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General Chat Thread, New PC - Advice needed in General; Oi oi, I don't know if you will get this over the weekend but I'm looking at buying a new ...
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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    New PC - Advice needed

    Oi oi,


    I don't know if you will get this over the weekend but I'm looking at buying a new computer. Of course I have the Mac v PC debate. If I have an iMac then only the 27" would do and it would need to big enough to run Parallels or Bootcamp for my son who is now using Windows 7 in school.


    Or I could ditch the Mac idea - knowing I have a Macbook Air sat here (I'm on it now). I like Windows 7.


    What is the deal with PCs these days? Are they expensive? Head of ICT and Comp Sci needs a proper computer with a nice monitor and gfx card. What is the spec these days that people buy?


    I assume 8Gb RAM is standard. Windows 8.1, Above 19" monitor.


    What about chip? Gfx card and DVD/CD writer - or do people go for blueray drives? SSD for OS with secondary storage for MyDocuments?


    It seems my favourite magazine PCPlus has gone out of print now. So I am a bit clueless having been Macced up for 3/4 years.

    Any companies out there fancy doing me an Edugeek style deal?


    Gareth

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Few things we need to know:

    What do you primarily use a PC for?
    Is the ability to play the latest games on the highest settings important?
    What's your budget, roughly if you've not decided yet?

    As for Mac vs PC, it's simple; if you want to use OSX, buy a Mac, otherwise don't. If your budget is enough for a 27" Mac, you could build a really stunning PC.

    Answer the questions above and I'll go shopping for you! (Sad I know but I love speccing up PCs...)

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    ADMaster's Avatar
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    Sorry, but I’m going to hijack this since @LosOjos likes to spec PC’s
    I’m looking at upgrading one of the computer suites this summer. I’m looking at all in one’s This suite is primarily used to teach Office.
    My thought is at least 4GB 8GB if the price is right
    At least I3 and I5 if the price is right.
    A bit of price shopping turns up an I3 4GB for $700 and an extra 4GB for $70 if I install it.
    An all in one with 8GB pre-installed is $1000 + and an I7
    One of my suppliers asked if I wanted SSD so I asked for a quote on each.

    Do these sound like good specs for the purpose?
    Thanks,

  4. #4

    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    Few things we need to know:

    What do you primarily use a PC for?
    Is the ability to play the latest games on the highest settings important?
    What's your budget, roughly if you've not decided yet?

    As for Mac vs PC, it's simple; if you want to use OSX, buy a Mac, otherwise don't. If your budget is enough for a 27" Mac, you could build a really stunning PC.

    Answer the questions above and I'll go shopping for you! (Sad I know but I love speccing up PCs...)
    Hi,

    Okay - what do I use it for? Well being Head of ICT and Comp Sci and use it for anything and everything. I could not tell you what I use it for. WHat I use it for today might not be powerful enough for tomorrow (I know it will be).

    Games - I don't play games but have been working on looking at Project Spark for xBox One dev and lessons in school.

    Budget - I don't have one.

    27" Mac - I didn't say I had the funds but what I did say is that I would only be happy with a 27". I had a 24" iMac from 2008. I loved it but I sold it as the plan was to get a 27" when I could afford it. Then my department funds stretched to a MBA so that is my machine.

    At the moment I have a HP7900 at home from work with a nice 27" monitor. It's a nice machine but too businessy. I'm using it from now to September until I decide what to do.

    So I am open.

    Oh - based on my previous pre-mac PC life - everything has to be upgradable over time.

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    Not playing games frees up a huge chunk of budget

    8GB of RAM is standard, although 4GB is still pretty useable. 16GB is nice if you want to push the budget a touch.

    A Core i7 4770k is a beast, but the i5 4670k is powerful and a lot more affordable. A new Z97 board to run it on makes sense, with a fast SSD (prices are dropping well at present). You may get by with the onboard graphics on the CPU - if you're not gaming I'd try it - you can always spec up a discrete card afterwards.

    As for monitors - just make sure it's IPS and 2560x1440 res if budget allows. Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!
    Last edited by 3s-gtech; 10th May 2014 at 11:10 PM. Reason: I can't type, meant i7

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    Not playing games frees up a huge chunk of budget

    8GB of RAM is standard, although 4GB is still pretty useable. 16GB is nice if you want to push the budget a touch.

    A Core i6 4770k is a beast, but the i5 4670k is powerful and a lot more affordable. A new Z97 board to run it on makes sense, with a fast SSD (prices are dropping well at present). You may get by with the onboard graphics on the CPU - if you're not gaming I'd try it - you can always spec up a discrete card afterwards.

    As for monitors - just make sure it's IPS and 2560x1440 res if budget allows. Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!
    Hi - the more RAm the better as far as I'm concerned as I do dabble with video editing.

    i6? Never heard of that. I thought i3,5 and 7 were the only ones.

    I've not looked at PC based stuff for years. Not gaming, but do I need a powerful gfx card for Premiere?

    Monitors - I agree. After using my 27 at home, using a 19" in work is a nightmare. Who said size doesn't matter?

