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Thread: Help me spec a 2 grand video editing system

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    Help me spec a 2 grand video editing system

    Budget and Requirments:

    I have a budget of £2000 to spend on a a new system which will will run Avid Express HD Pro. I will also be using Adobe after effects and Photoshop. This computer will solely be used as a workstation and will not be used to play games. I want to use all of the 2k budget as I have set this money aside and want the system to be as fast as possible to future proof it.

    My research so far:

    PC or Mac:

    My first issue was PC vs Mac. I have decided to go PC as I think I can get more for my money. In the past Mac were better for video/photo work but now that they are both running intel chips and windows has "matured" I believe that Apple no longer holds the advantage. Are these assumptions correct?

    Which PC:

    So having chosen to got the PC route I bought the latest version of PC PRO, went to their A List section and saw the Mesh Elite Extreme QXG80 which comes in at £2249. Hexus.net also reviewed this computer and were impressed by the performance. But to me it seems that it is aimed towards high end gamers, and the graphics card maybe optimised in the wrong way for what I want to do. The reviews can be found here:

    http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/97726...eme-qxg80.html
    http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=7682

    Further investigation into Avid:

    According to the website the minimium specifications are:

    Minimum PC System Specifications for Avid Xpress Pro

    * Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
    * QuickTime 7.1 or later; Windows Media Player 10 (with version 9.5 codecs)
    * 1 GB system memory minimum, 2 GB recommended for HD or high-stream count SD projects
    * One of the following processors: (minimum speed listed)
    o Xeon 2.4 Ghz (single or dual core)
    o Intel Core 2 Duo 2.13 Ghz
    o Intel Core Duo 1.67 Ghz
    o Pentium 4 1.8 Ghz
    o Pentium M 1.8 Ghz (mobile)
    o Pentium D 1.7 Ghz (mobile)
    * Qualified graphics card (per model, as supported by system vendors)
    * Qualified IEEE-1394 FireWire port (integrated or add-in card; Avid Mojo is not supported on notebook systems with PCMCIA cards of any kind)
    * 40 GB or larger internal drive
    * DVD-ROM or DVD+RW drive

    The following specific graphics cards have been tested by Avid:

    Graphics Cards (Workstations)

    * NVIDIA QuadroFX 3500 PCI Express
    * NVIDIA QuadroFX 3450 PCI Express
    * NVIDIA QuadroFX 3400 PCI Express
    * NVIDIA QuadroFX 1500 PCI Express
    * NVIDIA QuadroFX 1400 PCI Express
    * NVIDIA QuadroFX 1300 PCI Express
    * NVIDIA QuadroFX 560 PCI Express
    * NVIDIA QuadroFX 550 PCI Express
    * NVIDIA QuadroFX 3000 AGP 8X
    * NVIDIA QuadroFX 1100 AGP 8X
    * NVIDIA QuadroFX 500 AGP 8X

    There will be no problem matching the cpu/ram/hd but the graphics cards are not ones that I have heard of before

    Avid and Vista

    After a quick google it seems that Avid does in fact not run on Vista, so it looks like the system will have to be XP PRO with service pack 2.
    http://www.avid.com/exchange/forums/...howThread.aspx

    Dual Screens:

    I would like to go dual screen in the future but this is not necessary straight away and is something which I can add later (assuming I have an appropriate gfx card). I have never worked on dual screens before so I don't know how useful they are.

    However, I am not sure which size and or spec I should be looking at. Can anyone advise me on a model which is suitable for this kind of work?

    System:

    I have found a system from scan which is tailored for video editing. It is called the the Intel Slipstream Core 2 Duo as shown here:

    http://3xs.scan.co.uk/ShowSystem.asp?SystemID=525

    which is priced at £1,602.12 inc VAT

    In terms of upgrades to take it to my 2k budget I could go for the Intel Core 2 Quad-Core Pro Q6600, 775, 2.40 GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 8MB Cache, Retail at £453.59 extra. As far as I know this is one of the fastest cpus out there but would this greatly benefit the system?

    I am only really looking at this system as I stumbled across it via google and it seems to fit the bill. Are there any other companies I should be looking at?

    Have I missed any important things in my research?

    I know there are a lot of questions, but I am a bit lost and really appreciate any help that I can get.

    Thanks,
    Ollie

  2. #2
    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
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    Video editing does not put much stress on video card so a plain basic one will be fine. For Adobe AE/PS you'll probably want to bump it up to 4GB memory. You may as well get 4x500GB so that you can put load of video in uncompressed format to reduce conversion loss.

