13 Replies Latest reply on Dec 29, 2014 7:10 PM by Bill Gehrke

    Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"

    JAL3 Level 1

      It looks like I may soon be able to build my version of a "dream system" for video work and, knowing my limitations, I wish to pose some questions to people who know the Adobe line and hardware in the hope of getting the most bang for my buck.

       

      I would like to give a little information about me that may make my questions and frame of reference make more sense.

       

      I formerly practiced as a structural engineer and, within my admittedly limited specialty, was at the top of my field. I was on the cutting edge of CAD and solid modeling. At one time, I spent a fortune building my "dream system" for that work and was happy with the result the result. My system even featured in a CAD magazine at the "ultimate". I also learned an important lesson. By the time the magazine went to press, I no longer had the best possible system: it was merely a very good one which could then be built for considerably less. That lesson stayed with me as did the machine which I continued to use until I left practice.

       

      From this experience, I no longer look for the "latest and greatest". I look for the very good but reasonably priced. and place a premium on dependability,

       

      I left engineering to enter seminary. I am now a United Methodist pastor. This means I no longer get $500+/hour. The church seems to labor under the old Soviet system where I pretend to work and they pretend to pay me.

       

      While still making the transition to pastoral life, I had the experience of living through a brain tumor. So far, I have far surpassed the medical expectations for me but there is some permanent damage. These are primarily in my math and foreign language skills but, in general, I do not read and assimilate technical material nearly as easily as I used to. I am also so far behind the times in terms of following these matters than I find a whole new vocabulary has grown up around them.

       

      My first question is about CPUs. I am leaning towards an Intel 6 core. If I were to build a machine with 2 CPUs, would the Adobe software be about to make good use of the additional CPU? This is separate from GPUs which I will consider more fully after establishing a base system. I fully intend on a nice GPU or multiple GPUs but am now asking about the CPU.

       

      It is my hope to systematically research this build here, decide upon components and then make further inquiries to further refine the system.

       

      I thank you for your consideration.

       

      John A. Lee

       

       

       

        • 1. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
          cc_merchant Level 4

          Start reading here: Tweakers Page and all the following articles.

           

          The two fundamental questions, not yet answered, are:

          • Available budget and
          • Source material to edit.
          • 2. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
            JEShort01 Level 4

            John,

             

            There is no perfect equation for a "dream system" any more than there is the perfect vehicle to drive! If one needs to haul, a pickup may be the best. If one likes to haul 4 in luxury, probably a sedan. Others would prefer a SUV, crossover, sports car, etc. You get the point.

             

            You NEED to identify what your media and workflow are before one can make suggestions system for the dream system for your needs.

             

            Please reply with:

            - what is your source media? (i.e. HD, 4k, UHD, 30 frames/s progressive, etc. + device: HD camcorder, Canon 5d mark 3, etc.)

            - how many layers / camera angles will you be editing?

            - what will you be outputting to? (Blu-ray, DVD, Vimeo, .WMV, etc.)

            - how long are your projects? (3 minutes, 60, more?)

            - what version of Adobe? (likely CS6 or CC 2014)

            - do you have any plans to do After Effects composting? (any system that can run Premiere Pro will work fine with Photoshop, however After Effects has an appetite for more RAM than Premiere Pro does to run both smoothly)

            - what is your budget range for the computer (sans display, keyboard, etc.)?

            - do you want to purchase a system from a vendor that knows Adobe and provides excellent post-sales support?

            - or, would you prefer to really delve into this project, save some cash, and build it yourself?

             

            Regards,

             

            Jim

            (a fellow Methodist and Engineer )

            • 3. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
              JAL3 Level 1

              Thanks for the replies.

               

              I typed the above when I woke this morning and omitted some important stuff! I did it when I should have been preparing for today's and tomorrows services.

               

              The budget is flexible. This is a "I have not had a vacation since 2007" indulgence and I am going to make it happen. My early guess is the base system will be around $6000.

               

              My source material is all over the place ranging from old mini DV tape up to 4k from a GH-4. It is the latter that bogs down my laptop. Also planned are some extensive After Effects treatments. That too is a system hog.

               

              The most cameras I have tried to integrate thus far is 3 but I easily see 5 in the future.

               

              Most of what I have done to date falls into 2 categories. Long ago, I prepared training videos for a seminary. Those are the property of the seminary. My other hobby is rocketry. I like filming launches and would like to put together some how-to type projects. Some of my colleagues have suggested that I put out a video version of some articles I used to write called "The Rite Stuff" about the rites and liturgies of the church.

               

              Final products range from a few minutes to 90 minutes on Youtube or Vimeo but some need to be suitable for projection in auditoria or sanctuaries.

               

              Right now I am using CS6 but will probably make the CC transition this coming year.

               

              I do NOT want to build this myself. I want to spec a system and turn it over to the IT guys I have dealt with for the last decade to build.

               

              A ramification of the itinerant system is that I put a premium on dependability. Getting service in Possumtrot, Texas is likely to be much more difficult than in San Antonio. All my appointments thus far have been in the San Antonio metro area but I know that I cannot count on that!

               

              Thanks again to both of you for the replies.

