8 Replies Latest reply on Aug 15, 2015 5:44 AM by PathfinderPro

    A realistic assessment of your experiences of hardware needed for the type of editing I do please.

    PathfinderPro Level 1



      I apologise for the length of this post but from experience of reading here, I'm working on the principle of the more I explain about myself now, the less anyone willing to help me will have to ask later.


      I have lurked around this forum on and off for a few years, read the various threads in the FAQ section, particularly PPBM5 and What PC to build thread and other related topics around what system to build.  I have found them very useful and in particular have enjoyed reading about Harm Millaard's experiences First Ideas for a new system.  For about about 12 months I've been delaying upgrading my PC but in Mr Millard's latest updates on his PPBM6 site he talks about new systems and  provides a link to Intel's time line which suggests they are in no rush to replace the i739xx series CPU chip - which has I believe amongst other things 2 cores disabled.  Normally bitter experience has taught me not to rush out and buy the latest technology but let others "test" it first and then benefit from reduced prices as that model is replaced.  However, it now seems like last years technology is going to remain as this years technology and probably the first 2 quarters at least of next year and, if anything, the price of the i739xx series is at best staying at it's existing launch price or even rising.  So it's time to take the plunge for me and upgrade.


      My current hardware for editing:

      I started with Premier 6.5 after I bought it as part of a bundle with a Matrox RTX 10 card - one of the most temperamental pieces of hardware I've had the misfortune to work with.  I later upgraded to Premiere Pro 1.5 and edited with that using a Pentium 4 2.6 (overclocked to 3.2), 3 hard drives (no raid) and 4G of memory.  The video footage used was avi recorded using a Canon MVX 30i and Panasonic NVGS27 and now I've added the Casio Exilim EX -FC100 (mpeg format) and a Panasonic HDC S90 (AVCHD).


      My PC coped with the editing I did with avi footage but couldn't handle AVCHD format and this convinced me to upgrade to Premiere Pro CS5.5.  At the same time I switched to editing on a Dell XPS M1530 (Centrino duo chip) - I upped the memory to 4GB, put Windows 7 64 bit home edition on and replaced the existing hard drive with a faster one.  In addition I use a SATA Quickport duo attached to my laptop via an eSATA card.  However, either the Quickport, eSATA card or XPS is extremely temperamental - I never see two external hard drives, 50% of the time see 1 external drive or none at all - when that happens I edit around it doing things I can with just the one internal drive - but this problem is not my question.


      The type of editing i do:

      I know people usually say around here not to try editing on laptops and believe me, I understand why, but using this setup I have been able to edit lots of videos  - see here for examples of the type of editing I currently do:




      The equipment test videos place the biggest strain on the hardware when editing.  And, to do this editing I have to convert my AVCHD footage in to it's YouTube format before editing and even after I've done that it can be tediously slow to edit and playback even with premiere set to play at 1/4 normal quality.  To convert the AVCHD footage to the YouTube format I edit in has to be done over many nights.


      Now I am not a professional, I typically edit with up to 4 tracks of video with additional tracks for titles and my target audience is YouTube - which is why I can get away without editing in my prefered option of native AVCHD video format.  However, I'm tired of all the waiting, stuttering, and many many days and hours of converting videos into a format I can use so I'm looking to upgrade.  My problem is though I'm uncertain what path to take.  The PPBM results are dominated by overclocked chips, and whilst the motherboard make and model is listed, the hard disks used, graphic card makes and models and memory modules are not.  This is not a criticism of the PPMB tables (big thank you to Bill Gehrke & Harm Millaard for taking the time and effort to pull this much information together) but for me, I am not interested in being in the top 1000 in the world, nor overclocking like mad, and having had horror experiences of using matrox products and compatibility and stability issues with other hardware I'm more interested in compatability and practicality than speed when deciding what to build.  I've also read the threads about marvel controllers, dual and quad channel memory support, the pro's and cons of SSD or standard drives, raid setups, the heat problems with overclocking the newer ivy bridge chips and general build advice etc so I'm not coming here without having done some reading first.


