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What Happens in Vegas...
...stays in Vegas! This PC-based editing app is a safe bet with these tips.


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Old April 25th, 2007, 07:29 AM   #1
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UK based PC vendor sought

I'm in the market for a new pc to run Vegas 7 (and After Effects, Cinema4d, Photoshop - the usual suspects).

I know we've done the 'what's the best spec for Vegas?' topic to death here so I won't ask it again!

What I really want to know is can any UK - stress UK - Vegas users please give me details of any trusted pc vendors/builders from whom they have bought a ballsy, solid, demon of a machine recently and that they would recommend in terms of service, price, quality, reliability etc etc.

As a guide I am looking to spend up to 2,000 and I only need the system box, not the monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse etc. I also want XP (Home or Pro) not Vista. I'm not really in the market for a DIY job but I'm open to the idea of an individual custom building me a pc. I'm looking for best performance here and I don't care whether the case has neon go faster stripes or a transparent side panel because it's going to be hidden under my desk.

OK, despite my opening statement about not asking for the best specs (!), could someone kindly guide me in terms of what I could expect for that kind of money (again, I'm looking for a UK opinion here. No offense intended for non-European friends but prices are SO different).

As always, any and all advice warmly welcomed.

Cheers,

Ian . . .
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Old April 25th, 2007, 04:31 PM   #2
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Hi Ian

I can' suggest a vendor other than suggest you go to WH Smith and have a read through Digital Video magazine - there are some system builders advertising in there.

If it's any help I've just built a quad core system and costs were approx:
Intel QX6700 processor - 620
Intel D975XBX2 (bad axe 2) - 155
2gb Gell PC6400 memory - 110
Sapphire X1950 512mb (bit overkill) video card - 120
1 x WD SATA II 320gb - 55
2 x WD SATA II 500gb - 140 total
Windows XP - 52
Jeantech Phong II Case - 45
All bits bought from Overclockers or MicroDirect.

Runs Vegas great - completes the VASST render test in 14 seconds. But I think there is a slight compatibility problem with Quad core. I've posted elsewhere on here - when you try the VASST core duo render test it crashes part way through and can only be resolved by reducing the numbe of render threads to 2 - which defeats the object of the quad core processor. I've logged it with Sony. It crashes on a very comples section which most of us would never do - but it needs resolving anyway.

Ian
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Old April 29th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #3
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Hi Ian,

Intel price drops have just taken effect.

I am just building myself a system based around this--

Quad Core Q6600-346
2 x 500Gb SATA Hard Drives setup in Raid mode - 128
4Gb Of 6400 800Mhz Ram - 120 (ram is just crazy cheap at present!)
512Mb XFX Dual DVI Graphics - 85
Gigayte DS4 Motherboard - 95
Case - 40
18x DVD Burner - 22

As you can see, this lot totals approx:- 840 which is well under half your budget. Obviously you could go for a slightly faster quad core but......bang for your buck, I think the above is pretty good!
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Old April 30th, 2007, 01:34 AM   #4
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Thanks for both answers.

I have to say that I am not confident in building my own machine, despite the fact that I am VERY tempted from the cost point of view. Seems I could build one hell of a system with my budget. I'm nervous about DIY though. I'll nip out to Waterstones later and get a book a the subjcthen make a decision from there.

Thanks again.

Ian . . .
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Old April 30th, 2007, 03:09 AM   #5
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DVC at Brighton have a very good reputation http://www.dvc.uk.com/acatalog/Sony_Vegas_Systems.html.

I've just bought a machine from them to run Avid Liquid. The price was competitive, but I can't say too much about the PC itself as I've only just got it and have done very little with it (but no problems so far).
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Old April 30th, 2007, 03:40 AM   #6
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I'll back Paul on this one, as DVC have built my last 3 NLE work stations. My current Premiere 6.5 and Storm 2 is old but solid, and DVC are still happy to answer any technical queries I might have, long after the 'guarantee' has run out. On past performance they'll certainly get my order for the HDV kit.

When I bought the Storm system, forums were full of wails from self-builders complaining about conflicts between various pieces of hard and software. I always maintained these same people bought their wheel barrows from a garden centre, they didn't buy the wheels and the handlebars from different web addresses and try to assemble it themselves.

So you're paying DVC to have done all the product selection and testing before you arrive at their door. You'll walk away with a box that does what it says it'll do, every single day. For a few dollars more you'll keep working. How do you put a price on that?

tom.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 04:25 AM   #7
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Hmmmm . . . they certainly do look nice! They're just a bit over budget for me but I will make a call and see if the systems can be customised to suit (I won't need Vegas, for instance, so that could be a cost saving area).

Thanks for the info.

Ian . . .
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Old April 30th, 2007, 04:33 AM   #8
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While I think of it, I have seen a few vendors who offer what look like very high spec machines for reasonable money, but targeted at the gaming community rather than video editing. An example of one of these vendors is cyberPOWER (www.cyberpowersystem.co.uk).

Any views on choosing a gaming-focused pc for video work?

Cheers.

Ian . . .
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Old April 30th, 2007, 05:13 AM   #9
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You DO need to be careful with component choice. A gaming system will probably be weighted more heavily towards an expensive graphics card which isn't so critical with Vegas which relies more on the CPU.

