15 Replies Latest reply on Dec 5, 2009 9:43 AM by Chuck A. McIntyre

    Ordered Two New Systems Today

    Chuck A. McIntyre Level 3

      After a good bit of research, I determined that SSDs are a bit risky at this time, so I stuck with 150 Raptors for the system drives.

       

      I was stunned when I discovered that the identical memory modules available at crucial.com for $199.99 cost only $139.99 at newegg.com. These modules are sold in 6GB kits. We purchased 4 kits for a total of 12GB Ram for each system. We saved $240 by buying Crucial's Ram from Newegg!!

       

      The importance of an adequate, quality power supply is often overlooked. 1000 watts is a bit of overkill at this point but we expect to replace our current cheapo Nvidia 9500 GT's with one of the higher-end Nvidia cards when the CUDA product matures and meets the needs of most editors.

       

      *The owner of our company almost bought a Mac for our Mac guys. When he added up all of the essentials on the Apple Website, the cost of 1 system exceeded the cost of the 2 high-end PC systems listed below.

       

      Here is what I ordered:

       

      Motherboard Processor Combo:
      Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

      GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
      2 oz copper PCB & support 3 SLI/ 3 ATI crossfire(limit 2 per customer)

      Original Price: $557.98 Discount: -$30.00 Combo Price: $527.98 x 2 = $1055.96

      Link


      Power Supply:
      CORSAIR CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
      $239.99 x 2= $479.98

      Link


      Case:
      COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail:
      $144.98 x 2= $289.96

      Link

       

      Memory: Crucial sold in 6GB kits:
      Crucial Ballistix 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model BL3KIT25664TR1608 - OEM
      $139.99

      Link

       

      Hot Swappable Hard drive Enclosure:
      SUPERMICRO CSE-M35T-1B Black 5 Bay Hot-Swapable SATA HDD Enclosure - Retail:
      $104.99 x 2= $209.98

      Link


      Raptor 150 hard drive for system:
      $179.99 x 2= $359.98
      Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

      Link


      Pioneer Blu-ray Burner  & True Image 2009 Combo Deal:
      Pioneer Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Internal Blu-ray Burner Blu-ray Disc/DVD/CD Writer Model BDR-205BKS - OEM:
      $227.98

      Link

       

      Pioneer DVD Burner:
      Pioneer Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 2MB Cache IDE CD/DVD Burner LabelFlash Support - OEM:
      $33.99

      Link


      4 640GB Internal Hard Drives
      Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
      $74.99 x 4= $299.96


      $3477.51 total for both

        • 1. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Charles,

          You got yourself a very good deal.

           

          It shows you can get a top-notch system for a very affordable price. I look forward to seeing your PPBM benchmark results. Jim is too chicken to submit his results, but OK...

          • 2. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
            Chuck A. McIntyre Level 3

            So looking forward to these new systems at work. The 12GB of RAM and the i7 will make a huge difference. I'm running an i7 920 at home with 6GB of RAM. It has CS3 on it, otherwise I would run Bill's benchmark on it.

             

            I'll run the benchmark on the systems at work once I get them up and running.

             

            Appreciate the SuperMicro 5 drive bay recommendation. It appears to be better built than the Kingwin model.

            • 3. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
              k9tag Level 1

              Hi Charles,

               

              So... approx $1750 for a kick-*** video editing system.  Exactly what i am looking for.  Except you left off one important thing.  The assembly instruction manual.  How the hell do you put all of those pieces together if you have never done so before?  Should I even attempt?  I'm pretty good at screwing in light bulbs, pluging in lamps, etc.   I have always heard that building your own system is the way to go for video.  Maybe you have an assembly manual scribbled down in pencil that I could pay you some coin for?  A kick-*** self built system would be nice rather than the standard underpowered big-name mass manufactured system that I usually get.

               

              -Mark

              • 4. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                There are a lot of DIY building guides available on the net. Google for "Build your own PC". They will show you step by step how to go about it. It really is not difficult, but take your time. Carefully consider each step, make sure you understand what needs to be done, what preparations you need before actually installing the next component. For instance the CPU cooler. In order to install it, you may need to turn the motherboard upside down in order to attach the baseplate screws on the bottom of the motherboard. That logically means you need the space on the desk to turn it around, you can not install the motherboard  in the case, before the CPU cooler in installed. Remember to apply a thin layer of cooling paste. Take into consideration that installing memory after the CPU cooler can sometimes be difficult, because the memory sticks are very high and can get real close to the cooler, etc.

