24 Replies Latest reply on Oct 12, 2011 12:20 AM by richardstevenhack

    New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?

    richardstevenhack

      OK, after mucho work, I've come up with what seems to be the best bang for the buck for my video conversion client who needs new systems.

       

      Here's what I selected:

       

      Antec DF-85 Black ATX Full Tower Computer Case (tons of space, USB 3.0 ports, CPU cooler cutout, 9 internal 3.5" drives, 7 fans, long video cards fit) - $156

       

      CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-1000HX 1000W Power Supply  (any chance I need more than 1000W?) - $230

       

      ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard (Note: only available board supported by BlackMagic for their DeckLink/IntensityPro video capture cards, so this is pretty much it unless I want to chance a non-supported board with equivalent specs) - $290

       

      Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601950 (I intend to overclock to some degree, probably under 4GHz) - $270

       

      Prolimatech Armageddon CPU Cooler - Intel Socket LGA 775/1156/1366 Heatsink, 140mm Fan Compatible  (Selected this one because one Web site review of the ASUS board specifically used this cooler which fit nicely without covering up the 6 RAM slots; also this one gets good reviews everywhere) - $65

       

      XIGMATEK eXTREME SILENT Series XSF-F1452 140mm Case Fan x 2  (for the above cooler to improve cooling) - $20

       

      G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 24GB (6 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9T2-24GBRL - $285

       

      Palit NE5X56T01142-1041F GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card  (lots of DDR5 RAM, 384 cores, 256-bit memory path, well reviewed) - $280

       

      SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (for OS and programs) - $43

       

      SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive x 4 (for RAID 0) - $260

       

      SONY Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 8X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 8MB Cache SATA Internal Blu-ray Burner Blu-ray Burner BD-5300S-0B - OEM - $110

       

      Link Depot 39.37" SATA II Cable with Locking Latch Model LD-SATA-1 $4 X 5 Drives + DVD Burner - $24

       

      Total Cost:  $2033.00

       

      With Windows 7 Professional OEM and an Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 upgrade, that adds another $434 making a total of $2,467. I think the client can handle that. He will also probably get a Matrox MX02 Mini or a BlackMagic DeckLink/IntensityPro card to handle video capture. I'm leaving that decision up to his tech. If he needs to go to a full CS5 Production Suite, then he needs to tack on another $500-600 over the Premiere Pro upgrade price which will bring him up to $3,000 for the whole system.

       

      He needs to replace three machines in the video department, but my guess is we'll start with one, maybe two, and the productivity improvement over the crap he's using now may mean he doesn't need a third one. Considering he's upgrading from six-year-old+ Pentium 4 machines with 2GB RAM, no RAID, Adobe Premiere 1.5, these new systems should come as a shock. Hopefully the price for the upgrade won't be as big a shock.

       

      I welcome any comments on the system laid out above, positive or negative.

       

      I know I could improve this slightly with say, 10,000 RPM Velociraptors for the OS drive, and stuff like that, but I've tried to keep this pretty vanilla to hold the cost down.

       

      Let me know what you guys think.

        • 1. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
          RjL190365 Level 4

          The only significant sticking point of that build is the Corsair HX1000 PSU: It is an older design that isn't of as high of a quality as some newer designs, such as Corsair's own AX1200 as well as Antec's High Current Pro HCP-1200. What's worse, the HX1000 is overpriced for such an older-design PSU. You see, the HX1000 is based on a Channel Well Tech PUC platform, which at nearly three years old dates from the very early years of the "quality" 1000W PSUs. It would have been a great PSU if this year were 2008. But alas, newer and higher-quality designs on either side of the 1000W power point have since been introduced and arrived on the market.

           

          Though for the record you don't really need anywhere close to 1000W for that particular build. You can easily get by with a good-quality 750W to 850W PSU, such as Corsair's new TX750 v2, for that combination.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
            richardstevenhack Level 1

            If I was inclined to drop from 1000w down to 850W, would this be a good buy?

             

            CORSAIR Professional Series AX850 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

            http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139015

             

            Or how about this one, which is considerably cheaper?

             

            CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 V2 850W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92  80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply

            http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139022

             

            I wouldn't mind knocking off a few dollars on the power supply as long as I'm fairly sure I won't exceed the machine's needs. The Thermaltake power calculator I ran suggested over 660 watts, so I could get by with a 750, but I'd like some additional space just to be sure, so I think at least an 850 would suit.

