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Old August 24th, 2008, 06:44 AM   #1
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Please recommend a video/graphics card for this system - for HDV editing...

Hello all...

I'm about to purchase a new computer for HDV editing. After doing a bit of research I think my list is about done. Only one last piece I'm not sure about.... the video/graphics card.

I've read in several places (including this forum) that for video editing you don't really need a super powerful video card. I currently own a 32MB Matrox Millenium G550 dual VGA card which worked nicely on my 5 year old machine for editing DV, but I think its time to upgrade that piece as well....

I would really be happy to get some recommendations.

Please bare in mind that I'm really not into gaming at all and I don't do any 3D work. My main uses for this machine will be: video editing (will begin my first HDV project shortly after purchasing the computer), some heavy After Effects and chroma keying and music production. Basically, what I'm looking for is a stable card which will work nice and smooth with the items listed below and one that has the option to hook up two screens.

The only reference I have so far is from videoguys.com recommended builds for HDV editing. There they listed the ATI Radeon X1950PRO 512MB, but I have no idea how this compares to other cards out there.

Here are the specs I have listed so far for my new computer (.... just missing a video/graphics card):

PROCESSOR: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16 Mhz
MOTHERBOARD: Asus P5Q Pro
MEMORY: OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066
HARD DRIVES: WD 320GB 7200 (system+apps); WD 750GB 7200 (video dedicated)
CASE: Antec Sonata III 500W (I will probably get the extra optional 120mm fan for the front of the case)

If you have any other useful comments regarding my future system, feel welcome to post them. Thanks... :-)
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Old August 24th, 2008, 07:50 AM   #2
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Adi,

Been using the Matrox Parhelia APVE for almost 2 years - 2 x DVI output or 2 x VGA + Component out.

Not the best of cards for effective Open GL Horsepower (RAM) , but display wise I found it very stable / with a decent quality output.


The Third World.
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Old August 24th, 2008, 07:52 AM   #3
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It really depends on what NLE you'll be using, as some NLE's really take advantage of the video card while others don't. If it's Avid, you should seriously consider an nVIDIA Quadro FX card. People get away using others, but with mixed results.

I don't know if After Effects uses Open GL. If it does, again look at the nVIDIA Quadro FX cards. But I'd really talk to an After Effects person.
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Old August 24th, 2008, 09:38 AM   #4
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Okay, thanks. I'll start looking at nVIDIA Quadro FX cards.

Regarding editing software - I first learned to edit on Avid, but when seting up my first NLE computer a few years ago, I finally decided to get Sony Vegas and have been using Vegas ever since. Recently I've been trying to decide if to switch back to Avid or not.... I don't want this thread to become a platform war, but I would be happy to know the difference between Avid, Vegas and Premiere regarding their use of a dedicated graphics card and if there's anything I should consider in that respect.

More recommendations are welcome....

Thanks again!
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Old August 24th, 2008, 10:59 AM   #5
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I just found this on the Avid website, among system requirements for Avid MC:

Quote:
Graphics Card:
NVidia Quadro FX 560 or higher
Note 1: Only Nvidia cards are supported
Note 2: Full Screen play feature requires a minimum of 128MB of graphics memory
So, I guess thats something to think about in case I DO decide to go back to using Avid.

Yet... on the otherhand, I just read that cineform has issues with nVIDIA graphic/video cards. So there's another thing to think about.... if I choose to work with the cineform codec.

Any thoughts on this?

Last edited by Adi Head; August 24th, 2008 at 10:17 PM.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 08:47 AM   #6
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As far as I know, Vegas doesn't use the GPU on a graphics card to accelerate anything. With Vegas, almost any modern video card should be quite adequate. Even integrated graphics on some newer motherboards should work just fine (like some of the new AMD and NVIDIA offerings).
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Old August 25th, 2008, 09:16 AM   #7
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You are right. Sony Vegas does not tap into GPU at all. Any current graphics card will work fine. For sual monito support we recommend a card with 256 megs of RAM.

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Old August 25th, 2008, 06:01 PM   #8
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The Geforce 9600GT (that I have) has 512MB of GDDR3 RAM. Though the Quadros have the advantage of SDI output and Genlock (essential for Avid).

Quote:
I just read that cineform has issues with nVIDIA graphic/video cards. So there's another thing to think about.... if I choose to work with the cineform codec.
Is that true? I have a nVidia card but not NEO HDV or HD but I've seen people successfully use it with a 8800GT and put it to use.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 07:53 PM   #9
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Okay...

