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Old April 13th, 2006, 12:00 AM   #1
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Location: Detroit MI
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Cheaper Motherboard and Processor for HDV

I'm upgrading my desktop soon. I want to be able to edit HDV comfortably. Even though I won't even get into HDV for a year I only upgrade my system every 3 years. So I want to make sure I can handle it when I get to it and not have to buy more computer parts at that time.

Right now I run an AMD Athlon XP 2000+ on a Gigabyte motherboard.
My video card is an older ATI Radeon VE dual display (Radeon 7000 series) with one analog and one DVI-I output. I tried the dual monitor thing once and I didn't like it. So I use a single monitor now.

Right now my machine is good for SD work. I've been cutting on it for a couple of years. Even cut my first feature on it. And it's quick enough for all that. But if I try to play some of the HDV samples people put on the net at 720p resolution my system just can't handle it. I see what's basically a slide show instead with a new frame every couple of seconds.

I've got $300 to spend on an new motherboard, processor and stick of 512 ram. I know that's not much and I'll add more ram later. But for now what can you suggest that will handle this? And if there is any way of getting along with using my current stick of 333mhz DDR 512MB for the time being that would be helpful for putting more money toward the processor and board.

A little background, I have a lot of PCI cards as I use my system for everything and not just editing. I'm not a gamer, but I do have a TV tuner card for recording TV shows, a firewire card, an IDE card as I have three PATA hard drives and two optical drives. So I need a motherboard that has at least 3 PCI slots and one AGP slot.

Any suggestions are helpful
Thank you
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Old April 13th, 2006, 12:44 AM   #2
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$300 is tough.

If you had $400, which I know you don't, here's what I'd recommend with a view to being somewhat future-proof:

1) A refurbished ASUS A8N5X Socket 939 m'board for $57 from Newegg.com. I always buy refurb boards and have yet to have a problem, except the backplate is usually not inluded. It has 3 PCI slots.

2) Get a second stick of 333 RAM next time they are on sale for $24 after rebate at Circuit City or Staples. (Latter you'll sell these two sticks on EBay and buy fast 400....)

3) The A8N5X has PCIe not AGP, which is bad in that you need to change cards, but good in that the new PCIe cards are cheaper than the equivalent AGP cards. Spend $75 on a basic FX6600 non-GT card - the advantage being that this is about the minimun to properly support Nvidea's purevideo software decoder, which takes much of the stress of playing mpeg2 off of the CPU.

4) Here's the killer - a dual-core Athlon X2 3800+ and they are $295 (sob!).

[Actually, you want a 4200+ or 4400+ but let's not go there....]

That adds up to $451, but I'm figuring on you selling your old graphics card, motherboard and CPU for at least $51 on EBay.

To actually stay under $300 (or $351 if we stick with the EBay sales), go for a cheaper socket-939 CPU, and then upgrade to an X2 first chance you get.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 01:14 AM   #3
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Hmm, I was thinking more along the lines of a Sempron 3400+ when I was thinking cheaper, but I guess that's probably a joke huh? I really don't understand the difference between all the AMD lines right now. What's the minimum it takes to play HDV smoothly? What about just one of the newer Athlons and not an x2? Should I count out Intel chips?

I was hoping to keep my old parts to build a second machine later on. I'm not big on selling computer parts or anything really on ebay.

As for a video card don't even count that right now, I had planned to upgrade to something faster anyway, to to take advantage of near realtime with Magic Bullet Editors 2. So that's a separate purchase in a few months. Probably a 6800GT with 256MB's.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 07:36 AM   #4
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When you say "play smoothly", do you mean play back smoothly from a mediaplayer, or play back smoothly from the Premier timeline during editing, with effects applied etc etc?

My slightly overclocked AthlonXP2500+ with 333 RAM played back HDV fines. I "could" edit in Premiere with it, but scrolling the timeline was painfully sluggish.

I jumped from that to the X2 4200+, so I'm not sure what the intermediate CPUs between those two would achieve. I also bought a 6600GT, for the magic bullet acceleration, just as you say.
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