Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Editing › To Build or not to Build….
- March 27, 2009 at 6:59 PM #37506
Lately in the post threads I’ve been gettingquestions concerning thebenefits /drawbacks of buildinga custom system versus buying a pre-built system forNon-linearEditing. Tokeep from taking over other posts I’ve opened up this one to specifically address theseissues.Up front I am not a computer engineer by any stretch. However, since 1998I’veupgraded and built PC’s and Mac’sout of ‘self-defense’ because either it was too expensive to send out for repair orif I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t have gotten done.My current depth of knowledge leansstrongly toward PC because it’s still ‘legal’ to build them on your own. However, nowwith the resurgence of the ‘Hackintosh’ I am again taking an interest in ‘mac clones’. So with all that in mindplease bring yourquestions / comments about building and upgradingpc’s and mac’s, butspare us the PC’ vs Mac’ debate.
- March 27, 2009 at 7:34 PM #166203
Great idea on starting this new thread.
I probably fall into the ‘combination’ category. For me, dollars are limited, buttime is critical.I am basically a “one man show”, and while I am trying to learn, I really don’t know all that much yet,soI need to do whatever I reasonably can to maximize productivity, and then save money, and in that order. If I hit a snag or too-big of a learning curvethen I am basically down, which I cannot afford; and so tech support is really, reallyvaluable for me (time being money, you know).
I have never built a machine, and am a littlescared to. I mean, I think I could build it OK, but then I would be without tech support. Dell Gold Technical Support has been reallygood to me. (Dell Home and Home Officeis awful, but Dell Gold is really pretty good.) I know their components are not always top drawer, but whenever I get stopped I can almost always email chat with them, and get going again in short order. If I build my own box then I probably won’t have tech support, so to pay an extra four hundred dollars for four years of 24/7 hard/soft tech support and next-day on-site replacement of broken hardware seems like a real deal. Am I wrong? The only thing is that I am learning I don’t always liketheir choice of mobo and chipset (so next time I will research it first, or maybe I will go with another manufacturer for the box?).
I guess I like buying a box, and then trimming it out. My existing box isa Dell Precision T3400 Workstation, 575W PSU, CoreDuo 3.0GHz (2 cores). C: came as two 250GB WD Caviar HDD’s in RAID 0. I added8GB Crucial Ballistix RAM, 4GB ReadyBoost RAM, Vista Ultimate 64, and then did the tweaks as recommended by Videoguys. I addedtwo 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM drives in RAID 0 for D:. All backups are external via USB, eSata, and Firewire 400.(I am thinking about upgrading to a Drobo for backup of D:). My video card is an olderPalit GeForce 8600GT Super +1GB (which is only a Gen 1.0 card, while I have two Gen 2.0 slots).
For video cards, I would love to run SLI, butI just learned that the Dellmotherboard has an Intel Bearlake X chipset (which does not support SLI). Also, I only have a 575W power supply.I can run with this video card for now, butI am consideringone of those new GTX 260 cardsfor about $180, or maybe a GTX 280if I really want to splurge, but I don’t have any more power supply than that. I am not considering running Boris Blue in the foreseeable future, so I really do not see any advantage in spending the extra cash on a Quadro FX1700 or 3700.
Upgrades I am considering are as follows:
Q9650 CoreDuo Quad at 3.0 GHZ when the price comes down below $200.
Better video card once I am done learning HTML (perhaps a GTX 280? Hopefully the price will come down).
Matrox RT.X2 (supports real-time rendering of two layers of HD, and two layers of effects in PP, AE and PS)
Drobo for backup of D:.
As you know from previous conversations, my present NLE is Sony Vegas Pro 8.1. I will probably buy Adobe CS4 once I am done learning HTML, and then expand into Lightwave 3D, and then Avid MC3, probably in that order. Maybe someday I will get Maya, but probably not for a long time yet.
I would really appreciate hearing all of your suggestions and comments. Mostly I am looking to speed up my system for the least amount of dollars. I know I can go extreme, butsome upgrades it makes more sense to put the money aside forthe next machine, with faster architecture.
