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I would stay with the i7 920. Get an inexpensive video card. Until Adobe releases Mercury, the video card has a near insignificant impact on your editing experience. Be sure to use an X58 motherboard. It looks like Intel will be releasing a killer 32nm processor at the beginning of 2010 that will be compatible with the X58 boards. For the video card, I like the ATI 4830. It's cheap and works well. Now if you are going to be playing demanding games on this system, go with a higher end video card.
I would get a Raptor 150 for your system drive, and two other large capacity drives for your media. Although not 100% accurate, I go to newegg.com and check out the product reviews. For instance, I would avoid some of the Seagate 1.5TBs.
*They have several youtube videos on the Gigabyte motherboards we recently bought. There are 3 "unboxing" videos where the guys are getting their hands all over the static sensitive electronic components. The fact that many people simply aren't careful with the stuff they buy is one reason why, I only use the newegg.com customers reviews as a general guideline.
Probably, the best location for this post would be the Hardware sub-forum, as it gets much more traffic than the Lounge does. I would not be surprised if Jeff, or Curt moves your post there. As Harm Millaard does not hang out there that much, you'll likely miss his input.
Now, I'd likely put the $ into the processor. Depending on the material that you'll be editing, there is not that much to gained with an ultra-high-end video card - yet. CS5 might change that playing field, but not without a price attached.
Maybe a better question would be to ask if someone on the site has a 'template' or guide for high level, cost effective system specs?
In the hardware sub-forum, Harm has several articles on getting the most bang for the $. One is on the I/O sub-system, one on buying/building a system, and one is on setting up a 64-bit OS for NLE work.
Good luck, and happy reading. Also, don't be surprised if this post gets moved to that sub-forum, as it will generate many more responses with good comments.
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Definitely get the i7-920 (D0 stepping). The price premium for the faster i7's is not worth it. The i7 is easily overclocked to 3.6 GHz or even higher and is then significantly faster than the 960 or 975.
I'm with Chuck on the video card. Until we know what MPE can do on what video card it is just guessing, but the 4830 does it's work good and is attractively priced.
This is not yet on the PPBM page, which shows the benchmark results of various systems, but will be in short time. Look at the results and you will see that the i7-920 is pretty much a top contender. Only some way more expensive dual CPU W5580/W5590 systems are in there. Keep in mind this is an experimental page layout, awaiting Bill's final approval. For the official version, look at http://ppbm4.com
That's a great chart, Harm! thanks for the info.
Sounds like waiting and waiting until the last possible moment is always the right thing in hardware. If Adobe and
Intel are coming out with product in 2010, it would be a shame to spend now and not be able to upgrade later.
ok, no more serious stuff here. i'll go to hardware and look around, thanks!
Waiting is always an option, but the drawback is that it takes a long time. Keep in mind that if you invest now in a X58 mobo, memory and a very affordable i7-920, you will likely use that for some time before upgrading again, at least untill the Gulftown hex-core CPU's are a bit more affordable. According to rumors the introduction price will be around $ 1 K, or 4-5 times as expensive as the i7-920. You may wonder if that price difference is justified for a 40-50% performance increase.