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Old January 26th, 2010, 11:10 PM   #16
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Randall, I'm not going to argue it further. You are spouting off JEDEC standards and Intel initial specs that have nothing to do with real life experience with the hardware. Let's get back on topic with Devin's original question.

Devin,

The 920 is better for a video editing system. Aside from the fact that it overclocks easier, the fact that it can cost effectively support 12GB RAM vs 8 GB RAM is a BIG thing when video editing. It is the preferred choice by many professional video editors. If you look at the PPBM4 benchmarks (PPBM4 home page), you'll see that most of the top scores come from the 920 because it overclocks so well. Harm Millaard has the top score, and he's on this forum. He has put a LOT of time in to researching and building the best machine, and he has no issues helping others optimize their systems.

Another good resource is the VideoGuys DIY article. Videoguys Blog - Videoguys' DIY7.7: Intel Core i7 with Vista 64 AND Now Windows 7

In the end, the best thing to do is to follow others with experience building great editing systems. I actually have one and have built multiple i7 systems. My 920 is faster than any other I've built, including a 965 extreme that cost 3 times more for the entire system as mine did.

If you are looking to do more than just edit DV on your mom's consumer Sony cam, then you'll want to get the most out of your system that you can. You'll skip the cheapest options and go for a mixture that gets you the best performance/cost balance.

My suggestion is to base your system on a i7 920 on an Asus P6T board.
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Old January 27th, 2010, 07:40 PM   #17
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OC'ing and Video Editing

I'll be building an i7 920 system soon. Based on my many years of system building, I'd say you're right on with your suggestion, Craig. "Cheap" usually menas poor quality with computer components.

A few places you don't want to "cheap out" on:
1: Motherboard. Cheap ones will die early and cause stability problems.
2: Power supply. Good power supplies are not cheap unless they're on sale. Read reviews on enthusiast sites (like hardocp.com, or overclockers.com) before buying.

Poor-quality motherboards and power supplies often fail due to low-quality capacitors. I find the cheaper motherboards are often physically thinner than a good board by Asus or Gigabyte. Thin boards flex and crack solder joints.

I stopped overclocking my video editing systems. I've had problems in the past with oc'd systems. They seem to work well for just about everything except heavy duty video encoding. Overclocking is an art, though. Maybe I just don't have the touch. ;-)
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Last edited by Ken Wozniak; January 27th, 2010 at 08:06 PM. Reason: I have fat fingers.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 05:09 PM   #18
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i agree with ken, get a good brand of mobo (asus, gigabyte, intel) and power supply (Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, etc)
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Old January 28th, 2010, 07:10 PM   #19
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i agree with ken, get a good brand of mobo (asus, gigabyte, intel) and power supply (Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, etc)
The only series of Intel-brand motherboards that I recommend, especially if one is tweaking his or her rig's settings, is the Extreme Series (the other series of Intel-brand motherboards, such as the Media Series and the Essential Series, permanently lock your system to stock speeds, voltages and timings). Otherwise, some (but not all) Asus and GigaByte motherboards are better buys.

And poor quality can be found at all price points, not just in the cheapies. You can find a motherboard that's astronomically expensive that's of extremely poor quality, especially at the price which it goes for (or put it this way, they spent way too much money on the components but are very careless in assembling the board).
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Old January 28th, 2010, 08:13 PM   #20
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Although I wouldn't get an Intel because they're overpriced, they're still a quality name, and thats why I listed them. In addition, I'm not into OCing.

I would also spend extra for mobo with built-in firewire, since it will cost you more to purchase an expansion card separately.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 09:04 PM   #21
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I play it safe these days. I used to oc my systems when I used them to play games, but now that I'm using them to make money, I want to avoid any down-time. Running everything at it's rated speed, timings, and voltages provides the best stability (in my experience, anyway).

The last thing I want is a crash while rendering a video.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 03:08 AM   #22
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I'm thinking of upgrading to either an Intel Core i7 920, or Core i7 860.

According to benchmarks, they're about the same speed. There's only two differences I can tell; one is the platform, LGA 1156 (860) or LGA 1366 (920); and the second is dual channel memory (860) vs. triple channel memory (920).

The 860 ends up being cheaper when figuring in motherboard, memory, and processor. I don't think the Intel i5 750 is an option -- I'm not one for overclocking. System stability is paramount for me.

Is there any compelling reason to go with the 920? What are your thoughts on this?

My only concern is if Intel plans to support two platforms from here on out. I mean... if I intend to upgrade in two years, will I be able to on the 1156 platform?
At Craig's suggestion, I am getting back to this original topic.

