29 Replies Latest reply on Mar 9, 2010 8:23 AM by Harm Millaard

    Workstation for video editing

    Pitchaxis13

      Hello all,

      I have a quandry for you. I have been asked by my employer to choose a video editing PC. I will be running CS4 production Suite and a few Boris FX plug ins. our video's are under 45 min and are 90% SD. Many are just powerpoint w/ audio and some video spinkled in. They are however getting more ambitious and want a better set up. We are a Dell partner so i need to go that route. So i was looking (after some reading around the forum ) at the following. Please let me know if i am horribly off course. Sorry for the noob question but i could not find anyone with quite this situation to gather information from. Thanks

      Dell Precision T3500

      Windows 7 Pro 64bit

      intel Quad Core Xeon W3520

      6GB 1066 DDR3 RAM

      NVIDIA Quadros FX1800 768MB

      320GB SATA3.0 16MB HDD 1

      500GB SATA3.0 16MB HDD 2

      500GB SATA3.0 16MB HDD 3

      2 Dell P2010H 20" HAS Wide screen monitors

        • 1. Re: Workstation for video editing
          markerline Level 4

          Don't know too much about Dell computers but I should recommend that you use a RAID 1, RAID 5, or RAID 10 to make sure you don't lose data, in addition to having a server for backups.  I assume that is already part of your company's workflow.

          • 2. Re: Workstation for video editing
            Harm Millaard Level 7

            Unless you or your employer want to burn excessive amounts of money, leave it at that or possibly lose the two 500 GB disks and maybe even leave out the video card. Then get 2 or preferably 3 1TB disks with 32 MB cache and install those yourself. Also get 6 GB RAM from another source than Dell to up the memory to 12 GB. And get the Quadro FX3800 or a GTX285 card from another source as well.

             

            Maybe as a Dell partner you have better prices than the normal clients of Dell, but in general they steal you blind on anything you add to their basic system. With the upcoming CS5 you don't want less than 12 GB memory and you want a MPE supported card, hence the 3800 or the 285.

            • 3. Re: Workstation for video editing
              Scott Chichelli Level 3

              Ugghh

              its a shame you have to go Dell. that system is pretty sad.

               

              FYI the Xeon 3520 is nothing more than a Core i7 920.

              the ram is very slow (1066 instead of 1600)

              the video card is way over kill (read over priced and underperforming) an nVidia 285 would be best.

              the drives only have 16 meg cache instead of 32meg.

               

              at least you are not trying to buy a dell studio computer. does an alienware qualify you for Dell? at least they have some 1/2 way decent components. ram is only 1333 however.

               

              Scott

              • 4. Re: Workstation for video editing
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                Scott,

                 

                I agree that the specs are not stellar, but remember that 1066 memory is OK, because their BIOS is crippled. You can't overclock a Dell and the i7-920/W3520 only run 1066 speeds by default.

                • 5. Re: Workstation for video editing
                  Scott Chichelli Level 3

                  agreed! thus the Alienware recommendation as its still technically Dell and should fly thru purchasing for them.

                  • 6. Re: Workstation for video editing
                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                    Either that, or:

                     

                    1. Build one to the OP's liking from a custom builder or DIY, or

                    2. Get one from you, or

                    3. Suffer the Dell Hell.

                    • 7. Re: Workstation for video editing
                      Pat Appleson

                      Hi,

                       

                      I'm currently upgrading like you are.  It seems that's all I do. (grin)

                      I know nothing about Dell.  But I am "cockpit qualified" on building video editing rigs.  I've been using Matrox hardware acceleration since 1994.

                       

                      You sound like you do just little stuff.  Well, 45 minutes in length ain't little.  I'm used to working on :30 spots for three weeks at a time and when I get a long form production in the house, I want to be sure to get it over with before my hair turns grey.

                       

                      IMHO here is what you should check out.  First you need a platform, try Supermicro X8DA3, then twin (2) Intel

                      x5570 Xeon Quad CPU.s   The motherboard is using the Intel 5520 chip set.  Everything is 64 bit. on the Monster

                      MS Win 7 superduper what ever their calling it OS.  You know, the most expensive one.  It will smoothly do WOW to let you go back to 32 bit when you have to.  And when Adobe comes out with a Native PP, you can really rock.

                       

                      Load it with the Matrox Rtx2 full card.  It's cool.  It'll save you thousands by not having to buy a 10K Sony LCD Video monitor.  It's got DVI outs on it for full res HD display on a cheap $400 LCD monitor.  Plus, you can pretty much forget about rendering on the timeline with this system and the 3D realtime graphics are 32 bit and look great.