    Gareth

  7. #7


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    Quote Originally Posted by garethedmondson View Post
    do I need a powerful gfx card for Premiere?
    Not especially. Adobe has a list of supported graphics cards on their website, but you don't necessarily have to choose one of those.

    As long as it is fairly new and has a minimum of 1GB VRAM you will be fine. A GeForce GTX 750 (~£90-£107), GTX 750 Ti (£106-£130) or GTX 760 (£163+) would all be good choices depending upon the budget. To future-proof the system a little I'd get a graphics card with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM.

    Btw, you no longer need to edit the "cuda_supported_cards.txt" file to add unsupported graphics cards either.

    ... some customers may be aware that in the past there was a not-so-secret way of enabling non-supported GPUs by the ‘hacking’ or removal of a text file. This is no longer necessary in Premiere Pro CC. As long as you have a reasonably modern card with at least 1GB of VRAM, you will still be able to enable that card in the Project Settings dialog. A warning message will appear letting you know that your card has not been certified by Adobe, but once that dialog is clicked through you can use your GPU. The team does try to certify as many GPUs as possible, but we can’t test everything, so this is a way to let you decide if you’re happy using an untested configuration. (Source)
    Functions that are accelerated include a growing list of effects and transitions, scaling including different pixel aspect ratios, deinterlacing, frame rate differences, blending modes, color space conversions, and alpha channel interpretation. Additionally, LUT (color lookup table) processing is accelerated by OpenGL, OpenCL, and/or CUDA.

    OpenCL and CUDA Accelerated Effects and Transitions in Adobe Premiere Pro CC:

    • Additive Dissolve
    • Alpha Adjust
    • Basic 3D
    • Black & White
    • Brightness & Contrast
    • Color Balance (RGB)
    • Color Pass
    • Color Replace
    • Crop
    • Cross Dissolve
    • Dip to Black
    • Dip to White
    • Directional Blur
    • Drop Shadow
    • Extract
    • Fast Blur
    • Fast Color Corrector
    • Feather Edges
    • Film Dissolve
    • Gamma Correction
    • Garbage Matte (4, 8, 16)
    • Gaussian Blur
    • Horizontal Flip
    • Invert
    • Levels
    • Luma Corrector
    • Luma Curve
    • Lumetri
    • Noise
    • Proc Amp
    • RGB Curves
    • RGB Color Corrector
    • Sharpen
    • Three-way Color Corrector
    • Timecode
    • Tint
    • Track Matte
    • Ultra Keyer
    • Video Limiter
    • Vertical Flip
    • Warp Stabilizer
    Last edited by Arthur; 10th May 2014 at 11:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garethedmondson View Post
    do people go for Blu-ray drives?
    For a video editing PC, I would say a Blu-ray writer is definitely worth getting. They aren't that expensive either (~£60 for an internal drive) and BD-R/RWs hold significantly more data than a DVD can.

    If you are filming videos at 1080p, burning them to a DVD after editing is a bit of a waste of time IMO and they will look awful when scaled up to 2560x1440 or 3840x2160.

    Quote Originally Posted by garethedmondson View Post
    SSD for OS with secondary storage for MyDocuments?
    250GB/256GB SSD for OS and apps. 3TB+ HDD for videos and other data, plus additional HDD(s) for backup purposes.

    Personally I avoid saving things into the 'Documents' folder because third-party apps use it as a dumping ground for their settings and other crap. Just create new folders on the other HDD(s) so that everything is neat and organized. Folders can be added to the 'Favourites' list in File Explorer (née Windows Explorer) for quick access.

    In Windows 8.1, you can also create a custom 'Library' containing important files so that File History will back them up automatically (similar to Time Machine in OS X).
    Last edited by Arthur; 11th May 2014 at 01:13 AM.

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    garethedmondson (10th May 2014)

  10. #9

    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    If you can afford it, build around the monitor then. Spec that up first, then look at getting a PC that will run what you use well, at the native resolution. If you chose to game, that would then require some serious pixel shove - £300+ - but as usual, @Arthur is spot on - a Geforce GTX 750Ti should fit the bill beautifully as an all rounder, as well as being an efficient and stonking little card.

    As my edit shows, I meant i7 4770k - my typing prowess is mainly achieved by mashing my face on the keyboard. Intel do some cracking CPUs on LGA 1150 across budgets - though don't discount AMD if costs are spiralling.

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    For a video editing PC, I would say a Blu-ray writer would definitely be worth getting. They aren't that expensive either (~£60 for an internal drive) and BD-R/RWs hold significantly more data than a DVD can.
    Okay.

    If your Head of ICT is filming videos at 1080p, burning them to a DVD after editing is a bit of a waste of time IMO and they will look awful when scaled up to 2560x1440 or 3840x2160.
    Um, I am the Head of ICT. I don't burn anything and don't film in 1080p at the moment. LOL.


    250GB/256GB SSD for OS and apps. 3TB+ HDD for videos and other data, plus additional HDD(s) for backup purposes.

    Personally I avoid saving things into the 'Documents' folder because third-party apps use it as a dumping ground for their settings and other crap. Just create new folders on the other HDD(s) so that everything is neat and organized. Folders can be added to the 'Favourites' list in File Explorer (née Windows Explorer) for quick access.

