16 Replies Latest reply on Jan 18, 2011 3:36 PM by Editor Naama

    PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)

    Editor Naama Level 1

      Hello all.


      For the past months I've been reading a lot about Hardware for building a new system. Actually it all started a few months back while reading Harm's excellent guide:A PC buying guide for NLE (mainly Intel)I also read  To RAID or not to RAID, that is the question and a few more of his great articles. I printed and marked it. That led me to read other forum threads, and other sites, and so I made my own list. It was a lot of work!!! I learned a lot! I'm not sure I'll do that for my next build, but anyhow I've learned a lot and I'm about to go to the computer folks as a more knowledgeable customer who knows what to buy. Thank you very much Harm Millard!


      Anyhow, I'd like to hear a few opinions. Here's my plan:


      A system for Production premium CS4 (will upgrade in a few years or when I feel there is a need, not right now), editing DV and possibly HD formats (not uncompressed)

      CPU: i7930


      MoBo: GigaByte GA-X58A-UD3R

      Ram: 6/9/12 GB RAM

      Win 7 pro.


      disk setup:

      1. OS &Programs  (500 GB)

      2. Backed up captured/imported media  (RAID0 2x 500 GB)

      3. Scratch (media cache, preview files). (Raid 0 2 X 500GB) exports?

      4. Projects, digital media, media created for the project, exports [(500 GB) or 1 TB?]

      5. Miscellaneous. (500 GB)


      Using these disks:

      · Samsung HD103SJ 1TB SATA 2 32MBSpinpoint F3 – 

      ·   Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ,500GB,7200rpm,16 MB Cache



      ·   nvidiaGTX-285/280/275/260/250  


      ·   Nvidia9800GX2 or 8800gts 


      ·   QuadroFX 580 or Quadro FX 1800

      My questions are:

      • How much RAM?

      3x2GB Ram=6GB - Could that be enough?Is it true that if I want 12GB RAM I better buy a set of 12 and not 2 sets of 6? what about a set of 3X2GB RAM=6 + 3X1GB RAM= 9GB?

      • What do you think about my disk setup?

      I planned it that way so that no crucial unrecoverable file would be on the risky raid0. I think perhaps to first export files to the raid array for speed, and afterwards, transfer to the non raid disk. Are the disk sizes right? 500 GB or 1TB for no.4 (projects, digital media and export)?

      • GPU

      A card that would be enough for CS4: Premiere,After Effects, Photoshop, Flash and the rest of the suite. No need for CUDA approved cards at the moment. I think open GL is relevant for After Effects. I still have to check availability and real prices on those cards. What do you recommend?


      Extra smaller questions of preference:

      What's your preferences regarding an adobe keyboard vs. stickers vs. a regular keyboard?

      What's your preferred monitor set up? 2 small ones or one big screen?

      Is a Firewire 800 card useful for you?



      Any opinions or comments would be of great value!!! Thank you all in advance!

        • 1. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
          John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          As far as I know, CS4 does not use the GPU for much of anything... so any ATI card with enough video memory will work


          nVidia and CUDA is CS5 only... read http://forums.adobe.com/message/2870496?tstart=0


          For nVidia, the GTX 2xx line is "old" (the 285 is no longer made) and the GTX 470 is what is "usually" recommended now


          For multiple drives in RAID, plus to allow for nVidia's power requirements if you go that route, you need at least a 1000watt power supply


          My computer is described in my notes... no raid, but a GTX 285 http://www.pacifier.com/~jtsmith/ADOBE.HTM

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
            Harm Millaard Level 7

            So much depends on your available budget, that it is hard to give you good advise, but here are some remarks:


            1. Memory. Start with 6 (3 x 2) GB. When the budget allows go for two of these kits to increase memory to 12 GB. It can improve performance by around 30%.


            2. Video card. None of the ones you mentioned. It is a waste of money. As long as you use CS4, any ATI card below $ 100 is enough. When you make the switch to CS5, then I would consider the GTX-470 as the most economical choice.