                      If you have to have SDI out to a D5 or HD VTR get the Matrox Axio LE.

                       

                      Get a Seagate 75gig Cheetah drive 15K rpm for your OS.  Unless you're doing something hinky, you don't need anything very large.  I'm presently looking a the Intel Solid State "drive" replacement.  But I have yet to buy.

                      You need a minimum of 2 TB for vid storage.  Plus, you should have those mirrored.  Check out Hitachi's 2 TB drives.

                       

                      I store and use so much stuff on a daily basis I have a three disc stripped array of 146 gig Seagate Barracuda's running raid 0.  I've never seen a "dropped frame" warning with this rig.   But, at the end of the session I off load to a 12 TB array of NAS that runs a 3Ware Raid 5 array.  For SD stuff, I can actually edit over the LAN with no problem.

                      We are going to upgrade to Raid 6, soon.  That would be my suggestion.  And don't use the corp. LAN or storage,

                      keep it safe and off line.  Unplug your Internet access, period.

                       

                      Get a fast video card, maybe 1 gig of ram in it.  Don't over do it.

                       

                      Memory is different my min reccomendation is 24 GB.

                       

                      Get a Redundant 1KW power supplies.  Purchase a real rack mount case, from like California PC.

                       

                      I'm missing something here, but you get the idea.

                       

                      You, my friend, aren't doing chump change work, not at 45min per show.

                       

                      Good luck

                      Pat

                      www.appleson.com

                      • 8. Re: Workstation for video editing
                        Harm Millaard Level 7

                        Pat,

                         

                        Some of the components you mention are nice but not top, others are a complete waste of money (Matrox) and some essential components are missing, the system you describe is out of balance, but to make it even more confusing for the OP, you are talking about a system that is around 5 times (or even more times) the price of what the OP has in mind. So this system you describe is not relevant for the OP.

                         

                        Can you do me a favour? Run the http://ppbm3.com benchmark and send the results to Bill (and possibly to me by private mail). That way you will know whether your system is indeed that good as you claim.

                        • 9. Re: Workstation for video editing
                          Scott Chichelli Level 3

                          uggg that test is only valid for DV/HDV over firewire. most people are no longer using firewire capture. its dead.

                           

                          but agreed system is out of balance.

                          the RTX is great if you are encoding to DVD but its quickly becoming a dead horse the MXO/MXO mini on the other hand are great.

                          a SCSI OS drive LOL its actually slower than most sata drives at this point never mind adding bandwidth to the bus.

                           

                          i would not touch a super micro board :-) lousy warranty for $500 board.

                          but yes a Xeon is a beast assuming your workflow needs it for some a single i7 is a better option (faster GHZ per $)

                           

                          Scott

                          ADK

                          • 10. Re: Workstation for video editing
                            Harm Millaard Level 7

                            Scott, that test has nothing to do with capturing, but all about hardware and is indepent of ingest methods or formats. If you were to do the same test with HDV or AVCHD or XDCAM material, you would still get around the same ranking.

                             

                            Another thing on Pat's system that is out of whack IMO is dual redundant 1K PSU's on a system with only 3 disks. Way overkill. And his remark that Matrox saves you money by using a $ 400 LG TV instead of a $ 10 K Sony broadcast monitor is about as valuable as saying that when you buy a portable bicycle light, you don't have to get that Porsche 911, you can use your bicycle and save a lot of money.

                            • 11. Re: Workstation for video editing
                              Pat Appleson Level 1

                              Hello everybody, and Mr. Harm,

                               

                              Well, Mr. Harm, you're certainly a "know it all" (grin).

                              First, I prefaced my remarks with IMHO.  Your's can certainly vary.  I mean I only have 30+ years in the video business. I don't know it all, I'm still learning.  And I don't expect the guy to go out and do everything I do or suggest.  But, like your absolute tirade, it will give him a broader view.

                               

                              And I can say for certain, Matrox is where you want to be, it's an inexpensive system compared to AVID, GrassValley,

                              Harris Broadcast/Leitch, Quantel, & Sony.  One main reason I use it, is everything is done in real time, not too much rendering.

                               

                              And, I've read quotes from FCP owners saying things like, Matrox is "embarrassingly fast."   What do you do when you render, read a book?