Also, do you recommend hyperthreading?
Thank you very much,
- March 27, 2009 at 7:45 PM #166204
I definitely caught some of that. AndI don’t minddissertations.I have about a bazillion questions, and your responses are an answer to prayer.
From where I sit (i.e., knowing almost nothing),the main thing is to maximize my time. Dollars arelimited, but time is critical.I am basically a “one man show” here, soI need to do whatever I reasonably can that willsave time, and money, andmaximize productivity all at once. However,your letter really set me back.I got theVideoguys’ new DIY article (http://www.webvideoguys.com/newwebsite03-09/DIY7.html) right before I got your post, andIrealized that for not much more than the cost of a Quadro CX card I could have a whole new box, withmuch faster architecture. Also, I guess they have a new class of video card out (GTX 260/280) that has multiple cores similar to the Quadro CX, so that would seem like the Quadro CX cardis not the best use of cash (although I am not 100% sure about the Matrox).
Would you mind commenting on my new box? The old one crashed, and Dell replaced it. Ijust want toease any potential bottlenecks, if it can be done for reasonable numbers.
Dell Precision T3400 Workstation, 575W PSU, CoreDuo 3.0GHz (2 cores), 8GM Crucial Ballistix RAM, 4GB ReadyBoost RAM, Vista Ultimate 64, Palit GeForce 8600GT Super +1GB (Only Gen 1.0 card, while I have two Gen 2.0 slots).C: is two 250GB WD Caviar 7200 RPM’s in RAID 0, backing up to an external USB HDD via Symantec Backup Exec.D: is two 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM drives in RAID 0,backing upvia eSata to a 1.5TB Seagate HDD (which does not quite cover it, but I have not got started yet, so it is OK). I am thinking about upgrading to a Drobo for backup of D:.
For video cards,I just chatted with Dell. They tell me I cannot run SLI, as this motherboard has an Intel Bearlake X chipset (which does not support SLI). So I can run with this video card for now, butI could probably geta GTX 260 for about $180 (or less if I wait until I am done learning HTML). I have no idea which manufacturers are best, but here is one from Tiger Direct: (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4369730&CatId=1839).It comes withextra GPU cores, and it is aGen 2.0 card, and it isa lot less expensive than a Quadro 1700 (and I am not planning on buying Boris Blue).
Would either of those things help speed up the system? And also, do you hyperthread?
Thank you very much for your help,
I hear you on the ‘One man show’ thing. Fortunately now I have some good people working with me but I’m usually the guy who’s the ‘dot connector’. But I got that way from doing the ‘one man show’.
Anyway, from what I’ve read in your last post you sound more than ready to start building your own systems. Your current Dell sounds pretty customized. I am concerned about you RAIDing your C: Drive. Despite what anyone says about a particular OS, there’s always the potential of something stupid happening (operator error 90%, hard/software failure 9%, act of God 1%) and your OS drive goes down.In my experience it’s far safer to just partition the OS drive for 2 reasons; first, to cut down on the time it takes to run maintenance programs like defrag, back-up, etc. Second, if the OS wigs out for whatever reason it’s easier to just wipe it and fire up your back-up. If the drive’s hardware goes down then it won’t matter. Having it RAIDed will bring up ‘unique’ problems like your extended drive(s) getting corrupted if not ruined if the OS drive croaks. I’ve found it much safer to keep the OS drive available only for the OS and the programs to be used on the system.
But really the specs you spelled out suggestyou should stand pat on that system and start turning your eye towards your next. All the money you’re looking to invest in upgrading will get you going on building a newSLI capable system. Now, the advantage of having a pre-built NLE is the company has worked out the initial bugs already. The drawback is, when you start ‘customizing’ their gear you are introducing a whole new set of bugs most of which tech support will only be vaguely familiar with (if you are lucky.)