                • 5. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                  Chuck A. McIntyre Level 3

                  I did leave off the video cards. We are re-using our old cards until Adobe and Nvidia finish the Cuda GPU acceleration product. In the mean time, ATI 4830's can be acquired for under $100 each.

                   

                  I remember watching our hardware guy back in 2003 putting together a system. It looked difficult, but it really isn't. Here are a few points to get you started:

                   

                  1.) Get an anti-static wrist band. Touch the computer case frequently when working inside the case. An imperceptible zap of static electricity can ruin RAM, mother boards, hard drives and video cards.

                   

                  2.) The only connectors on the motherboard you could possibly screw up that could cause damage are the USB and 1394 (Firewire). They are normally color coded: blue-USB, red-1394 Firewire. Use caution when plugging in molex connectors (they supply voltage to non-sata DVD drives, some fans etc.) they have a rounded top. It would be difficult to plug them in upside down, but I suppose it has happened.

                   

                  3.) Magnetic phillips screwdrivers are OK for working inside a case.

                   

                  4.) I recommend full tower cases because they allow more room for upgrades and give a less cramped work environment.

                   

                  5.) For me, the biggest pain is the front-panel wiring. For nearly all modern cases the wires that come with the case for the front panel are color coded. Black and White are negative and the colored wires are positive. If you mess up, it will not cause any damage, but you will notice that the HDD LED for instance will not light up, if those are the wires you accidentally reversed. There will be a good wiring diagram for this in the motherboard manual. Before I build a system, I always print out a large clear copy of this page (online PDF) for reference when I'm hooking up the front panel wires.

                   

                  6.) I cut out a piece of 3/4" plywood I use as a solid base for installing the cpu and RAM on the motherboard. When I remove the motherboard from the box, I am very careful about static electricity. I handle the board by the edges with the anti-static wrist strap on. I place the foam rubber on the 3/4" board, then the anti-static bag the motherboard was shipped in. I place the motherboard on top of the anti-static bag and carefully follow the instructions for installing the cpu and heat sink.

                   

                  7.) Before starting up the computer, I check to be sure that all connectors are properly plugged (refer to the motherboard manual) and nothing is touching the motherboard, RAM etc. This is accomplished with plastic wire ties that come with your components. If you don't get enough wire ties, they can be purchased at Radio Shack or Fry's Electronics etc.

                  • 6. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                    k9tag Level 1

                    Thanks for the very useful tips guys.  I'll do some more research as suggested and see if I can get up the gumption to build my own box.

                     

                    -Mark

                    • 7. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                      Chuck A. McIntyre Level 3

                      Both of the new editing systems are up and running. CS4 Production Premium installed without any issues along with the 4.2 update. I tested Premiere for hours, trying trying to duplicate problems others have posted in the forums related to 4.2. I'm having ZERO problems so far.

                       

                      The owner of the company I work for decided to build the new systems because a couple weeks ago, he had to suffer through editing on one of our old systems.

                       

                      Two of our old systems had Vista 64 and one was still on XP 32. The system with XP 32 has 4GB of RAM and the other two old systems, I'm ashamed to admit, have a pitiful 2GB of RAM. All of the systems have the Q6600 processor and a decent number of quality hard drives.

                       

                      I'm very happy with these two new editing systems. 12GB of RAM makes a WORLD of difference. No more RAM deficient "semi-transparent" stalled-out project windows and dynamic link doesn't skip a beat.

                       

                      After Effects now plays clips with effects applied at a very acceptable frame rate. No more stuttering, straining playback.

                       

                      Just to tweak the Mac guys at our office, I remind them that I was able to build 2 high end PC's for less than one would have to pay for just 1 comparable Mac Pro. I also pointed out that Windows 7 is a better operating system than OSX Snow Leopard. It's more secure. I guess I should have read the book; "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

                      • 8. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                        McHughs Level 1

                        Couldn't resist the tweaking eh...  This is not rant on PC - MAC but just a Logical point on your Email.

                         

                        Big thing to remember is how many of those I7's can you put in that MB you bought. The Mac Pro can take two core 2 quads A bit of engineering difference between the two so your comparison is wrong. In fairness to the Mac people out there the two systems being comparable is impossible.

