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Old November 27th, 2007, 04:09 PM   #76
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Here are my notes on your Dual Xeon config:

$900 seems a bit high, but not unreasonable.
All prices in this country are inflated. It's incredibly annoying.

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Are you planning to run Raid 0 or 5?
RAID 0. Speed is my only concern. I already own 1.5TB in extrernal HDDs and have been using them for back-up of footage. I'm happy to continue doing that the hard way if it saves me buying extra internal HDDs purely to mirror my RAID 0. But in the end, I don't necessarily see a huge advantage to RAID. If it speeds up my rendering then fine. But by how much will it do this? 50%? 25%? If it's only 10-15% I don't know if I can justify it. Magic Bullet is like a sloth but if RAID can turn it into a cheetah then I'm in! But if all it does is turn it into a sloth who drinks Red Bull then I'm probably not interested.

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I would recommend a better video card.
I was under the impression that neither PPro CS3, Prospect HD or Magic Bullet make use of the GPU. What's the benefit of the 8800? Or even of the Quadro?

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Weren't you planning to get 2 VGA cards?
Yeah, the reason I selected 8600GT is because I already own one, so I'd just need to buy one more. What about the fact that in that Motherboard, the GPUs would only be running at 8 speed?
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Old November 27th, 2007, 05:51 PM   #77
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You definitely do NOT need a hardware Raid card for Raid 0 Arrays. The MB you speced has SATA RAID0 built in, and will be fine for your purposes. That MB is a server board, a similar but 'Workstation' class board might be a better fit. Any reason why that one in particular was selected?

The video cards don't have to match in order to use them together. That is only for SLI or Crossfire, which combine the power of multiple cards to drive a SINGLE DISPLAY. Your 8600GT can be a secondary card for a 8800GTS or whatever else. I would need to know what monitors your using to be really specific on an optimal setup. The PCIe x8 is no big deal, many high end SLI systems run on x8 bandwidth, and it should be sufficient for most things. Speedgrade and possibly MB use the bandwidth for returning CCRed images to the system, but x8 is still 2GB/s. A faster video card WILL help for MagicBullet, at least that is what I am told. GPUs are used by many CCR applications, as they are optimized for that type of processing.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 06:38 PM   #78
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You definitely do NOT need a hardware Raid card for Raid 0 Arrays.
That settles that! No RAID for me!

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That MB is a server board, a similar but 'Workstation' class board might be a better fit. Any reason why that one in particular was selected?
I asked for them to quote me using Harm's suggestion but it's not availble in Australia yet so the dealer suggested this one instead, which I suppose is a step down. I'd rather have a workstation board but I guess they won't provide for two processors, will they?

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The video cards don't have to match in order to use them together.
I am currently running a 7800GT & an 8600GT but when I first put them together it runied my computer. It reset the BIOS and I had to re-format my computer. The guy who fixed it said it was the result of the 7 series & 8 series drivers not understanding each other. He said it's safer to use the same model card. That said, now that he's fixed it, it's working fine. I guess I'm just being paranoid. If the 8800 will make it faster, I'll take it!

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I would need to know what monitors your using to be really specific on an optimal setup.
I have:
2 x 22" Samsung 226BW (1680x1050 each)
1 x 24" BenQ FP241W (1920x1200)
1x 52" Sony 52X3100 (1920x1080)

These are all connected via DVI (the Sony LCD TV via a DVI->HDMI converter.

I tend to do most editing on the two 22s with the 24 as my full screen preview and when doing Magic Bullet for colour I'll use the Sony.

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A faster video card WILL help for MagicBullet, at least that is what I am told. GPUs are used by many CCR applications, as they are optimized for that type of processing.
How would this work? Would I have to plug the 8800 into the full screen video preview monitor or into the primary monitor?
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Old November 27th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #79
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The biggest difference between most 'server' motherboards and 'workstation' motherboards is with the graphics. Server boards have integrated graphics, since it is rarely used anyway, and workstation boards have the needed x16 slot(s) for high end graphics cards. Both types usually use the same chipsets and support the same processors. The S5000XVN is Intel's workstation board, but is designed for a single GPU. Supermicro has a bunch in their 5000X series (X7DA...) These have an x16 slot for the primary GPU, and an x4 slot for a secondary GPU. (8600GT in your case) Newer workstation boards will have two full speed GPU slots.

I would recommend connecting the two application interface 22" monitors to your 8600GT in an x4 slot, and the two larger displays to an 8800 varient in the x16 slot. Using your current plan with two x8 slots if fine as well.

