14 Replies Latest reply on Feb 13, 2012 2:21 PM by jeffgedgaud

    DIY Machine Spec Approval

    Ed.Macke Level 3

      My plan is to build my next PC myself (first time!). Here's what I've picked.


      I know there are some sticky notes on machine specs, but I can't seem to find them.


      I currently use Premeire Elements 7 for SD editing. But I'd like to make sure my machine will be somewhat future-proof and allow HD AVCHD editing with PRE10 - I can definitely see that coming. Maybe even if I win the lotto one day, I'd like to do HD AVCHD editing with Premiere Pro, maybe even using a Mercury-supported CUDA card.


      • CPU: Intel i7-2600
      • Mobo: Asus P8H67-V (4 Dual Channel slots of DDR3 1333/1066, (4) SATA 3GB HD, (2) SATA 6GB HD, UEFI BIOS)
      • PS: Seasonic M12II 520 (520 Watts)
      • CPU Fan: CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus
      • Memory: Crucial 16GB ("Ballistic Sport", DDR3 SDRAM 1600), 2 x 8GB, Dual Channel
      • Video Card: None - I'll use the CPU's built-in graphics - I heard they're supposed to be pretty good
      • OS: Win7 64-bit
      • HD1: WD Caviar Black 500GB SATA 6GB 7200RPM
      • HD2: WB 1TB SATA 3GB 7200 RPM
      • HD3: WB 1TB SATA 3GB 7200 RPM
      • RAID: The mobo supports SATA RAID 0/1/5/10, but I don't have any plans to do RAID right now.


      One thing that seems odd is the memory: I've picked the Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (#BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1S00), which is $150 for 2x8GB DDR3. However, its speed is 1600 but my mobo only supports 1333/1066... that's OK, right? If I pick Crucial memory that matches my 1333 mobo speed, that would would be #CT102464BA1339 - but at $99 for 8GB, that would be $200 for 16GB whereas the Ballistix is only $150. Why is the slower memory more expensive? Is there something about the Ballistix memory I should know?


      Also, my plan eliminates the possiblity of overclocking. I'm wondering if overclocking would buy me anything in the real world - I've never done this but from what I read it makes your CPU run hotter and can cause stability issues. Not sure what the performance gains would be, but I would not want to trade stability for speed. On the other hand, if the CPU cooler would mitigate any stability problems, I could go for the i7-2600K and a Z86 mobo for maybe $40 more.

        • 1. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
          Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

          Looks like an awesome editing rig, Ed!

          • 2. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
            John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            That power supply is MUCH too small... read http://forums.adobe.com/thread/947698?tstart=0


            Power supply calculator http://extreme.outervision.com/index.jsp (the PRO version)

            Or http://educations.newegg.com/tool/psucalc/index.html?Tpk=power%20supply%20calculator


            If it was me... I'd go 750w minimum, 850w even better to allow for LOTS of case fans for cooling, as well as a PS that is not overworking

            • 3. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
              the_wine_snob Level 9



              I agree with John T. on the PSU. A 750 - 850 W PSU, is where I would look. Also, check that it has enough connections to power up every rail and all of the  peripherals, plus some extras.


              As for the Sandybridge GPU, while they seem good, my "jury" is still out. Intel makes great chips, but has been horrible with video driver support, and updating. Now that they have gone to the combo units, things might improve, but only time and experience will tell.


              Just for the driver support, I would opt for either nVidia, or AMD/ATI, as they have exhibited a desire to keep their drivers current. I might change that rec., if Intel steps up, but not until they do. The video driver is far less important, with general computing, where Intel graphics chips do a good job, but with PrE, PrPro and now PS, the driver is critical.


              One future-proof step, and without a working crystal ball, one that I cannot know, is "will PrE adopt CUDA GPU processing, and maybe MPE-lite, rather like PrPro CS 5/5.5 has?" Same question can be asked about Photoshop CS6, or above. Another, very similar question, is will Adobe partner with AMD/ATI to adopt OpenCL support for their cards in the future? There are rumors that they might, but only rumors.


              Right now, PS only needs good OpenGL support, and a recent video driver, while PrE uses a bit less of the GPU (right now), but needs that driver support even more. As of PS CS5.x and PrE 10, one does not benefit from a CUDA GPU, or a ton of VRAM, and any current video card should work - just so long as new drivers are available - tomorrow? We'll all just have to wait and see.


              Good luck,



              • 4. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
                Ed.Macke Level 3



                My plan was (and let me know what you think) to use the SandyBridge GPU and see how everything went. Right off the bat, I'll be using PRE7 to do SD editing, which doesn't seem that demanding.


                But I also wanted to make sure my specs could support the addition of an nVidia/ATI card later if I wanted, all the way up to, say, an nVidia GTX470 with Premiere Pro (my dream combo). I think the H67 (or Z86) chipset would allow a video card to be added and replace the i7 GPU if/when required, correct?

