19 Replies Latest reply on Dec 18, 2012 9:59 AM by John T Smith

    semi-portable video editing workstation; continued

    Kris_24

      Hi all! I doubt anyone will remember, but I made a couple threads in the past looking for suggestions on making a relatively portable but powerful workstation. Well, now that I have acquired the funds, I will finally start purchasing parts around Thanksgiving, which means I need to finalize the build. This build will be used primarily for editing DSLR video with Adobe CS 5.5 suite, along with Blender 3D. Lots of visual effects and compositing going on.

       

      First up is the new build plan put together after hearing that the 2011 socket is likely more future-proof than LGA 1555 and has greater expandability regarding PCI-E lanes. - http://pcpartpicker.com/p/luOW

      This comes in pricier than I initially planned, which was $1500, but I am not adverse to spending it if the extra $500 would produce a longer-lasting, higher power system. I will also freely admit that the idea of 6 CPU cores makes me drool a bit.

       

      Second is a more scaled back LGA 1555 build that was the initial plan, using the famous 2600K CPU  - http://pcpartpicker.com/p/icTg I have an alternate configuration with a 3770K for around $1750.

       

      From looking at the benchmarks to reading reviews to seeing all the other builds out there, its clear that there are so many interplaying factors in a workstation build which can make deciding the components to go with can be a nerve-racking proposition, especially when on a budget. So any suggestions to improve performance or bang-for-the-buck or ideas are welcome!

       

      Thanks,

      Kristofor

        • 1. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
          ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

          DSLR and Blender will work best with the 6 Core. Try and budget for that and you wont be disappointed.

           

          Eric

          ADK

          • 2. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
            Kris_24 Level 1

            I've decided to try to go for a 3930k, which puts me at around a $2000 budget, if I'm lucky and careful about finding deals, which I plan to do. So far, all I've purchased is a power supply (Antec 850 watt GOLD - got it for $100 after rebate) and Windows 7 Pro ($120)

             

            My hope is that by going with a 2011 socket platform, the higher up-front cost will translate into savings in the long run. Fingers crossed!

             

            I do have a question regarding my storage and disk setup that I would like some opinions on. Currently, I'm budgeting for 4 disks; an SSD for OS/Applications, and 3 1TB 6gb/s drives distributed as suggested by Harm's generic disk guidelines. I already have a 3 TB USB 3 drive for backup purposes. I note that he suggests the possibility of a RAID 0 setup for the temporary material with that setup. Would I receive a significant performance benefit from using 2 smaller capacity drives in RAID instead of a larger one? I feel like it might be more expensive as well, ultimately...

             

            I'm slowly letting myself come to the realization that I probably won't be able meet portability concerns at this price point and power level. Any suggestions are welcome, however!

            • 3. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Raid or not depends in (large) on what kind of video you will edit

               

              A compressed codec like AVCHD is more CPU intensive than disk throuput intensive

               

              A less compressed codec requires a faster drive configuration to move the data fast enough

               

              As far as a "semi-portable" case, the Cooler Master Scout has a handle built into the top... BUT, this is a mid-tower case, and getting everything to fit with multiple drives & cables is not easy... I have one, and wish I had bought a full tower case

              • 4. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                Kris_24 Level 1

                So the impression I'm getting is that since I'm mostly going to be working with h264 DSLR footage, a RAID may not a very effective bang-for-the buck choice, as opposed to say, putting money toward 32 gigs of RAM vs 16 gigs?

                 

                An update on the configuration so far - Newegg had a sale on the Thermltake Level 10 GTS, ($60 after annoying rebate process) which, although a mid-tower case, seems to have a reasonably good space and cooling considerations.

                 

                In following the sales being put out by Newegg, I'm noting a couple trends. SSDs tend to go on sale pretty often, as do HDDs, so I feel like I should be able to find a pretty good deal on those. RAM goes on sale often as well, but usually only up to 16 gig sets. So far, I haven't seen any real sales on 2011 socket mobos or on higher end graphics cards. Historically, does Newegg ever put high-end components on sale during the "Black Friday" season? Are there other suppliers I should be looking at for deals?