                               

                              It don't think it was ever mentioned that the guy was on a budget.  If you are, video editing is a great place to be today,

                              because you get so much more for your buck.  On the other hand, budget and video, is an oxymoron.  It's not for the faint of heart.

                               

                              Sure the system was only half put together, I'm not his vendor.  But, Mr. Harm's Bike analogy tells me he is not in my business.  The best Sony LCD,  that is still not as good as a CRT, costs around $24K.  I quoted the one that doesn't do black so well.  The point is you need at least one good professional monitor.  My clients demand nothing less.

                               

                              Speaking of clients. Let chat about power supplies.  The ones I specked were not too big.

                              Also, the power supplies run cooler & you have expansion capacity. And when one croaks in the middle of

                              an edit, you know Mr. Harm, I'm sure you have this going on at your place all the time: The Client, Director, Script Chick, Voice Over Talent and three or four hangers on, that the client is taking to lunch in 20 minutes while you finish the edit, at $225/hr,  ALL of  them watch the monitors go black when the one PC PS takes a dump.  It makes you look like a pro.  Especially when one of the  "designated Lunch eaters" says something like, "this never happens down at Channel Seven".  Or the one that makes my head explode: "This never happens at Comcast Cable".

                               

                              No. Twin bruiser supplies are good, thank you.  And while were on the subject, so is a good UPS.  Mine is Eaton, it's a 20KVA ferro and runs for four hours (with out air).  When Katrina & Wilma hit, I finished the edits. And on top of that, don't forget the surge suppressor.  We have a 400 amp unit from Liebert on the whole plant.  As I write this we are investigating switching to Balanced AC Power.  It will make our noise floor even lower.  I tell you these things as to help "widen the view" of the original thread writer.  Again you don't have to do as I do, but a prudent operator should know what other guys are doing.

                               

                              So, here is a guy that doesn't like Matrox or Supermicro. (Grin).  Well I must be the exception, I've used Supermicro since around 1987.  They are top of the line boards for people who know how to use them.  I've had only one croak in all those years.  It was out of warranty and they still sent me a new one, no charge. Your's may vary.

                               

                              I find some of these forums becoming as voracious as HiFi/Stereo used to be.  You can still make their heads explode when you tell them that that 400 dollar a foot speaker wire your using is no good. (rofl) I love it.

                               

                              So, to the original guy who asked the question, you'll have to forgive me.  I'll no longer be availing you of my knowledge, good or bad, useful or not.  What's the use, when you have guys like Mr. Harm around.  BTW, You do look like Paul Newman in a Tux.  But the blacks are crushed.  I guess you used a $400 monitor and no Matrox card when the gamma was set in photohop. (stand by, his head will explode)

                               

                              So, Best regards

                              Pat Appleson, Pres

                              Pat Appleson Studios, Inc.

                              www.appleson.com

                              Certified Member, Society of Broadcast Engineers,

                              Past President, Audio Engineering Society, Miami Chapter

                              • 12. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                Run my antiquated old fashion Premiere Pro CS4 benchmark (PPBM4) and I can tell you more about your system than any long winded expert can ever  do for you.

                                • 13. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                  Pat Appleson Level 1

                                  Hi Bill,

                                   

                                  I like that.  You've got a lot of hard work into it.  Good for you!

                                   

                                  I especially liked your "comment", some would say "Dis" (I certainly wouldn't) on Mac.

                                   

                                  What I would like to see is you do the same thing for High Def.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but everyone I talk to says it requires 6 times the data space and has to be a lot faster.  Most big houses are using 4 gig Fibre arrays.

                                   

                                  Any thoughts.

                                   

                                  BTW, with my Matrox RTx and Axio cards, it will "render" out to AVI in real time plus 15 seconds, regardless of pgm lenth.

                                   

                                  Keep up the good work.

                                   

                                  Best Regards

                                  Pat

                                  • 14. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                    Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                    Pat Appleson wrote:

                                     

                                    Hi Bill,

                                     

                                    I like that.  You've got a lot of hard work into it.  Good for you!

                                     

                                    I especially liked your "comment", some would say "Dis" (I certainly wouldn't) on Mac.

                                     

                                    What I would like to see is you do the same thing for High Def.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but everyone I talk to says it requires 6 times the data space and has to be a lot faster.  Most big houses are using 4 gig Fibre arrays.

                                     

                                    Any thoughts.

                                     

                                    BTW, with my Matrox RTx and Axio cards, it will "render" out to AVI in real time plus 15 seconds, regardless of pgm lenth.

                                     

                                    Keep up the good work.