                • 5. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
                  Ed.Macke Level 3

                  John (and Hunt),


                  Thanks for the link to Harm's article - that's exactly what I was looking for and couldn't find (I've bookmarked it now).


                  Ironically, my original spec included a 750W PS. I thought I could shave a few bucks off!  I got the eXtreme PS Calculator pro version, and when I plugged in everything I could think I'd ever stuff in, and followed Harm's guidelines, my number came out to 915W (12V: 57.2A, 5V: 33.0A, 3.3V 19.2A). Wow, did I "misunderestimate"!

                  • 6. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
                    Ed.Macke Level 3

                    OK, here's something easier.


                    If I go with another Asus motherboard, ASUS P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Intel Z68, it will support 1600 memory (and also 1866, 2122, and 2200 O.C.). That would allow me to use the cheaper and faster Corsair Ballistix.


                    But now my question is since the mobo supports dual channel memory and has 4 slots, is there any difference between 2 x 8GB and 4 x 4GB? I would prefer the 2 x 8GB since that leaves 2 slots available if I wanted to add more later.






                    Oh, and what about the memory - the 1333 mobo support versus the $150 Corsair Ballistix 1600 16GB and the $200 Corsair (non-Ballistix) 1333 16GB?


                    Here's links:


                    ASUS P8H67-V (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67



                    $150 Crucial Ballistix sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)



                    $200 (for 2) Crucial 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)

                    • 7. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
                      the_wine_snob Level 9



                      That would be a good plan. I will also ask that you report on how well Intel handles video driver updates for the Sandybridge.


                      You can always add a video card (just disable the integrated video chip), so long as you have a spare slot. Also, and depending on the card that you choose, the bigger PSU will be appreciated. Hopefully by then, we will all know which card(s) will give the most bang for the buck.


                      Good luck, and enjoy the new computer.



                      • 8. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
                        jeffgedgaud Level 1

                        The system you are looking at is pretty good, the i7 will be a very good processor and other specs are nice and yes you do need a decent power supply, too many people overlook this. 16 GB of RAM should be plenty for video editing, I have seen several articles that show more than 12GB of Ram is a waste. I have never used more than 4 or so while video editing and the 8 gb that I have leaves enough headroom for background programs. I would not suggest going with any GPU that is part of the CPU for video editing for several reasons. Having the seperate processer is nice and like others have stated drivers are a factor as well. It is also nice for Blu-ray playback to have a seperate GPU to handle the processing for video. Save some money on the RAM and only bother getting 12GB, 3 x 4GB, then use the savings for a decent video card. I would go for a GTX 560 that will give you a nice balance for video and CPU processing, You don't need anything more for video processing for the GPU.


                        I know some will probably complain about my post but go ahead, I am using sites like Tom's Hardware as my reference for this.

                        • 9. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
                          Ed.Macke Level 3

                          Jeff, thanks for the thoughts.


                          Re: RAM...


                          I hadn't heard about that 12GB usability. Mostly I was just loading up on memory because every PC I've ever bought I ended up adding more RAM after the fact. My chosen mobo has 4 slots and dual channel, so whatever I get, I'd probably go for a pair of something, i.e. (2) 4GB or (2) 8GB.


                          Frankly, I'm a little stuck on memory.


                          On one hand, it seems fairly simple: get the cheapest (decent) memory and plop it in. On the other hand, there's a lot of options with brand, speed, and latency... do they have any real-word effect? I have no plans of overclocking.


                          For example,


                          • 8GB of Corsiar Vengeance (2 x 4GB) RAM is $50. Speed = 1600, Cas Latency = 9, Timing = 9-9-9-24.
                          • 16GB of Corsair Vengeance (2 x 8GB) RAM is $150. Speed=1600, Cas Latency = 10, Timing = 10-10-10-27.


                          So looking at the 8GB kit, I think: I could either do 8GB for $50, or double up (i.e. 4 x 4GB) and get 16GB for $100. For a $50 difference, that seems worth it.


                          But then I read a few things that basically said that all other things being equal, 2 DIMMs is better than 4 DIMMs just because of the coordination between the chips. Plus if I use 4 DIMMs I've used up all my mobo slots - if I ever wanted to add more memory (for Windows 11) I'd have to throw away perfectly good memory to free up slots.


                          So then I think, well the 16GB should use 2 x 8GB. But doing so means going from 8GB (2 x 4GB) to 16GB (2 x 8GB) is a difference of $100 instead of $50. Maybe that's not worth it. Plus from what I know about latency, less = better, so are the 8GB DIMMs actually slower than the 4GB DIMMs?




                          Re: Video Card


                          For my initial build when funds are tight (i.e. my better half is watching closely ), I planned on just using the CPU GPU.


                          I looked up the GTX 560 and was pleasantly surprised to see that I could get an EVGA version for $190. That certainly makes the memory argument more compelling... a $50 memory savings won't do much toward getting me a GTX560, but $100 does!


                          So let me ask you this: Premiere Pro says it supports the GTX285/470/570/580 for GPU acceleration. The GTX560 looks like it has CUDA, so is that one of the cards that I could just tweak a config file and have Premiere Pro support it (albeit unofficially)?


