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  1. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2010
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    I'm shopping for a workstation that will only be used for video editing. I plan to edit AVCHD files in Sony Vegas Pro 9 (which means a Windows OS such as XP or 7). I will record at 1080p24 for the AVCHD files (I may also record at 1080p60). My projects will be short films and feature-length films.

    What would be the minimum specs for virtually no slowdown, lagging, or skipping while editing and using playback?

    32-bit or 64-bit?
    Dual-Core or Quad-Core?
    At least 2.5 GHz or at least 3.0 GHz?
    1 Terabyte HDD with no less than 7200 rpm?
    4GB, 6GB, 8GB RAM? DDR3 SDRAM or a different type? L3 cache necessary?
    Other specs?

    Ask me for other information I may be forgetting.

    Thank you.
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  2. Member yoda313's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2004
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    When you say editing what do you mean? If you mean simply cutting out segments and saving the shorter segment than you can get away with just a dual core processor.

    If you mean editing by adding graphics and layer in effects and transitions than you'll probably want a triple core or faster.

    I have a dual core processor and I tried editing avchd in a nle like pinnacle studio 12 and it was really slow. I ended up getting advice from other videohelp members to convert to high def mpeg2 at a really large bitrate and I was able to edit it without issues - I then was able to convert back to avchd after editing.

    So from that experience doing heavy editing would require probably a quad core or faster. If you simply want to cut out segments from high def files a dual core will work - I can cut commercials and segments out of hd files without issues on my dual core - its doing more complex editing that requires a codec change.

    As for disk space get as much as you can afford - hd takes up a lot of space!

    4gb ram is the max for a 32bit os. If you want to go 64bit os than you can use more ram. Probably 4gb ram on a 32bit os will be more than enough for hd editing.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
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  3. Originally Posted by Dendrite View Post
    I'm shopping for a workstation that will only be used for video editing. I plan to edit AVCHD files in Sony Vegas Pro 9 (which means a Windows OS such as XP or 7). I will record at 1080p24 for the AVCHD files (I may also record at 1080p60). My projects will be short films and feature-length films.

    What would be the minimum specs for virtually no slowdown, lagging, or skipping while editing and using playback?
    That computer doesn't exist yet.
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2007
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    It's more of a software / GPU integration problem

    For example, Edius , or edius neo booster can edit AVCHD natively 2-3 streams on a quad core (you can even do 1-2 on a dual core laptop) , but the same computer might not even be able to do 1 in other software. It only requires a low end GPU. CS5+ Mercury playback engine can do 8-9 realtime streams with an i7 quad core, but you need a GPU with at least 768MB memory and cuda if you use the MPE hack if you use CS5 (some cards that work are <$100, you don't need a $3K quadro)

    It doesn't look like next generation software from vegas (vegas 10) will have these features , it looks like they will only have GPU accelerated export (not decoding and import). That may change when released, otherwise they will be swept by the competition which have had these features for more than half a year.

    You can brute force edit on vegas or any NLE - if you have a slightly overclocked i7 it's possible to do 1 stream (but the same computer with other software can do 7-8 streams easily with other software)

    Many people resort to proxy editing as another technique or use digital intermediates (e.g. cineform)
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  5. Member
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    I second the neo 2.5 (neo 2 booster) suggestion. I was able to edit 2 layers with color correction/opacity/etc. with virtually no slowdown on my computer running a fresh copy of win7 64bit.

    Still though you'd want to get the biggest baddest computer you are comfortable paying for as the encoding times are steep if you're going back to avchd.
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  6. Member
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    Thank you for your responses and suggestions. I don't plan to do heavy-duty graphics (like motion graphics import from AfterEffects) or transitions, but I expect to do a lot of color-correction/adjustment (color and exposure). I am also planning to slow down footage (with a higher fps) to achieve slow motion without the motion blur, which shouldn't be very taxing in any NLE. There's also shooting for DFN (Day For Night), which is basically color-correction or rather, color-adjustment.

    I'm looking into Edius Neo booster.
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  7. Member
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    This thread is great info. I just purchased a Dell Computer with the following specs. What do you think my problem will be or "limitations" when editing avchd format. I am using pinnacle 14 but I am not loyal to this software and may go to cs5 or some of the above suggestions. Thanks for your input.


    1 Studio XPS 9100 Intel Core i7-930 processor(8MB L2 Cache, 2.80GHz)

    1 18GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz

    ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5

    1.5 Tbyte Hard Drive @ 7200rpms
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  8. Member
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    Originally Posted by Marksnet View Post
    This thread is great info. I just purchased a Dell Computer with the following specs. What do you think my problem will be or "limitations" when editing avchd format. I am using pinnacle 14 but I am not loyal to this software and may go to cs5 or some of the above suggestions. Thanks for your input.


    1 Studio XPS 9100 Intel Core i7-930 processor(8MB L2 Cache, 2.80GHz)

    1 18GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz

    ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5

    1.5 Tbyte Hard Drive @ 7200rpms
    mercury playback engine for cs5 requires nvidia card, so it won't work for you

    it will be smooth with edius neo booster - download the trial to see for yourself

    get another hard drive for media, 1 for programs/os
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  9. Member
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    Originally Posted by poisondeathray View Post
    Originally Posted by Marksnet View Post
    This thread is great info. I just purchased a Dell Computer with the following specs. What do you think my problem will be or "limitations" when editing avchd format. I am using pinnacle 14 but I am not loyal to this software and may go to cs5 or some of the above suggestions. Thanks for your input.


