I've been pouring through these forums as I ready myself for a new computer for video editing -- thanks to everyone who has been contributing.
But I've been struck by the seemingly wide gap between what many here recommend (Gary/Videoguys, Scott/ADK, Harm/Master of the Universe, etc.), and the professional-level workstations offered by the likes of Dell and HP.
Based on the suggestions here, none of those machines are worth even considering -- the new Xeon processors they offer are ostensibly not as good at the i7 3930 processors that were out last year and the graphics cards they offer (e.g., Quadro) are way overpriced, and perform worse than gamer cards (e.g., GTX). And despite the apparent difference in quality, the options suggested here aren't offered at all on any Dell or HP machine I can find.
But given the reportedly close relationship between HP, Adobe, and nVidia, one would think that the workstations offered would be pretty well optimized.
So what gives? Are these companies and their engineers really so in the dark they can't figure out how to create fast systems to offer to professionals? Are they just trying to gouge the consumers by offereing slower machines? Or are the real-world differences between the machines suggested here and, say, the HP Z420, just not that dramatic to someone who isn't running benchmark tests and trying to squeeze every drop of power/speed from their machine?
>companies and their engineers really so in the dark
Engineers do not sell computers... marketing types do... based on a cost-benefit analysis of "costs X" to build and "sell for Y" amount "times Z" volume
A company like ADK fills a niche in the overall computer market... HP/Dell/Etc need to build/sell a LOT more computers to support their larger companies
If you want to buy from HP/Dell/Etc look at the benchmark first, to find out the type of hardware works best... then compare that to what HP/Dell/Etc have to sell
If you don't want to build your own, and you want a computer that is designed for video editing... http://www.adkvideoediting.com/
Here is one big reason: The big-name system OEMs have to make their relatively huge profits in order to sell more systems. The reason for such high prices and exhorbitantly high upgrade pricing is partially due to the fact that only one company officially distributes Quadros in North America (whereas there are several different companies that distributes GeForce-based cards in this country). Worse, the big-name OEMs now must pay nearly full price on some of those upgrade parts just to even stock them. As a result, the big-name OEMs sell pre-built PCs that are attractively priced in their base configurations that are often unsuitable for video editing, but then they steal you blind on the upgrades that are required to make them decent editing workstations (sometimes charging you double or triple what those exact same upgrade parts sell for at retail).
Am not sure the explanations offered above quite account for it. For example, it's possible to buy a discounted bare-bones HP system (no graphics card, minimal memory, etc.), either from HP or a third-party retailer, and then add needed components at competitive prices. So price alone can't account for it.
If you look at HP Z800 performance on the PPBM site, for example, it's usually quite poor, compared to other systems. Maybe this will improve with the latest round of Xeon processors, since the HP machines have been behind the times, for quite a while now.
Or maybe these pre-fab workstations just have deeper BIOS defects. Who knows....
Apart from the very valid remarks above, you have to take two other factors into consideration. Dell, HP, Alienware, Boxx and the like come with crippled BIOS, preventing overclocking and secondly they (especially HP) come with non-standard PSU's both in dimensions and connections, so you cannot easily upgrade the PSU to more wattage required for an improved video system.
Thanks everyone. It's just so surpising (perhaps naivly so), that given the tremendous dataset of PPBM5, for example, none of those companies would at least think "Hey, since this is what a lot of people want, we could put in an Intel i7-3930 and charge even more money for a super-fast system, even though it may cost us less to build."
It's been very confusing as a computer-competent but non-hardware-guru to wade through the morass of info out there, just trying to get a solid, reliable system that performs well without over-spending. Especially since it seemed like everyone here either built their own or had one custom built.
And since I don't do any heavy-duty stuff (just basic DSLR HD -- no RED etc.) it's hard to know if any of these differences will matter to me. (I know you guys can't answer that one.)
I've always purchased past machines from major companies, perhaps subconciously worrying about custom builds being less reliable for some reason (no backing of a big company?). The comments on this forum certainly don't support that fear.
>worrying about custom builds being less reliable for some reason (no backing of a big company?)
I think you need to change your thinking on this... my 1st video editing computer was from Alienware, before they were bought out, so was from a "small" company that was, however, BIG in their specific areas of Gaming and Video editing computers
When it was time to move up from Premiere 6 to Premiere Pro, I read and asked questions here, and built my own... when it was time to move up to 64bit PPro, ditto
If you don't want to build your own, look at ADK... they are "small" compared to HP, but BIG in video editing computers
Keep in mind that the video editing crowd is a very niche market for these companies. They rather sell 10,000 systems to companies like Exxon or Unilever, than 100 systems to videotics. In essence they are specialized in shoving boxes.
Specialized companies like ADK keep their raison-d'existence by giving exemplary service and their expertise in designing what you need for your purpose.