                          I don't have Premiere Pro currently, but that's in my future plans, too.

                          • 10. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
                            jeffgedgaud Level 1

                            Actually several sites have done testing with comparisons of memory for timings and amounts.






                            The first article can give you some good info on RAM and timings. The second article shows in rendering that 12 and 16 GB of RAM is virtually identical. This article agrees with others I have seen where video rendering tests when using more than 12 GB of RAM makes no difference unless you have other applications running in the background.


                            I'm not sure about the CUDA and the GTX 560, I think the Premiere Pro supporting a specific card only means that Adobe tested the cards and they work with Premiere Pro.


                            I have Premiere Pro running:


                            AMD Athlon II X4 635 CPU

                            Galaxy GTX 460 1GB sometimes in SLI

                            Crucial 8 GB DDR3 RAM (2x4GB)

                            500GB HDD


                            I have had no problems with this system and memory usage or any other things going as far as a decent video editing computer. The CPU and RAM are more than sufficient for rendering and video editing, what some may say is not all correct about having to use a super computer with maxed out specs. I can edit and render video just fine, having better RAM and more scratch disc space would only make rendering go faster and make the editing a smoother process.


                            Actually I would suggest not purchasing Premiere Elements and just buying Premiere Pro right off the bat, Premiere Pro is a much better program and well worth the cost. Premiere Elements is the dumbed down version and has a lot of problems with format compatibility, much more than Premiere Pro does. If at some time in the future you are wanting to upgrade to Premiere Pro I would invest in that first instead of going for the cheaper version and later upgrading to it. Just use Premiere Elements 7 until you can scrap together enough for the full version.


                            Off all the things you could invest in and upgrade to a better one later the actual program is not one that I would recommend. If you want to use lesser amounts of RAM or the CPU for GPU till you can buy a video card that would be fine but I would not recommend the Premiere Elements as a step toward a better editor. Just get the program you want off the bat and you will get used to it and not have to learn how to use one then relearn when you do upgrade.

                            • 11. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
                              Ed.Macke Level 3

                              Thanks for the links and advice, Jeff. Very helpful


                              So maybe I'll just go with the 8GB for now. Seems like if I get 1600 CL9 (e.g. G Skill Ripjaws X Series) it'll be about $50 for (2) 4GB modules. That will leave me with 2 free memory slots if I want to upgrade to 16GB in the future.


                              Also, after waffling I think I might take the memory savings and dump it into an upgraded mobo (Intel BOXDZ68BC). It's around $200 but has everything I want: including 6GB eSATA, IEEE 1394 ports, USB 3 ports, and seems to get good reviews. Plus it's got some sort of glowing skull thing!

                              • 12. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
                                Ed.Macke Level 3

                                I will also ask that you report on how well Intel handles video driver updates for the Sandybridge.


                                Just as an update, I went to the Intel site to grab the most recent video drivers (I have ordered, but not yet received my PC parts), and here's the history of revisions.


                                It was a bit confusing because some of the updates were under the i7-2600 CPU support, while some were under the DZ68BC motherboard.

                                Version, Sept. 3, 2011

                                Version, Dec. 20, 2011

                                Version, Jan 21, 2012


                                • 13. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
                                  Ed.Macke Level 3

                                  Just FYI, I made a few tweaks based on some research along the way (and sales!)


                                  Most notably I went with a high-end Intel motherboard and a 620W PSU.


                                  I know some folks had recommended a bigger PSU; hopefully I will be OK. This review tested a Seasonic 500W with a dual GPU setup and the thing hummed along fine. I went with the bigger 620W version (labeled SLI ready). Seasonic is supposed to be really good, and considering I don't even have a video card, I think I should be fine. If I decided to pop in a CUDA card, I can always re-evaluate later.


                                  Final Specs:


                                  CPU: Intel i7-2600 ($295)

                                  Mobo: Intel DZ68BC Extreme Edition ($199)

                                  Memory: 16GB G.Skill X Series 1333 DDR3 ($85)

                                  Win 7 Home Premium 64-Bit OEM ($89)

                                  HD1 (OS): Western Digital 500GB Blue Caviar 7200RPM SATA III ($85)

                                  HD2 (Data): WD 1TB 7200RPM SATA II (taking from old machine)

                                  HD3 (Data): WD 1TB 7200RPM SATA II (taking from old machine)

                                  Case: Antec 1200 Full Size ATX ($159)

                                  DVD Burner: LG SATA 22X CD/DVD Burner ($16)

                                  Power Supply: Seasonic M12II 620W ($89)

                                  • 14. Re: DIY Machine Spec Approval
                                    jeffgedgaud Level 1

                                    Plugging those parts into the Thermaltake PSU calculator and adding a couple of fans I only get 286 watts, that is about what I though I would get from the parts list you gave. If you add a GTX 570 graphics card to that system you would be at 498 watts which is a safe margin for that PSU you picked out.