6 Replies Latest reply on Sep 28, 2009 3:02 PM by Bill Gehrke

    Converting my server into an AVCHD Workstation

    Matthew MDC

      Hi all,


      I built a server a while back (February 2009) to run VMware on and mess around with virtual machines.  I no longer have the need for this, so I decided to turn this server into a video editing workstation.  Here is what the server consists of:



      ASUS DSEB-D16/SAS Dual LGA 771 Intel 5400


      Intel Xeon E5410 Harpertown 2.33GHz LGA 771 80W


      8GB A-DATA  240-Pin DDR2 FB-DIMM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) ECC Fully Buffered

      OS Drive / Premier:

      Fujitsu MBA3300 MBA3147RC 147GB 15000 RPM Serial Attached SCSI (SAS)

      Media Drives:

      2x Samsung 750GB  (not in any RAID config at the moment)


      Nvidia 8800 GTS 512MB


      I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate on the system and it seems to work nicely.  I don't really care for the motherboard anymore, but until I can actually afford a better system (Supermicro MBD-X8DA3-O with 2 Intel Xeon E5520 Nehalem 2.26GHz LGA 1366 80W) I will have to make my current system work.


      I haven't done any editing yet with the system, just playback of the MTS files in Premier, and it does seem choppy.  Is there anyway I can improve performance with my current system?  I'm not sure if I want to spend the money on another processor if I'm going to be moving to a different mobo soon.  Is my RAM slowing me down?


      Thank you all in advance.


        • 1. Re: Converting my server into an AVCHD Workstation
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          No, your CPU. It just is not up to the task of editing AVCHD. Either upgrade to better CPU's/mobo etc. or upgrade to a more editable video format.


          You can try to see where your system is in comparison to other systems by using the http://ppbm4.com/ benchmark test. That will show you how your system comes out in comparison to other systems and where the weaknesses are.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Converting my server into an AVCHD Workstation
            Matthew MDC Level 1

            Thanks Harm.

            So do you think if I purchased another CPU for the other socket it wouldn't really help?

            I've read that some aren't really dealing with AVCHD and that they are just transcoding to another format.  Would you have any suggestion as to what I can use to transcode?  Cineform comes to mind, but I'm not positive that's what I'm looking for.  Maybe I can just transcode until I can actually purchase my Supermicro MB and the 2x Xeon E5520.

            • 3. Re: Converting my server into an AVCHD Workstation
              Harm Millaard Level 7



              Just yesterday my son bought a new Dell T410 PowerEdge with dual E5520's, 12 GB 1333 RAM and a PERC raid controller for use as a server with ESX/VMWare/Hyper-V and the like, as a test system. Somewhat comparable to what you have used your system for.


              Today, after he had ordered, he expressed his doubts about the speed and performance of this system in comparison to mine, which is solely used for video editing. He wondered if he had not bought a sub-par system for a relatively hefty price-tag.


              I'm convinced he made the right decision for his budget and his purpose (virtualization and testing as a server), but not for video editing. Even dual E5520's are left in the dust by a finely tuned i7-920 for a much lower price. Look at this benchmark score: http://www.passmark.com/baselines/top.html

              and you will notice that even dual W5580's with rank 11 and 19 have trouble keeping up with finely tuned i7's. At different clock speeds my personal scores are 1, 10 and 18.


              You will undoubtedly profit in a significant way from adding a second CPU to your system, but first try the PPBM benchmark to see where you are. That will give much more accurate info on how your current system performs and what your next steps should be.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Converting my server into an AVCHD Workstation
                Matthew MDC Level 1

                Thanks again Harm!


                I guess I shouldn't be stuck on getting a dual Xeon board and paying the hefty pricetag for it.  I do like the build quality that Supermicro has, and I'll probably end up building an i7 system from there.


                Can you suggest what I can do with my AVCHD files in the meantime?  Transcoding program?





                • 5. Re: Converting my server into an AVCHD Workstation
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  Cineform has a good reputation, but check out http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/cineform-software-showcase/ and specifically look for posts by David Newman about any problems their software may have with CS4. David is a super guy, CTO of Cineform who is extremely helpful and honest about possible shortcomings in their software. No beating around the bush. Their support is fabulous, something Adobe should take as an example.

                  • 6. Re: Converting my server into an AVCHD Workstation
                    Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                    lI am surprised this is coming from me rather than Harm.  Overclock your system.  With your ASUS board you more than likely have at least some overclocking capability.  I have a Supermicro board with no provisions in the BIOS to overclock. I have 5410's and even without any BIOS adjustments available to me I have been able to overclock to 3 GHz with no problem at all.  If I had some BIOS adjustments that could be saved I would probably run it that way regularly.


                    I do not have any AVCHD material to see how it works but I think it would be fine.