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Old August 28th, 2008, 06:39 PM   #1
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I've been spending the past week trying to put together a budget system to edit HDV on Sony Vegas or Adobe Premiere, also for After Effects work. I've been looking up reviews, articles and forums on the web and reading about system requirements and recommended hardware on Sony Vegas website, Adobe website, videoguys.com, newegg.com, this forum and several places. It was a bit difficult to try and make sense of all the clutter and conflicting opinions - especially because I'm not very computer savvy - but I think I'm finally about done.

Before I go ahead and buy my new computer, I'd really apprecieate it if some computer/NLE experts here would go over my list of specs and tell me if possibly I should make some sort of change. If I've overshot here and there, I'd like to know, because I'm really pushing my budget. If you think adding $50 on something will really have big influence on the performance of my system - that I'd like to know as well. And... of course if I'm completely off on something or you know of some incompatibility issues with hardware I've chosen - please post your knowledge.

Thanks!

Here is my specs list (prices as they appear at newegg.com)

I'm also not sure if I should stick with Windows XP 32-bit, or go XP 64-bit, or Vista.

PROCESSOR
INTEL Core 2 Quad Q6600
2.4GHz, LGA 775
model: BX80562Q6600
$190

MOBO
ASUS P5Q DELUXE (INTEL P45 chipset)
$200

RAM
CORSAIR DDR2, 4096MB (2X2G)
800 MHz, CL4
model: TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX
$105

SYSTEM DRIVE (will make 3 partitions: 1. Operating System 2. Programs 3. temp files)
WESTERN DIGITAL 320GB, 7200rpm, 16MB cache
SATA 2 3GB/s
model: WD3200AAKS
$65

DEDICATED VIDEO DRIVE
WESTERN DIGITAL 750GB, 7200rpm, 16MB cache - OEM
SATA 2 3GB/s
model: WD7500AAKS
$130

POWER SUPPLY
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX, 650W
$110

CASE
ANTEC P180
$160

ASUS EN9600 GSO TOP/HTDP/384MB
GeForce 9600 GSO 192-bit
$95

DVD/CD BURNER/READER
ASUS DRW-2014L1T
$32
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Old August 28th, 2008, 07:29 PM   #2
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research your OS...

I think before you go any further, you should read all you can find about WIN XP PRO x64...

http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=ph;en-us;8599

Last edited by William Meredith; August 28th, 2008 at 07:31 PM. Reason: added a link
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Old August 29th, 2008, 12:31 AM   #3
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Hi William. Thanks for your comment. I checked out the link you posted and googled 64-bit vs 32 bit OS. A lot of the stuff was a bit too techy for me, but I think I got the basics of it:
64-bit can use up to 16GB of RAM but its important to check hardware compatibility and not all applications have 64-bit drivers available.

I also understood that 32-bit apps can be run on a 64-bit OS with the help of the WOW64 sub-system, but they may not run as nicely as they could on a 32-bit OS.

I'll probably stick with XP 32-bit for now, I still have my copy, but it sure feels like it won't be long before XP 32-bit is old news. So I'm hoping my configuration will be 64-bit compatible. Did you see something problematic about my specs in this sense?
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Old August 29th, 2008, 01:16 AM   #4
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1. Do NOT partition your boot disk. It will only slow things down. Get a smaller OD disk, like 150 G Raptor.
2. Get at least 3 large hard disks, 1 for media, 1 for projects, and 1 for export.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 02:40 AM   #5
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thanks harm. i'll follow your advice.

i guess the only part in my setup i'm not really sure about is the asus geforce 9600 video card. i don't have the budget to spend more on a video card, but if getting this particular level of video card won't prove to be useful when running effects on after effects, then maybe i should consider cutting my budget somewhere else and getting a quadro fx card. what do you think?

i've read that after effects makes use of open GL. what i don't understand is why is only quadro fx reccommended for open GL. I've seen that the geforce 9600 among other geforce video cards have open GL 2.0 on their specs.