So from what I've learned from the various forums, reviews and so on... I've come to the following conclusions. Of course I could have misunderstood some things, or possibly been mislead..... Also there are some matters on which I've read complete opposite recommendations... so the picture isn't quite clear yet. Anyway, here it is... my conclusions/questions:

1. I should NOT rely on my Matrox G550 Millenium 32MB dual monitor card for HDV editing. Although it worked well editing DV, apparently I should go with a card of at least 256MB

2. If staying more or less in the same budget range - better to get 3.16 Mhz dual core rather than a 2.4 Mhz quad core. Is that correct? The explaination had to do with apps not yet taking advantage of quad core processing, I believe.

3. I should stick with Windows XP for now.

4. The next issue has to do with RAM... couldn't quite get a convincing view on this one. At first I read that there is no really good reason to get DDR3 memory and that I would be better off getting more DDR2 RAM for the same money. Then somewhere else I read that a smarter move would be to get 2GB of DDR3 rather than 4GB of DDR2. They explained that it'll still take a bit before I will take advantage of 64-bit capability of Vista, and meanwhile, XP can only see 3GB max, no matter how many sticks of RAM I stick into my computer. By the time I switch to Vista, most probably DDR3 prices will go down and I can then upgrade to more RAM. Any thoughts?

I'd be happy to read your opinions.

thx :-)
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Old August 25th, 2008, 09:18 PM   #10
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The shortest answer about Avid versus Vegas is that Avid is more: more professional, more industry standard, and more expensive. I'm using Vegas 8.0b. If you have no complaints about Vegas (something you want to do but can't, or it's frustrating) then you probably don't need to switch. If you've got the budget for Avid, I'm envious. I'd probably buy it if I had the cash to spare, but this is a non-paying hobby for me, so that's that.

I already had, and still use, an nVidia 8800 GTS. I've been trying Cineform's NEO HD and it has no problems that I can see (I'm not sure what particular issues to look for, though). Vegas doesn't use the GPU, but some other programs do, including some very nice plugins. In particular I'm using Magic Bullet Looks and it does make use of an nVidia 8000 series (or later) card, or an nVidia Quadro card. There's no benefit if I don't turn on an MBL effect, but if I do there is a significant speed boost in rendering with the right GPU. The maker of any given plugin should be able to tell you whether any particular card will help.

If you are not going to do any gaming then a quad core proc is a good bet for longevity. For working with HDV, a fast dual core proc like the one you're looking at will be plenty good enough. But if you plan to use this computer for a long time (and if you think you'll be editing on it for a long time) then I'd go with an Intel quad core. Two reasons: (1) AVCHD is getting more widespread, so you may find yourself using it before you buy the next computer; and (2) although Vegas does not benefit much from the extra cores while editing, its rendering performance is noticeably better.

I think all the major editing software packages either already benefit from quad core CPUs in one way or another, but more importantly those that don't soon will. Multi-core processing is becoming an industry standard. Software advancement outpaces most people's computer purchases. Buy for the future, within reason.

About the RAM, if you plan to add more DDR3 later when you get a 64-bit OS, just be sure the motherboard will handle the amount of DDR3 that you want to reach. A lot of boards will only accept half as much DDR3 as DDR2. Check the specs. For a 64-bit OS you'll want at least 4 GB, possibly 8.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 11:04 PM   #11
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There are two issues that I know of with Nvidia and Cineform (I use AspectHD with an GS6600 and a GS7600). The first is that the default settings of the overlay are incorrect, causing a color-shift between scrubbing mode and playback mode. Cineform recently introduced a "Force YUV Desktop playback" option to by-pass this, although that caused me some issues with dual monitor configurations.

The other issue is a 1-2sec pause and black screen when transitioning to playback mode.

Neither is a showstopper, and I havent bothered swopping my cards, but Cineform has said in response to other posts that ATI cards avoid the colorshift issue and generally have less playback pause.

(I think there's a missing overlay capability issue with some 8000-series cards, but since I avoided buying one I cant comment from experience on that...)
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Old August 25th, 2008, 11:05 PM   #12
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I use mostly Avid and a little Vegas. I like both and am trying to get my head around Vegas not having dedicated source and record monitors or a real trim mode (Avid has both). SDI and genlock capable video cards are not essential for Avid; my Quadro card has neither.

