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What PC to buy?

May 31, 2010 10:08 AM

I want a basic workstation to run CS5 for under $3000.

I don't have the confidence or time to build a PC from scratch but I can install disk drives.

I have always bought Dells and had great luck with them.

This time I think I need to go somewhere else.

I would like to go online, pickout a PC, and then install CS5 when I get it.

Where can I go to get this machine?

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 31, 2010 10:25 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    The basics

     

    Intel i7 920 or faster

    At least 6 Gig DDR3 memory (and with 6 memory slots so you may upgrade to 12 Gig)

    Windows 7 64bit PRO (you don't need Ultimate)

    You do NOT need a large hard drive for Windows and software... 320 Gig or less

    Approved nVidia graphics card to use hardware MPE... that list is somewhat fluid and expanding, and there is a HACK to make cards not on the list work with CS5 MPE, so read those discussions

     

    You then add 2 more hard drives... one for Windows page file and CS5 temporary files and one for video files

     

    What I built is at http://www.pacifier.com/~jtsmith/ADOBE.HTM

     

    If you are going to edit HiDef, you should read Harm's discussions on RAID... I am going to edit AVCHD, which is said to be CPU intensive but not "as much" data speed demand as other HD formats, so I don't have a RAID setup

     
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    May 31, 2010 11:20 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    I build my own, so you will have to visit vendor websites and find out what they offer in various configurations... Dell, HP, Acer all build good computers

     

    The University where I work used to buy only Dell (and Mac for people who wanted that type) and now only buys from Acer

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 2, 2010 1:00 PM   in reply to Francis Breen

    The only Dells I've been able to find with close to the specs above are in their Alienware gaming line, and the price is close to your target of $3000 (not including monitor).  But the same machine assembled by my local vendor is about $2200.  There are also other websites, such as mwave, that let you pick your components and they will assemble and test for you and in many cases this would cost even less.

     

    Dells used to be a great value; I've bought dozens over the years for business and personal use.  But now I think they are way behind the technology and ridiculously overpriced to boot.  Their top of the line workstations still use Dual-Core Xeons, not even Quads.  You could look at the XPS 9000, which you could configure to come come close and add a new video card and additional hard drives once you got it.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 2, 2010 2:42 PM   in reply to Francis Breen

    If you have three drives, C:, D: and E:

     

    OS and Programs go on C:

    Projects and assets go on D:

    Everything else goes on E:

     

    When the project is done and archived, just reformat D and E.

     
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    Jun 2, 2010 4:52 PM   in reply to Francis Breen

    Project:  Your Project file

    Asset:  Captured/Imported source video, graphics and audio

     

    I'd say 7200 rpm drives are the minimum.  I use a 10K Velociraptor for my OS drive.  Others use SSDs for their OS, which are even faster but pricey.

     

    A fast RAID for your work drives will help considerably, but not on your budget.  My Workdrive is 7 x 1TB in RAID3, and my backup/archive/render drive is 4x2TB in R3 as well.

     
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    Jun 11, 2010 11:46 PM   in reply to Francis Breen

    Well, you could do that, but then you'd be reading from and writing to the same disk if everything's on D.  Better to be reading from D and writing to E, so your previews, rendered files, scratch disks and encoded files would all go on E.

     

    My "Workdisk" D is a 7 x 1TB RAID3 array, upon which everything goes, including the project file.  Everything stays in one folder and it's still really fast.  I have another, 4 x 2TB RAID3 array (E) upon which everything gets backed up at night.  Then I have another variety of disks, all SATA, for archiving and other purposes (music and video storage, downloaded software and updates, all the other junk).  All together I have about 25TB of disk space on 6 or 7 "drives."  That's nothing compared to what Harm has, but you can never have too much disk space, too fast.

     
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    Jun 12, 2010 10:07 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    When you are reading and writing to the same disk -- as you are when rendering -- you are trying to move massive amounts of data in both directions up and down a very small pipe, and your read/write heads on a single disk have way too much work to do at one time.  By splitting this up you can get better performance and smoother playback for previews.  But it's not a deal breaker.

     

    Others who know more about this than I do can comment more on the technical matters.  But it's usually recommended to run a very large, very fast RAID or have separate reading and writing disks.  Even with powerful processors and plenty of RAM, people often run into bottlenecks on the disk drive subsystem.  There are some excellent articles written by Harm Millaard on this subject right here in the Premiere forums -- search them out and read them.  You will be glad you did.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2010 9:29 PM   in reply to Francis Breen

    Something else you could consider:  If your drive bays are hot-swappable or even just easily accessed, just wait until each fills up and put it on the shelf when it does, replacing it with a new drive.  2TB drives are now in the $100 range; I just bought 5 Hitachis from NewEgg for $109 each after rebate.  I have one of those hot swap drive bays that look like a toaster and now archive my entire project folder, including final renders and BD/DVD masters, on Hard Drives which then go back in their shipping boxes and sit on the shelf.  I actually back up to two drives, because they're so cheap now they're cheaper per GB than tape.