Building your own is another animal however. Hard on the one hand, but a lot easier than you would think. You mentioned Tiger Direct and I dealt with them for many years with only a couple of glitches. They are an excellent source for building your own rigs. The thing I stress more than anything is be excited about your build’s potential, but not so much you blow money on stuff that is incompatible because you didn’t research it. You’ll have much to consider, what type of case, power supply, mobo, CPU(s), RAM, Graphics Card(s), Harddrives, Expansion Cards, Cooling,UPS and all will have to be tailored for compatablity with your intended software pipeline and expected output. Throw in the time for building / test and evaluation and you’ll find you have a potentially daunting task ahead. Just make sure your first build is simple with the potential for complex. That, and don’t blow a ton of cash getting the ‘latest and greatest’ right off the bat. You will find your first ‘simple’ build when complete (when bugs are worked out) will run so much better than you expected. After you have a few builds under your belt you’ll be doing like so many of us who look at the stuff the ‘big boy’s’ make and say, ‘I can do that a lot cheaper!’
- March 27, 2009 at 8:52 PM #166205
>>I hear you on the ‘One man show’ thing. Fortunately now I have some good people working with me but I’m usually the guy who’s the ‘dot connector’. But I got that way from doing the ‘one man show’.
Yeah; “The buck stops here.” (lol).
Thanks for the vote of confidence. If Ibuilt a machine, the first thing I would probably try would be theVideoguys’ DIY kit. (http://www.webvideoguys.com/newwebsite03-09/DIY7.html). They seem like they know their stuff, and they recommend top components. I even have a friend who will doassembly and the initial burn-in. But what do you do if you have a problem, andyou have no tech support? I guess I could call my friend, and we could troubleshoot it together?
I appreciate your advice not to go crazy on components. I keep dreaming of a dual Xeon machine with 64GB of RAM and triple SLI (lol). But of course, that is ridiculous. I need to be realistic with my price points, because whatever I buy today is only worth half of that next year. You do this all day, and you don’t even spend that kind of money on machines! Maybe I ought to think about that some more.
Some questions for you:
What isSLI RAM, and what is it used for?
I heard that most guys run Avid on a Mac. Others run it on PC’s. Is there any difference to the platform? And can you please comment on FCP, versus the other NLE’s?I guess I am just curious to learn what all is out there. (The only thing I know about buying a Mac is not to buyRAM from Apple, because you can get it five times cheaper through Crucial or Kingston).
And what do you do when you have a tech support problem?
- March 27, 2009 at 8:55 PM #166206
>>I am concerned about you RAIDing your C: Drive.
I appreciate that. However, I run Symantec Backup Exec (like Norton Ghost), and try to take a new image anytime I make a major change to the system.
Since I have a clean install right now, I am also considering making a fresh image of my ‘clean install’, and then leaving it on the shelf, just in case anything gets corrupted.
I also make backups of D:, but need to get a larger backup for D:, so I can do incremental images and all that (which is why I am considering the Drobo). I would think the Drobo would be a good upgrade, since it would translate to any new system.
- March 27, 2009 at 10:07 PM #166207
Great letter. Lots of food for thought.
>>All the money you’re looking to invest in upgrading will get you going on building a newSLI capable system.
Is SLI the ticket?
- March 27, 2009 at 10:22 PM #166208
Thank you for all of your help and guidance.
Is the GPU the ticket, rather than the processor?
Or else why do people not go for dual Quad-core Xeons?
- March 28, 2009 at 7:54 AM #166209
“What do you do for tech support on a build?”
Excellent question. Truth is, you become your own tech support! Actually that’s only partially true. In the past, when I ran into a problem during a build I would take the unit to a computer store that did repairs and workstation builds. Those guys were hardcore geeks and would salivate every time I brought something to them because it was way beyond the stuff they usually dealt with. I learned a lot from them and needed their assistance less as time went on. For our latest build I felt like I was learning from scratch since I hadn’t personally built a new system for a couple of years. However, once I got started it wasn’t that tough. When I ran into problems I found plenty of forums with people who either had similar problems or were eager to tackle something different. More often I ended up solving someone else’s dilemma! One thing is for sure, if you have a software problem with microsoft’s OS’s good luck contacting them directly. They really are set up more for big IT types and are not much on dealing with system issues. On the otherhand, their knowledge base is pretty vast and they do put out patches and bug fixes pretty quickly. Their support forums are much more useful than their techs are in my experience.
