A great system is balanced and doesn't have any weak links - CPU + GPU + RAM + drives. A weak link anywhere will really bring down performance. However, complete overkill in any area will hardly make a noticeable difference.
In my opinion, you could skip adding another high-performance, expensive SSD and have either your very fast OS drive manage the scratch/media cache/swap duties for editing just fine. And if you don't like that idea, you could have the 3x RAID 0 Samsung 850 Pro array manage the scratch/media cache/swap duties instead. Both your .M2 drive and your 3x array alone have more drive firepower than typical 8 drive arrays from just a few years ago.
You can test this theory out yourself by using the PPBM7 benchmark test files to load up different portions of your system (www.ppbm7.com) using 3 separate exports - the h.264 export maxes out your CPU, the DVD export maxes out your drives, and the MPEG2 DVD export maxes out your GPU. When you run the tests, see if your CPU and GPU components are fully utilized.
If you simply want to spend more and build the best: add another GTX 980 or GTX Titan X, increase RAM to 64GB if you only have 32GB now, or trade-up to a 5960x CPU.
I believe that with storage that sequential read write is more important for any NLE (video editing) processing than IOPS specifications. If you use RAID 5 it is great for random IOPS but lousy for NLE, instead you use RAID 6 for better sequential reads.
Jim, good reminder to actually test the final build w/ PPBM. If nothing else, to check for bad setups or hardware rather than assuming the theoretical performance is actually happening. And that's true, I probably should have more seriously considered a 5960k CPU, but was hoping to make that the one incremental component left to upgrade at a much later date.
Since I'm still a little short on total capacity, I probably still need to consider an SSD addition or reconfiguration, even if speed gains are minimal by adding a new PCI SSD. But perhaps just replacing the SM951 with a larger of the same model (maybe the upcoming NVMe version) and adding a 4th 850 Pro to the internal RAID 0 would be a good middle ground.
On video cards, I was under the impression dual cards / sli didn't aid adobe workflows. Is this incorrect? Or does simply running some of the monitors from different cards help (it's a 3-monitor setup)? In any case, using the ASUS x99 Deluxe, I may have an issue with dual graphic cards plus thunderbolt card, either with physical space or conflicts. Maybe eliminating the additional PCI SSD option would make dual cards doable still.
Also, yes, it's 64GB RAM. Also forgot, Win 8.1, 3-monitor, H-220x cooler, Haf-x case.
Bill, that's probably the biggest thrust of my question and my own ignorance. So as you recommend, I've been operating as though high sequential read/write is most important for the Source/Input drive (the original media files) and the Output drive.
Just to clarify, do you also believe that if you have a designated scratch drive, then that drive should also prioritize sequential read/write over other performance factors? I was wondering if the aspects of editing performance that are derived from the scratch drive might be more heavily weighted toward performance factors other than large file sequential read/write. This is just a guess based on the type of operations that I ASSUME are happening on the scratch drive. I've just never seen this distinction between the different functions specified anywhere.
The goal here is the snappiest performance possible on the timeline in large, high-res/high-quality, projects. To me, laggy real-time performance limits creativity and progress much greater than a few percent difference in render times.
I suggest that you re-read and take to heart my previous post to reach your goal of "snappiest performance possible on the timeline in large, high-res/high-quality, projects". Your current weakest link is simply put your CPU.
My advice comes from lots of testing using a dual 8-core e5-2687w Xeon, 128GB, dual GTX Titan Superclocked, 9 SSD + 20 rotating drive system where I have studied the bottlenecks of using various programs and primarily Premiere Pro on multi-layer 4k projects. I did a lot of exploring with this monster system so that I could build a new system that would meet my needs, and not cost so much. While some users will actually utilize dual-Xeon systems (i.e. RED Dragon, multicam RED 4k, etc.), my regular needs only deal with Sony consumer 4k media (much less demanding than RED 4k and beyond).
Trust me, you already have enough drive speed to prevent drive speed from being a bottle-neck with your new build. Regarding your need for more drive capacity, you can easily add some more large rotating 7200 rpm drives - internal or Thunderbolt.
Regarding your questions about adding another GPU, I can say that the Asus x99 workstation MB can handle dual GPU and the Thunderbolt option, but I don't know about the Deluxe x99 board. Eric Bowen surely would know, maybe he will chime in here. Personally, for your MB, I would prefer a single GPU solution and your current GTX 980 is an awesome card.
Again, why not get your new rig up and going as-is, start using it with PPBM7 and your own projects. Is it as snappy as you were hoping for? What are the bottlenecks (CPU, GPU, disk I/O during timeline playback and renders)?
