I've spent the last several days reading, researching and generally getting up to speed on what my options are re hardware moving forward, and though I've been a lurker/user of these forums (and others) for years, this is my first time engaging directly now that I feel I know a bit more. I must also say how incredible a resource the regular users like Harm Millard have been to self-taught but enthusiastic newbies like me - thank you!
I've been a longtime self-taught, relatively light but still barely pro Premiere Pro user for the past ten years. For the past couple of years, I've been barely getting by using CS4 on my once-top-of-the-line Dell Precision M6500 laptop running Win7 Pro 32-bit. The M6500 is by far my favorite PC I've ever owned and is still rocking, even with older specs (listed below), but it is time to grow up, bite the bullet and (hopefully) upgrade this machine so that I can take advantage of CS6/CC and do a bit more heavy lifting (basic color correction, light After Effects, etc).
I currently shoot on a Sony AX2000 in AVCHD, but am starting to do more work on my Canon t3i and am close to moving up to a Canon 5D mk3, so will be using more HD MOV files in the near future, possibly alongside the old AVCHD footage. Most of my exports are for HD web uploads, but also occasionally export to DVD. I do not anticipate stepping up to Red footage or the like in the near or mid future.
My current laptop specs are as follows:
- Win7 32-bit
- 4GB RAM
- Intel i7 quad core M620 (2.67GHz)
- 500GB 7200rpm HDD
- Nvidia Quadro FX 2800M
I've already ordered a RAM upgrade to get me to 16GB, have Win7 64-bit ready to install, and just bought 2 x 750GB 7200rpm HDD (Western Digital). Instead of investing in an all new machine (laptop or desktop), and considering the amazing stability and longevity (so far) of the M6500, I'd like to try and see if I can get this machine to a place where I can take advantage of CS6/CC and have it run stably and somewhat fast. I realize it's not the best option, and that getting an all-new tricked out desktop is the preferred option, but for budget reasons, that's not possible right now.
Here's my plan:
Upgrade so that system will be:
- Win7 64bit
- 16 GB RAM
- 2 x 750GB 7200rpm HDDs (internal)
- rest of the system listed above would remain the same as above - namely CPU and graphics card
The machine can also support a mSATA mini SSD (up to 256GB), but I haven't splurged for that yet. I'm trying to figure out whether to use the two new HDDs in RAID 0 and have the OS, project files, cache, source footage and export files all on those two RAIDed drives, or whether it would make a truly huge difference to add another internal SSD as the boot/OS/Program Files drive and leave the RAID 0 configuration to handle all video and project files. I've read enough to assume that adding the SSD is the preferred option, but it's pricey, and what I'm trying to determine is whether or not it's really worth the cost vs a straight 2-HDD RAID 0 configuration.
I've read a lot about the dangers of RAID 0, but am not too concerned about failures since I use an online backup system (Sugarsync) for all my document files (this machine doubles as my main work PC) and I regularly back up all source and exported video files.
On a separate note, I realize that my graphics card is not listed among the supported cards for CS6/CC - is that going to cause stability and/or significant performance issues, or will it work since I won't be doing 4k/Red files? Is the CUDA hack an option for me? I have the option of upgrading the card to a supported card (Nividia M5000), but it's hugely pricey (close to $2k) and unless it will make the machine an absolute stud for years to come, it's not worth it.
So in short (yeah right ), here are my questions:
- Does my proposed new system have the juice to handle what I want to do?
- Which HDD setup is preferred, and by what degree (do I absolutely have to get the SSD to make this work?):
- 2 x 750GB 7200rpm HDDs in RAID 0 for the entire machine
- 1 x SSD (what size is minimum recommended?) as boot/OS plus 2x750GB HDDs in RAID 0
- Will my existing Quadro 2800M graphics card make the other RAM/HDD upgrades a waste of money?
- Is my existing CPU powerful enough to warrant these other upgrades?
Sorry for the long post, and thanks for any help you guys can provide!