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Old November 6th, 2007, 03:04 AM   #16
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I'm totally out of my depth here, but hey, when did that ever stop anyone? Actually I was just going to chime in with some probably irrelevant info, but when I was at NAB 2005, there was a presentation by a couple of guys from STEAM (I believe that was the name). Anyways, they did an HD spot for the Discovery Channel. Now, please, all you techies out there don't kill me for saying this, because I don't know a thing about it... the guy presenting said they used the Adobe software (Premiere, After Effects) on a BOXX system. According to him, they shot in HD, captured at full resolution, edited at full resolution and then output in both HD and SD. I remember he specifically mentioned that there was no "off-line editing" or low-res capture. He said the workflow was just the same as SD. I just thought I'd mention it. I know nothing about the BOXX systems, accept that they're supposed to be really good, and really expensive.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 04:20 AM   #17
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According to him, they shot in HD, captured at full resolution, edited at full resolution and then output in both HD and SD. I remember he specifically mentioned that there was no "off-line editing" or low-res capture.
I don't really know much either, but the way I see it is that there isn't really a need for off-line editing at all these days, since so many computers are perfectly capable of handling HD footage.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 11:06 AM   #18
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I'd recommend a server spec motherboard (Tyan, Supermicro) a few high end Opteron chips, a huge RAID array for storage and as much high end RAM as you can get your mitts on. As far as GPUs go I'm not too sure if you'd be better off with a pair of high end consumer cards like the X1950 / 8800GTS or a pair of open GL cards.

My ideal machine:

Tyan s2895 Thunder mother board

2 X Opteron (fastest I could find) *Apparently more overclocking potential than Xeon chips*

32GB DDR RAM (match frequency to board, don't remember numbers at the mo, lowest latency possible) *Is it not possible to boot into openbsd and run the render engine on there? Which can access 32GB of RAM? I was told it was*

A full RAID 50 array of the new 360GB Raptor drives *apologies, I mean 150 and hit 360*

2 X PC Power and Cooling 1KW power supplies

2 X X1950 Graphics cards *Again the reason I mentioned x1950, is that they apparently have more overclocking potential than the Nvidia cards*

All sat inside a mountain mods U2 UFO Horizon case

Dual booting Windows XP and openBSD

This machine would be expensive but not stupidly so.

Last edited by Dave Robinson; November 7th, 2007 at 06:08 AM.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 12:19 PM   #19
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I would take a pair of QuadCore Xeons over Opterons any day. Anything over 4GB Ram requires 64bit OS, which limits your video I/O hardware. 360GB Raptor drives don't exist and would be unnecessary regardless. In a true limitless system, SAS would be the answer. For our reasonable limits, the new Seagate 1TB disks provide over 100MB/s per spindle at peak transfer rate. The X1950 is outdated, and I would definitely recommend Nvidia currently, the 8800GT being in the sweet spot.

To Bert: I would avoid BOXX, they got out of the video editing system business a while back, and focus on 3D. The systems they left behind to their users have serious reliability problems and are extremely unstable. I have used 4 Boxx systems at three different companies, and all have had massive problems.

PCIe 2.0 will definitely be backwards compatible for older cards. (Like AGP 2x)
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Old November 7th, 2007, 05:21 AM   #20
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The "new ones" are the new 45nm CPUs Intel is beginning to release next week. Not necessarily faster, but more efficient. (No real increase in clock speed, possibly thanks to no real competition from AMD)
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850/Quad Core CPU/3.00GHz/2 x 4MB L2 Cache/1333MHz FSB/LGA775 BX80562QX6850 -- $1,199 Australian dollars

It looks like this is the top of the range 65nm processor around at the moment (Am I right?)

But if these 45nm pocessors are coming soon, hopefully the price of this one will fall a bit.

So you're saying that the speed of the 45nm ones won't be increased, just their efficiency? Do you mean energy efficiency?

Do you think you'll end up choosinf a 45nm processor or 65nm? If the advantage of 45nm is only superficial it may not be worth whatever the price difference may be.

Another question (or two):

Some folks have been telling me that:

a) Quad Core is wasted on CS3 and pretty much anything else because programs only recognise two cores, and
b) 4 GB of RAM is wasted on CS3 and other programs because programs only recognise 2 GB anyway.