Also, you need to be up on the support pipeline for the hardware you buy. One reason folks like mac’s is because they only have to go to one place to find out what’s wrong. Same goes for the other big outfits that pre-build computers. Personally, I don’t mind the extra legwork because on the rare occasion when something goes awry I have a built-in database and most time’s before I see it I have my little list ready like on the ‘Terminator’.
Concerning ‘the ticket’, you have to go for the ‘trifecta’ of CPU, RAM and GPU.
Actually, Avid runs on more PC’s than mac’s particularly when they are in a network array for online editing as windows is better suited to a network environment. I’m sure the mac purists may complain, but every network guy I’ve ever spoken to has ‘lovely’ stories about how much of a headache mac’s are in a network. Yet Avid except for it’s DS line is crossplatform. I remember waaaay back when you couldn’t get it on anything but a mac and when Symphony was PC only.
FCP is mac only. It and everything else gets smoked by Avid. I don’t use FCP because it’s not cross-platform. On the occasion when I collaborate with someone using it, I’ll do an EDL in premiere and export it to them for finishing. FCP is an excellent NLE program however as it was created by the same person who created Premiere hence it’s striking similarity. Again just like the other NLE’s it has its strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion you get FCP, Vegas, Premiere and a host of others when you can’t afford an Avid setup!
Lastly, SLI RAM is signed off by NVIDIA as tested compatible with other NVIDIA hardware. In some cases like with OCZ RAM kits they are certified for overclocking. Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with dreaming about creating the ultimate ‘puter. I always shout “IT’S ALIVE” when the Van Dergraf Generators short out and the new system and breaks free of the straps. I’ve seen some incredible builds that would smack aside anything mac, hp or dell calls high-end like ‘leel beaches’. Dual Quad Core, Overclocked RAM, Triple GPU, Multi-TB, Anti-freeze cooled, Rack mounted, Server towered beasts that would make your head implode. Unfortunately, since I’m running a biz I have to consider putting such expenses to a more extended use. But they are fun to look at though.
- March 28, 2009 at 2:07 PM #166210
I can retract this if it doesn’t fit here but..
If you know what you want in a computer but are a little uneasy about doing it yourself there are many excelent “services” out there that can build custom computers for you. Your are limited to some degree onwhat items they carry but you can make it your own.
Mosthave websites that let you build based on pull downs. Example; select a basic type, “office, gamer, graphic, workstation, etc.” This gives you optionsto select aprocessor which then limits your selection of mother board and so on. Most will do a 48 hour burn in for you and you have great tech support from them after receiving you computer. One of the nice things is as you “build” you computer you get a running totalcost so far as each item is added. I have had several friends use these to build a pc online just to see what is claimed to “play nice” with each other then go build their own off that recipe.
When I got my 64 bit Quad corei7built it was about 15% less then if I tried to buy the parts and build myself.
- March 29, 2009 at 6:11 AM #166211
>>Concerning ‘the ticket’, you have to go for the ‘trifecta’ of CPU, RAM and GPU.
Hey, Comp. Thanks! That helps a lot.
So even if I were tobuy the Core Duo Quad and a new GTX 280, since my CPU and motherboard architecture is ‘antiquated’, and since I am limited to four RAM slots,and since I can’t run SLI,it is kind of pointless to pump a lot more money into this particular machine, is that correct? In the long run it would just be better for me to start saving up for a new machine?
But it would be cheaper still just to overclock this puppy, and then save up my pennies for a new “core i8”?
>>FCP is mac only. It and everything else gets smoked by Avid. I don’t use FCP because it’s not cross-platform. On the occasion when I collaborate with someone using it, I’ll do an EDL in premiere and export it to them for finishing. FCP is an excellent NLE program however as it was created by the same person who created Premiere hence it’s striking similarity. Again just like the other NLE’s it has its strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion you get FCP, Vegas, Premiere and a host of others when you can’t afford an Avid setup!
