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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old June 26th, 2008, 12:24 PM   #1
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Building an Editing PC

Hello to everyone here. This is my first post here and I gotta say you all are tremendously helpful and knowledgeable and that is why I am looking to you for help. And I surely need some help like so many others on here.
I have a gentleman I know who is going to build me a PC for video editing. This gentleman is an expert on building PC's and knows his stuff. However, with that said, I am learning he doesnt know very much about video editing, and I want to make sure he doesnt steer me in the wrong direction when it comes to building a PC for Editing, because frankly, I dont know all that much either. Trying to learn here. :)
I currently have a Sony Vaio Desktop that is about 4 or 5 years old. It's a 2.8Ghz P4 maxed out to 2GB of Ram. Original Hard Drive as well. Still working good though. I mainly use Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 as my NLE and my cameras are Canon GL2s. When I bought my PC new, it had mostly everything I needed at the time already on it. However because of this, I never learned what a PC really needs when building it for editing purposes except for the basics.
When it comes to Video editing, I do alot of Wedding and Corporate videos, plus doing alot of DVD transfers for clients now as well. Another thing I produce alot of is Machinima http://www.machinima.com/film/about and I will need to be able to hook up my XBOX 360 preferrably using HDMI cable to capture HI DEF game footage.
With that said, all of my video editing is done currently in SD hence the GL2 cameras and Adobe Pro 1.5. So I would like to be able to move into HD video sometime but all I need HD for right now is for the Gaming footage.
I've been searching for answers to which path I should take regarding all this and I finally had to break down and POST. :)
Here is the list of Specs / Parts that the PC Guy is steering me towards buying for building a PC. Feel free to correct anything that isnt feasible or may or may not work.


1: GIGABYTE GA-P35-S3G ATX Intel Motherboard

2: Intel Pentium E2180 2.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor

3: Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

4: ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T

5: Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

6: Koutech IO-FPM520 Multifunction Front Panel Card Reader with
USB2.0/1394a/Audio/Video Ports

7: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4850 100242L Video Card

Power Supply, Tower, and also a Heat Sink are not on here but will be included. After all is said in done after rebates and discounts, it comes out to be around $620.00 at NewEgg
The PC will also be slightly overclocked.

Feel free to add your opinions and Im guessing I'll get chewed out about the Gaming Card. ;)
Thank you for reading this post!!

KEVIN G.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 01:26 PM   #2
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I've built a few dedicated editing machines...here's my .02.

You really should have a separate system hard-drive for your OS and programs...and 1 dedicated for all your media files.

If you're only doing SD, 1 media drive is fine...but for HD, you'll need to run a few drives in a RAID configuration. Get a nice big case so you can add more drives if needed...and get a case with lots of fans.

Spend some extra $$ on a good power supply...don't cheap out here. I like PC Power & Cooling or Antec. I've had a bad experience with Thermaltake (MB connection melted).

Since you're using Premier...find out which video cards they recommend and make sure you get one on the list (or at least the same brand and specs).

Good Luck
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Old June 26th, 2008, 09:39 PM   #3
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This is my new system. Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6, Intel Quad core Q9450, 8G RAM, 250G boot drive, 250G temp and preview drive, 2 x 750G video storage, Palit HD3850 with HDMI output connector, LG DVD-RW, Antec Sonata Plus 550, Vista 64. System cost about $1900 Canadian assembled by local shop including 1 year warranty. IF you are building a system today for HD in the future get a quad core, a Q6600 at least. Have a drive for boot , one for temp storage and one at least for normal video storage. Moving files from one drive to the other when encoding is much faster and another reason to have a dedicated drive for temp files that most programs use in their operation ( and definable in Premiere). The system you posted is not fast enough to deal with HD. If you are thinking of AVCHD then a fast quad core is a must, at least 2.66Mhz for smooth playback. You will need a card like the Blackmagic Intensity to capture HDMI, they are about $250.

Ron Evans
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Old June 27th, 2008, 06:52 PM   #4
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Kevin, at least two HDDs, one for OS and programs, one for media, is a must. As suggested above, if performance becomes an issue, a 3rd drive for temp files might be a nice addition.

I would suggest at least 3 gigs of RAM. An Adobe presenter/demonstrator suggested at least one gig for the OS and one for every open application and implied that a little above that for breathing room wasn't a bad thing. You can always add more RAM later however.

