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Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

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

Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby Chuck Engels » Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:15 am

Here are my suggestions for three very good video editing systems of varying price ranges.
You may already know that I prefer Dell brand computers and have been very happy with
my experiences in all aspects, from purchase to support.

I currently own 4 Dell computers, two of them for video editing, one top of the line
and a bargain basement model (used to be top of the line a few years ago).

My current Top of the Line system
Dell Precision 490; 2 x Xeon 3.0 Dual Core Processors, 4gb of 533mhz DDR2 RAM,
ATI Stealth 512mb Video, X-Fi ExtremeMusic Sound Card, 2 x 250gb SATA II ,
1 x 750gb SATA II

My Bargain Basement system
Dell Dimension 8400; Intel 3.0ghz 2.5gb of 533 DDR2 RAM, Nvidia Quadro 256 Graphics,
SoundMax Audio, 1 x 400gb SATA, 1 x 160GB SATA

All of the systems below can be found at the Dell Outlet at great prices and in some cases you will have
a choice between Windows XP and Vista.

Top Of The Line System
Dell Precision 490 or similar- Best for editing HDV and AVCHD

Processor(s)
i7, Quad Core Xeon or
2 x Intel Dual Core Xeon or 2 x Intel Core 2 Duo
2.8ghz or better

RAM
4GB

Hard Drives
2 x 250 RAID 0, 1 x 750 (non-RAID)
(RAID not required and you system will run fine without it)

Video/Graphics Card
512 MB - 1 GB Video Memory that supports dual monitors (Nvidia or ATI),
GPU effects and transitions, and has DVI connections

Sound/Audio Card
Soundblaster X-Fi ExtremeMusic

Firewire
Preferrably a separate card and Onboard Firewire

USB
As many ports as possible to support all of the external drives you will need

DVD Burners
2 x DVD Dual Layer 16x +/- R, RW

Blu-Ray Burners
One LG or Lite_On Blu-Ray Burner

Monitors
2 x 24" Flat panel Widescreen (DVI connections)

Digital Converter
Canopus 110 or Pyro Link for Analog Conversion

External TV Monitor
14" Toshiba or similar TV Monitor

Price Range
$1500.00 - $3000.00 USD



Middle Of The Road System
Dell XPS 420 or similar - Can edit HDV but probably not AVCHD

Processor(s)
Core 2 Duo, Dual Core, Quad Core 3.0ghz or better

RAM
4GB

Hard Drives
2 x 500GB No RAID

Video/Graphics Card
256MB Video Memory that supports GPU effects and transitions
Dual Monitor Support with DVI connections is a plus

Sound/Audio Card[/b]
Soundblaster or similar

Firewire
Preferrably a separate card and Onboard Firewire

USB
As many ports as possible to support all of the external drives you will need

DVD Burners
2 x DVD Dual Layer 16x +/- R, RW

Monitors
Single or Dual 19" Flat Panel Widescreen

Digital Converter
Pyro A/V Link for Analog Conversion

External TV Monitor
14" Toshiba TV Monitor or similar

Price Range
$800.00 - 1499.00 USD


Bargain Basement System
Dell Dimension, Inspiron, or similar - Not for editing HDV

Processor(s)
Intel 3.0ghz with Hyper Threading or Better
It is not hard to find a reasonbly priced system with a 2.0ghz Dual Core CPU
which would be even better than the 3.0ghz with HT

RAM
1GB

Hard Drives
2 x 250GB

Video/Graphics Card
256MB Video Memory and GPU Support

Sound/Audio Card
Onboard Audio - Sigma Tel or SoundMax

Firewire
Preferrably a separate Firewire card

USB
As many ports as possible to support all of the external drives you will need

DVD Burners
1 x DVD Dual Layer 16x +/- R, RW

Monitors
1 x 19" Flat Panel Widescreen

Digital Converter
ADS Pyro A/V Link for Analog Conversion

External TV Monitor
None

Price Range
$400.00 - $799.00 USD


Any of these systems will run Premiere Elements or even Premiere Pro CS3, the bigger the processor the faster everything will get done.
The difference in rendering times between the bargain basement unit and the top of the line system will be at least cut in half. Burning a
1 hour DVD on the bargain unit will take approximately 60 - 75 minutes, on the top of the line system burning the same DVD will take
approximately 10 - 20 minutes.

