22 Replies Latest reply on Jan 10, 2008 11:50 AM by (kind)

    Would you buy a Dell?

      Just registered here to ask whether there's any kind of consensus re. Dell computers for video editing? Primarily SD at this point but ideally with flexibility to venture into HD eventually.

      Some graphics folks I know (not video) are quite satisfied with their Dell Precisions machines. It seems that their T7400 Precision model (with Quad Core Intel® Xeon® Processor E5420) has pretty decent specs.

      Not into building a machine myself, but might consider a custom build from qualified vendor. Budget approximately $4-5k.

      I expect this kind of "what's best" question is oft asked, but any input would help!
        • 1. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
          Harm Millaard Level 7
          Dell has decent machines and attractive pricing
          b if you stick to standard configurations.
          If you add ANY options, like a better CPU, extra memory, additional hard disks etc. they steal you blind. Better to buy those extras somewhere else and install them yourself.

          The major drawback of Dell is the limited expandability. They do not have any workstation with sufficient expandability, unless you use their servers, but then they only have server boards available, not workstation boards.
          • 2. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
            John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP
            http://www.adobeforums.com/webx/.3bbecb1a/

            In the Pro2 forum, but lots of hardware discussion that may help
            • 3. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
              mickkeay Level 1
              I occasionally use Premiere Pro CS3 on a new Dell 1520 /2G Duo / 2G RAM / dedicated graphics / Vista Home Premium - without any problems. Updated to 3.1.1 latest patch too OK
              • 4. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                Level 1
                >Dell has decent machines and attractive pricing if you stick to standard configurations.

                Yeah, having run through their online "customize" system I see what you mean!

                Thanks for the information.
                • 5. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                  I have a great number of Dells from a P4 to a Core2Duo desktop that I have been using for years for video editing and encoding. I am having an employee build a custom desktop pc for my next encoding computer with Core2Quad, 4 Gb RAM and all good parts and I think I will be getting more performance for my money that way at this stage of the game.
                  • 6. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                    Level 1
                    Hi Jim,

                    > I am having an employee build a custom desktop pc for my next encoding computer with Core2Quad, 4 Gb RAM and all good parts and I think I will be getting more performance for my money that way at this stage of the game.

                    I'm coming around to this way of thinking too. Not an employee rather a small custom shop. Been looking around and have found a few likely sources. One being guygraphics.com. It seems if one started out with a solid base such as http://www.guygraphics.com/GGCAT-Adobe%20Custom%20Workstations.html that this would be a system I could add bells/whistles as needed.

                    For example, I'm working only in SD now so would not need the "editing hardware" option to start at least. Put the $$$ instead toward a bit faster CPUs and more RAM.

                    Would be interested if anyone here has any experience with this company or perhaps a similar, small custom type shop?
                    • 7. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                      Harm Millaard Level 7
                      Ashley Guy has a great reputation. He is widely recommended. He is not cheap, but delivers quality solutions AFAIK. The alternative is building a system yourself, which is not difficult, but you may have to invest some more time to get the right components together. If you do a search there are numerous posts, some of which I posted, that describe all the components for a top-of-the-bill system that fits within your budget. Just do a search for Supermicro and you will find a complete listing of all the components needed. Another interesting thread can be found here:
                      http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=107204
                      • 8. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                        Level 1
                        Appreciate the input Harm.

                        >The alternative is building a system yourself

                        ya' know, there was a point in a past life when I might have tried to do just that. But these days I have far too little patience and would rather invest the time in actually working on projects and let someone a lot smarter than I fret about the tech stuff.

                        Thanks for the dvinfo link-- very useful info there, even if I do get a headache reading all the component tech specs. :)
                        • 9. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                          Level 1
                          I've bought 2 systems from Guy Graphics, both using the finicky Matrox boards. I see so many users bashing Matrox, but the way Guy Graphics set them up for me, they worked flawlessly. I wouldn't hesitate at all to recommend them, even if you're not getting a Matrox system.
                          • 10. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                            Level 1
                            Hi Jerel,

                            >I've bought 2 systems from Guy Graphics, both using the finicky Matrox boards. I see so many users bashing Matrox, but the way Guy Graphics set them up for me, they worked flawlessly. I wouldn't hesitate at all to recommend them, even if you're not getting a Matrox system.

                            Oh great, sorry to hear that. Sorry 'cause now I have to think further about spending more $$$ for the Matrox card! :)

                            I guess I would go ahead and get the RT.X2 system, if:

                            1. It was more stable than some here seem to suggest
                            2. It would offer real, practical benefits to my overall workflow.

                            Of course Matrox would have one believe it's a no-brainer. From their www site:

                            >If your goal is to deliver in SD, yet you want to take advantage of the superior image quality offered by your HDV camera, another way to work with HDV material on your RT.X2 platform is to capture HDV over 1394 then edit in SD using the original HDV clips. You maintain the quality of your original footage, yet benefit from maximum realtime performance during the editing process, similar to what you will experience when editing in native DV. When your edits are complete, you can output straight to SD. When you view the SD master you will see no significant difference in quality compared to a project that is edited in native HDV then downscaled to SD.

                            As we purchasing a Canon XH A1 camera, the above would suggest the card might be a worthwhile investment. Basically I'm spending someone else's money here and I expect that they will go with whatever I come up with, but I would like to make sure (as much as possible) that I'll actually benefit enough from what I buy to justify the expense.

                            Anyone else out there using this card and lovin' it? Are there other/better options perhaps?
                            • 11. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                              Curt Wrigley Level 4
                              I have used dells; but my last experience with DELL CS was a nightmare. So, I am now anti Dell. I suppose if you never need support, or are willing to spend days on the phone, they are fine.

