12 Replies Latest reply on Dec 13, 2010 8:11 PM by Pye Jirsa

    Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!

    Pye Jirsa Level 1

      I am trying to buy a high-end video and photo editing workstation and I am really stumped as to the amount of options, yet the lack of advice available in this arena.

       

      I am a professional photographer starting to do more and more professional video work. However, it seems like video is much more demanding than still photo production, so I am sure whatever works well for video will work amazingly well for stills. So, let's focus on video.

       

      We shoot our video primarily on Canon 7D and 5D Mark II cameras in full 1080p. My issue so far has basically been that once I have added 2-3 video tracks, some transitions, an effect or two and a stability plugin (like prodad mercali) to my timeline, I can no longer see my preview in real time as it is constantly stuttering while the audio plays straight through making it difficult and time consuming to finish full projects.

       

      So, the goal is to create a machine that can render previews real time, without going overboard and just buying overkill. I can't seem to find any articles on what I actually need to accomplish this goal. So, I am looking to all of you pros for help.

       

      For the new machine, we will be upgrading to CS5, so here is what I am looking for:

       

      Budget: $5000 or lower (Lower the better, no overkill)

      1) Mobility - I either need a powerful workstation laptop that does it all, or I will need a powerful workstation desktop, with a decently powerful laptop for working on the go.

      2) Real Time Previewing - Ability to add multiple video/audio layers, video effects, and plugin effects while being able to still watch the preview in real time (no stuttering)

      3) Fairly Quick Rendering - Quick, but it doesn't need to be lightning fast

      4) Long Term Reliability - If I can customize a Dell system and maybe add on a few components after market that would be best so that I can have most everything wrapped under the same 3-5 year warranty

      5) Color reproduction - If going mobile, I need a screen that reproduces colors very well like a WUXGA RGBLED LCD

       

      Additional Thoughts/Questions

      1) Do I need Quadro/Firepro series card, or will supported consumer cards like the GTX470 do the job?

      2) How do I know exactly which card is supported if the card #s are off slightly, such as if it lists the GTX470 as being supported, is the GTX480 supported?

      3) Which is better for long term performance, raided SSD or raided Raptors?

      4) What is the optimal hard drive setup, full raid 0, or say a 10,000 rpm boot drive + 2 raided (raid 0) 10,000 rpm drives for editing/work drives?

      5) Are their any resources out there comparing real life practical performance differences between high end cards like the Quadro and FirePro series while doing real life tasks such as video editing, rendering, Photoshopping, etc?

       

      Possible Configuration

      Here is the main specs on a Dell laptop I put together, not sure what is needed and what isn't:

       

      Dell Mobile Precision M6500

      Intel Core i7-840QM Quad Core 1.86Ghz 8MB Cache

      1GB Nvidia Quadro FX 3800M

      16GB DDR3-1333Mhz SDRAM (installed aftermarket)

      17" Wide Screen WUXGA RGBLED LCD (1920x1200)

      Raid 0 with 2 Hard Drives - 2x 256GB Mobility Solid State Drives (512GB total drive space)

       

      Thank you all so much for your help!

       

      -- Pye Jirsa

      Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography

        • 2. Re: Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!
          Pye Jirsa Level 1

          Thanks John for your post.

           

          However, you didn't really answer my question. I still don't know what

          specific hardware I need to accomplish the task, and what is overkill.

           

          Second, I know of Sager, I previously owned one. It had severe heat issues

          and died after 1 year of use, so I prefer to avoid them.

          • 3. Re: Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!
            RacerX2oo3 Level 1

            Pye,

             

            If you'r looking for a unit that is portable for location editing, yet powerful enough not to sacrifice editing power, you might want to consider the HP EliteBook 8740w with the NVIDIA Quadro 5000m mobile GPU.  The laptop is available with HP's DreamColor display which provides excellent color response and the Quadro 5000m is a Adobe supported GPU for using GPU accelerated Mercury Playback Engine.  I've had a chance to use this system, and it is truly a desktop replacement system with all the power to handle Premiere Pro CS5. 

             

            Sean

             

            Sean Kilbride

            Technical Marketing Manager, NVIDIA

            1 person found this helpful
            • 4. Re: Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!
              Scott Chichelli Level 3

              LOL,

              and the Quadro 5000 is vastly overpriced for the performance...

              for the price of that lowly mobile processor he could buy a desktop processor laptop (Clevo) such as sager or ADK sells

              with a 470 in it and get better video performance (5000 is based on the 460) and have vastly superior processing power

              and memory bandwidth...

               

              Scott

              ADK

              1 person found this helpful
              • 5. Re: Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!
                Pye Jirsa Level 1

                Thanks for the suggestion Sean,

                 

                However, is the Quadro 5000m overkill for what I am trying to do? I do like

                the fact that the laptop has their DreamColor display. I really just need

                the machine to be able to render real time previews of my projects, which

                really aren't overly complicated. Just a few video/audio layers with a few

                effects

                • 6. Re: Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!
                  Pye Jirsa Level 1

                  Scott, I really appreciate that info. If the 470 is enough video card, then

                  I would definitely rather save the money.

