DV Gear Apprentice Editing Computer Reviewed

DVGear has just released a new entry-level video editing computer, but don’t let the “entry-level” fool you, this computer delivers. With a Quad Core i7 processor, 16GB of ram, the new Nvidia Quadro 2000, and a multiple format memory card reader, all your video editing wants will be met.

What’s it Made Of?

This computer is made only of name brand components. The case is well cooled with its 5 large case fans, so overheating will never be an issue. Inside the case everything is very neat without tons of cables cluttering up the place. The computer has a 650-watt Antec power supply with a large 120mm fan. The motherboard is an Asus Maximus III GENE with lots of onboard features: RAID, SLI, 8 Channel Audio, Gigabit Lan, 9 USB, eSATA, and FireWire. To top it off, there is a multiple format memory card reader that supports the formats: CompactFlash I/II, SD,mini-SD, MMC, SM, xD, and MSPro Duo. The motherboard even comes equipped with an onboard power and reset button, not super useful but cool nonetheless. If you ever wanted to see how many Premiere Pro windows you can open at once, 16GB of ram will definitely help. If you do any sort of editing in Premiere Pro or 3d Graphics the Nvidia Quadro 2000 will decrease the time wasted waiting for something to render. For storage, the computer has two 1TB Drives in hardware RAID-0 and a 300GB WD VelociRaptor for the operating system. If the data on your project drive is irreplaceable you should change the hard drives to RAID-1. From the Antec Case and power supply to the Asus motherboard, all the components are made of high quality name brand parts. Usually, with known parts, you can rest easier knowing that mid-project a power supply isn’t going to die or a hard drive fail bringing your work to a standstill. If there is an incident the computer can be returned to the manufacturer under the 1-year parts warranty for a hassle free fix.

Performance

The first check was the hard drive performance speed using HDTune. The WD VelociRaptor has an average read/write speed of 96 MB/s with a 7.52ms access time. An average hard drive has a throughput of 100 Mb/s and 15ms access time. Though the VelociRaptor has a slower throughput, it can access files quicker making it well suited for a running Windows and installed programs. The 2TB RAID-0 data drives have an average read/write speed of 213Mb/s with a 12.1ms access time. Putting the data drives in a RAID-1 will decrease the performance but ensure two copies of your project are saved in case of a hard drive crash. At 213 Mb/s though there will be a noticeable difference in both rendering and editing high quality video.

The Windows Experience Index base score was 5.9, not the highest score we’ve seen. The bottleneck for the score however was the Western Digital 10k RPM hard drive. The processor and ram ranked at 7.5 and the graphics card ranked at 7.0. In comparison, the fastest base score we’ve seen is from a 12-Core computer that got 7.2. With that said, this computer is a good contender against top of the line video editing machines.

To test the graphics card, specviewperf11 was used. This program rotates complex 3d models using 6 different programs and records the framerate. The HPZ400, which has a six core processor and a Quadro FX 3800, was nearly tied in performance as seen in the benchmarks. The HPZ400 has a higher price tag and server grade components however. The DV Apprentice is using the newly released Quadro 2000 which is designed to beat out older mid-range workstation cards at a lower price.

Want to know for yourself how this computer ranks? The 3dmarkVantage score was P7391 using the performance setting. By looking at 3dmark’s website you’ll see this ranks the computer in the top 25 for Nvidia Quadro graphics cards.

Should I Buy This?

When buying any computer a few decisions must be made beforehand: what your budget is, what you plan on using the computer for, and what is the bare minimum you need. For a video editor the base need is a quad core computer with 4GB of ram. These can be found all over the internet for around $500. Unfortunately for $500 you won’t have RAID and you probably won’t have FireWire, a fancy graphics card, the fastest computer, or a media card reader. All of these things will help make your job easier and speed up performance. So where does the DV Apprentice fall into?

The DV Apprentice has all the extra features of a top of the line computer, without the top of the line price. Many of those just doing video editing don’t need all the extra features, but they are always nice to have around just in case. In the end it all comes down to how much money you have. For those with a small budget the $500 computer is your best bet. For those with a medium sized budget the DV Apprentice is a good fit. If you have a pot of gold under your bed well you’re better off to get the most expensive computer there is.

Tech Specs

HDD Tested AVG Read Speed: 150 MB/s

Drives: 300GB 10kRPM VelociRaptor, 2 x 1TB Seagate RAID 0

LAN: 1 X 1000Mb/s (125MB/s)

CPU: Intel Quad Core i7-870 2.93ghz

RAM: 16G DDR3

OS: Windows 7 64 Bit

Video: Nvidia Quadro 2000

Audio: 8 Channel

Motherboard: Asus Maximus III GENE

Power Supply: 650W Antec

Available Inputs: eSATA,USB,Firewire 400, CompactFlash I/II, SD,mini-SD, MMC, SM, xD, MSPro Duo

Warranty: 1 year Parts and 2 years Labor

Strengths

  • Many available inputs
  • Name brand parts
  • Competes with more expensive computers

Weaknesses

  • Only 1-year parts warranty

DV GEAR

2813 Rockefeller Ave, Ste B

Everett, WA 98201

$2,972

SUMMARY

The DV Apprentice has all the extra features of a top of the line computer, without the top of the line price.

Lance Olinger is an IT Professional and Web Developer.

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