                         

                        To get the I7 as you have,  you buy a iMac not a Mac Pro with a 27" Screen starting at $ 2200 US go from there. The 27" screen is a biggy in the price as well. Noticed Newegg 27 inch screen sell between $400 to $460 but the display resolutions are lower 2048X 1152 for the $460.00 model. The Imac 27 Inch is 2560 by 1440, the viewing angle is much better 160 degrees on the NewEgg and 178 on the Imac . So I guess the base price would start at $ 1750.00 minus a little more for the better screen specs. The new Egg display has a better contrast ratio. There are other engineering differences the Imac can be mounted on a Arm or on the wall for example....  Do your comparison from there. Mac's wont be as customizable as yours. Don't think you can get there from here (storage options for the computer and video card options are minimal in iMacs). Still get good product but not all the performance combinations you go for. Bottom line cant get there from here as Mac only sells a unit that is engineered above the unit you price.

                         

                        Bottom line. Looks like a Nice system you got at a price point that Apple cant offer. Apple's where never in the price points market anyway's. Their business strategy (wrong or right) is much different.

                        • 9. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                          Chuck A. McIntyre Level 3

                          McHughs wrote:

                           

                          "Big thing to remember is how many of those I7's can you put in that MB you bought. The Mac Pro can take two core 2 quads A bit of engineering difference between the two so your comparison is wrong. In fairness to the Mac people out there the two systems being comparable is impossible."

                           

                          Here are some of my opinions combined with facts and figures:

                          Mac Pro's are available with either a single quad core processor or dual quad core processors. I was making the comparison in my earlier post to the single quad core Mac Pro. The single processor Mac Pro starts at $2499. Bring the RAM up to 12GB as I have in each of my two new systems and the price jumps to $3849. Add two more hard drives, which on the Apple Website happen to be the same size as the two media drives I have in both systems and the Mac Pro's price is at $4249. The total cost of both systems I built was $3477.51. My two systems cost approx. $400 less than one comparable Mac Pro. I will deduct $300 because I used our existing graphics cards.

                           

                          *Mac Pro prices are from the Apple.com Website, November 19, 2009

                           

                          Of course, the Mac Pros comes with Intel Xeons. They support ECC memory which is mainly used for servers. ECC memory generally runs slower.

                           

                          The systems I built used premium components such as the Western Digital Raptor 150 system drive, The Gigabyte Ultra Durable motherboard and the 1000 Watt Corsair power supply.

                           

                          Also note that dual processor X-58 motherboards ARE available to system builders who want dual i7's.

                           

                          I Do like Macs.  If I had a lot of money, I might consider a high-end dual Xeon Mac Pro. I would never buy an iMac though. The technology built into the new iMac's monitor is excellent, but nearly everything else is unsatisfactory for our editing purposes.

                           

                          This kind of savings hopefully will inspire others to build their own systems.

                           

                          *Three days of editing and not a single crash on our new systems.

                          • 10. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                            Bill Heslip Level 1

                            I'm not aware of any Mac users that would buy a fully configured system from Apple like you suggest (not with their own money, anyway).  They're more likely purchase a base configuration and load it up with the same off-the-shelf technology that we do.  Still more pricey than a PC, but obviously worth it to many.  Whatever works is fine by me.

                            • 11. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                              Chuck A. McIntyre Level 3

                              Bill Heslip wrote:

                              I'm not aware of any Mac users that would buy a fully configured system from Apple like you suggest (not with their own money, anyway).  They're more likely purchase a base configuration and load it up with the same off-the-shelf technology that we do.  Still more pricey than a PC, but obviously worth it to many.  Whatever works is fine by me.

                               

                              How are you defining "fully configured"?  All I added was 12GB of RAM and 2 more hard drives directly from their system configuration page. If instead, I were to purchase the extra hard drives from Newegg.com and the Mac ECC RAM from Crucial, it would still cost more to purchase one Mac Pro than It did for me to build 2 high-end PCs. I was generous in my comparison as well. For my two systems I purchased two SuperMicro hot swappable 5 bay hard drive enclosures (about $100 each) and one of my systems has a Pioneer Blu-ray burner $227 as opposed to a Pioneer DVD burner ($33.99). I also used 2 WD Raptor drives in both systems at a cost of $180 each. In my opinion, the Raptors (10,000 RPM enterprise class hard drives) make better system drives than the ones that come with the Mac Pros.

                               

                              Additionally, several recent developments are of a huge benefit to us PC editors:

                               

                              1.) Intel i7's, Seven new SSE instruction sets (SSE 4.2).

                               

                              2.) The release of Windows 7 (64 bit being the version of choice for us editors).

