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Old April 15th, 2002, 10:46 PM   #1
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Hardware

For all the people in the biz, I was wondering if they knew what the fastest NLE system is? I'm talking about rendering, I can't stand waiting more that 24 hours for my computer to chug thru a few hours of video. I was looking at the dual processor 1g Macs, but realized they are slow compared to the dual xeon 2.2ghz work station. So if anyone has any idea what system is fast, I'd like to hear.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 01:23 AM   #2
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If you want "true" real-time *without* rendering, you need a Canopus DVStorm running on a dual-CPU Windows system.

This will give you multiple real-time titles, transitions, chroma key, PiP, etc. out to an NTSC monitor. It's the *only* DV editing system that doesn't have to render out to FireWire. Just play back from the timeline, real-time output to DV. Used to be that you had to render 3D transitions, but there's even a plug-in to do that in real-time now. There's also a new plug-in just announced at NAB for doing five streams of video in real-time within Premiere.

It does mean you're stuck with Adobe Premiere, which many Mac/Final Cut Pro users consider to be a step down, but it's still very powerful.

If you don't mind a Windows box, and if you don't mind working with Premiere instead of Avid/FCP etc., and real-time output to DV is important to you, and you really don't want to be stuck having to render anything, then put the $900 Canopus DVStorm card into a dual-Athlon box and you're there.

"Just Edit."
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Old April 16th, 2002, 02:34 AM   #3
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If you are going to build such a system as Chris suggests (which
would be a powerful workhorse anyway) do check for compatibility
It would be preferred if you have arrangement with your supplier
that you can either return the components if they don't seem to
function (cause sometimes incompatibility happens) or if they
build your whole system that they check for that. It would be
shame if you spend a whole lot of cash and something is not
working correctly (some AMD motherboards are notorious for this)

Chris, does premiere benefit from a dual processor? (software
does not automatically support more than one processor, they
need specifically be made to support it)

One thing to remember is that you need a "mature" OS to be
able to use these dual processor systems, only two to choice
from:

- Windows 2000 Professional
- Windows XP Professional

I'd go with the first one because that OS has the most support
and largest driver base (working stable) for video products.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 04:00 AM   #4
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Adobe products like Premiere, AfterEffects and quite possibly Photoshop are all SMP (Symmetrical Multi-Processing) programs. To check this under an SMP OS like Win2K, the Performance Tab of it's Task Manager has a CPU Usage meter.

Most common programs will cause the meter to peak at 50% for each CPU... this indicates a non-SMP program. Premiere and AfterEffects should cause usage to go beyond that.

My tools of choice are MediaStudio Pro (non SMP) and AfterEffects 5. Neither have given me excruciatingly long render times on my dual P3-650 to warrant firing up the Task Manager's CPU Usage meter.

As for building a system, once the decision is made to go dual-processor, it's best to configure it that way from the get-go. As I understand it, Win2K installs itself differently depending on whether it senses the additional processor. For WinXP, only the PROFESSIONAL version supports SMP. The cheaper HOME version does not.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 05:46 AM   #5
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Carter,

You are correct. Windows 2000 (and probably XP too) installs
differently with a multi-processor system. It installs a multi-
processor kernal instead of a single one (for performance
reasons they install the single one by default). I think it is
possible to indicate to win2k setup that it must install the
multi-processor kernal, even if you have a single proc system
(not sure about this though).

XP Home does not support multi processors indeed.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 06:52 AM   #6
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Rob brings up some excellent points which I neglected to mention. In the case of a somewhat expensive NLE system built on a Wintel box, I urgently reccomend outsourcing the construction to an authorized system integrator who has experience with that particular editing card. It costs only a couple hundred bucks over the price of doing it yourself, and insures that the system is built correctly the first time, using proven compatible components.

My Canopus DVRex RT came from DVLine in Colorado. This is largest integrator od DVStorm.DVRex RT systems in the United States. Not only did I not have to worry about building the thing myself, but I also have free technical phone support as long as I own it. After having spent a considerable number of frustrated evenings and weekends under the hoods of Windows machines in the late '90's, I swore off that practice permanently. These days, when I need a computer, I have it built for me. The extra $100 buys a lot of insurance and peace of mind, believe me.

