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Old June 13th, 2004, 01:39 PM   #1
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Building a budget NLE machine

I've been searching the archives and found lots of different opinions, but at the rate technology changes who knows if there is better options available now.

I will be building a new computer for myself in the next 1-2 months. I'm currently on a P4-1.4ghz which I'm giving to a family member. The only parts I've been considering taking is the matrox millenium G550 in it, and the SBAudigy (Firewire port). I don't know if its worth it though will the advances in both of these pieces of hardware since I bought them.

In terms of budget, lets say $2000 CAN. Most (if not all) parts will probably be bought from http://www.canadacomputers.com . Not necessary to use the full budget obviously.

I'm looking for sugesstions on basically everything - AMD/Intel, Motherboards, hard drive brands, DVD writer. Anyone have suggestions or maybe some links with more info?

Thanks
Ari
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Old June 13th, 2004, 08:32 PM   #2
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What NLE will yopu be using?
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Old June 13th, 2004, 10:13 PM   #3
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That's something else I have to decide on. I "grew up" on Premier 4-6.5, but haven't made the jump to Pro. Am thinking of going the Avid Express route instead.

In other news, I think I found the DVD writer for the new machine, the Plextor PX-708A .
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Old June 14th, 2004, 12:52 AM   #4
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Ari,

I would highly recomend a P4 machine with a hyper-threading processor. Most new software takes advantage of HT, or will in future versions. Long story short, an HT processor can execute 2 threads at the same time, the net result is approx 2x speed increase. I'm pretty sure any Intel P4 processor with an 800mhz front side bus has HT. I use a 2.6 w/ HT. This will shorten render times, and make real-time previews much faster.

I use the Abit IS7 motherboard which seems very stable. I've built several machines and Abit boards have always seemed rock solid.

For drives - get at least a 7200rpm drive with an 8mb onboard cache. I use these exclusively and have never had problems with throughput latency. The new Serial-ATA drives are usually only a couple dollars more and give some speed increase over standard IDE drives, but stick to the above and things will run smooth. I use Western Digital JB serries drives - have had experience w/ over 15 of them (I used to build servers for other people) and never had any problems.

For RAM - Unless you're using After Effects a lot, 512 MB is fine. Stick with the 400mhz speed (I think its' also called PC3200).

For a burner, just make sure it does DVD-/+R and DVD-/+RW. Use only DVD-R ("dash" or "minus" R) if it's going to play in a set top DVD player. For re-writable, stick to DVD+RW (Plus RW).

That should cover it. I built my machine including DVD burner and about 300GB total drive space, from scratch, and spent just a few pennies over $1000 US. Before you order, you might check Directron. (www.directron.com). They are US and don't know if they ship to Can - but outstanding pricess and top level support. Have ordered from them many many times and never regretted it.

As for software - I got the Adobe Video Bundle Pro - it's currently $1500. That's a stack a' bills for software, but with all the pieces you get, plus all the quality plugings for free, I figure there's about $6000 worth of software in the box. It will comlpletely outfit all your creative needs for a long time.

Hope that helps. Fee free to contact direct about any more specifics. I've learned by my own failures and could probably point you in the right direction.

Hope that helps.
www.imageweddingfilms.com
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Old June 14th, 2004, 05:20 PM   #5
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How important do you guys feel buying "Brand Name" RAM (eg Kingston) is?
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Old June 14th, 2004, 07:09 PM   #6
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On RAM, I would actually get 1GB.

Brand names now really are OCR, Mushkin, Crucial, and Corsair. Kingston is still good though and sometimes has deals on their website (which I don't know if they have a CAN site deal). I prefer Mushkin and OCR.

If you have not built a system before, you may want to stick to using ATA/IDE drives. They do not require a special driver installation step during the installation of Windows XP. Get 2 drives too. I would look at a 80-120GB drive for the applications and OS, and a 160-250GB drive as your video capture and render drive.

A video card such as one based off of the ATI Radeon 9600 XT chipset can now be found for $150, but you may not need that much horsepower. I use Pinnacle Liquid Edition, which utilizes the Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) for some renders, so a fast card makes a difference. You may be able to use a 9500 or 9200 card, but try to stay way from the SE versions as they do have some performance compromises.

