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What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Talk about computer software/hardware problems, related to digital video or otherwise.

What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby jackfalbey » Fri May 30, 2014 2:59 pm

PC components are better, faster, and cheaper than ever... so if you're looking for a great editing workstation for Adobe CS6 or CC, here's what you can get for around $1,000 if you build it yourself:

3.3GHz Xeon CPU (Core i7 equivalent, 4 cores/8 threads)
16GB RAM
120GB SSD
2TB RAID0
2GB GTX 750 video card

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/Publi ... r=19359649

As always, these parts are intended as an example of what you can build at this price range. If you are building your own computer, please be sure the parts you choose have the specific features and capabilities that your workflow requires.
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby Steve Grisetti » Fri May 30, 2014 4:05 pm

Just curious which model of Xeon you're recommending, Jack. There are a number of Xeon models that run at 3.3 ghz and their performance benchmarks vary a lot.
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

Though there's no denying that your specs would build an awesome editing machine!
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby jackfalbey » Fri May 30, 2014 4:21 pm

The Xeon E3-12xx series, Steve. They will run in a lot of consumer motherboards (check mfr. website for compatibility) and they don't require ECC RAM. They are basically Core i7 CPUs without the onboard Intel graphics, and about $100 cheaper. They come in socket 1155, 1150, and 2011 varieties. Performance should be nearly identical to a similar i7 chip. Since editing PCs usually have PCI graphics cards, why pay more for a feature that isn't needed? Plus, you get the reliability and durability of a Xeon.

I'm running the Xeon E3-1230 V2 (Ivy Bridge) in my new editing PC...
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby karri » Sat May 31, 2014 9:05 pm

Thanks for this info ... I just picked up a Sony AX100 and was happily surprised to find my first test file opened no problem in PPro CS6. But I am thinking about upgrading my pc for faster rendering of the higher resolution clips. Also, I have a friend who is comfortable building pcs, so maybe I should start from scratch with something similar to Jack's configuration above?

My current pc is a 3-year-old Dell XPS9100, Intel i7 960 @3.20 GHz, 12 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5800 series graphics, running 64-bit Windows 7. Hmm ... upgrade or scratch? Any advice appreciated!

Thanks :)
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby jackfalbey » Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:45 am

Hi Karri,

The configuration I posted above is intended for HD & photo editing; 4k video is an entirely different animal. I don't work with 4k video yet, so what I'm about to say is based on my research... not firsthand experience.

You didn't specify your workflow with your AX100: are you editing multicam sequences, do you use lots of VFX / color grading, do you use After Effects, etc? And you didn't specify when you say "faster rendering" do you mean preview of the timeline or encoding a finished project for delivery? So, for the sake of this post I'll assume you are editing 4k footage from one camera with standard cuts / transitions / titles in PPro and talking about faster preview of the timeline.

Your current PC should be fine, and you probably wouldn't see much improvement from building a system like the one above, with a few caveats. Your video card is most likely what's holding you back. While AMD video cards are now approved for Adobe CC, it's my understanding that they will not give GPU acceleration in CS6 and even if they did, your Radeon HD 5800 series wouldn't be up to the task. I'd recommend upgrading to an Nvidia card with 4GB RAM. At least a GTX 760, which will cost about $270-$300. This alone should make a noticeable difference in your editing.

4k files are large and need a lot of RAM, hard drive space, and hard drive throughput. If you can upgrade your PC's RAM from 12GB to 24GB that should help. You didn't say what your hard drive setup is, but you should have multiple disks: a fast SSD for the OS/programs, a RAID array for raw media files, and another HDD for previews / cache / scratch. I'd recommend at least a 3TB RAID0 array (3x1TB) for your media drive. That should give you ~300MB/sec throughput which is good for the files from your AX100. If you can post the full hardware specs of your current PC, I can make some suggestions for upgrades.

If you want to build a new PC optimized for for 4k editing, you're looking at between $2,000-$3,000 to do it right.
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby karri » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:51 am

Thanks for your thoughtful reply Jack. Specs below; if I missed anything please let me know.

