8 Replies Latest reply on Mar 8, 2015 5:20 PM by SeanPercy42

    Need some advice on a motion graphics/editing PC build.

    SeanPercy42 Level 1

      Here's the deal. I've been builing custom PC's for more than 20 years but not a system anything close to the one I'm planning to build next and need some expert advice and information from anyone up to it. I am looking to build a system specifically for video editing, creating motion graphics, and 3D modeling, and have some rather advanced questions about what components would be best for my specific needs (mainly about the graphics card & disk drives).

      First is the video card(s). And I say 'card(s)' because I'm not sure if I need more than one card for what I'm trying to accomplish. I will be creating many long, complex 3D animations using Blender and After Effects, in addition to editing a variety of projects in Premiere, and want the best bang for my buck. My projected budget for this system is pretty high (from $5k to $10k) and I know I can get amazing performance at that price point if I get the right equipment. So onto the cards. From what I've gathered, briefly searching Google, is that I want an Nvidia card with CUDA for video editing. My main question in this area is, would dual or quad graphics cards using SLI be benificial in anything I'm trying to do, or is SLI mainly for improved gaming performance? From what I've gathered, I believe that rendering (at least video, not sure about 3D animation) is done mainly using the CPU, and not the GPU; although CUDA helps. I basically need to know how much it helps. If I purchased two or four GTX 980's would I see a significant improvement in After Effects, Blender, or Premiere? I'm planning on getting one of the top (if not the top) i7 CPU I can find, so there will not be a bottleneck with my CPU performance, so please don't anyone suggest to put the money into the CPU instead of the GPUs, because I will already be putting in the maximum amount there.

      My other main question is in regards to hard drives (or solid state). I'm currently doing a bit of editing and 3D modeling on a laptop and it's actually done alright for the few little projects I've worked on so far, but as I start working on projects that have strict deadlines, I'll need a system that can basically render as fast as possible. My main question in this area is, should I use any sort of RAID array. I've looked at numerous forums but none of them specifically answered the question for my unique situation. Most of the other forums said "well if you're only going to be using it for editing and not any animation", etc. but I am going to be doing 3D animation as well, so I need to know what the answer is in that case instead... I also know that other posts, in regards to editing systems, recommend using like three drives for things like scratch disks. I have a feeling I'm going to get some recommendations here saying I need like seven drives for what I'm trying to accomplish, which are the responses I actually really look forward to hearing about. I've looked mainly at RAID 5, 6, & 10 but don't completely understand them and have actually never implemented it in any system I've built so far. From what little I've gathered, I believe RAID 10 would work best for my needs as it offers excellent read & write speeds which is important, and also provides redundancy, which imo is even more important. I can't have the system down for an hour, or worse a week because one of my drives fails. My other question in this area is, would an array of SSDs greatly improve performance in a RAID 10 array? Would it be cost effective? I read in one post recently that HDDs actually handle larger files better than SSDs, and was concerned about putting SSDs in the rig because they wouldn't be able to handle the larger video files I'll frequently be using as well as HDDs would. I imagine I will be shooting and editing many 4K projects soon, and need a system that will handle that resolution well. If I should use 4 HDDs in a RAID 10 array for my OS drive (the RAID for speed & redundance), a small SSD for a scratch disk, and a large SSD or HDD for an video output drive, please list the exact drives/configuration you would suggest I use and why. I am very interested in a bit of a discussion here to get the best possible setup for the money, and will respond to any sincere responses as quickly as possible.


      I know that I've asked several pretty complex questions here but am hoping someone with quite a bit more experience than I have in building editing systems can provide a bit of advanced advice and help out myself and anyone else that may try to build a similar system in the future. I also know this question isn't specifically aimed at AE, but it does have to do with it and because AE is editing and motion graphics program, believe I will find the best advice for a system that will edit video and create animations. Thanks a million (in advance) to anyone that provides educated input in response to the questions I've asked!

        • 1. Re: Need some advice on a motion graphics/editing PC build.
          Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          For Premiere, look at the Premiere Pro BenchMark web site and especially the Tweakers Pages.  For AE add as much memory as you can afford.

          • 2. Re: Need some advice on a motion graphics/editing PC build.
            SeanPercy42 Level 1

            Please don't refer me to other forums as I stated that I've already scoured Google and haven't found a page that discusses my unique needs. I understand that my 'questions' don't have do do with only After Effects but they do have a bit to do with it, which makes it relevant in this forum, imho. The system will have maxed out ram & CPU, I'm only looking for advice on RAID & graphics cards. Specifically, what version of RAID I should use, whether to use SSDs or fast HDDs, what the best editing video cards are, and whether or not I would benifit from using SLI. Those are the only four questions I'm concerned with right now. I appreciate your input but I'm looking for pro advice not a quick redirect.

