24 Replies Latest reply on Jul 20, 2011 6:43 AM by Scott Chichelli

    May I ask your opinion on this system?

    BenFreedman Level 1



      I'm looking to build a new system for a power-user, but under $3K. Here's where I'm at so far, not including display, keyboard, etc...


      May I ask your opinion on these components? Thanks!







      CoolerMaster HAF X RC Case

      ASUS Rampage III Formula MB

      Intel i7 960 CPU

      Thermaltake ToughPower Grand 850W PS

      Corsair CWCH50-1 CPU Cooler

      Kingston 4GB DDR3 1333 RAM X6 (24GB)

      PNY GTX580 Video Card 1536MB

      Intel 510 120GB SSD Main Drive

      2 X WD Caviar Black 2TB RAID 0 (software RAID)


      Total cost on this so far is around $2500...


      Thanks for your suggestions..






        • 1. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
          Jim_Simon Level 9

          If it were me, the two things I'd change are the hard drives.  I'd probably choose Samsung F3s and would definitely not use RAID 0.  (I just don't like them, especially in these days of solid state media which has no tape backup sitting on a shelf for recapture in the event a media drive fails, the likelihood of which goes up when using a RAID 0.)


          I'm also still not convinced the benefits of an SSD System drive are worth the cost.  Better to get a regular drive and use that saved money for an Areca controller and a couple more Samsung F3's so you can set up a RAID 3 and add Project and Export drives to the config.


          System: 320 GB or so.

          Project: Samsung F3 1TB

          Media: Sansung F3 1TB x 3 (RAID 3)

          Exports: Samsung F3 1TB

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
            BenFreedman Level 1

            Thanks for the info. Great food for thought... Other than the drives, are there any other deficiencies that you notice?






            • 3. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
              Harm Millaard Level 7

              IMHO some conponents are overdone while others are just not good enough, but that is going by your description of a power user and my interpretation of what that entails.


              The 960, while a decent CPU, is not directly suited for a power user. The 970 hexa core would be a much better choice, albeit at a higher price. The watercooling is overdone and difficult to get installed and  vacuumed properly and is only useful if you go for extreme overclocking. A CoolerMaster, Noctua or Prolimatech perform equally good for clock speeds up to 4.4 GHz.


              The disk setup is the weak point. Not enough of them, as Jim mentioned. Additionally, the 580 may be overkill. You will be hard pressed to notice a difference in performance between the 560 Ti/570 and 580, only in price.


              Have a look here:

              Adobe Forums: System requirements for CS5

              PPBM5 Benchmark

              and the results http://ppbm5.com/DB-PPBM5-2.php


              Notice that all the top performers have at least 4 and up to 20 disks and mostly dedicated raid controllers.


              A powerhouse system is JES4 in rank #2 in time but by far with the best relative performance index.


              You mention software raid0. I hope you don't mean a Windows software raid. Better use the on-board raid controller.

              • 4. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                BenFreedman Level 1

                Great food for thought, thanks...


                I'll certainly take your comments to heart, and perhaps re-evaluate.






                • 5. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                  Shortend Level 1

                  Hi, I'm curious about why you suggest Samsung F3's. Those I found online are 7200rpm 3GB/s whereas WD blacks are available at 7200rpm 6GB/s.

                  Isn't it better to have 6GB/s or am I missing something?


                  • 6. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                    RjL190365 Level 4

                    You're missing something:


                    The maximum sequential (sustained) transfer speed of any mechanically spinning hard drive will never come anywhere close to the maximum practical sustainable speed of even a SATA 3.0 Gbps interface, let alone a SATA 6.0 Gbps interface. In fact, the maximum physical transfer speed of such drives is the limiting factor. In my testing both the Samsung F3 and the WD Black failed to reach even 150 MB/s (1.5 Gbps) in physical transfer speed. And the Samsung actually has a faster average sequential transfer speed than the 1TB Black (115 MB/s versus only 103 MB/s) despite the latter's SATA 6.0 Gbps interface.


                    The 2TB WD Black is faster, but its average sequential transfer speed is only about equal to that of the 1TB Samsung F3.


