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What PC to build?

Mar 17, 2010 5:27 AM

  Latest reply: Harm Millaard, Jun 21, 2012 1:58 PM
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 2, 2010 9:19 AM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    Harm Millaard wrote:

     

    Jay,

     

    In your next system you can still profit from the memory you buy now, by just moving it to your next machine and reinstalling what you currently have. It is a wise decision IMO.

     

    Hi Harm,

     

    Actually, I need to clarify that from what I can tell this isn't necessarily the case. This HP z400 takes "unbuffered, with ECC." I haven't noticed any major mobo or CPU components that I'd likely use in a DIY machine that would take those specs. It seems to be unique to HP for some reason. (When I look up the manufacturer's cross-reference on the Kingston memory, for instance, the only OEM reference they show is that it's made to fit in "HP" machines.)

     

    So, unless I'm missing something, I'd be making the investment for this HP z400 machine only.

     

    Of course, until today, I thought this machine might be plenty ample for me for quite some time. I "thought" it was pretty close to what I was looking at building myself with an ASUS mobo and an i7-930. It has a Xeon 3520 and triple-channel RAM.

     

    Now... I have no idea how short I fall of that fantasy with this machine. Sounds like you really feel I should still be looking at building a new machine as soon as possible. I'm not exactly clear on why. But, well... sigh. Live and learn.

     

    A new DIY machine would be the same except for the CPU and mobo. And of course wouldn't have the many "constraints" of the HP machine.

     

    If you still feel that's worth building, then the question is whether this z400 is worth putting 12GB into for the 2-3 months or so I'll still be using it, and whether it's worth keeping the z400 as a second machine for a part-time production assistant. (I can always build a machine for the production assistant, too, and turn the z400 into a general business machine, which it obviously should do fine for.)

     

    Thanks again!

     

    Jay

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 2, 2010 9:29 AM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    Man, I just realized that if I'm right that the HP machine takes a RAM that has specs that are "exclusive" to HP, well, that's yet one more insane constraint that makes HP machines that much less attractive.

     

    I'm convinced.

     

    So, now that I've learned a great lesson for the future, I'm still hoping you can please share your opinion on my preceding question until I have more cash for building a new machine.

     

    Of course, $750 could go significantly towards a new machine.

     

    I just want to get back to work for now, though, really. I have been suffering downtime too long. So, either way, a new machine will have to go gradually.

     

    So, add the 12GB or stay with... 6GB triple-channel or 8GB dual-channel?

     

    Thanks again!

     

    Jay

     
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    Aug 2, 2010 9:33 AM   in reply to JayNewWeb

    "Okay, I appreciate that... thought that's kind of one of those non-answer anwers, isn't it? I know it's a subjective thing, of course, but it can't be that illusive of a question."

     

    Unfortunately this is why so many people don't know what they need or is required with HD. There are 8 ot 9 codecs that are predominantly used now days and each one has it's own optimal requirements. Add on this how long your standard projects are, frame rate/resolution of material most of the time, how many layers you normally deal with, how much work is done in AE or another similar program, and the type of delivery most commonly used. Based on the info you gave, the only sure upgrade that covers most or all of those is 12GB of ram. Mind you with some material and AE that will not be enough. With almost everything in Premiere though that will give you optimal performance. So yes that is my answer. 12 GB of ram is the first place I would start and yes that system is worth it to keep an investment already made in production. Remember that can always become a render box later for longer projects if you get another system.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Aug 2, 2010 9:43 AM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    Eric,

     

    Thanks so much. I hugely appreciate it.

     

    I don't know if and when I'll ever get into HD.

     

    I mainly output to the web and DVD at present. It's mainly marketing, training, and fund-raising presentations. Though, of course, I never know how much more we'll advance.

