1 2 Previous Next 40 Replies Latest reply on Jul 6, 2009 4:04 PM by keithcf

    New PC

    keithcf

      I'm looking for a new PC that can handle CS4 (I primarily use Premiere Pro) and HD editing.  I've done some research and came up with this config from HP.  Can you provide some feedback?

       

      NOTE: I'm planning to purchase and install extra RAM (thinking 8 gigs total).  Are there any issues with combining purchased RAM with what comes with the PC?

       

      Thanks --

       

      Keith

       

       

      -Configurable- HP Z400 Workstation - Microsoft Windows® SATA/SAS - Build Your Own Promo and Save $75 Instantly until 9/1/09!
      FX625AV-PR400
      HP Z400 Workstation
      Genuine Windows Vista® Business 64-bit
      HP Z400 475W 85% Efficient Chassis
      Intel® Xeon® W3520 2.66 8MB/1066 QC CPU (HIGHPWR)
      HP Z400 Localization Kit
      HP Air Cooling Solution (Must order Heatsink with this item)
      HP Standard Heatsink Thermal Kit (This Module is required if Air Cooling and Low Power CPU are selected)
      NVIDIA Quadro FX1800 768MB Graphics
      HP 1GB (1x1GB) DDR3-1333 ECC RAM
      HP 160GB SATA 7200 1st HDD
      HP 160GB SATA 7200 2nd HDD
      HP 160GB SATA 7200 3rd HDD (Second drive must be SATA)
      HP 16X DVD+-RW SuperMulti SATA 1st Drive
      No Floppy Disk Kit
      HP PS/2 Standard Keyboard
      HP PS/2 Optical Scroll Mouse
      3 years parts, labor and onsite service (3/3/3) standard warranty. Certain restrictions and exclusions apply.

        • 1. Re: New PC
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Study these guides carefully. I pride myself that it has helped a lot of people to make more better founded decisions. Especially look at the video card and consider building it yourself. Also, get some larger disks.

           

          How to get the best from a PC? Some guides...

          • 2. Re: New PC
            keithcf Level 1

            Thanks, I have read your first guide, very helpful.  Building my own is not an option, I don't have the time to do it.  I know that's not ideal, but I'm being realistic

             

            Keith

            • 3. Re: New PC
              Eric Addison User Group Manager

              I've got CS4 running great on two HP machines. I can't recommend them enough. You may pay a little more for them, but for me (a non-computer hardware person) it's worth it. If my HP workstation wasn't just 2 years old, I'd be getting one of those Z800 systems...they look very nice.

              • 4. Re: New PC
                keithcf Level 1

                Hi Harm --

                 

                In your guide, you note that the manufacturer-recommended video cards may be overkill for HD editing workstations.  I had selected a Nvidia FX1800 in the above HP config.  Do you think I could get by with something less powerful?  Any recommendations on a card that would be acceptable for HD and CS4?

                 

                Thank you --

                 

                Keith

                • 5. Re: New PC
                  Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                  Almost any other card they offer would be better than the FX1800 (unfortunately I did not like any of the cards they are offering) and use the money to get more processing power.  But I do not like the basic box because of the 475 watt power supply!

                  • 6. Re: New PC
                    Eric Addison User Group Manager

                    I've got a Quadro 1500 in my workstation, the older version of that card and it works great with PPro and AE. I've been told it's overkill for what I do (video editing and AE animations but no heavy 3D animation), but it's been able to handle SD and HD just fine.

                    • 7. Re: New PC
                      keithcf Level 1

                      Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like the Z400 may not be the way to go.  Do you have a recommendation for another HP model and processor I should  look at?  I'm not stuck on HP but I'm going to buy a pre-built and would rather not get a Dell.  I have also looked at Maingear (seems expensive).  Any other manufacturers you recommend?

