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David Merrill July 10th, 2009 09:47 PM

diy computer build??
Hello. I'm new to this forum. Was a DVXer, and keeping it, but now getting the Canon HF-S100. I've never done any HD but done a lot of reading. I watched a couple DIY computer build tutorials and it doesn't look too difficult as long as you get everything plugged in correctly. I'd like to build an i7 computer that just does Video editing and music composing. No internet except to authorize apps, and nothing else.
Do you save a lot of money doing it yourself?

Kevin Duffey July 10th, 2009 10:32 PM

Really depends. If you got the budget, I'd look at either one of the pre-built dual-cpu quad core's with MAtrox graphics for really good HD editing performance, or even there single-cpu quad core setups.

For me, here is what makes most sense. Windows 64-bit, core 7 quad core, 12GB ram, if not more, depending on your money situation a 10K main drive, and either external Raid 0 for editing or internal.. these are your editing drives for maximum performance. 10K is fine, but 7200rpm in raid0 even with most mother/board implementations of Raid0 is really good (and free if it comes on the m/b). Building a single cpu quad core setup is not bad. I paid $1300 for my 2.4ghz quad core, 12GB ram, 1TB HD, dvd burner, ATI 4870 video, case, power supply and mother/board. The m/b was almost 300 at the time, case was 100, power supply 150, cpu was 300, 1TB drive 100, 12GB ram was about 165, video card was 200, burner 30. I had a 750GB drive already and another 1TB drive, and I am not using a RAID setup and have no problems with editing..although to be fair I've not done any 1080P stuff yet. It's pretty fast system, the video card while no Matrox, does ok with opengl hardware performance, and I also do music creation and such with it. I am able to edit a small video of about 40 minutes or so, burn a DVD, run VMWare with a solaris OS guest virtual machine, play music via winamp, and have World of warcraft running, all at once. At times things will bog down.. primarily rendering from After Effects slows things down. But that's a whopping lot of apps at once and things run smooth. You want 64-bit because CS4 can handle multi-threading and you can specify memory per cpu up to 4GB each and specify 3 cpus for rendering leaving the 4th for apps.

My next system will most definitely be a matrox based dual cpu system with 32GB ram and a few TBs of HD and external RAID 5 backup. But that's a ways off. I don't expect to pay more than about 7K including 4TBs of backup and 2TBs of raid0 striping for that setup with the matrox card.


David Merrill July 11th, 2009 12:29 AM

Thanks for the reply. Something like your current set-up is about what I'm planning. Boy, your planned system would be killer! I've read a couple articles about Raid 0 and it sounds like a nightmare if any one drive crashes. What I was thinking is 3 drives; 1 for the OS and apps, 1 for music samples, and 1 for video files. I have a 150 gig Raptor for the samples. I'd be using Adobe Production Premium and a bunch of music apps.

Harm Millaard July 11th, 2009 01:21 AM

2 Attachment(s)
I have made available three guides, that cover this.

Have a look here: Adobe Forums: How to get the best from a PC? Some...

A limited view of some of the disks in front (I could not get all 14 in view) and the rather large Noctua CPU cooler with 3 more disks above it in the back. The fan in the bottom of the picture is taped to the PSU for cooling the video card, since the Areca controller is too close to allow a good airflow.

Zsolt Gordos July 11th, 2009 10:42 AM


Originally Posted by David Merrill (Post 1170231)
I'd like to build an i7 computer that just does Video editing and music composing. No internet except to authorize apps, and nothing else.
Do you save a lot of money doing it yourself?

Hi, why dont you build a Hackintosh? I just have built mine last week, works like a charm and delivers much better performance than my old G5 desktop. Most importantly, it was a fraction of the price of a MacPro.
I can boot any of the OS installed. Final Cut Studio 2 is great for video editing and for video work it is only Adobe Ultra that requires a PC.
It looks as follows:

Gigabyte GA-EP45-DQ6 MOB with 3Ghz Quad cpu (lightly overclocked to 3.5Ghz), this MOB is considered as one of the best overclockers... http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/mai...-ep45-dq6.html
Nvidia 9800 XT
3 x 250 Gb Western Digital hard drives
1 x 1Tb Western Digital hard drive

Leopard and Vista are installed on 2 of the 250Gb drives, one 250Gb drive is for the "workflow" and the 1Tb drive is for my media.
It means the OS drives contain only the OS and apps, my projects are sitting in the 3rd 250Gb drive and my large media files are sitting on the 1Tb drive.
I still have available slots and connectors for further drives so later I may setup a RAID config.

Google Efi-x then you will get the idea of what I am trying to say... :)

Kevin Duffey July 11th, 2009 10:56 AM

Can you get OSX to run on any PC now? I heard it could be done.. just haven't tried. I got a coworker that got OSX to work inside a virtual machine as a guest OS.. but it's not 100% solid last I checked.

I think it really depends on your budget and what you want to do.

Keep in mind Raid-0 is NEVER a solution for any sort of long term storage. You use it for performance, not for storage. Ideally you have all your original source/projects on a RAID1 or RAID5 setup. RAID1 is probably simplest it uses 2 drives and basically duplicates what is on one to the other..so if one does die, you can recover from the other. Raid 5 I think requires 3 or 4 drives.. 3 for Raid 1 like performance, 4 for Raid 0+1 or something like that lol..been a while since I set that up. But.. point is, don't shy away from Raid 0 using SATA 2 drives. Buy a m/b that has it built in, and use it for your editing drive. You'd set this up in the CS4 suite (really only AE and Premiere.. oh and photoshop if you use it), to use this drive as your cache/scratch drive. You could move a "copy" of a project over to it while you edit on it.. then when you save.. have some script that you can run to copy it back for backup purposes on your raid1/5 setup. You'd be looking at 6 HDs, 1 main one, one for your music stuff, 2 for raid0 cache/scratch, 2 for Raid1 backup/storage. The main drive and the raid1 drives can be 500GB or 320GB drives.. save on cost. The main OS doesn't need that much room, and to keep it performant you use something like OO Defrag on it. The Raid0 drives will double capacity so 2 500GBs will give you 1TB of faster read/write. Very few projects will use 500GBs of space. The backup drives I'd consder 1.5TB drives, as you'll only get 1.5TB with two of them in Raid1 setup.. since they duplicate one another.