Can you shed some light on this arguement for me? It continues to confuse the heck out of me!
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Old November 7th, 2007, 05:59 AM   #21
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First of all, CS3 uses up to 16 cores. Second, the OS of choice currently is XP Pro, so memory should be 4 GB. Whether you want to use the PAE and 3 GB boot.ini switch depends on the programs you use.

From a hardware point of view, I would go for the following configuration:

1. Chassis: Supermicro SC745TQ-800
2. Mobo: Supermicro X7DAE+
3. CPU: 2 Intel Xeon X5365 quad core 3 GHz
4. RAM: 4x 1 GB DDR2-667 ECC FB-DIMM
5. Areca ARC 1231ML raid controller with BBM and 2 GB cache
6. WD Raptor 150 G ADFD boot disk
7. 8x Samsung Spinpoint 500 GB storage disks, 2 in raid0 and 6 in raid5
8. 2x NEC AD-7173S DVD burners
9. nVidia 8800 GT 512 MB video card

I don't think that currently you can do any better than this and again it proves that the ideal PC was and still is around $ 5.000. That was true 20 years ago, 10 years ago and is still true today.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 06:15 AM   #22
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Thanks Harm!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
1. Chassis: Supermicro SC745TQ-800
2. Mobo: Supermicro X7DAE+
I can't even find these components listed on any web sites in Australia.

And the RAID controller on only one site.

What is the trouble with using RAID without the hardware controller? It seems like one of those things that may not be necessary...

Also, what's a chasis? When I've seen it referenced before I always thought it referred to the motherboard, but clearly not...
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Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
Whether you want to use the PAE and 3 GB boot.ini switch...
I have no idea what any of that means!!

Sorry to sound so ignorant!
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Old November 7th, 2007, 07:07 AM   #23
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Chassis is probably referring to the computer case.
Hardware RAID is the way to go if you can. Software raid will utilize your CPU and will probably not be as fast.

Others have given you a good idea about he memory and CPU limitations but here is my thinking as well even if they don't utilize the additional resources perfectly right now. Symmetrical programming is a nightmare. I am not sure though, once you hack your program for 2 cores how much different it is for additional processors. Either way you can assign programs to their own core for increased performance. Plus if you multitask you wont slow down as much while you have AE and PP3 open while downloading some additional music tracks and such. I remember when the first dual core CPUs came out and everyone screamed about what a waste of money there were and how it was just better to get a really fast single core CPU... well in some cases yes but you don't see anyone sticking to the Single core really fast CPU as much anymore do you? Give it time and they will find a way for one application to use 4 cores.

Here are the specs of a PC I just did for my CS3:

Intel Core2 processorQ6600 Quad Core
4GB DDR2 800Mhz Ram
500GB HDD
768MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX (I like to game too....)
Blu-ray AND 16X DVD+/-RW

Plus all the hard drives I all ready have. The only thing I did different this time is I let dell build it and I got the complete care warranty so I don't have to trouble shoot it if it dies. The price of building it my self and dell building it are so close these days. That is the only extra thing I would think about before building on my own.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 08:14 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
First of all, CS3 uses up to 16 cores.
That's doubtful. Most I've seen it utilise is two cores. Final Cut Pro uses about 2 cores with FCP6. Compressor uses more, but it's still slow as hell.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:55 AM   #25
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Mikko, you are quite correct when talking about CS2, but one of the improvements of CS3 is the support for multicore CPU's.

John, the reason for the raid controller and specifically the Areca ARC 1231 ML is the use of a hardware based (in this case the IOP341) processor is that is does not choke the CPU. As you may be aware a raid5 or even more a raid6 entails a rather significant computational burden for parity calculations. If that can be off-loaded to the raid controller instead of the CPU, that will show marked improvements in system thruput, disks being the major bottleneck of any system. The Areca is by far the fastest raid controller on the market, far better than 3Ware, LSI or software based cards like Promise or Highpoint.

A chassis is the case. For the PAE or 3 GB switch, these items have been discussed rather extensively here on the forums. I don't have the link at hand but a search here or on the Microsoft site will give you relevant information.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 12:58 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
First of all, CS3 uses up to 16 cores. Second, the OS of choice currently is XP Pro, so memory should be 4 GB. Whether you want to use the PAE and 3 GB boot.ini switch depends on the programs you use.