                                     

                                    Best Regards

                                    Pat

                                    Hello Pat,

                                     

                                    Regarding HD, I did do a HDV version on CS2.  Since my goal back in 2005 with Premiere Pro 1.5 has been to help with hardware selection and setup and OS tuning testing I found that the HDV testing did not provide one ounce of additional information and required a lot of extra work on my part.  I do not plan in getting into format testing.  One of my contributions has been the debunking of the myth of five years ago that the more you spend on a graphics card the better you would be in Premiere.  Of course that will now change with CS5 that we will have real GPU assistance and it probably will leapfrog anything you have seen on Matrox.

                                     

                                    As far as your disk intensive AVI encoding time, my DV benchmark is 2 minutes and 3 seconds long.  As you can see Harm renders that in 1.4 seconds!

                                     

                                    Regards to you.

                                    Bill

                                    • 15. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                      Scott Chichelli Level 3

                                      how did you ingest the HDV?

                                       

                                      Scott

                                      • 16. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                        Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                        My project is and was composed of items supplied by Adobe in Premiere.  I used HDV presets for the same items that are in the current DV version. I used color bars.and the countdown leader etc.  To these I apply generally used effects like fast color corrector, dissolves and a few other demanding effects.  This minimized the file size which 5 years ago was a download consideration.

                                         

                                        For some unknown reason my bio does not go back to show my activity in the forum to that time.  I have tried unsuccessfully to locate my previous history.

                                        • 17. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                          Baz R Level 3

                                          "Quote"

                                          BTW, with my Matrox RTx and Axio cards, it will "render" out to AVI in real time plus 15 seconds, regardless of pgm lenth.

                                           

                                           

                                          Hi, you must have some problems as thats SLOW, i have a rtx.2 and I can export a 180min DV 16x9 Pal in under 30 mins.

                                          • 18. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                            Pat Appleson Level 1

                                            Hi,

                                             

                                            The real time speed I quoted was for my RTx.100 card.  So I expect the 200 card to be faster.

                                            My problem as I write this is, I've got to decide weather to purchase the RTX.200 or the Axio.

                                             

                                            I'm a little worried that as soon as I buy the 200 which could be this week, I'll have a job come in next month that

                                            wants SDI out to a HD-Cam or D5 HD.  It gives me many more options.


                                            Best Regards

                                            Pat

                                            • 19. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                              Baz R Level 3

                                              i would not go for a matrox rtx.2 as i dont think it will be around for to long. also there is issues with matrox drivers conflicting wih adobe premiere presets, meaning you are forced to use matrox sd & Hd only presets.  and if you want fast h264 you have to buy another card.

                                               

                                              The axio is a good card that supports all the major formats, however there are other cards that would do the same job for a lot less. just do some research before you buy, also go onto the matrox forums and see what issues people are having.

                                               

                                              good luck

                                               

                                              baz

                                              • 20. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                                Pat Appleson Level 1

                                                Hi,

                                                 

                                                Yes, I agree in part with what you say.  But, in my case, I have intimate knowledge of Matrox.  I've been using their

                                                products for many years.  For some folks, just using Adobe will be enough.  I'd like them to.  Then they're not competing with me and higher end broadcast stuff. (grin) (no letters please)

                                                 

                                                Nice chatting with you.

                                                Best Regards

                                                Pat

                                                • 21. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                                  Baz R Level 3

                                                  I have been using the rtx10 & rtx100 in the past and never had many issues. When working the rtx.2 is a good system for SD, and has good presets. though there is still many issues.  I am waiting for the new premier software with the AME encoder to use the GPU of my graphics card for SD & HD.

                                                   

                                                  baz

                                                  • 22. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                                    Pat Appleson Level 1

                                                    Hi,

                                                     

                                                    Yeah, I hear you.  That was the reason for answering this thread in the first place.  I was looking for more valid informatin on going without any hardware and using only the Adobe software.  The computer I was talking about, way above, that

                                                    a couple of guys thought was "un balanced" was the same thing that HP sells as their Z-800 hotrod.

                                                    So, yes, I could go without a card.  Or, I could buy a card and not like it and remove it. And still rock and roll.

                                                    The money doesn't matter to me all that much, it's a deduction and I need them all. Plus the overiding fact is I

                                                    don't want to look stupid to the client, who can be sitting their watching me.  And now in the last four years, they can be

                                                    sitting at their desk at their office in a remote location like, FL or NYC and still see me crash, etc. (Grin)

                                                     

                                                    One thing with my Rtx.100 set up is it crashes about once a year.  I've been using it since the first month it was released.