            • 3. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
              Powered by Design Level 4

              Just incase you didn't know Premiere CS5.5 is almost here.

               

              I would get RAM with DDR3 1600 instead of the 1333's since you plan on overclocking some.

               

              I always like the bigger power supplies so newer Corsair AX1200 would be my choice.  Plenty of room for allot of hard drives.

               

              GLenn

              • 4. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                JEShort01 Level 4

                Regarding the power supply, 850 watts is fine, and I'd vote for the AX model - excellent power supply, great reviews, great modular cables, and quiet (my AX1200 is anyway).

                 

                Regarding the i7-950, I think your client would be much better served off with the i7-970; 32nm = quiet / fast, 6 cores vs. 4 cores = much faster. It soulds like they are in a production enviroment where quiet and fast are probably both appreciated.

                 

                Regarding the Ripjaws, definitely upgrade to the 1600 CAS9 sticks, especially since you plan on doing at least a bit of overclocking.

                 

                Jim

                • 5. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                  RjL190365 Level 4

                  Actually, for BCLK-based overclocking for the LGA 1366/X58 platform, you want to keep the RAM speed multipliers as low as possible (no higher than 2:8, or 8x). High RAM multipliers can make the system unstable at even moderate overclocks because the memory controller would have been thrown way out of spec. As a result, I would not recommend RAM any faster than DDR3-1600 for an overclocked i7-9xx system unless you can somehow get the system to run stably at BCLK speeds much higher than 200MHz (the stock BCLK speed for this platform is only 133MHz) - and that would almost certainly require a much-lower-than-stock CPU multiplier.

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                    richardstevenhack Level 1

                    "Almost here" isn't here. My client needs to buy now. We can always upgrade the software.

                     

                    As for 1600 speed RAM, I considered it, but the motherboard specs say no more than one 1600 DIMM per set of three slots which won't give me 24GB which is more important than the difference in speed if I'm not mistaken.. So I went for the lower speed chips.

                     

                    I considered 1200W for the power supply, but it's not too likely that we'll be going to a parity RAID system any time soon, just RAID 0. So I decided on 1000W, but if I can save some of the client's money on 850W, I'll do that.

                     

                    As for the 970, that's too much money. The client is in a production environment but they're mostly just converting consumer video from cameras and tapes to hard drives and DVDs. I think the 950 is the best bang for the buck for that. They can always use more productivity, but there are budget constraints and for now I think the 950 is adequate. The 970 would be double the cost at $600. I doubt the productivity improvement would justify it.

                    • 7. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                      JEShort01 Level 4

                      Actually I would contend that the i7-970 as a high bang-for-the-buck solution for your client, and that's coming from me, a i7-950 user!

                       

                      You say main purpose is converting and DVDs. PPBM5 scores can be a little to interpret sometimes with all of the variables involved, but 6 cores and cooler 32nm technology would serve their main tasks very well.

                       

                      Add the i7-970 for $300 more - net cost increase over your target total PC cost (approx. $2700 system total) could be considered a 10% increase for the whole system and it would probably render DVDs on the order of 25% faster -- and that can be many minutes a week as this step can often seem pretty slow.

                       

                      As you seem very price conscious now, certainly dump the GTX 560 for a 1MB GTX 460 for a savings of over $100.

                       

                      Jim

                      • 8. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                        richardstevenhack Level 1

                        Well, if I can cut some cost off somewhere else, like the power supply, I may consider upping the CPU cost. However, one thing I forgot to list was the backup hard drive, which is a Buffalo DriveStation 4TB, which adds another $300 to the cost.  So we're getting up to $3,000 now. And the client has to buy a couple of these things soon which might impact his cash flow. The current cost of $2,800 or so doesn't seem to have phased him much, so maybe I'll check. I might go for the cheaper power supply and try to offset something else so that the extra $300 doesn't seem so much.

                         

                        I definitely wouldn't mind having the faster CPU as I know that has a significant impact on the overall speed of the system. And really, since this client is likely to keep this system for five years, the amortization of another $300 is insignificant. It's cash flow I need to watch.

                         

                        One question I'd like answered: if the motherboard specs say 1600 DIMMS can only be used one per set of 3, can I ignore that if I'm going to overclock or will that tend to affect stability? The manual says: "Due to Intel spec definition, X.M.P. DIMMS and DDR3-1600 are supported for one DIMM per channel only."  And the only 4GB DIMMS they list in the Qualified Memory Vendor list are for 1333 from Kingston and Samsung. Although G.Skill says their 1600 six-channel kit works with the board.