                       

                      Thanks --

                       

                      Keith

                      • 8. Re: New PC
                        Eric Addison User Group Manager
                        • 9. Re: New PC
                          Jim_Simon Level 9

                          Building my own is not an option, I don't have the time to do it.

                           

                          You could have built one in less time than this decission will take.

                          • 10. Re: New PC
                            shooternz Level 6

                            Nice of you to give him less than 24 hours to make the "decision" and build a computer.

                             

                            Maybe he is busier than you?

                            • 11. Re: New PC
                              Jim_Simon Level 9

                              I'm just trying to get across that building your own isn't as time concusing as one may think.  It can be done in a day.  You get a better computer for less money, without all the crap that a pre-built will invariably come with.

                              • 12. Re: New PC
                                shooternz Level 6

                                And if he aint a computer geek and is actually a creative type ,pro editor...what does he do then?

                                 

                                I have never had a problem telling my 'puter builder to custom build me a machine to do the task I want them  to do.  They have built me about 7 reliable systems

                                 

                                I suggest to the OP if you do not wish to build it your self ..take Harms list to a custom 'puter builder and get the job done.  Avoid the factory Dells and the HPs etc...

                                 

                                If it doesnt work...BLAME HARM M.

                                • 13. Re: New PC
                                  Jim_Simon Level 9

                                  And if he aint a computer geek and is actually a creative type ,pro editor...what does he do then?

                                   

                                  In this day and age, I don't think one can be as effective at the latter without also being the former.

                                  • 14. Re: New PC
                                    Eric Addison User Group Manager

                                    JSS1138 wrote:

                                     

                                    You get a better computer for less money, without all the crap that a pre-built will invariably come with.

                                     

                                    I can only speak from my experience, but when I got my HP workstation, the only extra "crap" it came with was just some CD/DVD burning software - just that and XP. When HP sent me my (free, by the way) Vista64 upgrade, it was just Vista64 - nothing else. Now, my laptop was another story, but that was more of a high-end consumer model - not a workstation-type laptop...but I had all the "crap" cleared off in about 15 minutes.

                                     

                                    As for a better computer for less money, that may be or may not be. I think many people have issues with PPro because they work on home made systems that have components that may not work together well. I think a large part of why I've had such a smooth PPro experience (with CS3 and CS4) has been because my system was built to work together well...not being a hardware/IT guy, that's reason enough to me to spend the extra money.

                                     

                                    But I know others who build their own systems and are very good at it - they can put together a great system that runs great for less money...but they also can function as their own IT support...me - I like picking up the phone and calling HP...their workstations have a great warranty.

                                     

                                    Keith, good luck in what ever you decide!

                                    • 15. Re: New PC
                                      shooternz Level 6

                                      In this day and age, I don't think one can be as effective at the latter without also being the former.

                                       

                                       

                                      AMAZING and not un surprising coming from you.

                                      • 16. Re: New PC
                                        Harm Millaard Level 7

                                        Keith,

                                         

                                        I understand your reluctance and I can not judge the value of your time. Just a couple of general remarks.

                                         

                                        When buying or building a new PC the most time consuming part is selecting which components you want to have in that PC. Once you have that list it is time to shop around and nearly always will you find that either not all your selected components can be found in a prebuilt system, or you can't get everything from one supplier or delivery times vary due to out-of-stock situations, so you may have to compromise, selecting other components that need further investigation. This process can easily take a week or more. BTW, that was why these guides were written, to help in the selection process and save time.

                                         

                                        In contrast, physically building your own PC takes less than a day and is not nearly as challenging as some believe. If you have the skills to plug an electrical cord in a wall outlet and can handle a screwdriver, you can easily build your own system.

                                         

                                        BTW, just out of curiosity, I wanted to see the HP Z800 workstation and I started to configure the system. The price was already over $ 13K when I was trying to configure the raid controller and saw that the only options were so limited in capabilities, that I gave up. If they can't deliver any good raid configurations on a workstation, it is not worth the name, let alone the extravagant price.

