1 2 3 Previous Next 82 Replies Latest reply: May 9, 2010 1:49 PM by Harm Millaard RSS

    Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000

    DVDmike Community Member

      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!

        • 1. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
          the_wine_snob Community Member

          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.

          • 2. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
            Bill Gehrke MVP

            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.

            • 4. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
              DVDmike Community Member

              Harm, thanks for taking the time to post the links.

               

              This thread, http://forums.adobe.com/thread/598040 tells me quite a lot.

               

              I looked at your post written last year (http://forums.adobe.com/thread/433549) and it is very thorough.  Thank you for doing this for everyone.  There is still plenty of great information in there.  But since it is now a year later and since we are talking about CS5 and on Win7, I was hoping for more recent advise based specifically on Win 7-64 and CS5.  I really have not been computer parts shopping since before Vista came out.  So I am not up to date on what is available with motherboards, CPU's chipset's and memory.  Furthermore, there are some specific features in CS5 that I know need certain processor / video cards to work well with PPro CS5.  I want to make sure that I am buying the correct CPU/MB/VC to take advantage of these new features.  Maybe its premature for anyone to have any detailed knowledge of this just yet, but I really don't want to base my decisions  on what parts to build on my machine mostly on either older information or based on what systems run CS4 fastest.  But at this point, this may be all that I have to go on.

               

              In my prior systems, I have always built my main machines on Supermicro MB with Xeon (dual) processors. This hardware has always been very reliable but has never run PPro particularly flawlessly.  Lack of any other current information and since this is what I know the best, I might follow this formula again.  But I would like to make sure that I at least know what chip set and CPU information such as what socket is best to run CS5 best so that I can research boards and chips myself.  This first link (above) does help.

              • 5. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                Bill Gehrke MVP

                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.

                • 6. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                  Harm Millaard Community Member

                  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.

                  • 7. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                    DVDmike Community Member

                    Thanks Harm.  Since I only really needed a case, power supply MB, memory, and CPU-fan, I was thinking that I could still get away with a supermicro.  But I had not priced it out yet.

                     

                    What about using the hex-core processor with an Asus board?

                    • 8. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                      Harm Millaard Community Member

                      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.

                      • 9. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                        DVDmike Community Member

                        Thanks again Harm.  I am thinking that I may start out using the on-board RAID controller to start out with at least.  And then add better controller when I can afford to spend more money.  But what is BBM?    On the performance page, I do not see controller listed?  What controller are you using?

                         

                        For my uses, I am thinking that more CPU's with more RAM is really more important than better I/O.  I just need enough I/O for PPro to play back smoothly, where I need as much CPU / RAM as possible for After Effects.  When I render in AE, there is little I/O compared to pegging CPU's and RAM for long periods of time.  This is why I am thinking dual chip quad core or at least single chip 6 core.  But maybe I just cannot afford this yet.

                        • 10. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                          Harm Millaard Community Member

                          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.

                          • 11. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                            DVDmike Community Member

                            OK, since I use a large UPS, I don't think that I will need a BBS.  I used to have something similar when I used to have a large fiberchannel array with dozens of RAIDed drives.  But this system was used to store real-time transactional data and we could never afford loose a single byte.  I am not really too worried about the render data if I have a power outage very much when I am running the Creative suite of programs.

                            • 12. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                              Bill Gehrke MVP

                              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.

                              • 13. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                DVDmike Community Member

                                Thanks Bill.  I was thinking that I would try to afford 16GB of RAM.  I was thinking 3GB per CPU x 4 CPU's plus 4GB for OS other programs.

                                 

                                Very interesting that you would not reccomend your fast setup.

                                • 14. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                  Bill Gehrke MVP

                                  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

                                  • 15. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                    Harm Millaard Community Member

                                    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.

                                    • 16. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                      DVDmike Community Member

                                      Yes, I meant 3GB per core, not chip.  At most, I'd be getting two chips, or 8 cores.

                                       

                                      But I thought that I remember seeing 16 CPU's running in the task manager from an Adobe CS5 preview video.  I guess they could have just been hyperthreaded?

                                       

                                      In my current configuration of 2 chips, 4 cores, I have not found Hyperthreading to add anything for the Adobe suite.

                                      • 17. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                        Harm Millaard Community Member

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

                                        • 18. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                          Scott Chichelli Community Member

                                          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

                                          • 19. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                            DVDmike Community Member

                                            Scott, are you suggesting that one cannotuse 4 4GB sticks of memory for a total of 16GB of memory on a single chip quad core processor?  O,r are you saying that it makes the most economical sense to use 6 2GB sticks as Harm suggests?  And if I had a MB with TWO chips and a total of 8 cores, I could not use 8 2GB sticks?  If I cannot, please elaborate?  Thanks.

                                            • 20. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                              Harm Millaard Community Member

                                              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.

