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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old December 17th, 2004, 09:06 AM   #1
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Bought P4 3.0C - need the rest

Hello all,
I bought the retail version of this CPU for a good price and I'm trying to put together a new editing computer. I've been using a Athlon XP 1900+ for over 2 years and rendering has been very sluggish.

First off, motherboard. I've decided on one of these:
ASUS P4P800-E-DLX Intel 865PE
ASUS P4P800-SE Intel 865PE
ASUS P4C800E-DLX Intel 875P

I'd like to purchase the one of the ones based on the Intel 865PE chipset because it a bit cheaper. Which chipset should I get? Which is better for my purposes (I use Vegas, AfterFX, Photoshop)?

Also, I'm VERY confused about RAM. I'd like to get 1 gig but don't know which kind, how fast and whether dual channel is really worth it. I would like to try overclocking once I get everything running smoothly. How fast should the RAM be? I know it makes little difference as far as rendering goes but what if I want to O/C?

Any feedback much appreciated.

Robert
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Old December 17th, 2004, 04:26 PM   #2
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Get the 865PE chipset as its cheaper and just as good. The 875 has the following extra features:
PAT (increases performance/memory timings, but not for video. Memory timings make no difference on render speed)
supports ECC RAM (which you likely won't use)
CGA gigabit LAN (gigE will use less CPU... not a big deal)

RAM: Get the cheapest stuff or some regular RAM that's name brand (Mushkin, Corsair, Kingston, Crucial, etc.). Name brand RAM is a little less likely to be DOA and a bit better quality. Anything else isn't worth it, even if overclocking. If you get the cheapest RAM possible, I suggest you test it with memtest86 or microsoft's RAM diagnostic.

Memory timings make no difference on render performance, so don't buy low latency RAM. see http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=18841
Overclocking RAM (PC4xxx) is really overpriced and not worth it.

Overclocking: You could overclock and it definitely does increase performance. However, you have to weigh that against instability or the time spent testing your computer.

If you do overclock, I suggest the following:

Buy a Thermalright XP-120 with a fan like a low-speed 120mm Panaflo (with the right tailing). The XP-120 is the one of the best heatsinks you can get. Install it onto your CPU with thermal grease, carefully reading instructions. Check your case beforehand to see if the power supply may be in the way.

Once that's done...
Go into the BIOS and drop the memory divider to underclock your RAM. Choose 5:4 or 3:2. In the Asus BIOS this is called something else... you have to tell your motherboard your RAM is 266mhz, which corresponds to 3:2, or you have to tell it your RAM is 320mhz, which correspond sto 5:4 divider.

You need to underclock your RAM since RAM speed is linked to Front Side Bus speed, which you will be raising. Raising the FSB speed increases CPU clock speed, which is what you want. Your RAM will crap out first before your CPU, so you want to underclock your RAM so it doesn't limit your overclock.

With that set, download the overclocking utility for your Asus motherboard (ai booster). Also download and install Prime95 and CPUBurn (not to be confused with CPUBurn-in)- they are for stress testing. Within Windows, keep bumping your FSB clock speed until your computer crashes (you want it to crash). Remember this speed- it will be a bit higher than the maximum overclocked speed your CPU can hit.

Now back off from there and stress test your computer with Prime95. Run CPUBurn at the same time (it stresses Pentium hyperthreading processors more). See where your computer is prime95 stable overnight (prime95 stable = no errors in prime95's torture test).

Not done yet... your computer still may not be stable. Prime95 stable doesn't necessarily mean your computer is stable. You could try folding @ home and SETI for stress testing too. You can also back off on your overclock from the prime95 stable point.

If you use your computer and it's stable for a week with no crashes, weird behaviour, no BSODs and no lockups then it should be stable enough to use. And fast. If you get BSODs (blue screen of death) or freezes/lockups/black screens then back off on the overclock.
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Old December 17th, 2004, 08:38 PM   #3
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Glenn,
thank you very much for your detailed reply. I've printed it out. As you suggested, I will get the slightly less expensive Intel 865PE board.

Case will most likely come from Antec, Zalman or Enermax PSU. As far as RAM goes, seems like you're suggesting NOT to use dual channel optimized RAM. Is this stuff really that over-hyped?

"Buy a Thermalright XP-120 with a fan like a low-speed 120mm Panaflo (with the right tailing)"

Good suggestion. That will make the computer super quiet as well. The Thermaltake HS/F combo I've got now sounds like a vacum cleaner.

Once again, thanks.
Robert
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Old December 17th, 2004, 10:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Case will most likely come from Antec, Zalman or Enermax PSU. As far as RAM goes, seems like you're suggesting NOT to use dual channel optimized RAM. Is this stuff really that over-hyped?
An antec case is likely your best bet as the case + PSU are good quality and the bundles are excellent value (i.e. Antec 3700BQE).

RAM: Get pairs of the exact same model RAM for dual channel operation. Dual channel optimized RAM doesn't really make a difference... they are tested as a dual channel pair (as opposed to a single stick) and may overclock a few mhz more than non-dual channel RAM.

Don't pay extra for dual channel.
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