Honestly, the building of a PC is EASY. My two kids both under 5 help me build mine (help tighten screws, point to the hard drive, processor etc etc)

The only part that may fill you with dread is configuring it all. There are loads of guides out there if you Google it i.e.

http://www.buildeasypc.com/

I learned how to build my own PC's through frustration with shop bought systems limitations. I ended up finding that I knew more than the guy in the shop did. Yes....there are specialist companies out there now that WILL build you a blinder...at a price.

I always prefer the satisfaction of knowing I built it myself and can diagnose deal with most any issue as a result. Otherwise you end up wasting hours or productivity making trips too and from your suppliers.

Even if you don't build the mothership this time, you should at least try building a cheap system once.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 05:28 AM   #10
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Thanks Alistair. Good point about the graphics card, but I would also be using this pc to run After Effects, Cinema4D, which I think would benefit from a higher spec card. And of course there's the temptation to instFlight Sim as well . . . .

Actually, I have built PC's before - back in the late 80's, when things were so much simpler.

It isn't so much the assembly, more the correct component choice that I'm worried about (ie will part a work with part b). I will do a search to see if there are any DIY 'kits' you can buy and assemble yourself, ie where someone else determines that the combination will work!

Thanks again for taking the trouble.

Cheers.

Ian . . .
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Old April 30th, 2007, 06:23 AM   #11
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Ian the systems definitely can be customised to suit - like you I didn't need monitors and some other bits.
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Old April 30th, 2007, 09:10 AM   #12
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Bought my Vegas machine from these guys.

http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk

Pentium Dual core 2.66 (e6700)
2 g RAM
2 x 320 sata 7200's RAID 0
1 x 80 sata 7200
ndvidia Geforce 5200gt Gx Crd
Asus P5wd MB
DVD writer etc
nice stylish (no flashing light rubbish) case
network cards etc etc etc

1100 If I remember correctly. It renders like the clappers!...and I'd recommend the telephone support from these guys too.

This was the cheapest available ANYWHERE when I had them build it!!
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Old May 1st, 2007, 02:07 AM   #13
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Stuart, I was looking at these guys. Shame their lead times are around 3 weeks though (and we all know how lead times can slip). They are in pole position at the moment, despite that.

Alistair/Ian: You've both really got me thinking about the challenge of building my own system and I'm reasonably confident I can 'reverse engineer' the spec from one of the online vendors and buy suitable components. Do either of you have a complete shopping list of the items you need for a full system (base unit only, obviously)? Maybe there's a website with that info but I couldn't find anything obvious (although I was looking at 5.30 this morning so my brain hadn't kicked in). Any help welcomed.

Cheers.

Ian . . .
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Old May 1st, 2007, 07:37 AM   #14
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My God . . . what have I done?

Well, thanks to the suggestions of people both here and in the real world I have taken the plunge and decided that it can't be THAT hard to put together a system. Famous last words?

I appreciate that this is wandering out of the 'Vegas' topic area (even though this is a system that is being put together specifically for Vegas) but if anyone's interested, here is what I've bought. I'm just a few quid over budget but I hope to have a very satisfying system that I would not have been able to afford pre-assembled (similar spec systems coming in at 3000+).

All parts bought from Yoyotech - I called rather than buying online and saved some cash as well as getting parts that the website said were out of stock. Spoke to Mark who was very helpful, patient and knowledgeable. All same day dispatch which hopefully means next day delivery (need to check that). They are clearly not the cheapest but they had everything I need, could get it to me quickly and their store is within easy reach in case things go wrong (Tottenham Court Road, London). Happy to pay a bit more for that.

Motherboard: ASUS P5B Deluxe
CPU: Intel Quad Core QX6700 (4 x 2.66GHz - [girly giggle])
HDD1: WD Raptor WD1500AHFD system drive (150Gb, 10,000 RPM)
HDD2: Samsung Spinpoint 500 Gb data drive
Graphics: NVIDIA 8800GTX/768Mb RAM - I know - not needed for Vegas . . . but for Flight Simulator?!?! Wow. Oh yeah, and Photoshop, AE, C4D etc I suppose.
PSU: 650W Antec Truepower Trio
Memory: 2Gb Corsair DDR2-800 Xtreme Performance
Monitors: 2 x Acer 22" Widescreen
O/S: Win XP Pro SP2
Plus: CPU cooler, decent Logitech wireless keyboard & optical mouse, couple of DVD RW's and a beautiful Antec P180 silver case.

All for a shade over 2k including delivery. I could have got that down well within budget had I bought a lesser CPU, system drive and a more appropriate graphics card but I couldn't help myself. MUST . . . SPEND . . . MONEY.

So, tomorrow will probably be a day of Christmas morning-style unwrapping glee coupled with Christmas afternoon-style gift assembly frustration.

Thanks to all for the extremely helpful advice.

Cheers.

Ian . . .
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Old May 1st, 2007, 07:54 AM   #15
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Oooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!

You beat me to it. Had a list I could have sent you.

Make sure and take your time, have a nice clear work area, un-box everything, put the parts to one side, manuals/discs to another and empty boxes well out of the way.

Again, take your time, make a neat job of it. Have you got some small cable ties handy for routing cables?

Stop for regular coffee breaks during which you can read up on the next bit.

Make sure any jumpers that need to be on/off are in the right position and check anc check again before powering up.

Oh.....and buy another 2Gb of RAM! You can get 800Mhz 6400 for 30 a stick at the mo (XP only see a max of 3.25Gb)
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