8 Replies Latest reply on Sep 19, 2015 9:35 PM by andymees@aje

    Looking for comments on upgrade options for an existing edit system

    andymees@aje Level 3

      Hi All


      I'm looking for recommendations on the best/simplest 1 or 2 step upgrade I could do to an edit PC I have here, hopefully to give it a little boost ... unfortunately it's not a new build proposal, not even a major rebuild.


      The existing system is a few years old... the best I could come up with with the budget available at the time:


      CPU                    Core i7- 3820 (4 core, 3.60GHz, 10MB Cache, Socket 2011, 130W, Sandy Bridge)

      Mother Board      ASUS Sabertooth X79

      Memory               24GB 1333 MHz DDR3

      Boot drive            240GB  SSD (Mushkin Chronos SATA 6.0)

      GPU                    GTX 560 Ti (1GB)

      Media drive         3.6TB RAID 10 (4x 2TB WD Green) ... a fakeRAID running off the Intel RAID controller on the mobo, clocks around 220MB read/write.

      OS                       Windows 7 64 bit



      Obviously it's no speed demon so I'm interested to know, if I could change out ONE thing ... what would be the best change to make? And if you're reading between the lines, budget is an issue.


      Given the preponderance of GPGPU tasks these days, not least PrPro's Mercury engine, I'm thinking is that I should probably prioritise replacing the ageing GTX 560 Ti with something more effective ... perhaps a 4GB GTX960 or GTX970.

      But would that same money be better spent on replacing the CPU? A Core i7 4820K / 4930K / 4960X (or indeed any other revision that would fit) assuming I can find one locally.  Any opinions on which would be the better choice between GPU or CPU with my setup?

      Or would the addition of a separate dedicated drive for pagefile, media cache, peak files etc be the place to look? Currently I have projects, renders and (nominally) media living on the RAID, but my normal workflow actually has the project media residing on one or two USB 3.0 attached SSD drives, so render etc and media actually are rarely on the same drive


      Or should I be looking at adding or replacing something entirely different?


      Appreciation in advance for any and all comments.



        • 1. Re: Looking for comments on upgrade options for an existing edit system
          RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

          it would depend on your projects, you can use windows task manager, or resource monitor, and gpu-z  to see what might be your biggest bottleneck while editing and exporting. premiere is primarily cpu based, so if you aren't using alot of gpu effects, your video card might be doing fine. if you replace the cpu, the i7-4930K is the one to go with. it benchmarks over 40% faster than your current cpu. if you found a used i7-3930K for a good price its another option, it benchmarks around 30% faster than your current cpu. if you have a good power supply and cpu heatsink/fan you can do some overclocking with the K series cpu's too. if you notice the cpu usage is medium to low and gpu usage maxed, then you may benefit more from upgrading the video card.

          • 2. Re: Looking for comments on upgrade options for an existing edit system
            JEShort01 Level 4

            I've got questions to ask before I would want to answer your otherwise well framed questions.


            - What version of Adobe are you using? (this actually does make a difference believe it or not regarding RAM, GPU options, etc.)

            - What media type(s) are you editing? (HD, 4K, slightly compressed, very compressed, etc.)

            - what aspect of editing would you like to speed up - and be very specific (i.e. render to DVD where GPU helps, render to blu-ray where CPU helps, timeline performance using xyz media, etc.)?



            • 3. Re: Looking for comments on upgrade options for an existing edit system
              andymees@aje Level 3

              That sounds like good advice Ronin. I'm starting a new project on Monday. Will keep an eye on gpu-z and the resource monitor for a few days and see what I can see.

              • 4. Re: Looking for comments on upgrade options for an existing edit system
                andymees@aje Level 3

                Thanks for the questions Jim

                I have the latest CC2015 build installed, just updated.

                My projects are almost exclusively long form (30 min) documentary / current affairs programmes.

                80% or more of content is 1080p compressed (MPEG HD 422 50Mb) with the other 20% coming in every conceivable shape, size and codec.

                Mastering is for broadcast delivery as XDCAM HD422 50 Mbs MXF, no DVD or Bluray exports, but I do occasionally (not every project) have to export preview/approval copies to Vimeo along the way.

                Ideally what I'd like to see is better timeline performance, preferably good realtime playback of basic effects (crop, blur, scaling etc) & color corrections / grading without render ... and faster preview renders if and when needed ... and if any of that also translates to faster exports then that would be a big bonus.

                I'm transitioning from Edius (different NLE but the exact same machine) and have always enjoyed excellent playback performance with little or no need for preview rendering even with multiple effect layers.

