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Old June 22nd, 2005, 03:50 PM   #1
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low budget editing computer

I'm just starting out, bought an Optura 60 camera and videomic to shoot low budget documentaries to burn to dvd, maybe 15 min to an hour long.

My question is about the computer for editing. I got a guy who wants to build me the following for about $350, and I'm wondering if this will do the job as a basic STABLE editing system. Everyone here is talking about their screaming pro systems, but I don't have the money for that. Won't be doing a lot of special effect stuff, just cutting stories together. Mainly I'm wondering about the motherboard/video, and I've never heard of Aopen, is this brand any good? Thanks!

AMD Athlon XP 2700 (2.167ghz)
512 Megs of Fast DDR333 ram
motherboard w/ onboard video... not sure what the motherboard is, the video chipset is S3 Graphics
western digital 80 Gig SATA hard drive
Aopen 16x Dual Layer Dual Format DVD and CD burner
6 Channel Audio, USB 2.0, SATA & RAID support, 10/100 LAN
Windows XP pro with Adobe premiere6 as the NLE
Kevin McNerney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 22nd, 2005, 04:06 PM   #2
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I realize you're looking at PC's, but just for fun you might want to have a peek at the Mac Mini. It might be very well suited for what you describe and it comes with very good software (iMovie and iDVD) right out of the box.

Otherwise, regardless of what you're shopping for, "I've never heard of Aopen, is this brand any good?" may not be such a good start. Who is this "guy?" Is he someone you know and trust? Will he be there next year when you have a problem? If so then this might not be a bad approach.

Otherwise, since you don't have much experience, you might want to pay a little more and get a Dell, or even something from Best Buy/Circuit City/CompUSA that has a warranty and a reasonable expectation that it will still be honored down the road.

I'm just not up on PC systems anymore... but is it really possible to get a computer with Premiere on it for $350? Maybe. That sounds awfully cheap. Make sure you're buying a legitimate copy of the software...
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 04:10 PM   #3
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Premiere 6 should do what you're looking for fairly well. I'm using it now on a 1.1Ghz Athlon chip (yes, I'm outdated, but it still works well enough for me). I must admit that I get occasional lockups, but I have not determined if its Premiere's fault, my operating system, or one of my devices/drivers/software apps, etc. etc. etc... Check Adobe's website for a patch to upgrade to 6.0.2 (not sure what it's supposed to fix).

You may also want to check out Premiere Elements. It looks like a stripped-down version of Premiere Pro. Not sure how it rates against v6 as there's no demo available, but Adobe has it available for $100.

The motherboard is essentially the master circuit board in your computer. The processor, memory, add-on cards, and usually disk drives all connect to it. Do you know what brand he plans to use?

Right off I do not see why this will not work as a *BASIC* editing system (which is what you're looking for, right?). Don't get too excited about the RAID or 6-channel audio. RAID is useless with only one hard drive, and 6-channel audio is pretty typical of all motherboards nowadays. I'm curious where he's getting XP-Pro that cheap (or are you upgrading from another machine and transferring it?). On-board video will work, though a cheap AGP video card may work a little better. Most any video card is fine as editing does not push a card to its limits like most modern videogames do.

The first thing you'll probably want to upgrade (can be done later) is add a second hard drive just for video storage. DV goes through roughly 15GB per hour of footage, so you'll be needing to clear projects out fairly often.

Otherwise, it looks like it should do the trick. I usually plan to run my DVD encodes overnight, but with your faster 2.1Ghz chip you may not mind the wait.

Have fun editing!
There's no way for you to know if what I'm saying is true unless you know what the truth is, and there's no way for you to know what the truth is unless there is a truth that you can know. -- Frank Peretti
Jeremy Davidson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 22nd, 2005, 07:02 PM   #4
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Premiere Pro and Elements need a processor that supports the SSE instruction set. If you are looking down that road, get a processor that have it. The lower-end Athlon XPs don't have it.

Aopen does make motherboards. I think they're a good manufacturer. (Bad ones would be ECS and PCChips.)

2- Premiere 6.0 in my opinion is not a very good editing program. There's lots of annoying things about it (not very good for cutting [lets you lose sync easily], may be buggy, slow). I believe 6.5 is the version with all the bug fixes- even then, be sure you patch it because it has known problems.

Premiere Pro is much better. Premiere Elements should also be good.

3- As far as warranty goes, the big companies may be very overrated in that regard. Check out resellerratings.com... Dell, HP, Sony, etc. have very very low ratings. Their first-tier support reads off scripts. The India-based ones may lead to problems with accents.

I wouldn't bother with warranties anyways. It likely makes more sense to save your money, and upgrade your computer when/if it dies.

4- For a system like that, the guy is probably pirating win xp pro considering the price. Plus... normally they'd give you XP Home.

5- Stability:
As far as the hardware goes, it should be fine as long as the computer:
A- Has a powerful enough power supply. Some of the cheap PSUs that come with generic cases do not actually give 300W or whatever it is. In some situations it might cause problems... although it's probably unlikely because that computer won't draw much power (big factor is the lack of a video card).
B- The motherboard uses a stable chipset. For Athlon XP, nforce2 is the best. I think the latest via one is good... but the older ones had issues.

6- The computer needs a firewire card, or a firewire/1394 port on the motherboard. Getting the card may be better because then you get the 6-4pin FW cable.

7- I'd probably look at adding more storage if you need it. DV = 13GB/hour, and you need a few hours extra.
Look out for HDD deals like the following:
120GB for around $30USD.

8- Another option is to look at a hot deal on a Dell Dimension 4700 (not the 3000). If you need a monitor too, they can be a great deal (cheaper than buying the parts yourself and assembling it). You'd need to install your own DDR2 RAM to total 512MB ($52 for 2X256MB off newegg.com; ebay off the old stuff), add more storage, add a DVD burner (<$60), and add a firewire card ($25 or less over newegg.com).

It would run you around $5-700 shipped (and that would likely include a 15" or 17" LCD). Check hot deals sites like gotapex.com for info on Dimension 4700 deals. You may need to wait a few weeks.
Add $99 for Premiere Elements or something like that.

That system will last you maybe a year longer. And it will be legit.
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 04:05 PM   #5
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Thanks to everyone for their advice, gives me some things to think about. Not quite sure what I'm going to do yet.... but I appreciate the help.
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