I need some advice on building a computer for editing video.
I'm just starting to experiment with some filmmaking.
I have a Canon Vixia HF200 that I will use to get familiar with the process.
I will mostly be recording 30sec. to 5 min. clips in High Def 24p Cinema Mode @ 24Mbps.
This camera records using MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression.
I don't want to be waiting on the computer while I'm editing, but I don't want to spend a lot either.
I have an AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2mhz (L2 = 2 x 512MB, L3 = 6MB) w/ a MSI 785GM-E51 (DDR3) that I was planning on using to build with, but I could sell them. ( I live near a Fry's, so a new CPU/Mobo is cheap).
1.) Would an AMD Athlon II X4 620/630/635 be better - considering the slower processor speed (2.6/2.8/2.9), smaller overall cache size (L2 = 4 x 512, no L3), but having 4 cores?
2.) How important is RAM speed/capacity in editing? For example, 6GB DDR2 1066 vs. 4GB DDR3 1333 or 1600 (OS = Windows 7 64bit)
3.) How much of a role does a GFX card play? I have an EVGA 1 GB DDR3 GeForce GT 220. Would something else be better or just a waste of money for editing? ( I don't play games)
4.) What inexpensive ($100+/-) software would you recommend for a beginner? ( I've only used Windows Movie Maker.) I'm just starting, but I want the final product to look good.
5.) How much of a difference does the hard drive set up make? 1 HDD vs. 2 HDD's (OS on it's own drive?), SATA 3.0 vs. SATA 6.0, SSD for boot drive - is it worth the $$$?
Sorry so long winded, I just want to do it right. And thanks in advance for your expertise.
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 30 of 33
"I don't want to be waiting on the computer while I'm editing, but I don't want to spend a lot either."
Your choice of format decided your $$$ future. Welcome to the real world mate.
Your editor and encoder determine hardware requirements. What software are you using?
1.) The more the better. CPU power determines speed.
2.) 2-4GB is enough unless you go extreme in effects.
3.) The GFX is essential for playing AVCHD 1x (minimum PureVideo-HD or AVIVO-HD spec). Beyond that it depends on software support of 'Cuda. 'Cuda is still early beta. Don't spend money now.
4.) Look for Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 minimum on sale. Also look at Premiere Elements with AVCHD support. $100 software won't be doing 'Cuda.
5.) 2 simple drives (ATA-100 or better). One for OS, another for video. Idea is to not let OS interrupt video. Desktop assumed.
Last edited by edDV; 24th May 2010 at 21:41.
"Your choice of format decided your $$$ future."
I don't understand. The AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 seemed pretty standard when I was shopping for camcorders.
"Your editor and encoder determine hardware requirements. What software are you using?"
I haven't purchaced any software yet. I've only used Windows Movie Maker on some stuff I recorded in SD. I was waiting to record HD until I upgraded my old PC (Pentium D 945 3.4ghz) as it is pretty slow even for editing in SD.
How much of a help is software support of CUDA and how much more $ are we talking about?
I'm just starting out and I can always upgrade later.
"I don't understand. The AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 seemed pretty standard when I was shopping for camcorders."
Standard maybe but difficult to edit. The manufacturers know that most people want flash memory and never edit. Those that do need a fast computer even for the basics, or use an intermediate format like Neoscene.
As for 'Cuda, just skip it and get a basic HD card. You can upgrade later when the technology matures.
i don't understand.
Your Proc choice isn't going to cut the mustard editing native 24mbps HD... I wouldn't use anything less than an I-7 920 quad core. If you are hell bent on staying with AMD then get their new six core, that should be fine.
If your only using Windows movie maker then I HIGHLY recommend Corel video studio pro X3. Its SUPER easy and its 10 times better than movie maker. Its also optimized for the Intel I-7 family and Nvidia Cuda. They let you try it out for free for 30 days even.. www.corel.com
Not to mention its only like 80 dollars!
For ram its not so much the speed as it is the amount. I dun care what anyone says, you will save yourself head aches if you just stuff as much in as you can. I use 12 gigs but I have watched others get buy with 6.
As for SSD... I am running a 64gig SSD for OS and apps and its a god send.. I have 2 other drives at raid zero for editing and 1 backup. a 64 gig SSD isn't expensive at all.
Sata III isn't going to be all that much better than Sata II unless you go from say a 7200rpm Sata II to a 10k Sata III. The difference between 7200rpm sata II and III isn't going to be your bottle neck... Massive Proc and lots o Ram for the win!