                               

                              3.) Adobe's release of CS4 4.2

                               

                              In my opinion, Apple needs to lower its prices in order to stay competitive.

                              • 12. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                                Bill Heslip Level 1

                                Hi Charles,

                                 

                                My only point was that there are ways to bring the Mac system price down considerably from your example by not buying the additional memory and HDs from Apple.  I never said doing so would result in a comparably priced/powered computer.

                                 

                                >In my opinion, Apple needs to lower its prices in order to stay competitive.

                                 

                                Have you seen their stock price lately?

                                • 13. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                                  Chuck A. McIntyre Level 3

                                  I was zeroing in on the Mac Pro's.

                                  Apple Profits

                                   

                                  To gain market share with the Macs, I think Apple should improve upon the strengths of the Mac Pro line. The current line is kind of a Swiss Army Knife solution. The Mac Pro's are used for general high-end use - servers, workstations (3d) and video editing. I think Apple should come out with a line of Mac Pro's specifically for video editing. They should use the i7 desktop processors which support non-ECC memory and Apple should lower its prices to make them more attractive.

                                   

                                  The following is from a question & answer page on Intel's Website:

                                  Question:

                                  "Does either the Intel® Core™ i7 processor or the Intel® Core™ i5 processor family support Error Correction Code (ECC) memory?

                                  Answer:

                                  Neither family of desktop processors supports ECC memory. Typically ECC memory is used on servers and workstations rather than on desktop platforms. This is due to the price premium and extremely low likelihood of a data error occurring even on memory not utilizing ECC. This applies to: Intel® Core™ i5 Processor Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition".

                                   

                                  So basically, in my opinion, video editors who purchase the Mac Pro are paying a premium for hardware that is of marginal benefit.

                                   

                                  I like the idea of a component-based computer case. Why not make everything so it just snaps in. It would be a challenging engineering feat, but I know it's possible. Take for instance the computer's power supply. Apple should continue with the brand name component theme, e.g. Intel. Apple could use for instance, Corsair.  Have Corsair make a 1000 Watt power supply that just snaps in the back should it ever need to be replaced with a more powerful unit. Currently on a PC, It has taken approx 40 minutes for me to change out a power supply on one of our older machines.

                                   

                                  There is a huge time-saving advantage to snap-in components. That is why I used the Supermicro 5 bay hot-swappable drive cage in our new computers. We image our system drive using Acronis True image and have that spare drive ready in case of an emergency.

                                   

                                  We do corporate video production, and we have explained to the Mac guys at work the reason we won't use Macs for this type of work. We take our desktops on the road twice a year. If a power supply or other component fails, we can often get parts from the local Office Max and usually be back up and running in less than an hour. If a Mac fails on the road, the down time could be catastrophic to a live staging event and the relationship with our client.

                                  • 14. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                                    Charles,

                                     

                                    Your arguments make a lot of sense. Especially about being able to swap components like the PSU. In a regular chassis it is a cumbersome task, but when you use for instance a Supermicro workstation, you can have redundant hot-swappable PSU's or hot-swappable fans. Of course the price advantage is largely negated by this capability. The same applies to nearly all rack-mounted server chassis, whether they are Dell, HP, Supermicro or other brands. There comes a time when it may be more advantageous to use 19" racks to take on the road than individual PC's and storage bricks. And it offers better protection during transit.

                                    • 15. Re: Ordered Two New Systems Today
                                      Chuck A. McIntyre Level 3

                                      Just an update. Our 2 new systems are running CS4 extremely well. They handle video files like they were Notepad documents.

                                       

                                      This is just my opinion, but I think mainstream computer hardware is just catching up with what is required to run CS4 well, without hesitation and some of the random issues people constantly report in the forums. There are still a few bugs though, so we can't blame everything on low-end hardware.

                                       

                                      Motherboards featuring the X58 chipsets should be heavily favored because they will support the upcoming (1st. quarter 2010) Intel 32nm i9 processors. Benchmarks on engineering samples show significant speed improvements. No reliable price information is available yet, but it may be expensive. No competition from AMD at the high end certainly doesn't help matters.

                                       

                                      Here is one of many articles related to early tests of the i9:

                                      http://www.pcstats.com/NewsView.cfm?NewsID=80063

                                       

                                      Also SSD's continue to show speed improvements. This video is getting some criticism, but the product may help lower SSD prices if it is in fact the "fastest", as Micron claims:

                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_xfoVdM9ic