                    Message was edited by: RjL190365

                    • 7. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                      JEShort01 Level 4




                      - small closed system water coolers (i.e. Corsair etc.) are not really that effective compared with the better air cooling

                      - for your $3000 budget, you can get true RAID (speed and redundancy)

                      - GTX 480 Lightning is a great design; much quieter and cooler than the reference GTX 480 cards, and for $330 saves a lot of cash vs. the GTX 580


                      The following system set up properly would be very fast and comes in $10 under your $3000 budget (Newegg pricing includes $20 rebates on case and power supply; OS and CS5 were not included):


                      Cooler Master HAF 932
                      Corsair AX850
                      MSI N480GTX Lightning GTX 480
                      Asus Rampage III Formula X58 motherboard
                      i7-970 (6-core, 32nm technology)
                      24GB G Skill Ripjaws 3 kits of 2x4GB 1600 GBRL RAM
                      Noctua NH-D14 w/ 120mm & 140mm fans
                      Areca ARC-1880i 8 channel RAID 512MB cache
                      Boot - 1TB 7200 rpm Hitachi 7k1000.c
                      RAID5 (projects, etc) 5 x 1TB 7200 rpm Hitachi 7k1000.c
                      RAID0 (media cache and output) 2 x 1TB 7200 rpm Hitachi 7k1000.c
                      LG Blu-ray burner


                      Set up properly, this system should be able to bench a top 10 rank for PPBM5 for CS5. Why do I say so? I built JES4 and this build list reflects what I would have done on a tighter budget and knowing what I know now with one exception - I would have chosen a Gigabyte board, but saw you chose an excellent Asus model so I did not change it.


                      Other alternatives:

                      - drives: many here like the older gen. Samsungs, I just have not tried any

                      - power supply: also many other good choices I'm sure; again, I used the AX1200 on my latest build and just love it

                      - case: I'd prefer your original choice HAF-X, but had to chop it back to the 932 to stay on budget

                      - video: GTX 470's are making lots of users happy and could be another good choice if you don't like my pick with the MSI Lightning





                      • 8. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                        Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                        Jim, I wonder why you do not like the newer GTX 500 series which generally have more cores and use less power than the GTX 400 series?

                        • 9. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                          BenFreedman Level 1

                          Awesome answer, Jim...


                          May I ask you a few specifics:


                          1) I use an SSD on my Mac, and it's HUGELY faster than before with a standard boot drive. Do you think it's worth it for a new system to go SSD to maximize boot times and app loading?


                          2) How much space do you get out of a RAID-5 with 5X1TB?


                          3) Budget aside, is the GTX580 faster than the 480?


                          4) Finally, is the hardware RAID really necessary? Is the performance really that much better than, say, a RAID 10 with the MB Raid controller?


                          Thanks again for an awesome answer..







                          • 10. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                            JEShort01 Level 4



                            You are very welcome!




                            1) Yes, I use them too and like them very much, but they must be considered a luxury for a CS5 PC as they really don't help it too much. Other SSD/cost cutting option comments:

                            - If you really stick with the $3k budget, and must get the Intel 510 120GB (a very nice choice), you could scale back to a 4 channel RAID (lower cost, slower card, 1 less drive)

                            - You could dump the 2x1TB output RAID and loose some DVD rendering speed to free up some budget

                            - You could scale back to a GTX 460 Hawk (great card) and save hundreds


                            2) 4TB; note too that performance stays high if hard drives are less than 70% full


                            3) Marginally vs. the MSI model; as noted above, if you are not a gamer, even the GTX 460 Hawk can garner a 5 second timeline render on PPBM5.


                            4) Your $3000 budget is enough to support HW RAID and IMHO they are so much more convenient and reliable. Things missing w/ Intel ICH RAID (i.e. RAID 10) that have become very important to me include: strong SMART support to view individual drives, backup batteries are available, large caches, don't ever have funky boot and bios issues like motherboard "RAIDs", and speed. I am of the opinion that good HW cards last can way outlast PCs, and moving a RAID set on a HW controller to a different PC is trivial. Doing the same for on-board RAID is risky or even impossible.



