Please forgive me for asking what I'm sure I can ascertain from reading through the forums here. I figure that in a few minutes you can save me many hours of reading. Please. I appreciate it very much.
I'm doing my own video production for business presentations. I have a "guru" guiding me on the software aspects, who is very good. (Adobe beta tester.)
I'm now upgrading my system and want to make wise choices on what to spend money on, and what not to, given my current budget limitations.
The main issue, of course, is the long times it takes for processing the video. Forgive me that I'm not up on the lingo. Examples of the tasks that take lots of time waiting for the machine, as you of course already know, include:
- exporting from Premiere to AVI
- processing AVI files in Virtual Dub (noise reduction, deinterlacing)
- converting AVI files to FLV
- outputting from Encore to DVD or an image
- and so on...
Until now, I've been running CS3 on an HP xw8600 machine with five drives: one drive for OS/apps, one for swap, and three in a RAID 5 array for data.
I've just had HP send me a new (refurb) machine because that one is limping (RAID 5 is degraded and they can't fix it).
They sent me a z400 and fixed me up with the same five-drive setup I had before (though we're waiting on the controller card, HP-branded LSI 8888-ELP, and until it arrives I'll be using two drives -- one for OS/apps and one for data).
The computer's specs are: Xeon Quad W3250 2.67 GHz (8-thread), 8GB DDR3 RAM. The hard drives are all SATA 7200 RPM (Seagate Barracuda). The existing video card is NVIDIA Quadro FX 580.
Unless anyone here recommends I don't bother reconstructing the five-drive setup with three of them in a RAID-5 array, it will be done shortly.
I will be going to Windows 7 and to CS5.
I don't do anything fancy with my video. Later we may get into a little 3D stuff and HD but for now it's basic, simple video: talking heads captured from a digital video camera, with simple graphics such as images and bulleted lists... with basic dip-to-black transitions. It may get a little more elaborate, but not a lot.
For me with my responsibilities right now, "time is money" is an understatement. The current budget has serious constraints, but $1,000 to $2,000 or so to substantially reduce processing time is justifiable -- if it really will save significant time.
My questions are on the other hardware choices.
I plan to invest in a "CS5-approved" Cuda-enabled video card "if" you think it's worth it for me. It seems to me to be worth the investment "if" it will significantly reduce the time I spend waiting for the machine to process the kinds of tasks listed above. I'm a little confused because I thought it would do that but one post I saw in a forum here said "It will speed up rendering, but the CPU still has to do all the video transcoding." I thought those tasks listed above entail video transcoding, and I thought CS5 with one of the CS5-approved Cuda-enabled cards is for exactly that -- dramatically reducing the time those kinds of tasks take to process. Please help me understand if this is the case or not so I can determine if a new Cuda card is worth it.
My questions are, essentially, which if any of these are "most" worth investing in, if at all:
- faster hard drive for OS/apps (it's the only one of the drives I think I'd want to spend more money on at this time; is a 1500 RPM drive worth it?)
- more memory (is 16 GB RAM going to do better than the 8 GB RAM that's in there now?)
- a CS5-approved Cuda-enabled card (from my reading, this seems clearly worth it, but I'm asking here for confirmation; and if so, may ask which model seems most worthwhile for my needs?)