Hope that helped.
As for the RAM 12 gigs is pure overkill. I have compositing machines here that i run After Effects compositions on that have 8gigs and sure they cant preview as much as others but its fine. For simple NLE editing 4 gigs is fine.
CUDA isn't as great as its going to be, they really havent got anywhere near the potential out of it yet, but that said the cards really arent that much more expensive to get a CUDA GPU. Almost all of the 8000 series and newer are compatible. I'd say dont go out and spend money on a new card if you dont need one just for CUDA, but if you need one anyway, makes sense to get a CUDA-Enabled gpu.
Here is the CUDA Enabled List: http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/cuda_gpus_uk.html
How much are you looking to spend on this and how seriously are you taking it ? What i'd recomend changes a lot on this information. For example Premiere CS5 plus a compatible card for the Mercury engine is a great way to be working with your footage here. However if your not taking it that seriously I wouldnt suggest the expense!
I'm really just starting out. I was planning on using the camera I have(Canon Vixia HF200) to record some short screenplays, throw them on my computer and edit them to a final product with an inexpensive software (Pinnacle?, Vegas?, Corel?, Adobe?). If I ever got to the point where I thought something was screenworthy, I would rent professional equipment to record with. At that point I imagine I would have to upgrade my software to something more professional (CS5?), but that would be many moons from now.
Am I going about this the wrong way? What say the pro's?
$$$? - I don't want to spend more than I need to to start out - I don't want to pay for overkill, but I'm willing to pay what's necessary to learn how to do this right. Meaning that I don't want to learn some backyard way of doing things that I'll just have to toss out the window if I ever do enter the real filmmakers' world.
What I'm hearing is that at least a pretty decent quad core is essential for editing HD - a high end dual core is a no go?
Also there seems to be a general bias toward Intel over AMD, correct?
4GB minimum, some say more.
I've got a few video cards layin' around that have CUDU technology.
Ok well then yes you want a good Quad core processor, this is where i'd put most of your money. The I5 is great value for money and can very easily be clocked upto about 3ghz quad with standard cooling options and then your really getting good speed and processor power for your money.
RAM 4GB is fine. You can always throw more at it but thats not going to be the choking point on your system.
Graphics card, You need something suitable for playing your HD footage smoothely, you dont need to spend loads on a Quadro card or anything like that, you really wont see the benefits.
Hard Drives, Essential to keep your Video off your boot drive. A good speed boot drive is preferable but a 7200 is ok, just a little slower. SSD's are meant to be very good as boot/software drives, however i havent had much use with them yet, maybe someone else who has could offer an opinion on those. As for Media drives Solid 1TB drives are fairly cheap now and will do you well for a while.
Software: Something like Premiere Elements or that band of editing software (Sub $100) is going to be good for you to learn with. Not too complicated, but has the power to do what you want it to. You can get a trial of Elements here if you wanted to try it first: http://www.adobe.com/products/premiereel/ I'm sure Vegas probably offers a full trial as well.
Also consider the format you want to output these videos too. If you want them on a BluRay you'll need to factor that in to your prices.
I generally use three HDDs for a editing computer. A small, fast boot, then two larger HDDs, usually 500GB or 1TB. I'm not that impressed with SSDs. They are very fast, but in my experience they take a lot more maintenance to keep them running at top speed compared to a rotary drive. And because of the way they work, I would suggest a 128GB minimum ($$) size for Vista or W7 or you may be spending a lot of time keeping stuff off it as the OS and many programs want to use the boot drive for temp storage. I would rather use something like a 10K RPM Raptor for a boot drive.
I'd probably suggest a fast Quad core CPU, and if you are running W7 or Vista 64bit, maybe 6GB of DDR3 RAM. You can use more, but little, if any, performance improvement, IMO.
Personally, I'd use Neoscene and edit in that format and save yourself a lot of headaches. It may cost you a few $$ up front, but you would need less CPU power and you could save money that way.
Highly compressed formats like H.264 and Xvid/Divx have widely spaced keyframes, usually about every 300 frames, and that makes them really difficult for frame accurate editing. If you cut anywhere but on a keyframe, you may have sync problems or you will have to re-encode, at least at the cut point. Those formats were made as a end format, not for editing.
Although the fastest i7 still beats everything else in this area, you don't have to buy Intel products to be able to edit and encode your video, especially if you take redwudz suggestion regarding Neoscene.