Instead of using 3-4 cameras for a multicam band videos, I'd like to take advantage of the ax100's higher res files and multicam the one file into 3-4 MC tracks and use pan and zoom to push in for close ups on the different musicians/instruments, then output in 1080 for online and BluRay. Of course this is all theory right now as I've only recorded one quick test file of the dog :-D

So, yes to multicam editing; yes to cuts, transitions and titles; yes to some minor color correction; no AE; no VFX; yes to faster rendering on the timeline preview.

My friend said the same thing you did about my video card, and I dont think I have any free memory slots.

I have the W7 OS and Production Premium CS6 (PPRo) on C and use the D drive for the footage/projects, then move the project folder to an external drive when it's finished. I have the scratch disk set to same as project.

(From Speccy)

Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

CPU
Intel Core i7 960 @ 3.20GHz 55 °C
Bloomfield 45nm Technology

RAM
12.0GB Triple-Channel DDR3 @ 666MHz (9-9-9-24)

Motherboard
Dell Inc. 05DN3X (CPU 1) 40 °C

Graphics
DELL ST2421L (1920x1080@60Hz)
DELL ST2420L (1920x1080@60Hz)
ATI Radeon HD 5800 Series (ATI) 53 °C

Storage
1863GB Seagate ST32000641AS (SATA) 37 °C
931GB Seagate ST31000528AS (SATA) 37 °C
1863GB Western Digital WD Ext HDD 1021 USB Device (USB (SATA)) 35 °C
59GB SD Card (USB)

Optical Drives
HL-DT-ST BD-RE BH30N
HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GH50N

Audio
Creative X-Fi Audio Processor (WDM)

RAM
Memory slots
Total memory slots 6
Used memory slots 6
Free memory slots 0
Memory
Type DDR3
Size 12288 MBytes
Channels # Triple
DRAM Frequency 666.6 MHz
CAS# Latency (CL) 9 clocks
RAS# to CAS# Delay (tRCD) 9 clocks
RAS# Precharge (tRP) 9 clocks
Cycle Time (tRAS) 24 clocks
Command Rate (CR) 2T
Physical Memory
Memory Usage 23 %
Total Physical 12 GB
Available Physical 9.13 GB
Total Virtual 24 GB
Available Virtual 20 GB

Thanks again for your advice! :)
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby jackfalbey » Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:06 pm

Ok, I downloaded a 4k XAVC clip from a Sony AX100. On my PC (see specs below in my signature) in PPro CC with some light 3-way color correction, and with Playback Resolution set at Full, it played back smoothly with ~40% CPU usage and ~20GB of RAM usage. With Playback Resolution set to 1/2 it used ~20% CPU and ~12GB RAM. So your CPU and RAM should be adequate if you set your Playback Resolution to 1/4. Try this and see how it works for you.

Your video card and your disk setup are definitely still going to be bottlenecks. There's not much sense in upgrading your RAM because you'd have to replace all 6 sticks. I'd definitely recommend upgrading your video card to a 4GB GTX 760 or GTX 770. I'd also recommend using a RAID0 for your media files, but this will be a challenge because your XPS 9100 only has 5 SATA ports and you're using 4 of them: 2 HDDs and 2 optical drives. If you can do without the DVD burner, you'll be able to use a 3-disk RAID0 which will give you more than enough throughput for the 4k video files. These 2 changes alone, along with using 1/4 Playback Resolution, should give you smooth playback of the timeline. The good news is that you can bring the new video card and HDDs into a new PC if you decide that's necessary down the road. If you do decide to build a new one, you're looking at an i7 4930K 6-core processor with 32GB of RAM, so the total parts cost is going to be in the neighborhood of $2,000.

Out of curiosity, I also downloaded a 4k R3D clip shot with a RED EPIC, with almost 10x the bitrate of the AX100. I applied the same 3-way color correction as on the AX100 clip. Even on my PC playback at Full and 1/2 resolution was painfully choppy. All 8 virtual CPU cores were maxed out at 100% and RAM used was about 15GB. So, it appears that even a new quad-core Xeon isn't up to the task for 4k R3D at full res playback. However, at 1/4 resolution it played back smoothly.

