Computer Specs for HD editing

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    • #48025

      ?As a very recent convertee to HD editing I am planning to bring my computer into the real world. I am actually planning to purchase a new one and as a total dummy with tech specs I am not sure what I need. I have a ‘special’ offer on a new computer that has the following:

      Intel quad core Q9550 processor

      4GB memory and 1TB SATA hard drive

      Genuine Windows 7 Professional

      Camera is Canon HX A1s and format is HDV

      Many thanks,


    • #197523


      You’re off to a good start. Make sure the video card (GPU) is capable of ‘pushing’ HD video and has a minimum of 512 MB of RAM or more particularly if you’re doing full HD uncompressed (1080i or p).

      Also you want to have an extra internal or external drive to store your video on and partition your main drive (50/50 works well) with the ‘C’ portion for your programs and regularly accessed files (documents etc.) and the other portion ‘D’ for storing audio and as a first-line back up for your computer and files. You don’t want to cram everything on your main drive (that’s bad) because it will cause slow downs during editing and if anything goes wrong, you could lose everything on the drive!

      The second drive should be at least 500GB or bigger as video and graphic files take up a lot of space. Also, you’ll want to consider a viable plan for backing up your raw and processed video clips for long term storage.

      Lastly, you’ll want to get as much RAM as you can afford and or your computer can hold. Extra drives and RAM can be added as you go along and as needed. So don’t get in a mad rush to run out and get upgrades.

    • #197524

      Thank you very much for your reply – it was helpful. I will check on the graphics card. I do have several extrernal hard drives for storage. Are you suggesting that the 4GB of memory might be cutting it a little close? Also I will be shooting 1080i and 24p etc.

      Best wishes,


    • #197525

      Your quad should be fine butbe aware, I struggled with 4GB of RAM and Adobe CS4 even with 64-bit OS. It wasn’t until I upped the memory and also moved to CS5 that all memory problems went away. The problems depended on the project; small simple projects worked fine, but even medium sized ones had too many quirks. So I guess it depends on the type of projects you have.

      Also, the advice above to have multiple disk drives is great advice. However, using partitions does not solve many problems. The issue with using one drive is that during the edit/preview/render proces, the head has to be repostioned from one file to another as the s/w repeatedly reads from the source andwrites to the target files- time consuming thrashing. By using multiple drives and ensuring the source files are on one drive, the project on another, and previews on a third, each drive’s head stays with the same file rather than thrashing back and forth.

    • #197526


      Thanks for the advice on the HDD partitioning. I never would have thought of that.

      I’ve been thinking of making another (my 2nd) desktop computer for video editing.

      After pricing all the components so far, I’m considering getting a comparable laptop for about half the price.

      What do you think of the overall specs?

      Specifically, the graphic specs below. Is shared graphics memory a problem?

      ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250
      256MB-1405MB dynamically allocated shared graphics memory
      Integrated Card

      The software will probably beSONY Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10 Suite.

      Thank you


    • #197527

      “However, using partitions does not solve many problems.”


      You’re correct in that partitioning should not be your primary solution. Ultimately you’ll need other drives. On my full-sized workstations I cram as many drives in as it will hold. Ideally, you want one drive for your OS and programs, one (preferably RAID’ed) for video, one for graphics (photos included), one for dedicated motion graphics and animations and one for audio. However, unless you’re hard into that level of work and can afford it, you’ll have to double up on harddrive duties.

      Partitioning your OS drive is smart for two reasons (that I’ve found out the hard way): One, your OS and programs put the most load on your computer so your ‘C’ or ‘OS drive’ is the workhorse for storage and operating your computer. Partitioning it (particularly if it is 500GB or larger) and putting only your OS and working programs alone reduces the load your ‘C’ Drive must perform as there will be less information for it to search through. Not to mention lowering the amount of time regular maintenance like Defrag, Disk Checking, Restoring and Backing up will take.

      Having backup files and other files you aren’t constantly accessing on the second partition is also insurance. Most times when an OS drive ‘poops the bed’ is from some corruption of an important OS file that can render the drive inoperable. Bad news is, if you can’t reload the OS software long as the harddrive disc integrity is undamaged you’ll have to reformat. However, since the partition is separated from the OS portion, after you perform a reload of the OS you’ll still be able to access the data stored on the partition.

      When you ‘mirror’ a RAID drive, you’re doing something similar. The trade-off for partitioning your OS drive is you’ll have to be more mindful of how much stuff you put on your OS partition. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be loading a bunch of potential crap on your OS drive anyway. Especially if you are using it for digital media work.


      That also sounds like a plan. Just keep in mind your CPU and RAM requirements particularly if you are going to be using AVCHD video. I also agree with Imennigen about getting more than 4GB of RAM for working with HD. You can squeak by in the 64-bit environment on a laptop with 4GB, long as you are just doing straight cuts or graphic/motion graphic work not yet composited. First chance you get lay one of those ‘gold eggs’ and get yourself some extra RAM. One thing about RAM is ‘more is more!’

    • #197528

      I would like to thank composite1 and Imenningen for their valuable input. Much appreciated chaps.

    • #197529


      No worries mate! That’s what we’re here for. Let us know how you get things worked out.

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