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Old June 5th, 2011, 12:44 AM   #1
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I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

So I just sold my Canon HV30's (HDV) and purchased a Canon T3i DSLR. I have found my system very lacking when it comes to editing the footage captured from the T3i in PPro CS5. HDV was fine, but I'm in a world of hurt now. With the playback resolution set to 1/4 and no effects applied, I can just about get it to playback in real time. So, I intended to just throw a whole crap ton of RAM at the problem and see what happens. Found out my Dell is A) Limited to DDR2 for no good reason, so no DDR3 love for me, and B) capped at 8 GB total RAM.

So my question is, with cash in short supply, what upgrade is going to give me the most tangible benefit to real time playback while editing T3i footage (I am not as concerned with rendering times, but it is always nice to boost that as well). The options are:

1. Go to the max 8 GB of RAM
2. Get a CUDA video card to support Mercury Playback
3. Get an intermediate codec such as Cinneform NeoScene
4. A reasonably sized SSD for the OS and Application data

The downside of option #1 is that the RAM is a waste when I buy a new i7 system in a year or so. With option 2, I can re-use the video card in the new system when that time comes, so little is wasted. Plus I like to game, so that's a double bonus with the right card. I cannot afford to do all 4, or even 2/4. So I'm looking for the single one that will benefit me the most right now in smoothing out my editing.

My current system --

Dell XPS 420
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4 Ghz
4 GB DDR2 PC2-6400 RAM
Nvidia 8800 GT
2x500 GB WD HDD, no RAID (though RAID supported)

Thanks in advance.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 02:04 AM   #2
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

You don't say if you are running 32 bit or 64 bit. I assume 32 bit.

Try Vegas Pro 10, with Cineform convertsion using Neo 5.5.

Will get you a fairly clean editing experience. Conversion to Cineform codec provide dual benefit of easier editing files and a codec that accepts color correction and other adjustments better.

However, the current version of Pro 10 has also advance in direct edit of Canon ACVHD too.

I am running a Dell Exp 420 too, with Core2 quad Q9300 @ 2.50 ghz.

I am using Vista. If you are running at 32 bit, which you likely would be, extra memory would not add anything, as I understand it.
I just bought memory to convert to 64 bit and 8 gig of memory. Will be interesting to see how it all turns out.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 04:42 AM   #3
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

The first part of the answer to your performance problems isn't going to be in RAM or graphics card. Its going to be found in processor. Don't waste any money on RAM or video with the current machine. Save up for a more powerful machine.

Second you want to change your workflow to include transcoding the video from the DSLR to an edit friendly format. As hard as footage encoded in H264 is to edit the flavor from canon on the DSLRs is just about impossible.

You can choose to transcode to a high bit rate MPEG, ProRes, or even DVCPROHD and get much better performance from your current hardware.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 06:21 AM   #4
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

Scott,

I understand you are angry with yourself. I would be too if I made the same mistake that some simple reading of forums would have warned you for.

I agree with Chris up to a point. Investing in that Dell is a waste of money. The CPU is not enough for your material, but if anything helps it is in expanding your memory to 8 GB. But don't expect miracles. The system will still be slower than it was with the HV30 material.

Your best option is to save for a new system, instead of spending it on memory, video card or third-party plug-ins. Memory and third-party plug-ins are wasted when you get a new system and a video card can be ported to a new system, but not help you now, at least not much. Your CPU is the bottleneck. Can you get the HV30 back and return the Canon, till you have a new system?
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Old June 5th, 2011, 02:05 PM   #5
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

Scott:

What OS are you using and what NLE are you using?

On you specific questions,

1. Go to the max 8 GB of RAM



2. Get a CUDA video card to support Mercury Playback
3. Get an intermediate codec such as Cinneform NeoScene
4. A reasonably sized SSD for the OS and Application data
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Old June 5th, 2011, 02:27 PM   #6
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

My understanding about 32bit OS systems is that maximum usable RAM is 3 gig in Vista, 4 in Windows 7. Am I wrong about that ?
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Old June 5th, 2011, 02:40 PM   #7
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

Sorry about the post. It suddenly submitted itself while I was typing.

