15 Replies Latest reply on Aug 26, 2010 11:28 AM by muzflowers

    What to expect from a new build I'm planning

    JayNewWeb Level 1

      I have a basic "opinion" or "guess" question, please.

       

      I'm planning a new build at some point and have to make a decision on when to take the financial plunge. In a few months, funds will be better, but I can manage the cost now if the speed improvements will be worth it. Speed improvements mean time which means money.

       

      I'm running a small business producing videos for ourselves for business presentations (marketing and fund-raising) using Premiere Pro, outputting to FLV and DVD.

       

      My content is pretty simple: video footage (talking head) from a camcorder, with two more tracks for titles and Photoshop images, with dip-to-black transitions. Soon I'll have my video guru provide some 3D animations that will also be included.

       

      Until now, I've been capturing my footage into an interlaced project where I cut the raw footage into usable pieces. Then, I output those pieces to AVI, which I then run through a routine in Virtual Dub with presets my guru provided me with to take care of noise reduction and deinterlacing. Then, I import that resultant AVI (or set of AVIs) to a progressive project where I finish my editing and add the additional tracks with the titles, images and transitions.

       

      Then, I output that to AVI, and convert those AVIs to FLV and/or use Encore to create DVD images.

       

      The main concern I have is the very long wait times when I output to AVI from Premiere, process with Virtual Dub, and output to DVD image from Encore. (Of course, reduction in any wait time adds up, too.)

       

      So, I have to try to guess at what kind of time I'll save when doing those tasks (and across overall working time) once I build the new machine. That will help me decide on whether to build the new machine now or later, based on the financial criteria.

       

      I currently own an HP workstation, but it will not support the new Fermie CUDA cards. I want to use a GTX-470 (or -480). This is the pivotal issue that requires I build a new machine. Until then, I’m not using the CS5 MPE-CUDA features. What I don't know is how much time it will really save me on those major time-consuming tasks when I do make the jump.

       

      One important consideration may lie in the fact that, accoring to my video guru, one of the advantages of the way Premiere CS5 plays well together with the approved CUDA cards is that it does GPU-based deinterlacing. He's suggesting this should may save me the time of having to do it in Virtual Dub phase (I'm not sure what he suggests about the noise reduction -- I think he may have commented that it may no longer be unnecessary, though to me it has seemd to make a huge improvement).

       

      (Note: I see there are still some bugs in CS5 that hamper the benefits for now. For instance, I've read that there's an issue with CS5 whereby it takes a long time to export to AVI, and that there's a compromise with DV on an external monitor, but I don't know that those are issues in my decision since the former is going to exist regardless of whether I do the new build and the latter probably doesn't even apply to me.)

       

      Here are my two system configurations, the "before and after," that I want to compare or, rather, to please ask for some guesses about as to potential time savings. Maybe I should call them the "Current" and "New build."

       

      CURRENT:

      - HP z400 machine -- mid-tower (no room for cooling a Fermie card)

      - CPU: Xeon quad-core 4-thread

      - RAM: 8MB DDR2

      - GPU: nVidia FX-580 (obviously won't support new benefits of CS5 the way the GTX-470/480 in the new build will)

      - DRIVES: one HD for OS/apps, one HD for swap, and three HDs in a RAID-5 array for data

       

      NEW BUILD:

      - high-end full-tower case with plenty of cooling support

      - MOBO: ASUS P6X58D

      - CPU: i7 930 (maybe OCd a bit, or maybe 980x)

      - RAM: 12GB DDR3 triple-channel

      - GPU: nVidia GTX-470 (or maybe 480)

      - DRIVES: either same as current system, or maybe going to five drives in a RAID-3 array for data

       

      I'd be hugely grateful for any guesses as to how much time in the major encoding tasks (and in overall work time) the new build is likely to save me.

       

      Thanks so much!

       

      Jay

        • 1. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Jay,

           

          Doris Day said it quite good: "Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, the future is not ours to see".