                            • 11. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                              BenFreedman Level 1

                              Again, awesomely helpful answers... Thanks, Jim...


                              $3K is my benchmark budget, but this is a business computer, and I have some room either way... The current list I posted at the top of the email came in at aroudn $2500...


                              I think I'm going to spring for the 6-core CPU. It's double the price, but seems to be worth it.


                              Similarily, I think the GTX580 is likely worth it too, even if marginally.


                              I like the SSD so much on my MAC that I'm hard-pressed to let it go.


                              The big question then becomes on-board RAID vs. hardware RAID. I'm not too concerned about data-loss, as I plan to do nightly backups of the media drive, and I'll only have current projects on the system. 4TB is probably double what I need, but you make some good points, so I'll give it some serious thought.


                              May I ask: How important is it to have a separate drive for media cache and outputting? If it's truly necessary, perhaps that could be a Motherboard RAID 0? or can that HW RAID card support a 5-drive RAID 5 and and 2-drive RAID 0?


                              Thanks for the continued help. Let me know when I become annoying... :-)






                              • 12. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                Islanders66 Level 1

                                I'm following this set up as wel so really appreciate the knowledgable comments. I don't know if you noticed the bundle deal for the ASUS Rampage III and i7 970 that shaves $75 off buying them separate on newegg? If you scroll down to the bottom of the 970 page you will find the offer. The only difference is the Rampage III appears to be an "extneded". Does that make any difference?


                                Great info on the RAID card but may have to add it later and figure out a temporary back up strategy.

                                • 13. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                  JEShort01 Level 4

                                  Updates based on your latest feedback...


                                  6-core - do it!


                                  GTX 580 - don't do it; when my 6-core i7-970 is running 100% utilized at a 4.4GHz overclock, my GTX 480 is still loafing along; and, this DOES NOT sound like a gaming PC!


                                  SSD - do it!


                                  HW RAID - your new input changes everything; On-board RAID 0 should be fine. A very popular on-board RAID setup seems to be Boot + 2 RAID 0 arrays (two drive each, 1TB, 2TB, or 3TB drives). Check out Harm's excellent and popular thread regarding drives, Generic Guideline for Disk Setup:



                                  Regarding how extra array helps for media and output, I'm not an expert. I can say that the separate output drive speeds up renders to create DVD, Blu-ray, etc. If you don't do that at all, just putting all CS5 related files onto a single 4x1TB RAID 0 array performs well and is easy to maintain.



                                  • 14. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                    BenFreedman Level 1



                                    Read through Harm's RAID guide...


                                    Looks like one simple way to go might be:


                                    SSD - OS


                                    4 X 1TB RAID 5 Motherboard for everything else... w/daily backups to a 3TB eSATA








                                    • 15. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                      Scott Chichelli Level 3

                                      SSD pointless!


                                      2x 2 drive raid0 would be better than 4x raid 5

                                      until you get into the 8 drive or larger raid 5,6 you do NOT want to read and write from the same drive array.


                                      plus raid5 with onboard is not so hot..


                                      2 drive Raid 0 is 200MB/s each

                                      4 drive raid 5 is only 300MB/s and you are asking the drive to do double duty.. both media and export.

                                      onboard contrller rebuilds are very long with raid 5 if you have an ext back up plan than raid5,6 is not needed.


                                      lastly the 960/970 is much slower than the sandy bridge 2600





                                      • 16. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                        BenFreedman Level 1



                                        That last post has me a little confused...


                                        Let's leave SSD out of the equation, as you provided no reasoning, so I'll just leave it alone...


                                        If a 2 X 2 RAID 0 would be better, why doe HARM suggest that in a 5-drive system (with 1 for OS), your 4 drives are best configured in a RAID 5 with everythign on the one drive?


                                        Also, the 970 seems to generally outperform the 2600 on the PPBM list. There are some high results on the PPBM list for the 2600, but they are serioulsy overclocked (as are the 970 results). The 970 doesn't appear to be 'much slower' than the 2600. Am I reading this wrong?