                                              • 21. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                Scott Chichelli Community Member

                                                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

                                                • 22. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                  DVDmike Community Member

                                                  Interesting.  I am glad that I asked.  Right now, I am looking at a Supermicro board with 18 memory slots and two cpu chips/sockets.  Why would they make 18 slots if you could only do 12 or 24GB?  If I filled them all up with 1GB sticks or 2GB sticks, that would be 18GB or 36GB, neither or which are in the 12/24/48 range listed?  This is really confusing me.  Should I leave 6 slots empty?

                                                   

                                                  The configuration that I am looking now is below, obviously,l will have to change  the memory based on what is being discussed.  And I still have to get a case.  I like the Lian Li PC-A77 case but I am not sure if this MB will fit the case or not.  Even with adding a case, I am still way under my $3000 budget and I am getting the serverboard with Xeon processors.  Are these components not recomended for a CS5 machine?

                                                  newegg.jpg

                                                  • 23. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                    Harm Millaard Community Member

                                                    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.

                                                    • 24. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                      Scott Chichelli Community Member

                                                      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...

                                                      • 25. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                        DVDmike Community Member

                                                        Thanks Harm, I was thinking that slower clock speeds would better than having less cores.  But I could still afford two of these:  Intel Xeon E5630 2.53GHz LGA 1366 80W Quad-Core Server Processor at $599 each and keep under my budget.  I guess that its too early to tell, but all I really need is it to run fast enough to run PPro smoothly.  I only need as much CPU speed as possible for AE renders.  Nothing else that I do would tax either system.

                                                         

                                                        Scott, as far as SuperMicro's go, I've built three of them that are still both in operation today.  My track record is that they are VERY reliable.  I often run my current machine for several consecutive  days at a time w/o turning it off.  I'm guessing that it is about 4 years old?  The other one is at least 6 years old and no problems.  The third one is a Win2000 machine, so it is even older.  Meanwhile, I have gone through both Abit and ASUS boards in this timespan.  My feeling is that Supermicro's 3 month warranty is far better than ASUS's warranty because unless the SM is DOA, it will last for a long time and the others will outlast their warrenty, but not nearly as long as a SuperMicro.

                                                        • 26. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                          Scott Chichelli Community Member

                                                          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

                                                          • 27. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                            DVDmike Community Member

                                                            OK, Scott, here is my latest configuration using the EVGA board and the hex processor.  I still need a case, but if I go with this one, I'd still be under budget.  But what about the memory that I selected.  Is 12GB the right choice with a 6 core CPU?

                                                             

                                                            That EVGA board really looks like it has everything that I could want except a 64bit PCI slot.  But it is really made for "overclockers".  I don;t know anything about overclocking and unless I really need it, I have no desire to learn.  But should this system run fine at the normal speeds?  Will it hold up?

                                                            • 28. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                              Harm Millaard Community Member

                                                              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.

                                                              • 29. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                                Scott Chichelli Community Member

                                                                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

                                                                • 30. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                                  DVDmike Community Member

                                                                  Scott, I don't even see any Dual Xeon boards on EVGA's web site?  Although I do see people reviewing it.  Outside of any Adobe users' experiences, I'd be willing to give the EVGA that I have listed a try.  My prior experience would appear to confirm the assumption that dual CPU sockets are not as useful as more cores.

                                                                   

                                                                  On another note, this board supports SLI.  Since I run two monitors, is there any reason for me to use two video cards in SLI mode for editing video?  I do not play games and I am happy with my single 285 card running two DVI displays now.

                                                                  • 31. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                                    Scott Chichelli Community Member

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

                                                                    barely useful for AE.

                                                                    several 3d rendering programs use it well.

                                                                     

                                                                    Scott

                                                                    • 32. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                                      DVDmike Community Member

                                                                      Thanks Scott, that is what I figured about SLI.

                                                                      • 33. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                                        Bill Gehrke MVP

                                                                        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.

                                                                        • 34. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                                          Scott Chichelli Community Member

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

                                                                          • 35. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                                            Harm Millaard Community Member

                                                                            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.

                                                                            • 36. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                                              DVDmike Community Member

                                                                              In paying more attention to the timings, It looks like I can get 7-8-7-20 at 1.65 volts of Cosair memory (6x2GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

                                                                               

                                                                              the part is CMX6GX3M3C1600C7if you want ot look at it.

                                                                               

                                                                              My original memory config was 8-8-8-24.  So for a total of $50 extra, I could get the 7-8-7-20.  Is this extra speed worth the $50?

                                                                              • 37. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                                                Scott Chichelli Community Member

                                                                                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

                                                                                • 39. Re: Building the best CS5 Windows machine for $3000
                                                                                  DVDmike Community Member

                                                                                  I really liked this case, Lian-Li PC-A77B, but it has been discontinued and no one appears to have it in stock anymore.  Can anyone recomend a good full tower EATX case with good air flow, cable management, easy drive cage / drive installation?

                                                                                  1 2 3 Previous Next