10 Replies Latest reply on Mar 8, 2011 8:42 AM by ECBowen

    Introduction and New NLE Workstation Spec

    Pasada

      Hi folks,

       

      I'm new to the list and wanted to introduce myself. I run a web and media production firm in Toronto, Canada, and am in the process of building out a couple of custom workstations for video (PP CS5) and audio production (Cubase 6). Let me first say that this forum has been a fantastic source of solid information - what a great community.

       

      That said, I would really appreciate feedback on the following proposed build:

       

      Qty.Product DescriptionSavingsTotal Price
      1COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Gold Series RSA00-80GAD3-US 1000W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.92 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power SupplyCOOLER MASTER Silent Pro Gold Series RSA00-80GAD3-US 1000W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.92 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
      Item #: N82E16817171056
      Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
      -$30.00  Instant$229.99
      $199.99
      1COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel/ Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer CaseCOOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel/ Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
      Item #: N82E16811119225
      Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
      -$20.00  Instant
      $10.00 USD Mail-in Rebate
      $199.99
      $179.99
      1ASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel MotherboardASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
      Item #: N82E16813131665
      Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
      $209.99
      1EVGA SuperClocked 015-P3-1582-AR GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video CardEVGA SuperClocked 015-P3-1582-AR GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
      Item #: N82E16814130590
      Return Policy: VGA Replacement Only Return Policy
      $525.19
      1Intel Core i7-960 Bloomfield 3.2GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80601960Intel Core i7-960 Bloomfield 3.2GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80601960
      Item #: N82E16819115224
      Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
      -$10.00  Instant$309.99
      $299.99
      1Kingston HyperX 24GB (6 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K6/24GXKingston HyperX 24GB (6 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K6/24GX
      Item #: N82E16820104170
      Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
      $376.49
      1Rosewill RCR-IC001 40-in-1 USB 2.0 3.5Rosewill RCR-IC001 40-in-1 USB 2.0 3.5" Internal Card Reader w/ USB Port / Extra Silver Face Plate
      Item #: N82E16820223103
      Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
      $14.99
      2Western Digital Caviar Black WD2002FAEX 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5Western Digital Caviar Black WD2002FAEX 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
      Item #: N82E16822136792
      Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
      -$10.00  Instant$359.98
      $339.98
      2SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
      Item #: N82E16822152244
      Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
      $87.98
      1LITE-ON  Blu-ray Burner with 3D Playback SATA  iHBS212  LightScribe - RetailLITE-ON Blu-ray Burner with 3D Playback SATA iHBS212 LightScribe - Retail
      Item #: N82E16827106348
      Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
      $154.99
      1Noctua NH-U12P SE2 120mm SSO CPU CoolerNoctua NH-U12P SE2 120mm SSO CPU Cooler
      Item #: N82E16835608014
      Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
      $79.99

       

      Objectives:

      - Solid, stable and reasonably OC'd NLE/DAW

      - Quiet enough for audio editing but cool enough for stable OC and overall longevity

      - Facilitate transition to tapeless workflow (just loving our new JVC HM100's)

      - Approximately 3-4 year lifecycle

      - Get the damn editor off my back

       

      Build Notes:

      - CPU: With the price drop in early 2011, the i7-960 seems to have taken the price/performance sweet spot away from the 950.

      - Mobo: The Sabertooth X58 seems to be a rugged and proven performer for what I hope will be a couple of long service workhorses.

      - HDD: The obvious weakness with this rig is I/O. We're building up two systems and I need to keep the cost to around $3k each, which doesn't leave enough in the budget for an Areca controller. The plan is to start with the two Samsung SATAII drives in a RAID1 array for OS and apps. One of the WD SATA3 drives will be dedicated to page/scratch, and the other to project/media. The RAID1 array will provide failover protection for the OS volume and the two 6Gb/s drives should provide sufficient speed for AVCHD editing if they aren't allowed to fill. I'm very open to advice on alternative configurations.

      - The HAF X seems to be a front runner and would likely provide reasonable shelter in an earthquake. (Couldn't bring myself to go for the nVidia edition: that green trim is just too damned ugly for our designer. Is there really any significant advantage to going with this edition or is it just a marketing play?)

      - The PS and CPU cooler seem to be proven performers, but I'm open to other suggestions. It's very difficult to find objective comparisons with the number and variety of options on the market.

       

      Future Growth:

      - Areca controller and more 2TB SATA3 WD Caviar Black HDDs to build out a RAID 10 array (a la Harm)

      - Dedicated UPS for each system (recommendations welcome)

      - Project backup over iSCSI to 10TB+ RAID5 NAS (again, recommendations welcome)

       

      Thanks, again, to everyone who provides such fantastic advice and analysis in this forum. I really appreciate any feedback and promise to share my observations once these systems are built, tested and burned in.