Actually, the 860 costs more than the 920 (when comparing CPU prices). What's more, a P55 motherboard can cost nearly as much money as the average X58 motherboard these days (assuming that both motherboards have the same amount of features, but not necessarily the same level of quality). This is because the 860 actually runs at a higher base core clock speed of 2.8GHz while the 920's base core clock speed is only 2.66GHz. These offset each other; as a result, the total cost difference boils down squarely to the memory. Unfortunately, one cannot directly compare prices here, either, because the maximum amount of memory which can be installed on a typical 1156 motherboard without having to spend an astronomical amount of money per GB is 8GB (remember, 4GB memory modules currently cost 2.5 to 3 times more money per GB than 2GB memory modules), or on Socket 1366, 12GB.

Secondly, if you plan to upgrade in two years, the new CPUs would likely (though not certainly) be on an entirely different, non-compatible socket.

What's more, the forthcoming new 32nm CPUs for Socket 1156 will initially be available only in dual-core form (the relatively low-end i3) while the six-core processors will be available only for 1366. (The quad-core processors for Socket 1156 will continue on their existing 45nm process.) This further separates the market for the two platforms. Once the low-end processors for LGA1156 get produced in large quantities, Intel can then finally pull the plug on LGA775.

In other words, right now a combo consisting of an i7-920 processor with a compatible X58-based motherboard costs more than a comparable combo consisting of an i7-860 processor and a comparably-featured P55 motherboard only because the 920 system has 2 extra GB of memory. If both systems come equipped with exactly equal amounts of system RAM, once again the total cost of both platforms comes out about equal.

Under these circumstances, the i7-920 combo is the better choice for now.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 01:42 PM   #23
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Randall,

I agree with your last post completely, but wanted to point out that the 1366 would have 4GB more memory than the 1156 (2 extra slots x 2GB, unless you are populating with 1GB chips?). That extra RAM is a HUGE thing when dealing with editing systems like the Adobe Suite. Most editing apps are very memory hungry and the more the better as far as RAM is concerned.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 11:59 PM   #24
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Craig,

I said "2GB more RAM" because many users actually purchase only one 2GB module per memory controller channel - whereas your post assumes that one would be filling up all of the memory slots on the motherboard. (In other words, the 1156 system would have 4GB of RAM while the 1366 system would have 6GB of memory under the scenario that the majority of computer users would encounter.)

I merely wanted to clarify that last post.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 04:24 AM   #25
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Most interesting thread. I too am looking at these i7 versions but I am curious regarding Sata 3 hard drives. Surely these would improve editing performance further. - Are they readily available yet ?

Over here in Oz land I was advised to-day by a supplier that they won't be available 'till towards the end of the year. I find this very surprising.

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Old February 3rd, 2010, 11:26 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Randall Leong View Post
(In other words, the 1156 system would have 4GB of RAM while the 1366 system would have 6GB of memory under the scenario that the majority of computer users would encounter.)
Video editors don't fall into that majority. We are a minority that almost always will max out the RAM available on a mobo. I'm pretty sure everyone that posts questions about a build in this subforum is asking about building an editing machine and not a word processing/email/gaming machine.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 05:19 PM   #27
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Just an update on my re-build with the i7-920 (on Intel's reference DX58SO motherboard):

When I first did the upgrade from my previous Core 2 Quad Q9450, I experienced crashes even after a complete re-install of Windows 7. The crashes came via blue screen and rebooting, and the error message was a memory dump. That told me right away that I had to replace the system memory.

The first memory I got was an OCZ Gold, which I got only because it was cheap after a rebate. But my new system crashed frequently with this memory even at stock memory clocks and default loose timings, especially when I tried to do anything that's more strenuous than simple Web surfing and e-mail with the system. That was unacceptable stock-speed stability, in my book, especially since the three memory modules checked out error-free in Memtest 86+ 4.00 when tested individually in single-channel mode. In addition, when I booted up my system with each module, I noticed that one of the modules used a different SPD (Serial Presence Detect) chip than the other two, which set the default memory clock to a different speed (in this case, the one module sets the memory clock to the correct DDR3-1066 speed that's the maximum official support on the i7-920, while each of the other two defaulted to DDR3-1333 speed simply because those two modules lacked any SPD programming data at all whatsoever for DDR3-1066 speed). I ended up not claiming the rebate at all and decided to return that memory to the MC store and replace it with a slightly more expensive Corsair kit purchased elsewhere. (MC for memory upgrades seemed bullish on OCZ, and as I had suspected even makes a commission on the sales of their largely bum memory.) If I did the exchange for the same-model kit instead, there would have been no guarantee that I would avoid such a mismatch between modules: It appears that the Gold and lower lines of their kits might not have been perfectly matched between modules; if such precision is required, I would have had to spend extra money on their Platinum line which currently consists primarily of modules which require a significantly higher voltage than the maximum that's supported by the i7 memory controller (in other words, they're only usable on a system with an on-motherboard, away-from-CPU memory controller such as the outgoing X48 chipset for Core 2 processors).