                              Im a fan of purchasing from a local or semi local shop who can support you if ever needed.

                              Curt
                              • 12. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                                Level 1
                                Follow-up: I ended up buying a system from GuyGraphics.com

                                Thanks to all for the input.
                                • 13. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                                  I have two Dell computers and have had problem when purchasing additional hard drives from 3rd parties (Newegg/Fry's). Both computers are SATA and actually freeze up when writing to the new drives. If you plan on adding additional drives in them make certain you get the same series if not the same model and size. 250GB hard drives are just too small for most video work etc...

                                  In one computer the only drive that seems to work is the exact same model and size. The other I got away with adding a larger drive from the same manufacturer.

                                  2cents
                                  • 14. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                                    ArrrBee Level 1
                                    My mom bought a dell for less than $500 and she has been happy with it.
                                    Having to install software and such on it I hate it. First the free
                                    printer/scanner is a total pile of poo poo. Because I have no idea of the
                                    brands, makes or models of any of the components that make up this system
                                    troubleshooting problems (once it is out of warranty) is going to be a real
                                    pain.

                                    If you want a new computer and you want to have total control, understanding
                                    and awareness of what you have take the time to pick out the various parts
                                    you want and put the computer together yourself. If you have never done this
                                    this may seem daunting, but it isn't that hard. But, what you have when your
                                    done is superior and dealing with any troubleshooting issues is going to be
                                    much easier because you know what you have and how it is installed.

                                    Robert
                                    • 15. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                                      Level 1
                                      My experience with Dell has been good. However, replacement parts are more expensive from Dell than purchasing them elsewhere and the units are designed to run as built. Meaning that adding more drives may not be possible or may cause over heating due to insufficient CFM's of air flow.

                                      Also, Dell does not build their machines in a completely standard way. They used to make non-standard power supplies for some machines and trying to replace them with an off the self PSU's might blow the whole computer up or the replacement PSU will not fit in the slot. I don't know if they still do that. The hard drives are mounted using either a plastic caddy or rails. If you want to mount another drive, you might have to purchase a caddy, for $20, since they don't supply an additional one for the empty drive slot.
                                      • 16. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                                        Oblivion Dust
                                        I currently use a Dell workstation at work. In the course of about 1 year about half of all the components inside, including the motherboard, raid card, one processor, and a couple of hard drives were replaced while trying to track down a reoccuring problem with the raid failing. It turned out to be the power supply. Word to the wise, save your system, time, and sanity, and make sure not to skimp on the power supply! Oh, and Dell tech support stinks.
                                        • 17. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                                          Level 1
                                          NDOR,

                                          If your workstation is a stock machine, meaning that nothing was added since the computer was purchased, then I might see trouble finding the problem. Although attaching replacement PSU or sticking a PSU tester to the PSU might have given the repair person a clue. Thats the first thing i do with a problem system. If the replacement PSU does not correct the problem, then you can move on to the other components.

                                          However, if components have been added to the machine without increasing the size of the PSU, then it sounds like your employer needs to find another Computer repair service.
                                          • 18. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                                            Oblivion Dust Level 1
                                            "it sounds like your employer needs to find another Computer repair service."

                                            The machine was pre-configured from Dell, and it was their tech support that we had to go through because of our contract. The raid kept failing becuase one of the drives would lose sync with the rest. They just wanted us to run the same diagnostic routines every call, then ask us what we though the problem was, and they simply replaced that part. I wanted the whole thing sent back, quite honestly. Eventually I suggested replacing the psu because we were running out of things to replace, and that fixed it. It turns out that the psu just wasn't puting out as much power as it was supposed to and it would cause a random drive to "brown-out" under load while the rest of the system stayed up.
                                            • 19. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                                              Level 1
                                              Consumer Reports rated computer manufactures tech support the worst based on user satisfaction.

                                              Ironically, I had a similar situation after i received my new GateWay. As soon as i hooked it up i had problems. After spending four days with their tech support "I" suggested it might be the hard drive. They sent me a replacement hard drive - problem fixed.

                                              The manufactures tech support is virtually worthless since they only support the original system configuration.

                                              When a client requests an opinion for a new computer, i point them to a generic Microcenter computer or a custom built one if they want something specific.
                                              • 20. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                                                mickkeay Level 1
                                                I learnt this a while back with Dell. I now image the whole op systen drive once a week. Then if you get problems it is easy to use the recovery partition to restore the PC to as it was 'out of the box' You can then install the software possibly causing the issue and get onto tech support. Otherwise they tend to just say - software conflict - must be something you installed - very annoying to hear after waiting 3 hours!
                                                • 21. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                                                  Jeron Coolman Level 1
                                                  The only problem I have with Dell is their "dumbed down" customer service. It is great for my grandmother, but not for someone who is technical like me.

                                                  For example, I had a machine that had a bad power supply. I just wanted to call and get another one sent to me on the warranty. I had to sit through over an hour of having the tech support person go through his "canned script" (is the computer plugged in? is the power switch on?) trying to diagnose the problem when I had already done this. Only to finally have him come to the conclusion that the power supply was bad.

                                                  I can understand why it is that way; e.g. for when my grandmother calls in, but I wish there was a different type or level of CS.
                                                  • 22. Re: Would you buy a Dell?
                                                    Level 1
                                                    I would like to say that I'm happy with both of the dell computers I have. Other than the hard drive issue mentioned above I've had no problems with them.

                                                    Vista on the other hand ...