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Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

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Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby jackfalbey » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:25 pm

Okay, here's the scoop on what you should expect to get for the $$$ when buying or building a video & photo editing PC. Each system is intended to represent the most “bang for the buck” at a given price point (approximately $500, $750, $1000 & $1500) and CPU manufacturer (AMD vs Intel). If you are buying a pre-assembled PC, remember to add the cost of paying someone to assemble it for you. If you are building your own, feel free to substitute different components based on your needs, budget and personal preferences. There are literally millions of possible combinations of components you can choose when building a PC; the examples below are just my opinion based on experience.

Links are provided to the Newegg.com "wish lists" for more details on specific components and prices.

The criteria:
- All systems use Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. (Add $40 if you want Professional instead)
- All systems have a minimum of 4GB of RAM.
- All systems have at least 2 separate hard drives: 1 for the OS & programs and 1 for media files.
- All systems are configured with a DVD burner. (Add $120 for a Blu-Ray burner instead)
- All systems use a basic case & PSU to mimic what you'd get with an off-the-shelf PC.
- All systems include everything except keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

The disclaimers:
- The components were selected based on value, performance, and positive user reviews.
- The components were selected to give balanced systemwide performance.
- The prices are valid as of July 2010 and may change depending on sales and availability.
- While there are “hacks” to enable non-approved video cards like the Nvidia GTX260 to work with the Adobe CS5 Mercury Playback Engine, the least expensive “officially-approved” video card is the GTX285 at $299, so adjust prices accordingly if you need that capability.
- These systems are not necessarily suited for gaming or overclocking. These PCs are specifically intended for the needs of video & photo editing.


AMD: $500
2.9GHz Athlon II X4 (Quad-core)
4GB DDR2 RAM
160GB OS HDD
640GB Media HDD
ATI Radeon 2100 onboard graphics
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySa ... D=18194367


AMD: $750
2.8GHz Phenom II X6 (Six-core)
8GB DDR3 RAM
160GB OS HDD
640GB Media HDD
ATI Radeon HD4200 onboard graphics
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySa ... D=18194507


AMD: $1000
2.8GHz Phenom II X6 (Six-core)
16GB DDR3 RAM
160GB OS HDD
640GB Media HDD
ATI Radeon HD4200 onboard graphics
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySa ... D=19562268


AMD: $1500
3.2GHz Phenom II X6 (Six-core)
16GB DDR3 RAM
64GB RAID0 OS SSD
2TB RAID0 Media HDD
Nvidia GTX 260 Video Card (*possibly Adobe CS5 Mercury Engine capable)
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySa ... D=19562528


Intel: $500
2.93GHz Core i3-530 (Dual-core w/Hyper-Threading)
4GB DDR3 RAM
160GB OS HDD
500GB Media HDD
Intel Integrated GPU graphics
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySa ... D=19561888


Intel: $750
2.66GHz Core i5-750 (Quad-core)
8GB DDR3 RAM
160GB OS HDD
500GB Media HDD
ATI Radeon HD4650 Video Card
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySa ... D=19625988


Intel: $1000
2.8GHz Core i7-930 (Quad-core)
6GB DDR3 RAM
160GB OS HDD
2TB RAID0 Media HDD
ATI Radeon HD4650 Video Card
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySa ... D=11988271


Intel: $1500
2.8GHz Core i7-930 (Quad-core)
12GB DDR3 RAM
64GB RAID0 OS SSD
3TB RAID0 Media HDD
Nvidia GTX 260 Video Card (*possibly Adobe CS5 Mercury Engine capable)
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySa ... D=19625148
ASRock Z77 Pro4, Xeon E3-1230 V2, Windows 7 64-bit, 32GB RAM, 3GB GTX 660 ti, 240GB SSD for OS/programs, 3x640GB in RAID0 for projects
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby Steve Grisetti » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:39 pm

This is a great list, Jack! A great guide for figuring out how much power you can get for how much money.
3.6 ghz i7-7700 running Windows 10 Pro 64-bit with 16 gigs RAM and a 2 terrabyte HD. Also iMac 2.6 ghz dual-core, 4 gigs of RAM, running OSX El Capitan and Boot Camp Windows 10 64-bit.
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby jackfalbey » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:02 pm

I was going to include a "high-end" system at $2,000+, but you can get so much for $1500 I didn't see a need.
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby tiny » Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:55 pm

jackfalbey wrote:I was going to include a "high-end" system at $2,000+, but you can get so much for $1500 I didn't see a need.