From a hardware point of view, I would go for the following configuration:

1. Chassis: Supermicro SC745TQ-800
2. Mobo: Supermicro X7DAE+
3. CPU: 2 Intel Xeon X5365 quad core 3 GHz
4. RAM: 4x 1 GB DDR2-667 ECC FB-DIMM
5. Areca ARC 1231ML raid controller with BBM and 2 GB cache
6. WD Raptor 150 G ADFD boot disk
7. 8x Samsung Spinpoint 500 GB storage disks, 2 in raid0 and 6 in raid5
8. 2x NEC AD-7173S DVD burners
9. nVidia 8800 GT 512 MB video card

I don't think that currently you can do any better than this and again it proves that the ideal PC was and still is around $ 5.000. That was true 20 years ago, 10 years ago and is still true today.
This seems like a good setup for a high end system. The only thing I would change is the possible addition of a Video I/O card, and I would do the storage system differently. 8x1TB disks in an eSATA RAID5 array is probably the fastest budget solution for video editing currently.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 01:25 PM   #27
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Mike,

In part I agree with you, one would need a PCI 3x FW card for I/O, but that is peanuts, one would also need a SGPIO cable for the LED control on the mobo, but again that is peanuts. Where I disagree is the 1 TB disks. Currently they are way more expensive than 500 GB disks. However, the 1231 ML has 12 SATA connectors, so you could start with 2 disks on the mobo in raid0, 6 in raid5 on the ARC and keep 6 lanes open for eSATA expansion in a separate rack. In that case you have 1 TB for pagefile and scratch, 2.5 TB for media and future expansion of 2.5 to 5 TB in an external storage rack. Seems sufficient to me. Also the case just does not take more than 9 hard disks and 2 DVD burners, so you have to revert to an external storage case.

Also bear in mind that the chassis has 8 hot swappable disk bays, so it is easy just to exchange 8 hard disks for the next set. From a price point of view, I guess my preference would be to have two sets of 8 disks of 500 G each instead of one set of 1 TB each and still keep some change in my wallet.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 12:18 AM   #28
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Firewire is not what I meant by video I/O. For a high end system, you need a Xena, a Multibridge or an AXIO card. That allows spanned monitors for the interface from your graphics card, plus an independent video monitoring solution, ideally 10bit if money was no object. Some cards accelerate processing as well.

I agree that 500GB disks are much cheaper, but Money was supposed to be no object, within reason. An 8 disk array runs cooler and quieter, and will be easier to deal with than some split plane solution. I no longer use dedicated scratch disks. Modern arrays are fast enough to map Premieres scratch folders onto the same array as the video and audio files. I never render previews anyway (See I/O card). Obviously the ultimate solution would be a SAN with a local raid for scratch files.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 02:32 AM   #29
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For a high end system, you need a Xena, a Multibridge or an AXIO card. That allows spanned monitors for the interface from your graphics card, plus an independent video monitoring solution, ideally 10bit if money was no object...
I can cope with a single super fast quad core processor on a top notch motherboard and 4 GB of RAM and enough HDDs to suit my purpose. But I fear that maybe this "Super computer" with dual quad core Xeon processors with RAID controllers and even talk of AXIO cards is not aligned with my needs.

Like I said in the first post, I will be editing 35Mb 1920x1080 footage from the XDCAM EX in CS3 (hopefully) and Magic Bullet (even more hopefully). My projects will probably be between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Chances are I can do that with my dual core AMD 4400+ and 2 GB of RAM.

But I'd rather something that didn't "stutter" the way mine does when I ask too much of it.

So as much as I appreciate all the suggestions for a super computer, I'm really just looking for recommendations for the described workflow. And I don't want something that's just adequate. I do want something that can handle it and then some.

All of the suggestions so far sound great, but also sound like I'd be indulging in goodness that I'd never take advantage of.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 02:12 PM   #30
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Well man, you are the one who titled your thread "money is no object..." I don't disagree that a single socket Core2 Quad should be sufficient for you. I would Raid 0 two large SATA disks for economic storage.
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