Finally, in closing, you do not mention your current or planned plans to overclock or not. I sure would if I were you. Go with 4 GHz if you think overclocking is really scary, and shoot for 4.3 or 4.4 MHz if you are comfortable with the idea and have good air-flow and CPU cooling.
I would suggest the Samsung. The Intel drives benchmarked less than expected for the price and the buffering currently used means performance constantly dips far below ideal speeds.
Jim - Thanks for giving so much detailed advice! Yes, I'll have the 5960 at the top of the list for upgrade of existing parts. Since the 5930 is already installed, I'll try it out for the moment and look for the first "deal" on the 60. And yes, overclocking as soon as the defective cpu cooler is replaced. I'll have some Red Dragon, and some of Sony 4K RAW/HQProRes, in addition to the smaller stuff. Thought about a dual Xeon build, but not having any experience with them, just went with what I new.
Side note... Any idea if plugins not being multi-core optimized negate some of the advantages of the 5960, similar to non-gpu-optimized plugins occasionally limiting cuda gpu card advantages?
For storage space, I just mean I need slightly more volume in fast storage, not bulk... just based on my drive utilization in the past between programs, scratch, and output files. But as you recommend, since another designated scratch ssd isn't likely to help this system, I have other options.
Even if it's only theoretical given my build, I'm still curious about the original question, in any case...which ssd specs most affect scratch drive needs/performance.
Eric - Interesting. I hadn't seen anything but glowing reviews for the new Intels, so that's good to know. Thanks.
Wow... You hadn't mentioned RED Dragon and Sony 4K RAW/HQProRes before, or if you did I missed it! Yes, you will be doing some serious "heavy lifting"!
Regarding your question about non-multi core plug-ins, yes they would negate all advantages of 8 cores over 6. I try to stay clear of them for that reason if at all possible.
Regarding storage space with you new qualifiers, I'd vote for adding more Samsung 850 Pro(s). They are great drives and you already have 3. I'm not big on having a bunch of "this and that" drives, because that pretty much eliminates the ability to RAID 0 (or RAID 5 them with an Areca card) someday later on. Later on often does have a way of catching up with us!
Regarding your "theoretical" question regarding what is best for scratch, cache, etc., I'd say both are important and in some ways it depends! For example, when I was doing some system tuning / tweaking a couple of years back (back in the PPBM5 days), the best results came from pointing adobe media cache to a RAID5 drive array and pointing the media cache DB to a SSD array (with faster seek times, but a lower overall write speed vs. the hard drive array). There are so many variables in workflow, drive configuration settings, etc. that it is not likely possible to have the perfect answer to this question.
Hooray! The 5930k overclocked to 4.6Ghz stable under full load, and did so via the simple Asus AI Suite 3 5-way optimization. They even have an upfront setting to simulate video editing workload during the overclock tests, so I was expecting something like 4.1 or 4.2Ghz under those setting based on what I'd heard elsewhere. And the Swiftech 220x CPU cooler seems to be excellent so far (second one, first one had defective pump)
This should make me feel better about saving the $500 vs. 5960 for a bit. Especially until I can wean myself off the non-multithread Colorista, etc.! Maybe the upcoming release of Premiere's color correcting tools will make it easier to stay native more often.
Fortunately the Red will be in short spurts on-location when we have a feature films shooting (I so far avoid handling the full edit myself). I'm fine with the 5K/4K stuff performing "just ok" on this system, as long as it tears apart every other file. We've found the combo of 5D3 Raw (Magic Lantern) and Sony 2K Raw (for slow motion) to be a super high bang-for-the-buck middle ground when the project only needs 1080 or 2K output.
Of course, I just saw comments (maybe Harm's on the PPBM site?) about quicktime / pro-res having a major limitation on hardware utilization, and those are the files that had been giving me the most trouble lately.
Couldn't get PPBM8 to work after running the project outputs (sent email with screenshot to ppbm contact), but ATTO bench showed good throughput on the current drives max performance, though.
SM951 (OS & Program)- 2226 MB/s max read
Lacie 8big 24TB Thunderbolt-2 HDD RAID 0 (Media and Project Files) - 1250 max read
850 Pro 3 x Sata RAID 0 (Cache, Previews, Output) - 1624 max read
When 1TB or so SSDs become affordable, that would be a fun upgrade for the LaCie RAID. I could get by with 8TB usually. They should easily max out the Thunderbolt 2 interface I would think, and be more reliable than the 8 HDDs I have spinning in it now. I'm assuming I'll lose a disk in this array a couple times a year.