9 Replies Latest reply on Sep 28, 2011 9:47 PM by Kris_24

    Student looking for advice


      I am a proud new owner of Adobe Production Premium and want to get everything running as smoothly as possible. I've hunted around some and found some recommendations but many of them are just not practical for my situation and budget. My hope is that members of the forum can help me figure out what my options are.



      So, what I have for hardware is not the greatest, but it was as good a deal I could get at a price I could afford:


      Dell XPS 15 with an i7 740qm (1.7 GHz up to 2.9 with Turboboost)

      6 gigs RAM (1300 I'm pretty sure)

      Nvidia GT 435M

      600 Gb 7200rpm HDD

      750 Gb 5400rpm HDD (external USB 2.0) - not very useful for video editing I know ) - I'm not sure how I ended up walking out of Best Buy with this one. I knew from the get-go that I would want something faster. Moment of weakness I guess.


      As a note, the XPS 15 has 2 USB 3.0 ports and one of those eSATA/USB combo ports. So those are my connection options.



      Basically, my budget is as "As good as i can get while being affordable as possible." I'm willing to spend as much as I need to to experience a workflow that is useable. If people could give me an idea of what I could get for varying spending ranges between $100 and $1000, that would be great.


      I can't spend a lot, but I would rather spend a little more to buy something that would work well, as opposed to spending absolute minimum and getting something that just barely works.


      What I'm working with

      Primarily 1080p AVCHD from Panasonic hmc150. I realize this may be asking a bit much for my system, but, a guy can hope, right? I may (but not too likely, especially if I have to spend more than I was expecting for editing solutions) buy my own camera and use that. In that case, it would almost certainly be a DSLR (T2i/T3i), which I as I understand also have difficult codecs to work with.


      I'm using my system to edit video, create visual effects (of varying complexity, including 3D/live action compositing), as well as all the other tasks related to film and video creation.


      What I'm looking for

      At this point, I just can't realistically look at buying another computer. As I'm using a laptop, there's not much I can do for upgrade options either. So, I'm hoping that what I have there is useable. If what I have absolutely won't work, I guess I'll have to consider shooting in 720 or *shudder* SD .
      What I am looking for then, is Hard Drives. How many do I absolutely need, what should I get, and how can I best set up my system/Adobe to best utilize the drives I have and would need to get?
      Experience so far
      I've tried out some test footage with my current setup (everything on the internal drive), and am coming to the conclusion I most likely should do something. It seems like once I start to do anything After Effects related or just adding any effects whatsoever, my system starts struggling. This makes me wonder how my school's aging Mac Pro's with pitiful amounts of old RAM and fairly dated processors can handle working with the same footage in FCP. In that case footage is stored on the school server, which I don't know any of the technical details of.
      So, apologies for the ginormous post, and sincere hopes that someone(s) can help me figure this all out.
      Thanks much!
        • 1. Re: Student looking for advice
          John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Absolute minumum is 2 hard drives... since you have an eSata connection...  here is one solution


          http://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-BlacX-eSATA-Docking-Station/dp/B001A4HAFS/ref=cm_cmu_pg_ t


          5400rpm external is good only for system and file backups


          Hardware crashes or virus infections or simple software problems happen, so you should buy AND USE software to make a full backup of your hard drive to an external USB hard drive... plus, making step-by-step backups during a new install or major program addition makes it easy to go back a step if something doesn't work
          This backup and then restore is, of course, only to the same computer with a new drive (or the same drive as long as you don't mind writing over everything) since doing a restore to a new computer won't work due to Windows and many programs having activation information that is keyed to your hardware (which is why Windows will force you to RE-Activate if you change very much hardware)
          The product I use is at http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/image-for-linux.htm
          Image runs off of a bootable CD via Linux (the Zip you download includes a program to make the bootable CD) and it reads EVERYTHING on the drive, even the hidden registration information, so everything is restored when needed... and you may restore the image to a brand new drive in case of a crash, and not have to re-install anything
          Please note that I own no part of Image, and I don't get a referral fee (that is just a plain web link) but I use the program and it has saved me a LOT of trouble when I had a hard drive die... and I was able to restore everything and not have to re-install or re-activate a single program, from Windows on up

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Student looking for advice
            Chuck A. McIntyre Level 3

            You can try converting your AVCHD footage using Cineform's Neoscene. It's around $129 and MAY be able to allow your laptop to edit the footage you're working with:

            Cineform Neoscene

            • 3. Re: Student looking for advice
              Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

              Take it to a good laptop knowledgable service center and see if that memory could be upgraded.  After CPU/Speed which is fixed in this case the next most important thing is more memory.  (After you solve the disk drive problem)

              • 4. Re: Student looking for advice
                JEShort01 Level 4



                You definitely consider adding a 7200 rpm drive ASAP!


