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Old December 31st, 2007, 04:20 PM   #1
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PC Spec Recs for AVCHD Editing w/ HG10

I just bought a Canon HG-10 which I really like but after trying to convert some short AVCHD clips to a lower resolution format I realized that I probably need to upgrade my PC ASAP (something I had been planning to do anyway for quite a while now). Currently I have a Pentium 4 3.0 Ghz w/ only 512 MB of RAM (I know that's way too low but I don't feel like spending any money on the existing PC it if I am going to ultimate upgrade) running XP SP2.

I was looking at getting either a Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad processor and was wondering whether I would notice a major difference going w/ the Quad processor? Does most of the video editing software take advantage of multi-threading (I was probably going to try out Pinnacle once I get the PC)? Other than occasional video editing, I would say I am not a hardcore user. I never play games and primarily use the PC to browse the Internet, check email, use iTunes and for Word and Excel. So is the Quad processor overkill? Specifically I was comparing the following Intels:

E4600 (Dual Core, 2.4GHz, 2 MB L2 Cache, 800 MHz Front Side Bus)
Q6600 (Quad Core, 2.4 GHz, 8 MB L2 Cache, 1066 MHz FSB) - $50 more than E4600
E6850 (Dual Core, 3.0 GHz, 4 MB L2 Cache, 1333 MHz FSB) - $50 more than Q6600

If the four cores are really unnecessary and dual core is enough then maybe it is worth going for the E6850 over the Q6600. Otherwise I am leaning towards the Q6600.

Second question is should I go w/ 2 GB or 3 GB of RAM (going to be running Vista Home Premium) - 3GB is $150 more. And in either case should I then spend an extra $50 to upgrade from 667 MHz RAM to 800 MHz RAM? Both chips above have 800 MHz or faster FSBs but is this going to provide a noticeable performance improvement or is it a waste of money?

Final question is on the graphics card. I am choosing between the ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT (256 MB of GDDR4 RAM) and the NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT (256 MB of GDDR3 RAM). Price is the same for each. Read a review that said the NVIDIA is better for gaming but the ATI is better for HD video (not sure if they were talking about viewing, editing or both). All else being equal I would probably lean w/ the ATI as I have been happy w/ their cards in the past.

The current config I am going with is the Q6600, 3GB of 800MHz RAM and the ATI 2600 graphics card and the total cost for the CPU is ~$1,000.

I know these are super specific questions and I tried to search around on the web to compare the various products but figured it made sense to post here given my specific need for the extra horsepower is going to be video editing.

Thanks in advance.

Eric
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Old December 31st, 2007, 08:15 PM   #2
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Four cores is four cores. For games, you don't need so much processing power but you need the high-end graphics card. For video editing, you don't need such a great graphics card, but you need all-out processing power. And if you have video editing software which utilises 4 cores, you can see the difference.

I have a Q6600 with 2GB RAM running Vista Home Premium and Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8 and when I read some threads about how editing with AVCHD is difficult or slow, I laugh. It's no different to editing anything else. Quite frankly, Vegas with a Quad Core is amazingly fast. When rendering out as MPEG2, all 4 cores are somewhere around 99% usage. (And with no internet security or anything else to slow the system down, it's the fastest desktop PC I've ever used.) I just use the Corel software supplied with the HG10 to get the files from the camera and drop them into Vegas for editing. (I don't use HGBackup. Corel renames them all .m2ts and Vegas picks them up without problems, but Vegas doesn't like the .m2t files straight from the camera.)

As for 3GB over 2GB, I have not had any problems yet with 2GB, but if you can spare the money, it can't hurt. I'm using 667MHz so I can't comment on that vs 80MHz.

The only thing I'm not happy with is Vegas' downconversion to SD.

And as for graphics card, I'm just using the Intel onboard video on my motherboard. Crap for games (X-plane has a visibility of about 500 metres!!! compared to my 3-year old laptop with 256MB ATI Radion 6700 which was remarkably good) but no problems with HD video. If you want to save money, ignore the graphics card, use the motherboard's onboard video and spend the money on RAM or Hard Disk space.

Last edited by Leopold Hamulczyk; December 31st, 2007 at 08:27 PM. Reason: Adding more detail.
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Old January 1st, 2008, 02:02 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Very helpful. Once I get the PC set up I will have to spend some time trying to figure out what software package I want to run. I don't plan on doing much hardcore editing but I will want to be able to downconvert the resolution so I can share video online on my blog or to put on regular DVDs to send to people. Sounds like Vegas isn't the greatest program for that based on your comment above. Which program would be better?

Last edited by Eric Nadan; January 1st, 2008 at 10:38 AM.
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Old January 1st, 2008, 07:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Eric Nadan View Post
Thanks for the reply. Very helpful. Once I get the PC set up I will have to spend some time trying to figure out what software package I want to run. I don't plan on doing much hardcore editing but I will want to be able to downconvert the resolution so I can share video online on my blog or to put on regular DVDs to send to people. Sounds like Vegas isn't the greatest program for that based on your comment above. Which program would be better?
A lot of people seem to like Vegas. I have not tried it. I plan on keeping my HD stuff in HD for when I do get HD ;)

Anyways, I am using Pinnacle Studio 11+, and converting to .divx for stage6 in HD. Also using vimeo.com ...