If you can afford it, a quadcore isn't that much more expensive and will be useful as more applications are written to use multiple processors at the same time. The advantages of the Q9450 intel cpu Ron mentioned is based upon both speed of the cpu, its 4 cores and the SSE 4 instruction set that allows it to handle both encode/decode functions of mpeg better.

Tell your friend to check out the price/performance of the processors in terms of handling video encoding, AnandTech has a sight where they test cpu performance for video encoding for DVD's, (mpeg2), WidowsMedia, and other video codecs, not just for 3d gaming performance. This gets important because HDV formats use mpeg video encoding to fit HigDef info into a relatively small data stream.

I currently shoot HDV but distribute SD, but it's going to be only a few years before clients are going to want HD almost exclusively, so a little extra investment now might really help to future-proof later...
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Old June 28th, 2008, 11:03 AM   #5
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If you're going to get a Sapphire 4850 anyway, you might take a look at the combo deal newegg.com has, bundling the Sapphire 4850 with a Phenom 9600, right now. They're taking $55 off the combo, so that could give you a quad core CPU for only $115. Also, motherboards for AMD CPUs seem to be more economical than motherboards for Intel CPUs nowadays. Newegg also has a rebate deal on 4GB DDR2 1066 memory from OCZ that's something like $90 after the rebate.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 12:12 PM   #6
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Up to this last PC( in above post) I always used AMD and they are cheaper. However at the moment Intel Quad cores are a lot faster for encoding which is what one does a lot when video editing. You don't have to go with an expensive X48 motherboard like mine, encoding is CPU intensive so its the CPU that matters and memory. The X48 motherboards have a lot of I/O capability which is useful for running lots of hard drives internally and externally.
Ron Evans
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Old June 29th, 2008, 09:20 AM   #7
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The Intel quads generally outperform the AMD Phenoms, at the same clock speed. That's not true for all tasks though. It appears that the Phenoms can hold their own at H.264 encoding. Take a look at this:

http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.a...pgno=0#Results

(Scroll down and click on "x264 Results: Data Trends" and then scroll down to the comparison of AMD vs. Intel quads.)

Also, while the Phenoms may lag somewhat behind the Intel quads at most other tasks, it's not like they are slow (far from it). Factor in price and a Phenom 9600 starts looking like a pretty outstanding price/performance value at $115 (in that combo deal I mentioned above), especially when you consider that motherboards for Phenoms tend to be a little bit more economical as well. I particularly like the 780G motherboards for economy (quite adequate on-board graphics for most editing tasks, and very good acceleration for playback of the major HD codecs).

Another thing to note is that memory speed seems to have a very minimal impact on overall performance. 800MHz DDR2 would seem far more cost effective than 1066MHz DDR2, at current prices.
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Old July 1st, 2008, 06:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Andrew Guidorzi View Post

1: GIGABYTE GA-P35-S3G ATX Intel Motherboard

2: Intel Pentium E2180 2.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor

3: Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

4: ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T

5: Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

6: Koutech IO-FPM520 Multifunction Front Panel Card Reader with
USB2.0/1394a/Audio/Video Ports

7: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4850 100242L Video Card
1. I've never used this board so I cannot comment.

2.Do not get this processor. Get at least an Intel Core2Duo. You'll more than likely want a Core2Quad. The Q9300, Q9450, and Q9550 are all chips you should consider.

3. Get 4 gigs of ram, you will thank me later.

4. Never used that burner.

5. Not a bad system drive, but definitely get some dedicated media drives.

6. Never used that part.

7. Adobe products always play nicer with Nvidia hardware. The 9600GT is at the same price point - probably cheaper - and will do exactly what you need.
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Old August 14th, 2008, 12:37 PM   #9
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Thank you all very much for the advice.
It is sounding like i better stay away from the Dual Core chip and go only with a Quad.
I've been told if i go with a Quad Core, I'll be looking at spending more money on Cooling. WaterCooling? I was hoping to avoid that if possible. I also have seen people state that they use DualCore chips just fine with HD editing. Do you think they are overclocking these or do you think these people dont know what they are talking about?
I also am learning that when i do go HD editing, there is alot to learn from standard def. So if anyone has any suggestions on where to find a good tutorial for beginner HD editors, hey I'm open ears.
Thanks again to everyone for contributing here. :)

