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Old December 11th, 2011, 10:08 PM   #1
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time for a new machine

Hi folks,
I recently upgraded to HD, and my laptop isn't cutting it. I would really appreciate any suggestions for a bare bones - build it from scratch system: Case, CPU, amount of ram, mother board, video board, and sound board if you suggest it, power supply, anything else I might have missed.

I have bought all the components from Tiger Direct before and had good luck, but I'm open to what really works. I really appreciate your help.

One more quick question - would running several hard drives as a raid system speed up the system, or is it just about ram, and CPU?

Thanks so much!!!
Milt Lee
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Old December 12th, 2011, 02:46 AM   #2
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Re: time for a new machine

You have not told us if your a professional editor, or hobbyist, or what you need, but to keep it simple I'd suggest:

Sandy Bridge 2600K six cores. You don't need six cores but they are nice.
OS: 1 500GB Western Digital Caviar Black drive or an SSD drive, I'm not familiar, but I hear they are great.
Video Drive for Editing ONLY: 1 TB Western Digital Caviar Black Drive
Storage Drive for Storing original files: 2 or 3 TB Western Digital Caviar Black Drive
Second Storage drive like above for backup.
Ram 12 GB of whatever works with your board, GSkill is a best value brand of RAM, I'm completely sold on it.
Mobo, whatever is best for your needs. I like ASUS.
Case: Corsair makes nice ones.
Power supply!! Get a Gold Certified. I discovered OCZ brand, very good. Get 1000W and you'll never have to worry about your power supply, your system only uses what it needs.

For video card, the GTX 570 is highly recommended around here.

People use SSD drives, I'm still not sold on them, but I'm old school. Lot's of people use SSD and love them.

If you want to go fastest possible (read: expensive) for your scratch (editing) hard drive then you want the Cheetah 15.7K SAS drives and an Adaptec 6805E or better RAID controller card. I can tell you they are serious overkill, but it's nice to have them in your case for bragging rights. 2x600GB should do it or 4X300GB would be even better, but stick to a regular SATA drive for OS, or an SSD drive for OS.

NOTE: I'm not expert, so someone correct me if I'm wrong but based on my research and experience I do not recommend running onboard raid (the kind that is built-in your motherboard controller). Onboard raid is largely run through CPU, and sucks the life from your system. I did it for years on various motherboards. Onboard raid, if I'm not mistaken is usually hybrid raid. If you're serious about your setup you want a true Hardware Raid controller. Especially avoid running raid from onboard Marvell controllers. If you must run raid from your MOBO stick to the Intel controller on your board.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; December 12th, 2011 at 03:18 AM.
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Old December 12th, 2011, 03:17 AM   #3
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Re: time for a new machine

jeff pretty much sums it up - but it really depends on what you want it for.

i prefer external drives rather than too many internal ones. since my work is usually hdv and avchd i find 3 internal more than adequate.

1 x os (ssd is probably the way to go, but like jeff i'm old school and still awaiting mass acceptance). any size is fine.

1 x data drive (for regularly used data such as; music, stock shots and clips, etc.,) and used as scratch / bounce disk. i'm happy with 500gb

1 x video drive for capture / storage again 500gb is enough for me

all my drives are seagate 7,200 - more than adequate for the material i work with.

my workflow is capture (or dl cf to) video drive. edit. render to data drive. finished product off-loaded to individual external usb2 hd (the WHOLE project, including clips, music, veggies etc.,). a second hd copy goes to the client.

video hd re-formatted - ready to go again.

wheteher the last step is necessary nowadays is questionable, but as i wrote, i'm old school ;-)
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Old December 12th, 2011, 03:30 AM   #4
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Re: time for a new machine

I want to add that I specify WD Caviar Blacks not because they are the only drive to recommend, but to simplify things for you as a shopper. They are among the highest rated drives of their type, and you cannot go wrong with them. They have a 5 year warranty, which speaks volumes. When selecting a drive look at the warranty. If it's less than 5 years skip it, no matter what brand it is.
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Old December 12th, 2011, 08:36 AM   #5
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Re: time for a new machine

Thanks folks I really appreciate it. I guess I'm a pro - at least I make my living that way. I do mostly docs, but right now I'm working on a series of 2 minute pieces for public TV on green energy research - resilient living.

