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Preparing to build an editing machine


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#1 Damien Andre

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:50 PM

Im looking to build a machine that can process 1080p video smoothly and up to 4k moderately well. are there any things i need to keep in mind? minimum requirements? whats a decent graphics card currently? should i consider overclocking or would it be overkill?

Edited by Damien Andre, 05 February 2013 - 09:50 PM.

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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:30 AM

There is no overkill; you cannot have enough performance for video work. At some point, no matter what you do (literally, no matter what you do, no matter what you spend) you'll end up falling back to a render and tapping your foot while a progress bar inches its way across the screen.

Apparently the current Intel Core series does overclock fairly well, but I've never quite liked the idea of doing something which has the potential to create or exacerbate reliability problems. I mean, computers are unreliable enough at the best of times.

Graphics card may or may not be important. More software now uses it, although above a certain level more performance does not get you much. If you want to use Premiere, for instance, with its GPU acceleration (and I assure you that you do, for it is great), you need a certain level of GPU - an nVidia one that has a minimum number of CUDA cores, basically - that's fairly inexpensive. Going beyond that doesn't really help much, unless you're using something like the Element 3D plugin with After Effects, which does benefit from lots of graphics card RAM and shader cores.

With video editing you are talking about programs that will use multi-core CPUs. This means that more cores are always better, and things like Intel's simultaneous multithreading technology, referred to by the company as "Hyper-Threading", makes a real difference. This means you probably want something from the Core i7 or Xeon ranges, which have hyper-threading. Beyond that, get a motherboard that'll take two processors, and you can, for only moderate amounts of money, build an eight-core machine.

Get lots of RAM. Really lots and lots of RAM, especially if you're into After Effects. 4GB sticks are about the most cost-effective per gigabyte, so throw one in every available slot. Exactly how much you can install will depend on the motherboard, although this will commonly give you 16 or 24GB. 8GB sticks do get a bit expensive, and you need to check whether the motherboard supports more than 32GB all at once.

Then think about storage. It will depend on what sort of material you're aiming to cut. I put together a RAID that's capable of doing - in a pinch - full blown 1080p24 10-bit RGB, and although I rarely need to, it's nice to have the performance buffer there. It uses 8 disks in RAID-10 on a Highpoint RocketRAID 2720. This will be seen as the cheap controller option compared to a 9000-series 3ware product, although if you're going for RAID-10, as opposed to RAID-5, actually Highpoint is slightly faster. In my view - and it is a slightly controversial one - RAID-10 is better because it's faster, can stand more disks failing simultaneously, rebuilds much more quickly and reliably when a disk does fail, and remains usable when a disk has failed. It requires more disks for the same capacity, but the cheaper controller card more than makes up for the cost offset. RAID-5, on the other hand, becomes horribly slow when degraded, is nowhere near as fast for the number of disks, can only stand one failure at once per array, takes tens of hours to rebuild any significant amount of data, and in my experience is horribly unreliable at doing so anyway - I've seen lots of RAID-5 rebuilds fail, which is very unusual on other RAID types. If you're not interested in cutting uncompressed HD, you can probably just throw a couple of disks in RAID-0 (or four in RAID-10) on the motherboard controllers.

Basically, spend as much as you possibly can. It will, sadly, never quite seem like enough; this is one of those situations where the answer to the question "how much do I need?" is "more."

P
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#3 Patrick Nuse

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:59 AM

I use the Adobe suite. I have learned that lots of ram is a key component. Since I started editing 1080 I upgraded my ram to 16GB. That will ensure you can have Premiere open and After Effects at the same time, and maybe photoshop also. I you are doing any effects work even simple stuff, you have a good chance that you may have those three programs open at the same time. or something similar. Also, read through the system requirements on the adobe site for the apps you'll be running. That will guide you through the best video cards to use etc. Also seperate scratch drives are very important. Example setup: one drive for the OS, one for source footage, one for destination (for exporting to, like out of AE or Media Encoder). and one scratch drive for photoshop and Premiere to use. In the settings you can specify a which drive you would like to use as a scratch drive. This will really speed up any exporting and file conversions and such.

Edited by Patrick Nuse, 07 February 2013 - 02:01 AM.

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#4 Vobla Unsane

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 10:23 AM

I would start with P9X79 mother board and look at cpu, gpu, ram, storage, other hardware you may need and finaly power supply.

If you use Adobe products, look at nVidia cards for GTX as budget option and Quadro series for pro use.

 

Cheers


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