16 Replies Latest reply on Nov 15, 2013 2:46 PM by Suntower

    Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question

    Suntower Level 1

      I'm fully prepared for disdain or being ignored.


      It's time to put together a new machine which will be used for -occasional- Premiere 5.5 or AE work.


      As background, I do professional music production, so I have several machines that are the audio equivalent of very 'high end', which apparently is still 'totally wimpy' by video standards.


      This machine I will use -mostly- I work in DreamWeaver to do web editing.


      To give you an idea of how low the bar is, the machine this will replace is an Intel Q8400, with 16GB ram, 3 1TB 7200RPM SATA 3 drives and an old PCIe Radeon card with 128mb RAM running (gasp!) Windows XP.


      The -main- reason I want to upgrade is to get off Windows XP -and- speed up the time it takes to render Premiere videos to the Youtube HD preset. Currently, it -works- but it will take 20 minutes for a typical video I do. I -rarely- use AE because, it is simply too processor intensive.


      I have an i5 laptop with 8GB RAM and as an experiment I loaded CS5.5 on it and rendered the same videos and they took 4 minutes. If I could get down to 4 minutes with a new machine, I would be thrilled. That's how ghetto I am. IOW: I don't need 'Harms Monster'. Just looking for bang for buck. I will -never- do video editing beyond Youtube 720.


      In fact? If XP wasn't retired... and Premiere rendering wasn't so dead slow? I'd happily keep using the current machine. I simply don't need a faster machine 90% of the time for web work.


      Anyhoo... one very important consideration: I'm on a (very) fixed income so this has to be CHEAP... even if it generates eyerolling from pro editors. I have parts from other audio machines I want to re-purpose for this build if possible. I was -hoping- to simply purchase a Haswell i5 4670k or i7, a MOBO and some RAM and use the integrated graphics and be done with it for something like $600 (I have all the other parts.) But obviously that's too easy.


      I think what I really need is to understand what components contribute to various aspects of Premiere performance... and this is what I find confusing. I read this with great interest:




      I also took a look at the 'PPBM5' comparisons for insights.


      My questions:

      1. Is it preposterous to consider using integrated graphics for the kinds of simple AE and Premiere Projects I do? My understanding is that video cards do not improve rendering -speed-.


      2.  However, does a bigger card (or two cards) contribute to the -quality- of the rendered file? I don't mean on the screens, I mean the pixels in the rendered output.


      3. From the above post, I wasn't clear as to what the extra cores contribute. Is the primary benefit of the extra 2 cores in the of the i7-3930k that you get faster -rendering-? Or do the 2 cores primarily help with more complex projects (like in AE).


      4. I have a 128GB SSD which I was planning to use for the OS and EXEs and then 2 HDs... one for content, the other for caching. Or is there a better strategy for Premiere, given those 3 drives. IOW: some audio system builders prefer to use the SSD for content and the HDs for the OS.


      Thanks very much in advance.



        • 1. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
          Suntower Level 1

          OK, not that much disdain.


          Anyone? I'll try to summarise if the original post was too novel-ish...


          1. Are there any tests on the Haswell chips integrated graphics? Would they be acceptable for my limited needs?


          I understand the vagueness of the question, but it would help me to help myself if someone could give me an idea of what role the graphics card plays in Premiere performance. I figured it might be OK since my main need is faster rendering and I -thought- I read that the video card doesn't help with rendering.


          2. I was -hoping- for a sweet spot CPU... around $250. It sounded like the hexacore just smokes the quad core. Is this still true for Haswell chips?


          3. Is there an i5 version of any of these chips that's acceptable or does Premiere take full advantage of the extra cache and O/C?


          TIA and Cheers!



          • 2. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
            RjL190365 Level 4

            IMHO, using integrated graphics is unacceptable for even simple video editing: They steal system RAM for themselves, leaving you with significantly less RAM available for programs. And even if integrated video were adequately fast, just having system ram split between the video and the rest of the system can render an editing system unstable.


