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Old April 20th, 2006, 10:10 PM   #1
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BOXX workstation arrives tommorrow

My new BOXX 7400 workstation is due-in via Fedex tommorrow. It's replacing a worn-out Dell 650, (for which I've had several issues with, and simply lived with them). Curiously, the BOXX is a little cheaper than a similiarly configured Dell Precision with all the bells and whistles. Still, I've grown tired of building/working on workstations. I hope this BOXX will live up to it's reputation.

I'd rather invest in newer camera's and not play part-time IT tech anymore. Having the ability to edit HD/HDV, I'm hoping that five-years or more is not to unreasonable expect from this PC. Anyone out there have experience with BOXX?
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Old April 20th, 2006, 10:46 PM   #2
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I know they are susposed to be great for vfx stuff. I'm lookin into one for myself right now, with the same apprehension. I'm tired of being a tech more than anything and HDV isn't that great on apple yet.

Let me know how your's goes. Maybe I'll get the same one.

5 years is a long time for a computer though. I usually only get 3 till I start putting more time into the machine than it's worth.
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Old April 21st, 2006, 01:04 AM   #3
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Curiously, the BOXX is a little cheaper than a similiarly configured Dell Precision with all the bells and whistles.
The equivalent Dell could likely be had for a significantly lower price. With the list pricing, Dell usually tries to make its profit on its very overpriced upgrades. If you look out for deals (coupon codes, aggressive sales reps, refurbished machines) you can get the cost down to around what it costs to buy the parts and build the computer yourself. On the low end, a Dell machine can actually be cheaper than building a computer yourself. Dell prices their computers so low hoping that most of its customers will buy some of the overpriced upgrades (and actually make a profit).

On the other hand, there may be some things about Dell computers that you may not like (i.e. proprietary parts, limited upgradeability, tech support, etc.).

2- Computers generally get faster every 18-24 months, so a computer you buy now will get outdated fast. So if performance is important, you generally want to upgrade every once in a while.
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Old April 21st, 2006, 07:16 AM   #4
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I think people are on the upgrade path to early in some sense. If you take something like a full Avid setup such as symphony your going to get something that is designed for one thing editing.

A local company I know has had their SD avid symphony for a long long time and have only formated it once and the only thing they have ever upgraded on it was the external scsi media drives. It was designed and works very very well with SD.

The problems with upgrading arise when we want our systems to do more than what they were intended for. That Avid won't do HD or compress H.264 very fast.

So if you make sure that your Boxx system can do all you expect it to now then I think you could easily be fine for the next 5 years with minimal upgrades.

You mentioned HD/HDV which means to me that you might want to go fully uncompressed HD. To that I would just make sure that all the equipment that you want for tomorrow is compatible today. We are at the forfront of PCI-E so make sure the system has a few PCI-E 4x slots that you can use for HD-SDI and SATA Raid. If you did that and get a fairly top end processor then I think your safe for a while. In a few years a new cheap system might be an option to increase your H.264 and VC-1 compression times but that doesn't mean your Boxx isn't going to still edit uncompressed HD.

Remember, many of the high end standards are fairly set in stone. SMPTE can't change the HD raster defs. They are trying to multiplex dual link hd-sdi into one link but that is something easily achievable with a converter.

I love BoxxTech. I only used them a little as like most I build my own systems and can't fight the urge because of cost. But I've used them a few years ago and they were rock solid then and I would bet they still are.
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Old April 21st, 2006, 08:35 AM   #5
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Keith, I was specifically targeting HD/HDV. I made sure to get a U320 SCSI array for uncompressed -everything else is SATA, and the PCI-E included. I should be able to work comfortably with 720p or 1080i HDV for now, and upgrade to 64bit OS and slot in a decent HD card later (still holding out for the VT5 and see how it handles HD).

Glenn, I've come to understand that Dell is the Walmart of the computer world. That they buy product at market value as the trucks arrive on the dock. That it's possible that no two exact models could have the same parts. I could have gotten a deal initially, but your right about the upgrades. I've already sank too much into my 650, when I should have just built from scratch for even half the money. However, the experience has taken the wind out of my sails, and I'm humbled to just have a PC that works. BOXX has a good selling point, and it appeals to me.

Jeff, I'll let you know how it goes. This will be my third major workstation in six-years of editing. I use both Lightwave and a Video Toaster for uncompressed. I'm anxious to see how much faster this PC is. Still, I'd be happy to simply experience a realiable machine vs. what I currently have.

Fedex should be here in about two hours. Time to be get busy, I have a lot of little things to do, like getting my studio cleaned up for a change, etc.
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Old April 21st, 2006, 03:45 PM   #6
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Glenn, I've come to understand that Dell is the Walmart of the computer world. That they buy product at market value as the trucks arrive on the dock. That it's possible that no two exact models could have the same parts.
I don't think this is true? I believe Dell has contracts with specific manufacturers, and they will sometimes make a special version of their product for Dell. i.e. Dell LCDs are specifically made for them. Creative also made a Dell version of their sound cards which didn't have the IEEE port (which is not good).

With custom-built computers (i.e. build it yourself, and I believe BOXX too) you might be prone to the manufacturers revising their products. I know one motherboard manufacturer (MSI I think) used to have Intel ethernet, but then changed over to Realtek. So you could be buying one model of motherboard from a manufacturer, and later get something a little different.

There was also a period when many motherboard manufacturers changed their capacitor suppliers, and ended up using defective capacitors.

Anything can happen... even with fairly reputable manufacturers (i.e. even Intel motherboards had defective capacitors I believe... and they are considered to have among the best quality control for their motherboards).
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