      The type of system I'm thinking of:

      So far based on what I've read here, I've come to the conclusion - but I'm open to suggestion:

      - Chip - regrettably due to the cost and unlikely successor anytime soon - a 39xx (with appropriate cooler) because I want to edit in native AVCHD which seems to require the warrior type chip as opposed to the "economical" build regardless of what my target audience is and this suggests

      - X79 motherboard (which must have an old PCI slot such as the Asus Sabertooth and which has room for the cooler I'm considering).  As I will be carrying over my old terretec DMX 6 fire 24/96 soundcard - all my videos have their audio mastered in Audition using this card - best piece of advice I read was the audience will watch a bad video with good sound editing but not the other way round)

      - 4 hard drives plus additional hard drive for operating system using onboard raid controllers (not sure whether the operating system drive will be WD caviar black or SSD and can't justify cost of external raid controller for either my type of use or number of hard drives being used)

      - Video card - I can now buy a GTX 580 for less than the 670 - so not sure on the card especially based on Harm Millards observations that memory bandwith seems to be as important as CUDA cores

      - Case - I have an Akasa 62 case with room for 5 hard drives - I won't be exceeding that, and if I overclock it will only be by a little so is it really necessary to replace it for a Tower Case - although I would prefer a case with a front connection for esata so I may have to change the case regardless

      - Maximum memory 32G - so is it necessary to upgrade to windows 7 professional?

      - Power source - I'll work out when I've decided on my components.


      Help please:

      For me it's video source/dictated software chosen and hardware/audience(youtube) dictates format edited in.  As I don't intend to change my camcorders format (AVCHD or mpeg) in the next couple of years and I'm not interested in having the "fastest" system around what I'm really interested in learning is:


      • what system setups people use now for doing similar editing to me
      • what make/models of the component parts in your system work well together
      • and if you do have a bottle neck in terms of hardware, where is it and what hardware would you change to  (not a dream model change, just a practical and realistic one)


      I have deliberately not given a budget for the changes I'm intending because budget should not be the deciding factor in determining what I "need" to upgrade to for the "type of editing I do" - especially bearing in mind I've got by so far (admitedly at a tortoise pace) with by todays standards a standard spec laptop.  Basically I don't want a Rolls Royce to go shopping at Wallmart but I'm tired of walking there and carrying everything back by hand!


      Thank you very much for any help / experiences people can share.

        • 1. Re: A realistic assessment of your experiences of hardware needed for the type of editing I do please.
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Nicely documented question, well done. I watched your PTTA link and if that is typical of your editing projects, it leads me to several conclusions:


          • Single camera operation, shot from a tripod in a controlled environment, relatively long clips.


          Thus no multicam, no warp stabilization, no (significant) CC work, single track video plus some titles and other stuff. In all, pretty straightforward editing and very limited effects. It is also good you did not mention budget, because that allows me to suggest some different approaches for editing these kind of movies with AVCHD as the source. You mentioned no dedicated raid controller.


          If this premise is correct, the i7-3930K on a X79 platform may be somewhat overdone and an i7-3770K on a Z77 platform may be the best BFTB for this kind of editing. Whichever way you turn, 32 GB is nice to have and 4 disks is also very good. There is always a drawback to saving some pennies here or there. If you opt for the more affordable Z77 platform, you also foreclose the use of a dedicated raid controller in the future, unless you accept a 10-15% performance degradation with the video card. For 32 GB memory, you need Win7-64 Pro. Home cannot access more than 16 GB.


          If you go to Planning & Building a NLE system you can see what my choices were and where I stand. Take your time to read all those pages and I hope you can find some answers to the doubts you are feeling, just as I have my doubts from time to time.


          I don't know about your monitor setup, but performance wise there is hardly any difference between the 580 and the 670. The main difference is the ability to steer 4 monitors with the 6xx series versus only 2 with the Fermi range of 5xx cards.


          Accepted, your correct criticism of the lacking hardware info on the PPBM5 website. That is the overriding reason that for the new site http://ppbm7.com/ we want to use Piriform Speccy .xml results to gather more, more accurate and more detailed hardware info.


          Hope this helps.

          • 2. Re: A realistic assessment of your experiences of hardware needed for the type of editing I do please.
            JEShort01 Level 4

            You have provided lots of details in your post, good job!


            AVCHD is rather nasty, but you are not doing lots of effects, 4-channel multicam, or anything else that really taxes an editing session. So, for a sub-$1500 outlay you would be able to build a system that would edit native AVCHD single track really, really well with CS5.5. I'm putting suggestions below for a desktop, but if you would prefer to go with a massive, heavy laptop the ASUS 17" solutions with quad-core i7, 16GB, dual drive bays, plus an external USB 3.0 or eSATA drive can also do pretty well for around the $1500 price point.