OK, thanks! That answerslots of my questions, but then it raises still others.I was going to ask you about running Boot Camp on a Mac to dual boot between Leopard and Windows, so I could run ‘all four’ (Sony, Adobe, Avid, and FCP). However, if FCP is ‘strikingly similar’to Premiere, and”everything else gets smoked by Avid” and the thought of a Mac makes me wrinkle my noseto start with, then that is kind of pointless, right? In that case, wouldn’t the most intelligent thing be just tolearn Vegas, Adobe and Avid, and stay all PC (like you do)?
But what is it about Avid that ‘smokes’ everything else? How canAvid can ‘smoke’ Premiere with a Matrox RT.X2 inside, when the RT.X2 will allow you to preview/render four layers of HD in real time? Are you referring to something other than the render times? Does it have special keystrokes, or does it ‘get at the heart of the matter’ more quickly, somehow, then Vegas and PPro?
Thank you for your help.
- March 29, 2009 at 6:31 AM #166212
>>FCP is mac only. It and everything else gets smoked by Avid.
Hey Comp. Can you please say more about how Avid ‘smokes’ everything else? Do you mean that you can do the editing a lot quicker in Avid, because of the way ithandles files and editing?
Are you taking rendering times into account? Or do you send the finished data out to a ‘render farm’ (so the rendering times are not important)?
I do not mean to be a’stick-in-the-mud’, but I am having a hard time understanding how anything could be faster thanAdobe on a Matrox. But I assume you know what you are talking about; sowhat am I not getting?
- March 30, 2009 at 4:58 PM #166213
What do you like about AMD, anyhow?
- March 30, 2009 at 10:00 PM #166214
As for how ‘Avid smokes everything else’, that refers to the efficientcy of the interface and the proprietary hardware that can be purchased as a turnkey system or optional components to a custom built NLE. Remember Avid is one of the longest surviving companies and all they do is make NLE software and hardware. To date, most movies are made with Avid products and the first movies to transition to full Digital and High Def production pipelines all got edited on high-end Avid systems. Now there are high-end FCP systems but not close to the number of Avid. I’ve worked on stand alone units with DV Xpress Pro and Mac Media Composer. I’ve also worked on ginormous OnlineSymphony Unity networks and could collaborate with a mac weenie in another city almost in realtime while I was working on a networked PC. That’s what I mean by ‘smoked’. Adobe on a Matrox is probably very good, But Avid MC or Symphony onNitris (DX or DS), goodbye…. With that hardware and software architeture you can do film finshing. Here’s a thread from Creative Cow that will give you a more comprehensive idea of what I’m talking about concerning ‘finishing’; http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/132/856096
Far as running ‘Bootcamp’ on a mac, I’m mixed on that. On the one hand, I see it’s value if you are already setup with mac’s then it doesn’t make much fiscal sense to buy an additional PC just to run a few PC only programs. However, Bootcamp is buggy and despite what mac purists may say, PC software runs best on PC’s. As for getting a mac when you are set up for PC’s is also questionable. Since most of the widely used graphics and video programs are crossplatform, then you don’t need a mac. Now if you really want to be ‘daring’ you can build your own PC ‘Hackintosh’ (Mac OSX on a PC.) From what I hear, except for some minor bugs and no tech support from either mac or windows (hack’s are illegal because mac wants to control the ‘macie world’) they run rather well (provided you use hardware that supports either platform.)
Far as I can see, your current system is fine for the moment. You’ve got some good resources for how to build a system, but you will find that building your own isn’t that difficult. Oh you’ll definitely run into technical snags if you build your own whether you have a ‘how to’ guide or a tech on hand. I built my first seriousNLE with one hand holding a copy of ‘Idiot’s Guide to Building Computers’. I was only scared the first time I upgraded a PC Desktop I bought ( was still using and building mac’s way back then.) It was a snap and I’ve been doing since then. However, if you aren’t comfortable with the idea getting a customized pre-built is a good if not more expensive option. If you’re getting a simple workstation, it’s either the same or cheaper to get a pre-built. But when you want something with way more juicewith proper research on hardware and pricing you usually will save money building your own. Where the price of the system really jumps is when you start putting software on it!