Also, I'm not sure about this particular video card for my needs. I've just been reading reviews and kind of guessing on this one.

Thanks... looking forward to your responses....
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Old August 29th, 2008, 09:22 AM   #6
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Support for OpenGL is one thing, support for *professional* OpenGL is another. More strict implementation and more focus on supporting it in the hardware. GeForce cards do support OpenGL, but they are designed with the consumer market in mind, which does not really care about OpenGL at all. Bottom line, if the specific software you want to use will run better on a Quadro, don't fudge it -- get a Quadro. If it doesn't say, then don't worry about it.

Agreed on not partitioning the system drive. You also don't really need to separate the programs from the system, they can be on the same drive. The idea is to keep anything that you're reading apart from anything that you're writing, on different physical drives. Rendering, for example, reads from some files and writes to others -- it's nice to have the source and target on different drives.

For the drives on which the majority of disk space will be used by video, when you format them, choose the largest block size. Windows defaults to using 4 KB I think, because that is the maximum size that supports NTFS encryption. You won't be using encryption, so use the largest size. You will see a noticeable performance boost in disk I/O.

I have the P5Q Deluxe mainboard. Works great, but I did take the extra step of updating the BIOS (via USB flash drive) before installing the OS. Check the manual for how to do this when you get the board, it's easy. Get it to level 803 or higher. (I'm using 803.) You can download the update from the Asus website.

You can probably save $60 by not buying such an expensive case. Good cases are available for $100 or less. Antec Solo comes to mind. Also, 650 watts is overkill, it won't hurt but 500W would be fine.

For whatever it's worth, you should not worry about compatibility with a 64-bit OS. Perfectly good drivers exist for new hardware like this. XP32 is fine too. Using older hardware with a 64-bit OS is where you can run into problems.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 09:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Ellis View Post

Also, 650 watts is overkill, it won't hurt but 500W would be fine.
That is cutting it very thin and bound to lead to problems. The required wattage for such a system is around 470 W, without taking capacitor aging into the equation. Better get at least a 650 W PS, possibly even a 700 W. PS is often overlooked, but it is penny-wise-pound-foolish to skimp on a good PS.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 11:00 AM   #8
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Hi. Thanks for your input. I made the order today, with a few modifications to the specs I originally posted in this thread:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Box

ASUS P5Q PRO motherboard - someone told me that the extra features provided by the Deluxe model are aimed for gamers and for serious overclocking rather than graphic and video work. The features I gave up and don't really need: 16-Phase power, multiple PCIe x16, crossfireX, 2xGbit Lan and stack cool 2 which would probably be a good idea if I were running several high powered video cards. Oh and there's the wifi... oh well. And yes, I'll update the latest bios :-) thanks Rich.

OCZ 4GB RAM (2x2GB) 800MHZ Reaper CL4 - the particular vendor I purchased from was out of stock on the Corsair, but I didn't mind making the switch to OCZ. I was actually undecided between the two to begin with.

EVGA GeForce 8600GT 512MB PCIe - The salesman said I should be fine with this less expensive board for graphics/video work. He said the GeForce 9 series is, again, more of a gamer board. He agreed that After Effects would be happy to make use of open GL, but I figure I'll take his advice, try this $70 and if after I'm lacking a better board I'll go ahead and get a quadro, which will have probably gone down 70 bucks by then anyway. So no harm done.

WD 1600AAJS 7200rpm for system and apps
WD 5000AAKS 7200rpm for media storage (reading)
WD 5000ASKS 7200rpm for rendering (writing) and for some other misc. stuff
(thanks for the advice on this one)

OCZ 600SXS 600W power supply. Rich and Harm: I actually read your posts regarding PS after I had already gone ahead and bought the machine. But it turns out I met you both half way :-) Also the retailer (who could have gone ahead and sold me the more expensive 650 PS) said that its good to be safe, but 650 is a bit too much that way. He recommended 600W and I saw the OCZ got good reviews.

