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Old July 6th, 2010, 02:08 AM   #1
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HP Pavilion 380t or Home Build?

Hey guys, I need to update my system pronto. I'm looking at this HP system: HP Pavilion Elite HPE-380t series | HP Official Store

I would get it with:

Win 7 64 bit
Core i7-930 2.8Ghz Quad Core Processor
12GB DDR3-1066MHz RAM
3TB 7200 3GB/s (two 1.5TB HDD's)
1GB ATI Radeon HD 4850 GFX Card with two DVI outs
Blu-Ray Burner
DVD Drive
Wireless N, Bluetooth
TV Tuner
15-in-1 media card reader

Which comes to about $1800.

I'm currently using Sony Vegas and importing HDV. However, I may want to down the road get Adobe CS5. This particular PC doesn't have the graphics cards available as suggested on the Adobe website, but man, the ones they recommend to handle the mercury engine start at about $1000, which is out of my price range anyway.

My qualms about this setup is no 6GB/s SATA, no usb 3.0 (there is an option for this on the card reader, but with the gfx card I'm looking at it's not compatible apparently), only one firewire port in the back (and one on the card reader up front, though)

Granted, I don't do any heavy graphics editing or compositing as of right now, so perhaps I don't even need all that stuff. However, I'm wondering if the pc's a good deal, if I should look elsewhere, or just take the time and effort to construct a system from scratch. Also, they have an option for a 1TB RAID 0 (2x500GB drives) or a 500GB RAID 1 (2x500GB). Are either of those worth getting? I believe the pc only has two hdd slots, and 500gb isn't going to cut it. I do have an external eSATA hdd around, so I could pull it out, but I'd prefer more internal storage. Thanks!
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Old July 6th, 2010, 09:29 AM   #2
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The setup that you're looking at is less than ideal because it offers only one single drive volume (or more specifically, HP configures all of the hard drives as a single RAID array with no way at all whatsoever to configure that system to have a non-RAID system drive with more than one physical hard drive installed unless you opt for the most expensive option of two 1.5TB hard drives - and if you do get a configuration with two 1.5TB hard drives, the two drives had to be completely separate volumes due to Intel's RAID controller being incapable of booting from a volume that's larger than 2TB). And if anything, a single RAID 0 array for everything (as configured by HP) is even slower than a single HDD for video editing! Using a RAID 0 in a video editing system requires a minimum of three physical hard drives: A single non-RAID drive for your operating system and programs plus the two-drive RAID 0 array for your video work files. However, the HP Pavilion case has only two internal 3.5" drive bays - and if a two-hard-drive configuration is ordered, the case offers only one accessible 5.25" drive bay and no 3.5" bays available for expansion.

So yes, unless you opt for the most expensive hard drive option (two 1.5TB hard drives formatted as JBOD) that HP Pavilion is not recommended for video editing. All of the other options for that system besides the single RAID array or the dual-1.5TB drives are single physical hard drives.

Last edited by Randall Leong; July 6th, 2010 at 10:41 AM.
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Old July 6th, 2010, 11:17 AM   #3
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I've looked at the HP Elite series, and decided not to go with them for video editing. Mostly due to the small power supply, and limited expandabiliy.

As you mentioned there is no Sata III support, but they do now offer USB3.0 support via PCIe card.

However, only having 2 hard drives and not being able to fit an GTX 2xx or 4xx, plus sound card, plus additional PCIe for either a Matrox or Grass Valley type board kind of turned me away from them as well.

They may be decent for work in Photoshop or Illustrator with the i7 and 12 GB RAM and 2 1.5TB HDs @ 7200 RPM... or even SD video editing... but not HD I would guess.
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Old July 6th, 2010, 11:39 AM   #4
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Thanks guys, but you didn't give me alternatives. Where is a good place to get a computer that won't break the bank? I really can't spend much more than about $2000.
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Old July 6th, 2010, 12:08 PM   #5
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The problem with the big-name computer companies is that they sometimes charge you too much for too little (hardware-wise). Pre-builts are the most guilty of this: They charge you too much for low-end components. This is so that they can pile on a bunch of software that you might not need or want (including bloatware).