            3. Disk setup. With all those disks, 7 x 500 GB F3's, I would follow these suggestions: Adobe Forums: Generic Guideline for Disk Setup but that may entail that you need to consider a separate raid controller. You have read some of my articles, so you already know that I favor the Areca ARC 1680 iX with BBM and prefer a raid3 setup. I would abstain from using a raid0, because of the lack of redundancy. With 6 disks in a raid3 (and one as a boot disk) you can achieve an average transfer rate of around 400 MB/s or better and a net storage capacity (using 500 GB disks) of 2.5 TB.


            FW800 is not useful unless you intend to use FW800 externals.


            For dual monitor setup I use two 24" PVA screens. I would never go back to single monitor, but that is a personal choice. For CC work I use a CRT over FW400. Even on my 16.3" notebook, I use a 2-nd 20" monitor.


            I use a Bella keyboard. To summarize it, it is way too expensive, it is nice to have the colored keycaps, it has only mediocre touch, my keycaps are completely worn off, there are no replacement keycaps available and I have serious doubts about getting a new one because of the ridiculous price and I have used keycap stickers before, that always got loose, dirty or uncomfortable, mostly within 6 months of use. Notice that if I lived in the US, I would directly order a new one from BHPhotoVideo, since their prices are acceptable to me, but over here it is utterly ridiculous and shipping costs make it way too costly. You can get a pretty decent keyboard for around € 50, but for a Bella keyboard you have to pay € 250 (current local prices).

            • 3. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
              Editor Naama Level 1

              I know CUDA is CS5 only. I understand that the 2XX line is old, but I figured, perhaps that could be enough and cheaper than the new ones. I'll check it out. I'll also think of ATI cards but I'm leaning towards Nvidia to keep options open for other programs.


              How much is enough memory on a video card?


              Which ATI card do you recommend that would also be good enough for after Effects?


              CPU 1000 watt -  I wrote that down for myself, thanks!

              • 4. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                Editor Naama Level 1

                Hi Harm,


                Yes, you're right about the budget. I think when I visit the computer person and get an offer on all components, I'll start cutting things off...


                Memory: Agreed. I'll get a 6GB and see how it goes.



                GPU: Perhaps I should consider the ATI ones...I'll think about it. Do you mean something like the 4650/4850/5670 or anything else? Does ATI give better prices for what you get?


                Disk setup: The Areca is too expensive for me at the moment. I want to try and setup the system using my mother boards raid0 ability. I understand that an areca 6 disk array would be much better (400 MB/s is amazing!!!). Perhaps I could add that in the future if needed.


                Because of the risks in Raid0, I though of including only files that can be backed up like captured media which I would still have the media on tapes or in case of digital media, I can make a back up right after copying them to the raid. Those are files that don't change during the project. On the other Raid, having the preview, cache which are not a problem loosing cause the system can recreate them.


                Does that make any sense? Please correct me if I'm wrong? Is it better to get two - 1TB drives instead of those raid arrays?


                Yea, I'll check it out but the keyboard is probably too expensive. It seems like a nice treat for an editor. Right now I'm using a regular one and rely on my memory . It seems like it could be convenient, but then again, you lack the flexibility of changing shortcuts. (you can change but then, you would have to remember that the key isn't what is written on it...and the whole point is to let the memory rest a bit.)

                • 5. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  GPU: Yes, I intended something like the ATI HD  4650/4850/5670. These are not very expensive and with CS4 will not make a whole lot of difference.


                  Disk setup: 400 MB/s is not amazing! Look what you can achieve with a larger array:




                  Your raid0 considerations are solid.

                  • 6. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                    Editor Naama Level 1

                    Thank you for your answers, you're very helpful.



                    One more question regarding audio output: In order to hear the audio that I'm editing well, what would you recommend?



                    Is an internal sound card useless?

                    • 7. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                      John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      >internal sound card


                      My Asus P6 motherboard has built-in sound that works Ok with the AVCHD files I use


                      I will guess that if you really want to hear 5.1 sound you would need a sound card and that number of speakers

                      • 8. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                        Harm Millaard Level 7

                        Definitely not. I prefer to use the on-board sound over an extra sound card, that takes up a slot, often comes with bloated software and often causes software problems.