     

    I have a video guru out-of-state who I FTP or send files to on an external hard drive who processes our work with AE to improve on it and I believe our next plan is for him to set me up with some automated processes and workflow to do with AE no my end, but I don't expect (based on my very limited knowledge) that it will be the kind of work taxing a 12GB setup. We adjust lighting or color balance or whatever it would be called, key out the chroma-key screen and replace it with an image, and so forth. We will also be getting into a little 3D and some animation, which will be mostly done on his system.

     

    I assume you wouldn't be over concerned from this minimal input I've been able to provide so far that I'd be running into problems with 12GB, correct?

     

    Thanks again!

     

    Jay

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 2, 2010 9:50 AM   in reply to JayNewWeb

    Yes 12GB will be more than enough for SD and that type of work likely wont push the system in AE with SD material. That will also set the system for when you make the transition to HD and then you can look at your AE workflow requirements for ram again then.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Aug 2, 2010 10:01 AM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    Sounds good.

     

    I assume when you say it can become a "render box" later when I get another system, you also/mainly mean "encoding" box. I am still learning the lingo but when I ask about whether the GTX-470 and MPE will save me time on those long exports to AVI and so forth, I'm told it only helps with render but not encoding and that those long time-consuming processes are encoding. I assume we're just getting into sematics here and that I'd use a secondary machine for those long processes like export to AVI? Or is that not exactly right? (I will, of couse, have to copy files across the LAN first, and then back.)

     

    Jay

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 2, 2010 10:07 AM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    Guys, I have half an hour to decide on the 12GB of RAM now (if I want it in time for installing CS5 tomorrow), or whether to wait a little while. Based on what I'm doing, will I suffer much if I stay with 6GB or 8GB a little while? I'm seeing varied opinions. Some say that even at 6GB or 8GB I could see some serious compromises with some of the work I'm doing and that 12GB will be substantially faster/better overall. But one respected advisor says to "try it" with the 6GB or 8GB and just look at the CPU utilization in Task Manager to see if most of my processes are even using most of that 6GB or 8GB or not.

     

    Sorry to press the issue but right now balancing my time while working and deciding on the little bit of money are both important priorities at the moment.

     

    What to you think?

     

    Jay

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 2, 2010 10:10 AM   in reply to JayNewWeb

    Yes Render Box meant render/encode. Many editors have run into time sink issues with regards to exporting long projects and having to start editing new ones immediately. Having a system to offload that time intensive encoding to another system is the work around for that so an editor can start another project immediately.

     

    CS5 will only allocate to ram what is available. It will still function as intended with 6 or 8GB of ram. It just wont encode as fast when you export or will limit your realtime playback. The only way for you to see the difference is to have the 12GB installed after you run the 6 or 8GB. It never hurts to try the current config first and see if it meets your needs as long as you can get the ram later.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 2, 2010 11:48 AM   in reply to JayNewWeb

    Jay, here is something that I have been working on for our PPBM conclusions web pages.  This is not the final version as I have to do some double checking.  I will let you make your own conclusions.  I cannot of course guarantee it will hold true with your setup.

     

    Sorry about that I found I labeled it wrong check back in a couple of minutes

     

    OK here is the corrected picture

    CPU-Memory-MPEG.png

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 2, 2010 11:52 AM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    Thanks, Bill, that's very informative, and consistent with what I've been told by an expert today by phone, too. That is worth getting the additional RAM to me.

     

    So, if I may please ask, until I go to 12GB, are you in the camp that says I'm better off with 6GB in triple-channel mode or 8GB in dual-channel? (I own four 2GB sticks right now and there are four slots.)

     

    Jay

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 2, 2010 12:18 PM   in reply to JayNewWeb

    I am sorry to say that I have never tested 2-channel versus 3-channel so for what is worth my opinion is you should expect more bandwidth from the three channel.  Is it worth the extra money, I do not know.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2010 7:16 AM   in reply to Bill Gehrke

    i would add that tri vs dual would look pretty much like your graph (nice BTW)

     

    only transpose the 6 gig for dual channel and the 12 gig for tri.

    its about a 15% decrease in performance for pro apps. (regardless of what some hardware reviews site may have said)

     

    Eric? you concur?