Adobe Premiere does recognize dual CPU's. Canopus systems such as the DVStorm and DVRex RT run best on Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional. Hope this helps,
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Old April 16th, 2002, 08:07 AM   #7
 
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these are my system specs, home built, exceptionally fast and stable:
TYAN s2460 MP motherboard with 2x 1.2 GHz Athlon MP CPUs
3x Case fans + Thermaltake Volcano5 CPU fans
Enermax 450 Watt Power Supply
Windoze 2000, sp2 and Sonic Foundry Vegas Video 3.0
1024 Mb Crucial ECC DDRAM
ATi Radeon 8500DV video card with v4037 drivers
Turtle beach Santa Cruz sound card with v4142 drivers
Western Digital WD400BB system Hard drive
Western Digital WD1000BB Video capture drive
ADSTech ieee1394 firewire controller
Pioneer A03 DVD-RW(v1.68 firmware)
Plextor 121032A CD-RW(v1.09 firmware)
Promise Ultra100 EIDE Controller

Note that all AMD systems run hotter than Intel systems and need additional cooling for stability. This creates a possible problem with fan noise, so fans should be chosen carefully. TYAN also has an MPX (s2466) motherboard designed for servers. Do NOT use this board as it has conflicts with some of this hardware

Note also that Vegas Video 3.0 is multi processor aware

Last edited by Bill Ravens; April 16th, 2002 at 08:57 AM.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 12:58 PM   #8
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Xenon

Do you guys realize what the xenon chips are? Xenon chips are better than pentium 4s they are better than the fastest AMD chips too. The workstations start at 4k barebone. Put all the stuff in it and its about 8-10k. I just want something fast.

And I should have clarified my question a bit. When I meant render I meant to mpeg2 so I can burn a decent DVD. I've already burned a few independent movies for a client of mine but the whole process of rendering to mpeg2 takes days. Really not worth the time.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 01:55 PM   #9
 
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xeon chips aren't gonna do what you want.....in fact, the cpu cycles aren't here yet to do what you want....wait about 5 years, tho'. The technology exists with today's hardware if software writers would be willing to write multi-threaded apps. BUT, it's not here now, and you'd need 4 or more processors working with multi threaded apps. The hyper threading technology in Xeon CPU's really aren't that much of an improvement.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 02:08 PM   #10
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Okay, now you're talking about MPEG2... the Canopus DVStorm comes with MPEG encoding software but there is an optional MPEG encoding daughter card for it... a chip which snaps right onto the board... so it's hardware encoding, which is nearly real-time. About 1.1 times real-time. For example a 60 minute clip would take 66 minutes to render. I don't think you can beat that.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 02:40 PM   #11
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Really?

Cool, Ok well I just bought the Radeon 8500dv but if the DVstorm with daughter board will be 1.1 then I'm going to buy it right now.
Am I limited to Premiere or can I also you Video Vegas?

wait! is the daughter board the Canopus RS Mpeg2 module thats $799.00? and which dvstorm? se or se plus? Err...Wouldnt just buying another computer be more convienient? That way one can render while you do whatever on the other computer. Thats what I'm doing now but I'm very impatient.

Last edited by ja135321; April 16th, 2002 at 02:55 PM.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 06:02 PM   #12
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The Storm MPEG encoding module is about $400. The DVStorm card without Premiere or the breakout box is about $900. That's the SE version. The SE Plus version adds Premiere 6 and the breakout box, which moves the DV & analog jacks to a drive bay. It's about $200 or so more than SE. There is no plug-in for Vegas Video.

See http://www.justedit.com/products/dvstormse.php3
and http://www.justedit.com/products/dvstormseplus.php3
and http://www.justedit.com/products/stormencoder.php3

(the prices on these pages are MSRP -- street prices will be much lower)

Hope this helps,
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Last edited by Chris Hurd; April 16th, 2002 at 06:20 PM.
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Old April 17th, 2002, 03:25 AM   #13
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How is the quality of this hardware mpeg encoder? Qaulity
can be a huge difference between mpeg encoders, especially
mpeg2 encoders. Two of the best software mpeg encoders
can be found (With a demo) at www.cinemacraft.com (CCE)
and www.tmpgenc.net (tmpgenc). That last one features
partially dual cpu support. These two encoders can encode
to a very nice quality (if done right). It might be interesting
for you to check these out and the time they take on a dual
system. It is also easier to update a program if there has
been a bug-fix or quality/speed has improved than it is to
update a hardware encoder.
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