If you want to keep your system lean (software-wise), you might have to build a system yourself using "off-the-shelf" components (motherboard, power supply, case, processor, memory, graphics card, hard drives, optical drive, etc.)
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Old July 6th, 2010, 12:24 PM   #6
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The reason I'm wary of building a system is that the components might not play well together. That seems to be what the benefit of going the mac route is. I can't imagine I can just go to newegg and start picking components. Or can I?
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Old July 6th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #7
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You might want to take a look at this sponsor provided resource:

Videoguys Blog - Videoguys' System Recommendations for Video Editing
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Old July 6th, 2010, 07:46 PM   #8
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Thanks for the links, Bill. I had actually seen those before, which is why I looked at Dell and HP first. Dell's stuff is pretty old tech so I went over to HP, which I had to compromise on a couple of things, and their customer service was useless as they couldn't answer any tech questions. I just added all the components to a whole build on newegg, and it's looking pretty sick. I just need monitors, and I don't think newegg has what I need. I'm going to make a separate thread about it.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 02:31 AM   #9
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Also, is it necessary to buy separate fans for the memory, processor, hard drive, case, etc.? I'm starting to reconsider building. For almost the same specs I'd be spending pretty much the same at newegg without actually having to configure the thing myself, which I've never done.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 11:40 AM   #10
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You will have to do one of three things:

1. Buy a prebuilt from HP or another manufacturer and compromise. Might not get it exactly the way you want it, but that's how it goes.

2. Pay a premium for a custom builder to build it the way you want it.

3. Do it yourself. It's scary, but doable. The question is though... do you have someone available to help you if something does go wrong?

For fans, you don't need them for every little component. The main things to be concerned about are adequate case fan airflow, a killer fan/heatsink combo for the CPU, and of course the video card, which usually has an adequate fan integrated.

For the CPU, look at the Noctua D12 or D14 (if you have the space). You'll thank me (actually, thanks should be transferred to Harm, as I got the advice from something he wrote). The stock Intel cooler is barely adequate when you push the processor hard. Get a full tower case. I usually use CoolerMaster for builds for myself and others, unless they are dead set on another brand. They offer great airflow and are constructed nicely. The case most likely will come with mounting spots for 120mm (or possibly bigger) fans, but won't come with all the fans. Check out the manufacturer's site to see details on how many fans and what size. Then add those to your cart, making sure to look for ones that are quiet if possible. You get what you pay for.

CPU: You don't need to spend $1000. You don't even need to spend half of that. Get a GTX 470 or 480.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 01:08 PM   #11
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This is what I've compiled so far in my wish list on newegg...I mainly went with the top rated items for each unit, unless there was something I didn't like about it, then I dropped down a level or two:

Cooler Master Centurion 534 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0
EVGA GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-big DDR3 Video Card
Corsair 750W ATX12V Power Supply
Intel Core i7-930
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series DDR3 Ram, 12GB (6x2)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" 3TB (1TB system, 1TBx2 RAID 0)
LITE-ON 12x Blu-ray Burner SATA
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Scythe SY1225SL12M 120mm Slipstream fan (1x2)

Thoughts?
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Old July 7th, 2010, 06:17 PM   #12
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That case is too small in my opinion. It would be a VERY tight fit (if at all) to get one of the bigger CPU coolers in it. You want one closer to 9" wide, not 8". Also, mid tower just isn't big enough if you want proper airflow when running multiple hard drives (which video editors do). I would suggest the CoolerMaster Cosmos, HAF 932, or ATCS 840.

Maybe bump the PSU to 850W. Corsair is a good brand.

If you are going to spend that money, put in a proper video card. GTX, preferably a 285, 470, or 480.

Some hardware manufacturers that specialize in video products don't recommend (or even support) Windows 7 Home. Pro is only $40 more if you buy it OEM from Newegg.

Add this cooler: Noctua NH-U12DX

RAM: Not sure about GSkill. I don't have much experience with them. I use Corsair and find it works very nicely with Asus boards. I'd look for Corsair XMS3 with a CAS Latency of 7 and a speed of 1600 or higher.

I also run a SSD for my OS drive. It's wonderful.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 06:49 PM   #13
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Patrick

If you are going to be editing with Adobe Premiere CS5, you might want to look at this video card:

Newegg.com - MSI N250GTS TwinFrozr 1G OC GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

It's the MSI GT250 Twin Frozr. It has dual fans to keep the video card cool which is important when using the Mercury Playback Engine in the hardware mode in Premiere CS5.