For CCR, the GPU actually passes the corrected image BACK to the system, so it doesn't matter which monitor is attached. For example when exporting, the resulting image from the GPU is saved to disk. For best realtime performance, I believe connecting the fullscreen displays to the primary GPU would be ideal.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 02:51 AM   #80
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The biggest difference between most 'server' motherboards and 'workstation' motherboards is with the graphics.
Is it performance altering? Significantly anyway? The guy told me that in order to find a board that suits dual x16 speed GPU slots I should just build around a single Core2Quad QX9650 3.00GHz processor. He said it's a lot simpler, cheaper, and will suit any purpose.

In fact he said that it will be so fast that he cannot understand why I'd want the Dual Xeons. Is he right? I know Mike that you've said the Xeons are over the top, but Cineform recommends them for Best Performance for Prospect HD. If I just get the single 3.00GHz Core2Quad will I be compromising to an extent that I'll regret it and just wish I'd got the Xeons?

Also, CPU wise, on your HD4PC site you mention that "the new line of [45nm] CPUs are cheaper than the older generation at equivalent speeds. In that case, I'd be a bit silly not to wait for them wouldn't I?

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I would recommend connecting the two application interface 22" monitors to your 8600GT in an x4 slot, and the two larger displays to an 8800 varient in the x16 slot. Using your current plan with two x8 slots if fine as well.
This is pretty much what I do now - I connect the 22s to the 7800 and the 24 & 52 to the 8600. If I got the 8800 I'd just upgrade the monitors like you say.

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For CCR, the GPU actually passes the corrected image BACK to the system, so it doesn't matter which monitor is attached. For example when exporting, the resulting image from the GPU is saved to disk. For best realtime performance, I believe connecting the fullscreen displays to the primary GPU would be ideal.
This goes over my head, but does it mean that the graphics card assists in speeding up the rendering process?

Also, you wrote this in another thread (and something similar in this thread somewhere):

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My 8800GTX works with Premiere's native overlay support, (not very well though) but it does not work at all with Prospect's full screen overlay options in the Cineform RT editing mode. AE works because it uses a totally different way of generating full screen output. I have not tried full screen from other media apps, but the Nvidia settings that usually allow this are all disabled. i hear older drivers can restore those options on XP only.
If that's the case, then the 8800GT will not suit my purpose, right? (even though it's Magic Bullet's recommended GPU) At this stage, my 8600GT has no problems using CS3's "Enable Full Screen Preview" or whatever it's called, but it sounds like Prospect throws a spanner in the works with that? So I may need a Quadro after all..?

If so, I'm completely in the dark about them!!
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Old November 28th, 2007, 03:42 PM   #81
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A single Core2Quad will be sufficient for what you are trying to do. (Realtime performance, etc.) A dual socket Xeon workstation will be faster. (Faster exports and renders, realtime WHILE rendering in another app, etc.)

As far as Intel's new releases, prices haven't fallen as much as I expected, but that is because Intel is not shipping in volume yet. That is a giant unknown and I wouldn't count on it unless you have a lot of time to wait.

Powerful GPUs can speed up renders for certain applications. The 8800 cards should not be any worse than the 8600GT, so if you have found a suitable solution, it likely will work on a faster card. You might want to consider ATI if you end up having issues, because they don't limit video overlay, before opting for a Quadro at least.

I forget, are you definitely planning to use Prospect as your editing solution?
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Old November 28th, 2007, 08:43 PM   #82
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A single Core2Quad will be sufficient for what you are trying to do. (Realtime performance, etc.) A dual socket Xeon workstation will be faster. (Faster exports and renders, realtime WHILE rendering in another app, etc.)
$1,500 faster? :)

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if you have found a suitable solution, it likely will work on a faster card.
I have but have not tested it with Prospect HD yet. From your story it sounds like it will not work :(

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You might want to consider ATI if you end up having issues, because they don't limit video overlay, before opting for a Quadro at least.
The guy at the store told me not to touch ATI. I guess everyone has a preference but I prefer nVidia and I know more about them than ATI ones. I'd probably prefer to go Quadro than ATI. Especially since I'd probably struggle to get an ATI card to run in parrallel with my nVidia 8600GT... Would a Quadro card run ok with the 8600?

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I forget, are you definitely planning to use Prospect as your editing solution?
I am definitely going to use CS3, but as for Prospect, I am fairly sure but not certain. I'm going to be editing EX1 footage, which is edited in other apps as MXF after conversion in the awful Sony software. CS3 edits the MP4s out of the camera natively (despite neding to render upon import) so I don't need Prospect but depending on opinons and advice, I may end up with it. From what I understand, it's another way of enhancing performance, yes? I honestly don't care too much about the real time effect of the transitions and stuff (no rendering required) because most of my rendering will be Magic Bullet anyway, which will certainly never be render-free.