     

    Scott

     

    ADK

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2010 8:48 AM   in reply to Scott Chichelli

    In 8GB dual channel configurations, I have seen benchmarks ranging from 13GB/s to 16GB/s for bandwidth depending on the ram speed. That is rather significant since 12GB Tri-channel configs benchmark ranging from 21GB/s to 28GB/s depending on the ram speed and whether you have a 32nm cpu or a 45nm cpu. Intel changed memory controllers in the 32nm production and the memory bandwidth performance dropped by a decent amount.

     

    Revised: I finally was able to benchmark the new I7 970 and the memory bandwidth is 26.4GB/s which is closer to the 45nm cpu's than the 980X has been. Evidently there is been some change to the memory controller Intel is using on that cpu versus the other 32nm cpu's previously. After reviewing our current 980X cpu's and their benchmarks for this current batch, the Ram Bandwidth is consistently 26GB/s versus the 24.5GB/s we were seeing from the 980X with DDR3 1600 since it released. Looks like Intel made some changes overall to the 32nm memory controllers.

     

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2010 2:41 PM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    I'm back to my original question: I have a machine that supports triple-channel. It has four memory slots. It came with 4 x 2GB for 8GB. Until I spring for 12GB of RAM consisting of 3 x 4GB, I want to decide whether I'm better off "removing" the fourth memory stick to bring it down to 3 x 2GB for 6GB that will run in triple-channel mode, or whether I should leave that fourth stick in so I have 8GB running in dual-channel mode.

     

    I know it depends on what I'm doing. I'm doing relatively simple videos in Premier Pro, outputting to AVI, maybe processing in Virtual Dub, converting AVI to FLV in Squeeze, and using Encore to create DVD images.

     

    I have a couple votes saying to go with the 8GB. Maybe I should leave it at that. I'm double-checking partly because the HP tech who was helping me felt pretty strongly that 6GB (or 12GB) and thus triple-channel might make the machine run more stable. I don't know where he got that. He seemed to have read or heard somewhere that the particular system I have had some issues when not running in triple-channel mode. It may have just been his long-shot way of reaching to find a reason that I was getting system freezes before we replaced all the hardware and it went away.

     

    It seems I should probably stay with 8GB in dual channel until I can go to 12GB in triple channel. Agreed?

     

    Thanks.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2010 2:50 PM   in reply to JayNewWeb

    Hey Jay,

     

    why dont you find out for yourself.

    do a short (10 minute or so)

    AVI to FLV and a mpeg

    do it with both the 6 and the 8 gig...

     

    Scott

    ADK

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2010 3:05 PM   in reply to JayNewWeb

    JayNewWeb wrote:

     

    I'm back to my original question: I have a machine that supports triple-channel. It has four memory slots..

    Jay this confuses me.  Any machine that truly supports triple channel will have six slots.  Specifically what motherboard are we talking about here?  I do not know of any motherboard that has triple channel and only has four slots.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2010 3:19 PM   in reply to Bill Gehrke

    You can thank Intel for that ram slot config and yes it still supports Tri Channel. Look at Intel's current X58 board. It only has 4 slots. They don't manufacturer their boards though. A certian city in China does that is known by the company's name

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2010 3:27 PM   in reply to Bill Gehrke

    For some reason it will not let me edit my posting above

     

    I just went back and found this document that makes it look like there may be two series of motherboards in the z400.  One with only four memory slots and one with 6 memory slots.

     

    If this is truly the case then you can use three four GB memory modules BUT of course you will not be getting triple channel bandwidth.  And I suspect that you would be better off using 4,4,2,2 configuration rather than 4,4,4,0.  Besides it would be cheaper for only buying 2 each 4 GB modules

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2010 3:56 PM   in reply to Bill Gehrke

    Eric, I did as you suggested and now I am more confused than ever as to what would be the best solution.  I think only testing would give the answer.  That asymetrical memory arraingement with two slots on one channel and two single slots for the other two channels is got me thoughly confused.

