22 Replies Latest reply on Oct 29, 2010 8:26 AM by abantay

    Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)

    dslr_sc Level 1

      After reading most of the posts here and elsewhere about building a PC to run Premiere CS5 I decided to take a stab at assembling the components to build my own (keep in mind I have never done this before). Below are the items in my Newegg shopping cart followed by an explanation about why I chose them. Please note the prices are valid as of 8/19/10 and the ones with a * are the prices after rebate so the actual prices may be higher when you read this. I welcome any comments and suggestions:


      MOBO: Asus P6X58D-E LGA 1366 - $229.99

      I looked at the Gigabyte Mobo but some of the bad reviews really concerned me. The Asus seems to get much better feedback and is only $20 more.


      Processor: Intel Core i7-930 2.8GHz 4x256KN L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W - $289.99

      This was the easiest item to choose since everyone seems to like it.


      Ram: G.Skill PI 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 - $199.99 - But I'm ordering two (12GB total) for $399.98

      I have never heard of G.Skill memory but it seems to be the most popular and highest rated at Newegg.


      PSU: Corsair CMPSU-750TX 750W - $89.99 *

      Corsair seems to be highly rated although not perfect... several customers reported problems or DOA units. I guess there is no PSU maker that you can really count on.


      Case: AZZA Solano 1000 ATX Full Tower - $59.99 *

      My alternate choice is the Antec 1200 for $159.99 but the Azza gets very good ratings so with that price difference I am leaning towards trying it. By the way, I was hoping to get a mid-tower case but have concerns about my graphics card fitting so I guess I'll go with the full tower. Like Harm said elsewhere "bigger is better".


      Video card: MSI N465GTX - $234.99 *

      This was a tough decision because everyone here seems to recommend the GTX 470, yet the 465 is about $100 cheaper. I'm really wondering if I'll see a HUGE difference in performance between the 465 and 470. I may still go with the 470 if I can find one under $300. By the way, this MSI model has dual fans which I read elsewhere is better than the single fans found on most cards. Not sure if it really matters with all the fans included in the case I am getting. If it doesn't, maybe I should get a GTX 470 with one on-board fan?


      System Drive: WD Caviar Black 640GB 7200RPM 32MB Cache - $74.99

      I read how others recommend a smaller drive with 10K RPM but I may use this PC for other things besides video editing so I think I want the larger drive.


      Video storage drive (internal): WD Caviar Black 1TB 7200RPM 32MB Cache - $94.99


      DVD/CD Drive: LG 22x DVD OEM - $24.99

      I don't have any plans to do Blu-ray anytime soon.


      Wireless Net Card: EDIMAX EW-7128G - $19.99


      Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM - $99.99

      I haven't been able to see how the higher end versions of Win 7 improve Premiere performance.


      TOTAL:  $1,619.88


      (I already own a monitor, keyboard, mouse and Premiere CS5. I'm also not including liquid cooling until the system is up and running and I see if I really need it.)


      I had hoped to stay under $1,500 but I don't see how that is possible.


      What do you think? I won't pull the trigger on this system until the end of August so feel free to offer comments and suggestions. This will be my first ever PC build and I'm kind of nervous about it but also excited about getting a system that will be a high performer for many years to come. Now I have to find some good websites that teach how to put all this stuff together!



        • 1. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Go for Win 7 64 Pro instead of Home Premium. For the rest is looks OK.

          • 2. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
            ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

            The following table specifies the limits on physical memory for Windows 7.

            VersionLimit in 32-bit WindowsLimit in 64-bit Windows
            Windows 7 Ultimate

            4 GB

            192 GB

            Windows 7 Enterprise

            4 GB

            192 GB

            Windows 7 Professional

            4 GB

            192 GB

            Windows 7 Home Premium

            4 GB

            16 GB

            Windows 7 Home Basic

            4 GB

            8 GB

            Windows 7 Starter

            2 GB

            2 GB




            GPU Engine Specs:

            CUDA Cores352
            Graphics Clock (MHz)607 MHz
            Processor Clock (MHz)1215 MHz
            Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec)26.7

            Memory Specs:

            Memory Clock (MHz)1603
            Standard Memory Config1024 MB GDDR5
            Memory Interface Width256-bit
            Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)102.6




            GPU Engine Specs:

            CUDA Cores448
            Graphics Clock (MHz)607 MHz
            Processor Clock (MHz)1215 MHz
            Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec)34.0

            Memory Specs:

            Memory Clock (MHz)1674
            Standard Memory Config1280 MB GDDR5
            Memory Interface Width320-bit
            Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)133.9


            Notice the Cores and Memory Bandwidth. That is why we recommend the 470GTX.