                                         

                                        For comparison, my system costs less than 3000 euros in the Netherlands, excluding sales tax at the moment and is much better equipped than the HP Z800. A single 1 TB disk costs me around 60 euros, HP charges $ 450 for a similar disk. Count your benefits if you want 16 disks... disregarding the fact that their case does not allow that.

                                         

                                        I envy you the daily rates you can charge if you can make up that price difference in one day physically building a system.

                                        • 17. Re: New PC
                                          Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                          Keith, if you do end up specifying a computer to someone I noticed you mentioned 8 GB of RAM.  That would have worked well in last years systems but with these newer processors of the i7 family you have to do modules in increments of three's.  So you might want to specify 6 GB or 12 GB to keep all the memory modules the same size.  I have not done business with GuyGraphics but have heard some favorable results in the past.

                                          • 18. Re: New PC
                                            Harm Millaard Level 7

                                            I second the reputation GuyGraphics has. Only positives, but not cheap.

                                            • 19. Re: New PC
                                              Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                              Harm Millaard wrote:

                                               

                                              I second the reputation GuyGraphics has. Only positives, but not cheap.

                                              That is for sure!  Did you see the $11,000 for a 12 each 1TB disk RAID array!

                                              • 20. Re: New PC
                                                Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                I was already astounded by the prices of HP, that I did not bother to look at GuyGraphics prices, but Ashley has always been pretty steep. All the more reason to build yourself, unless you can charge your clients around $ 10 K per day...

                                                • 21. Re: New PC
                                                  keithcf Level 1

                                                  Thank you everyone for the very helpful feedback thus far.  I will be giving GuyGraphics a call to see what they can do.  It's not looking like HP can deliver the right set of components in a given model for a reasonable price.  I probably could put the machine together myself, but I'd rather have the piece of mind that an expert has put it together and worked through all the issues that I'd invariably encounter.  I spend my non-working hours on music/photography/video projects and with a busy schedule those hours are precious!

                                                   

                                                  I'll let you know what Guy G. has to say --

                                                   

                                                  Keith

                                                  www.myspace.com/hemmit

                                                  • 22. Re: New PC
                                                    keithcf Level 1

                                                    I spoke to Ashley at Guy G (very helpful) and he recommended:

                                                     

                                                    -Processor: I7 920

                                                    -OS: XP Pro (and wait for Win 7)

                                                    -RAM: 4 GB DDR 3 1600

                                                    -Video card: ATI 4850 1 GB

                                                    -500 GB OS drive

                                                    -Dual 1 TB media file/project file drive in RAID 1 config

                                                    -Mobo: P6T Deluxe

                                                    -Power supply: 650W

                                                    -Chassis: Cooler Master 690

                                                     

                                                    With a Sony DVD RW drive and an extra Firewire B card it prices out to $2,282.  Not too bad -- what do you guys think of the config?

                                                     

                                                    Keith

                                                    • 23. Re: New PC
                                                      John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      >-RAM: 4 GB DDR 3 1600

                                                       

                                                      By definition, I don't think that is possible

                                                       

                                                      DDR3 is in sets of 3 memory sticks, so you get 3 or 6 or 12 Gig... never, as far as I know, 4 Gig

                                                       

                                                      Other than that... system looks good

                                                      • 24. Re: New PC
                                                        Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                                        Good basic system, it will not quite compete with Harm's disk-centric overclocked monster (you can see I am jealous). but a fairly reasonable, what I would call a true entry level video editing system.

                                                         

                                                        But I am confused to why he specifed 4 GB (unless he was following your directions).  I would guess that for that motherboard it would either be 3 GB or 6 GB or some multiple thereof.  Unless you use all three memory channels I would suspect performance would be somewhat crippled.