     

    Jay forget any suggestions I may have ventured.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2010 5:40 PM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    Just to be clear, I'm pretty certain HP is telling me that using 3 equal sticks in here puts it into triple-channel mode. MemTest86+ is reporting the board as triple-channel, too. I "think" the HP diagnostic reported it that way as well. (Maybe those are just reporting the CPU?)

     

    Yes, I know that seems odd for a motherboard with four memory slots. I was very confused about that at first, too.

     

    This is why I feel it may not be such a bad system. And in addition to supporting triple-channel memory, it has an 8-thread Xeon (as opposed to the 4-thread Xeon that was in my previous HP workstation).

     

    Maybe that odd four-slot board configuration that supports triple-channel operation when using three memory modules is where there are "imperfections" and why the HP tech suggested staying with three modules and triple-channel operating mode. (I will try to ask if him when he works tomorrow evening.)

     

    Jay

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2010 11:48 PM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    FYI, I just ordered the 12GB.

     

    I'm glad I took the time to inquire here and you did your best to help me out... because the price dropped about 20% at CDW since I first asked about it a few days ago.

     

     

    For what it's worth, a tech suggested to me yesterday that there is something to be said for getting a "kit" consisting of the three modules together, even if it does cost a little more, rather than buying three of what is sold as one single module. I don't know how much there is to the reasoning but maybe it makes a little sense.

     

    I've heard in the past that it's best to get all your memory from the same manufacturer just to ensure that much more consistency between modules.

     

    Well, this tech believes that the major memory manufacturers, when selling a three-module "kit" for triple-channel use, are going a step further and making sure the three modules come from the same production batch to even further ensure consistency.

     

    Who knows. Just thought I'd share.

     

    (I must have bought the line of thinking. I sprang for the three-module kit that costs a bit more.)

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 4, 2010 6:30 AM   in reply to JayNewWeb

    The boards that have 4 slots support Tr- Channel just like the 6 slot boards. You just can only use 3 slots. Tri Channel is really decided by the CPU and not the board since the memory controller now resides there. The only reason the memory has any bearing on this is simply the amount of ram you put in. Now Memory manufacturers also adjust sub timings on the memory to better ensure functionality based on whether the kits will be packaged as dual or tri kits. This does not mean you can't buy the dual kits and put them on a Tri Channel system. It just means you will have a higher chance of having issues with the ram working together. The HP tech you spoke to is correct and that board does support Tri channel.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Aug 4, 2010 9:40 AM   in reply to John T Smith

    John

     

    Thanks for al the info.

    I built the system you specified except that my PC has 5 disks (4x1TB disks rinnung Raid5).

    It works better than the Dell pictured aside of it.

    I believe I dammaged the main board when I transported the completed PC to my home from where it was assembled.

    I guess with that big cpu cooler this PC should not be moved (in an automobile) once assembled.

    Also with that huge GPU card a larger case would be helpful.

    It produces MP4 files very quickly from a Premiere Sequence.

    I am having trouble with Premiere Tape Capture.

    I guess I will have to shut off all file indexing under W7.

    There is also a strange problem if I pull out the head phones the sound shuts down until I restart Premiere.

     

    Thanks

    Frank Breen

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 4, 2010 10:04 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    Do you have speakers plugged as well? If the headphones are the only output plugged into the onboard sound on Win 7 and you pull them, then Win 7 changes the default audio output to the digital outs. If you have speakers plugged in then Win 7 will change the outputs to where the speakers are plugged into. You have to change the outputs in Premiere to reflect the change or restart Premiere to initialize the audio output change.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Aug 4, 2010 10:32 AM   in reply to ECBowen

    I have a speaker system plugged into the audio outs on the main board - no sound card.

