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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 06:16 PM   #1
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HELP! want to build a computer!

I seriously need to get a new machine sometime soon, and I have been looking around at turnkey systems, but none of them really, catch my eye, and if they do, they’re way out of my budget.

So i've been reading the forums, and it seems that building your own NLE machine is the best way to go. You can pick and choose which parts you want and need and you have the satisfaction of building it yourself.

I have no idea where to start! What to get, where to go. There are so many options out there, but if the DVINFO community could help me map out a killer system, it would be awesome.

What would everyone get if they were to build another machine? Something that’s robust enough to handle intense video editing and graphics and will also be used for web design and programming.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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Old May 23rd, 2003, 06:20 PM   #2
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I am a AMD person myself, but lately, the Intel setups have been pretty nice...

I can't really offer any more advice, just look at some hardware at newegg, and find reviews of all of it, and thats pretty much it. You know the list of parts that you need to put together a system right? There's plenty of articles and stuff on this. Check out , they will help you choose good parts.

Here's a quick list of what parts you need:

Heatsink for the processor
Hard Drive(s)
Video Card
Sound card
CD-Rom drives/CDRW/DVD

Any other crap you want...
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 06:33 PM   #3
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What NLE will you be running? That is a good place to start. Check out the NLE manufacturers site for compatibility. Check out the forums for that NLE and ask what configurations the user's like. This is more important for NLEs with proprietary cards than those which use OHCI cards, but is a good place to start under any circumstances.

Check out the systems being offered by the turnkey resellers. They will often list the components that they are using in some detail. No reason to reinvent the wheel.

If you want a custom computer but don't feel comfortable putting one together for yourself, take a look at You can spec out exactly what you want and they will assemble it and test it for you for something like $200. I did this for an editing deck I got three years or so ago. It worked out very well. If you want to save the $200, by all means assemble it yourself. It isn't difficult.
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 07:01 PM   #4
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thanks for the replies alex and rick.

Hmm...NLE. well, right now im using Premiere 6.5, although I hear about alot of others. Avid being the "industry standard" sounds like it wouldnt be a bad idea to go in that direction. Ill try out the demo' s and see what I like.

I also hear Vegas+DVD is a good combo? Any thoughts?

Thanks again!
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 08:33 PM   #5
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Yes Avid is certainly the industry standard and one of the coolest things about it is the everything you do in Xpress can be transfered to a larger more expensive Avid machine such as the Media composer. If you need this ultimate level of cross compatability then the Avid route is very appealing.

A lot of people are turning to Vegas 4 these days...especially on this forum. I havent used it yet but I here its pretty impressive..Some people prefer it over Avid.

I use good ole' Premiere 6.5 because I started out on it and am quite content with the work flow between the othe Adobe apss which I use frequently.

If I was to change software right now I would take a good look at Pinniacle's new Edition 5 which lloks really nice. It has the ability to use both your Cpu and your graphics card to render effects in realtime not to mention you almost never have to render because it has a background rendering program.

If I was to put a system together right now I would use Edtion on a fast Pentium 4 with HT

Hope this helps a little
Scott Osborne
Infinite Video Productions
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 10:04 PM   #6
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I've heard good things about the new Pentium 4 chips with hyperthreading. The 3ghz chip will set you back around $550-600, but will perform close to dual AMD processors. AMD has come a long way, and they build a very good product. I'm not sure what Adobe recommends for Premiere, but Pinnacle recommends the dual Xeon, or the new Pentium 4 HT over the AMD chips.

When you start looking for parts, check out They have great prices, and their products are factory packaged and not OEM.

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Old May 23rd, 2003, 10:06 PM   #7
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Just went through this and have built a screaming system. Learned a few things in the process and would be glad to share if you would like to email offline. I'm using Premiere 6.5 with a Matrox RTX 100 board. Really happy with the results and saved some bucks because I got what I wanted/needed and not what I didn't. The system I put together is not a inexpensive system but should turn out to be economical in the long run since it won't need upgrading for a while.
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Old May 24th, 2003, 01:53 AM   #8
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What's your budget?
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Old May 24th, 2003, 03:01 AM   #9
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Hyperthreading ... all smoke and mirrors?