    1 Studio XPS 9100 Intel Core i7-930 processor(8MB L2 Cache, 2.80GHz)

    1 18GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz

    ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5

    1.5 Tbyte Hard Drive @ 7200rpms
    mercury playback engine for cs5 requires nvidia card, so it won't work for you

    it will be smooth with edius neo booster - download the trial to see for yourself

    get another hard drive for media, 1 for programs/os

    yep I agree on the external hard drive.

    So cs5 will not run w/o an nvidia card? If you dont mind fill me in on this technology. Thanks for the reply!
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  10. Member
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    It will run, but mpe won't be enabled. You need a cuda enabled card with at least 768MB memory. There is a hack (search for it) so you don' t need a $3K quadro, a <$100 card will suffice .

    Search for "Mercury Playback Engine" - it basically allows things to be decoded on the video card . Things are easily 5-10x faster and "buttery smooth" to edit
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  11. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Be aware this is all cutting edge beta level. Don't expect documentation yet.

    Independent verification of claims is in process.
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  12. Member
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    just a note that I have tried the new computer out and it chopped up my avchd video and spit out a killer dvd with overlays, music, transitions, and effects..

    I am good to go now. The only thing left to do is try something other than pinnacle 14 guess ill try sony vegas now
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  13. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Originally Posted by Marksnet View Post
    Originally Posted by poisondeathray View Post
    Originally Posted by Marksnet View Post
    This thread is great info. I just purchased a Dell Computer with the following specs. What do you think my problem will be or "limitations" when editing avchd format. I am using pinnacle 14 but I am not loyal to this software and may go to cs5 or some of the above suggestions. Thanks for your input.


    1 Studio XPS 9100 Intel Core i7-930 processor(8MB L2 Cache, 2.80GHz)

    1 18GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz

    ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5

    1.5 Tbyte Hard Drive @ 7200rpms
    mercury playback engine for cs5 requires nvidia card, so it won't work for you

    it will be smooth with edius neo booster - download the trial to see for yourself

    get another hard drive for media, 1 for programs/os

    yep I agree on the external hard drive.

    So cs5 will not run w/o an nvidia card? If you dont mind fill me in on this technology. Thanks for the reply!
    CS5 uses 'Cuda technology which is only NVidia. ATI cards will still work but not for the accelerated modes. I can't speak for Edius ATI GPU support. I don't know.

    When second hard drive is mentioned "external hard drive" raises flags unless it is eSATA. You want an internal PATA/SATA or external eSATA ideally if you want full isolation of the video drive from OS interrupts. This is particularly important for the Premiere scratch disk (temp files) that are generated during workspace filter rendering. Edius and Vegas also generate large temp files during color correction, transitions, compositing or other filtering.

    Make sure you move the "scratch"/Temp directories off the C: drive.

    That said, if all you are doing is cut editing MPeg2/h.264 (e.g. 25 Mb/s or less) then you will only see a the eSATA difference during file copy operations. But if you are only cut editing, why use these programs at all ? If you are color correcting the full timeline, most disk operations will be to that second drive.
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  14. Hoover Fanatic budwzr's Avatar
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    I'm getting in late on this thread, but I have a Qosmio X505 sans the SSD, and use Sony Vegas Pro vigorously and almost exclusively with AVCHD and the performance is what you want.

    "buttery"????
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  15. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by budwzr View Post
    I'm getting in late on this thread, but I have a Qosmio X505 sans the SSD, and use Sony Vegas Pro vigorously and almost exclusively with AVCHD and the performance is what you want.

    "buttery"????
    How is the heat generation on that Qosmio X505 during encoding?
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  16. Hoover Fanatic budwzr's Avatar
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    I always use a cooling pad under it, so I don't really know how hot it can get, but I've seen posts elsewhere that it does get pretty hot during gameplay without a cooler pad.
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  17. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by budwzr View Post
    I always use a cooling pad under it, so I don't really know how hot it can get, but I've seen posts elsewhere that it does get pretty hot during gameplay without a cooler pad.
    Encoding video is the real test since it loads the CPU 100% for the duration of the encode. Games push the GPU but throttle the CPU.
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  18. Hoover Fanatic budwzr's Avatar
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    Vegas doesn't do that necessarily, depends how many render threads you allow and how much ram you allocate for preview. I get almost realtime encoding to 720p30 AVCHD, and no heat buildup with the cooler.
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  19. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by budwzr View Post
    Vegas doesn't do that necessarily, depends how many render threads you allow and how much ram you allocate for preview. I get almost realtime encoding to 720p30 AVCHD, and no heat buildup with the cooler.
    I'm assuming you want to use all the CPU.
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  20. Member
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    Originally Posted by budwzr View Post
    I'm getting in late on this thread, but I have a Qosmio X505 sans the SSD, and use Sony Vegas Pro vigorously and almost exclusively with AVCHD and the performance is what you want.

    &quot;buttery&quot;????
    IS that the one with the SPURS engine?
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  21. Hoover Fanatic budwzr's Avatar
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    I don't know from engines, I'm more on the creation than technical side. I'm not smitten, nor am I an "affiliate", but this Qosmio is a serious workhorse, and I do it all.

    As far as CPU usage, no I don't usually render full throttle. I don't have a "deadline" like many commercial editors. Most of my renders are "pieces" or "stock" and tend to be short.

    I use Ableton on my Qosmio too, with a USB pad controller and keyboard and I can even bang out a few beats at the same time as rendering, never crashing or freezing.


    Originally Posted by TBoneit View Post
    IS that the one with the SPURS engine?
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  22. Surely if you're going for a serious workhorse PC for Video editing, yes keep the 1.5tb disk (or bigger) but wouldn't two SSD find a nice warm space in there? eg 2x64gb (not outlandish money) one as source drive, one as destination ... they all come with good warranty nowadays.
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