8 Replies Latest reply on Nov 23, 2009 4:23 AM by Harm Millaard

    Help an aussie spec a system


      Hallo y'all.


      Building a new system in the next week or so, and would like some advice on optimising the value of my build to take advantage of Adobe Premiere Elements 8. The main initial task will be editting some low quality MPEGs of 9hrs/10GB of my grandfather talking about his life and involvement in WWII. It'll mostly be very simple cutting and editting, but I would like to play around with some of the other features without having to twiddle my thumbs too much, and the system is intended to last for at least 3 years.


      I'll definitely be getting or re-using:

      - CoolerMaster 690 case

      -  ATI HD 5770 1GB (I'm a casual gamer)

      - Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

      - KB/Mouse/23.6" LCD/Speakers/Printer and other peripherals all fine


      and these parts may be useful salvage from the existing PC (but am willing to replace if I get a value for money increase in performance):

      - Samsung 400GB 400LJ

      - Samsung 400GB 403LJ

      - Samsung 640GB 642JJ

      - 2GB Transcend DDR2-800 5-5-5-18

      - Pioneer DVR-118L (PATA, so mainboard will have to have PATA if you want to re-use)


      Need all other parts. Don't need Blu-Ray. Have a budget of $AUD1,000 for everything (not including the "definitely be getting or re-using" list) and will be shopping at MSY. Price list here - a bit of an annoying format unfortunately, but they're the best priced around and I'm not far from them. You can, if you like, also select things from NetPlus, PLE and Austin, but you'll note MSY are generally a better price and I have to get the majority of the thing from one place to get the OEM Windows license.


      I've been servicing computer for a living for the last 8 years, so no need to worry about help physically building the thing.


      I understand the program properly supports quad core (in that it'll actually use all 4 cores and max out the CPU if the task requires it), but I'm having trouble finding official confirmation of that and benchmarks to show the actual performance difference. Does anyone have any convenient benchmarks that show performance differences between things like platforms, DDR2/DDR3 at different bandwidths and number of cores? It'd make the process a whole pile easier as I've mostly been going on generalisations based on other programs being benchmarked like Premiere CS4.


      From what I've seen of other benchmarks, the LGA1366 platform doesn't give a value for money performance advantage unless you're into Crossfire/SLI and the AMD offerings like the Phenom II X4 945, 955 & 965 don't compete that well with the Core i7 860. In the above linked CS4 benchmarks, the i7-870 seems to be almost twice as fast as the i5-750, which doesn't make a lot of sense to considering they have the same cache and only 266MHz difference. Anyone know why that is? Presumably some kind of i5/i7 architectural difference, but it does seem bloody wierd. It'd also be nice to know what "editting video" as a task means, but hey.


      Higher bandwidth RAM doesn't seem to help, as the latency does go up as well. But since there's only a marginal price difference between DDR3-1333 and DDR3-1600 ($20 for 8GB), might as well get the DDR3-1600.


      What I think would likely go best:

      - Gigabyte P55-UD3R $149

      - 2 x 4G DDR3 1600 Patriot-Signature/G.Skill-NQ $125ea $250

      - Intel Core i7-860 $340

      - Antec EarthWatts 650W $121

      - Seagate 1.5TB $141

      Total $1001


      Obviously I'd be re-using the HDDs and Optical on that build. The PSU is a little overkill since the system likely won't draw more than 200W for most operation and 250W under heavy CPU + GPU load, but again I save only a little by getting a weaker one (of equal or better quality). I went with the 860 because of the aforementioned wierd Tom's Hardware results, but if someone's certain that's, well, wrong, I can drop to the i5 750 and get a second HDD. I'm uncertain the model of the Seagate though, so will call them tomorrow to check that and to make sure it's a good 'un.


      Would you suggest something completely different?


      Bonus question:

      What is the best HDD configuration re: fastest drive to each task? e.g. Scratch=Fastest, Media=Second, OS/Program=Slowest.


      I apologise for the extended and likely unnecessarally long post.

        • 1. Re: Help an aussie spec a system
          lyrtnat Level 1

          I've read a lot of Harm's stuff (both before and after posting the thread).


          I've discovered that the i5 750 doesn't hyperthread while the i7 8xx lines do. Presumably that's behind the huge difference in the Tom's Hardware benchmark, although it does still seem odd.


          Some of what he says doesn't seem to apply to me in Aus - like his thoughts on Lynnfield vs Bloomfield - where he says the i7-920 is cheaper than the i7-860 while the opposite is true where I am by a full $50. The mainboard would also add $100-$150 to the price, making it a $150-$200 increase to go from LGA1156 to LGA1366.


          If it helps suggestions, as mentioned, I intend to leave this system pretty much as is for 3 years. The only thing with a realistic chance of changing is the HDDs. Ergo the 6-core LGA1366 upgrade isn't likely on the table. The 16/36 lanes difference probably won't impact me as I won't be getting a second GPU or any fancy controllers.

