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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
Discussing the editing of all formats with Matrox, Pinnacle and more.


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Old November 20th, 2003, 05:24 AM   #1
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Help building a computer

Hi guys,

I've built many a computer before but never one with the sole purpose of video editing, its always been a trade off.

I'm now looking to make a machine that will only be used for video editing and any advice or links to websites would be a great help.

Suggestions about additional monitors/TVs for viewing, raid configurations, hard disk sizes and types, Dual or single processor, editing software, graphics cards etc would all be welcome as would things to avoid doing.

I had a quick search in the forum but the biggest problem with computers is it all goes out of date after a few months.

Thanks for your time guys

Nick
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Old November 20th, 2003, 06:23 PM   #2
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You might want to pick your NLE first and then pick out the parts of your system. Also tell us what your budget is.

Generally a good setup is this:

800FSB Pentium 2.4-3.0mhz

Case:
I'd say Antec 3700AMB or Sonata.

RAM:
PC3200 512MB or 1024MB of RAM (depends on NLE and how complex your projects are)
Kingston RAM is good. Enhanced latency RAM (i.e. Kingston HyperX) will give you better performance but I don't know if they are worth it.

Motherboard:
Intel gives slightly less problems, but isn't as much bang for the buck as something like the Asus boards (i.e. P4P800).

Hard drives:
WesternDigital or IBM/Hitachi drives if going PATA, Hitachi if going SATA
a 250GB drive should be good. Add more if you need.
Or go with a small WD drive (40GB) with 8MB buffer and a large (250GB) drive for video capture. (this is the safer route)

Bigger drives are faster and usually give better capacity/price. However, hard drive speed (with a modern 7200rpm drive) really isn't that important with Vegas Video.

Video card:
It should definitely support dual monitors. If you have enough $$$ for dual LCDs then get a card with dual DVI output.

Matrox gives you slightly better 2d quality than a dual head ATI/Nvidia card but they are pricey.

monitors:
see http://arstechnica.com/guide/index.html
Get dual monitors. It can be any combination of 2 CRTs and LCDs.

Sound Card:
M-Audio revolution.
on-board sound is ok if you aren't seriously into sound.

Headphones: (good for location work, ok for mixing)
Sony MDR V-6s (get em off the sony auction on ebay)
really good cans: MDR 7506s, AKG 240s

Speakers/monitors:
???

NTSC monitor or TV:
at least any TV hooked up to your system for quality control.
NTSC monitor if you do serious color correction work.

Editing software: search through this forum, this topic comes up a lot.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 08:09 PM   #3
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Glenn,

One quick question. Assuming Vegas as the NLE, and assuming one is using the computer for moderate gaming as well - would you recommend 512 or 1 Gig of memory?
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Old November 20th, 2003, 08:31 PM   #4
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I haven't used Vegas for major video editing yet. Other people on the Vegas forum report that 512MB is enough.

For games 512MB is enough for most games. Some games like Simcity 3k go faster with the extra RAM.

Multi-tasking obviously uses up more RAM.

If you don't have enough RAM then performance slows down by a lot. It can't really hurt to have too much (extra breathing room).
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Old November 20th, 2003, 08:56 PM   #5
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memory is really cheap and i would just go for 1 gig of ram.

i have a gig on a pentium 4 with premiere pro and it is plenty fast.

i have been playing with a large sata drive and i am trying to figure how much faster things are if i use that for certain tasks.

matthew
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Old November 21st, 2003, 06:20 AM   #6
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Thanks for replying.

For this exercise money is no object and my NLE for preference is Premiere. i'm really looking for proper video editing components not necessarily standard computer components as i'm familiar with the standard hardware (I'm a Programmer/ IT administrator). What i don't know is if there are any graphics card specifically designed for video editing, how motherboards with dual processor fair against single processors. I can max out ram to 4 gigs or as much as the motherboard supports if it will make a significant difference to performance.

