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Old August 11th, 2008, 01:50 PM   #1
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Calling quad-core owners....

I could really do with your help!
I'd welcome some input from those with experience of quad-core systems.

With my faithful old P4 PC about to give up the ghost, I'm about to update my system and, having read the postings here and having looked at the Vidoeguys DIY 6 system, I was thinking of going with the following set-up:

Mobo: ASUS P5K3 DELUXE WIFI-AP
Q9450
4GB DDR3 PC3-10666C6 1333MHz ReaperX (2x2GB) Dual Channel DDR3
3 x 500GB SATA 2 HARD DRIVE - In RAID 0 configuration
20x SATA DVDRW

ATI HD3870 or Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT

I'm running CS3, mainly Premiere and sometimes AfterEffects, and am shooting SD with a Z1 - but am about to make the leap to HDV, probably using Cineform.

I have a budget of around $1750 - is there anything in your experience I need to tweak or alter (apart from the budget) to get a system that will cover my needs?

Is three hard drives in Raid 0 a sensible option?

...and is there anything you'd add (Blu-Ray etc) to improve the capabilities of the system?

All thoughts/suggestions/ideas much appreciated.

Thanks, Sean
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Old August 11th, 2008, 02:05 PM   #2
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You might want to look into RAID 0+1. If you lose one drive with RAID 0 you loose them all. I have had that happen and its not much fun. If you have good back up habits and keep tapes it might not be an issue for you but its worth looking into.

If you have the cash for the Blu-ray and your filming in HD it might be a nice option but you can easily add it down the road hopefully when the BR disks come down and price and some things are finalized for the burnable disks.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 02:06 PM   #3
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Do you really need RAID 0?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Walsh View Post
I could really do with your help!
I'd welcome some input from those with experience of quad-core systems.

<snip>
3 x 500GB SATA 2 HARD DRIVE - In RAID 0 configuration

I'm running CS3, mainly Premiere and sometimes AfterEffects, and am shooting SD with a Z1 - but am about to make the leap to HDV, probably using Cineform.

I have a budget of around $1750 - is there anything in your experience I need to tweak or alter (apart from the budget) to get a system that will cover my needs?

Is three hard drives in Raid 0 a sensible option?

Thanks, Sean
Hi Sean,
Do you even need RAID 0 (seems to be only performance oriented...)? I've got
a Q6600, 4GB DDR2, and my video disk is a WD 1Tb at 5400rpm. So far I think
the only time I have disk limits is when I'm running 3 VLCs at the same time
(3 camera shoot).

thanks
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Old August 11th, 2008, 02:48 PM   #4
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RAID for performance is DEFINITELY nice. If you've got a hardware RAID card, then use RAID 5 because it's got the performance of striping and the redundancy of mirroring without the cost of double hard drives. Check out Wikipedia's RAID article for info on it.

That system overall looks good. You'll be very happy with it. I can definitely tell you that you won't be able to capture your HDV and have a preview window available or do scene detect without either cineform or a hardware encoder. It's a royal pain, actually.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 03:28 PM   #5
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Go with a DDR2 mobo and get 8GB instead of 4GB. You will notice the difference.

RAID5 definitely. Avoid raid0 unless you can afford to lose 1.5TB of footage in a single power outage. Also, get an additional smaller disk for your windows and scratch drive (120gb should be sufficient).

8800GTs are cheap, I got one yesterday for $110

Don't waste your money on cineform. You can edit hdv natively quite well on this hardware. My AMD dual core from 2yr ago can do real-time HDV color correction in Premiere. Since you're building a machine, you can get much better performance by selecting well-matched components.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 03:43 PM   #6
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Also with 4GB it is helpful to get windows 64bit and if you try to go for 8 you will need to otherwise your computer wont use it. With Windows 32bit you will just see 3.5gb
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Old August 11th, 2008, 08:05 PM   #7
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I have a quadcore, and while I CAN easily edit without Cineform, I much prefer to edit with it. If you plan to do much in the way of post-processing, either multiple generation stuff or moving footage between apps, then having a high quality intermediate codec is very useful.