                   

                  Curious though, if the 470 is supported, would the 480 or the next

                  generation 580 cards work as well if not better? From what I read on the

                  forum by the official Adobe moderators, it seems like if the card isn't

                  listed, then it's not supported, but that doesn't seem to make sense.

                  • 7. Re: Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!
                    Scott Chichelli Level 3

                    HI Pye,

                    yes the 470 mobile is supported we sell them in a serious laptop (Clevo)

                    for adobe frequently

                    no point to the 480 on a laptop really plus it runs too hot..

                     

                    Scott

                     

                    for the record the mobile 5000 is closer to the mobile 480, but for the absurd price is definitely not worth it.

                    (if you need 10bit color then you should not be on a laptop, or use a matrox MXO.)

                    where desktop the 5000 is based on the 460 series.

                     

                    (thinking nVidia is not too fond of me as i dont push the quadro.!)

                    • 8. Re: Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!
                      RacerX2oo3 Level 1

                      Scott,

                       

                      Glad to see your updated reply as it appears you may have been initially comparing desktop products.  As you touched on in your followup, the Quadro 5000m offers 10% more GPU cuda processing cores and 25% more graphics memory than the GTX470M you were comparing it to.  Additionally the Quadro 5000M is the only mobile graphics solution which is certified as a supported graphics solution by Adobe for Premiere Pro CS5.  I know that plenty of people are comfortable with "hacking" the support in so that unsupported cards can function.  However, having officially supported hardware for professional usage is something that other regard as important particularly if having to work through support issues.  End users are free to make that decision for themselves based on how important system certification is to them. 

                       

                      Workstation class mobile platforms are not a one sized fit all solution and will be appropriate for some and less appropriate for others.  The units on the ADK website look well configured and of course we love to see that you are offering Geforce Mobile Graphics solutions in your high end offerings.  However for professional users who require an Adobe supported hardware platform or want the option of next day on-site warranty service to minimize production downtime, the HP 8740w is a very robust solution. 

                       

                      Regardless of whether or not you "push Quadro" were glad you enjoy our graphics solutions and I'm always happy to see people enjoying the benefits of NVIDIA GPUs and CUDA. 

                       

                      Sean

                      • 9. Re: Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!
                        Pye Jirsa Level 1

                        Scott,

                         

                        Thanks for the additional benchmark info, that is super helpful. I do

                        however see that the 3800 FX is also one of the supported cards, does that

                        mean that the 3800m is supported as well?

                         

                        I am curious as how the GTX 470, Quadro 3800 FX and 5000 cards stack up

                        against each other.

                         

                        I am not really doing any hardcore film or TV editing that would require

                        crazy real time edits. I simply just want a system that will be able to

                        render the preview content as I am editing my tracks without constantly

                        stuttering or pausing for preview rendering.

                         

                        Would any of these cards be sufficient?

                        • 10. Re: Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!
                          Pye Jirsa Level 1

                          Apologize, I meant to address Sean in my last reply.

                          • 11. Re: Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!
                            RacerX2oo3 Level 1

                            Pye,

                             

                            Regarding the FX 3800M, it is not currently a supported GPU offering for notebooks. The Quadro FX 3800 model for desktops IS a supported solution, but not the mobile variant. We are working closely with Adobe on GPU configurations and have steadily been adding additional GPUs with each Premiere Pro update so its our hope to see it added in the future, but at this point it is an unsupported solution.

                             

                            Performance is difficult to characterize because there are many variables that come into play. All of the GPU's you mentioned are excellent performers and on a desktop platform, all are fully supported solutions.  On a laptop platform the Quadro 5000M is the only supported solution, so if that is important to you (and it really is something to think about from a system ownership standpoint) than that will narrow your focus. Although on the desktop side I would recommend the Quadro 4000 rather than the older Quadro FX 3800.

                             

                            Additionally there are many metrics beyond just performance. The guiding principal behind the Quadro professional graphics solutions is stability. Quadro products are specifically tested and engineered to provide a positive return on ownership by providing a long life and stable performance using the top professional applications.

                             

                            Sean

                             

                            Technical Marketing  Manager

                            NVIDIA

                             

                             

                            Sean Kilbride

                            Technical Marketing Manager

                            Workstation Product Reviews

                            P:  408.486.2313

                            F:  408.486.4313

                            C:  510.673.4570

                            skilbride@nvidia.com

                            • 12. Re: Hardware for Pro Video and Photo Workstation - Need Your Advice!
                              Pye Jirsa Level 1

                              Thanks Sean, appreciate all the information, it has been very helpful.