Funny thing Rich... thats exactly the case I got - ANTEC SOLO. About half the price of the 182.

I also got an EVERCOOL BUFFALO 2x COPPER HEATPIPE to keep the CPU cool and an extra 10 cm fan (ZALMAN ZM-F2) for the front of the case in order to keep the air flowing IN and out the box.

The order has been placed, but I can still make changes, until Sunday. So if you see a burning issue with my specs, please let me know ASAP.

harm, rich and william, thx!!
Adi

Last edited by Adi Head; August 29th, 2008 at 11:13 PM. Reason: its an Asus P5Q PRO model not P5Q
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Old August 29th, 2008, 12:37 PM   #9
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I have to disagree with you Harm, though only in a qualified way.

I've found that many people go a little overboard with power supplies, though it is not harmful to do so. You do need plenty of overhead on your power supply and it's not a good place to skimp. But the quality "under the hood" on a PS is just as important as the wattage rating. The W number isn't the final story.

My own system is an example. I've got a P5Q Deluxe, Q9550, 8 GB of DDR2 800, three internal hard drives, two optical drives and an 8800 GTS. That's a fairly heavy power load for a system that doesn't have a full-blown disk array. It's all being powered by a Corsair 450 watt power supply. Knock on wood, but I've had no problems whatsoever. I'm able to do video editing and play various 3D games without trouble.

Had I bought all of these parts new, I would probably have gone for a 550 W PS, but it has all been upgraded piecemeal and there hasn't yet been a need to upgrade the PS. Likewise, if I was running multiple video cards, I'd buy a bigger one.

In any case, Adi's PS should be fine.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 05:30 PM   #10
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2.4Ghz and graphics card

2 penneth from me.

I have Sony Vegas: a great editing tool and with very good audio functions. But the trouble is that I am very impatient with render times. All that fantastic functionality, you have a great 1 hour video with 3 video tracks, color correction, 5 audio tracks using waves plug-ins for EQ, compression and limiting - and it takes ages to render. So get a 3.2Ghz or more, even Dell is overclocking, on long videos every little bet helps.

give a thought for what you will use to color correct - the driver utility on budget cards can be flaky or difficult to use - vegas performance wont be affected by the card

I went and got magic bullet looks, a great color correction tool, the render times SHOOT UP tenfold sometimes -it uses the graphic cards GPU - so with this plug-in a fast card is good.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 12:36 AM   #11
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I've had a cheap PS burn out once, taking with it pretty much all the hardware inside the case..... Since then I don't take chances. My current computer which I will be replacing has a trusty HEC 300 PS which is now going into its 6th year - no problems, computer has been steady as a rock. I've checked around and I think I'll be fine with the OCZ 600W. I hope I'm not compromising too much by giving up on the Corsiar 650W, I had to cut costs... so I went for the geForce 8600 instead of the 9600 video card, Antec Solo instead of the Antec 180, gave up the Asus P5Q Deluxe for the P5Q PRO model and went for the OCZ 600W rather than the Corsair 650W.

By the way, I there's a nice online Wattage calculator, in case anyone is interested:
eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Lite v2.5


on to a different matter.... the hard drives


There's something I'm not sure about regarding the WD hard drives and their specific models.

There are basically two models for the same drive I'm interested in:
  • [indent]
  • AAJS suffix - from what I understand is more reliable and intended for use in servers and raid configurations.
  • AAKS suffix - supposed to be faster (but apparently at the expense of reliability) and intended for gamers using single drives rather than raid arrays.
For the system drive I just followed the advice of videoguys.com and got the model with the AAJS suffix, but I wasn't sure about what model I should get for the 2nd and 3rd drives. I was thinking about shelling out the money and getting enough drives for a raid setup, but ended up steering away from that idea for now. So I was left with the question of going for a "faster" drive or a "more reliable" (and more expensive) drive which in potential can be part of a raid set up, if in the future I pair it up with another drive of its size.

So what do you think? AAJS or AAKS?

