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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old March 16th, 2008, 11:10 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Terry Lee View Post
Hey Martain, excuse my minimal knowledge of the digital film process but does this sentence imply that you are taking video directly from your camera and rendering it to your hard drive? I am asking in curiosity of what the common method is. I understand that some people have the assets to buy a deck that allows them to incert the tape where I suppose the rendering process occurs. But in my current circumstances, if not buying a deck would suit my needs just fine, then thats the route for me.

Is render time to the hard drive normally the main issue when building a video editing computer? Or are there other things to be aware of?
Most people who are short on money use the same camera they shot the tape with to download the video into the computer. Usually whatever editing software you're using has a "capture" function to download the video to your hard drive. I use a separate program called Scenalyzer to capture from tape, because it's simpler to operate. The capture function in Premier Pro CS3 has way too many options and settings, and many times I have to capture twice (or more) because something wasn't set just the way it expected.

I can only speak from my SD experience. I've been told I would have seen a bigger difference between the faster and slower processors in HD.

A hard drive is a mechanical device. It requires the targeted portion of the physical disk to be under the read/write heads. There are times where the data is ready to be written to the drive, but you have to wait for the correct location on the disk to line up with the head. There are ways to get around the problem, such as storing the data in memory until you get enough to write it in one large operation, where you only have to wait for the heads to position once, rather than several smaller operations.

SD DV storage runs about 13 gigs per hour. I've only got 4 gigs of ram, so obviously Premier can't crunch a whole hours worth of video in one chunk. So, it has to read a section (taking time for the drive to make the data available), perform whatever render operations are required, then write the processed section off to the drive before getting the next chunk.

Hard drives are actually the slowest part of a computer. Manufacturers have put large chunks of ram into the drives themselves, called buffers, to store the incoming data stream as fast as possible, and writing it to the drive at its inherently slower speed. This works well for most applications like word processors, which talk to the hard drive occasionally. Disk-intensive programs like video editing software will fill up this buffer, and have to wait for the drive to finish writing and clear the buffer before they can send more data. That's why you (usually) see a better boost in system performance by adding more ram, so you're working with larger chunks of data.

You can play lots of specification games with hard drive rotation speeds, seek times, buffer sizes, etc. People edit just fine on laptops with the 5400 RPM drives -- it just takes a little while longer when you're rendering.

I don't render directly from the camera. Normal workflow is to record the digital video on a tape in the camera, then download the recorded tape into the editing computer and store it on the hard drive. It's called capturing. Once you've captured the video clips on a hard drive, then the rest of the editing process is done in the computer.

I tend to be a bit more pragmatic about render times because my first experience with editing digital video was using Premier on Mac Quadra 950 computers. We'd edit a 15-minute video, start the final render as we left for the evening, and come back the next morning and wait an hour or so while the render finished. Fully render an hour video in less than ten minutes? No problem.

My suggestion for somebody who wants an affordable editing system is to get a dual-processor motherboard, put a reasonably fast processor in it, but spring for as much fast RAM, like PC6400, as you can afford. I like SATA hard drives these days: inexpensive and fast, and a lot easier to install. As far as video goes, the onboard video on the motherboard
works just fine for me. I only add a separate display card if I want something special, like dual monitors.

The other thing is I try to keep that system just for editing video. No games, oddball hardware, or software installed. If you buy a pre-built system, the manufacturer has usually loaded it down with all kinds of extra software and system utilities that just drag performance down. I usually reload the operating system from what's called an OEM disk (original equipment manufacturer), where the only thing it installs on the hard drive is the operating system itself. I have an HP Media Center computer which I no longer edit on because HP has so much garbage installed on the drive that it occasionally just locks up or loses the keyboard and mouse for no apparent reason. When I retire one of my older XP machines, I'll transfer the license to the HP machine, wipe the hard drive, and reinstall plain Windows XP on it from the OEM disk, and maybe it will behave.
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Last edited by Martin Catt; March 16th, 2008 at 11:46 PM.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 04:24 PM   #17
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Hey Robert, Thank you for your list.

What are the advantages of having a quad core intel processor VS. A quad core AMD? I know that in terms of performance, Intel has AMD beat. But is that the real reason for the huge price difference?

Again, thank you for your reply!
-Terry.
I assume the price difference is primarily driven by the difference in performance. The Intel quads do generally outperform the AMD quads significantly. I've seen benchmarks that indicate the AMD quads may actually outperform the Intel quads at h.264 compression though.

Quad core processors do offer a performance boost with Vegas (Vegas takes advantage of them).

Processors do have much greater bandwidth writing to RAM memory than to hard drives (by orders of magnitude). That said, with tasks like rendering high definition video to h.264 or computation intensive filtering (like noise reduction, color correction, etc), processor speed is usually the bottleneck, rather than disk speed (so long as the source and destination drives are physically two different drives - if source and destination drives are the same, then seek time comes into play).
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Old March 19th, 2008, 11:12 AM   #18
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Alright, here is what I have in my tiger direct shopping cart thus far...