There are specific steps you can take to optimize your 4k workflow in PPro, but that would be a subject for a new thread in the Premiere Pro section of Muvipix. Good luck, and please feel free to ask if you have any more questions about upgrading or building a new PC!
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby jackfalbey » Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:21 pm

For smooth editing of 4k material, here's a configuration suited for that:

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/Publi ... r=30005047

6-core i7-4930
32GB RAM
240GB SSD
3TB (3x 1TB) RAID0
1TB for Previews / Cache / Scratch disks
4GB GTX 770

Total cost: around $2,300
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby karri » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:17 am

Jack thanks so much for taking the time to test that out. I will send this thread to my friend and get back to you if we have further questions. All of your info is a big help, thank you! :TU:
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby jackfalbey » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:38 am

No problem, Karri. Glad to help. It was interesting to learn about editing 4k, and that my PC can handle it to some extent. I still shoot & edit in HD, but if the need arises at least I know I can do 4k as long as it isn't shot on a RED EPIC... oh well, if Peter Jackson calls me for help on the third "Hobbit" movie, I guess I'll just have to build a faster workstation!

Keep in mind that 4k is very demanding on a PC because of the higher resolution, larger frame size, and higher bitrate compared to HD... therefore the need for a fast multi-core CPU, lots of RAM, fast hard disk throughput, and a video card with at least 4GB of RAM.

If your friend (or anyone else for that matter) wants to read up a little on building custom editing PCs for Adobe, this page is extremely helpful in understanding just how all the different hardware works together:

http://ppbm7.com/index.php/tweakers-page

Harm Millaard and Bill Gerkhe are two of the top experts on Adobe & hardware configurations.
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby karri » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:14 pm

Jack thanks so much for this link. Just reading through the 'Disk Setup' post answered a lot of questions; what a great resource.

I notice the ax100 can dual record to 4K XAVC S and 720p mp4 at the same time, so maybe proxy editing is a possibility as well. :-k

In any event, I still need to upgrade my pc. Thanks again for all the great info/advice :tup:
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby jackfalbey » Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:42 pm

You can edit by proxy, and many editors do. One of the advantages of using 1/4 Playback Resolution is that PPro effectively is editing by proxy, but without the hassle of having to replace the lower-res proxy with the full-res files at the end.

With just the video card and hard drive upgrades your current system should be adequate for now, if a new $2,000+ system isn't in your budget yet. And, the longer you wait to build a new one, the better the components will be at that time for the same price.
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby momoffduty » Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:57 pm

Jack, thanks for posting periodically your recommendations. Thanks for helping me with my build year before last. I am very happy with the performance.
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby karri » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:06 am

jackfalbey wrote:For smooth editing of 4k material, here's a configuration suited for that:

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/Publi ... r=30005047

6-core i7-4930
32GB RAM
240GB SSD
3TB (3x 1TB) RAID0
1TB for Previews / Cache / Scratch disks
4GB GTX 770

Total cost: around $2,300


Hi again!

A bit confused about video cards... would you recommend

Asus GTX780-DC2OC-3GD5 GeForce GTX 780 889 MHz Core - 3 GB GDDR5 SDRAM

or NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 970 4GB GDDR5 w/PhysX

(I am configuring online and do not have the GTX 770 with 4 GB option.)

The 970 has 4 GB but less CUDA cores while the 780 has 3 GB but more CUDA cores. (This will be on a pc with Production Premium CS6)

Also, I'm finding that 6 core is not in my budget atm, and looking to put the above in a system with a Core i7 i7-4790K Quad-core, if that helps.

Thanks in advance! :)
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Re: What to expect for the $$$ - May 2014

Postby jackfalbey » Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:24 pm

Hi karri,

The new i7-5820K has 6 cores and is $389. The extra 2 cores will make a big difference in your editing, especially with 4k. It uses a different socket and chipset, so you'd have to choose a different motherboard and DDR4 RAM. I'm not in front of my computer right now, but I'll see if I can post a new suggested build later on tonight.

As far as the GPU goes, I'd pick the GTX 780. It has more CUDA cores and a wider memory interface. That will help you more than the extra RAM in the GTX 970.

If you're looking to have someone else build it for you, I'd recommend Safe Harbor or Puget Systems. They have a lot of experience building PCs for Adobe software and you'll end up with a better system then if you just configure one from Dell or HP. Their staff are very active on the Adobe forums.

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