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You shouldn't need to spend nearly that much!
Here are Chuck's suggestions, from the Muvipix forum. He offers a couple of levels of options.
I personally recommend you stay with HP or Dell, both of which offer well-tested machines assembled from top of the line parts.
Both companies have a line of discounted, refurbished products on their sites, which offer excellent values.
About the biggest challenge will be deciding whether to go with Windows 7 32-bit (which performs nearly flawlessly with Premiere Elements 8) or Windows 7 64-bit (which seems to have its share of driver-related problems with the software). But, for a long-term investment -- particularly if you plan to eventually move to Pro software -- it's 64-bit hands-down.
In fact, why not pick up a top of the line machine for under $1200 and use the rest of your budget to buy the CS4 Production Suite?
Thanks Steve. By the way I just got your book on PrE8.
Very useful and practical!
When you mention "HD" material, is this AVCHD footage? The reason that I ask is that AVCHD takes more CPU horsepower, than will other HD formats.
With AVCHD, it seems that a fast Quad-core CPU is about the minimum, and an i7 is very useful.
With most other formats, the I/O sub-system, i.e. your HDD's will make a bigger difference. For NLE work, I recommend a 3x SATA II HDD setup, with the fastest disk as your System/C:\. This disk does not have to be that large, and 350 - 500GB should be large enough. The two extra HDD's should be 7200RPM min, and I'd go with two of these in the 1TB range.
The allocation would look like this:
C:\ OS, programs and probably the Page File
D:\ Projects and their Scratch Disks
E:\ Media files
The RAM is important too, and for a 32-bit OS, I would look at a full 4GB. With a 64-bit OS, then I'd go with 12GB.
The video card is less important, for NLE and image editing. Any of the latest ATI, or nVidia cards will work well. You can get good results with 512 MB, and will likely see little benefit from a 1GB card, at least not from your NLE or Photoshop. The price difference is minimal, so I'd probably go with the 1GB card, especially if one does anything in 3D.
Get the biggest, best power supply possible, as NLE work, especially Rendering and Export, can put a load on the PWS, plus you'll have the 3 HDD's, and maybe a 1GB vid-card.
Then, add as many fans as the case will take. Heat build-up is a common cause of failed Exports and Transcodes.
If possible, I'd go with two burners, maybe a BD-capable multi-drive and then a DVD multi-drive. Having 2 burners can really benefit if one commonly delivers multiple discs of a Project. If you will be doing a lot of BD, then maybe go with 2 BD burners. I mix brands here, as some will read different discs better than others. My workstation has 1 Plextor and 1 LG, and I have found that some disc just play better in one, than the other. Neither is 100% with all discs, and both work well with most. If I had to lean to one of mine, it would be the LG, but it has been nice having the Plextor, as it has handled some discs, that the LG balked on - and vice versa.
Yes, I am talking about AVCHD. Many thanks for your comments.
With AVCHD, the CPU will be the most important single component, with the I/O taking backseat. Go with the fastest, multi-core/multi-thread processor, as you can. Still, the 3x HDD setup will benefit you.
Regardless of the CPU and I/O, I'd still fill up the RAM slots for 32-bit OS and look at about 12GB for a 64-bit OS.
Good luck and enjoy the new machine.
And thank you so much for supporting the book, Andrew!
Read "new computer" messages going back 3-4 months (actual message titles may vary... read more rather than less)
For AVCHD you need an Intel i7 (overclocking is your desision... I do not)
If you plan to use Premiere Pro, be aware that CS5 will be 64bit only, so you will want Win7 PRO 64bit and 12Gig of ram
But, as I said, go to the hardware forum and read... and read some more!
And in your reading, per John T's suggestion, pay special attention to the comments from Harm Millaard.
Thanks Bill. Will do.