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Old September 7th, 2004, 06:17 AM   #1
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Budget System Set-Up: What do you think?

Hi,

I'm about to put together a budget editing computer, for music videos and short films. I'm a 17 year old aspiring filmmaker, and this is the component list I've put together after some research.

Gigabyte GA-8IPE1000 Pro 2 Motherboard
Pentium 4 Prescott 2.8GHz/3.0GHz 800 MHz FSB
512x2 Dual Channel 400MHz Memory
Radeon 9200 SE Video Card

Seagate 40 GB IDE Drive (for Windows XP, programs, installs, anything else)
Seagate 200 GB IDE Drive 8 MB Cache (separately for video)

Pioneer DVR-I07D (DVD Writer)


What do you think? I am going to use onboard sound for now because:

A) I cannot find the M-Audio sound cards in New Zealand, and the ones they do have are out of my budget.
B) I do not want to get the Audigy 2 sound cards because I heard they weren't good for music anyway.

A few things:

I was going to go with SATA, but with IDE I could get a smaller first drive (40GB), and thus get a larger drive for the video. Is Seagate a reliable brand?

Also, I am using one monitor for editing, because an extra monitor cost me extra that I would just not be able to afford right now. BTW I am using an LCD because my eyes just cannot stand long-hours in front of a CRT, so that rules out the possibility for a 2nd monitor (for now anyway).

Also, I am using the onboard Firewire port for transfer. Are there any problems with this set-up? I will be using Vegas with this, would it run fast/smoothly on this set-up? What you would recommend me getting over what I have there already, for the same price? Any problems with the Radeon 9200 SE?

Thank you for your time,
Dennis
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Old September 7th, 2004, 09:11 AM   #2
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Quote:
I was going to go with SATA, but with IDE I could get a smaller first drive (40GB), and thus get a larger drive for the video. Is Seagate a reliable brand?
Seagate is a good brand. Some people say that they make the most reliable drives (although they still fail, so make backups!).

SATA (serial) vs (parallel) ATA: It doesn't make too much of a difference. For your 40GB OS drive, probably go PATA to make life easier for yourself. This way you dont have to mess with SATA drivers.

For the 200GB, it doesn't matter too much. I'd go with the PATA version of the drive if it's cheaper, unlike you dislike the cabling associated with PATA.

2- It would be nice if your radeon card supports dual monitors in case you want to use dual monitors in the future. I also like Geforce cards slightly better for dual monitors since they have better drivers... but that doesn't make too much of a difference.

With CRTs, make sure to set the refresh rate higher than 60hz.
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Old September 9th, 2004, 01:17 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice. I'm thinking about getting another monitor (so I'll have 2), and a dual-head card. Any recommendations on the cheapest/most stable video card which supports two-monitors?

Dennis
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Old September 9th, 2004, 01:33 PM   #4
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Since video editing have nothing to care about 3D performances of the video card and I have a dedicated editing machine, I am using an old Geforce 4 MX 400 with dual VGA output. Work great. You don't need to have the lastest card for editing.
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Old September 9th, 2004, 02:32 PM   #5
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Caveat on the latest video card... If you are using Pinnacle's Liquid Edition, the latest video card may be a benefit. Even memory sizes matter in certain tasks.

Since this is Vegas, this does not apply.

If Vegas supports it, consider getting a Pioneer 108 drive. USD is under $100 for a bare drive. It supports Dual Layer. I do not know if Vegas supports it yet though. Getting the 108 will possibly slightly extend the drive's usefulness.

If you can, do not get an SE version of the ATI cards. If it is in budget, a Pro or XT will have a little more kick. The difference will be in playback in full screen. I think we were seeing some frame drops on the lower-end cards with 1080p WMV-HD (but a lot of that depended on the CPU too - it was anomoly with the Athlon 2x00+ series that we could not explain.) Anandtech thread on WMV-HD 1080p benchmark results
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Old September 10th, 2004, 08:49 PM   #6
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What about the Matrox cards?

Is there much difference between the 550, 650 and 750 models? I'm definitely not going to go for the Parhelia, but just wondering, does Vegas 4 support multi-monitor with Matrox cards?

Thank you,
Dennis
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Old September 10th, 2004, 09:37 PM   #7
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I've been steering clear of the Prescott for the last couple systems I've put together. It runs very hot and doesn't really offer any preformance increases over the Northwood. In fact, for some video editing applications, it runs slower.
Anyone out there using Prescott? No problems?
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Old September 10th, 2004, 09:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Is there much difference between the 550, 650 and 750 models? I'm definitely not going to go for the Parhelia, but just wondering, does Vegas 4 support multi-monitor with Matrox cards?
Yes. The main features of Matrox cards are:
-dual DVI. Not all models have this. Only a handful of nvidia/ATI have dual DVI support.
-good quality analog output. This is not very useful for video editing.
-triple monitor support with the Parhelia and the P750. Not sure if the P650 does triple monitors. Only certain combinations of devices work, so watch out.

Vegas 4 support: Vegas 5 has better support for multiple monitors as you can save layouts. With Vegas 4 you can get it to remember the window positions and you can easily move windows over to the second monitor.

You might want to take a look at the last generation (Geforce4) Nvidia cards with dual monitor support.

