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Old December 6th, 2004, 05:48 AM   #1
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Computer upgrade -- video card?

Hi all,

I'm considering a computer upgrade to let it cope with realtime HDV and my main question is: how important is the video card in your editing system? I ask this because on the cineform website, they are quite specific on which processor you have to get at least for real-time performance, but not as specific on video-cards. I've also heard a few people saying on this board that video cards are not that important for editing.
I now have:
- an athlon XP 2000+
- 512 MB of PC2100 RAM
- Winfast A280 LE video-card from leadtek with 128 MB RAM. it has a nvidia GeForce 4 Ti 4200 core.

I want to upgrade the processor and memory to something near 3GHz (intel) and 1 GB PC3200, respectively, to meet cineform specs. Do I also need to upgrade the video-card?
Thanks,

Steven
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Old December 6th, 2004, 10:30 AM   #2
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The CineForm tools don't need to use the video cards GPU for acceleration, is this why we don't have extensive required for the graphics card. We do need support for a YUV overlay and memory on the graphic card, which your clearly supports (as most graphics card do.) You won't need to update the graphics card.
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Old December 6th, 2004, 05:05 PM   #3
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ship abroad?

Thank you David, for your quick and clear reply. I have however one more question.
When aspect HD will ship (at mid-december according to your website), do you also ship to countries outside of the US (europe)? Does the combo with premiere, audition and encore also ship abroad? Thanks again.

Steven
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Old December 6th, 2004, 05:16 PM   #4
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Yes Aspect HD will ship in the next two weeks, initially as a download version than as a physical package several weeks later. We do ship outside of the US for all our software options (including the for bundle with Premiere, Encore and Audition.)
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Old December 8th, 2004, 11:12 AM   #5
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One thing to consider is that playback of 1080i video on a computer (e.g. using the WMV format) may require a graphics card with 256MB of memory for best results. If I was buying a new graphics card, that would be one of my primary concerns.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 08:28 PM   #6
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Hi Guys,,

Once the video is edited using aspect Hd then what is the output mode? Is it going back to the camera or can it be transfered to a DVHS through the firewire? what kind of oputput mode are you guys using.

If it is transfered to mini dv on the camera then can it be transfered to DVHS from camera playback thro the component and what kind of data loss are we looking at?

PLease guide me and if it has been answered ...to the thread please.,
Thanks
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Old December 9th, 2004, 10:54 PM   #7
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It can currectly be sent directly to DVHS --- this is an ideal low cost export format (until HD/Bluray-DVD.) You don't need to sent it to the camera first, particular as you can't use the component out to send the signal to DVHS (it doesn't work that way -- HD recording is FireWire only.)
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Old February 8th, 2005, 04:04 PM   #8
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Matrox has a new card out (or will be out soon) that allows you to have an output to an HD monitor. The only downside is I think it is only dual monitor. I have a Matrox card now that allows 3 monitors (sweeeeet).
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Old February 18th, 2005, 04:25 AM   #9
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Hello David,

I have a single processor mac 1.25 GHz with 9000 pro card. I edit on fcp 4.5 and it has certain real-time capabilities. I would like to increase these by getting a real-time card but is this wise? Right now I notice that although the bar is saying me I have real-time capabilities, it plays back stuttering. Is there a reasonable priced card I can get that will handle the real-time capabilities better then fcp own system?
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Old February 18th, 2005, 10:15 AM   #10
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Today there are no cards designed for real-time HDV accelerating (Mac or PC.) Even the Canopus cards do not accelerate editing. Most of the work is done with the CPU to decode the compressed streams (the hard part), then some FX (in some solutions) are accerated using the GPU. So for HDV work higher performance CPUs are favored over new graphics cards.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 10:58 AM   #11
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David: as I understand it, the design of the Canopus HDV cards offloads certain tasks from the processors so those functions can't adversely affect editing performance, which should yield better real-time results in demanding editing situations. When you look at the full range of features supported by the Canopus cards and compare this to any other currently shipping HDV editing solution, they've clearly got everyone else beat in terms of what they can offer "out of the box." But this doesn't help the fellow who's using a Mac with FCP to edit, and neither does Cineform. My advice to him would be that he's going to need a much faster computer for effective HDV editing: either a dual 2+ GHz PowerMac or a nice shiny PC using one of the PC-based HDV solutions.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 11:19 AM   #12
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I was indicating the David S. that better CPUs are the way to go. But I still stand by the fact that the Canopus cards are not accelerating editing, decompression and mixing is still performed in the CPU domain. They have cool hardware feature like scalers to provide HD and SD output, but then modern video cards at much less cost have that also. The Canopus cards are just designed for video more than general purpose (and that has its advantages -- the question is it worth the additional expense, and it might be for some.) Canopus makes very good software engines and sells them at hardware prices with simpler than they may seem cards (it is a great business model -- I wish we could have none that.)
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Old February 18th, 2005, 01:13 PM   #13
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Either way there's no question that fast CPUs are a good idea for HDV editing, but it's not necessarily fair to describe the Canopus solutions as overpriced and deceptively simple products. I know from personal experience with the Canopus DV products that they are very good at maximizing performance both with and without hardware acceleration, and their DV hardware card certainly seems to offer greater editing capabilities than I get without it. It's technically accurate to say that the Canopus hardware doesn't accelerate editing per se, but if it successfully reduces the load on the processors so they can do more effects in real time then that's the same practical result.

