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  1. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2014
    Location: Brisbane, Australia
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    Hey everyone,

    I’ve been editing on a 15Z Dell laptop the past two years. It’s an I7-3517U @ 1.90Gh and 8GB of Ram. It was clear pretty early on it was incapable of HD video editing (using Sony Vegas Pro 12) with the main problem being stuttering, skipping during playback in the timeline - particularly when I added transitions and effects. Thus, I’ve been saving a bit each month for over a year to buy a system that will allow me edit HD in all its glory and I really want to make sure I buy the right system this time. The three (desktop computers this time) I am looking at are below. I was hoping you’d be able to let me know which of these are capable of HD video editing (if any) and any warning signs with any of them or questions I should be asking the retailer. I don’t really understand any of the specs beyond the processor, GHz, cores and RAM.

    Thanks so much!

    Jamie

    Computer 1 - http://www.dell.com/au/p/xps-8700/pd?oc=w2111g02au&model_id=xps-8700

    Processor: 4th Gen IntelŽ Core™ i7-4770 processor (8M Cache, up to 3.9 GHz)
    Memory: 12GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 4 DIMMs
    Hard Drive: 1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive 6.0 Gb/s
    Graphics Card: NVIDIAŽ GeForceŽ GTX 645 1.0GB GDDR5
    Ports: Support for 4 HDD bays: including (3) 3.5” HDDs
    –Capable of 1 SSD and 3 HDD configuration

    Computer 2 - http://www.harveynorman.com.au/hp-pavilion-500-007a-desktop.html

    Processor: AMD Quad-Core A10-6700 APU (3.7 GHz, 4 MB cache)
    Memory: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 (2x8GB) 4 DIMM memory slots
    Hard drive: 3 TB 7200 rpm SATA
    Graphics card: AMD Radeon HD 8570 (2 GB DDR3 dedicated)
    ABLE TO ADD SSD?

    Computer 3 - http://www.computeralliance.com.au/alliance-gen4-i7-ultimate-desktop

    Processor: Intel S1150 Core i7 4770 3.40GHz Quad Core CPU
    Memory: 16GB Memory DDR3
    Hard Drive: 2TB WD 3.5" Caviar Green SATA 6Gb/s HDD PN WD20EZRX
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX650 1GB Gigabyte PCIe Video Card
    Last edited by jcarstenm; 23rd Feb 2014 at 05:10.
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  2. Member turk690's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2003
    Location: ON, Canada
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    Originally Posted by jcarstenm View Post
    It was clear pretty early on it was incapable of HD video editing (using Sony Vegas Pro 12) with the main problem being stuttering, skipping during playback in the timeline - particularly when I added transitions and effects...
    ... because it has only one hard drive. There are supposed to be two single-controllered drives (eg, SATA; USB doesn't count), one for OS/programs, the other for captured, edited, rendered files to go into. Nearly all laughtops with their single hard drives right out of the box, because of this factor, are unsuitable for any serious level of NLE. Any i7 machine with 8GB of RAM and appropriate GPU with maybe 1GB properly configured should not have problems with HD NLE.
    The desktops you listed are all OK, provided you do put in another SATA drive (or two, or three) for keeping all project-related files off the main (boot) drive, where only OS and programs should reside. Though the system RAMs quoted seem ample, if a SSD will be used as a boot drive, pagefile.sys should be placed in another SATA-connected conventional hard drive.
    There have been a number of recent and not-so-recent threads about this subject matter on this forum where I, and other august denizens of videohelp.com, have posted our two cents on. Search for them and know more.
    Stop feeling suicidal just because he unfriended you on fezbuk.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2014
    Location: Brisbane, Australia
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    Thanks for the quick response Turk. I did have a look at some other threads, which did help but didn't contain all of the exact info I was chasing.

    Just a couple of quick questions from your reply. When you say two single controlled drives, can this mean an external hard-drive to store all the video/renderings etc? Or does this relate to RAID, a word I've seen a couple of times in my research but still can't quite seem to grasp?

    I note none if these computers have SSD. This is something I assume I can add later though if I choose, as well as RAM? Or will none of these computers allow for future upgrades? I notice the Dell says it's capable of 1 SSD but the others don't.

    Thanks a lot!