    On my Dell PG (Vista) when I pull out the head phones from the front of the computer a little noet comes on the screen telling me that an audio device has been plugged or unplugged.

    On the Dell PC the head phones shut off the speakers but I can put them in and out without any disruption.

    Pulling out the head phones seems to disrupt Premiere.

    I think that sometimes I cannot play any video on Premiere unitll I restart Premiere.

     
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    Aug 4, 2010 3:08 PM   in reply to Francis Breen

    That is because Premiere attempts to sync the audio to the video. If the audio device changes as far as Premiere is detecting then it has to reinitialize that device before it can continue. You will see this as well sometimes if you have an audio interface that also supports the Asio driver standard. If you switch from WDM to Asio or vice versa sometimes you have to restart the application. You can first go under preferences though and check what you audio device is currently set to and change it and then change the output mapping. That normally works with Adobe but not always. The easiest way is just to restart the application if it doesn't.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Aug 4, 2010 2:49 PM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    This thread has been *extremely* helpful. Thanks all!

     

    After years of using Premiere elsewhere, I am looking to have a NLE setup at home. I'm 90% sure I'll be buying Premiere Pro CS5, but am still considering the options. For me editing video is a serious hobby, not a profession.

     

    Building a system from scratch is intimidating, so I went to HP's site and looked at options. Any comments on this setup as a starting place? More disks etc would be added later.

     

    HP Pavilion Elite HPE-380t ($1300)

     

    • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
    • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-930 quad-core [2.8GHz, 1MB L2 + 8MB shared L3 cache]
    • 9GB DDR3-1066MHz SDRAM [5 DIMMs]
    • 1TB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
    • 1.8GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 260 [2 DVI, HDMI and VGA adapters]
    • LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
    • Integrated sound
     
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    Aug 4, 2010 7:04 PM   in reply to namelessmike

    Something must be wrong with that memory spec. How could you have 9 GB in 5 DIMM's?  Or is this another HP unique design or is it a typo?

     

    Find out how many disk drives you can have in it and what the power supply rating is.

     

    What media are you going to edit on this computer?

     

    CS5 requires an absolute minimum of two drives and that may be marginal.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 5, 2010 10:32 AM   in reply to Bill Gehrke

    >>How could you have 9 GB in 5 DIMM's?

     

    Perhaps 4 x 2GB + a 1GB stick?

     
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    Aug 5, 2010 11:34 AM   in reply to Bill Gehrke

    Bill: Thanks for the quick feedback. No typo; claims to have 9GB, no idea how exactly. Will only take 2 drives and power supply only 460 watts. Back to the drawing board for me....

     
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    Aug 5, 2010 12:19 PM   in reply to namelessmike

    Good Idea Mike!

     
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    Aug 5, 2010 7:16 PM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    I am building my first pc and actually switching from Mac to pc.... 'oh the irony'. I intend to build my rig around around the

    Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition Gulftown 3.33GHz 6 x 256KB L2 Cache 12MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor BX80613I7980X

    and nvidia geforce  gtx 480 or the quadro 1800

    I would love to know why one graphics is better than the other.

    I would like to stick a mobo with usb3.0 and ieee 1394b(fw800)

    i would like at least 8gb(or12?) of fast ram

    I cant find the mother that would work for this set up and I do not know enough about ram to decide?

    can anyone give me some pointers

    I am going to overclock

    I will be using this computer to edit hd in cs5 and would like it to be super fast

    I will also be taking full advantage of lightroom and photoshop and would love to be able to expand into cool special effect even though I do not know how to do that yet. I will be using cs5 and avid Xpress but NO gaming!

    Thanks

     
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    Aug 5, 2010 9:33 PM   in reply to Joshua Sweeny

    I am a newbie at designing high performance PCs but after assembling one designed by someone else I recommend a bigger case than I used.