                         

                        I've also read that running a full 24GB on X58 boards can be problematic in any event, especially if overclocked, so I'd like to avoid problems if possible by sticking to recommended memory speeds.  I've also read that the difference between 1333 and 1600 is maybe a few percent gain in performance in the real world.

                         

                        So I'd like to know whether it's worth the risk of stability problems or a lot of work figuring out the memory settings vs the performance gain for going from 1333 to 1600.

                        • 9. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                          JEShort01 Level 4

                          Based on G Skill's support of the 1600 speed for your MB, definitely go with the 1600.

                           

                          Faster RAM can be slowed down (at least to a point, and particularly running a full 6 chip complement), slower RAM cannot be speeded up, and when overclocking the 1600 should give you a lot more flexibility. So, considering you mayh have to make bios adjustments I'd say the 1600 option would actually be "more stable" in an overall sense of building out the completed, working system. And, it should not matter whether or not you go with 950 or 970 cpu.

                           

                          BTW, 8GBRL G Skill is exactly what I am running with a BCLK over 200 (24GB, 1600MHz, Gigabyte GA-X58a-UD7 rev. 2). Also, FYI, I did not order the 6x4GB set; I saved $ with 3 2x4GB kits and the RAM has been great.

                           

                          Jim

                          • 10. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                            richardstevenhack Level 1

                            On the other hand, I just found this Tom's Hardware memory benchmark article which shows the difference between various RAM speeds and timings while doing video editing with Adobe Premiere CS4. The differences are minimal at best maybe 2-3 percent.

                             

                            http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/memory-scaling-i7,2325-10.html

                             

                            It's not clear to me that the difference is worth either the difference in cost or more importantly how much work it might take to get a stable system.

                             

                            In the last half hour I've looked up a LOT of Web postings about the ASUS P6X58D Premium and 1600 memory. It's all over the place as to whether the issues people have had are with the RAM, the CPU memory controller, or their memory settings. I don't want to go through a couple weeks of RMAing memory back and forth to get it right. I need to have this machine up within the next 6 weeks and the client isn't going to be able to order for another two weeks.

                             

                            For one thing, if I decide to go with the 970, I'll have less need to overclock. I was not intending to overclock the 950 that high anyway, and if I go to the 970, I can overclock even less. So whether the RAM can be speeded up may not matter as much.

                             

                            I definitely won't buy multiple sets like you did, I've heard too many warnings about that not being guaranteed by the vendors.

                             

                            I also just found this Adobe Hardware Forum post which addresses this issue:

                             

                            http://forums.adobe.com/thread/695662?tstart=60

                             

                            I quote Mr. Bowen:

                             

                            Quote

                             

                            When  the I7 platform released, Intel's official supported specs were really  low. They only officially supported DDR3 1333 and that was with 3 sticks  of ram only. If you had 6 sticks then the supported clock speed of the  ram was 1066. Intel also only supported a QPI of 4.8 on most cpu's  accept for the top 1 or 2 which had a QPI support of 6.4. The  Motherboard manufacturers decided to go well beyond those specs because  they were way to conservative and to push their products. The  manufacturers like ASUS supported DDR3 1600 or even DDR2000 but only in 3  stick configurations. If you had any problems with 6 stick  configurations at DDR3 1600 or higher, they would respond they only  supported specs greater than Intel's with 3 stick configurations( I was  surprised they hid behind that back then when I talked to the engineers  of one of the companies). This does not mean that it will not work. It  just means you wont get support from the motherboard manufacturer if you  have problems. It really was a joke. So much so one of the companies I  can't name here changed their website to reflect that just because I  brought the subject up and told them this policy was no where on their  website at all when we tested their board.

                             

                            So  what does this all mean. The QVL is the Qualified Vendor List. This is  the hardware officially tested by the motherboard manufacturer's R&D  or tech support. This hardware is approved to work without issues and  will be fully supported by their tech support. The caveat is though only  in the officially supported configuration. Normally as long as you buy  ram off the QVL list, you can run those in 6 stick configurations and  you likely wont have problems as long as you set the bios up right. If  you buy ram that is not listed on the QVL now days with DDR3 then it's a  gamble on whether it will work or not without issues unless you have  some company like us that tests all of this and works with the Ram  company's engineering to fix any problems. So the best advice here for  DYI is stick to the QVL but remember you are not locked into the  official supported config. That is way to conservative. I hope that  helps.