So do you have an opinion on whether Prospect is a good upgrade or another thing like the RAID card that is a bit of a bonus?
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Old November 28th, 2007, 10:37 PM   #83
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Cineform Prospect can be VERY helpful for many things, so I highly recommend it. I have used it for many different things. Highest quality compression available. CPU intensive, and will benefit the most from Xeons, but will not require tham.

Raid is necessary, but an expensive Raid card is not. For Raid-0, the motherboard Raid controller, or a Windows dynamic disk solution is fine. Regardless, you will want that speed. Expensive Raid Cards are only useful for getting the added security of RAID5 without impacting performace too much.

$1500 faster? How about twice as fast? The question is, is it worth it/necessary for you? If you use it to make a living and will be sitting in front of it everyday, it probably is. If this is a side thing, and you do other things as well, then maybe not. Also, do you have the money available, do you want to save money and just buy a new one in two years anyway?

What is wrong with your Geforce 7800? That is the ideal Prospect card. Powerful, and overlay is not disabled. Combining an ATI and Nvidia card might be positive, in that each would give you separate overlay options and control. I never usually use dual graphics cards, the USUAL solution to your display combination is to use the XenaLHe to power the fullscreen displays, and the VGA card to drive the two 22" desktop displays. The Xeon system with the Xena card is the usual professional hardware solution for Prospect editing.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 03:32 AM   #84
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Cineform Prospect can be VERY helpful for many things, so I highly recommend it. I have used it for many different things. Highest quality compression available. CPU intensive, and will benefit the most from Xeons, but will not require tham.
I like the idea that it speeds things up a bit but I have no idea about its actual affect on the footage. And for some reason, the thought of having an avi instead of an mp4 makes me more comfortable, though I have no idea why!

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The question is, is it worth it/necessary for you? If you use it to make a living and will be sitting in front of it everyday, it probably is. If this is a side thing, and you do other things as well, then maybe not. Also, do you have the money available, do you want to save money and just buy a new one in two years anyway?
I'd like to never have to buy a new one! But I know that I probably will. If I can get an extra year or two out of the Xeons then that would be another incentive to go with them, but I don't know for sure that I would. They probably wouldn't last any longer than a Core2Quad, would they?

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What is wrong with your Geforce 7800? That is the ideal Prospect card. Powerful, and overlay is not disabled.
That's an interesting idea (assuming you can still get 7800s) but it may also be a no-go because nowadays, the drivers for the 7 series and the 8 series are the same. So the most current drivers would disable the full screen display for both, wouldn't they? I'm not really sure about that...

However, it raises another issue, which is the fact that the 7800GT is NOT HDCP compliant, which means that it cannot view HD-DVDs or Blu-Ray Discs, which is the ONLY other thing I would use this computer for. I have HD-DVD & Blu-Ray drives for my PC and would want them in the new one as well. As I've said, I have my PC hooked up to my Bravia, and the two drives are my DVD players, so I need the HDCP complaiance. Therefore I NEED an 8 series nVidia card in order for it to be HDCP compliant. I can get spotless HD playback on my monitors out of the 8600 but the 7800 produces a garbled mess of pixels.

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I never usually use dual graphics cards, the USUAL solution to your display combination is to use the XenaLHe to power the fullscreen displays, and the VGA card to drive the two 22" desktop displays. The Xeon system with the Xena card is the usual professional hardware solution for Prospect editing.
The Xena is a WAY over the top expense for me. I certainly don't need the SDI output for monitoring on my Bravia and I can't see myself ever NEEDING the SDI capture capability so it would just be wasted on me. I think dual VGA cards is the way to go. But I have to figure out a way to enable the full screen video playback...

I can't even test Prospect with the 8600+7800 combination on my PC at the moment. PPro CS3 (and 1.5.1 for that matter) are both refusing to work at all. I have 125 not-so-patient customers awaiting their primary school children's production... but I can't finish it :(
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Old November 29th, 2007, 12:34 PM   #85
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Core2Quad will probably become too slow to edit with a while before the Xeon will, but the money saved on a cheaper system should be enough to replace the guts once faster parts are available. How much time do you waste waiting for your computer to render or export?

ATI might be the solution to your Overlay problems, especially since they work better in YUV mode in ProspectHD. I would take a look into it. I personally prefer NVIDIA, but in your case...

AVIs will be able to be imported into other programs easier, if you ever need to. And you need to figure out what intermediate codec you want to render to, since I doubt MP4 is an option for that.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 01:30 PM   #86
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to buy DPS, i like its free...
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Old November 29th, 2007, 08:22 PM   #87
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Core2Quad will probably become too slow to edit with a while before the Xeon will, but the money saved on a cheaper system should be enough to replace the guts once faster parts are available. How much time do you waste waiting for your computer to render or export?
For a scene with Magic Bullet effects, sometimes hours of rendering per minute of footage. Other times, it's never ending because my computer crashes.

