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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old July 15th, 2010, 12:45 AM   #31
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So, I was going to get this same PC for CS5 and I don't understand why this isn't a good rig for editing.

I work with the Stanford film program and we edit 1080p footage with Final Cut Pro on 21.5 Core 2 Duo
4GB RAM iMacs.and they run perfectly.

This HP seems like quite the upgrade from that...
The problem that I see is that unless you opt for the most expensive drive option (two 1.5TB SATA hard drives), HP will only format all of the hard drives as one single volume (in other words, you cannot get the HDDs as separate volumes from HP even with two HDDs installed except as described above). What's more, the HP's case cannot accommodate more than two physical HDDs. That forces you to use external hard drives if you want more than two drives in that system - but unless you opt to add in a SATA RAID controller card yourself, you're stuck with USB for the external hard drives because HP does not offer eSATA ports at all on that system even at extra cost. And using a single hard drive volume for absolutely everything (as HP configures its systems) is worst for video editing no matter the system: At worst, you could end up with an i7 that performs much slower than even a single-core Celeron with the proper three-or-more-HDD setup because the hard drive itself will sit and wait. (In fact, my first PPBM4 test under CS4 with everything on a single drive performed almost as glacially slow as the very slowest systems with far older and slower CPUs in the PPBM4 list.)

In addition, like another member stated the HP case is not deep enough to accommodate any higher-end graphics cards. Even an HD 5770 is a tight squeeze in that case.

In other words, it's not the core components that's the problem; it's the available hard drive configurations and the extremely cramped case that are the weak points in this particular HP "build-to-order" home system.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 03:03 PM   #32
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Alright, but why do the iMacs run so well while editing?
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Old July 15th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #33
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While the iMacs can be great computers, I have to ask, "run so well editing what with what on which iMac?" Editing on an iMac strikes me as similar to editing on a laptop (albeit one with an amazing display screen.)

So, if you are talking about using iMacs with single hard drives for editing single tracks of video with iMovie, not a problem. You can do similar things with Windows and Mac laptops, too. But are you working with FCP or PPro or Avid? That can be a big problem without lots of add-ons, which kind of negates the simplicity of the iMac concept. If you know somebody who is using either of FCP or PPro with an iMac and is happy with it, get some time with him or her to see how things work and see if the workflow would be acceptable to you. There are people who happily edit on a limited laptops while many others of us would go crazy trying to do our work with that kind of computer.

For anybody who feels sensitive about the Mac vs. PC thing, I'm not commenting on that, at all. We're talking about workstation design here.

My observation of the Mac video editing is a bit limited --- I'm in rural area where there aren't many people at all, let alone folks who edit video --- but both of the Mac editors whom I know have systems with the kinds of large cases, good ventilation, multiple hard drives, nVidia graphics cards, etc. that Randall was talking about for Windows systems. Whether we work on a Mac or PC, we need that kind of system to edit effectively.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 04:57 PM   #34
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We use Core 2 Duo's with 4 GB Ram. 1080p Footage on multiple tracks in Final Cut Pro.

Is the one Hard drive thing just a matter of space? If so, I have an external hard drive as well I can use.

But the HP seems like a great deal for a very powerful pc capable of running cs5 without a problem.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #35
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The one hard drive thing is not a matter of space.

To be sure, it is a good thing to keep lots of open space on your system drive because your apps run faster and better when you do. At least with Windows-based systems.

Having a separate media drive is a performance issue. When you've got everything on the same drive, you are reading and writing huge amounts of data at the same time you are trying to use the drive for system functions. This often results in your video looking choppy and audio stuttering as the system tries to do everything from a single hard drive. Kind of like trying to use the same pipe to supply and drain water from a sink. There's a ton written on this, both here and elsewhere. You might start with the honorable Harm Millard's "generic guideline for disk setup" at http://forums/adobe.com/thread/662972.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 10:04 PM   #36
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Alright, I get it. Thanks.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a computer that is already made? HP, Dell, whatever.

Thanks!
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Old July 17th, 2010, 10:38 AM   #37
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Does anyone have a suggestion for a computer that is already made? HP, Dell, whatever.
AFAIK none of the pre-builts that I've looked at come with more than one single HDD standard. And often their cases cannot accommodate more than two HDDs - nor can their cases accommodate even some mid-range graphics cards, let alone the extra-long high-end graphics cards. A high-end graphics card and three or more HDDs configured as two or more volumes are necessary for effective video editing.

Moreover, the cases of the pre-builts have little to no cooling capability due to the OEM's desire to both cut costs (to themselves) and reduce noise. (To use as an example, a pre-built sold at a big-box superstore that I looked at recently has a hood which redirects the air coming into the tower to the CPU, with no other intake fan or vents whatsoever, and then tries to exhaust all of the hot air building up inside the case through the PSU (which I have already known that the PSU fan is only good for keeping the inside of the PSU itself from becoming overly hot)!) Unfortunately, this results in a greatly increased potential for overheating due to the lack of air circulation. In addition, most of the pre-builts are housed in cases that are extremely cramped on the inside that their innards have almost no room for the air inside to circulate (the ones in mini-tower cases are especially notorious for this). As a result, don't be surprised that the pre-built slows down greatly in performance or shuts down completely in the middle of an HD transcode.

Last edited by Randall Leong; July 17th, 2010 at 11:29 AM.
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Old July 17th, 2010, 12:37 PM   #38
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Alright, I get it. Thanks.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a computer that is already made? HP, Dell, whatever.

Thanks!

As far as I can tell, all of the Dell and HP machines in the iMac budget range are ones that have the downsides that Randall listed. You've got to spend a lot more money with Dell or HP to solve those problems.

An iMac is not un-usable, but you would definitely need to get some large capacity external firewire 800 drives and be careful in picking your editing program and source material and probably would need to work with intermediates like Cineform. Factor those things into your budget and plans.

I'm now recalling reading some recent posts by a DVinfo member who described the plus and minuses of doing professional work including commercials with an iMac using external firewire drives. I think it was Shaun Roemisch (sp??) and you might do a search for those posts. I don't know how well that kind of set-up would work when you go to edit AVCHD without intermediates. Also, I'm guessing that the iMacs at your college are using some kind of high-speed networked media storage rather than their internal hard drives. So read Shaun's posting about how he put his system together.

The reason we encourage the DIY approach is that: (a) it is not difficult; (b) you get a lot more usable machine; (c) and it fits the limited budgets that many of us have. With a budget in the iMac range, I think a build-your-own PC is about the only way to go and you wind up with a lot more usable capacity in the machine than you can get by buying an HP or Dell in that price range.
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