I like this mentality.
I wish I were creative enough to write something witty here.
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby Dave McElderry » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:10 am

I enjoyed looking through these lists. Thanks for the post. Won't it be fun to come back to this thread in 5 years and laugh at what we were paying for such crude technology? :)
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby Kitwn » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:28 am

Dave McElderry wrote: Won't it be fun to come back to this thread in 5 years and laugh at what we were paying for such crude technology? :)


We're already laughing Dave :lol: I haven't forgotten paying 160 UK pounds about 13-14 years ago to upgrade my first home PC's memory from 8Mb to 40Mb (No children, that isn't a typing error. I really did mean MEGAbytes not GIGAbytes). Even the cheapest system you could build from components available today would do a reasonable job of editing standard definition video using Premiere Elements.
If only Adobe would compile a version of PE to run on Linux we could avoid the single most expensive component of any PC. Microsoft Windows!

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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby jackfalbey » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:05 pm

Kitwn wrote:Even the cheapest system you could build from components available today would do a reasonable job of editing standard definition video using Premiere Elements.

Yep, that's why my entry level price bracket is only $500. Even those systems with a dual-core i3 or quad-core Athlon and 4GB of RAM will do just fine with SD and probably even HD... as long as you don't get carried away with the F/X! The main reason to go with one of the more expensive systems is really just if you need faster previews/rendering & encoding or if you're heavily using After Effects & Photoshop.

Incidentally, my first computer had an 8-bit 1MHz CPU, 64K of RAM, and displayed 16 colors at 320x200 resolution. Cost: around $1500 after I customized it with dual 5.25" floppy disk drives and a 10MB hard drive. \:D/
Gotta love those old Commodore 64s!
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby JamesA » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:23 pm

Thanks for the informative list above.
As a newbie, I still have a few questions.
I tried clicking on the above newegg lists and can not find them. Are they still available?
I'm looking to produce some professional looking how to videos using PElements and I'm currently using an older version of Elements to process still pics of my work. I need a new computer that can handle the video processing. Hoping to pick up a new camcorder like a Panasonic HDC-TM700 to shoot any new videos.

I do have quite a few older videos of my kids I'd like to process from high-8 tape to DVD as well. More than just making a DVD, It would be nice to have menus etc.

Any help on picking a new system that doesn't break the bank would be much appreciated.

Although I've never build a computer from parts, I'm not against going that route, or buying an available system from dell.

so many options, not sure what I really need.

Thanks for any help on the matter.

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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby Chuck Engels » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:26 pm

Hi James, Welcome to Muvipix :wcm:

The specs in this list are still pretty accurate
viewtopic.php?p=12703#p12703

There are plenty of build it yourself folks here that can help if you want to do that.
I am more of a buy it from Dell kind of guy :)
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2. Cybertron PC - Liquid Cooled AMD FX6300, 6 cores, 3.50ghz - 32GB DDR3 - MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 4G, 4GB Video Ram, 1024 Cuda Cores.
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby JamesA » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:39 pm

Thanks for the reply.
I had seen that post before, but when I look for a new D-top system at Dell, they have all new models.
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby Chuck Engels » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:47 pm

You need to shop at the Dell Outlet :)
http://www.dell.com/us/en/dfh/desktops/ ... =dfh&cs=22
1. Thinkpad W530 Laptop, Core i7-3820QM Processor 8M Cache 3.70 GHz, 16 GB DDR3, NVIDIA Quadro K1000M 2GB Memory.

