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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old June 25th, 2005, 03:53 PM   #1
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External Hard Drives & RAM

Alright, so I'm a newbie and getting started. I am making some upgrades to existing hardware and also considering purchases of new peripherals and possibly a new system. Can some please ring in on their opinions on the following?

1) External Hard Drives
a) Is there a need for Firewire on the drive if the system has Firewire? (Not quite sure I understand why the Firewire would be needed for the drive.)
b) Besides rpm, capacity, USB, Firewire, anything else I should be looking for and / or being wary of?

2) Ram - Does DDR2 really help or is normal DDR fine? From what I've read outside of this site, it seems DDR2 may currently operate a hair slower than DDR. Any credence to this?

3) Anything else that I should consider to make my machine the fastest possible for editing (obviously not including processor speed of system).

Thanks in advance for any help.
Chris Ickes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2005, 06:58 AM   #2
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Just dealing with one of your questions. Firewire allows for daisy-chaining devices. So an external Firewire drive would communicate with your computer through the computer's port. If the external drive itself also has a port besides the one connecting it to the computer and you had another Firewire device to connect as well, you could (theoretically) connect the other device through the external drive to get it to the PC.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 10:36 AM   #3
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1- External hard drives:
PRO: Portable. If you run out of internal drives, you can add these.
CON: Internal drives are faster, cheaper (dont have to buy enclosure), and are more reliable (some people get dropped frames with externals).

Your system needs a firewire port if you want to capture off a DV camera/deck.

You can also attach external drives via firewire.

2- RAM:
DDR2 has higher memory latency, which makes it a tad slower. However, it can operate at higher speeds so that can make it faster.

Generally you don't really have a choice between DDR and DDR2- motherboards typically only take one type. DDR is cheaper currently, so that may be preferable.

3- Speed:
As far as rendering goes, the things that affect speed are:
(pulling these figures out of thin air)
90% CPU
8% Memory bandwidth.
2% everything else
**Some systems have hardware acceleration available. Premiere, Avid, Final Cut (kind of, but not really)
Vegas supports network rendering
***Some systems support RAM preview/caching, where having more RAM increases the size of the cache.
****Some compositing programs benefit from openGL or directX acceleration.

configuration issues also make a big difference. A improperly configured system can definitely be slower.

Running out of storage can really hurt your productivity.

Rendering and lack of storage are probably the two biggest things that will slow you down as far as your computer goes.

If you post what program you intend to use, you can tailor a system to get the most bang for your buck.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 03:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for the help thus far.

Glenn, I expect to use Premiere initially solely because it is cheap at my campus bookstore. From what I've read, I may try Vegas or something else down the road.

Essentially, here is what I am looking at right now....
A P4 3.0 ghz processor
512 mb DDR upgradable to 1 gig (2700, I believe)
60 gig hard drive
DVD-RW drive
USB 2.0 / firewire

Due to limited capacity, I was looking for an external hard drive as well. Based on what I've learned so far, it appears I will seek out one with Firewire capabilites and 7200 rpm.

I will be shooting a lot of live action sports, documentaries, and some fictional films. The ability to edit and store is a must. Also, I will be using a Panasonic GS400 (also not yet purchased).

If anyone thinks that there are mistakes or better investments than those listed above, while working within the same budget constraints, please let me know. I'm trying to do as much homework as possible before I invest in regrets.

Thanks for all the help.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 06:00 PM   #5
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You could look at getting the educational version of Vegas. On studica.com, it is around four hundred dollars.
Both programs have functional demos of course.
I'm a big fan of Vegas, so that's why I suggest it over and over. :D Anyways, I think either program would work really well for you. For a lot of things, they do exactly the same thing.

If you're on a tight budget, you might want to wait around for a hot deal on a laptop. Dell for example had a few deals involving the $750 off Inspiron coupon (after a $1500 order). If you look for deals like that, you may not have too much control over what goes into the computer. A lot of Dell notebokes for example use the Pentium-M processor, which is clocked slower. A 2.0ghz Pentium-M performs roughly the same as a Pentium, while the Pentium-M has much longer battery life.

Hot deals sites for US...
The forums are good to read for particular deals.

External drives: see http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=46747
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Old June 28th, 2005, 09:43 AM   #6
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If you're getting notebook, don't rely in the internal drive for capturing or laying back to tape. I've had Toshiba P3-900 for some time, and the internal 4200 RPM (I believe) drive was marginal for capture. I had no problem looping firewire 7200 RPM HD to DVD burner to camcorder using the single 4 pin firewire on the Tosh. Rendering is pretty fast as long as you stay in DV format for your rendered output. It's the MPEG compression for DVD that takes the time!
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