            As for the i5, you'd be missing out on the extra CPU threads, not just the extra cache. Premiere Pro can fully utilize the extra threads of the i7 CPUs, making a quad-core effectively an "8-core" CPU.


            Hexa-core Intel CPUs are still way out of your stated $250 budget. The least expensive worthwhile Intel hexa-core still costs $600. Forget about AMD: Even its fastest octo-core CPU is no faster than a typical Intel i5 quad-core (with only four threads) CPU.


            And you did not mention whether the $250 is for the entire upgrade or just the CPU. If it's for an entire upgrade package (which involves a new CPU, new motherboard, new RAM and a new GPU), then forget about upgrading at all: You'll never find anything worthwhile at all whatsoever for that low of a total cost. Save up for a complete new system.

            • 3. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
              Suntower Level 1

              Thanks for the reply. I was -hoping- to keep the budget as far below $1k as possible. In the best of all worlds, I'd spend $250 on CPU with integrated graphics, $150 on 16GB RAM and $200 on mobo and be done @ $600.


              As I wrote in Chapter 17 of my novel, I did a couple of tests with my i5 laptop and the rendering of 4min on my test project made me giddy, so I'm pretty easy to please. Anything beyond that is gravy.


              If the Haswell graphics really -are- decent and the main downside is sharing memory, I'd happily drop another $200 for more RAM if needed.


              But I'd rather know up front if the bottleneck is the video card as I know -nothing- about them (audio workstations often do better with the cheapest video card you can find.)


              The only real unknown for me is After Effects... as I wrote in Chapter 23, I've never worked much with it because it's just too slow on my current system. If AE would only work perform decently with a 'real' video card, I'd have to give that strong consideration.


              So... I need RAM, CPU, Mobo and maybe video card. Budget: ideally: $600. Willing to go to $800... or maybe a bit higher if decent AE performance is in range. Would need recommendation on the type of video card. I read gamer magazines from time to time and the terminology doesn't seem to correspond to the needs of video editing so I'm totally in the dark.





              • 4. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                The GPU will lower your render times with Premiere simply because of the GPU acceleration handling the scaling and interpolation. What GPU chip does your laptop have? AE will predominantly use CPU and Ram. That is what you want to focus on there. Haswell would be the highend for the budget range you are looking for. It would handle standard AE work fine. The GPU of choice would be the 760GTX or the 650TI. Those would be in the price range with the 760GTX at the top end of your budget.




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                • 5. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                  Suntower Level 1



                  My 'urgency' just went down a notch as I was about to start with Win 8.1, but I was told to hold off as the 'Preview' is not all that stable.


                  I am currently waiting for a price drop on the i7 3770k which -seems- to provide the best bang for buck right now... plus the MOBOs are a lot cheaper.


                  In any case, my current plan is to start with $600 for 16GB ram. I gotta believe it will be fast enough... and if not, I'll add a video card.


                  I still am unclear as to what role the GPU plays in Premiere and/or AE... I get most of my 'knowledge' from 'gamer' types and I am unsure how well all their stats correlate with what Premiere or AE needs.





                  • 6. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                    ECBowen Most Valuable Participant
                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                      Suntower Level 1

                      Great background info.





                      • 8. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                        Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Are you any where near a MicroCenter Store?  If you (or a good friend or relative) can walk in to a store they offer some great in-store only deals.  This is an example that is much better than anything you have mentioned.


                        1. An i7-4770K with an Asus Z87-A MB $390
                        2. 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) $140
                        3. GTX 650 $100 after rebate


                        Total $630  plus local taxes. 


                        This is the newest generation overclockable CPU.  You later could add two more memory modules for the full 32 GB and also step up to a much better graphics card. 


                        Just make sure the power supply in your current case can handle the load.  You might also need a new CPU cooler the Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO is only $30 and for overclocking add a second fan for push-pull operation (check to make sure it works on the LGA 1150 socket).

                        • 9. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                          Suntower Level 1

                          Thanks. I get confused as to whether the 4770k (haswell) is 'better' than the previous generation (Ivy?).