An Athlon II X4 will still work, although it will be slower than some other AMD CPUs. If a faster AMD CPU appeals to you, the 125W Phenom II X4 965 and Phenom II X6 1090T are supported by the motherboard you have, and receive decent benchmark scores for video encoding.
One caution if you get Phenom II X6: A supported processor has to be installed to flash the BIOS to the latest version before installing a Phenom II X6 processor. Plan on doing that even with a new motherboard. Because the Thuban series processors are so new, even brand new AM3 motherboards capable of supporting them frequently arrive with a BIOS version that doesn't include them.
For HDD's is RPM more important than gb/s or cache size on the boot drive?
10,000rpm - 3.0 gb/s - 16MB cache
7,200rpm - 6.0 gb/s - 64MB cache
Of these the 10K is better, right?
And would 74GB be large enough for the boot drive?
And which would be better for storage assuming all specs are equal:
1 x 1.5TB HDD
2 x 750GB HDD's
As for ($129) Neoscene, I have no problem with it on a Core2 Duo with 2GB RAM*. Neoscene digital intermediate converts AVCHD or HDV from MPeg GOP to less compressed single frames. This eliminates the AVCHD problem but expands the file size about 5-10x, so a large video drive becomes essential. 7200 RPM is plenty.
In the past 60 GB seemed enough but with Win7 and lots of apps including Flight Sims, I'm nearly filling a 120 GB these days.
Video drive: Capacity, not speed is the issue. Cache is unimportant for editing.
All 7200RPM hard drives today can exceed 60 MB/s (480 Mb/s) sustained rates.
AVCHD uses less than 3 MB/s (17 to 24 Mb/s) or less than 5% of drive spec.
Cineform Neoscene expands the file size and disk speed requirement to ~25-50 MB/s (user selectable) but still works fine inside a single 7200 RPM hard drive. NO RAID or Raptor required.
Advanced editors decompress the timeline to RGB temp files. These still work for preview without a RAID by running the preview at reduced resolution.
* although I would recommend a Core 2 quad core or i5/i7 for a new system.
Last edited by edDV; 26th May 2010 at 18:19.
HDDs are rated by seek time and read and write rate. A buffer helps, but not very much for actual transfers. A 10K RPM Raptor has a seek time of about 4.7ms with a 16MB cache, and a typical 7200 RPM has a seek time of about 8.5ms. Cache size varies, but a lot of newer drives have a 32mb cache to make up for slower rotational speed. I would also recommend a HDD with a 5yr warranty. That won't protect your data, but it gives me more faith in the quality of construction of the drive.
74GB is fine for older systems, but with Vista and W7, the install disc itself is huge, typically a compressed dual layer 8GB disc, where XP installs with a CD. My 150GB HDD boot is about half full on my W7 system. And that's with my Temp and Page files moved off to another drive. 74GB is minimal for a boot drive with most systems and you may have to take a bit more effort on keeping the freespace large enough.
Two storage drives are more efficient than a single drive. A single drive, even if partitioned, runs all the data through a single controller. Not very efficient.
In case that wasn't clear, a 1 or 2 TB 7200 RPM hard drive is fine for the video drive. If you don't use a digital intermediate, a 5400 RPM would still work but I'd recommend you go 7200 RPM.
If I was building a Video PC today (I'm not a gamer), I'd choose...
GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P LGA 1156 6Gb/s USB 3.0 : $169.99 after rebate
Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz : $194.99 (overclocked from 3.6 to 4Ghz)
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 : $109.99 (I see a lot of overclockers recommending Mushkin but it costs a little more)
I might get a 74GB Raptor for $89.99 but would probably just use my 160GB WD for my boot drive
Nothing goes on my boot drive except the OS and a few programs. Right now, my 160GB boot drive only has 20GB on it.
Microsoft only recommends 20 GB free space for Windows 7 64bit and 16 GB for Windows 7 32bit.
2X WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6Gb : $99.99 each
I have a bunch of big storage drives but the SATA 6.0 drives would be great for my working drives where I move files around a lot.
Maybe a WD My Book 3.0 1TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive to take advantage of the USB 3.0 on the MB.
Probably use my HIS HD2600XT but there are a handful of decent cards that won't break the bank
I already have a CM Hyper 212 heatsink and fan.
can get this cooler for $29.99 every day at Fry's Electronics
Thanks for all the info. I'll start watching for a quad-core deal at Fry's. I just bought a 750gb HDD on neweggs shell-shocker deal to start with for storage. I'll start with my GT 220 1GB DDR3 for gfx. I'll add 4GB of DD3 1333 or 1600 RAM, maybe a small raptor for a boot drive (Newegg just sold out of their 74GB Velociraptor), overclock the CPU and add some better cooling.