                             

                            End Quote

                             

                            It's that "as long as you set the bios right" bit that concerns me. I don't want to spend two days tweaking the RAM settings as well as the CPU overclock considering the performance gain is likely to be less than 5%.

                             

                            Further comments on this?

                            • 11. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                              JEShort01 Level 4

                              It does not sound like you have overclocked before with a locked CPU (neither 950 or 970 have unlocked multipliers; 980x 990x 2500k 2600k do). You cannot just pick a base clock and then a RAM multiplier to fit, so I would contend that the faster 1600 RAM (which can certainly run at 1333) will give you more flexibility and less hassles.

                               

                              For example, on my system my 1600 RAM is running at 1624 MHz (203 Base clock multiplied by a 8x memory multiplier). If I had 1333 RAM, the next lower memory multiplier is 6x, which would put my RAM at 1218 MHz. I can't say how bad that would really be, but it sure does not sound very impressive!

                               

                              Jim

                              • 12. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                richardstevenhack Level 1

                                I'm not an experienced overclocker at all, which is precisely why I'm concerned to be adding variables to the situation such as questionably supported RAM speeds on this specific motherboard. What you're doing on a Gigabyte board is not necessarily relevant to the Asus board I've selected despite both being X58 boards.

                                 

                                Since I'm not experienced at overclocking, the suggestion that 1600 would be more flexible than 1333 doesn't help much. I need to know if that offsets the cost, the limited performance improvement (your difference of 1218 vs 1624 equals what sort of actual performance gain in the real world?), and the amount of effort to get the right performance with stability.

                                 

                                I know a lot of people are using this specific board with 1600 speed DIMMs with no problems. I also know a lot of people have had issues doing so. It just makes me nervous to be doing something the motherboard manufacturer specifically does not support, even taking into account Mr. Bowen's remarks that they are just being conservative. As far as I can tell, few people have problems with 1333 (other than some still seem to have issues with the amount of memory being detected on boot which appears to be a problem with the confluence of RAM, MB, and CPU memory controller which varies by CPU).

                                 

                                In the end, I'll see what the overall costs are and either go with the 1333 and live with the slower speed (possibly offset by a 970) or spring for the 1600 and hope I don't end up wasting money running it at 1333. Not much else I can do based on the info I have.  It's just apparently one of those gray areas where the industry really doesn't know what it's doing in terms of reliability.

                                • 13. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                  ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                                  The industry knows what it's doing with the Ram. The actual problem has to do with the ram manufacturer's trying to keep their price down when they go bid for IC's. This often forces them to take IC's that are not nearly as good or compatible as say Samsung modules. They then have to deal with timing profiles that are far outside of JDEC spec for the enthusiast market since that market is what drives the system manufacturing market overall. The QVL is the easiest way to overcome these factors that you cannot possibly know. However keep in mind that the systemboard manufacturers often don't test the sticks in configurations of 6 or even 3 sometimes. They often test with just 1 stick so the reliability of the QVL is still questionable. Needless to say if you want 1600 and you want the most likely reliability without getting to in depth, then look for Samsung modules at 1600 that are CL 8 for 2GB or CL9 for 4GB. Those most likely will work on almost any board provided the manufacturer tattoo'ed the profiles correctly on the sticks.

                                   

                                  Eric

                                  ADK

                                  • 14. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                    richardstevenhack Level 1

                                    Thanks for that response, Mr. Bowen.

                                     

                                    Yes, I've read that even with a 6 4GB "kit", you don't always get sticks that really work together. A lot of the posts I've read yesterday and today about the memory detection problem end up with people swapping sticks around between the slots for hours and adjusting timings until they get something that works. I don't need that hassle.

                                     

                                    Also, I keep reading that overclocking 24GB is harder to get right than  12GB, which makes sense since there are three more sticks to worry about  being right.

                                     

                                    I also note that the difference in price between the G.Skill 1333 I'm looking at and the 1600 DIMMS is $20 or so and the Kingston's are $40 higher (all from Newegg). Add the extra cost for what everyone says is a very minimal real world perfomance difference (shaving four minutes off a four hour video render) as well as installation hassles, and I think I'll stick with the 1333.

                                    • 15. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                      JEShort01 Level 4

                                      You seem to be decided on the 1333 RAM already, but I thought I'd post a simple result that probably further validates your decision:

                                       

                                      richardstevenhack wrote:

                                       

                                      ...I need to know if that offsets the cost, the limited performance improvement (your difference of 1218 vs 1624 equals what sort of actual performance gain in the real world?)