2. Cybertron PC - Liquid Cooled AMD FX6300, 6 cores, 3.50ghz - 32GB DDR3 - MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 4G, 4GB Video Ram, 1024 Cuda Cores.
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby jackfalbey » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:08 am

I'm not sure why the links to the wishlists aren't working for you. They are still active and set to "public", although I do need to update them since they are coming up on 6 months old, and the prices & technology have changed. Maybe you have to be signed in to a Newegg account to view them?

Converting your old Hi-8 tapes to DVDs and adding menus can easily be done with Premiere Elements on almost any computer built within the last 5 years... it really doesn't take a lot of power to do that.

Editing the AVCHD video from a HDC-TM700 is a different story. Depending on which software you'll be using, you'll need a fast dual- or quad-core processor and a good amount of RAM.

Because you mentioned doing "professional-looking" how-to videos and photo editing as well, here are a few questions to help us help you get the best system for your needs and budget...

-What is your budget range?

-Which version of Premiere Elements are you using?

-Do you anticipate the need for multiple layers of effects and/or graphics in your videos?

-Do you plan to move up to Adobe CS5 Production Premium in the future?

-How will you be delivering the videos (streaming, DVD, Blu-Ray)?

And welcome to Muvipix!
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby JamesA » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:46 am

jackfalbey wrote:I'm not sure why the links to the wishlists aren't working for you.

When I click on the links it asks me to log in to my newegg account. When I click on your link and I'm logged in, It tells me I don't have any saved wish lists on my account.

Converting your old Hi-8 tapes to DVDs and adding menus can easily be done with Premiere Elements on almost any computer built within the last 5 years... it really doesn't take a lot of power to do that.
Editing the AVCHD video from a HDC-TM700 is a different story. Depending on which software you'll be using, you'll need a fast dual- or quad-core processor and a good amount of RAM.

My current computer in a dell dimension 4300s running xp. It's pretty dated and the HD is full. It's time for an upgrade. I don't have any other video software other than what came with XP. Looking to buy the latest Elements.

-What is your budget range?

Your $1000 complete system sounded pretty reasonable. As long as that would be enough power to work with the TM700

-Which version of Premiere Elements are you using?

Nothing yet

-Do you anticipate the need for multiple layers of effects and/or graphics in your videos?

Not at the moment.
Graphics? I'm not sure what you mean. CAD drawings? I have those and would like to incorporate those into the background at times.

-Do you plan to move up to Adobe CS5 Production Premium in the future?

I don't think so. Photoshop CS5 maybe, but elements for now.

-How will you be delivering the videos (streaming, DVD, Blu-Ray)?

DVD's and youtube videos as teasers to buy the full length DVD video.
I've never tried blu-ray. I would like those that watch these videos to see the best amount of detail with the ability of pausing and zooming if possible.

And welcome to Muvipix!

Thanks! I appreciate the time that's saved by learning from those who are willing to help. Maybe it will free up more time to spend with my kids. :-D
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby Ron Hunter » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:42 pm

Hi James!

Jack, I logged into Newegg and clicked on "Public Wish Lists", but how do I find yours from the list of 896 wish lists?
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Re: Looking for a new PC? Here's what to expect for the $$$

Postby jackfalbey » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:10 pm

Sorry, guys! I just realized I gave the wrong URLs in my post. That's why you can't get in to the wish lists.

I'm working on updated lists because some of the components that I used above are out of stock or have been replaced with newer, faster ones. The new lists will be up soon (24-48 hrs) and I will start them as a new thread since this one is 6 months old now. I'll post here when they're up.

In the meantime, if you don't need to buy a new PC right away, I'd recommend waiting until Intel releases the new "Sandy Bridge" processors. The release date scheduled for January 5, 2011, so it's right around the corner. The main reason to wait is that they will be faster than the current "Nehalem" processors at the same price point and they will also use a new motherboard socket, so if you buy a "Nehalem" CPU & mobo, you'll be obsolete and unable to upgrade in the future, in just under a month.

Stay tuned!
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