                • 5. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                  Jeff Bellune Level 6

                  So the impression I'm getting is that since I'm mostly going to be working with h264 DSLR footage, a RAID may not a very effective bang-for-the buck choice, as opposed to say, putting money toward 32 gigs of RAM vs 16 gigs?

                   

                  For H.264, the more cores at faster clock speeds that you can get to chew on the footage will pay much bigger dividends than more RAM.

                   

                  Jeff

                  • 6. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                    John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    >putting money toward 32 gigs of RAM vs 16 gigs

                     

                    I have seen several mentions of large (30-40% ???) performance gains when going from 16 to 32 gigs of ram... maybe in association with discussion of the CS5 Benchmark http://ppbm5.com/ results?

                     

                    I am a hobbyist, so my editing needs are fairly simple, but I find AVCHD easy to edit with 3 hard drives and no raid... and this is with a 3+ year old i7 930 and 12Gig ram

                     

                    If you were going to edit "red" footage, you would need a raid setup for data throughput

                     

                    As far as Newegg specials... the 2011 motherboards and CPU's are still new enough that they demand a premium

                     

                    Just as an exercise, I recently priced out what I would buy to build a new computer

                     

                    570 i7 3930K Six Core

                    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116492

                    145 32Gig 240pin Ram

                    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231507

                    240 Asus P9X79 LE

                    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131855

                    290 GTX 660 Ti 2Gig

                    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130809

                    210 500Gig HD x3

                    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136769

                    85  1T Hard Drive

                    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236339

                    180 Full Tower HAF X

                    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119225

                    190 1000w Gold Power

                    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171056

                    17  Sata DVD Writer

                    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204

                    30  CPU Cooler

                    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065

                    10  Arctic Silver Paste

                    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100007

                    $1,967

                     

                    The reason for 3 500gig drives is one for OS & Software, one for projects and temp files, and one as a clone of the boot drive... and the 1T drive for video files... and MAYBE a 4th 500Gig drive for output files, but that is not an absolute requirement, at least for me

                     

                    This was ONLY an exercise... I have no current plans to replace my 3+ year old computer

                    • 7. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                      Kris_24 Level 1

                      That's a very helpful build outline - its actually quite similar to what I've been thinking in most respects. The only thing that I see as a potential problem if you were to build the system would be the CPU cooler, which doesn't seem to claim compatibility with LGA 2011.

                       

                      What are the real differences between the LE and PRO versions of the Asus board? Anything besides a few more 6 gb/s SATA and USB 3 ports on the $60 higher PRO? e.g. better stability, higher throughput, etc.

                      • 8. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                        John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Oops... I just ordered parts to build a new computer for my wife, and I pasted in the wrong cooler... should be http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099

                         

                        I looked at several ASUS boards, and picked the LE (for me) in part because I have a keyboard & mouse I like, and they use PS/2 connections... and the LE has two

                         

                        Otherwise... I do NOT overclock so did not pay any attention to any of those features... I also do NOT use RAID so did not care about any of those features

                         

                        I think the Pro motherboard has two RJ5 network connections, which I don't need... one Internet connection is plenty

                         

                        Finally, the LE board has one old style PCI slot... and I dual boot my computer with WinXP to use a Pinnacle DV500 card to transfer my library of old VHS tapes for conversion to DVD (someday, I will finish doing that... but it works in real time to play the VHS, so I don't have a lot of 2 hour blocks when I can't use my computer)

                         

                        As far as I know, both motherboards are equally stable and use the same components, so speed should be the same... I only use USB for backups, so don't care "much" about the number of USB 3 ports... and the LE has 2 eSata ports, which I think are faster anyway

                         

                        When I am someday ready to build myself a new computer I will revisit my list... but for now, as an exercise, it would do very well for me

                        • 9. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                          Kris_24 Level 1

                          An update:

                          I've now purcahsed an SSD for my boot drive - Crucial M4 128 GB. Reviews seem to indicated that it is one of the more highly regarded SSDs out there. Good enough?

                           

                          Now, I have some questions about RAM, as the differences between modules seem very slight in most cases. From posts here and various other articles, I've determined that 1.5 voltage RAM or lower is the only acceptable voltage for the 2011 socket. The specs for the i7 3930k seem to indicate that it only supports RAM speeds up to 1600, is this actually the case or is there something I'm missing form the picture?