                          I originally considered Haswell because I was considering just using the integrated graphics. But my understanding was that, apart from -that- the Haswell's were not that much better than the Ivy for Premiere or AE. Not true?


                          Just trying to understand what would make Haswell worth the extra $


                          Thanks again,



                          • 10. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                            ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                            Haswell is showing a 10 to 15%+ performance gain over Ivy in our testing. I would consider it as the better option.




                            • 11. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                              Suntower Level 1

                              Lies! Damn Lies! Statistics.


                              Thanks Eric. I keep getting more and more confused. I believe you, but it's tough to know what's what. I think I'm probably over-thinking. I'll likely be happy with -whatever- I get.





                              • 12. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                                ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                Haswell is performing better. That is easily seen in testing with different media including video or audio production. If the budget is there then Haswell is by far the better way to go. Ivy is a good budget option at this point.



                                • 13. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                                  Suntower Level 1

                                  Thanks (again) Eric.


                                  If I may test your patience one more time, where you wrote:


                                  "That is easily seen in testing with different media including video or audio production."


                                  I assume you are testing on Premiere projects, right? Does the 'improvement' come in -rendering- or in some other metric?


                                  I guess what I'm asking is: for -Premiere- what metrics do I use to compare, say a video card or a CPU?


                                  When I look at gamer sites, or Toms Hardware, etc. they always use stats like 'flops' or 'splines' and I have no idea how those correlate with improving my experience in Premiere.


                                  Can you give me some 'stats for dummies'? IOW: what to look for when I go through all those specs?





                                  • 14. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                                    ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                    We use export times since that is relative to the performance of realtime playback in this case. We also use Plugin testing on the audio side which is realtime processing load capability. In both cases Haswell was over 10% greater in performance.



                                    • 15. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                                      Suntower Level 1

                                      Got it. Thanks again.

                                      • 16. Re: Yet Another Noob Budget Hardware Question
                                        Suntower Level 1

                                        I just wanted to update here for any future cheapskates.


                                        I just finished building a new machine with a Haswell 4770k CPU, ASUS Z78 mobo, 16GB of DDR3 1600mhz RAM and a Samsung 256MB SSD which was 'best rated' by Maximum PC. Total cost prox. $650USD. I went directly from Windows XP (gasp!) to 8.1.


                                        I put this together with some parts I already had: an old Antec Sonata case with a CoolerMaster 212 CPU cooler and a single case fan running on low. There are 2 7200RPM 3TB Samsung sata ii HDs.


                                        I am not OCing (yet). I have not purchased a GPU either. I'm using the built-in graphics just to see what they do. Also: I have not yet tweaked Premiere for optimum performance (RAM usage, scratch disks.) Just using the defaults.


                                        I have two comments at this point:

                                        1. This thing is MUCH quieter than my previous Q8400. It runs @ 35C and is (almost) silent...the only real noise are the HDs humming. That right there is worth it in terms of -sanity-.


                                        2. But to my original issue of Premiere render times: A (typical for me) project: 5 minutes in length @ 720p using the 'Youtube HD' preset, with 1 stereo audio track, 1 track of actual 'video' and perhaps 10 tracks of still shots at various points previously took 17 minutes to render on my Q8400 machine with a Radeon 128MB PCI express card. On this new machine? Less than 2 minutes!


                                        I am now going to start playing with AE---which I wouldn't have even bothered with before. I may not get a GPU as this performance is -fine- as is---unless someone told me that it would help with AE performance (although from the above I got that a GPU was not the biggest factor in improving AE.)


                                        If I -do- want to get a good value for money GPU (prox $100) is the 670 still the way to go? I get easily confused by all the variants. What I -don't- want to do is add a ton of noise to my pristine quiet just to get a -little- better performance. I don't edit video all day and I really can't go back to all that jet noise. I welcome any thoughts on this.


                                        THANKS TO ALL WHO WROTE. VERY HAPPY!