                                        • 17. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                          Harm Millaard Level 7



                                          You are correct and IMO Scott is wrong. The next claim by Scott is probably that the i7-2600 is the fastest single CPU  available, faster than the 990X. I expect that next week. However he gives no proof of that.


                                          Looking at the PPBM results there is no way he can substantiate it. ADK's own 2600k system @ 3.9 GHz with a score of 186 seconds is still beaten by my old i7-920 @ 3.7 GHz with 157 seconds.


                                          If Scott's claim is true, then you can only conclude he does not know how to tune his system to give those results. And even when he overclocks his 2600 to 4.7 GHz his results with 162 seconds are still worse than my system @ 3.7 GHz. His system is also surpassed by various 950/960/970 systems.


                                          Look in the Old Results for these data, since they are not in the new test results, unless newly submitted. We could only port data submitted after 01-29-2011, so the new test does not include data from before that time.


                                          In his suggestion to use 2 raid0 arrays, one of them for export, Scott assumes that the time spent on editing and exporting is about equal, say one day of editing (around 8 minutes final product) is not more important than a one hour export. Also he uses only aid0, so what you may gain in export times is more than lost on the backup side of things.


                                          I feel that from ingest to final product the bulk of the work is in the editing, so that is where you need the speed. When it is time to export, you congratulate yourself and have a glass of wine and finally relax, so what if the export takes one of two minutes more? That is why I feel it much better to have redundancy in the form of a raid instead of Scott's band-aid, but that is just me. I have a sizable array for of my editing work, but export to a single disk and that suits me fine.


                                          Consider it like this:


                                          Ingest on the first day, editng for the next 30 days and then on the last day you export. Where is the emphasis?

                                          • 18. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                            Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                            BenFreedman wrote:


                                            3) Budget aside, is the GTX580 faster than the 480?








                                            Ben here are some PPBM5 GPU CS5.0.3 results.  It shows that there might be a slight difference but it would take running each many more times to statistically really prove it as these tests are limited to plus or minus 1 second by the Windows timing that is available to us   Also I guess I would have to repeat these tests with CS5.5 which makes much greater use of GPU processing.  The reason I like the 580 over the 480 is less power consumption (i.e. heat) and therefore less fan noise.



                                            • 19. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                              Scott Chichelli Level 3

                                              HI Ben,


                                              you assume too much in the way of Harm. you forget he has an absurdly overkill for his need raid array and bases all his ansers on that

                                              i highly doubt he has benchmarks for varied raid arrays in varied scenarios. i do...


                                              the raid array he has is for uncompressed or red4k workflow. not XDcam, AVCHD, P2 which is the majority of users. most would have no use for nor need the expense of such a raid. (keeping the redundacy out of it for now)


                                              his claim of needed more power on your media drive would only come into play IF and thats a big IF the codecs being used required such..

                                              the raid 0 @ 200 MB far exceeds any potential demand needed by the above codecs

                                              most of my clients are very concerned over render(export) times. thus a BALANCED system is wise.

                                              reading and writing to the same drive or drive array is a no no period until you get to as i said 8 drive plus where bandwidth exceeds 700MB




                                              as far as SSD its been proven over and over and even the old guy will agree that SSD offers nothing for performance gain.


                                              i always make recommendations based on how i would spend my $ not some crazy overkill system!



                                              as far as the PPBM tests

                                              1) user submited thus far far too many variables.

                                              2) the ones with the highest scores including our 2nd place have absurd drive arrays. again not the average Joe..

                                              3) is far too lite a test to give real workflow tests.

                                              4) the higher ones have what i consider unstable over clocks and at that point its just who can win the pissing contest.

                                              i have said it time and time again i could take top place for single procceesor if i submitted a sandy @ 5GHz+ and an 8 drive raid array

                                              big deal all i did was win the who's is bigger.. look @ novak 470 6th place with a 5.2GHz OC.. and no crazy raid..

                                              that does not help the average guy looking for answers like you are.


                                              if you actually look @ theBBPM  our 2600k @ 4.7GHz is 18th, remove all dual Xeons. above (4) now 14th.

                                              remove the absurd HDD set ups (9 not counting the Xeons) that puts us @ 5th and Novak @ 1st.