               

              Peace and Grace,

               

              JAL

              • 4. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
                JEShort01 Level 4

                John,

                 

                In order to meet your goals, think x99. DDR4 memory is very fast, 6/8 core CPUs are available, and a dual-CPU solution would be way more expensive.

                 

                Here's a suggested parts list to consider as a starting point:

                 

                 

                Notes:

                - Intel's i7-5930k would bring you "in budget", but you did say "dream system" and wanted grow room (assembly and tax are not shown on pricing, so this would put you over $6k)

                - You will want your system builder to build and support at least a 4GHz overclock; don't worry, this will still last for many years so long as voltages are not increased and cpu is kept cool (under 60 deg. C)

                 

                Regards,

                 

                Jim

                • 5. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
                  JAL3 Level 1

                  I thank you very much for your input and I can say that your suggestions are taken seriously. In fact, I had already "chosen" some of your list (or very similar) as being the direction I want to head in.

                   

                  I'd like to get back to my original question, though.

                   

                  Does Premiere/AE take advantage of extra processors if they are present?

                   

                  I infer from your reply that they probably do take advantage of them but that such advantage might not be cost effective.

                   

                  My line of reasoning and/or consideration is thus:

                   

                  1. Flagship products are often much more expensive than the next tier down.

                  2. The next tier is often "almost as good"

                  3. Using a pair of i7 6 cores would be just slightly more expensive than an i7 8 core (speaking only in terms of CPU cost, not anything else)

                  4. Would 12 cores give a significantly better performance than 8 cores if divided among 2 CPUs?

                  5. A motherboard that handles 2 CPUs might have more total expansion slots available (pure surmise but will be an issue later on)

                  6. Even if the  core is better, I would like to understand why.

                   

                  Please also remember that the 6k figure was just a first guess. I am not wedded to it. I have not had a vacation in 7 years and am planning on treating myself even if it means I have to wait just a little bit longer to pull the trigger on the project. That said, I am not willing to blow 30% of the entire project price just to shave 0.05 seconds off of a render time. If, however, that same 30% means that I wait 30 seconds instead of 5 hours, I would consider it well spent.

                   

                  From what I understand, GPUs have much more effect on render times than CPUs but I do want to understand what the tradeoffs I am making are in the terms of realistic performance. It may be that there is some critical aspect for which the CPU is vitally important that I have failed to consider. The problem is, I don't know enough about hardware issues. They were never my forte!

                   

                  Thanks again for spending time on this!

                   

                  JAL

                   

                  • 6. Re: Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
                    cc_merchant Level 4

                    1. Flagship products are often much more expensive than the next tier down.Correct

                    2. The next tier is often "almost as good" Correct

                    3. Using a pair of i7 6 cores would be just slightly more expensive than an i7 8 core (speaking only in terms of CPU cost, not anything else) Not possible

                    4. Would 12 cores give a significantly better performance than 8 cores if divided among 2 CPUs? Depends

                    5. A motherboard that handles 2 CPUs might have more total expansion slots available (pure surmise but will be an issue later on) Often true

                     

                    From what I understand, GPUs have much more effect on render times than CPUs. Only if you are talking about rendering for preview. Not true for exporting.


                    # 3: i7 is a single CPU only. For dual CPU's, Xeon E5 are necessary, for quad CPU's, Xeon E7 are required.

                     

                    I suggest you read the link in post #1, that answers many of your questions and doubts.

                    • 7. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
                      JAL3 Level 1

                      I thank you for your reply as well!

                       

                      I got an explanation for my third point from the referenced article and am glad of it. What I may be missing is an understanding of the 4th. Upon what does the the performance depend? I may find this answer as I wander though the links in the article but it was not immediately obvious to me. That happens to me a lot in the last decade!

                       

                      I also thank you for pointing out the distinction between preview and export rendering. That makes perfect sense!

                      • 8. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
                        cc_merchant Level 4

                        Compare a dual Xeon E5-2699 @ 2.3 GHz with a single i7-5960X @ 4.5 GHz overclocked and you will likely find that the dual Xeon is around 50-60% faster than the single i7.

                        This is 2 x 18 cores = 36 physical cores or 72 logical cores with 45 MB L3 cache on each CPU, versus 1 x 8 cores = 8 physical cores or 16 logical cores with 20 MB L3 cache.

                        This is also 2 x € 4500 versus 1 x € 900, not counting the rest (motherboard, more expensive memory, etc.). The law of diminishing returns ...

                         

                        A dual Xeon E5-2660 @ 2.6 GHz (2 x 10 cores, € 1600 each) will likely perform about equal or sightly (up to 10%) faster than a single i7-5690X @ 4.5 GHz (1 x 8 cores, € 900).

                         

                        In general, the higher the resolution of the source material (4K, 5K or 6K) the higher the benefit of cores over clock-speed.

                        • 9. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
                          JAL3 Level 1

                          I am not trying to ignore anything. I have simply been overwhelmed with trying to balance the perusal of the linked pages with actual work responsibilities. It has given me much food for thought.

                           

                          Something that I have seen reference to on several occasions within the linked pages is the use of plugins from Red Giant. I'm afraid that I use virtually their entire line and that seems to affect my choices very early in the planning stage.