                Appreciate that theres always pros and cons to any hardware/software combo though, so just trying to see if theres anything I could do to the hardware to make the new software sing a little more sweetly.

                Again, many thanks in advance.


                • 5. Re: Looking for comments on upgrade options for an existing edit system
                  JEShort01 Level 4



                  Good details, and considering all of that here are my thoughts:


                  Regarding your 1 or 2 step upgrade, I'd suggest what you were already thinking in your original post -- add a 4GB GTX 970. That will give you a lot more GPU firepower and possibly be fast enough to use too in a future system down the road.


                  A more capable CPU would gain you some additional performance too, but I would not suggest doing that. Your system is actually pretty balanced, so I would think that your upgrade dollars would be better spent on an eventual full motherboard/CPU/RAM replacement later on.


                  If you still want to spend some more after the GPU upgrade, then you could get some faster drives. SSDs keep getting larger and more affordable to use for your main workspace (media, projects, scratch & cache) and you can keep your relatively slow RAID 10 array for additional storage and daily backups of a new fast array (recommend not using parity for that). If you need more workspace than what you can afford with good SSDs (Samsung 850 Pro or Intel 730 class SSDs), then a 2 or 3 drive RAID 0 7200rpm drive array could work too (but may not fit in your current case; SSDs can lay anywhere and hardly require any cooling).



                  • 6. Re: Looking for comments on upgrade options for an existing edit system
                    Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                    I think there is one other alternative that you might want to consider.  I do not like that 5400 rpm media drive array, by the way how full is that array?  I see you have USB3 drives, have you checked the speed of those drives, all USB3 drives are not created equal.


                    Since apparently you have an open PCIe 3.0 slot open you might want to consider a onboard SSD with a Samsung XP941 plus a PCTe adapter card like the Addonics ADM2PX4.which for a little over $330 for the 512 GB would give you much much higher performance to handle your media.  If you want to buy for the future you could spend $100 more for a SM 951 SSD but the Addonics card or any other adapter card I have tried will not give you the additional performance that the SM951 is capable of providing.

                    • 7. Re: Looking for comments on upgrade options for an existing edit system
                      andymees@aje Level 3

                      Thanks Bill


                      Sound advice. The RAID is indeed a bit of a dog. It normally sits at about 50% capacity or less (a holding cell for up to 12 months of "recent project" data / ancillary media (vo etc), albeit not camera rushes which are backed up separately) and it gives me about 220Mb/s read/write ... sufficient for my current needs, but faster would obviously be better.

                      The drive specs stated 7200 rpm, which I took on faith when we purchased, but apparently thats not quite so black and white with "Green" drives. My bad.


                      I try to ensure that camera rushes are always presented on SSDs (480GB Samsung Extreme II) which are attached through a USB3.0 drive dock and/or adapters ... but that doesn't always work out, and occasionally the rushes show up on a backup drives instead, usually just regular portable 5400 rpm drives. Either way, as noted the USB3 drive speeds do indeed vary. In my experience, with the USB3 attached SSDs the working speed is not staggering, but a-ok for edit in place (gut feeling, I should probably speed test them) ... but with the USB3 portable drives the speed can be sub-optimal to say the least. On those occasions I'll usually ingest rushes to the RAID.


                      Have previously looked at adding an internal SSD dock bay i.e. a preferably trayless backplane cage for holding 2/4 SSD's with direct SATA 6G connection rather than using the USB3 based external dock. Seems like a low cost way to improve that aspect of the system but I've had trouble sourcing locally.


                      PCIe cards currently installed are the GFX card, a BMD Mini Monitor card and a GVG Storm 3G card (for Edius I/O) ... I'll remove the latter eventually, but need to nail down the new PPro workflow first.

                      Will look into the Addonics ADM2PX4 and onboard SSD cards. Looks very interesting and a good deal less expensive than I'd have imaging for that kind of performance.



                      Many many thanks.


                      • 8. Re: Looking for comments on upgrade options for an existing edit system
                        andymees@aje Level 3

                        Thanks again Jim


                        Fantastic support and much needed wisdom.

                        In an ideal world I'd replace both CPU and GPU, but I don't think I can swing that at the moment. A GPU upgrade would probably be the easiest to push through, but I'll monitor system resources etc over the coming week as per RoninEdits' suggestion, just to confirm suspicions first.

                        Both yourself and Bill have also pointed to the shortcomings of my existing RAID so I'll definitely see what I can do about that. If nothing else, I may be able to swap out the "Green" drives for some drives that perform a little better, though an SSD array might be pushing my luck!


                        Will report back.