    In Windows 8.1, you can also create a custom 'Library' containing important files so that File History will back them up automatically (similar to Time Machine in OS X).
    Cheers

    - - - Updated - - -

    So should I build it myself or find a system builder who will do this all for me? I'm happy to build but it may take longer.

    GJE

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    Quote Originally Posted by garethedmondson View Post
    Um, I am the Head of ICT.
    Just testing! I've fixed my post now.

    Quote Originally Posted by garethedmondson View Post
    So should I build it myself or find a system builder who will do this all for me? I'm happy to build but it may take longer.
    How quickly do you need the PC up-and-running (considering September is just over three months away I imagine you're not in too much of a rush?) and do you think you would need the (onsite?) warranty and support that a system builder would provide?

    Another option is to get a motherboard bundle from somewhere like Overclockers or Scan. The bundles usually include a CPU, Heatsink, Motherboard and RAM that are guaranteed to work together and have been fully tested before shipping, although the range of components to choose from is typically small. If you want to use different parts, I imagine you can always ask them.

    Personally I would build it myself since it isn't difficult, it will be cheaper and you can always ask for help on EduGeek if required too.

    Depending upon how much you want to spend I would go for something like this...

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K (approx. £170) or Core i7-4790K (approx. £245) - Available from 2nd June 2014
    CPU Cooler:
    Corsair Hydro H90 AIO Water Cooler (£69.48) or
    Corsair Hydro H100i AIO Water Cooler (£85.32) or
    Noctua NH-U9B-SE2 (£43.98) or
    Noctua NH-D14 (£65.46) or
    Noctua NH-D15 (£77.95) or
    Motherboard: Asus Z97M-PLUS (£111.60) or Asus Z97-Pro (Wi-Fi AC) (£161.69) or Asus Maximus VII GENE (£162)
    RAM: 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengeance LP (£62.16) or Crucial Ballistix Tactical VLP (£71.99)
    Storage (SSD): 250GB Samsung 840 EVO (£113.81) or 256GB Samsung 840 Pro (£159.90) or 256GB Crucial M550 (£109.50)
    Storage (HDD) (1x or 2x?):
    4TB Seagate Desktop SSHD - ST4000DX001 (£143.28) or
    4TB Seagate Desktop HDD - ST4000DM000 (£112.08) or
    4TB Western Digital Red HDD - WD40EFRX (£130.08)
    Storage (ODD): Pioneer BDR-209EBK Blu-ray Writer (£61.79)
    Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti SC (£117.30)
    Case: Corsair Carbide 330R Mid-Tower (£70.00) or Corsair Obsidian 550D Mid-Tower (£109.99)
    Power Supply: Corsair AX-760 80+ Platinum Modular PSU (£119.71)
    OS: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (x64/OEM) (£70.57)
    Monitor (27"): ViewSonic VP2770-LED (£436.95)
    Last edited by Arthur; 11th May 2014 at 03:36 PM. Reason: Made a few changes

  13. Thanks to Arthur from:

    mac_shinobi (12th May 2014)

  14. #12

    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    That's a stonking spec, and would be what I'd put together without a single change - you can always choose the cheaper option on a few parts then upgrade to the other in the future.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    What @Arthur says.

    If you want to save £100 though, scan do a 27" 2560x1440 IPS monitor for only £270 ex VAT - essentially one of those Korean imports everyone is on about from eBay, except with an actual warranty as it's from a UK reseller. We're about to fill a Photography/Media room with them, having been trialling one to great success for a year or so: DGM IPS-2701WPH Pro IPS 27" (LG Panel) LED Monitor DP/HDMI/DVI/VGA 2560x1440 Speakers PC/MAC - Scan.co.uk

    Does need to be connected via DisplayPort or Dual-Link DVI to get the full res, so make sure your motherboard has those outputs if you're going with onboard. If you're putting a discrete GPU in, they'll have both those outputs and you'll be fine.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Oh, and @ADMaster - if you're only teaching Office in that computer suite, an i5 is complete overkill. To be honest, one of the modern Pentiums (G3420 or G3220 - only 200MHz between them) would be more than good enough - they're astonishing CPUs for the price. 4GB RAM is likely to be plenty as well, you'll not go over that without image/video editing.

    An SSD, though, will make all the difference in the world. Absolutely get SSDs. Always get SSDs. Samsung EVOs are best IMO - great value for money and astonishing performers. It's all about that sweet spot of price/performance/what you actually need in a school - so I'd say Pentium G3420, 4GB RAM and Samsung 840 EVO 120GB if you can. Core i3 if you'll do any Creative Suite work. Core i5 only if you're doing full on video editing. Core i7 only if you're going to be running 3 or 4 virtual machines alongside each other for testing.

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    ICTDirect_Dave's Avatar
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    Hi Gareth,

    Give me a call later. I've got some Z600 workstations that would fit the bill. they're originally professional GFX/Video editing machines and I can give you a couple of quad core CPUs, 12GB+ of RAM and a beefy quadro card for not very much at all.

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