    Pick a bigger monitor. Most professional photoshop users struggle with anything less than 1600x1200

    What do you need the harddrive caddy for? The case's internal can fit 4+ harddrives without the need for extra harddrive caddy.
    Workstation 1: Intel i7 950 @ 3.8Ghz / X58 / 12GB DDR3-1600 / HD4870 512MB / Antec P180
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  3. #3
    Senior Member pr0p4g4nd4's Avatar
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    I'd think you'd be a lot better off if you spent some of that spare money getting something like a 24" Dell monitor. It's something that will increase productivity and will make your general computing experience a whole lot more enjoyable.

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    I would like to go dual screen in the future but this is not necessary straight away and is something which I can add later (assuming I have an appropriate gfx card). I have never worked on dual screens before so I don't know how useful they are.
    My mate uses a version of Avid for his work (not the Xpress HD pro) and he swears by dual monitors. I can see how it improves workflow - especially when one can act as a preview screen, whilst using the other to monitor the timeline (both of which will be enalrged because of more workspace available).

    Personally, I think 2x excellent definition 21" CRT's would do nicely, excellent clarity and allows high resolutions (I run 2048x1536 on mine), and would hardly cost anything these days. However, size would be an issue (as would reselling!). I don't know if the QuadroFX's will support 2x CRT's though... they might even be DualDVI....(in which case be prepared to fork out a bit more than usual as DVI usually adds a bit of £ compared to non-DVI counterparts).

    Video editing does not put much stress on video card so a plain basic one will be fine.
    Whilst true for most people, especially enthusiasts, it really depends on what the system is required to do. The QuadroFX cards are built specifically for NLE editing systems and packages like Adobe After Effects by supporting larger frame buffers for realtime applications such as broadcasting and FX. When you think about the data throughput of HD resolutions [w/ framerate + FX (or any calculations being made)], you will need some aid from your graphics. Some cards also feature breakout boxes which will be tailored for NLE systems over say a Radeon AIW (obv).
    Last edited by ACiD303; 04-03-2007 at 03:00 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACiD303 View Post
    Personally, I think 2x excellent definition 21" CRT's would do nicely, excellent clarity and allows high resolutions (I run 2048x1536 on mine), and would hardly cost anything these days. However, size would be an issue (as would reselling!). I don't know if the QuadroFX's will support 2x CRT's though... they might even be DualDVI....(in which case be prepared to fork out a bit more than usual as DVI usually adds a bit of £ compared to non-DVI counterparts).
    Why wouldnt it power CRT's ?
    DVI ports shouldnt cost extra, they are pretty much standard now. Even so, a simple DVI->Dsub adaptor would do the trick for both displays. Most of the time these are included with the card. If they aint, its only a few quid to buy
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Why wouldnt it power CRT's ?
    I was thinking in terms of ports - some cards don't have Dsubs anymore. But like you say, an adapter would do the trick.

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    Pseudo-Mad Scientist Whiternoise's Avatar
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    A lot of cards come with free adaptors these days (XFX is one that springs to mind) so that shouldn't be an issue.

    If your budget is 2k, then i'd probably go for a mid range card.. (i'm not an expert on the workstation stuff, but as a guess) that way it won't be too out of date and will pack enough punch to do the tasks you want.

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    Thanks for all the information guys. I am a lot clearer on what I should be looking at.

    Can anyone recommend any other manufacturers which build systems of this type?

    I have only found scan that build a dedicated video editing system so I don't have anyone to compare them too.

  9. #9
    Pseudo-Mad Scientist Whiternoise's Avatar
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    Hah scan should be fine if you're worried about build quality - as i'm sure just about everyone here will testify to.

    You could try someone like Vadim..?
    Last edited by Whiternoise; 04-03-2007 at 05:58 PM.

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    Vadim would cost much more than Scan. But they are both good.
    Deo Adjuvante non Timendum

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    Fried Chip Extremist alsenior's Avatar
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    Armari are supposed to be one of the best in the uk for pro workstations

    http://www.armari.com/
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    Scan will still work out cheaper, but spec out your rig and see wo gives you the best price.
    Deo Adjuvante non Timendum

  13. #13
    unapologetic apologist
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    that scan system has a 17"!!! shame on them!



    my editing systems have either 1600x1200 CRT or dual screens

    have a look at dvc - they build some pretty reliable editing systems:
    http://www.dvc.uk.com/index.php

    oh, and agreed that apples do no better a job in the NLE world than PCs - is all hype / marketing / smoke & mirrors. No-one cares what you edit on as long as you produce good stuff

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