                                              but enough of PPBM how about some real world tests...


                                              I7 990X 3.4 GHz

                                              24GB Blackline 1600 CL 9


                                              4 WD 1Tb Sata 64 Meg Cache 600 Drives in 2 Raid 0 arrays

                                              Video material - AVCHD 1080P 24 Frame Each Cut to 30 minutes of material

                                              Export Codec - H264 HDTV 1080P 24 Preset Default

                                              4 Effects per Layer - Fast Color Corrector, Brightness & Contrast, Video Limiter, Sharpen

                                              Each Layer Scaled to 50% for 4 frame PinP view.

                                              3 Layer - 35:55

                                              4 Layer - 39:02

                                              I7 990X 4.0 GHz

                                              24GB Blackline 1600 CL 9


                                              4 WD 1Tb Sata 64 Meg Cache 600 Drives in 2 Raid 0 arrays

                                              3 Layer - 32:06

                                              4 Layer - 34:45

                                              I7 2600K 4.7 GHz

                                              16GB Blackline 1600 CL 9


                                              4 WD 1Tb Sata 64 Meg Cache 600 Drives in 2 Raid 0 arrays

                                              3 Layer - 30:46

                                              4 Layer - 33:36


                                              looks like the 2600k @ 4.7 beats the 990X funny that eh? but Harm still refuses to get it...

                                              and before Harm tries to say i am about my commercial concerns...(for the 5th time)

                                              the more the system price the more i make, yet i recommend the least priced of all.

                                              i am about recommending what i would buy... FYI i have a 2600k system and traded in my 980 for it..


                                              oh and i would get the 570 card as Bill said they (500 series) run cooler and quieter..



                                              • 20. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                                Harm Millaard Level 7



                                                I have asked you for your test to replicate those results for almost two years. Nobody can verify its accuracy, compare it to other setups, etc.


                                                All I know is that is limited to AVCHD only, not a realistic scenario for most users. You just mention figures. Well I can mention figures, as can everybody, that does not make it true, it could well be lying with statistics if one can't judge the testing method, the conditions, the extend of the test, what it measures.


                                                If the sun rises in the morning and at the same time the number of downloads over the internet drop, does that mean that the number of downloads are inversely related to the stand of the sun?


                                                20-7-2011 0-04-40.jpg

                                                • 21. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                                  Scott Chichelli Level 3

                                                  before you got us in trouble over at the DV forums (thanks by the way)

                                                  i had posted i was going to mail you the test i think i am going to have to pu it on a USB drive..

                                                  Eric had trouble trying to span disks..

                                                  now he is on vacation..

                                                  but why wait? cant you create 30 minutes of AVCHD and duplicate the test?


                                                  Video material - AVCHD 1080P 24 Frame Each Cut to 30 minutes of material

                                                  Export Codec - H264 HDTV 1080P 24 Preset Default

                                                  4 Effects per Layer - Fast Color Corrector, Brightness & Contrast, Video Limiter, Sharpen

                                                  Each Layer Scaled to 50% for 4 frame PinP view.

                                                  the other issue Harm is you dont have multiple system platforms to test on. so whats the point?


                                                  where i have access to everything and have benchmarked everything from Xeon to AMD

                                                  remember we benchmark every system that ships from here... 1000+ a yr...


                                                  i have no agenda therfore i have no reason to fraudelently post numbers to what avail?


                                                  if i was trying to convince people they need dual Xeons @ 4ghz and a 12 drive raid array you would have a potential leg to stand on.

                                                  but on the contrary i am recommending the most affradable system.


                                                  i think you just cant let go of this silly back and forth we have been doing since i first released numbers for Sandy in Dec.

                                                  prior to that you never once questioned our tests or methodology. you had no issue with me telling people dont buy a Xeon unless its 3GHz +

                                                  the X58 6 cores beat them..

                                                  even the hardware review sites (which i loath) agree with me. as does anyone who owns a sandy.

                                                  only you Harms see to keep on with these sillyness.

                                                  and you know i have a great respect for you and the help you give on these forums, but you are NOT always right..




