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Hardware Thread, Video Editing setup in Technical; ...
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    Mako's Avatar
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    Video Editing setup

    Hi all,

    Our sports department is looking for a dedicated machine to be used for HD Video editing using Pinnacle Studio 14. Because we use standard budget desktops, there's no such machine capable of meeting their demands. They need something specialised, and we're going to buy in the components and build it in-house, as a one-off. I hopped up and spec'd a machine within their price range (approx £1,200), using hardware along the lines of;
    Core i7 930
    ASUS P6T SE Motherboard
    4GB DDR3 Kingston 1333 mhz RAM
    2TB Seagate HDD
    ATI HD4870 1GB
    650W PSU
    Standard case
    24" Monitor

    That was what I leaped at. Now I'm a gamer and not a video editor, which resulted in this specification. Having looked around a bit, am I wasting money on the card and/or other components? There are Quadro and FireMV cards etc that are specific for video editing, but my nature says "more power!", hence the 4870. Will this do the job, or should I look at these workstation cards?

    I'm putting this out to those experienced in the field of digital content creation and editing, because I know nothing of that area of expertise. I've basically spec'd a gaming machine, as I figured it would be up to the job. What can I swap/change to make it streamlined for their purpose, while keeping a reasonable price? Would someone be able to produce a list of hardware that would be sufficient?

    Thanks,

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mako View Post
    2TB Seagate HDD
    You could get a second, smaller harddrive to use for the OS and have the 2TB drive dedicated to video stroage - would allow for easier file and permissions management as a seperate drive.

    ATI HD4870 1GB
    Could go for an NVidea Fermi card and see if future software can take advantage of the hardware to speed up video transcoding.

    If there's any chance you'll need to get video off an older camcorder then a Firewire connection might come in handy, and USB 3 and eSATA connections are going to be handy for connecting external drives for moving large video files around.

    --
    David Hicks

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    Mako (26th May 2010)

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Can I suggest you get a quote from Planet PC, they specialise in video editing equipment in education so would be worth getting a quote for a system directly directly off them rather than trying to build it yourself Digital Video Editing systems including Matrox RT.X100 Xtreme and RT.X10 Xtra / Suite, Canopus DV Storm 2, DVD Authoring, MPEG Encoding, Video Cameras, Software and Video Editing Training from Planet PC

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    Mako (26th May 2010)

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    Mako's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    You could get a second, smaller harddrive to use for the OS and have the 2TB drive dedicated to video stroage - would allow for easier file and permissions management as a seperate drive.
    Probably a good idea, thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Could go for an NVidea Fermi card and see if future software can take advantage of the hardware to speed up video transcoding.
    The Fermi cards (GTX 470/480) are highly priced, and from what I've read they don't give the bang for their buck. While they're the lead card at the moment, the lead they have over the 48xx and 58xx range is not something I'd like to spend nearly double the money on, as I don't think it's worth it.
    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    If there's any chance you'll need to get video off an older camcorder then a Firewire connection might come in handy, and USB 3 and eSATA connections are going to be handy for connecting external drives for moving large video files around.
    The motherboard has sufficient connectors on the rear panel, so I'm good in that respect.


    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    Can I suggest you get a quote from Planet PC, they specialise in video editing equipment in education so would be worth getting a quote for a system directly directly off them rather than trying to build it yourself Digital Video Editing systems including Matrox RT.X100 Xtreme and RT.X10 Xtra / Suite, Canopus DV Storm 2, DVD Authoring, MPEG Encoding, Video Cameras, Software and Video Editing Training from Planet PC
    Never heard of them before, but I'll look into it. Thanks.

    More suggestions are more than welcome.

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    Butuz's Avatar
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    One thing that is very important for video editing is disk performance. I think on your spec above the single disk configuration will be the weakest link. At the least it would be better to have one disk for o/s and editing cache, and one disk for saving finalised videos too. Perferably you would use several disks in a raid 0 config for editing speed along with further storage to archive off finshed videos.

    Depends on your budget I suppose.

    Butuz

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    Mako (26th May 2010)

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Yeah, a good gaming rig is not the setup you need for a good video editing rig, which is why I pointed you towards a video editing specialist. We have 4 video editing PC's here, all nearly 5 years old and still do the job fine as they were specced properly using some fancy Matrox Video Editing cards etc (not from Planet-PC who I linked to but from a different firm but they've moved out of that area now).