            • 3. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)

              Woud be very interesting to see a PPBM5 benchmark with this configuration, please post if you have a chance, so that

              we can get an idea how much performance you would get with such a build! Tx in advance


              • 4. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                With a similar system, I used an 850w power supply... but 750 might be enough

                • 5. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                  Chuck A. McIntyre Level 3

                  It always seems to be a mixed bag with motherboards.  I was sold on Asus between 2004 and 2007.  I still think they make great boards, but back a few years, one of their boards gave me a fit.  A guy who worked day in and day out building systems for a large Atlanta-based custom computer building outfit told me, Asus BIOS have a reputation for being "quirky".  I experienced a good bit of quirkyness with an Asus Maximus board. Now this was several years ago, but since 2007, I have been using Gigabyte boards with great success.  Not a single issue.  One thing I take into consideration when reading bad reviews related to motherboards etc. is the tendency of non-pros to handle static sensitive components carelessly.  If you go to youtube, you can see what I mean by watching a few motherboard unpacking videos. A lot of these guys are pulling their motherboads out of the anti-static bag with their bare hands while standing on carpeting.

                  • 7. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                    dslr_sc Level 1

                    Thanks for the comments everyone. On the Windows 7 version, since I only plan to have 12GB of RAM the Home Premium version should be fine, right? If I ever want to upgrade the RAM I can always upgrade to Win 7 Pro at that time, true? (By that time Win 8 will probably be out.)


                    By the way, does anyone happen to know if all the necessary cables I'll need will be included with the items on my list? It will suck if I get everything and then find out I can't complete the build out because I'm missing some simple cable.

                    • 8. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                      John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      >necessary cables


                      My CS5/AVCHD 1st Impressions http://forums.adobe.com/thread/652694?tstart=0 includes a link to what I built


                      Everything I needed was included with case & motherboard and power supply (note that I do not do raid, so don't know if I would have had enough sata cables for that)


                      The vendor sites for your components should include a "what's in the box" type link that describes what is included with each component

                      • 9. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)


                        I am in the exact same position -- designing a new, cheap-ish computer for CS5. This forum (and Harm in particular) has been invaluable. Many thanks.


                        Here are the slight modifications I'm considering for my own system:


                        G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9T-6GBNQ



                        I'm not sure how much RAM I'll need, but my MB has 6 slots so I can toss in another one of these 3x2GB kits if I need more. (Is this sensible?). The 1333MHz bus speed is a little too fast for my processor, but that's okay -- 6GB of 1066 ram is actually more expensive. (Without overclocking, the processor only requires 1066MHz RAM or faster -- so pretty much any RAM will work. Maybe you don't need to shell out extra for the 1600MHz bus speed. Source: I checked the Wikipedia page on i7 processors.) Alternately, I could get the 12GB (3 x 4GB) for $280, but this might be overkill. My friend says that if you're not running out of RAM, the extra isn't doing you any good. On the other hand, I think After Effects will be happy to use as much RAM as you've got -- your RAM previews will last longer, and there are probably other benefits I'm not aware of.



                        GIGABYTE GV-N285UD-1GH GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card



                        According to Adobe, this is the only <$1000 video card that supports Premiere Pro CS5's new fancy rendering engine, the Mercury Playback Engine. (Others are the nVidia Quadro 3800, 4800, 5800, CX cards.) I don't have a good sense of how good this video card is outside of that, but this was one of my harder constraints -- I want to be compatible with Adobe's bells and whistles.

                        My $0.02.



                        Edit: formatting

                        • 10. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                          Harm Millaard Level 7



                          Take a look at the Background Information page for the impact of more memory on performance and look at all the top systems on the Benchmark results page: PPBM5 Benchmark


                          It may cause you and your friend to reconsider the amount of memory. I predict that in two years time, high-end systems will have 32 GB memory as standard.

