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Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000

Apr 18, 2010 7:59 AM

Background:

I have CS4 Master Collection and run it on a dual boot XP64 and XP32 machine.  I have the dual boot because I cannot get PPro CS4 to work at all on XP64.  I know, it is not supported.  I have been using Premiere since Version 6 I think.  And of all of the Adobe programs that I use, Premiere (and PPRO) have always been to most troublesome for me.  So this time, I'd like to get some assistance from all of you "hardware gurus" out there who can offer advice and help me get the most bang for my budget and deliver a reliable system for PPro CS5 and the other CS5 programs that I will use.  It may be too early to give great advice at this time since the final versions have not be released.  But maybe someone who has had a pre-released version could help now?  Although I use many of the CS series programs, I pose the question in this forum since PPro has always been the program that has taxed my systems the most and would most often fail.

 

My uses for the Create Suite:

I am primarily a photographer.  So I use Lightroom 2 (will upgrade to LR3) and Photoshop more than any other programs.  I do extensive editing / retouching of my photos and use many plug-ins.  I also design high end coffee-table books using these tools.   However, I do still do some video editing and high-end compositing using Premiere Pro (mostly still CS3) and After Effects CS4.   I would do more NLE work if PPRo worked better for me.  I need the ability to edit at most three layers of 720P video, mostly acquired by D-SLR's.  I also need to edit standard DV footage.  I tend to use a lot of effects, including 3rd party effects (I am not sure how/if they will work anymore on a 64 bit program?).  I do pretty advanced compositing in AE and customize a lot of AE purchased projects with lots of 3rd party effects (such as the Trapcode suite).  I export video for the web, DVD, and Blu-Ray and hopefully cell phone and other devises down the road.

 

Reusable Hardware:

As long as I can still use SATA 3 7200rpm hard drives, I think that I have all of the hard drives that I need.  I also have two 24" DVI monitors that I do not need to replace at this time.  I have a 285 nvidia card, which I believe is the low end of the Mercury line that I can use?  I have a blu-ray burner.  Although I have never built a Windows 7 machine in the past, I think that I should have the ability to assemble the components and install the OS myself.

 

Hardware Needed

Given the above, does anyone have any good suggestions for what system or components that I should buy given my budget?  I will definitely need:

Case, Power Supply, Motherboard, Memory, CPU(s), OS (Win 7 64?), ???

 

Specific Requirements:

Case:  I can go with a large workstation case or even rack mounted version (I have a standard rack).  Since workstation cases are usually less expensive, I am fine with going this route.  The case should have good air flow and needs to have at least 2 5" bays (3 would be better).  It should be easy to install internal drives into using some sort of sliding rail system like most nice cases have these days.

 

Motherboard:  I would prefer to have an on-board SATA RAID controller to run Mirroring on my OS Drive(s).  I would like to have at least 6 SATA connectors for , 2 OS drives, 3 DATA drive, 1 Optical Drive.  It should have ample USB2 connectors.  It would be nice to have firewire 400 and 800 too.  PCIexpress Expansion slots for at least one video card and possibly a capture card would also be nice.  A PCI-X 64  bit slot would be nice (I have a AJA card currently unused)  legacy PCI-32 slot as well, especially if it does not have an external firewire connection.  It could have one or two processor connections depending on what I can afford with my budget.  I'd like the board to support at least 16GB of memory, if not 32GB.  I may not be able to afford this much memory at this time, but I'd like this ability for down the road.

 

 

If I need to provide more information in order for you to help me, please let me know.  If anyone would like to provide help given my requirements, I would appreciate it.  Thanks in advance!

 
Replies 1 2 3 Previous Next
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2010 8:07 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    You might want to go to the Hardware sub-forum, and look for Harm Millaard's various articles on building the ultimate system. He goes into great detail on MoBo's, RAID controllers, video cards, HDD set-up and utilization, and CPU's. Great reading, and done in such a way, that you can rather mix-n-match for the components that you need.

     

    Good luck,

     

    Hunt

     

    PS - note that CS5 will basically be 64-bit only.

     
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    Apr 18, 2010 2:26 PM   in reply to DVDmike

    If you want to see want many of your peers are using for sucessfully running CS4 look at the top performing systems on my Premiere Pro Benchmark site.

     
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    Apr 18, 2010 3:21 PM   in reply to DVDmike
     
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    Apr 18, 2010 6:22 PM   in reply to DVDmike

    Well you make it easy for a current best suggestion for the chipset.  Currently there is only one chipset and that is the X58 Intel chipset for the current crop of Intel single processor CPU chips and for dual processor chipsets it is the 5520 chipset.

     

    Edit: Actually for the dual processor there is also a 5500 chipset.

     
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    Apr 19, 2010 1:30 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    Mike,

     

    While I agree that Supermicro motherboards are great, they also make it pretty expensive and end up way above your available budget.