                                                  • 22. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                    Well, I want to see it first, before I believe it, said the blind man.

                                                    • 23. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                                      RjL190365 Level 4

                                                      Harm and Scott,


                                                      Both of you have some valid points. The performance comes down to how much one can afford to begin with: Obviously, a $5,000 system will be faster than a $2,000 system unless the $5,000 configuration includes the wrong components or is improperly tuned. And this fact is why I could never get my i7-920 system to perform as fast as a slightly overclocked i7-2600K even if the 920 is heavily overclocked. The onboard Intel ICH10R controller, even in aid0 mode, still eats up more system resources than it should have: The times in each PPBM5 test from a massively overclocked i7-920 that's running solely with the onboard Intel ICH SATA RAID controller are significantly slower, especially in the MPEG-2 DVD encoding test, than those from an otherwise identical system with a 12-port or larger hardware RAID card with its own dedicated cache memory. (In fact, even with 24GB of RAM installed, the i7-920 system with only onboard Intel ICH RAID running in aid0 mode is still significantly slower than that same system with a 12- or 16-port Areca ARC-1880iX RAID card even with only four hard drives running in RAID mode but equipped with only 12GB total of system RAM.) But then again, one would have to spend more (and sometimes much, much more) money for just this superlative-performing disk I/O subsystem (hardware RAID card plus multiple drives) than for the rest of the system's components combined. A $500 RAID card will not be sufficient because of their lack of sufficient cache memory; in fact, many $500 hardware RAID cards are not sufficiently faster than onboard RAID to justify their cost.


                                                      Message was edited by: RjL190365

                                                      • 24. Re: May I ask your opinion on this system?
                                                        Scott Chichelli Level 3

                                                        interesting comments..


                                                        as to the $2000 vs $5000 yes and no..

                                                        case in point a 2600k vs dual Xeon.


                                                        using my site a dual Xeon 12 core 2.8GHz, 12 gig, 1TB os and 2x 2 drive raid 0 1 TBs, 470 video $5611

                                                        vs a 2600k @ 4.5+GHz, 16gig ram, 470 video same drive set up $2914


                                                        the 2600k system will kill the Xeon in both PPBM and my avchd test (majority of workflow around here) GHz is king over core count...


                                                        now flip it to doing a real AE project (or other heavy 3D) and the Xeon then starts to show its strength!

                                                        or do a red 4K to DPX with 5 layers, heavy effects and try to run it full screen the Xeon shows its abilitys finally


                                                        the same red4K 4 layer with with 4 lighter effects and 1/2 screen preview and the sandy wins again.. same with the 990x.


                                                        as to drives and controllers i agree with you to a point..

                                                        its foolish to buy a raid controller for less than an 8 drive raid array..

                                                        and these numbers do not change with a more expensive raid card..

                                                        Intel SAS RS2BL080 8 Port controller with 512 DDR2 Ram.

                                                        Single Drive - 111MB

                                                        2 Drive Raid 0 - 215MB

                                                        4 Drive Raid 0 - 429MB

                                                        3 Drive Raid 5 - 219MB

                                                        4 Drive Raid 5 - 315MB


                                                        Seagate 1TB 32 Meg Cache Drives

                                                        Onboard Intel Controller

                                                        Single Drive - 103MB

                                                        2 Drive Raid 0 - 206MB

                                                        4 Drive Raid 0 - 395MB

                                                        3 Drive Raid 5 - 202MB

                                                        4 Drive Raid 5 - 299MB

                                                        vs an 8 drive


                                                        Intel SAS RS2PI080 8 Port controller with 512 DDR2 Ram

                                                        8x WD VelociRaptor 600 GB, SATA 6 Gb/s, 32 MB Cache, 10,000 RPM

                                                        8 Drive Raid 5 - 745MB/s read 735MB/s Write


                                                        8x WD 1TB SATA 6 Gb/s, 64 MB Cache, 7200 RPM

                                                        8 Drive Raid 5 - 703.8MB/s read 670MB/s Write


                                                        pretty dang high numbers for a as you say cheap raid controller. you wont see the above numbers change much when using an Areca with 4gig ram either.