                          • 11. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                            John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            The nVidia Hack http://forums.adobe.com/thread/629557?tstart=0 will make several other cards work... since the 285 model is no longer made

                            • 12. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                              funskits Level 1

                              Harm, thanks for the pointer. That's a great writeup, and a valuable resource. I think I will take your advice on the 12GB RAM.


                              John, I don't understand your comment about the GTX 285 no longer being made. I may be mistaken, but it looks like I can still get one at Newegg.



                              (Although it's odd that there are only 5 reviews for the 285 (all favorable), as opposed to 166 reviews for the 470 and 166 for the 480. Why might that be?)


                              Also, why is there such a big price difference between the GTX 470 and 480? The GTX 470 is $310 vs. the GTX 480 going for $500.


                              GTX 470:



                              GTX 480:



                              Also, from PPBM5, it appears that the GTX 285 outperforms the GTX 480 in Mercury Playback Engine render time.



                              GTX 285: 15s

                              GTX 470: 18s

                              GTX 480: 5.6s


                              So, I may have answered my own question -- the GTX 480 costs way more because it renders through the MPE 3x faster. But I'm cringing at the possibility of spending an extra $200 on a video card.


                              Also, after staring at the PPBM5 data for a while, it looks like the choice of 285, 460, 470, or 480 has relatively little influence in MPE-time and Disk-time (the two important criteria for me). (I brought the data into Excel and sorted it by video card, then looked at performance for folks with the i7-930.)


                              So... I'll probably go with a GTX 285, unless there's something I'm missing. Thoughts?


                              Thanks a bunch for your time and attention.



                              • 13. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                                funskits Level 1

                                Hi John,


                                Sorry -- I Googled around and now I understand that the GTX 285 is discontinued. But, if I can still buy one, and it works with MPE, is it a problem to buy a discontinued graphics card? I'm just wary of getting "upgrade fever".




                                • 14. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                                  Harm Millaard Level 7



                                  Be aware of interpreting the average speed of MPE cards. This is a pretty difficult and obscure item to interpret correctly and I'm still contemplating other ways to make it easier to interpret. Also keep in mind that the number of observations is pretty low per card, so statistically reliable conclusions are hard to draw with such few observations.


                                  The majority of the high-end systems use the 470/480 card, the 285 is used on a variety of other systems, not all of them real high-end. Secondly, there is this one 285 system with absurd results, that influence the average figure significantly, Joe Bloe's system.


                                  If the basic system is relatively slow, the gain figure is higher than on a faster system, but does not impact much on the average time.


                                  I hope to figure out a way to correct the average times for basic CPU/memory performance to come up with an easier index number to interpret.

                                  • 15. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                                    funskits Level 1



                                    Thanks again for your response. Regarding the GTX285's MPE time versus the GTX480's MPE time, I misspoke before -- I meant that the GTX285 15s time was less than the GTX470's 18s time (not the GTX480 -- 5s). But, as you point out, there may be more to those numbers than meets the eye.


                                    After reading "GTX 285, Fermi 470, 480 Mercury Playback Engine (MPE)" (http://forums.adobe.com/message/2816828#2816828), it seems like there are many GTX480 owners eagerly awaiting a CS5 release that will fully support the 480, and you guessed that would happen in Q3 2010. This website (http://cs5stuff.com/premiere.htm) agrees with you.


                                    I should probably just stop wasting time considering my options and get the GTX480. Before I know it, I'll have spent $200 in wasted time

                                    Either that, or CS5 will release a patch to support it.


                                    Last question -- what's the downside of using a discontinued video card? Does nVidia regularly release updates for their non-discontinued cards, and owners of the GTX285 are missing out on important updates?


                                    Thanks again,


                                    • 16. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                                      John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      I am using driver 197.45 for my GTX 285 and have not noticed any problems for MY editing of AVCHD files


                                      Check the link at http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us and you will see that the current driver for that card is 258.96


                                      Also search http://www.nvidia.com/Download/Find.aspx?lang=en-us to find older drivers


                                      I of course don't know when GTX 285 support may stop... but it doesn't look like it will be any time soon

                                      • 17. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                                        funskits Level 1

                                        John and Harm,


                                        Many thanks for the copious advice. This is a very friendly, informative, and supportive forum, and we're all lucky to have such knowledgable, helpful folks in this community.