     

    The economical PC in my guide is suiteable for all kind of source materials, with the exclusion of RED 4K, although if properly overclocked even that may work. The economical model fits in your budget and uses the GTX-285 video card for use of the MPE hardware capabilities of CS5. In comparison to my year old guide, the one thing I would change is the cooler to a Noctua NH-D14.

     

    Especially with a video card like the GTX-285, cooling is extremely important, because of the down-throttling of the GPU if it gets too hot while using CS5/MPE, so get a large case that offers good cooling. Choose your motherboard with care with regards to the physical position of the PCIe 16x slot and the other PCIe slots. If you use a PCIe 8x raid controller, it would be best if there is an empty slot between the video card and the raid controller, to avoid disrupting the airflow to the video card. And get a large PSU. 1000 W will suffice, 750 may be borderline.

     

    SSD's are not yet an option, they only raise the price but not the performance.

     
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    Apr 19, 2010 4:09 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    Bill Gehrke uses the i7-980X and occupies the top score in the benchmark. Keep in mind that the price is nearly 4 times higher than an i7-920. With that price difference, I would prefer to invest in better disk setup first within the available budget. Both Bill and I use massive raid configurations, but remember that just the raid controller, with cache and BBM is around $ 1200, so that takes out a huge part of your budget.

     
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    Apr 19, 2010 4:42 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    BBM = Battery Backup Module, that ensures data intergirty on the raid in case of power failure for a very short time (seconds), for longer protection use a UPS = Uninterruptible Power Supply.

     

    Both Bill and I use an Areca ARC raid controller. In my PC buying guide you will find a screenshot of my system setup with all the details near the bottom of the article. In the benchmark page, scroll to the right and in the comments column you will find the controller used.

     
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    Apr 19, 2010 6:06 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    You definitely are correct on memory requirements

     

    Here are Adobe's suggestions for memory for CS5

     

    Adobe-CS5-Memory.jpg

     

    P.S. I do not recommend the ASUS P6T7 WS Supercomputer I current have.  At least currently it has a problem in slowing down disk performance both with onboard controller and RAID controllers.  My posted good results are only repeatable if I have another specific program running in the background which is contrary to good benchmarking conditions.

     
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    Apr 19, 2010 9:41 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    I bought the P6T7 WS Supercomputer board because it sounded like a good follow-on to Harm's board.  Now (~$400 later) I wish I would have gotten the P6T WS Pro board.  Also watchout for the P6X58D boards if you plan to overclock with higher speed memory, you will be limited to using 3 memory slots if you read the fine print in the manual.

     

    DVDmike wrote:

     

      I was thinking 3GB per CPU x 4 CPU's plus 4GB for OS other programs.

     

     

     

    I assume here you mean 3 GB per core with a single CPU chip.  Microsoft and therefore Adobe do not yet support 4 CPU's in Windows 7

     
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    Apr 19, 2010 10:02 AM   in reply to Bill Gehrke

    Just to avoid confusion here:

     

    X58 chipset mobo's support 6 DIMM slots in triple channel mode. Economical use dictates 2 GB per stick, 6 x 2 GB = 12 GB memory.

     

    Dual socket mobo's have either 12 or 18 DIMM slots.

     

    Four socket mobo's are not supported

     

    Single CPU with quad cores = 4 cores, with HT = 8 cores

    Single CPU with hexa cores = 6 cores, with HT = 12 cores

     

    Dual CPU with quad cores = 8 cores, with HT = 16 cores

    Dual CPU with hexa cores = 12 cores, with HT = 24 cores

     

    Quad CPU is not supported.

     
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    Apr 19, 2010 2:02 PM   in reply to DVDmike

    You are correct, the Adobe demo was run with dual Xeon W5580's IIRC. So with HT, it shows as 16 cores.

     
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    Apr 20, 2010 6:49 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    as mentioned 16Gig of memory is not correct

    12 or 24 and that would pertain to either single or Dual CPUs.

    (sets of 3 for single, sets of 6 for dual)

     

     

    Scott

    ADK

     
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    Apr 20, 2010 10:13 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    Correct. For best performance use all the DIMM slots, so 6 for single and 12/18 for dual socket boards. If needed 3 slots may suffice on a single socket board, but 4 is not possible. It is either 3 or 6.

     
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    Apr 20, 2010 11:03 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    HI,

    on NEWER Core i7 single or Dual

    the CORRECT ram config is in sets of 3 as i stated

     

    so for single, 6, 12, 24 (not 18) or 48

    for Dual its sets of 6 (3 or 6 per CPU per bank)

    so 12, 24 48 96

     

    the memory controller is on die, and its triple channel so for correct memory this is the right way

    anything else is not correct.

    it will still work but not optimal performance

     

    Scott

    ADK

     
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    Apr 20, 2010 12:03 PM   in reply to DVDmike

    It is a good system for the budget, but not very fast. Look at the system setups here: http://ppbm4.com on the benchmark page.

     

    Problem is that overclocking is difficult and the stock clock speed is pretty low. Unless you need bit-locker functionality, better choose Win7 Pro instead of Ultimate. For memory you need 6 packs, not 4.