    The CM Storm Scout case that I use was adequate but with a bigger box it would have been easier to get SATA cables around the GPU card.

    I recommend 5 drives (4x1TB) in Raid 5 and one for the operating system and CS5.

    I damaged my  new working PC by transporting it home in my automobile.

    I suggest assembling it in the same place that it will be used.

    There is an article in the August Videomaker Magazine on the Cerise 12 core PC $8000.

    They show the case and and I liked the extra room it has over my Scout case.

    I know the the 6 core CPU cost $1000 and my 4 core CPU is under $300.

    I am wondering if you will get $700 better performance.

     
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    Aug 6, 2010 5:05 AM   in reply to Joshua Sweeny

    1.  You will not find (to my knowledge) a PC motherboard that has IEEE-1394b, only 1394a.  Why would you even want the 1394 b?

    2. You have not told us you intended input and output formats, that makes a big difference

    3.  I would not consider anything less than 12 GB and if your primary output is MPEG and you use Photoshop you should start with 24 GB.  For high overclocking you want DDR3-1600

    4. Do not get a Quadro 1800 as it is way to expensive and is not a current Fermi card.

    5. Plan on lots of disks and a good RAID card

    6. Read the many threads in these hardware forums especially all of Harm's great ones on new design.

     

    One of the better large very flexible cases is this one.

     

    Take a look at successful builds of CS5 machines at my benchmarking site

     

    Message was edited by: Bill Gehrke

     
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    Aug 6, 2010 6:25 AM   in reply to Joshua Sweeny

    "I will be using cs5 and avid Xpress but NO gaming!"

     

    What version of Avid do you have? Have you upgraded to Media Composer?

     

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Aug 6, 2010 7:21 AM   in reply to Bill Gehrke

    Bill Gehrke wrote:

     

    1.  You will not find (to my knowledge) a PC motherboard that has IEEE-1394b, only 1394a.  Why would you even want the 1394 b?

     

     

    On the subject of FW800: The machine that ADK is currently building for me has FW800 ports which I requested to support my Lexar UDMA CF card readers. All of my photos and videos are recorded to CF cards and speed of injesting large amounts of footage is important to me. I'd be interesting in suggestions anyone might have for a better way of accessing CF cards since the future of FW800 is problematic, but I see myself using CF cards for many years to come. Thanks.

     
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    Aug 6, 2010 7:28 AM   in reply to Taverino

    The next revision of card readers will be USB 3 I am sure instead of E-Sata especially with the new laptop shells starting to release with onboard USB 3 ports. However the speed will still be limited by the media which even class 10 devices still only transfer at 30MB/s regardless of the max interface speed.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Aug 6, 2010 7:56 AM   in reply to Bill Gehrke

    I want iee1394b(800) because within the next year firewire 3200 will be out and I work at home and at school. I use avid in both places and they use Mac pro where I am gonna use pc, I will keep stuff on external hd if I need to move it back and forth.

     
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    Aug 6, 2010 8:08 AM   in reply to Joshua Sweeny

    Firewire 3200 is coming down the pipe and in contrast to USB 3.0, the 3200 will be backwards compatible with all 800 port devices. On top of that is the premise that the software will be the only needed to change the speed, not the hardware. So you can keep saying that firewire is going away but it is simply not true. It is more stable and a lot of people, especially those who have stuck with mac over the years will still use it. I am all for usb 3.0 but I would like my options to remain open. I found one here but I do not know if it is compatible with everything I have in mind

     

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131648&nm_mc= AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=105 21304&PID=3891137&SID=194r0

     
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    Aug 6, 2010 8:21 AM   in reply to Joshua Sweeny

    "Firewire 3200 is coming down the pipe and in contrast to USB 3.0, the 3200 will be backwards compatible with all 800 port devices."

     

    I am not sure where you heard USB 3 is not backwards compatible but you are incorrect. It is like all previous versions of USB.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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