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Old March 11th, 2005, 04:37 PM   #1
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Location: New York, NY
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Hardware Sanity Check

Hello All,

So I'm new to the whole DV / NLE scene, and I'm looking to make the right investment in a new system. Since you guys are the professionals, I figured I'd check with you to make sure I'm purchasing everything I need, or if I'm going overkill. So here it goes:

Dual Xeon 3.2 Processors, Hyper-threaded
2 GB DDR Memory
250 GB Storage, 7200 RPM
ATI: RADEON® 9800 XT, 256MB
Standard Firewire Card
19" Flat Panel Display
16X DVD Read/Write Combo Drive

Also, I'm undecided on whether to get Adobe Premiere Pro or Vegas 5, so any commentary would be helpful. I'll be filming w/ the new Canon XL2, which I hear wouldn't be good if I'm using Adobe, so...

Any must-haves that I'm missing? Am I totally over doing it?

I'll be using the set-up for Indie films and documentaries. (And, of course, my fair share of next generation gaming.)

Thanks in advance for you feedback! This forum rocks.
Antuan Santana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 11th, 2005, 04:51 PM   #2
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Depending on how important that gaming piece is to you, I'd spend less on the video card, get a dual head Matrox for half the ATI, and spend the money toward a dual monitor setup.

I'll probably start a fire here but, IMHO you should get two CRTs instead of two LCDs. But if you're dead-set that you have to have LCD instead of CRT, you need to shop hard for LCDs with very low response times (>12ms). You'll find that at any given size, the lower the response time the (much) higher the cost.

I can also recommend a Shuttle Xpress jog controller. Coolest thing for editing since NLE.

And since you're buying new right now, make sure you Mobo is SATA ready. You'll want, AT A BARE MINIMUM, two hard drives. The C: drive can be 40-75GB, and the other drive can be that 250 monster you listed. Windows and programs (Vegas, Excalibur, Neon, etc) on the C: drive and video files, projects, resources, etc. on the D: drive.

When you start thinking about printers, I've had really good luck with my Epson R200 and love printing directly on the DVDs that I create.

Even if you aren't brave enough to build it yourself, here is a good article to read about what is important in a NLE setup.
http://www.videoguys.com/DIY.html

And you may want a strap for your chair because if you're getting that dual Xeon setup, it should scream. ;) Happy editing.
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Old March 11th, 2005, 06:13 PM   #3
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Much obliged for the info, Patrick. That article you referenced is good stuff. And to think, I never thought about a jog controller.

CRT is probably the way to go, then, but to be honest, the single monitor setup is intentional for a couple of reasons: 1) Since I'm new to digital NLE editing, this will be a learning experience for me and I don't want to overwhelm my senses (two monitors blinking at me seems a bit intimidating when I don't have a complete understanding of what I'm doing), and 2) quite simply, I don't have the physical space (blame NYC). If it isn't that terrible a sacrifice, I think I'm going to wait until I master the craft before I switch to a dual monitor setup. At which point, I have no doubt, I will wonder how I ever did without it. ;)

Curious, though... I'm pretty much commited to Vegas, but are there any significant advantages to Premiere Pro 1.5 that I should be aware of? It seems like Vegas has an easier learning curve, but if it isn't any where close to being as comprehensive as Premiere, then I might reconsider. Thanks, again!
Antuan Santana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 11th, 2005, 06:51 PM   #4
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For Vegas, dual Xeons make very little sense as Vegas can't take advantage of them. In a lot of cases a 3.6ghz single processor system will be just as fast, if not faster.

For Premiere, probably get a hardware acceleration card like the Matrox RTX100 instead.

RAM: 1GB might be fine. Having an overkill of RAM doesn't do anything for you, although having less than enough will result in a performance drop. The trick is knowing how much is enough.
**Your system will be a few percent faster if you use 4 double-side/banked sticks of RAM on Intel 865/875 chipsets because of higher memory bandwidth. I don't know if this applies to the newer Intel chipsets or not (it probably does?). In any case, a few percent is not a big difference unless you want to squeeze every last % out of your system.
***I'm running 512MB currently, and my system with Vegas would be a little faster if I had more (running a little low on RAM and the computer needs to hit the pagefile just a little). RAM previews are limited for me, so more RAM would give me longer previews for color correction work with multiple layers (not sure how many people use multiple layers for color correction work).
****Premiere Pro probably needs at least a gig.

Hard drive: More storage is better. Not enough space is very bad, and extra space can be used for (temporary) archival.

Video card: The newest generation Nvidia cards (6xxx series) are neck to neck to ATI in performance for gaming, and are much better for video. Better dual monitor support, works with Avid?, better openGL, and you more image controls if you want to quasi-calibrate it to color bars.

Check for dual monitor capabilities... a lot of the newer gen cards also have dual DVI output if you want that.

CRT versus LCD: Well first off you should get a TV or NTSC monitor to view your video on. A portable NTSC monitor is probably your best bet if you have the money (don't buy used, unless you can run test patterns through it). It can do double duty for field use (although DV rack might be better). Response time may not be an issue if you watch video on your NTSC monitor (you only need to watch the monitor for final product).

LCD prices have dropped so much now, take less space, they consume less electricity (might be like $50 savings), and they have thinner bezels for dual monitor use. Also, they do interfere with your TV/NTSC monitor. This way you can smack all your monitors together, which you cannot do with 2XCRTs.

To check which LCDs have thin bezels that are good for multi-monitor use, check out the digital tigers database.
http://www.digitaltigers.com/displays.shtml

Personally the bezel thing doesn't bother me too much, because I have 2 CRTs on my desk right now and I spaced them apart because of interference issues. The gap between monitors is about 4 inches wide.

Other good monitors would be cheap high resolution LCDs that have hot deals on them. For US, check sites like fatwallet.com and gotapex.com

2- Dual monitors are really sweet when you get a shareware program called Ultramon. It gives you an additional taskbar and lets you hotkey any key like F1 to switch screens between monitors. This is very useful when you are juggling two tasks, so you can have photoshop on one side and a webpage for the manual or a tutorial on the other window.
http://www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon/

3- I've used Premiere a little bit (very little) and prefer Vegas over it (and Final Cut). For what I do, I like how Vegas is much more powerful for audio and color correction.

If you do lots of cuts and dissolves editing, Premiere might have a slight advantage as it may need a little less button pushing. The two programs are very different in the way they function. Premiere works like Final Cut and other editing programs. Vegas is in a world of its own. Not to say that it's hard to use, but it won't make sense if you use other programs. Vegas has some neat time-saving tricks but they are not obvious (scripts, takes, the way effects can affect just the media, tracks, or everything, hidden shortcut keys like "s" for split). The Vegas forum here is helpful for that.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 11th, 2005, 07:42 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Antuan Santana : Curious, though... I'm pretty much commited to Vegas, but are there any significant advantages to Premiere Pro 1.5 that I should be aware of? It seems like Vegas has an easier learning curve, but if it isn't any where close to being as comprehensive as Premiere, then I might reconsider. Thanks, again! -->>>

Antuan, go with your instinct. I use Premeire when I have, and Vegas when I get to. I'll also tell you that I was only getting about 1/3 of my money's worth out of Vegas until I found Gary Kleiner's videos. http://www.vegastoolsandtraining.com...video_dvd.html
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