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Old January 3rd, 2006, 12:58 PM   #1
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Critique this X2-based NLE computer

I'm contemplating building my first NLE rig. Its purpose is to do SD editing in Premiere Pro. I chose all these parts based on considerations of performance, cost, and noise. Any critiques would be appreciated!

case: Antec p180
psu: Seasonic s12-500 500W

Mobo: Asus A8N-SLI Premium
cpu: AMD X2 4200
RAM: 2GB Corsair XMS TwinX2048-3200cpt (2x1GB)

sys drive: 80GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.9
vid drive: 3x 250GB WD Caviar se16 WD2500KS (in RAID 5)

vid card: Quadro FX540 w/ breakout box
monitor: Samsung 204T 20"LCD

plus DVD-DL burner, floppy drive, keyboard, mouse, and Win XP Pro.

Total cost getting everything from Newegg is $2523, though I'd probaby get a few parts elsewhere for cheaper.
https://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion...tTitle=NLE+rig
Mike Laven is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 3rd, 2006, 03:48 PM   #2
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Noise: I don't keep up with this stuff, but you can check out the resources at silentpcreview.com. They rate the Antec 3000B as a pretty good case, and that should save you a whack of dough over the P180.

If noise is a concern I would probably get a heatsink/fan too with the money you save on the case. It should make things quieter.

You probably don't need some much wattage in the power supply. At load, a system like yours will probably draw about 150W maximum. Seasonic does not exaggerate its power supply claims (unlike generic or cheap power supplies) so 300W should be enough.

Motherboard/chipset/CPU: I'm not sure, but the AMD chipsets might have some issues with Premiere Pro (at least with the hardware acceleration cards like the Matrox RTX100, if you opt to get one).

Motherboard: You might be able to get a cheaper one that loses the features you aren't going to use.

RAM: Normal RAM (i.e. Corsair ValueRAM instead of TwinX) will be the same speed for a lower price. Video editing can't take advantage of low latency RAM well. 4X512MB may actually be a little faster than 2X1GB... but some memory controllers may not like that (in AMD, the memory controller is in the CPU; for Intel, the memory controller is in the chipset). With the latest hardware I don't think there will be RAM compatibility issues (should be licked with the latest AMD cores, starting with the Venice core for single core AMD CPUs).
see http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=18841

Video drives: What RAID controller will you use for RAID 5?
300GB drives may be a better buy. They will be more future-proof, and they are sort of cheaper if you ever need more storage since each hard drive needs a RAID or hard drive controller, space, cooling, power, etc. Adding more space/cooling/power/controllers costs money.

Video card: You may get better performance with a cheaper video card and a hardware acceleration card like the Matrox RTX100. I don't think openGL acceleration really helps Premiere Pro much.

Monitors: I'd go for 2 LCDs (doesn't have to be 20"). The Dell LCDs can usually be a better deal if you wait for their deals... check hot deals sites for your country. i.e. fatwallet.com for US.