                                       

                                      You got me curious, so I just benchmarked DVD MPEG2 creation changing only RAM speed (1218 vs. 1624) on my system. While the 1218 speed doesn't sound very impressive, and the upgrade to 1600 is only $35 (per today's Newegg pricing), the slower speed sure does seem to work just fine. Similar to the test results your were quoting regarding RAM speed and rendering, the faster RAM only speeded things up about 2 or 3%, a difference that seems pretty insignificant.

                                       

                                      Jim

                                      • 16. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                        RjL190365 Level 4

                                        Jim,

                                         

                                        The slower RAM might not have impacted the MPEG-2 DVD encoding speed much, but it would have likely affected the AVI disk I/O performance.

                                        • 17. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                          richardstevenhack Level 1

                                          Well, that's about what I've read. And as for the AVI disk I/O, well, how much difference does that really make percentagewise? I bet not that much given RAID 0 and 24GB of RAM in the first place.

                                           

                                          For what it's worth, I think I'll go with the cheaper 850W power supply (the real cheap one - $135) and save $100, and maybe go for the cheaper video card and save another $100, then get the client to sign off on going to a 970 for an additional $100. Going four core to six core trumps all the other stuff.

                                           

                                          The way I see it, CPU beats video card beats memory in that order, so this way I should get the biggest bang for the same money + $100. Not a bad deal.

                                           

                                          We can always upgrade any of this stuff later if we really have to.  But I'm betting the productivity improvement over what the client has now is going to be huge enough that he might not need to upgrade all the machines he was planning to. And that will save him $3,000+ at least.

                                           

                                          The rule is always buy the biggest CPU, most RAM, and largest HD you can afford - but the constraint is always "what you can afford". I asked the client what his maximum budget was, but he never gave me a solid figure. But based on past experience with this client, I figure holding it down is safest. He doesn't mind buying what he has to, but he needs to be pushed into a corner before he does. This way at least he gets a huge improvement for not too much money. I think what I spec'd will work out fine.

                                          • 18. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                            RjL190365 Level 4

                                            More CPU isn't always better. A balanced system often performs much better than a system that's overly CPU-heavy. In fact, I prefer a system with an i7-950, 24GB of RAM and a GTX 560 Ti than a system with an i7-990X, 12GB of RAM and only a GT 430 card.

                                            • 19. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                              richardstevenhack Level 1

                                              You have PPM5 results to support that?

                                               

                                              I really can't believe that a machine can be "CPU top heavy" - if the RAM and video card (and disk) can't handle the load, the CPU is hardly going to be throttling the system, by definition.  What is a faster CPU going to be doing to interfere with the RAM and video such that It "unbalances" the overall system? It doesn't make any sense to me.

                                              • 20. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                                RjL190365 Level 4

                                                I have seen quite a few results in PPBM5 where the CPU has been held back by slow disk I/O or a slow video card. A very poor performance result in even one of those tests throws that entire system out of balance.

                                                • 21. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                                  richardstevenhack Level 1

                                                  But that isn't what you said - you said the system was "out of balance" because the *CPU* was too powerful - not that the disk or video card was slow. That's not the same thing. There is no such thing as an "unbalanced" system - what there is is a system which is slowed by its slowest component - either  CPU, disk, video or RAM. There is no "balance" involved, only a "weakest link". A 970 CPU with slow video, disk or RAM is not the problem - the problem is the slow component.

                                                   

                                                  What I said was that a fast CPU trumps a video card which trumps RAM in the case of video editing. That has nothing to do with "balance" if the rest of the system is capable of supporting that CPU. In the same way, with an adequate CPU, a faster video card trumps a few percentage points in faster RAM. And all else being fast, faster RAM helps - within limits, very narrow limits as has been established by benchmarks vs cost.

                                                   

                                                  My spec is RAID 0 on 7200 RPM Samsung drives and 24GB of RAM. How is  that "slow"? It's precisely what I spent a week researching what  everyone else is using! I was specifically advised to use a 970 instead  of a 950. Now you tell me that a 970 "unbalances" the system?

                                                   

                                                  Thanks for your comment, but I'm going to dismiss that completely.

                                                  • 22. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                                    RjL190365 Level 4

                                                    You just made it sound like a system with a fast CPU but a glacially slow graphics card always trounces a system with a slightly slower CPU but a fast graphics card. On that basis, I will have to completely dismiss your claim until you can prove otherwise.