                                                         

                                                        I personally would not go with RAID 1.  With out adding appreciable to the cost I would specify those two disks be used seperately but the second disk in a mobile rack and get an additional tray or two and archive to the mobile rack drive(s).  Also personally I would use a VelociRaptor drive for the OS.  You will not have quite the storage and it will cost a few dollars more but you will get better performance from the OS and applications.

                                                         

                                                        John beat me to it, but for information only the new i7 family of Intel chips have three memory channels there are system that only use pairs.

                                                        • 25. Re: New PC
                                                          keithcf Level 1

                                                          Hi there --

                                                           

                                                          "But I am confused to why he specifed 4 GB (unless he was following your directions).  I would guess that for that motherboard it would either be 3 GB or 6 GB or some multiple thereof.  Unless you use all three memory channels I would suspect performance would be somewhat crippled."

                                                           

                                                          Ashley said that with Win7 4 Gigs was the max. On their configurator, it's described as 4GB DDR3-1600 RAM (2x2 GB).  I'll ask him about it.

                                                           

                                                          "I personally would not go with RAID 1.  With out adding appreciable to the cost I would specify those two disks be used seperately but the second disk in a mobile rack and get an additional tray or two and archive to the mobile rack drive(s).  Also personally I would use a VelociRaptor drive for the OS.  You will not have quite the storage and it will cost a few dollars more but you will get better performance from the OS and applications."

                                                           

                                                          If I am reading right, you are recommending 2 separate drives instead of 2 drives in a RAID 1 config, and that the 2nd drive be in a mobile rack that I archive to.  What are the advantages of manually archiving to a mobile drive instead of using a RAID 1 config?


                                                          Thanks for the tip on the VRaptor drive, I'll ask about it.

                                                           

                                                          John beat me to it, but for information only the new i7 family of Intel chips have three memory channels there are system that only use pairs.

                                                           

                                                          Still confused why it's offered in pairs on their site with i7.

                                                          • 26. Re: New PC
                                                            Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                                            Eventually you will go with a 64 bit OS (Win 7 is available in a 64-bit version) and then you want more than 4 GB.  Even now I am daily using Vista 64 Business Edition for editing.  At this point in time I would actually recommend going with Vista 64 if you are capable of tuning and performance enhancing it.  It is unfortunate that some of the options that they offer are so limited, for instance they only offer Vista 64 Ultimate which is an overkill for video editing.

                                                             

                                                            The mobile rack allows you to change disks readily and as your projects grow you can very simply archive to as many additional disks as you want and then easily pull an old disc of the shelf and access it with a simple reboot and no accessing the inside of the computer.  The only advantage of RAID 1 is redundancy, there is no gain in capacity and no performance increase.

                                                             

                                                            I suspect that they just have not brought their configurator up to date.  Apparently it is not a very intelligent configurator as when you select the ASUS motherboard it should require three memory stick modules

                                                            • 27. Re: New PC
                                                              Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                              Keith,

                                                               

                                                              As Bill and others have remarked, DDR3 memory comes only in 3 sticks to be effective. So 3, 6, or 12 GB per set of three sticks.

                                                               

                                                              Why you would opt for a firewire B PCI-X card I do not know, but keep in mind that mixing A and B on the same card can lead to problems. I would personally prefer to use eSATA for disks and the on-board firewire A connectors for external back-up disks or decks/cameras. On my system I have the firewire connector on the back for an external drive and my deck (for DV and playback), and the one on the front (better topside with my case) for camera capture from HDV.

                                                              • 28. Re: New PC
                                                                keithcf Level 1

                                                                "As Bill and others have remarked, DDR3 memory comes only in 3 sticks to be effective. So 3, 6, or 12 GB per set of three sticks.

                                                                 

                                                                Why you would opt for a firewire B PCI-X card I do not know, but keep in mind that mixing A and B on the same card can lead to problems. I would personally prefer to use eSATA for disks and the on-board firewire A connectors for external back-up disks or decks/cameras. On my system I have the firewire connector on the back for an external drive and my deck (for DV and playback), and the one on the front (better topside with my case) for camera capture from HDV."