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ATI might be the solution to your Overlay problems, especially since they work better in YUV mode in ProspectHD. I would take a look into it. I personally prefer NVIDIA, but in your case...
I'll start my research.

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... you need to figure out what intermediate codec you want to render to, since I doubt MP4 is an option for that.
Can you explain this to me? You can still render out to an avi, even if your imported footage was mp4, right?
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:58 PM   #88
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Those hours of renders are where the Xeon advantage kicks in.

For intermediate codec, I meant if you don't use Prospect, what do you render your other files to? (Exports, titles, AE work, etc.) Yes AVI, but in what codec? Uncompressed requires lots of fast hard drives, which is much more expensive than just using Prospect. Other formats are usually much slower, or lower quality. With Prospect you use Cineform compression for all of those files and exports. That is worth much more than the realtime effects etc. that the RT engine offers as well.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 08:32 AM   #89
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I've been following this thread for a while now. I too am in the same boat as the original poster and will be using the XDCAM EX. I'm VERY new to the whole video editing thing but wanted a computer that would last a while and have good performance when editing. Harm described a good system which is what I decided to base my build on. The problem is availability of the parts! Many aren't yet in stock anywhere. I had to order from a number of different sources to get everything. I just thought I'd post my parts list and what I paid to give everyone a good idea what it cost and what's available. here it is.

Supermicro X7DWA-N $698
Supermicro 743TQ-760R chassis $615
Intel Xeon E5440 $770
Kingston KVR800D2D8F5/1G (x4) $308
Areca ARC-1261ML $820
Areca battery backup $129
Areca ARC-1000 LCD $79
Areca 2GB Memory Upgrade $189
Seagate 500GB ST3500630NS (x8) $1199
Western Digital Raptor X 150GB $175
Adaptec .5M SFF-8087 to SATA4 w/sideband cables (x2) $62
Sony BWU-200S Bluray burner $599
Dell 2707WFP Ultra Sharp $875

I pulled all that from my receipts. I just realized that I forgot to order the video card which will be an Nvidia 8800 Ultra. So add another $700 or so for that. With the list above and the graphics card that comes to $7218. I haven't yet picked a keyboard but I'm looking at the Bella or a Keylogic and a Shuttlepro.

Some glaring things about my choices above are the price of the motherboard. It's very expensive compared to what others have it listed for however no one with a cheaper price actually had it in stock. The Areca card has more ports than I'm sure I'll ever need. But it was only $100 more than the 1231 card so I figured I might as well go with it. Why the Xeon E5440? Because I couldn't find any faster 45nm Xeon in stock anywhere. I wanted the X5472. And good luck finding memory listed as compatible with the motherboard on the Supermicro site. While Supermicro lists many different recommended memory modules the ones I listed above were the only ones I could find available anywhere for doing 4GB on the system. And even then I had to order direct from Kingston.

Just to reiterate, these are the real prices I paid for this stuff where I could find it IN STOCK. I found the biggest problems with the previous configurations that people listed is that while they may be great, you can't find half the parts.

Any comments on what I've ordered here?
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Old November 30th, 2007, 09:09 AM   #90
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This is one SUPER workstation. My remarks with regard to your post are the following:

1. Availability: You have composed a system which consists of leading edge parts, some of which were only recently introduced. They are also top-of-the-bill parts, so not every distributor is willing to take them into their range of products. Some parts have been announced but shipping may have been delayed.

2. You have chosen the redundant PS which gives you a lot of extra security, possibly because the 865 with 'silent' PS was not available, having been introduced only 3 three weeks ago. I know that none of these have yet been shipped to the Netherlands, so I would be in the same squeeze to find it here and possibly would have to order it directly from SuperMicro in the US, like I did with the SC-745TQ-800B for a client.

3. Price comparisons are difficult, but if I use what is a general feeling over here, that 1 $ in the US is 1 € over here, I think that in general you paid fair prices, especially the 2G Areca cache is cheap in comparison to Dutch prices (€ 565), but the Seagates are a bit expensive I think. If they have not yet been delivered, you may consider changing your order and opt for the Samsung Spinpoint T166 ones, which run quieter and cooler and may even have a better price. Here the 500 G version is € 85 a piece.

When installing your software, make sure you have your BIOS settings correct especially the AHCI settings, and before installing Windows, install the drivers with F6. If that does not work, reset the BIOS to not use AHCI, let Windows install itself, then from Windows install the Supermicro drivers for AHCI, reboot and then reset your BIOS to use AHCI. That should take care of any installation problems.

Congratulations on a really SUPER Workstation and happy editing. Oh, and if you can post your benchmark results with PPBM+ on Bill Gehrke's site, that would be very helpful.
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