            • 3. Re: Need some advice on a motion graphics/editing PC build.
              RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

              for the video cards, you may need to ask on Blender's forums to see what they say it needs... premiere may get by on a single gpu, and AE is still 5+ years outdated tech. Is this graphic card good for After Effects Cs6 or superior?   i've heard they are working on updating it, but it might be a few years before they get it up to speed.


              4 hdd's in raid 10 wont be very fast, hdd raids need larger sets to see fast speeds. there are some external sas enclosures that hold up to 8 hdds, support raid 6, and are hot swappable. those might be something to look into, or internal raid with hot swap cages. you can use a mirrored raid ssd for the os/apps drive if you are worried about up time. if you use ssd in raid, the intel 730 480gb drive is a good choice.

              • 4. Re: Need some advice on a motion graphics/editing PC build.
                SeanPercy42 Level 1

                Alright, I decided to go with an MSI GTX 980 Gaming w\ 4GB DDR5 for the video card since it has a good amount or VRAM, CUDA cores, and is ranked as one of the best graphics cards available right now. I'm sure by the time I can afford to build the rig they'll be even more reasonable. Right now they're actually under $700 which imho is pretty damn reasonable already for the performance.


                You mentioned that HDD RAIDs need larger sets to see fast speeds. Should I use SSDs instead? To me it doesn't matter either way. I would rather pay the higher price for SSDs if I'm going to get a big performance bump. You also mention RAID 6. Would you recommend that over RAID 10? Like I mentioned in my original post, I am very new to using raid and want to use the best array for my needs. I am going to be working with pretty large video files, especially once I start editing 4K video, and did read that HDDs work better for some odd reason than SSDs with large (non-random?) reads (and possibly writes).


                Hypothetically what do you think about this drive setup?

                • 4 x Intel 730's using RAID 10 (internal hot swapable) for my OS/Apps which would give me a good performance bump from using a striped array but also the redundancy I need in case a drive fails.
                • 2 x 4TB HDDs using RAID 0 to store completed projects. I'll also be backing up to an external drive, blu-rays, or a cloud server.
                • 1 x 256GB SSD to use as a scratch disk for any apps that need it, primarily for Premiere & After Effects


                Can you think of any reason to add another drive in there somewhere I'm not thinking of, or change that setup at all? Thanks for your input btw.

                • 5. Re: Need some advice on a motion graphics/editing PC build.
                  RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

                  you only need 2xssd raid 1 (mirror) for os/apps.

                  1 ssd for scratch/previews

                  second raid 6 or 10 with hdd's or ssd's for media.   (if you dont get alot of hdd's to get speed up, you will want to use ssd.)

                  no raid for backups. can use multiple hdd's but in combination with offsite, such as cloud backup.


                  optional could be another ssd for cache/export. if the scratch ssd fails, this would be able to take over.

                  can take a look at the storage guides here for some more info.  Tweakers Page

                  • 6. Re: Need some advice on a motion graphics/editing PC build.
                    Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    I thought you should know that my link that I provided you is not another forum.  Instead it is a private web site and has a lot of technical data on building a high performance computer for Premiere which would be very useful to your questions,  Take a look at the link above by RoninEdits and scroll down to the RAID discussion.

                    • 7. Re: Need some advice on a motion graphics/editing PC build.
                      SeanPercy42 Level 1

                      The reason I was choosing RAID 10 over 1 was mainly for improved disk space and so I could still have redundancy. You're right though I would probably be fine with RAID 1 considering that Win 7/8 and the apps that I use really don't take up that much space. Also because I would be using a separate RAID 6 or 10 array for my media/project files. I'll definitely go with SSDs all around for all the drives for the best performance. Thanks a lot for the great advice and I'll check out the storage guides when I get closer to building the system.

                      • 8. Re: Need some advice on a motion graphics/editing PC build.
                        SeanPercy42 Level 1

                        Hey Bill, sorry I assumed that the links in your last post were to a forum. I've just been redirected several times in previous questions I've posted which can get a bit annoying. I'll definitely check out the page you suggested when I have a few minutes. Thanks the input and I really appreciate you informing me where to go on that page for the exact info I need. I was expecting to click the link you suggested, be directed to another forum, and have to scour it for hours to find the info I am looking for. Nice to know that's not the case. Thanks again!