     

    Of course, waiting until a drive fills up will adversely affect its performance, so here's what I'd do:  E as workdrive, F as Backup and G as Archive.  As each project is completed, move its entire file folder to G and when that fills up, swap it out for a new drive.  Backup current projects to F nightly.

     

    There are as many ways to do this as there are PCs -- all depends on what works best for you.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 17, 2010 8:51 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    flbreen wrote:

     

    1. Can I add more hard drives?

    2. Could you give me a link to buy the graphics card you specified?

    3. What DVD burner would you recommend?

    4. Are there at least 2 Firewire connections available in this system?

    5. Could you explain what you mean with the statement:

        Win2k & Premiere 6 & Pinnacle Dv500 via dual boot with Windows 7

    6. Does the case have a compact flash card port?

    7. What supplies and tools do I need to build this system?


    1 you may add as many hard drives as there are case slots and power supply connections (make sure you have a power supply that will run everything) AND there are enough SATA connections on the motherboard you select... go to the motherboard vendor and read specifications to find out how many of what you may connect

     

    2 the GTX 285 is no longer sold... do a forum search for GTX 480

     

    3 I like Pioneer, but pretty much any modern drive will work... read the reviews for the particular drive before you buy... I like buying from newegg since they have user reviews with each product

     

    4 see #1 about reading the specifications at the motherboard vendor... and also read the case specifications at that vendor site

     

    5 if you have a Pinnacle DV500 you need to dual boot since the DV500 requires Premiere 6x to operate... if you don't have a DV500... ignore

     

    6 the case I use has USB and eSata... so to read the SD memory card from my Canon Vixia, I bought an adapter that accepts the SD card and then connects to the computer via USB

     

    7 philips screwdriver and nimble fingers and good eyesight

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 17, 2010 3:42 PM   in reply to Francis Breen

    flbreen wrote:

    1. Did you build the PC you specified in your article?    And does it work well with CS5?

     

    2. I assume with this mobo I can have 5 hard drives and one DVD?

     

    Onboard USB
    Onboard USB3 x USB connectors support additional 6 USB ports
    Onboard 1394
    Onboard 13941 x 1394a

     

    3. The mobo has rear panel ports and the above onboard ports.

        What would I have to do to use the Onboard USB and Firewire ports?

     

    4. I assume you are using the onboard audio processor instead of adding a sound card?

     

    5. The specified power supply has 8 SATA Power Connectors.

        I assume that is good enough for my 5 hard drives and 1 DVD drive.

     

    Thanks again


    1 - yes and yes

    My CS5/AVCHD 1st Impressions http://forums.adobe.com/thread/652694?tstart=0
    and more at http://forums.adobe.com/thread/653789?tstart=0

     

    2 - mix as you will, up to the limit of motherboard connections... you may also use an IDE DVD drive, as I do

     

    3 - connect onboard ports to the cable that come in the case and which leads to ports included in the case

     

    4 - yes

     

    5 - should work just fine... again, my DVD drive runs on IDE and uses one of the old style power connections

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 18, 2010 8:06 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    That all looks good to me... do read Harm's new article http://forums.adobe.com/thread/662972?tstart=0 for disk setup

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 18, 2010 8:25 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    Please see this new post regarding motherboards.

     

    http://forums.adobe.com/message/2907123#2907123

     

    I am awaitng more info regarding the issue mentioned in that post.

     

    Rowby

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 18, 2010 10:20 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    Hi, Francis,

    Maybe you are considering to look at www.ibuypower.com. This is gamers PC site. But if you will put some knowledge to it, you can get some good editing machine for good buck.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 18, 2010 11:05 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    Francis--

     

    Note that formatting and defragging are not the same thing, and nothing in your proposed setup would prevent you from doing either.

     

    My D drive (workdrive) is a 7 x 1TB RAID3, and when I need to clean it up I just do a quick format after everything has been archived elsewhere.  Or you could just delete and rebuild the RAID -- although this does take a couple of days to do.

     

    And Harm has previously mentioned the poor-man's quick defrag:  just copy everything over to another drive, do a quick reformat on the original drive, and then copy back.  You could probably just delete everything on the original drive and it'd work the same (maybe certain hidden files wouldn't get cleaned up, though).

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 27, 2010 5:45 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    If you want a card reader and have a spare 5 1/4 inch or 3.5 inch slot see this Newegg page

    This will also potentially be a good place to connect your IEEE-1394 cable from the motherboard.

    There are a number of people that are using Perfect Disk.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 27, 2010 10:47 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    Hi,

     

    the firewire & usb bracket usually comes with the mobo, the last 2 asus mobo i have had came included.

     

    Baz

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 5, 2010 10:05 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    Just check the cables. I had to install a new mobo recently, took the whole case to the shop, exchanged the mobo there, tested it and everything worked nicely. Drove home and my raid was degraded. During the drive one of the cables came loose.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 29, 2010 7:13 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    Why are you transferring big files with USB?  Tell us how many processes you do have running.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 29, 2010 11:31 AM   in reply to Francis Breen

    Francis, on the processes you did not check "Show All" at the bottom.  It appears that you may have an AntiVirus program running.  That might cause a slowdown.  Do you have indexing turned off on your PC drive?  Do you have more than one drive on your PC?

     
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