           

          Currently with 5.01 only renders will be accelerated, not encodes. The render advantage of hardware MPE versus software MPE will be around 10-fold. The encode around nil. But if you use Preview files during encoding, you will profit from the maximum quality that hardware MPE uses.

           

          This question is way too misty to give an accurate guess to the speed increase you may get. Encode to what format with what settings?

           

          MPEG encoding is highly dependent on cores and memory. H.264 is highly dependent on clock speed, cores, memory and cache.

          • 2. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
            Powered by Design Level 4

            Take the PPBM4 test to see where your current system lands.

             

            http://ppbm4.com/

             

            Bill and Harm are still working on the PPBM5 test but the CS4 test will work fine.

             

            This way you know what you are working with.

             

            You can look on the Benchmark page to see what others are getting with the system you want to build.

             

            That is the best way to gauge what to do.

             

            Its fun and very easy to do.

             

             

            ENjoy:  GLenn

            • 3. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
              JayNewWeb Level 1

              Thanks, guys!

               

              I know it was nothing that could be reliably quantified and that I was asking for just a ballpark guess (not necessarily an "accurate guess," Harm ).

               

              Actually, with what you're telling me here, Harm, I'm already feeling a heck of a lot more enlightened. Needless to say, this is really meaningful input.

               

              It seems there will not be the kind of differences I was hoping for. In other words, when I export to AVI, process in Virtual Dub, or build a DVD image with Encore, it's not going to take 50% off or even 20% off of the time for those processes. That's what I was hoping to see and obviously I was grossly mistaken in thinking that would be the case. This helps me hugely in deciding when to lay out what will apparently be around $5,000 for a new build.

               

              As to the Benchmark page, Glenn, I appreciate that. In the scheme of things, and in light of what Harm has said, I don't know how well it will help me. I'm especially unclear on how it helps me "compare" to an as-yet non-existent build. Maybe I'm missing something. I'm sure I am, because I see that the discussion says that that's one of the purposes. I may decide to go for it, but for now I think I'll be okay with feeling my way with things like Harm's "inaccurate guesses" and perhaps those of others (as we all know, Harm's inaccurate guess and overall view from the big picture is plenty informative).

               

              I think for now I should at least actually finish setting up what I described as the "current" machine. It's a replacement I got from HP under warranty for an earlier model and isn't fully set up yet. I'll bet my render times etc will be dramatically better than what I had with the previous "old" machine.

               

              OLD (died under warranty recently):

              - Xeon Quad-core 4-thread

              - 8GB DDR2

              - CS3

              - XP Pro 64-bit

              - FX-1700

               

              CURRENT (replacement machine from HP, not fully set up yet):

              - Xeon Quad-core 8-thread

              - 8GB DDR3

              - CS5

              - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

              - FX-580

               

              I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of performance boost I see with that "current" setup.

               

              Thanks again!

               

              Jay

              • 4. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Jay, I wonder about this statement of yours "I currently own an HP workstation, but it will not support the new Fermie CUDA cards". How did you come to that conclusion?

                • 5. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                  JayNewWeb Level 1

                  Bill Gehrke wrote:

                   

                  Jay, I wonder about this statement of yours "I currently own an HP workstation, but it will not support the new Fermie CUDA cards". How did you come to that conclusion?

                  Hi Bill,

                   

                  Well, I make that assertion after a huge amount of time lost trying to make it work.

                   

                  (See my posts July 16 and July 18th in this thread for the longer version of my excursion: http://forums.adobe.com/message/2945538#2945538)

                   

                  The GTX-470 calls for at least 550W of power, The HP z400 workstation comes with 475W and it's a proprietary power supply. It won't take a standard ATX PSU -- the screw holes won't line up and even its pin-out for the system power plug is custom.

                   

                  Undaunted, I bought a Corsair HX750W power supply and placed it outside of the machine on the floor, and used it solely to power the GPU.