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    Mako (26th May 2010)

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    Hi, raid 0 for performance but obviously vulnerable to a single disk failure. 64 bit OS if your editing software supports it (CS5 Premiere Pro and After Effects are 64bit only now). Dual monitors 24" each to allow for 1:1 pixel display of hd footage. Be aware the specialized video editing graphics cards only speed up the rendering of the effects/filters etc... that they have hardware features to support, so if they don't support an effect it will render no quicker. The fastest / most number of cores processor you can afford and the most and fastest ram you can afford.

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    Mako (26th May 2010)

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    I'd second the 2 drive comment. Might even go for one small fast OS drive, and several storage drives. Perhaps RAID, and probably add a local back-up unless they are going to keep the original media safe.

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    Mako (26th May 2010)

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    Mako's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses. I'll consider shuffling to accommodate for RAID 0, and add a smaller drive for OS. My main area of uncertainty was the graphics card. The specialised cards don't seem to have much "oomph" for those around the cost of a 4870. If the gain on a specialised card, for the same price, as a mainstream card is sufficient enough, then I'll swap. If it's marginal or, as richardp says, possibly not supported then I'll stick with what's above and modify the HDDs only.

    I've signed up to PlanetPC, but I have to wait for an e-mail to authorise my login. Time to clock off now, so I'll revisit this tomorrow.

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    Marci's Avatar
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    I run a Q6600 with 4Gb ram, 2x 1TB Raid 0 arrays, 250Gb OS drive, 250Gb apps drive, with Pinnacle 10, Adobe Premiere & After Effects CS3. 2 arrays for a reason... one is the drive you capture to, and do all your editing on... the other array is the export target, so the edits are compiled from one array on to the other... gives you minimal bottleneck on export times. You're basically looking at same spec as a heavyduty audio recording workstation (Cubase etc) where aim is to minimise simultaneous reads n' writes to the same target device to get maximum data throughput.

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    Mako's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marci View Post
    I run a Q6600 with 4Gb ram
    If you're doing fine with that at least I don't need to go any further on the processor or RAM. Can I get a "yay" or "nay" from someone on the GPU? The "better" DCC cards seem to get hellishly expensive. For the same price I can get a PNY Quadro FX580 512MB. Would this be up to the job, and avoid any "The system/program is slow!" complaints? Am I gaining anything by switching to a professional card? My knowledge of these cards is somewhat limited. They seem to have far fewer stream processors.

    @Teejay I'm still waiting to hear from PlanetPC. I need this asap really, custom in-house build will probably be the way to go. I could get the custom parts order off now and get it built over half term.

    I am constrained by a budget, and a chunk of that is taken by a decent monitor. I may not be able to throw in X number of HDD's for the "ideal" array setup. They'll have to make do with what I can get them. The main aim is that the processor and GPU are up to the job of rendering, and I'll get the best HDD setup I can.
    Last edited by Mako; 27th May 2010 at 09:57 AM.

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    Only barrier I come up against is large renders in AfterEffects... THEN the ram becomes a major issue. If you're not using AfterEffects then shouldn't cause much of a prob.

    Monitors - I'm using 2x 22" Yuraku thingies that cost £100 each more or less... they're fine... Graphics wise, a Fermi-based thing if using CS5 (for accelerated rendering), otherwise, more or less anything that's fairly current (eg: I'm using a Geforce 8400GS)

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    That's the kind of information that's pointing me in the right direction, Marci. The software they have is Pinnacle Studio 14, and they intend on doing HD Video editing (cutting, cropping, editing, adding effects, sounds and additional features to a recorded video) then republishing it. They're not going to be using any Adobe software, and I know the kind of stuff you can do in After Effects... those types of renders won't be taking place. If you're fine on an 8400GS then they should fly along with a 4870. I think I'm pretty much sorted, then.

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    Marci's Avatar
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    One issue to be wary of - Pinnacle's MPEG codec... has a tendency to make explorer bomb out when you open a folder in thumbnail view... set everything to open in list view by default to minimise the irritation of it (doesn't solve it completely).

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    I tend to be editing 8x simultaneous 1080i50 files at once, using Adobe's Multicam monitor and nested scenes to flip between them, where rather than sit and work out edit points to change cameras you just hit 1 > 4 on the keyboard, so it's playing back all files simultaneously... that level of stuff really necessitates raid, but if you're just gonna be working with lots of short single takes cut back-to-back in a linear fashion, Raid Array requirements are minimal. You could happily get away with 5x single separate physical HDDs...

    eg:

    1x for Windows (120Gb)
    1x for apps (250Gb)
    1x small drive for swap file (10Gb)
    1x for capture source (500Gb)
    1x for export target/archiving of capturesource (1Tb)

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