                           

                          For all of these, I'm looking at the 32 GB sets

                           

                          I was going to get G.SKILL Ripjaws Z 1600, but it is currently out of stock and I would like to purchase the RAM tonight, as I have a 10% coupon only good until tonight.

                           

                          So, alternative options: G.SKILL Ares 1600 (low profile is attractive, but some people warn of the Ares series requiring unsafe VCCIO/VCCSA voltages)

                           

                          Corsair XMS 1600 (slightly higher CAS latency, seemingly not an issue?)

                           

                          Of course, for each of these model lines, there is are 1866 speed versions for aprox $20 more. Worth it, considering the 3930k only supports 1600 anyway? Thoughts welcome, and thank you!

                          • 10. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                            Harm Millaard Level 7

                            I'm running memory at 2190 MHz without problems and the CPU @ 4.7 GHz. Just make sure you get the lowest voltage sticks available, nothing over 1.5V

                             

                            See What memory to get for my system.

                             

                            PS. You caused me to write this article.

                            • 11. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                              Kris_24 Level 1

                              Harm Millaard wrote:

                              ...

                              PS. You caused me to write this article.

                              I hope that's a good thing, ha ha.

                               

                              Continuing on, I'm now looking at filling out my disk setup. Right now, I'm thinking:

                               

                              1.(drive letter C) 128 Crucial M4 SSD for OS and applications

                              2. (drive letter M) 1TB WD RE4 7200 64mb cache for projects, video media

                              3. (drive letter E)  "                                            " for previews, exports

                              4. (drive letter P)  "                                            " for media cache, pagefile

                               

                              Reason I'm looking at these drives is because they are going for $70 on newegg right now. They are refurbished, but they do come with extended return period, which since I plan to thoroughly test these drives as soon as I get them should mean I will be able to weed out bad drives, right? Of course, that doesn't guarantee they won't die on me, but these drives do have a pretty high reputation overall.

                               

                              The question is, these are RAID enabled WD drives. Is not running them in RAID problematic? If I got a 4th one or replaced the media cache and pagefile drive with a smaller capacity drive, what would give me the most benefit to put into RAID 0? I have a 3TB backup that I plan to put both M and E on.

                              • 12. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                                Harm Millaard Level 7

                                The RE4 disks have a great reputation, they are designed for 24/7 operation, whether as single disks or in raid arrays.

                                • 13. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                                  Kris_24 Level 1

                                  Well, we're close to the end of the purchasing spree for this build. The only thing left to get is the motherboard. I know that basically everyone builds using the Asus p9x79 series of motherboards, and I seem to remember seeing some particular reason why. I haven't been able to find that reason again, however, so I'm wondering if someone could enlighten me. Additionally, might there be any other affordable 2011 socket boards people recommend?

                                   

                                  Otherwise, is the Asus P9X79 the best bang for the buck? It does look pretty nice for $240, so maybe I should just give in and buy it instead of trying to hold out for a sale, ha ha.

                                   

                                  On to the building phase!

                                   

                                  Part Listing:

                                  Motherboard - (Asus P9X79 Le) = $240

                                  CPU + Cooler - Intel i7 3930k + Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo = $525

                                  GPU - Galaxy 660 Ti = after rebate $225

                                  RAM - 32GB (4 x 8GB) G.Skill Ripjaws Z 1866 = $110

                                  Power Supply - 850W Certified 80 PLUS GOLD modular = after rebate $100

                                  Case - Thermaltake Level 10 GTS Snow White = after rebate $60

                                  Optical Drive; Card Reader - Samsung; Rosewill = $21

                                  OS - Win 7 Pro = $120

                                  Case Fans - (4) Cooler Master 120mm = already owned

                                  Disk Storage

                                  128GB Crucial M4 SSD = $80

                                  (3) 1TB WD RE4 7200 64MB cache = $70 each = $210

                                   

                                  (Backup) - 3TB Seagate USB 3 External = already owned

                                   

                                  Total Damage: $1691

                                   

                                  Additional thoguhts - I seriously doubt I will be able to resist trying out a few games on this system. I know that its recommended to keep work and play separate, but I would like to know if there's anything I can do to minimize any conflicts/editing performance detriments that might occur...a separate drive for games and other stuff perhaps? It also occurs to me I haven't really allocated space to Blender or After Effects Projects either; can I make those play nice on the drives I have or do I really need another drive?