I have specifically left out much in the way of brands or models for hardware. I have my personal preferrences as do most of you. If you would
like a specific recommendation I would be happy to provide one, or at least tell you what has worked for me :)
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: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby Ted Pietrzyk » Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:30 pm

Chuck wrote
If you would like a specific recommendation I would be happy to provide one, or at least tell you what has worked for me[*]
-You not mention O.S. for Your's "topf the line". If it is Windows XP Pro 32 bit , are 4 Gb memory recognize by windows.
-Your's machine feature 2x3.0 GHz dual Xeon processors. Are two dual core processors perform bettter or worse then
one quad core ? Has precision 490 , two processors machine ( e.g. Your beast ) , two front side bus or they share one?
-looks that You prefer capture card over fire vire. Is it convenience or quality?
-why dual core Xeon processors are better then dual core 2 or dual core extreme?
I am stil not decide to choice: Precision 490 with dual Xeon ,or xps420 with dual core2
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Re: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby Chuck Engels » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:40 pm

Recommended OS would be Windows XP Home or Professional 32 Bit.

I am not an expert on computer systems by a long ways. There are plenty of places you can find benchmark tests between various processors.
I do recommend Firewire, not a capture card, not sure where you get that from?

The Xeon processors have always been workhorses in the computer world, they provided excellent processing power. The dual core Xeons just seem like the best thing for video in my book.
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: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby Ted Pietrzyk » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:18 pm

Thak You and sorry abot firewire. This was my miunderstanding.
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Re: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby brenda » Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:33 am

So what are you recommendations for a computer microphone? I'm finishing up final editing on a project that has taken us months and I need to do some voice-overs. It's too much trouble to do them on the camcorder and import them, because many of the voice-overs are just a few seconds long and there are so many of them.

My USB Logitech mic was working fine just a few weeks ago and now it's crashing PE4 constantly. I think I want to replace it with a headset anyway.

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Re: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby John 'twosheds' McDonald » Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:59 am

I have the Quickcam Pro 9000. A little expensive but very good in both sound and vision.

I bought it to use for Skype as I live in Italy but my son is in the UK, so we can have a 'video' chat. I also use it for creating narratives. On my two monitor set-up I can run my video on one monitor so that I can watch it in real time whilst running Adobe Soundbooth on my second monitor and recording the narrative (Audacity, which is free, can also be used to record the narrative).

If I make any mistakes with the narrative (or a part of it) I just record that section again until I am happy with it. Then I edit out all of the errors, mispronunciations, 'er' and 'um' gaps etc. before importing the finished soundtrack into my video project, where I can do the final cut/paste operations and insert the soundtrack portions into the correct place. HTH. :-D
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Re: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby Chris B » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:33 am

The chaps over at anandtech regularly produce buyers guides showing high, mid and budget systems. These are aimed at gamers who build their own machines but it is a useful benchmark about what's currently "hot" and what's past it's sell buy date.

http://www.anandtech.com/guides/
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Re: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby videogeorge » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:17 pm

Hi all,
It's time for a new computer. I'm looking at a Dell Inspiron 530, quad core 8200, 500 gig HD, 4 G ram, Vista Home premium. I seem to remember reading and
hearing that PE and Vista didn't go well together for some reason and was hoping to get some feedback on this issue. Thank you all for any input

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Re: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby RichardB » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:23 pm

Greetings,

I, too, have decided it is time to look at a new machine. I am looking at a Dell Studio XPS with the Intel Core i7-920 processor (8 Mb L2 Cache, 2.66 GHz), 4 MB DDR3 RAM, ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB Video card. It would come with Vista Home Premium 64-bit OS. Does anyone have any experience on how PE7 will run on the i7 processor? Any apparent conflicts with PE7?