            I would say you need:

            i7-2600k, recommend OC to at least 4.2GHz if you are OK with that

            good cpu cooler; yest, even if you don't plan on OC'ing, keep your CPU cool (included Intel cooler is lously)

            16GB RAM

            boot drive (128GB really sweet; existing older HD from your current system would work though)

            GTX 570 or 670

            2x1TB RAID 0 (for all your files)


            A more powerful system for about $500 to $1000 additional would be:

            128GB SATA for boot drive; does not help Premiere Pro CS5.5 at all, but it really makes a PC feel a whole lot faster and fun

            i7-3930k; this is a really strong CPU and would keep you happy for years

            32GB RAM

            GTX 580 or 680

            (2) 2x3TB arrays; more storage space, faster having one array for media, projects, and scratch, 2nd array for media cache, media cache db, and render outputs





            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: A realistic assessment of your experiences of hardware needed for the type of editing I do please.
              PathfinderPro Level 1

              Thank you both for your prompt and helpful replies.


              Mr Millaard, regarding your excellent article Planning and Building an NLE system, I have read it a couple of times now and it was your article which finally convinced me the time was now to upgrade but within it you said for good reason "Initial choice of CPU: i7-39xx with the intention to overclock to 4.6 - 4.8 GHz", hence my uncertainty about the CPU to use.  I have seen a video you posted here  - I think it was based on your cats (which I incidently enjoyed) so working on the editing done there (but not remembering if you mentioned what video format you used) and others who have mentioned many pro's for the i7-39xx I was leaning towards that - but I'm financially relieved at least - if the i3770 will do, although now with the possible recommendation by JEShort01 (sorry not sure of the forum etiquette for use of names) of the 2600K overclocked I'm a little bit back in the position of which is more suitable especially with the update to the i3770 being nearer than i7-39xx.  This still makes me lean towards the i7-39xx.


              Regarding the editing, the match play you can see on the channel is indeed 1 camera basic edits - multiple titles used to provide the score board.  However, the coaching videos use mulitple cameras - 3 to 4 sometimes (another reason for upgrading to CS5.5 for the multi cam editing support) and the equipment testing video can use 3 or 4 tracks layered on top of each other other with each track having opacity settings and multiple motion effects and titles with occasional keying video effects added.  For example this video at approx 2 mins 50 and 5 mins 10 seconds.


              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1E5T7xo57c&list=PL577F7AB5E31FC5E9&index=13&feature=plpp_v ideo


              Monitor wise I use dual monitor setup.  My laptop screen and I link out to an LG M2394 D for widescreen and I sometimes use an old Neovo F-419 for 3 / 4 editing.  I won't be using more monitors than 2.  If the 580 drops a bit more I'll probably go for that - although I'll have to make sure it's size isn't an issue for the motherboard combo setup.  Interestingly there is a thread shown on the forum home page which discusses the 570 vs the 660ti and the opinion was go with the 660ti which surprised me a bit.


              Windows 7 professional it is then - I should have known that too - apologises for asking a question already asked.


              "Accepted, your correct criticism of the lacking hardware info on the PPBM5 website. That is the overriding reason that for the new site http://ppbm7.com/ we want to use Piriform Speccy .xml results to gather more, more accurate and more detailed hardware info."


              No criticism intended Mr Millaard - more an observation and I really look forward to that evolution with PPBM7.  I'm assuming the .xml results will use pre populated drop down lists people can select their hardware from - that way you can control and ensure consistent entries - downside being the work required by you to populate the lists in the first place and maintain them.


              Thanks again for your help but I'm still unsure a bit about the CPU and video card though.

              • 4. Re: A realistic assessment of your experiences of hardware needed for the type of editing I do please.
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                As I said in the Intro, the main codecs I use vary from simple ones like DV and HDV up to RED and EPIC 4K and 5K material, but the majority is HDV, AVCHD, XDCAM-EX 4:2:2 and Canon MXF 4:2:2.


                The biggest project I have ever done included around 27 hours of source material, three different cameras, up to 12 video tracks with a lot of chroma keying and color correction and with the codecs in use that led me to my choice of the 3930K, but also because I'm a speed freak.


                However, it appears you needs are not as big as that and that is why I suggested the more affordable i7-3770K for you. Of course, you are more future proof with an i7-39xx but at a price. That is for the CFO, your wife, and your wallet to decide.