Sounds like Neoscene is the way to go.
As for editing software, I have:
1 vote for Corel video studio pro X3.
2 votes for Vegas Movie Studio (Platinum 9) or Premiere Elements (with AVCHD support)
Any further thoughts on this?
And what programs should I put on my boot drive?
I don't use a lot of software, just this editing software, Office Pro, and a handfull of smaller misc. stuff.
4GB DDR3-1333 ram is about the same price for DDR3-1600. IMHO go for the faster ram since you're going to overclock the cpu. Mushkin ram is good as well as GSKill. But I'm bias cause I use Mushkin in my Quad pc's.
Here are some of the software that I use on XP Pro
Audacity 1.3 Beta
dbpoweramp-MusicConverter-r12 (plus plugins) I got it back when it was free :}
MUSICMATCH 7.5 (best CD Burner)
NicAudio (for Avisynth)
Adobe Photoshop 5
Gif Movie Gear 4
IrfanView (and all plugins)
Nero showtine (nero 7 deluxe)
KMPlayer (for FLV)
Swiff Player (for SWF)
AVI FourCC Changer
TMPGEnc Plus 2.5
Windows Media Components
Adobe Acrobat 7 (I refuse to update to a lesser product or pay for something that I get for free in Acrobat 7)
Acronis True Image
GetDataBack for NTFS
Revo Uninstaller Pro
Wow, I have no idea what about 90% of those even are. Which of those do you recomend for editing purposes?
Neoscene is only specifically supported by Cineform for
plus Mac but you can get it to work with other programs .
They used to have Adobe Premiere Elements in the list but it has disappeared.
PS: I suggest you use Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 first in AVCHD project mode. If you are unhappy with timeline responsiveness, then try the Neoscene demo and draw conclusions.
Last edited by edDV; 27th May 2010 at 14:47.
It took me a little time to find them, but here are some encoding benchmarks comparing the fastest Intel and AMD processors.
The Thubans and the Phenom II x4 965 do OK. Your MSI motherboard can perform some modest overclocking with switches on the board if you want to try that.
I will admit that the best AMD solutions are only cheap compared to the Intel processors that best them, but if you need to save money somewhere, they are at least worth considering. Run the numbers for the various hardware solutions proposed to you, both AMD and Intel, and decide what you can afford. One thing to remember, since you are only working with short clips, any time saved will be less noticeable.
VirtualDub-1.9.9 (and all the plugins)
VideoReDoTVSuite is the only pay program on the list and the new version supports H264 Transport Streams.
I guess there are people that use none of this software though and only use expensive software.
It took me a little time to find them, but here are some encoding benchmarks comparing the fastest Intel and AMD processors.
For $450, I could upgrade my Q6600 PC to a machine that would outperform a 920-I7 and for $100 more, one that would challenge a $3000 I7-975 extreme machine.
Edius Neo2 booster - http://www.grassvalley.com/products/edius_neo_2_booster -- It can handle AVCHD natively if your computer is up to it, or, because it comes with the Canopus HQ codec installed, will also allow you to convert to Canopus HQ (similar high quality format to Cineform) which can be edited easily on a lower power computer.
Similar option to using Cineform, but cheaper than buying Cineform Neoscene + an editor.
I'm sure that's true - especially if you are expecting to handle 4 or 5 levels of native AVCHD smoothly, which is what some folk say is very possible with Edius Neo2 booster - and an i7!
If however you opt for the conversion to Canopus HQ, which is what I do to use with my earlier version of Edius Neo, then it positively flies with my quad core 9550!
Of the various NLE options, I think you'd be hard pushed to beat Edius for efficient CPU usage -although of course you may not be so keen on some of it's other limitations.
Not natively dealing with 5.1 audio is a common complaint, for example. (Strangely enough, the latest version of the Canopus AVCHD2HQ converter does provide for 5.1 audio, to be saved as 6 PCM wav files!)
Assuming my computer meets the system requirement for either, which would be better?
Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro Pack - $65.82 after rebate (amazon.com)
Cineform Neoscene - $99.00
Edius Neo2 Booster - 199.95
Also, thinking of building w/ the AMD Phenom II X2 955 and trying to unlock 2 additional cores. I've read some reviews showing a pretty high success rate of turning it into an X4 and overclocking to 4+ghz. Any thoughts on this?
Here's one: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2927
Also several on Newegg.