                                                     

                                                    And maybe I used the wrong choice of words in my previous post(s). What I'm trying to say is that an ultra-fast CPU is of little to no performance benefit if the rest of the system's components are relatively slow. And in many of these fast systems, the disk I/O subsystem is the weakest point. On some of the slower-performing systems with fast expensive CPUs, the graphics card is the weakest point. And if someone sees little to no increase in performance with an i7-970 over an i7-950 or even an i7-920, there is a bottleneck somewhere in that system. And that is the basis for my (inappropriate) use of the term "unbalanced".

                                                    • 23. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                                      richardstevenhack Level 1

                                                      RjL190365 wrote:

                                                       

                                                      You just made it sound like a system with a fast CPU but a glacially slow graphics card always trounces a system with a slightly slower CPU but a fast graphics card.


                                                      And maybe I used the wrong choice of words in my previous post(s). What I'm trying to say is that an ultra-fast CPU is of little to no performance benefit if the rest of the system's components are relatively slow.

                                                       

                                                      Yes, I think we were talking "past" each other. When I said "trumps" in my post, I meant that *all other things considered* one will get a better performance increase out of a system with a faster CPU than just upgrading the video card and even less from upgrading the RAM. So if I have to choose between them financially, I'd rather spend the money on a faster CPU than a faster video card and even less so on faster RAM.

                                                       

                                                      And yes, it follows that if you have a fast CPU with really slow other components, the extra CPU speed won't necessarily be utilitized efficiently.

                                                       

                                                      Where the crossover point is has to be determined, though, and I suspect that varies enormously with the specific components.

                                                       

                                                      I think the specs I have - i7 970 (if I can get the client to go with another $200) with 24GB RAM, RAID 0 on 7200rpm Samsung drives, GTX 560 video, and 1333 RAM is not going to be held back too bad by anything.  I'm sure it can be improved but for the money it's decent.

                                                       

                                                      Thanks for your comments.

                                                      • 24. Re: New NLE Build Specs I've Selected for My Client - Comments?
                                                        richardstevenhack Level 1

                                                        While browsing the forum for other reasons, I decided to drop in here and report the client's results with the machines I delivered to them.

                                                         

                                                        After delivering the boxes and putting them into production, I came in a few days later and the video tech nearly shouted at me: 'I just did a six-hour compression in TWENTY MINUTES! WHERE WERE THESE MACHINES TWOYEARS AGO!"  :-)  Of course, I told him his boss didn't want to pay for them two years ago (not to mention they probably didn't exist at that price point...)  :-)

                                                         

                                                        I had tried to overclock these boxes to around 4GHz but was unable to get a stable overclock, so I abandoned the effort. I think it was because of the amount of RAM (24GB) on the motherboard selected that a stable overclock wasn't feasible. The memory I used was not terribly stable. One of the three boxes had to have the RAM RMA'd because it wouldn't boot with it. The replacement RAM worked OK.  That's a thirty percent failure rate... Of course, I'm not much into overclocking, but the two guides I followed were fairly straightforward. But it just didn't work.

                                                         

                                                        After putting the boxes into production, Windows 7 managed to hose its boot database...twice within a couple weeks. 7's "automatic repair" function didn't work at all. It would show me the OS on the drive and then tell me it couldn't find it... Great... Plus Microsoft has made it impossible to get to a command line from that utility IF the utility can't find the OS! Another brilliant move... You have to boot from an external OS - and then you can't access the 7 boot database unless you have a WIndows 7 boot CD with a .NET plugin to allow a boot utility to be run to rebuild the boot database. Truly pathetic...It was easier just to reinstall the OS...twice.

                                                         

                                                        Since then the machines have been fine, except one of the RAID 0 drives died a couple weeks ago which took out one of the two RAID 0 volumes. I should be installing the new drive this week. Not too surprising to have a drive fail in the first 3-4 months out of five drives per machine times 3 machines = 1 out of 15.

                                                         

                                                        All in all, we did well on these machines. Now I'm looking into a couple new machines for the client's stills imaging side of the business using Photoshop and ACDSee. This time we'll be going for i7 2600 CPUs on P67 mobos with probably 16GB of RAM (maybe only 8GB with expansion later if needed) - something we can build for $1K or so so as not to give the client another heart attack. :-)

                                                         

                                                        Thanks for everyone's help here in this thread!