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Old December 1st, 2009, 01:32 AM   #1
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Advice needed

I have about $1500 to resolve slow AVCHD editing in Premiere Pro CS4 on my 2 year old machine that runs on Q6600, with 8gb RAM, GeForce 8600GT, Win XP x64 OS on 150GB C: Raptor, a few 1TB 7200rpm Segate drives.

I was considering building a new i7 based system when I came across this video card PNY VCQFX3800-ELEM-PB Quadro FX3800. It's promising fast AVCHD editing workflow in the Premiere timeline/basic effects and output encoding to h.264 HD. You can see the video here http://www.elementaltechnologies.com...ts/accelerator
This card goes for $950 at newegg.

So my question is should I simply get this card and continue using my current rig, maximizing its value, or should I build a new i7 system to achieve smooth AVCHD editing in Premiere?

Any comment is truly appreciated
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Old December 1st, 2009, 05:20 AM   #2
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CS4 does not profit from such a video card. It still is a waste of money. For CS5 it is still unclear whether it will profit from such a card, but rumor has it that a GTX 285 is sufficient in CS5 to profit from CUDA.

In terms of impact on performance with CS4, especially with AVCHD material, it looks like this:

1. CPU
2. Memory
3. Disk setup
4. ...
...
...
9. Video card

That should tell you where you best spend your budget.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 01:51 PM   #3
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Are you saying it's all lies in this video?
http://www.elementaltechnologies.com...ts/accelerator
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Old December 1st, 2009, 03:52 PM   #4
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The best thing you can do is to transcode our video into something that is meant for editing.

AVCHD is:

Highly compressed
Long-GOP
4:2:0 color
8 bit

All the WRONG things to have in an editing codec. You can transcode for free and spend your $1500 on beer and dancing girls.. or whatever else makes you happy. And you'll get superior results compared to buying some accelerator card.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 04:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renat Zarbailov View Post
Are you saying it's all lies in this video?
http://www.elementaltechnologies.com...ts/accelerator
No, the marketing is great, but it is a waste of money, especially on your configuration. If all you do is render H264 files, maybe you can benefit from the accelerator, but if you do other things, like capturing, editing, applying effects, transitions, color correction and the like you will be bogged down on you CPU and EA will not help at all.

It is a waste of money
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 05:04 PM   #6
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I'd suggest getting Cineform and popping a Q9550 in your machine. You can get a Q9550 at MicroCenter in Long Island for $169. (You can recover most the cost of the Q9550 by selling your Q6600 on eBay too.) Getting Cineform and bumping CPU power up with a Q9550 will cost you a lot less than $1500, and you'll get a real nice boost in performance.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 05:16 PM   #7
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Robert,

The thing is that I want to edit AVCHD in Premiere natively. Getting Cineform brings redundant reconversion and fills up hard drive space. Is getting a Q9550 better than i7 extreme edition? I wonder if there's anyone on this forum who used the GPU approach to boosting the AVCHD editing workflow.

Anyone?
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 05:50 PM   #8
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It doesn't matter what CPU you put in the machine. You still will have trouble editing AVCHD natively. I have a dual quadcore machine with 8GB or RAM that I bought this summer. I still can't edit AVCHD natively. Especially not the stuff from the Canon 5D/7D.

So until the machines catch up in a year or two, either you're going to transcode, or you're going to have bad editing experiences.

Good luck.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 06:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renat Zarbailov View Post
Robert,

The thing is that I want to edit AVCHD in Premiere natively. Getting Cineform brings redundant reconversion and fills up hard drive space. Is getting a Q9550 better than i7 extreme edition? I wonder if there's anyone on this forum who used the GPU approach to boosting the AVCHD editing workflow.

Anyone?
A Core i7 will outperform a Core 2 (Q9550 is a Core 2) noticeably with AVCHD, but will cost you quite a bit more, because you'll need a new motherboard and probably new memory to go along with it. Extreme edition CPUs are only really extreme in price. They don't give you THAT much of a performance boost compared to the far lower priced "regular" CPUs of the same type. Just get a good aftermarket HSF, overclock an i7-920, and save yourself a pile of hondos.

I'll echo Perrone, in that mainstream CPU power just isn't really at the point of handling AVCHD like butter yet. There's a lot of folks out there working on software to leverage GPU power with H264, but to the best of my knowledge, there's nothing akin to a very useful product for general editing purposes on the market yet.

Edius apparently has just come out with something to boost H264 decoding on the Neo 2 timeline though. It doesn't use GPU, but does sound promising for improving native AVCHD editing performance in Neo 2. I'm going to try it out.

Using Cineform may add a conversion step and use more hard drive space, but it is a highly effective way to make editing AVCHD source material a breeze. The extra time in conversion is easily paid back several fold, if you're doing serious editing. Cineform offers lossless intermediate compression, for all practical purposes, with great encoding speed. It's a very elegantly designed intermediate codec. Hard drives are dirt cheap nowadays. You can get 2TB drives for way under $200 bucks nowadays - and you can put several hours of Cineform encoded intermediate files on a single 2TB drive.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 08:55 PM   #10
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Just gave a spin to Cineform Prospect HD plugin in Premiere CS4.2 using Prospect's presets on import and its effects presets. No difference in speed improvement, in fact, I tried Prospect's rotate effect and it made the video play slower in timeline. Unless I am not doing something right... Where are all the recompressed intermediate video stored? I tried looking for them, neither my scratchdisk drive, not the project folder had them.

Any thoughts?

Thanks
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Old December 4th, 2009, 01:50 AM   #11
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Did you start a new project, first transcoding the source footage to Cineform's codec before dropping it (the transcoded video) onto the timeline?

(Or did you simply install Prospect HD and open up an old project?)
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Old December 4th, 2009, 10:13 AM   #12
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Yeah, I figured it out. One first has to go through HD-link to convert the AVCHD footage to huge AVI files.

The funny thing is that, though the resulting AVI footage looks great in Premiere timeline playback, any transition slows the playback on my 2 year old machine consisting of Q6600, with 8gb RAM, GeForce 8600GT, Win XP x64 OS on 150GB C: Raptor, a few 1TB 7200rpm Segate drives.
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Old December 4th, 2009, 11:58 AM   #13
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Grab the cheap Q9550 from MicroCenter and pop it in. That will boost performance with the transitions, and won't cost you squat after selling off the Q6600. If you are doing transitions involving 3D rendering that taps the GPU, you could grab an 8800GT off eBay for cheap (like $100 or so), and that will help quite a bit also. You don't need to spend a ton of money.
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Old December 4th, 2009, 12:20 PM   #14
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BTW, I downloaded that Edius Neo 2 booster thingy trial, installed it, opened a 720p60 AVCHD file (which is just as taxing on the CPU for playback as full 1080i60 AVCHD) and it played back real smooth from the timeline (no transitions or anything tho) with CPU utilization hovering between 30%-40% (on an AMD Phenom X4 9850 - a lower end quad, just slightly slower than an Intel Core 2 Q6600). I'm impressed - quite an improvement.
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Old December 4th, 2009, 12:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright View Post
Grab the cheap Q9550 from MicroCenter and pop it in. That will boost performance with the transitions, and won't cost you squat after selling off the Q6600. If you are doing transitions involving 3D rendering that taps the GPU, you could grab an 8800GT off eBay for cheap (like $100 or so), and that will help quite a bit also. You don't need to spend a ton of money.
Thanks Robert I will look into this approach. The thing is that I am already due for a new system, and the new i7 or the upcoming i9 look very promising. Have you yourself played with an i7-based machine using Premiere CS4? I am sure going this way will be well over the $1500 of my current budget.
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