                                   

                                  Thanks much!

                                  Kristofor

                                  • 14. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                                    ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                    The consideration with the HDD Drives and AE or Blender simply has to do with the media your dealing with in those applications and what you export. The drives need to handle the data rate required for the material. Any high data rate material will be an issue with the single drives. When exporting, the drives have to handle the data rate the file writer for the application requires to write the files for that format.

                                    Eric

                                    ADK

                                    • 15. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                                      Kris_24 Level 1

                                      The primary footage I'll be working with in all these applications is H264 1080p from Canon DSLR with a little bit of AVCHD thrown in for good measure. Exports from Blender are also mostly going to be 1080p resolution.

                                      • 16. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                                        ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                        You should be fine then with the individual drives and your current setup with AE and Blender.

                                         

                                        Eric

                                        ADK

                                        • 17. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                                          Kris_24 Level 1

                                          And finally, despite the minor inconvenience of getting a broken leg requiring surgery 2 days before my planned build day, the edit beast is assembled! Unfortunately, in the confusion surrounding my injury, my Adobe install discs got left behind at school, so I can't try that out for a few weeks. However, I have installed Blender and the performance is very, very nice.

                                           

                                          A few questions/quirks that have popped up:

                                          1) BIOS/Windows only sees 24 of my 32 gigs, despite reseating the RAM a few times. The strange thing is, the CPUz utility seems to recognize all 4 DIMMs and that they're working properly. Anybody else have this quirk? Using ASUS p9x79-LE and G.Skill Ripjaws Z

                                           

                                          2) The pagefile. Windows takes up almost half of my SSD (I have 65 of 119 gb left!!) which is highly annoying. I've seen a huge variety in recommendations of what to do with the pagefile, but I am unsure which is the best for video editing. Weigh in?

                                           

                                          3) This being a Premiere forum, I'm not necessarily expecting people to have knowledge of this, but I'm having some issues with the LAN network adapter. Has anyone else with this board (ASUS p9x79-LE) had issues with the networking capabilities?

                                           

                                          4) Final thoughts on Disk distribution? I know there was some new discussion on this recently, and I was curious if the general guidelines had changed at all.

                                           

                                          1. 128 Crucial M4 SSD for OS and applications

                                          2. 1 TB for Premiere/AfterFX/Blender projects, video media

                                          3. 1 TB for previews, Premiere/AfterFX/Blender exports

                                          4. 1 TB for media cache, pagefile (?)

                                          5. 3 TB for backup of other three drives, nightly backup

                                           

                                          5) I've resolved to not install games on this OS, tempting as being able to actually run my newer games would be, in order to keep this machine as lean and mean as possible. An idea that has occurred to me is that I could perhaps dual boot - get another SSD, put Win 8 on that, and use that for games and other applications* Sound reasonable? Access the same hardware, but from a completely different disk/OS install. I would have to get a SATA controller card (probably just plug the optical drive into that) and a mounting bracket, but it sounds attractive.

                                           

                                          *One thing I am unsure of is what to do with my music/audio production workflow. I don't want to put it on the edit machine because I've noted conflicts in the past on my laptop between my audiovisual software and pure audio software. But audio production is a demanding task too....thoughts?

                                           

                                          This post ended up being significantly longer than I initially planned, haha. Thanks for all the help the contributers in this thread have already given; I wouldn't have been able to come to the decisions I have without you!

                                          • 18. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                                            RjL190365 Level 4

                                            The P9X79 LE is the only Asus X79 board not to have an onboard Intel LAN. Instead, it has a Realtek RTL8111F LAN onboard. The Realtek LAN turned out to be a poor match for this platform.

                                            • 19. Re: semi-portable video editing workstation; continued
                                              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              Go to http://search.microsoft.com/search.aspx?mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US and search for an article on how to place the page/swap file on a different drive

                                               

                                              Also read Drive C space http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1007934?tstart=0