10 Replies Latest reply on Jul 30, 2012 9:41 AM by jamesp2

    I need help on choosing a workstation.

    scottzock Level 1

      I am getting more serious into video, and I want the most powerful workstation I can get with a budget of $2,000. I am working with Premiere Pro CS5 and After Effects CS5. I am using 1080p footage from the Canon Rebel T2i. Obviously, I want to go Dell. I am completly new and here are the things that I think I at least need in the computer:


      - 3rd generation i7 proccessor (3.9 Ghz)

      - 16 GB of RAM

      - 2 TB harddrive

      - at least 20" monitor (Looking for a double monitor setup)


      Thanks for reading. Any help is appreciated.


        • 1. Re: I need help on choosing a workstation.
          Jeff Bellune Level 6

          [Moved to Hardware Forum]

          • 2. Re: I need help on choosing a workstation.
            Harm Millaard Level 7

            Obviously, I want to go Dell. I am completly new


            Well, that shows based on the two statements above.


            Dell is great IF you can find a computer that is well suited for video editing, but like all major brands, Dell, HP, Alienware, Boxx and the like, those chances are very slim, because they don't understand video editing. The consequence is that you need to modify their standard boxes and add component A and component B for the most ridiculous prices, they steal you blind. Since you have a limited budget, Dell is not an option.


            Start with reading Adobe Forums: What PC to build? An update... and all the other FAQ articles.

            • 3. Re: I need help on choosing a workstation.
              Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

              First thing you should do is become familiar with Harm and my Premiere Pro BenchMark to see what configurations are suitable.  If you notice the Dell's and HP's do not do very well unless you generally upgrade them significantly which can run very expensive.  I would suggest you give Eric at ADK a call and see if he can comfortably configure a system for you.  They are experts and give you lifetime support.

              • 4. Re: I need help on choosing a workstation.
                lasvideo Level 4

                Actually Scott. HP knows quite a bit about editing. They have designed their Z series of workstations in conjunction with Adobe and Nvidia. They are used in a wide range of video businesses (entertainment, medicine, design). The high powered HP Z820 system I just purchased (with 27% discount on the computer as well as others on the home service  option) matched the cost of the mom and pop vendors I also researched. Don't let anyone try to scare you into only considering turnkey operations. You do get more personalized service from folks like ADK if you prefer to go in that direction.


                Lots of folks at this forum are into building their own system. Others, like me. have been editors in the professional world and prefer NOT to build their own systems. Im an editor not a computer geek 


                Finally, there is an unfortunate obsession here for creating "race cars" instead of "work horses". Not many  professional video production factually overclock their work machines to soup them up. They are more concerned with these systems being able to work 16 hours a day - 7 days a week. A fast reliable machine is critical to a video editing business. If you are a hobbyist, that's a different story. Soup it up all you want 

                • 5. Re: I need help on choosing a workstation.
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  Bill is correct that actually the OP should talk to Eric and not to Scott, because Eric is the technical guy with the hands-on experience, Scott is the boss-man.


                  While the HP Z820 is a very nice system, it is way over budget for the OP. The specs for the Dell with a single 2 TB disk are an utter waste of money. The OP has an effective PC budget of $ 2000, including monitor(s) and that is not very much, but could be OK with simple codecs, but he intends to use a DSLR and that is stretching it on this budget.


                  The Z820 that I started to configure - and I have not finished, there are still a number of things lacking - is hugely expensive:


                  29-7-2012 19-15-58.png


                  Not sensible IMO, because you can't add a second BDR, you can only have 5 disks and one SSD, you have no options for a good raid controller, yoiu can't add a Tesla card with dual CPU's, and as number of other limitations, but the price does not reflect that. It looks like HEAVEN for the HP CFO, but not for the client.

                  • 6. Re: I need help on choosing a workstation.
                    lasvideo Level 4

                    Scott is the name of the OP . He was the person I was addressing in my response .  ;-)


                    And yes, it is way over budget for him. Most facilities and professionals I know are investing in the Z series for the reasons Ive enumerated. But there are others choices depending on your budget and needs.

                    • 7. Re: I need help on choosing a workstation.
                      dan_public2 Level 1

                      I agree 100% with Harm - especially about building you own system. I used his recommendations for my last system, making some adjustments to keep within my budget.  Until I lost a disk last week, it's worked very well. Where it did not work well was the disk subsystem. But that's where I veered away from Harm's suggestions...


                      My system is about two years old with an OC'd core I7/920 and 12GB of high speed memory. It still does a decent job of editing pics and video with CS6. But the disk subsystem needs work. I will be addressing that in the next few weeks. (You'll see my posts asking for help.)  And this leads to my point...


                      Finding a good MOBO, CPU, and video card for video editing is relatively easy. There are several, reasonable cost options available to get started.  As you get better and your needs get more complex, you can upgrade.


                      The disk subsystem is a bit different however. You will probably be downloading, storing, processing, and archiving BIG files.   (I captured 57GB of stills and video using my Panny GH2 on my last vacation.  And that is NOT a big project!) This is mundane, boring, non-creative work. Which most of us - at least me - do NOT want to think about. 


                      If you have only one, average-speed disk, you will think about it a lot when PR is not running as fast as you think it should.   And when your disk fills up quickly, you will think about your disk subsystem a LOT.  And when (not if) your single disk fails and you lose everything, you will think about disks for a LOOOONG time!  (Don't ask me how I know this.)


                      Please think about your disks (plural) carefully.


                      Good luck with your new workstation.






                      P.s. my disk new disk subsystem will probably cost about $2,000. This includes an Areca raid controller, six new data disks, a new archiving disk, and a system SSD.  No, I don't think this is excessive.  I want the system to work reasonably well and safeguard my files.

                      • 8. Re: I need help on choosing a workstation.
                        Harm Millaard Level 7

                        Sorry, I misunderstood you, since you replied to my post, not to the OP.

                        • 9. Re: I need help on choosing a workstation.
                          lasvideo Level 4

                          No problem, just dont let it happen again   

                          • 10. Re: I need help on choosing a workstation.
                            jamesp2 Level 1

                            An HP z820 with a 2630 processor, no graphics card, 4gb RAM and a 500GB system disk, goes for around $2200, discounted.  So an HP system won't serve a $2000 budget, but a useable configuration with parts you add from non-HP sources (at non-HP prices) for under $3000 is certainly possible.  For a substantially lower price, the cheaper HP workstation models (220, 620) might also suffice.  In all cases, you'd have to be willing to accept limited expansion, proprietary power supply, less than state-of-the-art performance, etc.


                            For around $2500 you can get a reputable builder to put together and test a 3930K system with an Asus Pro MB, 16MB RAM, a quiet tower case, a 1200W Gold power supply, a Geforce 670, 1 1TB system drive, and 2-3 2TB data drives.  This system should significantly outperform a comparably priced HP-based system, and you're not paying much more than you would for parts alone, if bought from newegg or similar. 


                            Or, you can go to ADK and get the same 3930K system above, for about $3500.  For many users, or anyone who actually earns a living editing and has no time to waste, that premium may well be worth every dollar, in saved time, aggravation, grief, lost hair, lost work, etc.  But it *is* a premium.



                            But these are some choices at the low-end.