The moral of my upgrade story: Don't go cheap on the memory if you are building a system based on an i7 or i5 platform. If you absolutely must go inexpensive on the memory, better do it with memory modules rated by their manufacturer at relatively low speeds (DDR3-1333 instead of DDR3-1600) and relatively high latencies (9-9-9 instead of 7-7-7 or 8-8-8). Good low-latency memory does not come cheap - but the OCZ Gold claimed to be rated for 8-8-8-24 timings at DDR3-1600 speed at the 1.65V maximum that Intel officially supports for its i7 and i5 processors. The truth is, you can't reliably do both low-latency and low price at the same time. (For the record, the Corsair kit does 7-7-7-20 timings at DDR3-1600 speed with the same VDIMM of 1.65V and costs just $30 more than the regular price of the shoddy OCZ kit - both kits in a matched triple-channel kit of three 2GB modules, or 6GB total.)

I should have heeded the advice of the owner of a small computer shop when it comes to the choice of the brand of memory. He has experienced serious reliability issues with recent OCZ memory modules (yes, even their top-of-the-line models).

As I type this post, I am on an older computer running (you guessed it!) OCZ memory modules. But this is a 2.80C GHz Pentium 4 system with 2GB of DDR400 (PC3200) memory rated for 2-3-2-5 timings. And since this is strictly a 32-bit system, it is running a 32-bit version of Windows 7. OCZ has not made anything really good (memory-module-wise) since the last days of DDR1 memory, IMHO. In fact, only their PCP&C power-supply subsidiary (which still makes good if relatively expensive units) has kept OCZ from becoming "craptacular" in my book.

As for the DX58SO, it does allow overclocking and voltage tweaking. But the VDIMM can only be set in increments of 0.04V (the stock default VDIMM setting appears to be 1.54V). With most of the high-performance memory modules, a setting of 1.66V (the setting closest to 1.65V) is optimal.

Last edited by Randall Leong; February 7th, 2010 at 06:19 PM.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 05:59 PM   #28
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Randall,

You upgraded from the Q9450 to the i7 920? If so, did you do a clean install on your OS drive afterwards or just move your OS drive from the Q9450 to the new system?

I'm not sure how Windows 7 deals with chipset differences (I haven't tried moving an installed OS from one chipset to a machine with another), but doing this type of move on older OS's would cause HAL issues resulting in BSOD.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 06:50 PM   #29
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Yes, I did a fresh (clean) install. My stability problems were caused by bad memory.

Currently, thanks to XMP, the CPU is running at stock while the memory is running at 1600 speed. Without XMP mode, that memory would have run at only 1066 speed with the CPU speed still at stock.

I am testing my config now with recompression of Lagarith YV12 material to 25Mbps AVC in DVDA. So far, it has saved me all of two hours of re-encoding (per two hours of actual video content) compared with the C2Q (16 hours versus 18 hours, according to my estimates) - and this is with both CPUs at stock clocks. Moreover, with the good memory now in place, it has been four hours and not a single crash whereas with the original bad memory either Windows or Vegas/DVDA/VirtualDub crashed at between one and two hours of rendering.

I have taken this 920 to as high as 3.66GHz on stock cooling at stock 1.2V CPU core voltage; however, when I set the clock to 3.8GHz, Windows crashed on boot with the bad memory. But right now, I'm at stock clocks with the good memory.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 11:41 PM   #30
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I know a few people have said that they like to run at stock speeds for stability, but I really feel that you are underserving yourself if you do not overclock the 920. I have been running at 4.2ghz (on a Noctua D12 cooler) and have not had ANY problems in Premiere CS4, and the performance jump is absolutely huge.

If you go to http://ppbm4.com/Benchmark.html you can see the performance difference I got in Premiere compared to a stock 2.66 speed on that chip. My machine (ranked second, the wildfly one) benched higher than a dual Xeon W5590 system, which is pretty cool. I too was in the "better safe than sorry" boat in regards to overclocking on past processors, but Intel really has stepped up the stability of their processors when overclocked, and it's almost expected that the 920 will be overclocked.

Good luck with it, and I hope you enjoy the new system. I'm having a blast with mine!
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