Also things like having more than one monitor, is this useful of better to have a tv??

Are there any useful bits of additional software people like to use that help them do there video editing? Things like scene selectors, video clip catalogue/archiving software.

Thanks for the Hard disk info, i was planning to use Serial ATA drives but now you've given me a recommended make to look out for.

Regards

Nick
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Old November 21st, 2003, 06:57 AM   #7
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People are going to try and sell you on the Matrox card as a video editing card- however there's no benefit as most gaming cards already have dual monitor support. For example I'm using my system for both gaming and editing- thus I went with an ATi Radeon 9800 pro. Supports two LCDs just fine- plus I have an external monitor I use while editing via IEEE through my camera thanks to Vegas 4, though I think Premiere Pro now does this too.
http://www.mazdamp3.com/vbb230/_hand...my%20setup.jpg

Regarding cases- I'd stay away from cases like the Sonata. They are specifically made for the average run of the mill user who isn't running 3+ hardrives or really high clock speeds. It's cooling abilities are quite sub par. I'd opt for an all aluminum Coolermaster case. It's aluminum body helps as a heat spreader for interior temp, and comes with 2 inlet, and two exhaust- one on back of case and one on top (which is quite logical, beings heat RISES). I check my cpu and mobo temps frequently and I've never seen my CPU rise above 92f, usually averaging around 84-86f.

Ram? Go for the largest amount and fastest you can afford. It'll all depend on your CPU's fsb- for example with my P4 3.0ghz, at a FSB of 800 supports PC3200 ram. I went with a gig of Corsair Dual Channel PC3200 XMS ram.

Hardrives? SATA is the way to go. I have 3 Maxtor Diamond Plus 9 120 gig SATA drives. Initially I had it as 1 for my OS and programs and the other in a Raid-0....but have since opted to have 3 separate HDs. Disc1 for my OS and Programs, Disc2 for my media and captured footage, Disc3 for outputting renders. With this configuration your CPU can take advantage of using all 3 drives independantly. While the one drive accesses the NLE, it uses the other for the footage on the timeline, and the third for the MPG2 it's outputting.
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Old November 21st, 2003, 02:28 PM   #8
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Also you might want to consider if you'll overclock. If you will you should do research on it at something like overclockers.com. You might need to get some higherspecced ram to remain stable and all that.

Aaron
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Old November 22nd, 2003, 12:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Regarding cases- I'd stay away from cases like the Sonata. They are specifically made for the average run of the mill user who isn't running 3+ hardrives or really high clock speeds. It's cooling abilities are quite sub par. I'd opt for an all aluminum Coolermaster case. It's aluminum body helps as a heat spreader for interior temp, and comes with 2 inlet, and two exhaust- one on back of case and one on top (which is quite logical, beings heat RISES). I check my cpu and mobo temps frequently and I've never seen my CPU rise above 92f, usually averaging around 84-86f.
Hmm, a lot of overclockers like the Sonata. Reasons:
heat/airflow: The Sonata has a "proper" fan setup with the rear fan sucking air out and the front fan pushing air in. It has good airflow going through the case (like the Coolermaster).

uses large fans (2X120mm, one front one rear). Large fans give more airflow for the same amount of noise.

Quality power supply (voltages are what they should be)

Aluminium cases don't seem to make that much of a performance difference. Some of them look cooler and offer a lot more drive bays than the Sonata. In terms of cooling, you might be better off getting a premium heat sink (e.g. Thermalright), applying thermal paste (e.g. Artic Silver 5) instead of using the heat pad, and/or getting better fans (e.g. Panaflos).

Quote:
Also you might want to consider if you'll overclock.
Most people have the belief that work computers shouldn't be overclocked. I didn't mention it but it kinda makes sense. NLE performance depends highly on your CPU's speed. Of course, you have to maintain stability. There are programs that test stability pretty well, except you have to take into account room temperature changes (including across seasons).

