for OS and Apps, and 4 TB 7200 RPM drives in RAID 0 for everything.
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Old August 3rd, 2013, 10:08 AM   #9
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

Sure, I'll take a SWAG at it. My money would be on #2 if based on performance.

Not sure how all the NLE's handle files. Premier may be similar to Vegas, which I use 99% of the time.

What you want your RAID for is the files that the NLE will be reading and writing to a lot.
If you want to save raw footage on a separate drive just to keep it near at hand, and then move selected clips over to the RAID that you actually plan to use in your project, then okay, you could do that without any drop in performance and would actually keep the RAID free of the usual clutter. I keep a large music and sound effects library on a stand-alone HDD myself. If you are talking about the raw footage as files that will be accessed frequently by the NLE during editing/exporting, etc, then I'd say it's better to keep them on the RAID. Your initial post was "... in order to have smooth playback and fairly fast renders when editing HD...". So, all my advice is geared to that. Hard drives are a bottle neck, the slowest performer in your editing system. The really serious people around here have some elaborate RAID setups for a reason, time is money.
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Old August 3rd, 2013, 05:57 PM   #10
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

Great info, thanks. If anybody has any other ideas, do share.
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Old August 3rd, 2013, 06:56 PM   #11
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Watson View Post
The really serious people around here have some elaborate RAID setups for a reason, time is money.
Do you think exporting a file would make that much difference if you have a raid setup? I can imagine that the less compression in a file (source and/or export file) the faster it could export, like when you are editing and exporting in a intermediate file I notice that exporting speed is limited by the harddrive speed, but when editing in a highly compressed format like avchd and exporting from that format to a h.264 format is not limited by the harddrive speed as far as I know.

Just to give an idea, I have a pretty basic setup on one of my pc's like one SSD drive for programs, one 7200rpm drive for video and one 7200 rpm drive for export.

The cpu is a I7 3770 and there is no separate GPU but one build in one the motherboard (a hd 4000) and it has 8gb of memory so nothing special. I use edius 6.5 but since we are talking about faster exporting with a raid set-up the type of NLE or software shouldn't matter.

If my source material is a HQ AVI 1080p 25p 135mbs file and if I export to a h.264 17mbs file in Edius (a copy for my clients) that is 5 times faster then realtime, so a one hour file is exported in 12 minutes.

If I build a blu-ray disc with tmpgenc authoring works 5 and my source material is the same intermediate hq avi file my export speed is 2 times realtime, so a one hour film is ready in 30 minutes.

Would a very fast raid system make the exporting part even more faster? Not so sure about that, not if the end file is highly compressed.

Last edited by Noa Put; August 4th, 2013 at 01:43 AM. Reason: extra info
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Old August 7th, 2013, 04:50 AM   #12
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

There are a number of issues in the original question, playback, rendering and exporting.

First, playback. That depends very much on the codec in use, the number of tracks in the time-line, the duration of clips before the next scene change and the sustained transfer rate of the disk I/O system.

I'm still in the process of writing an article about it, but the footwork has been done here: Tweakers Page

Second, rendering. This depends very much on the number of cores, the clock speed, the L3 cache, memory and the video card. It is not easy to say in generic terms where a possible bottle-neck may appear, but in general the more complex the source codec, the more impact the cores will have. The bigger the resolution (4K versus HD), the more strain is put on the CPU.

Exporting is mainly about CPU effectiveness. There are but a few effects that use the GPU when exporting. Apart from resizing, frame blending and blurring, exporting is the sole task of the CPU. The write time to disk is negligent in the overall picture. Writing a 37 GB export file to disk, the last step in the whole export process, will take around 225 seconds when using a single disk and around 22 seconds when using a very large and elaborate raid array. Both figures are not worth mentioning when you consider the total export time of such a large file.

To answer Natan's original question, I would say your priorities should be:

1. A 2011 socket X79 motherboard (because of the PCIe lanes available)
2. Preferably an i7-3930K+ hexa core CPU
3. At least 32 GB memory
4. GTX 760+ video card
5. SSD for boot and at least 3 7200 RPM HDD's

If the need arises, this will give you the option to add a raid controller in the future. Note that choosing a 1155 or 1156 platform will limit you to a quad core CPU, will limit you to a sustained transfer rate of effectively < 500 MB/s on your disk I/O system (unless you accept a video performance drop of 10 - 15%) and limits L3 cache to 8 MB. A 2011 platform gives you a hexa core CPU, can give you - with the right raid controller - a sustained transfer rate in excess of 4000 MB/s, gives you 12+ MB L3 cache.

Last edited by Harm Millaard; August 7th, 2013 at 05:34 AM.
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Old August 7th, 2013, 09:38 AM   #13
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

Harm, thanks for the recommendations.

If I were to get, for example, the following machine:

Newegg.com - lenovo Erazer Intel Core i7 16GB DDR3 2TB HDD + 128GB SSD HDD Capacity Desktop PC Windows 8 X700 (57316913)

And switch out the video card, add 16 additional Gigs of Ram, and get 2 additional 2 TB 7200 RPM drives, would I be in pretty good shape according to your specs?
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Old August 7th, 2013, 12:03 PM   #14
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

Natan,

I'm a big fan of DIY systems for several reasons.

1. It is easy and fun to build your own system and then, when you are finished, you can say: I've done it.
2. It is a lot cheaper than just buying an off-the-shelf system, which always lacks 'something'. In the case of your link of the Lenovo, it lacks a big tower, which constrains you in terms of future expansion, the PSU is rather minimal with only 625W, it comes with only 16 GB memory and as a default has the wrong video card.

If you want to get an idea how I went about planning my own system, look at Planning a NLE System

The alternative might be to buy - if you don't want to go the DIY route - from a specialized custom builder, that will ask about your requirements extensively and then make a proposal to fit your needs. I don't know if they are a sponsor, so I can't give you a link to their site, but Google for 'ADK Video Editing' and you will end up in Kentucky. Give Eric Bowen a call and tell him I sent you.
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Old August 7th, 2013, 01:50 PM   #15
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Re: What hardware do I need for HD editing on Premiere CS6?

I'd probably go with a custom-built machine. Thanks for the recommendation. I also know of a few other sites that have gotten positive reviews like computerlx and a few others.
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