RAM- http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...9&sku=C13-6082

Motherboard - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...&sku=A455-2322

Processor - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...=CP2-DUO-Q6600

Power supply - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...7&sku=C13-2502

Hard drive - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...ku=TSD-500AAKS

I am still in need of a case which I left open for suggestion by anyone who has any idea of what is necessary in a case.

Is there a need for a video card? I remember someone saying that they just use the onboard video on their motherboard..

The total is $744.95 with Tigerdirect.com prices. I choose Tiger Direct because my friends experiences with orders has been good. However I am up for suggestions of places with lower prices that other people have also had a good experience with.

I think that my motherboard choice is alittle week, but I don't know. Martin mentioned a dual-processor motherboard but I'm not sure if thats what I have in my shopping cart. Also, I've seen alot of people suggest motherboards that focus on temperature control. The Abit IP35 motherboard that Robert Wright posted has copper heatsinks and pipes that the one I have in my cart does not. I unfortunately do not know that much about this stuff to make a clear judgment.

In the future, I plan on upgrading to 8GB of RAM and an external hard drive, two 22" monitors and perhaps a better set of speakers. Untill then I will use my junk speakers and my little 17" monitor.

Am I missing anything?
-Terry.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 02:39 PM   #19
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Tiger Direct is a reputable outfit, but I rarely purchase from them. I purchase computer parts most often from ClubIT and Newegg. They are reliable, and usually have better prices.

That RAM memory you have in your cart is good. You can sometimes find a little better price on A-Data memory (with the same specs DDR2-800Mhz-CAS5), which is top notch also. I think Newegg currently has a promotion code to get the A-Data for around $65, if you are on their list to receive promotion codes. If you want, you can email me and I can look it up for you.

That Asus motherboard should work fine. Asus is a top echelon motherboard maker (and from what I gather their tech support is among the best, but I can't even remember the last time I called l tech support for computer parts, so I don't know first hand). The particular A-Bit motherboard I suggested is arguably the cream of the crop for the Intel quad Q6600. You will need a video card with either of those boards. You don't need a real powerful video card for Vegas. I suggest you look at some of the lower cost ATI HD2xxx series cards. Sapphire seems to make pretty good quality ones.

If you go with the Intel Q6600 quad core processor, I suggest you purchase that from ClubIT. If you get it from ClubIT, you will get the G0 stepping version (cpu ID SLACR). If you order it somewhere else, you may or may not (you might wind up with the B3 stepping version). Get the retail package version (includes cooling fan), unless you are going to use a third party CPU cooler. Third party CPU coolers can work better, but the stock fan from Intel will work ok, so long as you don't over-clock (which I don't suggest anyone do, unless they REALLY know what they are doing).

That Corsair is a solid power supply. All the Corsairs are top notch.

The WD 500GB hard drive is an ok choice. 750GB drives offer a little better bang for your buck though (lower cost per GB) and editing HD can wind up using gobs of disk space.

For a case, take a look at the one I suggested previously. That's a pretty solid choice.

8 gigs of RAM won't do anything for you, unless you go to the 64bit version of XP or Vista. Chimei makes a pretty good 22" monitor at a nice price. For good, yet economical computer speakers, take a look at Logitech's offerings. I think Tiger Direct might actually have a pretty good deal going on a nice Logitech 5.1 set right now.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 11:55 AM   #20
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Hey Robert,

I tried looking up the Intel processor package on you mentioned and wasn't sure if I had found it. I did find the Intel Q6600 Core 2 Quad processor but couldn't find the retail package version. If the stock Intel fan will work fine, then thats all I need for now.

The A-Data RAM you meniton, is it 4GB for $65? That sounds like a good deal. How long does that offer stand?

I picked the Asus motherboard simply because it was cheep and seamed to handle my needs. But do you suggest that the A-bit motherboard would suit me alittle better? I know in terms of performance, but do you think it would be a better idea since I'm going with Intel Q6600? I have a decent video card in my computer already. Its a GeFORCE FX 5500 PCI with 128MB DDR. Would that do just fine?

Thanks alot for helping!
-Terry.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 05:54 PM   #21
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Hey Robert,

I tried looking up the Intel processor package on you mentioned and wasn't sure if I had found it. I did find the Intel Q6600 Core 2 Quad processor but couldn't find the retail package version. If the stock Intel fan will work fine, then thats all I need for now.

The A-Data RAM you meniton, is it 4GB for $65? That sounds like a good deal. How long does that offer stand?