       

      Cheers,

      Greg

      Pasada Media

        • 1. Re: Introduction and New NLE Workstation Spec
          Crist OC/PC Level 2

          good job. only 1 thing,

          if you can buy a i7970 DO IT. better that the 960.

          other wise buy a i7950 and O.C. TO 4ghz. very easy on air.

           

          If you need extra info just let me know.

           

          b.r.

          Cristobal.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Introduction and New NLE Workstation Spec
            Harm Millaard Level 7

            Greg,

             

            Solid choice of components. And good plans for the future. Notice however that I use a raid30, not a raid10.

             

            For the NAS, two good choices IMO are QNAP and Thecus. Personally I use the Thecus N7700 with 7 x 1.5 TB disks.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Introduction and New NLE Workstation Spec
              Pasada Level 1

              Thank you both for the feedback. As a result, I've upgraded the proc to the i7-970. I've also added a CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD UPS to the mix. The overall cost will be a little under $3k (Canadian dollars, before tax).

               

              Cheers,

              Greg

              Pasada Media

              • 4. Re: Introduction and New NLE Workstation Spec
                Scott Chichelli Level 3

                asking for trouble with the raid 1 on an onboard controller. better to have an external image made of your OS once a week anyway.

                 

                get 4 drives and create 2 x 2 drive raid 0 (onboard is fine) for AVCHD.

                you only have to buy 1 more drive to do this as you would be dropping the silly raid 1..

                 

                Scott

                ADK

                • 5. Re: Introduction and New NLE Workstation Spec
                  ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                  That UPS is 1500VA/900 Watts which is not enough since you have a 1000W PSU in the configuration. Remember the system including the PSU draws full power when it's initializing. You need a UPS that has a Watts rating that matches or exceeds the total watts of everything plugged into it. If you just plug in the system and no monitor, that means you need bare minimum a 1000W UPS. You likely want to look for a 1200W like from Ultra for ideal with that setup.

                   

                  Eric

                  ADK

                  • 6. Re: Introduction and New NLE Workstation Spec
                    Pasada Level 1

                    Thanks for the advice, Scott. Could you elaborate a little on why runing a RAID1 array for the system volume can cause problems with this configuration? Is the issue unique to onboard controllers or would this be a bad idea with any controller (e.g. Areca)?

                     

                    It is standard in the IT industry to run a server's system volume on a RAID1 array, so I would hardly label the idea as "silly". Perhaps, however, enterprise best practices don't apply well to this type of build, so I'm very interested in your perspective on this.

                    • 7. Re: Introduction and New NLE Workstation Spec
                      Pasada Level 1

                      Great point, Eric. As a result, I'll pull the UPS for now. We're talking about implementing an isolated circut to provide grid-based UPS coverage. I've done this many times in datacenter builds (I'm an IT manager in my other career), but I'm curious if anyone here has done this in their production shops? Just as in the datacenter, you can realize serious cost savings by consolidating a number of devices into one power managed grid on a single large UPS/PDU instead of purchasing smaller UPS's for each workstation.

                      • 8. Re: Introduction and New NLE Workstation Spec
                        Scott Chichelli Level 3

                        HI,

                        in the "IT" world raid 5 would be the wise standard for an OS or make images weekly or nightly.

                        since you are not using the onboard for this the majority of the issues with raid 1 would not exist.

                         

                        the only redundancy i trust is 3,5,6

                        not 1 or 10

                         

                        Scott

                        • 9. Re: Introduction and New NLE Workstation Spec
                          Pasada Level 1

                          Appreciate the feedback, Scott, but I'm quite certain that RAID 5 is not the IT standard for system volume redundancy. Since RAID5 requires at least three drives, it is typically used for data volumes. In my experience, RAID1 is most commonly used in servers for system volume redundancy and failover protection. (I've been designing enterprise datacenter infrastructure for over 16 years, so I'm pretty confident on this one.)

                           

                          What is it about RAID 1 that you do not trust? I'm not advocating one way or the other, but the assertion that RAID 1 can't be trusted conflicts with my experience, so I'm interested in learning why.

                           

                          Cheers,

                          Greg

                          • 10. Re: Introduction and New NLE Workstation Spec
                            ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                            Scott likely meant raid 5 for Data drive unless that also includes your OS for that server. Enterprise IT use raid 1 for servers with controllers that allow hotswaping obviously because they need 24/7 up time and the OS Drive is not written to nearly as much as data drives. Mirrored arrays are ideal for that but most onboard controllers don't truly support hotswap unless they also are the E-sata or SAS controller such as on Xeons. Using a raid 1 on a editing system that does not require 24/7 uptime really wastes an onboard port that can be used for other drives. However raid 1 does read faster so you do gain that benefit. Raid 1 on the board has been sketchy with false degrading on some boards so you do have to watch that. Imaging is normally easier and gives you more data security from corruption over time or bad installs but obviously downtime is a hour or 2 instead of minutes so that is a personal preference.

                             

                            Eric

                            ADK