                I would choose adding a 2.5" 7200 rpm in a optical bay caddy. NewModeUS sells caddies that allow a 2.5" 9mm drive to your laptop and it will connect to the SATA bus. If there are any naysayers here regarding this for a Dell, I added one of these to a Dell laptop over a year ago and it has never had so much as a hickup. As this will put your optical drive on the sidelines, you may also want to add an external eSATA connected Dell caddy too. (total cost $50 +$50 for NewModeUS and Dell caddy + about $75 for a 7200rpm large cache laptop drive)


                Less expesive, but WAY more inconvenient, you could simply buy a single 7200rpm 3.5" eSATA connected external drive. This would only cost you somewhere from about $50 to $100 total and perform extremely well, but would be heavier and most importantly, it would require a wall plug be available any time that you wanted to use it.


                Bumping from 6GB to 8GB could help a bit, not sure how much, but if I were you I'd first get a good 7200rpm drive connected (or more!), see how it performs, and go from there.


                Good luck, this is from from the ideal CS5 hw as you already know!



                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Student looking for advice
                  Kris_24 Level 1

                  I like the optical bay caddy idea, as I barely use my optical drive anyway and it has some issues. The NewModeUS caddy seems a tad expensive for what it is, but it doesn't seem like there are any other options to choose from. I think I would probably just get an external USB optical drive to replace the internal optical drive completely.


                  So, NewModeUS caddy, and how's this for a HDD?  One possible issue; I've read that some people have had issues with a 7200 RPM drive not working correctly when used as a secondary drive. A fluke, I hope?


                  I've looked at the generic disk setup guidelines, and I'm wondering how much of a performance boost I would get from getting a 3rd drive (using eSATA). Is it worth going all in with that, or is getting even just a second drive going to help out significantly? The external option I've come up with: docking station (thanks John T Smith), and HDD (recommended on the forum)


                  The Cineform neoscene looks useful, but I'm not sure I'm prepared to spend $130 on what is essentially a file converter. Thoughts on how much that would actually affect performance?


                  Thanks for everyone's help so far, there's been more helpful suggestions than I'm allowed to mark, it looks like .

                  • 6. Re: Student looking for advice
                    JEShort01 Level 4

                    Seagate HD would be fine; personally, I prefer the Hitachi and WD models. You will hear lots of opinions regarding which drives are better, that's just my opinion.


                    Regarding the 3rd drive, you can pass on that. With a good single 7200 rpm drive separate from the OS/Program drive that probably a good balance for your available cpu, RAM, video, and budget.



                    • 7. Re: Student looking for advice
                      Kris_24 Level 1

                      Would you have a specific recommendation of a drive to go with? Looking at reviews of 2.5 7200 RPM drives, it looks like none of the three manufacturers have perfectly pristine records with these kinds of drives. So now I'm nervous lol. If no one has a better suggestion though, I will probably just bite on the cheapest one. It would work to use my 5400 rpm external and/or my primary drive to store backups of footage, correct?

                      • 8. Re: Student looking for advice
                        JEShort01 Level 4

                        WD Scorpio Black 500GB 7200 rpm 16MB cache drive has an EXCELLENT review score from Newegg users and a 5 year wtty.; cost is $69.99. (I'd recommend that)


                        Regarding your 5400 rpm external drive, yes, that would be great for backups.



                        • 9. Re: Student looking for advice
                          Kris_24 Level 1

                          Just as a follow up, I've done as JE Short01 advised and replaced my optical drive with a caddy + 2.5 in HDD. Seems to work swell so far.


                          As a word of warning for any Dell XPS 15/17 owners that happen upon this thread and want to try this option out: Removing the optical drive in these laptops is somewhat of a pain. Used to be in Dells, you could easily take out a screw on the bottom and pop the optical drive out directly. It's a little more difficult now, requiring you to to take off the main baseplate and poke around in your computer's innards. There are no guides or specific video examples to do this (that I found) but the Dell service manual for your model can give you an idea. Dell 15 L501x service manual *One more little note. For some reason, the manual tells you to remove the memory when replacing the optical drive. You don't need to.


                          Thanks again for everyone's suggestions and help.