                   

                  I put the GTX-470 in and left the case cover off while familiarizing myself with Windows 7 for a couple days, but when I came into the office the third say the machine was locked up and the GPU was scorching hot. All fans on all components seemed to be working fine.

                   

                  (I also noticed that the onboard sound never installed and there was no sound, and that the Sound, video and game controllers section in Device Manager only had four instances of "NVIDIA High Definition Audio." HP tech support was at a loss. My video guru says those drivers are probably normal from the GTX-470 card, but nobody could explain why the mother board considered that a replacement for the onboard sound. We don't know if that was a sign of imperfect compatibility between the GPU and mother board, which seems feasible since I had already learned -- the hard way after days of work -- that the mother board was at least a little custom in that the PSU was custom even at the system plug.)

                   

                  So, when I had come that mornign and found the machine locked and the GPU super hot, I expermimented by cooling the machine down with a huge 12" external fan, then rebooted. For the next fifteen hours I waited to see if it would again heat up and lock up (or was it "lock up then heat up"?) and put more load on it by playing an AVI in WMP full-screen a number of times. For those fifteen hours the system ran fine and GPU stayed somewhere between cool and only very moderately warm.

                   

                  Nobody has had a reason why it had ended up with the machine locked and the GTX-470 resulted scorching hot.

                   

                  Bad GPU? Insufficient cooling? (Which maybe caused the system board to lock down the machine... which caused it to keep the GPU going with insufficient fan power???) Incompatibility between the GPU and system board? (Which had caused it to lock up the GPU in "on" mode and thus get scorching hot?)

                   

                  And the consensus among those who thought it was a cooling issue was "almost" unanimous in saying that just running it with the case cover on would not be enough to keep the GPU reliably below the necessary cooling threshold, especially since I hadn't even begun to put a real load on it (I hadn't even installed Premiere on the machine yet).

                   

                  And, it seemed evident to me that trying to creatively pack the machine with fans and cooling was just not realistic. If it is, I'd like to know, since that would be a lot cheaper than building a $5,000 machine. Here's a picture of the machine with the GTX-470 in it: www.silver100.com/x/z400_GTX-470.JPG.

                   

                  Of course, all the cooling in the world still wouldn't help if the problem was compatibility with the system board.

                   

                  You'll notice I got no responses at that other thread when I asked what the "guess" was as to the cause. So, I figured that -- short of it being a bad GPU -- building a new machine was the only way to fix it if it was a cooling problem and the only way to fix it if it was a compatibility problem.

                   

                  I'm sure anxious to hear your thoughts.

                   

                  Thanks so much!

                   

                  Jay

                  • 6. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                    JayNewWeb Level 1

                    Bill,

                     

                    In looking at that picture of the z400 I provided, I should mention that I since added 4 more hard drives to the machine, which required a controller card in the black PCI port north of the GPU. Also, there's that PCI card that has to be in one of the two white PCI slots south of the GPU for a firewire port since this machine doesn't have any onboard firewire ports (it has a cutout for one in the front cover but there's no actual port there).

                     

                    I suppose I could try to fit a "PCI-slot" type dual-fan thingie directly south of the GPU (though I doubt it would fit), and maybe put in an additional case fan somehow (at the lower front panel if I work around the speaker?). My sense is that a mid-tower is just generally not big enough for doing this kind of thing. I know nothing about water cooling but I'm guessing there is just no room to do it properly.

                     

                    And, significantly, I'm still not at all convinced it was just a cooling issue to start with. Why did it not happen again after fifteen hours of testing with more load and otherwise identical conditions? I mean the GPU was on the boring side of warm the whole time. (And I find it at least interesting that the system got so remarkably confused about the sound by this GPU -- making subtle incompatibilities seem not so far-fetched in my mind.)

                     

                    Jay

                    • 7. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                      Powered by Design Level 4

                      The purpose of the test will tell everyone how fast your system is going.