For basic HDV editing this might not be a significant advantage, but if you happen to want to use some combination of features where the Canopus hardware comes into play, it would be difficult for software-only products to compete. The people who are using Canopus NX/SP today report excellent real time results on sufficiently powerful computers, and are saying "show me" to anyone who claims they can do better. If Adobe/Cineform can demonstrate a practical HD monitoring solution which doesn't impact editing performance using a reasonably-priced video card, they'll eliminate one of the main advantages of the Canopus cards, but still not all of them. Among other things, Canopus has indicated that they have a socket on the new cards for a real-time output encoding chip once HD-DVD output formats are finalized, so if they can deliver that at a reasonable price it'll be a tough act to beat.

Where Canopus is a bit weak is in the editing features supported by their Edius software. Several people have very successful video businesses which rely mainly on this software for editing, but others find it limiting in certain areas. On this basis the Adobe/Cineform combo is stronger in terms of overall editing capabilities, but maybe not in terms of performance. The best test of performance will be to compare Cineform-based software-only HDV solutions versus Canopus software-only HDV solutions running on the same computer, so we can eliminate the hardware card from the discussion and test the raw effectiveness of the editing codecs. There's at least one Canopus user working on this now to let us know what he thinks on this topic. My impression so far is that Canopus HQ isn't as efficient as Aspect HD when used at the highest bandwidth setting, but may be comparable or better at the medium and low bandwidth settings. Both appear to be very viable HDV editing solutions and are putting everyone else to shame for working with this format.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 01:36 PM   #14
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Kevin, I wasn't being insulting to Canopus, I didn't say they were overpriced (the market can only say that.) I think they have always done excellent products. Canopus main features in the past has been a RT encoder (something that benefitted DV editing) but they don't have that yet for HDV or DVD-HD. That will be cool feature, and worth adding additional hardware. I guess I felt I needed to speak up (in the CineForm forum section) that many people state that because something has hardware it has to be better (not that you have said that.) But clearly all solutions are a combination of hardware and software. CineForm is just less tied to particular hardware -- giving us a greater flexibility and lower pricing structure to be very competitive as a small company. Now if Canopus made there card available (without their software) so that we can use our codec (yes, more effecient) with their hardware, wouldn't that would be pretty cool. But you are wrong when you say "eliminate one of the main advantages of the Canopus cards, but still not all of them" -- there isn't a feature of this card that can't be done with other solutions (and why should there be?) We are evaluating today real-time WM9 accelerator cards to integration into Aspect and Prospect HD, we already have HD-SDI support -- all hardware based (just third party vendors.) It is a different business model, neither is inferior.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 02:34 PM   #15
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David: I essentially agree with everything you said except your implication that other solutions can/will soon match the full capabilities of the Canopus hardware. For comparison purposes, note that their DVStorm card is still the single most powerful real-time DV editing solution a full four years after it was introduced, precisely because they used an approach which scales just as well with increasing processing power as any software-based solution. So if the hardware does anything at all and also benefits from increasing processing power, then the only way software solutions can compete is to also tap into some form of auxiliary hardware. When you look at the full list of features the Canopus hardware supports, it's hard to imagine anyone developing a piecemeal solution which matches that through any reasonable combination of third-party products.

But to be fair, most people may not care about having all those features and will do just fine without the hardware, at which point it's okay to say that Canopus is on a level playing field with Cineform. So if you consider the Canopus software-only HDV option and compare it to the Adobe/Cineform software-only HDV option, then we can directly compare editing performance on any desired computer configuration and see what happens. Canopus just gives you the option to work with specialized hardware support or without--but you have to decide before hand what you want, because it's a slightly different version of the software and they don't offer an effective upgrade path to the hardware.
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