One more question - are there mobo's with the new USB 3 built in yet, or in the cases? Seems like if I want to use my external drives it would be nice to have something really fast to transfer stuff.

Thanks,
Milt
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Old December 12th, 2011, 08:57 AM   #6
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Re: time for a new machine

Yes Milt, the new boards for the 2600K processors should have USB3. Go to Newegg.com and go to computer parts > mobos > and on the left you can specify what you are searching for specifically.

The first system I outlined would be plenty fast enough. The raid is probably more important if you have lots of footage, hour worth, etc.
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Old December 12th, 2011, 09:05 AM   #7
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Re: time for a new machine

Thanks folks - now it's time to do some shopping!
M.
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Old December 12th, 2011, 09:09 AM   #8
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Re: time for a new machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Wand View Post
i prefer external drives rather than too many internal ones. since my work is usually hdv and avchd i find 3 internal more than adequate.
Actually, the more HD work you do, the more internal drives and internal RAIDs (either with an on-board controller or preferably with a discrete hardware RAID controller card) you need because most NLEs still decompress video (to uncompressed 4:4:4 RGB) and then re-compress to the desired output format - all on the fly. And when an NLE decompresses video on the fly, one needs a disk system to sustain at least 200 MB/s with 1080i material just to perform at its best. (Unfortunately, no single hard drive comes anywhere close to 200 MB/s in average sequential transfers; in fact, all hard drives fall far short of 200 MB/s average sequentially.) And external USB 2.0-only drives are only suitable for back-ups due to their maximum sequential write transfer speed being restricted to less than 30 MB/s by the interface itself.

And your setup might have been sufficient because most of your video work is only 1440x1080 resolution with an anamorphic 1.33:1 pixel aspect ratio. HDV is limited to that resolution while AVCHD can go the full 1920x1980 resolution (with a square 1:1 pixel aspect ratio), which is significantly more taxing to both the CPU and the disk system than 1440x1080.

Last edited by Randall Leong; December 12th, 2011 at 09:59 AM.
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Old December 12th, 2011, 09:12 AM   #9
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Re: time for a new machine

I appreciate that. Good point. I've always used internal drives for editing, but I've got a few TB of storage and backup that is external, so my question about transfer speed was only in reference to moving stuff in and out of the machine.
Thanks,
Milt
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Old December 12th, 2011, 09:15 AM   #10
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Re: time for a new machine

OK after rereading your comment, I do have a question. How many drives in a raid configuration would give you that speed?
Thanks,
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Old December 12th, 2011, 09:31 AM   #11
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Re: time for a new machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milt Lee View Post
OK after rereading your comment, I do have a question. How many drives in a raid configuration would give you that speed?
In that case, four or more hard drives in either RAID 3 or RAID 5 with a discrete Areca RAID card. Other brands of discrete hardware RAID controllers (these controllers all cost at least $400; the cheaper $200 cards are software controllers like the onboard SATA controller's RAID function) have only RAID 5 capability (no RAID 3). RAID 0 is unsuitable for full HD editing work unless the amount of content is relatively short because their sequential transfer speeds still drop off as the drive(s) fill up (just like single hard drives) - only this time the transfer speeds are multiplied almost by a factor of the number of drives. A typical single hard drive starts out at only 125 MB/s on the outer tracks and fall off to as little as 53 MB/s on the inner tracks. As a result, a minumum of four drives in one single RAID 0 array (as one drive letter) is required to achieve this 200 MB/s minimum over most of the capacity of the array.
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Old December 12th, 2011, 09:45 AM   #12
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Re: time for a new machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milt Lee View Post
I would really appreciate any suggestions for a bare bones - build it from scratch system
Whenever I need to build a new system, I always start by visiting My Super PC - Build A Computer - Build A PC - How To Build Your Own Affordable, Quality, Fast Computer!! Free Online Guide To Make Computer Building Easy.
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