Thanks,

Richard
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Re: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby Chuck Engels » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:54 pm

George and Richard,
I don't recommend adding questions to articles, they don't get responses as well as a new forum topic will.
It is highly recommended to start a new topic, either in the Computer Issues forum or the Premiere Elements forum.

With that being said,
George I am sorry no one has responded to your question, there should be no issues running Premiere Elements with that setup.
Considering that was a month ago you may already know this.

Richard,
There are some issues with Premiere Elements on a 64bit OS, mainly finding device drivers that Premiere Elements will communicate with.
Although there are some people using Vista 64 bit with no problems there are probably just as many that can't get it to run without crashing.
I would not recommend running Premiere Elements on Vista 64 bit and Adobe will not provide any tech support either.
So if you have problems there will be folks here that can help you, but don't expect any help from Adobe.
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: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby RichardB » Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:05 pm

Thanks Chuck. I'll re-post starting a new thread.

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Re: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby Ron Hunter » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:49 pm

Chuck, I've got an almost 2 year old Dell Dimension E520, Vista Home Premium with Core 2 Duo processor (2.13GHz), 2GB of RAM, and dedicated 256MB video card. At the time of purchase there was a blurb on the Dell website that said a 32-bit operating system (e.g. Vista Home Premium) would not recognize any memory beyond 2GB. Did I misunderstand that or has something changed? I'm wondering if I should get more memory for my computer to improve HDV editing performance. (This box worked well for DV but I'm only now getting into HDV and I'm curious if it will be good enough.)

So, do you think 4GB is worthwhile for Vista Home Premium? (I had no OS choice at time of purchase.)
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Re: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby jackfalbey » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:23 pm

Without getting too technical, a 32-bit OS cannot address memory at locations above 4GB. A 32-bit application like Premiere cannot take a chunk larger than 2GB for itself (unless you use the "/3GB" switch, but that isn't recommended). Some of the RAM will be used by Windows and other programs running in the background. So, going from 2GB to 4GB may get you a slight performance boost by letting Premiere get its full 2GB while Windows plays in the other 2, but it might not be a very noticeable boost. On the other hand, RAM is so cheap these days, you might as well give it a shot. I run 4GB of RAM in all of my 32-bit PCs just to be on the safe side.

The only way you'll see a big performance boost in your PC is to upgrade the CPU to a faster Core2 Duo or Quad. That will speed up your rendering and encoding. Depending on price and your level of PC-modding knowledge, it might be better to just wait another year or two and then build a 64-bit editing rig when Adobe is capable of taking advantage of the extra horsepower (even CS4 is still 32-bit, except for Photoshop).

If you want to get into HDV editing on your current PC, I'd suggest looking at Cineform's Neo Scene. It converts HDV into lossless .avi's which are much, much easier for a modest PC to edit. Try the free demo to see if it works for you.
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Re: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby Chuck Engels » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:15 pm

And just to add to Jack's great post, you will see that a system with 4 GB of RAM will only display that you have about 3.25GB, give or take a few 100 MB :)
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: Recommended System Specs for Video Editing

Postby Bill Hunt » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:00 am

Chuck,

Bill Gerke, a regular on the Adobe Premiere fora, has a benchmarking utility and test files. He also has a spreadsheet (got to navigate to that, from the main page) of all sorts of hardware (and OS) configurations and how they perform in the real world of NLE. I find that too many sites use standard tests that might mean something for a computer pushing numbers in a database, but are totally meaningless in the world of video. Here's the link to his site:
http://mysite.verizon.net/wgehrke/ppbm/. He's working on updating for CS4, but do not think that he has that one up and running yet.

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