    Jamie
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  4. Member turk690's Avatar
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    Location: ON, Canada
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    Originally Posted by jcarstenm View Post
    When you say two single controlled drives, can this mean an external hard-drive to store all the video/renderings etc? Or does this relate to RAID, a word I've seen a couple of times in my research but still can't quite seem to grasp?
    It can be external or internal, as long as it's a single controller interface (like SATA or eSATA). USB3 is fast and may seem OK on the surface but since it is a multi-device controller, may bring as many problems as that you had to begin with, so avoid if you can. RAID refers to a bunch of hard drives related to each other in a redundancy or speed mode; all of the drives constitute a RAID volume and seen in windoze as a single drive letter if set up and configured properly. A RAID0 volume consists of two drives (preferably identical) stripped as a single one, where data is read and written to simultaneously on specific sectors on the drives. This gives a theoretical 2x increase in data transfer speed and all the hard drive space available (two 1GB drives in a RAID 0 array will create a 2GB volume). Unfortunately, if one drive gets corrupted, the whole volume is as well; tough trying to recreate it. A RAID1 volume consists of two drives that have been mirrored (two 1GB drives will create a 1GB volume); it's obviously better than RAID0 in that true redundancy is present (when one drive gets corrupt, the other can be reconstructed, which is the whole point of RAID1). With big, inexpensive hard drives common these days, RAID1 is a popular option for a lot of users. Apart from RAID0 and 1, there are other RAID schemes with unique features of their own.
    RAID can be h/w or s/w based. One h/w based RAID scenario would be when you buy an external enclosure designed for RAID, stuff two hard drives in it, then connect it to the PC with eSATA or, ugh, USB. Windoze sees it as a single drive and may or may not know it's a RAID volume. Another scenario would be with current mainboards that have multiple SATA ports. Choosing the appropriate settings in BIOS can make one choose to have two of these SATA ports configured for a RAID0 or 1 volume. Again, windoze sees it the volume as a single drive. With appropriate h/w and setup, you can form s/w RAIDs with Windows 7. For example, with a mainboard that had multiple SATA ports (and not deliberately configured as RAID in BIOS), connecting hard drives to each port can normally cause windoze to create a drive letter for each. However, in windoze there is an option for creating dynamic partitions (as opposed to basic). Dynamic formatted hard drives can then be configured for s/w RAID (for example where there were two separate hard drives :E and :F each 1GB before, setting up a s/w RAID1 volume will take the two drives and leave only :E, with a total size of 1GB). Windoze has simple built-in management for s/w RAID and is enough for some who require RAID but either don't want an external box, or the mainboard SATA controller can't be configured for RAID in the BIOS level.

    Originally Posted by jcarstenm View Post
    I note none if these computers have SSD. This is something I assume I can add later though if I choose, as well as RAM? Or will none of these computers allow for future upgrades? I notice the Dell says it's capable of 1 SSD but the others don't.
    SSDs are good if you can get them; blazing access speeds and all that, falling prices, and increasing size make them more viable. Despite all this, there are some fundamentals one has to be aware of with them and juxtapose it against the bigger picture of audio and video editing we are here for. 1st, the one thing you can do to make your conventional hard drive faster, especially as it fills up, is to defrag it manually or automatically. However, this very thing deliberately done to an SSD can shorten its life if not damage it completely. That's why when windoze7 detects you have connected an SSD, defrag for that drive is automatically turned off. In general, an ideal situation would be an SSD, where data is read from all the time, but only written to sparingly. This makes an ideal case for using a SSD as a primary boot drive, where OS and programs are put on, and that's about it. Capturing, editing, rendering audio and video, on the other hand involve a ton of reads and writes, best suited for conventional 7200rpm drives (which may or may not shorten an equivalent SSD's life). And face it, >240G SSDs are still expensive, in our situations where we'd like to use 1, 2 or 3TB drives.
    So I wouldn't fret that Dell says "it's capable of 1 SSD". Though that question has to be refined, I wouldn't bother drilling down to what Dell precisely means, as I have installed SSDs on a number of laughtops and desktops and none of them had anything explicit about "only being capable of just 1 SSD". In these computers, the SSD contained the OS and programs; all other files (documents, media, etc, that are user generated and sourced) are in a separate HDD, windoze having been configured to do so. The case is heightened even more for heavy users who don't want to, or can't increase system RAM above 4GB; multiple open running programs and files will cause the swap file to be used. This heavy read/write scenario is again detrimental to an SSD especially if this file (pagefile.sys) is on it (windoze default); relocating it to a separate, non-USB, non-solid state drive is best.
    Last edited by turk690; 15th Mar 2014 at 11:39.
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