                           

                          Another thing that comes to mind from my reading is all the references to "overclocking". In my mind, the term is associated with people who "know hardware" and enjoy tinkering with it. Neither description applies to me. I want a system that is stable and reliable and will need minimum hardware work on my part. I am notorious for being clumsy around hardware.

                           

                          I surmise from the pricing in Euros that you are from Europe and therefore might not know much about how the United Methodist Church operates in the US. This is germane because I am a United Methodist pastor. That means that I am subject to appointment from my bishop on an annual basis. I can be reappointed to the same place year after year but that is rare except for people with much more seniority than I. There is a very good chance that I will be appointed this coming July to a small, rural community far from any reliable tech support. After a year or two there, the likelihood is that I will be transferred to another such community, perhaps 500 miles from the previous one. My stability in location in the last decade has been due mainly to the previous bishop's familiarity with me and his desire to use my language skills in the San Antonio area hospitals but I have a new bishop now.

                           

                          The result is that I want to invest in a system that has little need for me to open it up and perform surgery I am not qualified to perform!

                           

                          Thank you again for the reference. I am working again tonight on the overnight shift at the hospital and am hoping for a quiet night in which to further digest the reading.

                          • 10. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
                            cc_merchant Level 4

                            Something that I have seen reference to on several occasions within the linked pages is the use of plugins from Red Giant. I'm afraid that I use virtually their entire line and that seems to affect my choices very early in the planning stage.

                            Keep in mind that plug-ins like RedGiant or Neat do not use CUDA acceleration. If they use the video card at all, it will be OpenCL or OpenGL. Add to this that these plug-ins are often ill-threaded and the number of cores in a system become a minor point, while at the same time clock speed becomes a major performance determinant. Hence overclocking.

                             

                            PR uses CUDA acceleration and is perfectly threaded. The more cores, the better. The faster and bigger the memory, the better. So, you see there is no clear answer to your question. It depends on the editing style, plug-ins used, the source material, etc. but one thing is clear:

                             

                            Dual Xeons are much, much more expensive than a single i7, so the i7 still looks like the best BFTB solution.

                            • 11. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
                              JAL3 Level 1

                              I didn't get much reading done last night because it was extremely busy at the hospital. After getting some sleep today, I did manage to do some more research, especially on the linked page.

                               

                              I have tentatively chosen to base my system upon the Intel Core i7 5960x. This is just the first choice and I am not wedded to it but, after juggling my various needs, wants and practicalities, it seems the best compromise.

                               

                              My rationale is thus: This one has 8 cores. Since I would rather spend the leftover funds on something like a Blackmagic Ursa rather than spring for the obscene $$$ needed for the Xeon multichip solution, this seemed the best of the i7 line. It supports 64 GB of RAM and while that may not be needed for Premiere, I suspect After Effects will appreciate it. I do use the Red Giant Pluglins but they do not form the mainstay of my efforts. I suppose I can take the occasional performance hit when they are used. I do some recording in 4k but I generally do not produce 4k output. I record in 4k for my other hobby, rocketry. With level 3 engines, the safe set back distances are so far that filming in 4k is useful so that the image can be zoomed in post and still retain some detail.

                               

                              Does this seem logical?

                               

                              If so, the next step is to choose the motherboard. This is frustrating because, based on past experience, I always run out of slots way before the manufacturers think I should.

                              • 12. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
                                JAL3 Level 1

                                I've been looking at motherboards but keep drifting back towards ASUS. The only reason I can give for this is that the ASUS machines I have owned, all laptops, have had fewer problems than any other mfg. I guess I am comfortable with them. That doesn't mean that I insist; it only means that I have had good results in the past.

                                 

                                In this realm, I am even less comfortable than with the CPUs and hope to get some guidance here.

                                 

                                The two I keep looking at are:

                                 

                                ASUS X99-E WS and ASUS X99 Deluxe

                                 

                                The first criterion I examined was whether the board would work with the selected chip and the ASUS site lists both of these boards.

                                 

                                From what I see of pricing, both of these are at the upper end and my guess is that that means they are more capable. I'm afraid that most of the other information given is right over my head.

                                 

                                As far as the other specifications of the boards go, I would say that they are mostly  Greek to me but that would be misleading since I do understand Greek.

                                 

                                As far as the WS goes, I am assuming that the letters stand for "workstation" and that implies a higher degree of reliability. As I have mentioned in previous posts, that is an important consideration for me.

                                 

                                I have some disappointment in the number of slots each has but 8 seems to be the max.

                                 

                                One of the things that "bothers" me is the emphasis on gaming that I have found in my reading. That is something in which I have no interest but I also do not know if gaming presents analogous computational, i/o considerations or other situations to video editing.

                                 

                                As always, I would be most grateful for any guidance that would be offered.

                                • 13. Re: Hardware Questions for a "Dream System"
                                  Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Based on your questions I would strongly suggest that you call a forum member Eric at ADK and have him architect and build you a custom video editing system.  He and ADK are very knowledgeable with Premiere and can give you a state-of-the-art system that they will stand behind.