                                                                I spoke to Ashley re: the RAM, and he said that although the mobo has triple channel RAM, with XP Pro you can only utilize up to 4 Gigs RAM.  Once I upgrade to Win 7 (as is my intent) I would upgrade to 12 Gigs.  So it sounds like triple channel is there, but since XP can't take advantage of it, putting in 3 sticks now would be unnecessary.  I was planning to get 4 Gigs now, then upgrade to 12 Gigs once I switch to Win7.  Is that a sound strategy?


                                                                Thanks for the guidance on the firewire.  I have a need for the following:


                                                                -Fireware A for my external sound card

                                                                -Firewire A for Epson R2400 printer

                                                                -Firewire A for camcorder/digital camera

                                                                -Firewire A or B for LaCie 1

                                                                -Firewire A or B or eSATA for LaCie 2

                                                                -Firewire A or B or eSATA for SimpleTech ProDrive


                                                                From research, it looks like there is 1 Firewire A port and 1 eSATA port built in to the Asus 6PT Deluxe.  You are saying if I want more connections, getting supplemental firewire A is recommended.  So adding an A card gives me 3 more connections for a total of 4 Firewire A, which would take care of the 1st 4 devices on the list above.  The remaining 2 devices on the list (LaCie 2 and ProDrive) could be served by eSATA, but it looks like the card only has 1 eSATA port.  Any ideas?  I suppose I could share an A port between printer and camera, and use the freed up Firewire A port for either LaCie 2 or ProDrive.


                                                                Keith

                                                                • 29. Re: New PC
                                                                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                                  Keith,

                                                                   

                                                                  I was planning to get 4 Gigs now, then upgrade to 12 Gigs once I switch to Win7.  Is that a sound strategy?


                                                                  No. Several problems with that approach. First, you are making the assumption of using XP32. I would not do that on a newly built system. Either Vista 64 or Windows 7 RC makes much more sense. The latter is free and with the advent of CS5, which presumably is 64 bit, it makes no sense to invest in 32 bit OS any longer. Also, just putting two sticks of RAM into a DDR3 system will seriously hamper performance. At a later date getting the same sticks to upgrade to 12 GB (6 sticks) may prove difficult because they have been replaced with other models with new specs. The consequence may be that your initial investment in these two sticks will be worthless and need to be thrown away for good memory management. You will be much better off with 12 GB now, especially since RAM is cheap. Every mobo manufacturer advises you to ONLY use the same sticks in all slots.

                                                                   

                                                                  On you firewire setup, I'll reply shortly. The Managing Director just called me for dinner, and we can't keep her waiting, can we?

                                                                  • 30. Re: New PC
                                                                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                                    Keith,

                                                                     

                                                                    -Fireware A for my external sound card

                                                                    -Firewire A for Epson R2400 printer

                                                                    -Firewire A for camcorder/digital camera

                                                                    -Firewire A or B for LaCie 1

                                                                    -Firewire A or B or eSATA for LaCie 2

                                                                    -Firewire A or B or eSATA for SimpleTech ProDrive


                                                                    You could easily daisy chain the first two, or maybe three. While playing sound, you don't need to capture, when capturing you don't need your printer, so bandwidth with these two or three devices would be unlikely to cause problems.

                                                                     

                                                                    In my case I have a firewire harddisk daisy chained with a DV deck, taking up one firewire connection.

                                                                     

                                                                    On the P6T-WS Pro you have two firewire A ports, so, again in my case, I use the second firewire for direct camera connection.

                                                                     

                                                                    If you can get a PCI-X firewire B card in, you will have two additional B ports for your HD's. My remark was based on the fact that I once installed such a PCI-X card with 2 B connections and 1 A connection (which was rather difficult to find at that time) and it caused some difficulty with using A and B at the same time.

                                                                     

                                                                    Hope this helps.