David Merrill July 11th, 2009 11:15 AM

Thanks Harm. I'm going through your tutorial now. I'm confused about one thing. You say "You will gain more from slower memory in large quantities, than from faster but less memory, even with 32 bit apps like CS4". I looked up the specs on Premiere CS4 and it says it's "architected and optimized for 64bit". I guess that's different than natively 64bit. I had earlier gone to TomsHardware.com and I like the i7 920 processor. At this point I'm operating on 3 datums. i7 920, X58 Express mobo (The idea being stick with Intel), and get a big case with lots of expansion slots.

David Merrill July 11th, 2009 11:25 AM


Originally Posted by Zsolt Gordos (Post 1170435)
Hi, why dont you build a Hackintosh?

Thanks for the idea but all my apps are Windows. My son is a graphics guy and hates PC's. Maybe "hate" is the wrong word. He has a very condescending attitude towards them.

Harm Millaard July 11th, 2009 11:29 AM

I can imagine how you can get confused by that statement. Let me give you an example based on current prices:

Corsair TR3X6G1600C7 6 GB DDR3 kit PC-16000 @ around $ 300 with CL7, versus
GeIL Ultra GU36GB1333C6TC 6 GB DDR3 kit PC-10600 @ around $ 120 with CL7

From the specs the Corsair memory is much faster and more expensive.
The problem is that the i7 on a X58 mobo will not use that theoretical speed.

My message was that it is better to get two kits of GeIL memory instead of one Corsair kit, because:

1. You will save money,
2. You will double your memory and reduce pagefile use, thus increasing performance,
3. Even with the same memory, differences in performance would be negligable,
4. You can't use the higher FSB speed of the Corsair.

Hope this helps.

David Merrill July 11th, 2009 11:38 AM

Yes. That does help. Regarding the X58 Express, I'm just assuming it will allow me to have up to 4 Sata drives. I'm not geeky enough to understand all the spec terms in reading specs.

Harm Millaard July 11th, 2009 12:27 PM

Usually X58 mobo's have 6 SATA connectors. What is important to consider is on-board sound and on-board firewire as mentioned in the guide. Take your time to read it carefully and also the Q&A's in the rest of the thread. There may well be valuable info to help you. That at least was my intention when writing these guides, since these are issues that come around with a certain regularity. If you go to the Premiere CS4 forums, there is a link at the top of the page to all kinds of hardware related issues, amongst them these guides.


David Merrill July 11th, 2009 12:39 PM

Thank you Harm. With your help and the Adobe forum I'm sure all my questions will get answered. My sound, BTW, is through a M-Audio Firewire 410 so that's covered.

Kevin Duffey July 11th, 2009 12:48 PM

To make your life easier, I'd opt for the main drive and 2nd drive inside the computer, and use raid outside. Less heat to extract, and if there is any sort of failure.. less hassle having to open the case again. I think you can get 2 low-cost 2-drive enclosures + 2 drives and Raid 0 or Raid 1 them quite easily. I'd consider using the backup Raid 1 setup on the USB port, with using the e-sata port for the raid1. If you have 2 e-sata, then naturally put both on there. Most motherboards come with 0 or 1 of them.. although the more expensive m/bs come with 2 or a back port with one on it. I forget the speed..but I think e-sata is quite a bit faster than USB2. It will be nice when USB3 comes out later this year.. sometime next year before we start seeing anything with it tho.

I agree with the memory.. get more slower memory. 12GB is nice.. like I said I run that now on my quad core and I almost never have issues except when rendering.. but that is because I've specified to use most of my memory and 3 cores to render with.

Take a look at the BM Intensity card while you're at it. For $200, it's very nice for analog and HDMI/HD-SDI inputs. Not sure if you would need it, but pointing it out in case you didn't know about it.

Harm Millaard July 11th, 2009 01:05 PM


Originally Posted by David Merrill (Post 1170495)
Thank you Harm. With your help and the Adobe forum I'm sure all my questions will get answered. My sound, BTW, is through a M-Audio Firewire 410 so that's covered.

Just to let you know, I recently helped a guy who had a firewire audio card and had trouble capturing over firewire with CS4. This firewire card was causing his problems. After he removed the card and switched to on-board sound, his problems disappeared. He used a RME card, so maybe you will not encounter his difficulties. Let's hope so, but at least you will know where to look first.

Harm Millaard July 11th, 2009 01:22 PM


Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey (Post 1170497)
To make your life easier, I'd opt for the main drive and 2nd drive inside the computer, and use raid outside. Less heat to extract, and if there is any sort of failure.. less hassle having to open the case again.

I would suggest against that, for a couple of reasons.

1. The cable mesh you get with externals.
2. The lack of external connectors.
3. The lack of using a decent raid controller.
4. The often bad cooling of external disks.
5. The extra sound that externals come with.

If you have a decent case you can easily fit in 15+ hard disks in hot swappable bays without temperature problems (I have 17 internals plus 2 BR burners and the highest temperature I have measured was 30 degrees C with a room temperature of 28), that clearly indicate if one has failed by LED lights and it is cheaper and easier to replace a failed internal than an external disk.

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