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HDV editing on the pc


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#1 Tim Myers

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 12:55 AM

Hey guys, I've been shooting DV with a Sony vx2100 for four years now, and she's served me well. My computer (PC) has taken everything the 2100 could give and edited like a champ. However, I'm ready to make the jump to HDV, and seriously considering the Canon XL-H1. My plan is to soup up my PC so that it can edit HDV without even breaking a sweat, and I'd like to do this before even purchasing the camera.

So, my budget is about 3,000 bucks, give or take a hundred here or there. I see a lot of really knowledgable people on these boards, and I'd love to hear all of your advice. What kinds of specs should I pursue? What would make the ultimate HDV editing beast? Can I stick with AMD? I hear they have something coming out pretty soon that will rival Intel... Any truth there? Thanks for any help you guys can offer!

Oh yeah, and just in case any trolls are reading this (there aren't many on these boards but I've enountered a few), I -have- already looked around to see if this has been answered before, and yes, I am doing my own research. This is just a part of it. So there, no need to get all troll-ey with me!

Thanks again!

- Tim
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 08:00 AM

Hi,

Any of the modern dual-core systems will do it. The thing with HDV is that you really want to be handling it uncompressed in post, and with an XLH1 you could consider doing uncompressed recording if you were willing to splurge on the capture card. I'm not sure it'd feasible to go quite that far inside your budget, though.

Really, in your position, it's hard to get it wrong; I'd be looking at any of the modern dual core chips on a motherboard with plenty of PCIe slots and SATA controllers. Because modern motherboards tend to have slots that are theoretically PCIe but really intended for graphics, they can have compatibility issues with non-graphics hardware in what should be a plain vanilla PCIe slot. I happen to know that the Foxconn C51 series is well specced, and supports at least some varieties of non-graphics hardware in its SLI slots (such as a Blackmagic HDSDI card). It also has a twin northbridge configuration so if you're not in an SLI configuration (with two graphics cards) you can expect good performance to both PCIe connectors simultaneously. The SATA controller is fast - I've had 400Mbyte/sec out of it across six very fast drives, and that's enough for 2K, let alone HD.

But that's nothing that probably doesn't go for many motherboards at the moment - I just happen to know that one well. AMD is possibly losing out slightly to Intel this week, but you know how fast that changes. Don't go beyon 2Gb of RAM, assuming 1Gb sticks, as many boards end up downclocking the memory if you populate all four slots. and the very rapid new Seagate 750 or 1Gbyte hard disks and you're away. Easily doable within your budget.

If you are absolutely certain you want to spend three grand you could look into an Opteron or Xeon solution, but I don't think the price/performance ratio is that good on Opteron and you will struggle to find PCIe based boards for Xeon. You'd be better putting together some render nodes and making the decision to do network-rendered stuff via After Effects.

Phil
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#3 Troy Warr

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 10:26 AM

Hi Tim,

A serious processor will definitely serve you well. As far as the Intel/AMD debate goes, my impressions at least are that AMD won't be recovering from the blow rendered by Intel for quite a while yet. The last news that I've heard from Anandtech, for example, suggests that AMD's upcoming 65mm Brisbane lineup still won't be all that competitive with Intel's current Core 2 Duo models, and certainly Core 2 Quad processors.

I recently built a low-to-mid-range PC for web design purposes, which requires a lot of multitasking, and decided to go with an Intel Core 2 Duo E6300. I had planned to overclock it slightly (which all Core 2 Duo processors handle very well), but I found that it wasn't even necessary once I started to run it. I think that you'd do well with an E6600, or if you're looking for an extreme solution, maybe even a Core 2 Quad Q6600. Keep in mind that the latter solution wouldn't help much in day-to-day operations, but if your editing app(s) can take advantage, it will really scream.

Regarding AMD (which I went with on my last PC a few years ago), they are supposed to be releasing a new architecture mid-year that may be a big leap ahead for them. I haven't heard any definitive information about what kind of processing power to expect, but if you're willing to wait another few months to see what happens, it may (or may not) be worth it. I tend to think that you'll have no regrets with a Core 2 Duo system.

Just curious, are you planning to build this PC yourself, or are you shopping around for a pre-built workstation?

Best of luck to you!
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#4 Tim Myers

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 05:29 PM

I was originally planning on building myself, but now I'm looking at some of the high end models on Alienware's website. They're pricey, but I certainly don't mind pricey if the performance is worth it. What are your thoughts?
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