                       

                      As far as a new build there are others with the EXACT systems already listed and if you do the test you can see what the difference is between your system and theirs without ever buying a thing.

                       

                      That way you can tell if you would benefit from an upgrade or not.

                       

                      The test helps everyone with having more data.

                       

                      Bill and Harm have put allot of work into it and the results help.

                       

                       

                      ENjoy:  GLenn

                      • 8. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                        JayNewWeb Level 1

                        Powered by Design wrote:

                         

                        The purpose of the test will tell everyone how fast your system is going.

                         

                        As far as a new build there are others with the EXACT systems already listed and if you do the test you can see what the difference is between your system and theirs without ever buying a thing.

                         

                        That way you can tell if you would benefit from an upgrade or not.

                         

                        The test helps everyone with having more data.

                         

                        Bill and Harm have put allot of work into it and the results help.

                         

                         

                        ENjoy:  GLenn

                         

                        Hi Glenn,

                         

                        I see what you mean. Sorry I didn't quite get that before.

                         

                        I have to confess that I did find myself having a little difficulty discerning just what variables in various system configurations were accounting for the differences when looking at the top dozen or two dozen listings. I'll make a point of scrutinizing it more carefully and of understanding the meaning better. It obviously is a remarkably robust set of data that's capable of being remarkably useful, as you said.

                         

                        (And I guess I'm not entirely incapable of reading it and getting the gist of what's happening since I did notice, when Harm first pointed me to it a week or two ago, that CS5 seems considerably slower at exporting to AVI than prior versions -- and Harm confirmed that my observation was accurate.)

                         

                        Once my "current" system is set up I'll do my best to take the test with it.

                         

                        Thanks again!

                         

                        Jay

                        • 9. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                          Powered by Design Level 4

                          Once you do run the test you will see.

                           

                          I know for myself my old Dell XPS is the third slowest in the RED section at 329.6 but my new system that is a Gateway i7 860 has a score of 60.9

                           

                          Now this is just a replacement computer for surfing and other work and I want to build a system later but the improvement is way worth it.

                           

                          My times are so much better.

                           

                          Your current system is much better then my old XPS so we will just have to see where it falls.

                           

                          A short video used to take forever and now it takes less then real time.  What a difference.

                           

                          And its not even a i7 930 like you said you might go with.

                           

                          Speed is nice.

                           

                          Hope you find the speed:   GLenn

                          • 10. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                            JayNewWeb Level 1

                            Glenn, that's very encouraging. Thanks very much.

                             

                            Bill, I'm really curious as to whether you think the issue I encountered was purely a cooling issue and, if so, if you think adding cooling support to the HP machine is a reliable and practical solution for keeping the GTX-470 in that machine. I'd love to be able to make it work, even if it means relegating that machine to being the secondary video production machine in our office that's mainly just used by a part-time assistant (after I build the new one for myself, which would no longer be such a rush priority but would still get done soon). I really want to be able to feel confident that I'm fully stable, though. (I don't want to find out the hard way that it's not and have the OS/apps corrupt and require reinstallation/configuration, especially if I'm on an important project/deadline.) I'm anxiously looking forward to your thoughts and advice on this. (Or if anyone else cares to share an option and some advice, please.)

                             

                            Thanks again!

                             

                            Jay

                            • 11. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                              Powered by Design Level 4

                              Im really not to sure what caused your problem.

                               

                              Its like when you take a car in to be fixed but you cant make the problem happen.

                               

                              Hard to fix.

                               

                              Harm posted a good link yeasterday called:   The Case of the Unexplained

                               

                              I watched the whole video and it was very interesting.

                               

                              It gave me good insight to my old Dell XPS on some of its problems.

                               

                              He talked about creating a log file that could be accessed after an error happened and on how to track down what was causing the error.

                               

                              Now im not sure if this will help you but the video was very interesting.

                               

                              I hope you get is solved.