Quote:
I've been steering clear of the Prescott for the last couple systems I've put together. It runs very hot and doesn't really offer any preformance increases over the Northwood. In fact, for some video editing applications, it runs slower.
Anyone out there using Prescott? No problems?
On the Sony Vegas forum over at the Sony site there are rendertest.veg results. Prescotts run ~6% faster than the equivalent clock speed Northwood. On the Main Concept MPEG2 encoder (which DVD architect uses) the gap is even bigger.

The Prescott still consumes more electricity, which means you are more likely to run into problems if your power supply starts going bad (or is bad to begin with, which is actually more likely if you get a cheap overrated one). With the Northwood you use less energy and have more 'headroom' against PSU failure. Keep in mind that computer parts rarely break down.

The Prescott will also raise your electricity bills. If you leave your computer on 24/7, this can really add up.

The Prescott also has the SSE3 instruction set, which gives it the potenital to perform better. I think things like MPEG2 encoders can take advantage of these instructions.

I find it hard to say which is the better choice. You should be fine with either- they will work.
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Old September 11th, 2004, 10:59 AM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris McKee : I've been steering clear of the Prescott for the last couple systems I've put together. It runs very hot and doesn't really offer any preformance increases over the Northwood. In fact, for some video editing applications, it runs slower.
Anyone out there using Prescott? No problems? -->>>
Some video editors will run faster too. Tom's Hardware uses Studio 9 as a benchmark and their MPEG2 conversion test runs faster on a clock for clock comparison with a Northwood.

Does the Prescott run hotter than a Northwood? Yes, but it is running within design parameters.

Another thought, save some room for getting another video HD. I know that I can eat 200GB for lunch. My 400GB 'drive' (it is 2 drives) only has 80GB free at the moment while I keep adding to the current projects.
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Old September 11th, 2004, 05:48 PM   #10
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Well, I suppose if I run out of space I could always add a Firewire-drive later?

Dennis
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Old September 11th, 2004, 06:05 PM   #11
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the standard layout is to view the editing software with a pc monitor, but watch the video output from your firewire card on a real pal tv screen... so your camera will be turned on and plugged into the firewire port while you are editing... the tv screen is plugged into the video camera, so the type of sound card in the pc is completely irrelevant... your stereo is plugged into the video camera.

you don't really want to be watching pal video on any kind of computer monitor... lcd would be the absolute worst choice for that, because you don't have as much gamma control, and there will be visible screen lag on high action scenes.

if you are having eye problems with your present computer monitor, it's because the refresh rate is wrong, the brightness/gamma is way off the chart, etc.

so the object is to get a real crt monitor for your computer, then calibrate it using the "crt brightness and contrast(setting the black point)" procedure at: http://www.aim-dtp.net/aim/calibration/index.htm ...i don't believe that you can use that procedure on an lcd monitor, which is one reason why crt's are the best choice.

matrox has a long tradition of having the best 2d picture quality pc video cards on the market... i haven't looked at 'em in a couple of years, but keep that in mind.
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Old September 12th, 2004, 01:39 PM   #12
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Well, I see what you mean... So basically it'd be a wise idea to add a CRT-monitor to my set up?

I'm assuming my onboard Firewire port is fine. I am probably getting a Sony GV-D1000 as a deck. Let me just check what you mean:

1. Put Mini-DV tape into deck/player (GV-D1000).
2. Connect the deck into PC using Fire-wire.
3. Connect a monitor into the deck using S-Video.
4. Connect my studio monitors (?!?!?!) into my deck, and NOT my sound card?

A question, does this mean that when I'm editing on computer, I'll see the footage in real-time on the CRT screen, while I'm editing? Or is the CRT screen just for seeing the footage from the mini-DV tape?

I am thinking, would it be an OK alternative to view all my footage on my (CRT) TV first, THEN put it on computer?

Dennis
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Old September 12th, 2004, 02:04 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dennis Liu :

4. Connect my studio monitors (?!?!?!) into my deck, and NOT my sound card?

A question, does this mean that when I'm editing on computer, I'll see the footage in real-time on the CRT screen, while I'm editing? Or is the CRT screen just for seeing the footage from the mini-DV tape?

I am thinking, would it be an OK alternative to view all my footage on my (CRT) TV first, THEN put it on computer?

Dennis -->>>

Most NLEs let you choose between playing the audio through the computer hardware or the DV hardware.

You should be able to watch whatever is playing on your NLE's preview screen on the NTSC screen connected to the DV deck.
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Old September 13th, 2004, 05:04 AM   #14
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Hi,

Thanks for the advice. I'll post a new thread in about 1/2 weeks to tell you guys how it goes with the upgrade. I am also in a process of making my first short film, so this all seems pretty exciting.

Once again, thanks for the great advice,
Dennis
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Old September 13th, 2004, 11:28 AM   #15
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you got it! remember that crt stands for cathode ray tube, so your pal tv monitor is also a crt... as is a computer monitor(not the lcd monitor).

the object is to avoid lcd altogether, but if you already have one, it'll work for the computer end of things... just don't try watching the actual video itself on the lcd computer monitor... it does take computer/video card cpu cycles to play back moving video on the computer lcd monitor... you may want to shut that preview function off within your editing software.

just be sure and use a real tv monitor for plugging into your mini-dv deck... i would not buy a special mini-dv deck per se, they are too expensive... just go find a really cheap mini-dv camera with firewire i/o and audio/video analog i/o to use as a deck... remember that you will only be using it to roll tape for capturing to the computer, and recording your final edits with.
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