Quote:
For this exercise money is no object and my NLE for preference is Premiere. i'm really looking for proper video editing components not necessarily standard computer components as i'm familiar with the standard hardware (I'm a Programmer/ IT administrator). What i don't know is if there are any graphics card specifically designed for video editing, how motherboards with dual processor fair against single processors. I can max out ram to 4 gigs or as much as the motherboard supports if it will make a significant difference to performance.
For Vegas Video dual processors doesn't help too much.
For Avid, dual Xeons are the recommended setup currently. Maybe the new chips coming out are faster.
For Final Cut Pro, a dual processor G5 does 7 layers of real time- the fastest there is right now! If money were no concern I'd get that.
For Premiere, I don't know but you can get hardware acceleration cards.
The new AMD processors might change things.

Quote:
Also things like having more than one monitor, is this useful of better to have a tv??
You want 2 computers monitors and a TV. I wouldn't use a TV to replace one of the computer monitors (hard on eyes compared to LCD, probably has annoying transformer noise, not very high resolution). A TV or better yet a NTSC/PAL monitor is needed for quality control and for color correction. For your first few projects, ALWAYS ALWAYS hook up at least TV for a final check of your project.

Quote:
Thanks for the Hard disk info, i was planning to use Serial ATA drives but now you've given me a recommended make to look out for.
Since money isn't a big concern then definitely go SATA. Better cables and I'm pretty sure the hard drives are faster. Check storagereview.com if you want to be sure. The main specs to look for are transfer rates.

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Old November 22nd, 2003, 09:48 AM   #10
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Glenn,
I never heard about overclockers using the Sonata. The Sonata was designed for the end-users who specifically want a quieter case. Thus the rubber gromets on the HD mounds standard. Out of the box it only uses ONE 120mm fan (in rear, exhaust). Thus the reason it is so quiet. They opted for 120mm because the fan didn't have to hit as high RPMs to achieve good airflow, cutting down on fan noise. Tom's Hardware reviewed the case and did actually recommend it, but warned against the fact it tended to have heat problems. Granted you can "add" an additional inlet fan which would aid in cooling, though it doesn't include it.
The case I currently use is the Coolermaster ATC-111. It has one of the best airflow designs of any case reviewed next to the big ugly Thermaltake cases, lol. Comes with two inlet, and two exhause (one in back, one in top). I really don't know what to believe about aluminum cases aiding in cooling, however I can report that this P4 3.0 ghz (which is notoriously hot) runs at an icy cool 85f at idle....and 92f during extensive rendering. It's the coolest I've ever had a processor run in ANY case I've ever owned.

Regarding powersupplies ...the Sonata DOES have the Coolermaster beat, as the Coolermaster doesn't even include a PS and is almost double the price of the Sonata. Antec power supplies are great- thus the reason I have a 480watt TruPower PS in my Coolermaster now.

Lastly alls I know is Falcon Northwest and Voodo always use the ATC-111 for their high end overclocked $10,000 beasts.
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Old November 22nd, 2003, 06:05 PM   #11
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Tom's Hardware doesn't always have the best methodology. For the Sonata they write that it has good cooling if you add in another fan. I don't see the problem with that, unless you're too lazy. For other cases you may have to add in a power supply, so adding a fan in comparison isn't so hard.

Ars Technica (site for PC enthusiasts) recommends this for a "hot rod" setup (overclocked gaming rig):
Quote:
Antec SLK3700AMB
Personal choice is probably the biggest consideration, here. The Hot Rod will fit into a tiny case with careful component selection, but we prefer something more substantial, like the Antec SLK3700AMB or coolcases D8000.

If you seek a case with even more serious cooling potential, try Addtronics' 7896A, and for more exotic ones there's the Lite-On FS020, Chenbro Genie, Lian-Li PC60 and Coolermaster ATC-201SX. Unfortunately, for these somewhat nicer cases, you will definitely find yourself paying more...
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