FWIW the only tests I've seen on HT suggests that it makes only a minor difference to performance. Certainly nothing like an SMP system...but, then, neither is the cost!
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Old May 24th, 2003, 05:05 AM   #10
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I would stil recommend a turnkey for one very important reason- They have already established what will work together. I built my own, and it is a very fine machine... of course, I spent almost a year pulling my hair out trying to work out the bugs. Just little things you never hear about when buying componants, but enough to drive you nuts. This doesn't work with that... This needs to be in this slot... if you use this with that, that need to be on such and such IRQ...

On the bright side, I think that most of the hair I pulled out was going grey anyways :)
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Old May 24th, 2003, 07:42 AM   #11
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Problems like Keith had have pretty much gone away with WindowsXP. All four of my PCs are homebuilt, but I used to design computers for a living. It's not hard anymore.

Personally, with all the options available, I always narrow it down to one or two choices. In most cases you can't tell the difference in performance. I buy Asus boards because they are always rated by all the websites and magazines as being the best. They also have decent installation manuals and you can download them from their website to read just to make sure you'll have everything you need as far as requirements (power supply, fans, etc.)

I see some claim different manufacturers memory boards are better than others but memory is a commodity item and if it's supposed to meet the specs then I don't care who makes it.

The same is true of hard drive makers. You might want to look at reliability but spindle rate should be as fast as possible because that will slow down transfer rate more than anything else. Serial ATA seems to be an up and coming thing but I haven't looked into it. Don't use scsi.

AMD vs Intel? Everybody designs for Intel. AMD is fine and game designers take advantage of some of its features. I don't know that Adobe or Avid do that.

Power supplies. Once again, a commodity item. Some are less noisy than others, both electrically and physically, but you'll only notice the db levels. But how would you check that out without listening to it? You can't.

Many of the things people may say you need to check out are just too time consuming to bother with. In most cases, any motherboard, power supply, memory chips, made by decent manufacturers will be fine.

You're biggest concern will be who you buy it from. I always go to to find the best deal. You may find one company has cheaper memory chips but another has cheaper disk drives. Just remember to add in shipping if you decide to order parts from different companies because you may find it cheaper or easier to order everything from one guy. Especially if its a known supplier. I just finished building one last month and ordered everything from one guy but the cpu from another and saved $30.

I've not had any serious problems with the companies on pricewatch.
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Old May 24th, 2003, 07:50 AM   #12
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I really do steer clear of Gateway, Dell and all the others. While it's true, like Keith said, they check out the operational compatability of all the components, generally their components are inferior to what you can buy yourself. Even if they claim to use the same boards, many times these boards are customed designed for them so their cheaper but they slowed it down.

Another advantage of building your own is your less afraid of change when you want to change. No fear of opening the case and voiding a warranty. I do admit there is that fear of something breaking. It's a lot easier talking to tech support at Dell or Gateway and having them ship you a new part to try than having to fight individual manufacturers. Asus has terrible support but there is a big community. (Fortunately, I've only had a power supply go bad and the vendor replaced it asap).

I only had one compatability problem but that was caused by Gateway's choice of sound card. I upgraded one computer and put the old Gateway motherboard in a different box along with another Gateway supplied sound card. That sound card didn't work with the TV card.

Another thing. Make sure you check out prices at Best Buy, CompUSA, or any other local store that might supply these things. I once found memory on sale at Best Buy that was the same price if I ordered it online but didn't have to pay shipping. I just bought an internal DVD player for $20, too.
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Old May 24th, 2003, 10:20 AM   #13
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It might be worth waiting for the new Avid that ive read is coming out soon.
Avid Freedv or something. Its got the basics and is exactly what it says, FREE.
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Old May 24th, 2003, 12:08 PM   #14
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Wow, thanks for all the replies.

As far as budget goes...i really want a good machine that I wont have to replace for a few years. something nice and robust. So my initial budget will be set at about 2500. but of course, if i exceed that, its not problem, just need to save up a little longer...

Keep the replies comming. Hopefully i can put together a list of what I want. what does everyone think about the sony VAIO machines? I seen a pretty nice one yesterday.

P4 3ghz HT
1gb ram
120 gb hd
6 usb ports
memory stick reader
2 ilink ports
and an 18 inch tft lcd monitor

price - 2500

any thoughts?
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Old May 24th, 2003, 12:50 PM   #15
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I'm looking too - where did u c this deal?
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