I picked the Asus motherboard simply because it was cheep and seamed to handle my needs. But do you suggest that the A-bit motherboard would suit me alittle better? I know in terms of performance, but do you think it would be a better idea since I'm going with Intel Q6600? I have a decent video card in my computer already. Its a GeFORCE FX 5500 PCI with 128MB DDR. Would that do just fine?

Thanks alot for helping!
-Terry.
The link I posted previously is for the retail boxed Q6600. Here it is again:

http://www.clubit.com/product_detail...emno=CA1938452

That's the G0 stepping Q6600 (not the B3 stepping version). Most retailers won't specify the stepping of the Q6600 chip they ship you. ClubIT does, so that is the only place I will purchase one (CPU ID "SLACR" tells you it is the G0 stepping version).

The Asus board should be a good board. That board supports the Q6600, and Asus is a top notch motherboard manufacturer. The Abit board probably gets the best reviews of any board for the Q6600 that I know of. Either one should work well.

The video card you have will probably be ok (so long as it can connect to the monitors you get). I'd suggest one of the lower end Radeon HD2xxx series cards though. They support hardware acceleration of playback for the three major HD delivery codecs nicely. You can get a decent one (for working with Vegas, not a hot gaming card) for under $100.

I just spoke with Newegg, and there seems to be some confusion there on the pricing for that memory promo. The memory you found at Tiger Direct is a pretty good deal (and I have never had a problem with Corsair memory).
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 10:50 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Lee View Post
Hey Robert,

I tried looking up the Intel processor package on you mentioned and wasn't sure if I had found it. I did find the Intel Q6600 Core 2 Quad processor but couldn't find the retail package version. If the stock Intel fan will work fine, then thats all I need for now.

The A-Data RAM you meniton, is it 4GB for $65? That sounds like a good deal. How long does that offer stand?

I picked the Asus motherboard simply because it was cheep and seamed to handle my needs. But do you suggest that the A-bit motherboard would suit me alittle better? I know in terms of performance, but do you think it would be a better idea since I'm going with Intel Q6600? I have a decent video card in my computer already. Its a GeFORCE FX 5500 PCI with 128MB DDR. Would that do just fine?

Thanks alot for helping!
-Terry.
Make sure your current video card can mate with your future mobo. All mobo's are PCIe's, you mentioned that yours is PCI which may not be compatible. If you have to get new vid card, usually it requires its own power supply, sometimes even two plugs required. This translate to the power box that you have to have for it.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 11:33 AM   #23
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The vast majority of motherboards still have PCI slots (but I would still get a new video card). The power supply Terry is looking at purchasing can easily handle powering pretty much any video card in production nowadays.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 11:41 AM   #24
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The vast majority of motherboards still have PCI slots (but I would still get a new video card). The power supply Terry is looking at purchasing can easily handle powering pretty much any video card in production nowadays.
Those mobos have it under older chipsets and CPU generation. Thinking ahead, that would be a crippling situation when he edits in HD. I don't know offhand of any dual core CPUs sinking into v-PCI mobos.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 11:49 AM   #25
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Here's an economical video card that would probably work nicely for you:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102103
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 11:51 AM   #26
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Those mobos have it under older chipsets and CPU generation. Thinking ahead, that would be a crippling situation when he edits in HD. I don't know offhand of any dual core CPUs sinking into v-PCI mobos.
Vegas doesn't use the GPU, so video cards don't have much impact on editing performance.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 11:52 AM   #27
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Here's an economical video card that would probably work nicely for you:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102103
I think the OP have an economical card already but his is PCI.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 11:57 AM   #28
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Vegas doesn't use the GPU, so video cards don't have much impact on editing performance.
I was referring to his use of older system that limits his potential right from the get go. To spend what he originally intended, I'd go with something more robust for not much more money. I still use higher end video card for the playback purpose( to play what I'm currently editing) and gaming goodness.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 12:28 PM   #29
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Any of the HD2xxx or HD3xxx series cards will accelerate any of the major HD delivery codecs (MPEG2, H.264 or VC1) very nicely, and give smooth playback. I didn't get the impression that Terry was interested in building his computer for gaming. One of the reasons I suggested that particular card (above) is that with 256MB of RAM, it has a relatively small memory footprint (compared to 512MB or more with most cards these days), and leaves a little more memory available for Vegas (and/or other apps) to run in.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 12:44 PM   #30
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Any of the HD2xxx or HD3xxx series cards will accelerate any of the major HD delivery codecs (MPEG2, H.264 or VC1) very nicely, and give smooth playback. I didn't get the impression that Terry was interested in building his computer for gaming. One of the reasons I suggested that particular card (above) is that with 256MB of RAM, it has a relatively small memory footprint (compared to 512MB or more with most cards these days), and leaves a little more memory available for Vegas (and/or other apps) to run in.

That gaming part I inserted was for me and me alone :} No disagreements here. Just good dialog for any who lurks here.
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