Vegas' audio is MUCH better than Avid's. And overall, the interface feels more modern. You also don't get these cryptic error messages that Avid can throw at you. That said, there is ususally a workaround for almost any problem that Avid presents. And it's clearly been written with professional editors in mind.

My advice to you is get the version of Vista that Avid's Media Composer can run on. Don't bother with XP b/c it's being discontinued and Avid MC does run Vista.

As for video card, it still depends on what After Effects uses. I would not get a high powered video card b/c you might be using Avid in the future. If you do decide to go back to Avid, all you have to do is upgrade video card. But don't drop an extra $600 on a video card that you might not be needing for another year or two or ever. Now if After Effects will use the extra power from a Quadro FX card, IDK.

HTH.

Last edited by Peter Moretti; August 26th, 2008 at 02:45 AM.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 09:54 PM   #13
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I've been reading on and ran into a recommended setup by videoguys.com:

Motherboard
ASUS P5K3 Deluxe

Processor
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz

RAM
CORSAIR 2GB (2 x 1GB)
240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3
TWIN3X2048-1333C9 - Retail

Boot Drive
Western Digital Caviar SE
WD2500AAJS 250GB 7200 RPM
SATA 3.0

Video
Storage
RAID 0
Western Digital Caviar SE
WD2500AAJS 250GB 7200 RPM
SATA 3.0 (qty 2)

then they list an aluminum case, 550W power supply and some other stuff....

and finally there's the graphics card. here they give three choices to choose from:

MSI Radeon HD2600XT PCIE
512MB
$140.00

Nvidia Quadro FX 1700 by PNY
$499.95

NVidia Quadro FX 3700 by PNY Technologies
$999.95

- - -

So, based on this system, taking into account my needs and software of choice.. and also after some research and doing my homework, I'm left with some burning questions:

1. Would I be safe getting an Asus board based on the newer Intel P45 chip rather than the P35? like for example: Asus P5Q-Pro? or would you recommend I just stick with the board videoguys.com have tested and recommend?

2. They suggest getting AAJS Western Digital drives rather than AAKS models. I read somewhere that AAKS drives are targeted for gamers and are faster for data transfer, but AAJS are built for businesses and RAID configurations. At the moment, I don't think I will be setting up a RAID configuration. I had to cut costs somewhere and decided that I'd manage with just one single hard drive deticated for video storage. My concerns are if I will be okay with a single hard drive, taking into consideration that I won't be doing native HD editing, only HDV and DV. And if so.... should I then go for the AAKS model rather than the AAJS?

3. Lastly, there's the graphics card issue. I've read tons of reviews, pages on video editing, platforms, hardware, software... and still I don't feel I really grasped this topic. I've decided to continue editing on Sony Vegas which doesn't require a powerful graphics card, yet my After Effects would probably thank me if I stick in a nice graphics card. I've also read that After Effects does indeed make use of open GL (whatever that is....:-)
So figuring I can cut costs here as well and get a good graphics card that gets the job done, which would you recommend? If I eventually decide to work with Avid, I can' always upgrade later, when possibly I will have the cash to do so. Videoguys recommend the MSI Radeon HD2600XT PCIE, yet I've read in several places that its better if I avoid ATI chip based cards (including in the videoguys.com website itself!!!). So whats that about? Should I go for the card they suggest? Or should I look for an affordable Nvidia Geforce with two display outputs? Please let me know what you think.... It would be really great if I somehow complete my list and order the parts in a day or two's time.

thx!
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Old August 28th, 2008, 09:24 AM   #14
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That list looks a bit outdated (things move dang quickly in the world of computers). I don't have enough time right now to write a comprehensive reply with a full list of parts I would currently use. I'll just mention that a few things. I'm not whipped on WD (although I haven't had a problem with the few WD drives I have). For 250GB SATA drives, as far as I know, this is about as reliable as it gets (5yr warranty too):

Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives

For video storage, 750GB drives are much more cost effective nowadays (cost per gig) though.

Take the power supply seriously. It's actually perhaps the most important single component (everything else depends on it being stable and reliable). Run of the mill power supplies can cause you a lot of grief (and sometimes fry other components). I STRONGLY suggest using Corsair power supplies. Their entire line of power supplies appear to be top notch, and quite reasonably priced (anything cheaper is quite likely to be second rate quality).

DDR3, at today's prices, is pretty much throwing money in a ditch.
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