                Just this afternoon I received my EVGA GTX 680/4G Classified and it is huge. Not a problem with my Magnum TH-10 case, but with smaller cases it may become a problem. Just check the dimensions carefully and hope that the video card of your choice will not get in the way of some of your drive bays.


                The choice of a 570/580 or a 660/670 will not impact your performance in a major way, and your two monitors can be handled easily both by Fermi and Kepler cards. One thing to consider is that exporting to YouTube may entail scaling, going from 1920 x 1080 to a smaller size and in that case the video card can have a distinct impact on your export times. If you keep everything at 1920 x 1080, then the video card has no impact on the export times.


                The choice of platform of 1155 or 2011 is more fundamental. The 1155 platform is limited to effectively 16 PCI lanes, the 2011 has 40 PCI lanes, so you can add a dedicated raid controller, a second video card for other applications like Resolve, or add a BM, AJA or Matrox card without negatively influencing the performance of the video card. Additionally, you can expand memory to 64 GB. But they come at a price...

                The i7-2600K Sandy Bridge Jim mentioned has been succeeded by the Ivy Bridge i7-3770K, newer technology, smaller scale manufacturing and less power consumption, but mainly pretty comparable in performance. They use the same motherboards. Both are unlocked versions and can be overclocked easily.


                Unfortunately, I can't tell you which is the wisest decision in your specific case, you have to weigh to pro's and con's yourself.


                As to using names here on the forum, I very much like people using REAL names, instead of all kinds of convoluted and nameless screen names like 'grrr01' or 'adobehater' or whatever they can come up with. As to your screen name, PTTAresearch, I can place that name on the basis of your link, but it does not tell me your real name. And adressing me as Mr. Millaard is something that I think my father would have liked very much. He had a tendency for decorum and practiced that till his death on Christmas Day last year, but I have a preference for being called Harm, which I usually don't do.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: A realistic assessment of your experiences of hardware needed for the type of editing I do please.
                  PathfinderPro Level 1

                  Harm, your original suggestion about an i7-3770K being sufficient was based on your understanding that the editing I do is:


                  " - Single camera operation, shot from a tripod in a controlled environment, relatively long clips.


                  Thus no multicam, no warp stabilization, no (significant) CC work, single track video plus some titles and othe.r stuff."


                  I've clarified my editing requirements now by mentioning using up to 4 video tracks, motion and opacity settings and occasional keying video effects or  3 - 4 camera multi cam editing.  I like to experiment sometimes but it's unlikely I'll go much beyond that other than occasional colour correction. Your video editing requirements way exceed mine so there is no doubting the i7-39xx can cope, but knowing now I need to do more than single camera operations etc would the i7-3770k be sufficient to handle comfortably that in native AVCHD format 1920/1080 50p format?    I'm not sure from your answer if you are saying the i7-3770K can handle those requirements or if it just referred to basic editing.


                  Regarding the video card - YouTube consumption does require me to down scale the video from 1920/1080 to H.264 1280 by 720 - but I keep the frame rate the same as my source material.  However, for my purposes I think either the 580 or 670 will be more than sufficient - the 680 and it's size is something I'm in a way thankful I won't ever have to deal with. So that issue is sorted and it'll come down to value for money.


                  As for it having to be my decision - I agree 100% and I would never intentially ask someone to take responsibility for making that decision for me.  Obtaining information - which is kindly being provided - to give me real user experience of these products is what I'm after so I can make an informed decision myself.


                  Lastly - and slightly off topic, I was taught manners cost nothing and define the person so although I've read many of your posts and others here, I am wary of being presumptious about using peoples real names - especially first names on an open forum.  Although the link shows who I edit for, I do like an element of anonymity - it's like not enjoying hearing my own voice when I do filmings - it just seems strange to "be myself".


                  Belated condolences regarding your father and thank you for your help.

                  • 6. Re: A realistic assessment of your experiences of hardware needed for the type of editing I do please.
                    Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                    GTX 660 Ti versus GTX 580  


                    150 watts versus 244 watts

                    9.5 inches versus 10.5 inches

                    1.5 GB memory versus 2 GB (standard config)

                    $300 versus ???


                    While I do not own and have test data on the GTX 660 TI it is what I would buy if I needed another graphics card.  Here is my current test data on an unpublished benchmark.  I would guess it might be better on this very intensive hardware accelerated  MPE test than my GTX 580.