                                        Regardless of the video card I choose, I look forward to submitting my ppbm5 results for your dataset!


                                        Thanks again,


                                        • 18. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                                          dslr_sc Level 1

                                          Justin, I've been researching this for weeks and my mind is swimming with information. I can't remember the details but I thought I read somewhere that the Nvidia 400 series cards have something special in them that may make them more powerful for CS5 at a later date, perhaps something to do with the next DirectX version?


                                          Again, I might be completely off-base on this and if so hopefully someone here can correct me. In any case, I found some GTX 470's for around $300 so I'm going with that and will do the "hack" mentioned elsewhere. The price difference between the 285 is so small it seems like the 470 is the best way to go.

                                          • 19. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                                            dslr_sc Level 1

                                            I just wanted to give an update and say that I decided to order my PC from CyberPower instead of building it myself. Their price was actually about the same as buying all the parts from NewEgg. The only difference is in the brand of the hard drive and ram... CyberPower does not indicate what brand they'll use so I suppose I could be getting some low end items there. But CyberPower seems to get generally good reviews and NewEgg sells their systems so I'm willing to take the chance on them. On the one hand I was kind of curious about building my own PC, but then again I've never done this before so I decided if the cost was so close I'd let someone else build it. This way I also get a 3 year warranty and lifetime tech support.


                                            After I get the system I'll post the specs and the results of the Premiere benchmark test.

                                            • 20. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)
                                              funskits Level 1

                                              Hi hi,

                                              Thanks for the update. I went the "build-it-myself" route and just placed the order on Newegg (~$2k, yikes):



                                              1 x ($289.99) MNTR ASUS|LCD 25.5" 2MS HDMI VW266H












                                              Video card:




                                              Optical drive:


                                              When I've got it working, I will look forward to benchmarking it!

                                              Thanks for being such a helpful, knowledgeable forum.


                                              • 21. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)

                                                Was hoping by now you might have had a chance to update us on how well your system is working.


                                                I may not need quite the pc you have as I am only installing CS5 and LR.




                                                If anyone thinks I need this full system as described by dslr-sc I'll do so, otherwise I'd like to keep it lower if possible. I don't mind the processor and the memory though. Thanks

                                                • 22. Re: Building a budget desktop PC for CS5 (under $1,700)

                                                  I just built a similar system with parts from

                                                  Tigerdirect and Newegg with some minor differences:


                                                  CPU: Intel Core i7 950 (3.06GHz)

                                                  Mobo: Asus P6X58D-E

                                                  Memory: 12 GB Corsair XMS3 1333 Mhz DDR3 (6 X 2GB)

                                                  GPU: MSI Nvidia GTX 460 Hawk 1 GB DDR5

                                                  Case: Antec Nine Hundred Two

                                                  Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-TX750W

                                                  System Drive: Hitachi 1 TB 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache

                                                  Media Drive: Hitachi 2 TB 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache

                                                  Raid 0: 2 X 500 GB Seagate Barracuda

                                                  Backup Drive: 1 External eSata 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda

                                                  Optical Drives: LG BH10 Blu Ray Writer & Pioneer DVR 218KBK

                                                  OS: Windows 7 Professional 64 bit OEM

                                                  Adobe Production Premium CS5


                                                  Check out the build here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kv5k70PAZkg


                                                  Everything went very well with the build. Bios and Windows accurately reported memory, cpu, etc.

                                                  I did not overclock anything but this mobo does make it easy to do so if I decide later on.

                                                  The Antec case provides ample space for airflow and cooling with it's 4 fans.

                                                  I have not performed any benchmarks ( I will post soon) on this system but from what I can see scrubbing on the premiere timeline is a lot smoother when editing HDV, After Effects previews and renders a lot faster than my old HP xw8200 Dual Xeon 4 GB Windows XP 32 bit running CS4. Adobe Dynamic Link actually works more efficiently with the memory available.

                                                  I also performed the Nvidia hack to add the GTX 460 and use MPE.


                                                  Overall I'm very pleased with the results.