                               

                               

                              GLenn

                              • 12. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                                Studio North Films Level 3

                                Hi,

                                 

                                how many fans are in your case, you ideally need a fan in the front to push cold air in, and a fan on the rear to push air out,the more the better. the current gtx cards do get very hot.

                                 

                                Baz

                                • 13. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                                  JayNewWeb Level 1

                                  Studio North wrote:

                                   

                                  Hi,

                                   

                                  how many fans are in your case, you ideally need a fan in the front to push cold air in, and a fan on the rear to push air out,the more the better. the current gtx cards do get very hot.

                                   

                                  Baz

                                   

                                  Hi Baz,

                                   

                                  Remarkable you posted that just when I was off following an inspiration to search the web for "z400 optional fans!" Turns out that I only looked a little and so far what I found wasn't that promising. Then again, maybe the "coincidence" of your posting this while I was off searching it is a "sign".

                                   

                                  The machine comes with only three fans: PSU, CPU, and rear case output. There's a small speaker at the bottom of the front of the case where I would have "liked" to put an input fan but it's made to mount one. I found one thread saying these are entry-level workstations and not very good at cooling. There seems to be an optional aftermarket liquid cooling system, but it says it's only for the CPU and the fans are loud. But this is all preliminary talk that needs to be qualified by the fact that I really only read one or two links on the first page that came up on a search... though that includes a long thread on the HP forum by a few z400 owners who are intense and who really pursued this and didn't find a satisfactory solution for themselves, other than the really loud water-cooling system for the CPU. None of them said they were dealing with a hot GPU like what I'm up against.

                                   

                                  I do wonder about this PCI-slot fan from Antec, though, if in fact I can make it fit in my case: http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=ODY

                                   

                                  Or this cheaper-looking one from ThermalTake on NewEgg: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16811999154

                                   

                                  I still feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle, though. It's still a mid-tower with no front or top intake fans. Compare this marginal approach of a PCI fan to what I'm seeing is advisable for the multiplicity of fans in a full-tower and it seems a lost cause.

                                   

                                  Thanks!

                                   

                                  Jay

                                  • 14. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                                    JayNewWeb Level 1

                                    Well, I guess I was right about fighting a losing battle with trying to add fans to cool that HP machine to handle the new GPU.

                                     

                                    Check out this forum post I just happened to come across when searching about the Antec Super Cyclone Blower (PCI fan that I had just posted a link to above):

                                     

                                    I actually have this product in my case at the moment, and I'm sorry to say it won't be there much longer...
                                    It is not that it is a bad product, I believe if you by some chance have some piece of hardware that produces 80C temperatures in the middle of your case, then this might come in handy.
                                    If you choose to use this to cool your video card, It will most definitely not work. It hasn't done anything to mine. Once again, I think it depends on how your case/system is setup. At the end of the day it's all about airflow.
                                    It might actually harm your current cooling solution if it "breaks" the flow of air, basically if this fan and another works on each other...
                                    Furthermore, something with a heatsync installed usually require air blown ONTO the component.

                                    My conclusion, if you seriously suffer from an overall ambient temperature of 60C+, then I think this will help, if you want to cool a specific component, don't buy this, rather get yourself a better case/fans/cooling solution to lower the ambient temperature.

                                     

                                    Oh, well.

                                     

                                    On to building a new system.

                                     

                                    Thanks again.

                                     

                                    Jay

                                    • 15. Re: What to expect from a new build I'm planning
                                      muzflowers

                                      I can't see any hardware deinterlace in CS5 Mercury Playback. Video is 1080/50i, 'Always Deinterlace' is on, but preview in timeline give me only 25fps, not 50 like real GPU bob-deinterlacer in Windows Media Player. Try to export to AVC, select output 50p in AME, and .. still have 25fps in output file.

                                       

                                      Adobe, where is GPU deinterlacer ? Where is double framerate option ? I do not like edit 25p, I like edit 50p and output 50p.