If you do use Cineform, I would support their recommendation to use an ATI rather than Nvidia card (see the Cineform forum for the reasons why).
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Old August 12th, 2008, 11:32 AM   #8
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$1750 (USD) is certainly an adequate budget for hardware. That said, DDR3 is currently still very expensive (not cost effective for the relatively small gain in overall performance). If you have three drives total, putting them all in a single RAID 0 array is probably not best. Also, 750GB drives are generally a better value (cost per gig) than 500GB drives. Q9550s are out now, and not much higher in cost than Q9450s.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 03:01 PM   #9
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This is why DVi is so brilliant! A world of knowledge shared....

Thanks guys for your informative replies.

So, maybe I should be look at DDR2 (instead of DDR3 - Jim, Robert) and maybe 8 gigs (Jad, Josh and Robert), a Q9550 (Robert) and 750 gig harddrives.(Robert)

I reckon I should also favour an ATI card (Graham) over an nVidia because of the issues with Cineform.

If I do go for 3 harddrives, what should I be aiming for in terms of a raid set-up - Raid 5 (David) or Raid 0+1 (Josh)?

I, for one, really do appreciate you sharing your experiences and expertise - and I'm sure many others contemplating a new edit system will also value your input too.
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Last edited by Sean Walsh; August 12th, 2008 at 03:03 PM. Reason: update
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Old August 12th, 2008, 04:27 PM   #10
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Don't forget to use WinXP Pro x64 version. I'm on a quad-core machine and it's very stable, Cineform doesn't mind it, and allows you to use the full capacity of your RAM as previously mentioned.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 01:07 AM   #11
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Don't overlook a good case and power supply. I'm using a Mushkin 580W modular that is a piece of art (as well as super-quiet and highly efficient). My Antec P180 case is the best case I've owned so far (I've built about 6 computers already).
Aftermarket CPU cooling is quite helpful. The quads run hot. Stick with all-copper if budget allows.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 02:28 AM   #12
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I run two set of striped drives. 2x1TB + 2x750gb for incredible performance(lowest speed 130mb/sec, tops about 200mb/sec). This kind of speed is really lovely when moving large AVI and DVD files.

When using NTFS as filesystem a stripe set isn't so sensitive to errors since NTFS is a journal-keeping FS. The extra risk with a stripe set is that if one drive dies of HW failure, you loose it all. But if you buy a modern drive and put a good cooling fan on it, it will run 24/7 for at least 3 years.

Raid controller: Performance wise you only need a dedicated HW RAID card if you're going raid 5/6. If you stick with stripe and/or mirroring the builtin intel raid will give you great performance.

// Lazze
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Old August 13th, 2008, 12:13 PM   #13
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RAID 5 does NOT have the performance of striping for video

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Beisner View Post
RAID for performance is DEFINITELY nice. If you've got a hardware RAID card, then use RAID 5 because it's got the performance of striping and the redundancy of mirroring without the cost of double hard drives. Check out Wikipedia's RAID article for info on it.

That system overall looks good. You'll be very happy with it. I can definitely tell you that you won't be able to capture your HDV and have a preview window available or do scene detect without either cineform or a hardware encoder. It's a royal pain, actually.
I used RAID5 for years in a in the commercial systems I was responsible for and loved it. However, normal data center usage has lots of random reads and fewer random writes, whereas video is heavily sequential. I started with a 4 disc RAID5 on my dual core (840EE) PremierePro2+Cineform HD. I found I could not reach 100% CPU utilization on long render-outs. I added a RAID0 pair for video only and immediately got to 100% - but on 6 discs overall. My next system will be RAID0+1 (RAID10 in Intel parlance) to get both performance and redundancy.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 12:28 PM   #14
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Going from a Core 2 Duo E6600 to a Core 2 Quad Q6600 made all the difference here (I use it OC'ed to 3.0ghz).
My level of happiness will be nothing compared to yours when you upgrade.

And get the Q9550, the difference in price is not big.
Check Newegg and you'll se what I mean.
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Old August 17th, 2008, 03:45 PM   #15
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Hi Sean,

Will be following this thread closely as I am also considering an upgrade from our old Dell. We just bought the Canon HV30, and I want to be able to capture and edit using Cineform, but I definitely want to make sure our PC can handle the HD(V), encoding, and outputting stress.

Here's an article reviewing an 8 core system (really out of our budget, but fun to read nonetheless :)

Computer Review Cerise Eight-Core Workstation

Best,
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