     
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    Apr 20, 2010 12:11 PM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    i would not touch a super micro anything..... crap warrnty and the warrnty period starts when the product ships from SM

    warehouse NOT when it ships from the vendor/disty... so you could end up with a mobo that has a 3 month warrnty...

     
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    Apr 20, 2010 1:32 PM   in reply to DVDmike

    i would not touch Asus either! as someone who builds 1000 systems a yr we dropped SM awhile ago.

    Tyan or Intel for Xeons! however i am thinking about the EVGA....

    as all new Xeons have crippled the memory bandwidth down to 1066 and the server boards have followed

    only the EVGA allows for 1333 or 1600 ram to be used...

     

    Harm is right about the CPUs

    dual CPUs only add about 35% over a single.

     

    so that puts you at a 3.4GHz...

    a 980 @ 3.33GHZ would most likely be better and over clocked it most certainly would be..

     

    where dual 5670 :-)

    something to think about.

     

    Scott

    ADK

     
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    Apr 21, 2010 1:04 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    Overclocking is time consuming to set it up, but not really difficult. Here is a guide: Overclocking the i7, a beginners guide

     

    I have asked Bill Gehrke to run the http://ppbm4.com benchmark with his i7-980X at stock speed, so you will have a good insight how fast that hexacore is in comparison to other (overclocked) i7's.

     

    Increasing memory from 12 to 24 GB is pretty expensive and may bring you over your budget and may not benefit you all that much.

     
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    Apr 21, 2010 6:11 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    i only mentioned the EVGA for a DUAL Xeon....  not for a single

    my prior experiance with EVGA was not a good one with concern for adding PCI/PCIe cards like raid (intel, Areca,) capture (decklink, Aja)

    on the X58 but this was at release time of the X58 which was well over a yr ago now.

    they may have fixed the issues. many other boards had this same issue like Intel and Foxconn (who makes Intel)

    the Intel board was the worst, even adding a Firewire card would cause it to not boot or blue screen never mind it couldnt work with Intels own raid cards LOL...

     

    i only mentioned EVGA for Dual Xeon as its the only one with overclocking ability and with the ram being locked down @ 1066 i was getting ticked

    off at Tyan and Intel. where we could run 1333 previously with the X55xx series.

    i think Eric said a bios change has fixed that again however so... Tyan is still what we use for now..or the higher end Intel board.

     

    i have not yet played with the EVGA Xeon board so please do not take this as a recommendation...

    on the other hand i despise Super Micro.

     

    as far as the Ram, Harm and a few other seem to like the OCZ. i have had a lot of issues with OCZ.

    however it cant be all blamed on OCZ. in all the yrs doing this i have never seen so many ram timing issues in my life.

    i use Mushkin redline 1600(7-8-7-24) for overclocking and blackline (8-8-8-24) for non. and the other i like is Corsair.

    but even those can have issues with certain boards bios'

     

    its all about how the modules are "tatooed" and how well the XMP profiles are programed!

    but it also has to do with the Mobo's bios

     

    its quite a balancing act now with the low voltage (1.5 or 1.65) ram and filling all the slots.

    ACPI also has a hand in controlling timings based simply on heat and or voltage use.

    so a good board with good voltage control is required.

     

    kinda funny about 4 yrs ago i remember telling my employees, "building systems is starting to get like legos, snap and go. we may be out of jobs here soon"

    things were getting easy and everything just worked.

    its worse now than ever before.

    i dread every new release of a chipset anymore.....

     

    Scott

    ADK

     
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    Apr 21, 2010 6:54 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    SLI is completely pointless for Adobe and not supported by MPE.

    barely useful for AE.

    several 3d rendering programs use it well.

     

    Scott

     
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    Apr 21, 2010 7:59 AM   in reply to DVDmike

    I tried to find out how your EVGA candidate supported those extra graphics cards.  Nothing that I found on the EVGA site explained how they accomplished this.  My experience with ASUS and their Supercomputer board is that they added two nVidia N200 chips to get the additional x16 slots.  I have no concrete evidence but my theory is that those chips are what hurts the application disk performance (as opposed to synthetic disk benchmarking) of my P6T7 WS Supercomputer board.

     
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    Apr 21, 2010 8:28 AM   in reply to Bill Gehrke

    they dont all run @ 16X with 3-4 card its 8x....

     
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    Apr 21, 2010 1:18 PM   in reply to DVDmike

    Bill tested his hexacore i7-980X at stock speed and came up with 40.6 seconds in the http://ppbm4.com benchmark test and IMO that is a pretty impressive score.

     
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    Apr 21, 2010 1:42 PM   in reply to DVDmike

    i would not do it

    the last part "20" is not jedec spec and most likely

    will cause issues, as the sub timings will be very odd.

    find something with "24" on the end. while you can manually set main timings you cant access the sub timings manually.

    nothing wrong with 8-8-8-24

    or 7-8-7-24.

     

    Scott

     
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