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                          Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                          >  Which ATI card do you recommend that would also be good enough for after Effects?



                          The video card is not important to After Effects, relative to things like RAM, number of processors, processor speed, and having multiple fast hard disks. If you get a stock graphics card, you'll be fine with regard to After Effects. Yes, a better graphics card will make some things work a little better, but I'd spend my budget on the other factors that I mentioned before even considering that.


                          But, since we're on the Premiere Pro forum, I have to reiterate the thing that you already know: One of the supported CUDA cards with Premiere Pro CS5 makes the world of difference.

                          • 10. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                            Editor Naama Level 1

                            Regarding the keyboard, the keyboard Premiere covers seem convenient but I've only seen ones that fit apple.

                            • 11. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                              Editor Naama Level 1

                              Thanks for the info Todd!


                              CS5 will wait for me a little bit. I might meet it's younger unborn sibling instead someday - CS7

                              • 12. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                                Editor Naama Level 1



                                Could I ask you another question about Raid: Do you think there's a lot of significance to making those 2 Raid arrays or could I have the media with the scratch on the same raid0 array?

                                • 13. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                                  Instead of using 2 x 2 raid0, you could also consider 1 x 4 raid0. But now I'm getting confused. You have 7 disks, one for OS & programs, and 6 for projects, media, scratch etc. If you have enough SATA connectors to connect them all, you have a variety of ways to setup your array(s). One approach would be 3 x 2 disk raid0, so the OS will see that as 4 separate disks (including the OS disk). Or 2 x 3 disk raid0, that the OS will as 3 separate disks, including the OS disk. I don't think it will make much difference, but in either case use the suggested setup here, where the number of logical disks is relevant, not the physical disks. Adobe Forums: Generic Guideline for Disk Setup

                                  • 14. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                                    Editor Naama Level 1

                                    I don't have the disks yet. I have to buy them. I could also buy less or more. For risk management I only want to have the media and scratch on the Raid. So I think I only need 1 or 2 Raid0 arrays.


                                    I was wondering if there's any point of having the media and scratch on two different raid0 arrays of 2 disks, and if it is faster or slower, does it have any benefit over having both on one Raid0 Array of 2 disks.


                                    Or your suggestion of a 4 disk drive - that's probably even faster. (?)


                                    I've considered your Guide as well.


                                    This is the first time I'm planning a raid or even any computer component.


                                    Thanks again :-)

                                    • 15. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                                      LaciG Level 1

                                      I have a 'funny' problem with my on-board ASUS Realtek sound card. Following mainly Harm's advice, I built a very nice system (P6X58D Premium MoBo, i7-930 CPU, ENGTX 480 graphic card, Lian Li case, etc...) that works great  - except the sound card .


                                      With a really inexpensive microphone, and the headphone plugged in the front panel, I can only record (to Windows Sound Recorder and/or Audacity) if the output is muted. More precisely, the more I decrease the output volume the more power goes to those recording software.


                                      I have read so many bad reports about this on-board sound card and ASUS technical help that instead of struggling to fix this problem, I would rather add a nice medium-to-high quality sound expansion card to this otherwise very good system (unless there is a simple solution). I would appreciate any advice.


                                      Thanks in advance, Laci.

                                      • 16. Re: PC Build (Many thanks to Harm's articles)
                                        Editor Naama Level 1

                                        Hello LaciG,


                                        I can only speak out of my experience about the solution that I found.


                                        I had trouble recording with the on board sound card (on my old system). I think it's also Realtek. The voice volume was so low I had to process it in the sound program and increase it. That increased the noise so I had to take care of the noise with filters and of course they distorted the voice. Even if you're gentle with the effects, they will distort a little. Just like in video, it's better to get a good sound input while recording. Any fixes you have to do later are going to cost you.


                                        So I bought an external sound card: M-audio Fast Track. And now the voice I record needs no fixing. The volume is right with no noise and so I don't even have to add unnecessary effects. It has a line output so you can connect speakers to it or a stereo system. It's quite simple to use.

                                        It's connected to the computer via USB although some say that it's better to use a FireWire based sound card.


                                        I don't know if this helps you. Hope you find your solution.