KEVIN G.
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Old August 14th, 2008, 12:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Andrew Guidorzi View Post
I've been told if i go with a Quad Core, I'll be looking at spending more money on Cooling. WaterCooling? I was hoping to avoid that if possible. I also have seen people state that they use DualCore chips just fine with HD editing.
KEVIN G.
I believe the latest Intel Quad cores like my Q9450 run cooler than the Dual Core Intel's they replace. So will not need any more cooling to run the quad cores. I have CS3, Vegas 8 and Edius and all edit HDV just like DV. With multiple tracks they prefer using an intermediate format but will still run. You will need to monitor on the PC as one cannot just go out 1394 through the camera to a TV like one can with DV. Encoding for DVD or Bluray will use all the CPU power you can afford!!!
As far as shooting HD, focus is VERY critical as any errors will really stand out.

Ron Evans
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Old August 14th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #11
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Thank you Ron! Good Advice!
When you say "You will need to monitor on the PC as one cannot just go out 1394 through the camera to a TV like one can with DV" I'm sorry, but I'm not quite understanding what your saying here.
Thanks again though!
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Old August 14th, 2008, 03:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Andrew Guidorzi View Post
Thank you Ron! Good Advice!
When you say "You will need to monitor on the PC as one cannot just go out 1394 through the camera to a TV like one can with DV" I'm sorry, but I'm not quite understanding what your saying here.
Thanks again though!
With DV one can connect up the camera from the PC with 1394 ( iLink) cable, connect a TV to the analogue out of the camera and monitor while editing. This cannot be done with HDV, there is no pass thought like this for HDV. The output must be rendered in most of the editing programs to create a new file and then exported. So preview must be done on the PC monitor or specialized hardware( Matrox, Canopus etc) to a HD monitor. This is also true for AVCHD. So the old way of monitoring is not possible.

Ron Evans
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Old August 14th, 2008, 03:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
With DV one can connect up the camera from the PC with 1394 ( iLink) cable, connect a TV to the analogue out of the camera and monitor while editing. This cannot be done with HDV, there is no pass thought like this for HDV. The output must be rendered in most of the editing programs to create a new file and then exported. So preview must be done on the PC monitor or specialized hardware( Matrox, Canopus etc) to a HD monitor. This is also true for AVCHD. So the old way of monitoring is not possible.

Ron Evans


I gotcha now. Thank you, makes total sense.
Again though, Im needing some education on HDV editing so if anyone knows some good tutorials for beginners, i could certainly use some.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 12:34 AM   #14
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Go with the cheapest Intel Quad. Q6600 will do you fine and is miles faster then that dog of a chip your PC guy is trying to pawn on you. AMD quad core will also suit you just fine, and still mile faster then that crap CPU you were being tricked into buying. Consider both options and buy the one who's price works for you. You can't loose on either. Don't get RAM that is faster then you need DDR800 is more then fast enough. Also you want to always run your RAM in dual channel so forget 3gigs if you want the best price(that would mean 2x1 gig and 2x512, ridiculous). 4gigs would be perfect and can be had for about $100(2x2gig sticks). ATi card is a great choice despite what some fanboys will tell you, and plays just fine with Adobe software guaranteed. It offers external monitor overlay(in case you want to preview) and HDMi out (both features that current Nvidia cards in this price range fail to offer, plus sub par multi-monitor abillity in my POV), and simply owns the $performance crown right now.
And yes get more HDD's. Anyone who try's to sell you a editing system with one drive has no clue about building an editing system. And make sure all drives are 7200rpm.
Ideally one for OS and programs. One for swap files and page files, and temp folders, and two in Raid 0 for media files.
As far as MB, get a mainstream brand, make sure it has RAID, and firewire.
You are good to go.
Happy editing.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 10:48 AM   #15
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Here's the best current deal on 4GB DDR2 800 (that I know of):

OCZ OCZ2N800SR4GK 4GB PC2-6400 (DDR2-800) DDR2 Memory Kit Retail at ZipZoomfly

$50 after the rebate.

(I've ordered from ZipZoomFly many times and never had a problem.)
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