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Best hardware choice for video editing

Posted on 2011-10-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I've been informed we may have a small budget to buy a workstation (or hardware to improve the current one) for me which I use to edit videos. I use Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects very frequently. I'm currently using Master Collection CS2 however I have a copy of Production Premium CS5 and am looking to get CS5.5 and I need to make sure I get the right hardware within our budget (roughly $1200 US). I will be building and configuring the PC myself, and running Windows 7 on it. This is also what I use for day to day work, such as monitor our servers, writing scripts, creating presentations etc. Tho I imagine anything that can handle the video work can handle the rest.

So my questions are:
1) Which is more important, High end processor (6core i7) or do I need SLI video cards?
2) SSD for scratch disc or SATA drives in RAID?
3) Do I need more than 8GB of RAM?

Right now I'm thinking that the following should be what I purchase:
Mobo - MSI H67A-G43 (B3) - $85
CPU - Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz  - $300
RAM - 2x G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) (8GB Total) - $52
Video Card - EVGA SuperClocked 015-P3-1582-TR GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 - $490
SSD (for scratch discs) - Corsair Force Series 3 CSSD-F120GB3A-BK 2.5" 120GB - $180
PSU - RAIDMAX HYBRID 2 RX-730SS 730W - $65
HDs - 200GB System Drive, 2x2TB storage drives (Already have)
Optical - LG Blu-Ray burner, LG DVD Burner (Already have)

Total:
 $1,172

Obviously depending on the answer to the questions these choices could change.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Question by:Derokorian
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Expert Comment

by:Gary Case
ID: 37000868
I'd use 4GB memory modules so you can get 8GB with only 2 modules => MUCH less bus loading -- resulting in more reliable memory operation when using unbuffered RAM.

Otherwise your component list is fine.    I'd use the SSD for your system drive as well as scratch space for your editing software (120GB is plenty for this).
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 37002757
You do NOT need SLI for video - that benefits 3D gaming, but doesn't add much to video editing.  The card you selected is more than sufficient, but remember that the high end cards draw a lot of power and create a lot of heat, so make sure your case has adequate cooling.  Lots of RAM and a fast processor are good additions, and a 64-bit OS is necessary to use all the RAM.  I/O is definitely a bottleneck, so an SSD will help.
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Author Comment

by:Derokorian
ID: 37002921
@gary always thought it was better to utilize all the dimm slots, shows how much I know! Tho I have been told not use use the same disk for scratch as for system - maybe I'll get 2 64GB SSD so I don't have to...

@Callandor Is it more card than I need? Should I cut back and get 16GB of ram and Intel Core i7-980 Gulftown 3.33GHz 6 x 256KB L2 Cache 12MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor instead? And am planning on Win7 64bit already have MAKs for it.

Is SSD good enough for the I/O bottleneck or should I think about setting up a raid instead? I don't know the real performance comparison, I just know that my SSD at home is lightning fast heh.
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Gary Case earned 1000 total points
ID: 37003862
The SATA-3 SSD is plenty fast to overcome your I/O bottleneck -- there's no reason to use RAID [and you don't want to with SSDs, as no current RAID controllers support TRIM].

The reason you avoid using the same disk for system and scratch is so you won't cause thrashing.    Since there are no heads to move in an SSD, this is not an issue ... it will work fine for both purposes.

I agree with Callandor that you certainly don't need dual cards (SLI or Crossfire).   Whether the card you selected is "more than you need" is arguable ... but it's certainly more than I'd buy for the same application.   I'd probably use a 560 [e.g. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130660 ], or at the most a 570.

r.e. the CPU => the Sandy Bridge CPU's are superb values ... an i7-2600 (I'd use a 2600k by the way) has amazing performance for the $$      The only thing faster is one of the hex-core socket 1366 units => but this would cost appreciably more, for both the motherboard and the CPU.    It WOULD be somewhat faster ... and it would also support higher memory bandwidth, since they support triple channel memory.    But it would blow away your $1200 budget :-)     I'd stay with the Sandy Bridge CPU.
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Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 1000 total points
ID: 37003945
Yes, the i7-2600K is a very good performance cpu for the price and should handle anything you can throw at it.  Late model SSDs like the one you selected use an SATA3 interface and are amazingly fast - they are one of the best ways to get around an I/O bottleneck.  For a video card, you shouldn't spend more than $200 to get a good return.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Derokorian
ID: 37004029
Thank you guys very much! Its much appreciated.
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