          Again, as mentioned, I don't mind overclocking. I ran my E4300 1.8GHz @ 3.0GHz for a fair portion of it's life. However the extra cost of the mainboard, CPU and a HSF would blow the budget over by $230-$300. Hmm, but then I'd be in triple channel zone, so may as well drop down to 6GB (based on the type of editting I'll be doing - low quality video, low amount of effects - would it be worth getting 12GB? If not, I could get a Gigabyte EX58-UD3R, i7-920, 6GB DDR3-1600 kit, 650W EarthWatts, 1.5TB, Noctua U12P for $1139. Hmm.


          However I've looked around and it seems the overclocking potential difference between the i7 920 and i7 860 isn't that big. Quite a few reviews get it over 4GHz.



          • 2. Re: Help an aussie spec a system
            Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

            Take a look at my Premiere Pro Benchmark page and you may get some ideas from the (currently) 34+ benchmarks on specifically  Premiere CS4.


            If you lookat the i7-920 LGA 1366 versus the i7-860 LGA 1156 you will find them to be the same price, why cripple yourself with a lessor capabile chip?

            • 3. Re: Help an aussie spec a system
              lyrtnat Level 1

              I realise I was a little long winded so I can understand why you didn't bother reading, but where I live - no, it isn't. The CPU is $50 more, and the mainboard would be $100 more - $150 total.


              But I'd already looked at your site. There are no i7-860s listed. So... ?

              • 4. Re: Help an aussie spec a system
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                A historical perspective.


                As you rightly mentioned, at the time I wrote the Lynnfield versus Bloomfield article those price differences were right, but in this very volatile market with daily price changes it may no longer be accurate. The CPU prices of 17-920 and 17-860 are about equal, as are their performances. Of course the P55 versus X58 price difference still holds at around the same comparative advantage for the P55. You also mention the PCI-e lane difference, which IMO is the most important difference.


                And now...


                the i7-860 is attractive if you are certain you will not need additional PCI-e lanes and/or will want to upgrade to the Gulftown. Otherwise the 17-920 is still the way to go, because you also have the advantage of 12 GB of memory instead of only 8 GB on a P55 with CS5 being 64 bit.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Help an aussie spec a system
                  lyrtnat Level 1

                  I think the price thing is still true in the USofA. Newegg has them only $1 apart, and they're identical on Tiger Direct. However I'm in Western Australia, and at local stores I listed the price differences are $49, $64 and $74. So probably just a locality thing.


                  I'll not be upgrading the CPU, going crossfire/SLI, getting a good quality SATA/RAID controller, nor using CS5 (or even Elements 9, I'll likely stick with 8 for 3ish years). So it seems LGA1366 is out.


                  Remaining questions:

                  - Pay an extra $20 total over 8GB DDR3-1600 for 7-7-7-24 timings over 9-9-9-24 timings?

                  - Only get 4GB of RAM since Elements 8 doesn't do proper 64-bit?

                  - Get different model HDD? Get two or three 1TB drives instead of one 1.5TB so I don't have to re-use existing ones?

                  • 6. Re: Help an aussie spec a system
                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                    I would get the faster memory when the price difference is so small, if PE8 does not use anything more than 4 GB there is no sense in getting more, but I would definitely get 2 x 2GB sticks, so you have expansion room for the future. As to the hard disks, I would prefer 2 x 1 TB over 1 x 1.5 TB because it allows better spreading of disk activities and possibly the reliability of 1 TB disks is still somewhat better than the 1.5 TB versions. I think the Samsungs in general have the best price, but you may run into attractive prices from time to time with WD Caviar Blacks or Seagate 7200.12's.

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Help an aussie spec a system
                      lyrtnat Level 1

                      Thanks for that Harm.


                      Where would you go out of these options?

                      - OS 400G Samsung 403LJ Media 640G Samsung 642JJ Scratch 1.5T Seagate $141

                      - OS 640G Samsung 642JJ Media 1TB WD Black Scratch 1TB WD Black $258

                      - OS 1TB WD Black Media 1TB WD Black Scratch 1TB WD Black $387


                      On advice, build currently:


                      Intel i7 860 $340

                      Gigabyte P55-UD3R $149

                      4GB Kit G.Skill DDR3-1600 Ripjaws 7-7-7-24 $135

                      Antec EarthWatts 650W $121

                      2 x 1TB WD Black $258

                      (re-use Samsung 642JJ as OS/Programs drive)

                      Total $1003

                      • 8. Re: Help an aussie spec a system
                        Harm Millaard Level 7

                        I would do the following, while using your current disks as much as possible.


                        C: OS & programs on the Samsung 400

                        D: Pagefile, media cache, dowloads, music etc. on the second Samsung 400

                        E: Projects, scratch disks on a new 1 TB disk

                        F: Media for your source material on a new 1 TB disk

                        G: Exports and backups of your projects on the 640 Samsung


                        Cost $ 258 while giving the most storage.