                                                    It's one smooth piece of work.

                                                     

                                                    Best Regards

                                                    Pat

                                                    • 23. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                                      Long Con

                                                      I've been looking through all the threads in this forum to try and get a better grasp on what I need to have in a workstation.  I'm soon going to have a bit of extra cash, and I'd like to get a new workstation, one that will love capturing, editing, and rendering digital video. The thing is, I'm not much of a hardware guy, and a lot of this stuff goes way over my head at this point.

                                                       

                                                      Here's a bit of a summary about me and digital video.  I have Adobe Production Premium CS4, using Premiere Pro.  I have a miniDV camera that I connect to my current computer with Firewire - I purchased a card specifically for that purpose. I can currently work with Premiere, but it is often slow, and has been dropping frames like mad in my recent captures.

                                                       

                                                      Here is a link to an edited Belarc analysis of my current computer.  I'm sure there will be some laughter, and then understanding of why I need to upgrade.

                                                       

                                                      Another thing I would like is a video card with a lot of versatility, that I can get input/output to my television.

                                                       

                                                      How do I go about deciding which parts best fit my needs and budget?  I will have some cash, but I can't just go and buy the most expensive everything!  I really just want something that will be reliable and stable, and allow me to work with video without worrying that it's going to freeze up sometimes, or that it will start dropping frames, or tell me my virtual memory is too low...  where do I begin??

                                                      • 24. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                                        Pat Appleson Level 1

                                                        Hi,

                                                         

                                                        Well, next month (April) is the NAB Convention in Vegas.  I'll be there.  Anyone who does Broadcast or serious video should go.  They usually have well over 100,000 people attending from around the world.  Even if you don't buy a thing

                                                        you'll get an earfull.  And exibits only is free.  Just dial up www.nabshow.com.

                                                         

                                                        There is always a couple of computer companies that build to suit, usually way in the back, where the floor space is cheaper. Then it's let's make a deal time.

                                                         

                                                        And don't forget the buffett at the Belliago.  IMHO, it's the greatest pig out for twenty bucks anywhere.  From Clams on the half shell to 14 different kinds of pasta.

                                                         

                                                        Best Regards

                                                        Pat

                                                         

                                                        ps... If you want a box with out all the hassle,  try the HP z-800 or Box Technologies.  Both will be there.  Oh, and don't buy a video card until they announce at the show what is new and what ain't gonna be around any more.

                                                        • 25. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                                          Long Con Level 1

                                                          lol... yeah, I WISH I could just go to Vegas.  Long story short: not gonna happen.    I appreciate the timely advice though, thank you.  I wish I could take advantage!

                                                          • 26. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                                            Long Con Level 1

                                                            Here's what a guy told me on another site.  Any comments?

                                                             

                                                            "alright,

                                                             

                                                            if you wanna go buy the parts, here is what i recommend,
                                                            intel i7 920 cpu
                                                            asus p6x58d premium otherboard OR asus p6t deluxe v2(if they don't have the p6x58d)
                                                            6gb of ram, preferably corsair, or kingston hyperx
                                                            kingston 128gb ssd now. or intel x25-m 160gb
                                                            corsair H-750 modular power supply
                                                            corsair Hydro serie H50 cpu cooler
                                                            2x2tb Western digital or seagate HD.
                                                            coolermaster 690 II computer case.

                                                             

                                                            i also wants to point out, what makes the most difference in your photoshoppin/video editing experience like encoding and what not, would probably be the cpu and the drives, that is why i recommend SSD over HDD for window installations and programs,
                                                            as for graphics cards i would recommend you wait a month since new stuffs are coming out by the end of march-april."

                                                             

                                                            Modular power supply?   CPU cooler?

                                                            • 27. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                                              Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                              Corsair has good PSU's. Modular has the advantage of keeping the cabling a bit more simple is not everything is needed. For the CPU cooler my first choice would be either TRUE or the Noctua NH-D14 with a slight nod to the latter.

                                                               

                                                              Unless you have money to burn, I disagree with the suggested SSD and with only 2 hard disks. I rather have one Velociraptor as a boot disk and 4 1TB disks for around the same amount and with the same storage capacity.

                                                              • 28. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                                                Long Con Level 1

                                                                Will I need a CPU cooler?

                                                                • 29. Re: Workstation for video editing
                                                                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                                  Definitely, unless you only want to fry some eggs on it.