                    Message was edited by: Bill Gehrke

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: A realistic assessment of your experiences of hardware needed for the type of editing I do please.
                      PathfinderPro Level 1

                      Thank you - very interesting - another player enters the ball park if it's all I need for my editing requirements.  Are your editing requirements similar to mine?


                      In the UK I can currently get from the place I usually buy from, the EVGA GeForce GTX 580 DS Superclocked 1.5Gb for £244.79 ($397) and the GTX 660 TI (cheapest version) for £233.99 ($379.58).

                      • 8. Re: A realistic assessment of your experiences of hardware needed for the type of editing I do please.
                        PathfinderPro Level 1

                        Just a little update. I'm still using CS5.5 in conjunction with Audition 3, Blender and Kinovea. As I'm not professional, edit in spurts (quiet for long time then mad at it) and don't get any payment for what I do, I can't justify the cost of cloud subscriptions so please not feedback on "I should update and take advantage of....."


                        The only factor driving me towards updated software is the video format hardware uses and that for me hasn't changed yet.  Based on the my editing requirements posted back in 2012 I can confirm that for me, my set up (give or take some odd bits is)

                        - I7 3930K,

                        - 32GB ram

                        - Samsung SSD 850 Pro 256GB (I did have 128 but it became to cluttered and I needed the extra space)

                        - Gigabyte X79s-UP5

                        - Raid 5 array with four 2gb Seagate HD's plus a couple of older hard drives used for storage and backup (set up on Gigabyte X79s-UP5)

                        - NVidia FEForce GTX 670

                        - Terratec DMX 6fire 24/96 Sound Card


                        I recently migrated from Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10 Pro.


                        This set up does everything I need it to and handles it comfortably - this is the type of stuff I play with PathfinderPro - YouTube


                        Based on my needs, the cameras and formats I use, although "old", it does everything I need it to.


                        The only problems I had were:

                        1. Setting up the raid array - involved having to use a pen drive to load the raid drivers during Windows 7 setup which was a real pain to figure out and more a problem with Windows 7 setup up procedure

                        2. Bios problems with the Gigabyte motherboard which resulted in a fresh bios flash which then resulted in me losing the automatic overclocking functionality of the board - eventually I got "turbo boost" or whatever it's called to work again but the overclock had dropped

                        3. Terrible problems trying to get the Fresco USB 3 Bus Adapters to work on the Storm Trooper case I've got (the USB ones on the front, not the ones directly connected to the motherboard) - connecting any USB connection which drew power from the USB 3 port killed it.


                        If I built this again, I'd probably have got the Asus Sabertooth X79 board instead - although I'd have lost out on all the HDD connection options the Gigabyte gives me.


                        The move to Windows 10 has also been extremely pleasant - once I figured out why I had no internet connection - or more precisely I had internet access connected but I was being blocked.. Not good when internet connection is vital to upload new driver and software versions - thank goodness for laptops and tablets as backup internet researching devices! It turned out that the Privacy Software I was using - a nice little program called Private Firewall. Somehow Windows 10 had removed the shortcuts and reference to it in the start up but it was still there in the background blocking the internet access for Windows 10. After uninstalling it properly I got my internet back. Other issues are with the Samsung Magician software which doesn't work properly with Windows 10.  On the plus side, the transition over to windows 10

                        1. removed a boot error I had when starting windows 7 and

                        2. my sound card still works nicely using third party Asio 4aa v2 drivers

                        3. my mercury playback engine GPU acceleration option is still set and works fine and very importantly

                        4. I didn't have to reset my raid array or disconnect any hard drives (normally when I loaded windows 7 I had to disconnect every drive except my operating system drive and load the Raid drivers off a pen drive, complete the install and then go and set up the raid array through the bios / startup options before windows loaded - long winded and a pain.


                        Obviously I'm still getting used to the layout of Windows 10 but if anyone is interested, you can download a free Windows 10 ebook which explains a lot about windows 10 (not the final product but pretty close and very helpful). Free ebook: Introducing Windows 10 for IT Professionals, Preview Edition - Microsoft Press - Site Home - MSDN Blogs


                        Bottom line, I'm not using state of the art technology but my setup, I'm not using the latest Adobe software and I've migrated to windows 10 and my system currently does everything I expect it too.


                        Whether it does that tomorrow when I wake up or after the next automatic windows 10 upgrade who knows, but I'm not going to waste time and energy worrying about something that hasn't happened.


                        And so ends my story.


                        Thank you to those who helped guide my requirements scoping.