                                                                    • 31. Re: New PC
                                                                      Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                                                      My suggestion on the FireWire devices is start phasing them out and replace with eSATA drives, you can get eSATA boxes reasonably and just move the drive over to them.  You will experience much better performance.

                                                                      • 32. Re: New PC
                                                                        keithcf Level 1

                                                                        Very helpful all, thank you.  I think I've got the Firewire ports sorted out, and thanks for the clarification Harm on the mixing of A and B.  Sounds like 12 Gigs RAM now is the way to go.  I also like the idea of installing the Win7 RC, but am not sure if Guy G. can accomodate.  I'll ask him.  If he can't, is the recommendation Vista 64?  Guy G. only lists the "Ultimate" version but I am assuming I don't need that?

                                                                         

                                                                        Keith

                                                                        • 35. Re: New PC
                                                                          Jim_Simon Level 9

                                                                          You can download it for free also.  No need to pay.

                                                                          • 36. Re: New PC
                                                                            Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                                                            Very true Jim, but some people may not have the capability (or patience) to download 3.04 GB files.

                                                                            • 37. Re: New PC
                                                                              keithcf Level 1

                                                                              Thanks everyone for all your help!  In the end, I elected to go with a local systems integrator using the list of components below.  Apparently, 1 TB drives are experience high year 1 failure rates, so I went with 3 x 500 GB drives instead.  Everything else is as we discussed -- getting everything for a decent price too.  Thank you again for your assistance!

                                                                               

                                                                              Keith

                                                                               

                                                                               

                                                                              Cooler Master COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP
                                                                              No Power Supply Full Tower Case (Silver/Black)
                                                                              Thermaltake W0227RU Toughpower XT 650W
                                                                              Power Supply
                                                                              Asus P6T DELUXE V2 Core i7 / Intel X58/ DDR3/
                                                                              CrossFireX & SLI/ A&2GbE/ ATX Motherboard
                                                                              Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB
                                                                              LGA1366 CPU, Retail
                                                                              Super Talent DDR3-1600 4GB (2x2GB) CL7 Dual
                                                                              Channel Memory Kit
                                                                              Sapphire ATI Radeon HD4850 VAPOR-X 1GB DDR3
                                                                              VGA/DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card, Retail
                                                                              Seagate ST3500320NS 500GB SATA2 7200rpm
                                                                              32MB Hard Drive
                                                                              Lite-On IHAP222-06 LightScribe 22X DVD+/-RW
                                                                              Dual Layer Drive (Black)
                                                                              Shuttle PC23 25-in-1 USB2.0 Internal Card Reader
                                                                              Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit w/ SP1
                                                                              ADS PYRO Basic 1394/FireWire PCI Host card -
                                                                              API-311
                                                                              Linksys WMP54G Wireless G PCI Adapter

                                                                              • 38. Re: New PC
                                                                                Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                                                                Congratulations, but you confuse me with your 4 GB of RAM and a 64 bit OS when we all explained that the chip and motherboard have three memory channels.  You are limiting yourself to 2/3 the available memory bandwidth to save yourself ~$50.  Can you tell us why?

                                                                                 

                                                                                Also since there are two 1394 ports on the motherboard why the 1394 card?  I could not find anything on the ADS web site about a API-311, maybe they have repaced it with a newer model?

                                                                                • 39. Re: New PC
                                                                                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                                                  Keith,

                                                                                   

                                                                                  One thing I don't understand. You get a

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Asus P6T DELUXE V2 Core i7 / Intel X58/ DDR3/
                                                                                  CrossFireX & SLI/ A&2GbE/ ATX Motherboard

                                                                                   

                                                                                  and combine that with

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Super Talent DDR3-1600 4GB (2x2GB) CL7 Dual
                                                                                  Channel Memory Kit

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Why disable DDR3 capability by using only 2 sticks? Get at least 3 sticks to make full use of DDR3.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Good choice with the Sapphire Vapor-X series.

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