On your specific questions:

1. More RAM will be of no benefit if you are using Vista 32 or Win XP. If you are running Vista 64, it might help a bit if: (a) your Dell has two open slots for RAM and (b) your NLE can make use of it. Last time I looked, a pair of 2 gb DDR2/PC6400 sticks was about $60-70 for the pair at NewEgg.

2. Don't bother with the video card upgrade, either. If you are using Vegas (as postings imply), you can't get Mercury Playback. (Adobe PPro CS5 only). There is a Sony application plug-in for Vegas 10 which gives you the option of offloading rendering to a GPU. Basically, you have to choose between using GPU or CPU. And, AFAIK, it only helps with rendering, not playback. You've said that playback is the issue you want toa ddress, not rendering.

3. NeoScene may be your best bet. Try the downloadable free trial to see if it makes any difference. If it does, you can buy a license for $99. (If it does not help, the converted files will still be readable, you just willnot be able to make new conversions after the trial period runs out.)

4. An SSD will not help. SSD's can make program loading snappier but seems to do nothing to enhance rendering and playback. Harm has pointed this out elsewhere and can back it with data from the PPBM collection of system tests with regard to Adobe PPro CS5.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 02:43 PM   #8
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
My understanding about 32bit OS systems is that maximum usable RAM is 3 gig in Vista, 4 in Windows 7. Am I wrong about that ?
In Win XP and Vista 32, you can edit the start-up files to make use of up to 4 gb for OS and programs. I believe 32 bit versions of Win 7 do this automatically. Basically, as Chris points out, Scott gets no benefit from increasing the RAM if he has a 32 bit OS. Might help some if he is running Win 7/64 or Vista 64 and has a couple of open slots.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 02:52 PM   #9
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

Sorry, I should have been more specific. I assumed my post would have made certain implications, but I'll be more explicit.

I am running 64 bit Win 7 Ultimate, and I use Premiere Pro CS5 (never cared much for Vegas). Regardless, it seems the concensus is to just save up and buy an i7 (or whatever is the new rage at the time) later. I'll get cineform in the meantime.

Thanks for the replies.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 02:54 PM   #10
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

Jay and Chris,

Scott is using a 64 bit Windows. No sense is alluding to 32 bit, since the only possible way to run CS5 is with a 64 bit OS.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 05:50 PM   #11
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

Agreed, now that we know he is using CS5 and not something else.

With Vista 64, I suspect that NeoScene is probably his best bet for short term. A quick scan through the PPBM5 results reported for Q6600 systems indicated to that Q6600 systems with both 4 gb and 8 gb of RAM seem to have similar performance results. If I'm reading the spreadsheet correctly -- and Harm certainly will be able to give a far more correct reading --- it looks like Scott would not gain much with another 4 gb of RAM on his current system. An MPE capable nVidia card seems likely to help a bit more by making hardware MPE available. A GTS450 could be had for roughly $125 or so. Though, again, the PPBM5 does not seem to give a lot of hope in that regard. Seems to me, however, that if Scott was doing okay with the HDV footage from the Canon HV30, it ought to do as well or better witha NeoScene conversion. Again, the only way to find out if NeoScene will make things tolerable is to get the downloadable trial and check it out.
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Old June 6th, 2011, 12:08 AM   #12
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

Okay okay okay, hold the phone. I just did a little test with Cineform on low, medium, and high, just for fun. All three of them stuttered on full screen playback just like the raw camera file (though scrubbing the timeline was smoother). I found that odd. So I loaded in some HDV footage. Same thing -- smooth until I go full screen. So I loaded some DV footage. Again, same thing. So there's clearly something going on with CS5. Next step is to try another NLE trial and see if that goes any better... this is odd.
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Old June 6th, 2011, 12:49 AM   #13
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

Well that was easy enough. I updated my video drivers and voila -- smooth playback, even of the raw camera file. Now it appears editing will be possible after all....
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Old June 6th, 2011, 12:58 AM   #14
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Re: I'm angry about my upgrade options, so I need some help --

Glad to hear it.
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