Anyways, I'm not sure what the reference file was for Tom's Hardware test(it probably wasn't HD), but yes - the QUAD CORE Intel are kicking SERIOUS butt for video converting.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/11/...70/page23.html

I'd definitely max out system memory on a new system.

AMD Phenom is currently at a performance disadvantage. They will be priced appropriately too until that gets fixed.

My AMD Athlon 64+ 4400+ 2x1MB l2 cache s939 dual core, takes about 20 minutes to encode 1 minute in High Def.

I'm using Raptor Drives - but I don't believe they are the hold up at the moment - its processing power like the other guy said.
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Old January 1st, 2008, 07:43 PM   #5
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Thanks. This link is helpful. Looks like the Dual Core E6850 outperforms the Quad Core Q6600 slightly. Decisions decisions.
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Old January 1st, 2008, 10:09 PM   #6
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Thanks. This link is helpful. Looks like the Dual Core E6850 outperforms the Quad Core Q6600 slightly. Decisions decisions.
Whatever you get, it will probably never seem like enough for HD format ;)
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 07:27 AM   #7
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Do not get over 3gb of ram, Windows 32bit cannot utilize anything over 3, infact, 2 is about all it will use unless you make a change to the boot.ini file.

People waste a TON of money on ram that windows will not use, the 64bit version will use every bit of ram you put into it.

So save your money and stay with 2gb of ram since the OS will show more, but not utilize it.

I use to work for Dell and didn't know this until my current job in 3D design, we added 4gb of memory to my machine, and the software still showed it only had 2gb to play with, I made the boot.ini "tweak" via Microsofts article on there site and it bumped it up to 3gb, but now its giving me directx video memory issues, so in return it brought on problems, cause its not allocating memory correctly now......

Stupid Microsoft.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 08:56 AM   #8
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Interesting. Thanks for the tip. Would never have guessed that. And memory fortunately is the easiest thing to add down the road if you decide you need (or can actually use) more.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 02:45 PM   #9
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Thanks. This link is helpful. Looks like the Dual Core E6850 outperforms the Quad Core Q6600 slightly. Decisions decisions.
That was only a limited test. The software they tried may not have been optimised for multi-core processors. Look at Passmark CPU benchmarks, which does a more thorough test.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 02:58 PM   #10
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Thanks. Yeah I also clicked ahead to some of the other Tom's test which would also be relevant for video rendering, etc and the Q6600 seemed as good or better than the E6850. I would imagine as more and more software takes advantage of multi-threading the four cores would come in even more handy.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 11:01 PM   #11
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a bit of misinformation being spread here - modern 32bit versions of windows (vista and xp) can address 3.25gb of ram. there is plenty of quality ddr2 that can be had in the $75 range for 4gb all day everyday, so it is one of the cheapest components in a pc right now.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820141141
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Old January 8th, 2008, 08:20 AM   #12
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I just bought a Dual core Athlon X2 6000+ 2gb of ram for AVCHD

Works awesome in editing in Pinnacle 11
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Old January 8th, 2008, 10:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Paul Ewer View Post
a bit of misinformation being spread here - modern 32bit versions of windows (vista and xp) can address 3.25gb of ram. there is plenty of quality ddr2 that can be had in the $75 range for 4gb all day everyday, so it is one of the cheapest components in a pc right now.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820141141
Yeah, my win xp pro machine shows 3.xx gig of ram.. but it wasn't like I was going to install 3 gb or memory not in pairs.

I do look at Task Manager - I can't say I've seen over 2 gb used - and I run lots of programs/etc.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 10:46 AM   #14
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Yeah, my win xp pro machine shows 3.xx gig of ram.. but it wasn't like I was going to install 3 gb or memory not in pairs.

I do look at Task Manager - I can't say I've seen over 2 gb used - and I run lots of programs/etc.
You can have 2 1 GB dimms and 2 512 MB dimms to get you to 3GB and still install in pairs. That's what I was planning to do w/ the Dell I am about to order.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Paul Ewer View Post
a bit of misinformation being spread here - modern 32bit versions of windows (vista and xp) can address 3.25gb of ram. there is plenty of quality ddr2 that can be had in the $75 range for 4gb all day everyday, so it is one of the cheapest components in a pc right now.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820141141
I'm sorry, there is no misinformation here...the kernal only uses 2gb of ram, anything needed to be more has to have a manual override in the boot.ini setting with a /3gb /Userva= switch and some other input, this is direct from microsofts support site, and windows will show the ram, but its not using it for the program, its not using the rest after 2gb at all.

The only way you will really be able to notice without digging is if you run software that shows available ram left

Such is the case with Autodesk Inventor 2008 pro, I'm running 4gb of ram, and without the switch on, it has under 2gbs of ram to play with, when it redlines it crashes.

I applied the /3gb switch and started getting directx memory allocation errors, and I did not feel like tweaking the /userva= setting.

So unless you feel like going through that, more memory without a manual change to the ini file is wasting your money, period.

64bit OS will utilize all of the ram, All 32bit OS's will NOT, I'm not sure on vista, but windows XP will flat out not do it, and Vista is pure crap anyway so if your running that....scrap it(yes a few people have good luck with it, but your performance would be faster in xp and you would have better driver support, you don't have to take my word for it, all techies know this, but if you don't, you do now).
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