If you have money left over, maybe upgrade to the 4600+. If you edit video full-time, I would strongly consider it because the faster speed will save you a lot of time. The CPU is the biggest factor by far in determining performance.
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Old January 3rd, 2006, 04:43 PM   #3
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The only thing I would add is possibly getting a bigger system drive. Not sure on that 80, but in general, the newer, larger drives are slightly faster and not that much more if you are in the 160-200GB range (less than $100). That also allows 'emergency' space from your video drive if you need it. OS and apps in the next year will be a base load of about 20GB with more as you add tutorials, examples, and add-ons in any of the tools as you install.
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Old January 3rd, 2006, 04:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for your comments! I'll try to explain a little bit of what I was thinking:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
Noise: I don't keep up with this stuff, but you can check out the resources at silentpcreview.com. They rate the Antec 3000B as a pretty good case, and that should save you a whack of dough over the P180.
I actually got the case recommendation from silentpcreview.com. It got the best rating for quietness and airflow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
You probably don't need some much wattage in the power supply. At load, a system like yours will probably draw about 150W maximum. Seasonic does not exaggerate its power supply claims (unlike generic or cheap power supplies) so 300W should be enough.
500W may be overkill, but it gives me room to add more drives, a second video card, etc. It was also a spcr recommendation. I think I would be willing to go as low as 400W, but I wouldn't want anything lower than that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
Motherboard/chipset/CPU: I'm not sure, but the AMD chipsets might have some issues with Premiere Pro (at least with the hardware acceleration cards like the Matrox RTX100, if you opt to get one).
I have read posts by people claiming to be using X2 systems with PPro, so I'm not worried about that. It will not work (to the best of my knowledge) with the Matrox card, but I don't have to have that card (of course it would be nice) so I'm not worried about that either. The 4200+ is the best price/performance point I feel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
Motherboard: You might be able to get a cheaper one that loses the features you aren't going to use.
The only feature this has I might want to get rid of is the SLI. I looked at the non-SLI version, but it did not have some of the other features (like raid options) that I wanted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
RAM: Normal RAM (i.e. Corsair ValueRAM instead of TwinX) will be the same speed for a lower price. Video editing can't take advantage of low latency RAM well. 4X512MB may actually be a little faster than 2X1GB... but some memory controllers may not like that (in AMD, the memory controller is in the CPU; for Intel, the memory controller is in the chipset). With the latest hardware I don't think there will be RAM compatibility issues (should be licked with the latest AMD cores, starting with the Venice core for single core AMD CPUs).
see http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=18841
Hmm, I'll have to think more about the RAM. That particular Corsair package has a $30 rebate, making it cost as much as some of the cheaper corsair stuff. I'm not sure how cheap I can get though without sacrificing speed. I considered 4X512 sticks, but I was wondering about performance issues, and it would be nice to have the option of adding more in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
Video drives: What RAID controller will you use for RAID 5?
300GB drives may be a better buy. They will be more future-proof, and they are sort of cheaper if you ever need more storage since each hard drive needs a RAID or hard drive controller, space, cooling, power, etc. Adding more space/cooling/power/controllers costs money.
This motherboard has onboard controllers for RAID 0,1,1+0, and 5. I'm considering just doing 2 drives in a RAID 1. I'm not sure how much of a performance hit the calculating of parity bits causes with RAID 5.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
Video card: You may get better performance with a cheaper video card and a hardware acceleration card like the Matrox RTX100. I don't think openGL acceleration really helps Premiere Pro much.
I've read too many horror stories of the Matrox RTX100. I'd basically have ot build a machine around that card, which I'm not willing to do. Plus it adds around $600 to my cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
Monitors: I'd go for 2 LCDs (doesn't have to be 20"). The Dell LCDs can usually be a better deal if you wait for their deals... check hot deals sites for your country. i.e. fatwallet.com for US.
Yeah, the Dell 20" was my alternative monitor. The reviews I read put it on pretty much equal footing with the samsung. The review I was basing this decision on said the samsung has good 8-bit color, whereas many 19" LCDs have 6-bit and use dithering, producing some off colors. I'd be perfectly happy with a cheaper 19" screen if someone knows one with good color.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
If you have money left over, maybe upgrade to the 4600+. If you edit video full-time, I would strongly consider it because the faster speed will save you a lot of time. The CPU is the biggest factor by far in determining performance.
I'm not going to be editing full time, so I think cost is more of a consideration than performance for me.

Thanks again for your comments. I'd love to here more from others as well, especially if you can convince me I'm wrong about something. :)
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Old January 3rd, 2006, 10:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
I considered 4X512 sticks, but I was wondering about performance issues, and it would be nice to have the option of adding more in the future.
For the Intel platform / 865 (and 875) chipset, 4X512MB is actually faster than 2X1GB for video editing. 4X512MB (they should be dual-banked) delivers higher memory bandwidth and slightly low memory latency (it's really the same memory latency, except you can't lower the timings as much).

Anyways, low latency doesn't mean anything for video rendering. It might make about a one percent difference for MPEG2 encoding (literally, around one percent). Memory bandwidth makes more of a difference.

In either case, you're not going to notice a few percent difference in speed.

As far as upgradeability goes: I find that the upgrading thing never happens for one reason or another. Anything that reaches the 4 year mark is usually not worth upgrading. Prices will go down and then they start going back up... $80-100 buys you 512MB of DDR ram or 256MB of the older RAM (before DDR). Also, technology has moved on and nearly everything is obsolete. At the 4 year mark, you usually just get a new computer and cannibalize the optical drives and the hard drives and maybe the case (if it's big enough, and if the industry doesn't all move to BTX).

Usually the upgrade you want to make is to change the CPU. Doing so almost always means that the socket or chipset is incompatible, which means changing the motherboard. Which means changing the RAM (the future will be DDR2).

If you upgrade only the RAM, then you will probably have to replace it when you change CPUs. So considering that, you probably aren't going to upgrade the RAM only (knowing that it'll be replaced in ~2 years).

Quote:
500W may be overkill, but it gives me room to add more drives, a second video card, etc. It was also a spcr recommendation. I think I would be willing to go as low as 400W, but I wouldn't want anything lower than that.
In a similar line of thought, I don't see a second video card happening. One high-end video card is faster unless you need something better than the best (single) video card. Running four monitors may be a reason to get a second video card, but then the second video card wouldn't need to consume much energy at all.

Quote:
Yeah, the Dell 20" was my alternative monitor. The reviews I read put it on pretty much equal footing with the samsung. The review I was basing this decision on said the samsung has good 8-bit color, whereas many 19" LCDs have 6-bit and use dithering, producing some off colors. I'd be perfectly happy with a cheaper 19" screen if someone knows one with good color.
The Dell 19"s and 17"s might be 8-bit color. And you can get good deals on them, which can really push your decision towards their LCDs.

2- If cost is an issue, you can probably take off a few hundred off the cost of the computer without noticing it. When you build your own PC, some of the low priced items are actually really good quality.
The lowest-end Antec case (i.e. the 3000-B, half the price of the P180) is just as good as (if not better than) Dell/HP/etc. cases.
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