And, this is one of the better guides to building your own.

http://www.omnicast.net/~tmcfadden/g...ild/index.html
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Old June 14th, 2004, 08:36 PM   #7
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I've built numerous machines, just none in the last two years, so i've somewhat lost touch with current advancements.

I didn't know the processors of consumer-level cards could be used to speed of rendering. Do any other cards aside from ATI have features similar to that?
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Old June 15th, 2004, 04:53 AM   #8
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Actually, it is the software in the NLE that uses the card. Pinnacle is using the Direct3D APIs in Windows to use the card to render some effects. Make sense if you think about it as that is what games do. It will also work with nVidia cards and other video cards that meet Pinnacle's minimum requirements.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 07:50 AM   #9
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AvidXpressPro also utilizes the faster cards for 3d openGL applications. Gives you real time previews... pretty nice.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 07:57 AM   #10
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That's pretty cool; so in that case, maybe I should replace my G550 with a more powerful card?

The reason I bought the G550 way back when is it has two monitor out ports on it, but that is not so much as a necessity for me now.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 09:57 AM   #11
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Hey Ari,

I use a P4 2.8GHz with HT and 1GB of ram with After Effects and Premiere. It does the job fine. I agree with George, get 1GB, it makes a difference. And stick with brand names, especially when dealing with HT. Less likely you will run into any issues. Crucial has never let me down. Right now i am using OCR which also seems good. If you go with the P4 with HT you will need PC3200.

I can also vouche for the Abit IS7. Stable and cheap. Hard drive space is cheap, so you don't have to skimp on that.

Here are some sites i go to when i am building a system. Focused on gaming, but should give you a some idea of what to get. I usually start with the budget system and work up to what i need. $2000 should get you pretty far for a budget machine.

http://www.sharkyextreme.com/guides/index.php
http://www.anandtech.com/guides/index.html
http://arstechnica.com/guide/system/index.html

Do people have links to sites specifically for NLE or After Effects systems, especially in the budget range?
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Old June 16th, 2004, 03:04 AM   #12
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hey, i started a thread a few weeks back on this topic as well. the thread is entitled "Best processor for video editing and 3d graphics" or something like that.

check it out, I know pentiums are best for video editing, but i needed a comptuer to do 3D modeling (Softimage), so i ended up getting dual Opterons.


i think you will find a lot of useufl info in that post

best regards
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Old June 18th, 2004, 12:49 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kevin King : Long story short, an HT processor can execute 2 threads at the same time, the net result is approx 2x speed increase. -->>>

Benchmarks show no where near 2x the speed. More like a 10-15% increase.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 09:08 PM   #14
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Eric, by OCR you mean OCZ?

As far as brand name RAM goes, the best IMO are Corsair, Crucial and maybe. These brands are generally regarded as the least likely to be dead on arrival. The next step down is Kingston, OCZ.

The main quality differences in RAM is:
A- Does it run without errors?
B- What are the memory timings? (lower is better)

A: Brand name RAM is less likely to have errors. RAM is sometimes dead on arrival and in rare cases will fail.

B: The performance difference from memory timings is so small that IMO you should not need to pay much attention to this. With just any RAM you can lower the memory timings to get better performance. Most RAM will hit some good timings. There is some quite expensive RAM that will get *slightly* better timings which translates to around 1% difference on performance (depends *highly* on what you do and what timings you are looking at). It may be worth it to pay a few extra dollars to get brand name RAM instead of cheap crap so it is more reliable and has slightly better performance than what's cheapest.

Lowering memory timings: You do this in the BIOS. I cannot recall the timings off the top of my head (there are four of them, one of which is CAS latency).

You can download memtest86 to help test your memory while tweaking.

With Vegas rendering, lower timings makes no difference at all in rendering speeds. I have not tried this iwth MPEG2 encoding, which I suspect would benefit from lower timings.

2- Abit IS7: I got to play with this motherboard today. It's a nice motherboard with great bang for your buck. For overclocking I like the Asus P4P800 slightly better since the Asus board doesn't need to move a jumper around when your computer no longer boots. It is a nice board for tweaking though.
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Old June 19th, 2004, 10:15 AM   #15
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Thanks, Yes! OCZ. Sorry about that.
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