(the guy at the shop tried to convince me to take Seagate drives (because of 5 year warranty vs WD 3 year warranty. also he says that recently more bad WD drives have been coming back to him compared to bad Seagate drives.. but for the past 9 years I've owned only WD drives and never had problems, so I guess I'm sticking with them until they let me down)
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Old August 30th, 2008, 02:38 PM   #12
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The power supply you chose is fine. You don't need to worry about the tiny differences, it's basically either good enough or not.

Same thing goes for the hard drives. 7200 rpm (or 10,000, if you want to spend the money -- I didn't) and plenty of space, you're good. Apart from that it's a matter of taste. If you're worried about reliability then go to NewEgg.com and check the user ratings. WDs are very popular. Seagates also, I have two of them, plus a Samsung.

It does not sound like you really need to go to the expense and trouble of setting up a RAID array. Remember that videoguys.com's advice, though excellent, is usually slanted toward semipros or pros. Are you making any money with this stuff? If not, start simple. I would not invest in RAID at first unless I knew I would be dealing with days's worth of video right off the bat.

A month after you've got all this stuff hooked up and running, you will have forgotten all these details, so don't fry yourself over them today.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 07:55 PM   #13
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help.... :-Q

crap... after ordering I happened to stumble upon a few issues concerning the stuff I bought. I can still make changes to the order, but I need to do it fast.... if anyone can help me I'd really appreciate it :-)

The issues:
1. I googled "ASUS P5Q PRO AND GEFORCE 8600GT" and found several links to threads by people who apparently bought the exact same items for their computer and all ran into boot failure. Reading through their posts all things point to some kind of incompatibility between the ASUS board and the GeForce 8600. I noticed the same problems showing up with the GeForce 8600GT and the ASUS board using the previous P35 intel chip - the P5K board. I'm a bit confused about this... not sure if this is not an issue which can't be worked around, or if i should give one of the pieces up, which to give up? the mobo or the GeForce 6800? what to do?

here is a links to one of those threads:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/25...8600-boot-ever

2. Taking a closer look at the specs on the power supply I selected: OCZ 600SXS 600W I found it says under 'connectors' - 3xSATA. Does that mean I'll only be able to run 3 hard drives?? strange for a 600W power supply. They usually have at least 5 or 6. I guess I'll be needing a different power supply on top of that. Would be happy to hear recommendations 600-650W at around that price range ($80-100).

3.The case I ordered - Antec Solo
I will eventually have four hard drives, so when I saw the specs said 4x3.5" slots I was satisfied. But then looking closer I saw it said:
Quote:
4x 3.5 (Tray Mount) or 3 x 3.5 (Suspension Mount) for HDD
not sure exactly what that means... can I mount 3 or 4 3.5" hard drives? If only 3 I'll want to choose a different case as well.....

thats all i hope.
THX
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Old August 30th, 2008, 10:38 PM   #14
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Regarding your power supply ... there are cheap adapters that will convert unused PATA style power connectors to the new SAT type.

I'm guessing they might mean you can add the 4th drive by putting it in a 5.25" drive bay usinga suitable tray mount? That is a guess though.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 03:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Graham Hickling View Post
Regarding your power supply ... there are cheap adapters that will convert unused PATA style power connectors to the new SAT type.

I'm guessing they might mean you can add the 4th drive by putting it in a 5.25" drive bay usinga suitable tray mount? That is a guess though.
Thanks. Thats what i'll do. Also, the vendor reassured me that the Antec Solo can infact hold 4 3.5" internal hard drives and that if I have any compatability issues with the EVGA GeForce 8600 - he will happily replace it for me. Tomorrow I will have it built.

I'm thinking of purchasing a 64-bit OS, either XP or Vista, and install that OS along with my 32-bit XP which I already own. This way I will give 64-bit a try and if I run into problems while editing just switch to 32-bit XP.

Thanks for all the input. I'll post after I have things running.

Peace!
:-)
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