A standard GT250 will have a fan, but you MAY have cooling problems during playback and rendering.
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Old July 8th, 2010, 01:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Coston View Post
That case is too small in my opinion. It would be a VERY tight fit (if at all) to get one of the bigger CPU coolers in it. You want one closer to 9" wide, not 8". Also, mid tower just isn't big enough if you want proper airflow when running multiple hard drives (which video editors do). I would suggest the CoolerMaster Cosmos, HAF 932, or ATCS 840.

Maybe bump the PSU to 850W. Corsair is a good brand.

If you are going to spend that money, put in a proper video card. GTX, preferably a 285, 470, or 480.

Some hardware manufacturers that specialize in video products don't recommend (or even support) Windows 7 Home. Pro is only $40 more if you buy it OEM from Newegg.

Add this cooler: Noctua NH-U12DX

RAM: Not sure about GSkill. I don't have much experience with them. I use Corsair and find it works very nicely with Asus boards. I'd look for Corsair XMS3 with a CAS Latency of 7 and a speed of 1600 or higher.

I also run a SSD for my OS drive. It's wonderful.
A lot of this sounds like overkill for my needs. I don't have an unlimited budget. I mean, an SSD? Those things are a ripoff right now. I use Vegas 9, never heard of an issue with Win7 Home. The graphics cards you mentioned are expensive. As far as the case, I can't imagine needing that many drive bays. I had planned on having 3 1TB drives, which is a lot. The Cooler Master HAF 932 I'm looking at has 6 5.25" bays and 5 3.5" bays. Way way more than I'll ever use. Does that case come with the fans, or do those have to be purchased separately?

This is the problem I run into when shopping for a workstation. I'm currently cutting on a Core 2 Quad Dell Inspiron 518 to an external hdd attached by usb 2.0. It's not the greatest, but it's useable. I need to upgrade my system so it's more stable (I'm on Vista, yuck) and more efficient. Yet, the advice I get is if I get a computer under $20,000 it'll be worthless for my needs, which as of right now amount to at most wedding videos. I work for myself, and don't do any 3D modeling intense graphical type stuff. I just feel like a 6' case with an alien on the front, flashing red strobe lights, and propellers isn't what I really need.
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Old July 8th, 2010, 10:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Janka View Post
A lot of this sounds like overkill for my needs. I don't have an unlimited budget. I mean, an SSD? Those things are a ripoff right now. I use Vegas 9, never heard of an issue with Win7 Home. The graphics cards you mentioned are expensive. As far as the case, I can't imagine needing that many drive bays. I had planned on having 3 1TB drives, which is a lot. The Cooler Master HAF 932 I'm looking at has 6 5.25" bays and 5 3.5" bays. Way way more than I'll ever use. Does that case come with the fans, or do those have to be purchased separately?

This is the problem I run into when shopping for a workstation. I'm currently cutting on a Core 2 Quad Dell Inspiron 518 to an external hdd attached by usb 2.0. It's not the greatest, but it's useable. I need to upgrade my system so it's more stable (I'm on Vista, yuck) and more efficient. Yet, the advice I get is if I get a computer under $20,000 it'll be worthless for my needs, which as of right now amount to at most wedding videos. I work for myself, and don't do any 3D modeling intense graphical type stuff. I just feel like a 6' case with an alien on the front, flashing red strobe lights, and propellers isn't what I really need.
The HAF 932 comes with fans. And the reason as to why a relatively large case is recommended for a video editing system is that smaller cases either allow the internal components to completely block all airflow (and thus your system would consistently overheat in the middle of your editing) or have very poor cooling capabilities (the worst cases can only accomodate two 80mm fans, which are extremely tiny by modern standards, and all of the 80mm fans on the market are either extremely ineffective or extremely loud and noisy). And that's not to mention that a smaller case cannot accomodate much beyond the freebie boxed CPU cooler for CPU cooling (and that stock CPU cooler is barely adequate for the CPUs at even stock speeds).

For the record, that Centurion 534 that you've been considering can only accomodate two fans (one front and one rear), which is not quite enough for a very hot-running CPU such as the i7. Combine this with the barely-adequate stock CPU cooling, and you may very well end up with a build that might throttle back (downclock) or shut down on you in the middle of an encode or transcode due to thermal issues.

And none of the configurations that we've been recommending cost anywhere close to $20,000. However, depending on where you're going to get the components, the upgrades that we've suggested might push the total cost of your build to just over your firm $2000 maximum budget.
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