Best thing is to just save your cash for a new rig. By the time you put a few $k together most of the hardware you’re drooling over now will be nice and cheap.
- March 31, 2009 at 1:53 AM #166215
>>I’ve also worked on ginormous OnlineSymphony Unity networks and could collaborate with a mac weenie in another city almost in realtime while I was working on a networked PC. That’s what I mean by ‘smoked’.
Yeah, I have heard that Avid is the only thing that really communicates in large networks ‘online’, although I also heard that Apple is supposed to be dumping a ton of money into FCP right now, to try to take things away from Avid (at least on Mac’s). The only thing is that I doubt I am going to be working in tandem with other editors online any time soon, because at the moment I just don’t have any kind of a budget to hire things out. It is ‘all me’ just at the moment.
So if I should save my $$ foran upgrade, then is there a ‘best time’ to jump in?Right now the core i7 is still a 45nm process. As much of an improvement as thecore i7 is over the CoreDuo (and CoreDuo Quad), soon they will come out with a 32nm process, which I assume will be yet another ‘quantum improvement’ on the Core i7. Then they expect the ‘memristor’ to hit in about 2015 (and change everything altogether).
So is there any ‘best’ time to jump in, in the chip development cycle? Do I understand correctly that ‘upgrades’ are generally a waste, and the main thing is always to use what you’ve got, and then save for a new setup (whether you build it yourself, or whether you buy a turnkey)? And are there exceptions to that rule, eitherin theory, or in practice?
I agree that the software is far more expensive than the machine. But since thecomputing requirements are so intense in this field, and time is such a critical factor, then why do more people not go Xeon? Is Xeon that much more expensive?
- March 31, 2009 at 3:56 AM #166216
>>Best thing is to just save your cash for a new rig.
Is it always best to save up for a new rig, and to get everything all at once?
Do you never buy upgrades?
- March 31, 2009 at 4:41 AM #166217
It appears that Sony Vegas scales the rendering proportionate to the number of cores.
“Interesting – Duo Core exactly twice the time of John’s Quad Core!”
The E6700 is a dual-core 2.66Ghz processor, my QX6700 is a 2.66Ghz quad-core so, all other things being equal, one would expect the QX6700 to be twice as fast. What’s interesting to me is that the Vegas code is apparently fully optimized for multiple processors and really does scale proportionately to the number of cores and speed of the processors. This is not something that can be said of all multi-processor software. Good job, Sony!
And it also appears that Sony is optimized for AMD. I am sure AMD is a fine line, but am wondering why they would do that, when the bulk of the industry goes Intel.
- March 31, 2009 at 5:15 PM #166218
You’re going to give yourself an embellism trying to ‘overthink’ the tech aspects. Though I do pretty thorough research before I buy, I also understand that anything I get will be outdated by the time I open the box! When you look at the benchmark stats the differences in performance aren’t significant enough to warrant the prices for much of the higher-end CPU’s and GPU’s. Especially when 6 months from now the price will be 20-50% less to make way for the ‘new’ stuff. Seriously, base your equipment assumptions on a) what will play well with other hardware, b) work well with your chosen software, and c) give you the highest quality output for what fits your budget and output pricing. In essence, whether pre-built or self-built the unit has to perform to standards (at minimum) for a practical cost to produce profits enough to pay for itself and its continued use. If you’re just doing this stuff as a hobby, then feel free to build one of those ‘monsters’ like the ones I described earlier and throw as much as you want at it. If you’re doing this to pay rent and put food on the table that whole annoying ‘business cost and affectivity’ thing is the 800lb gorilla tapping you on the shoulder.
Concerning saving for a new rig, again that whole cost and affectivity comes into play. What do you need to do the work? What are your client’s asking for? Can you do HD? Can you do SD to broadcast quality? Is your current setup capable of helping you meet your turnaround times? Those and many other questions specific to your situation will help you decide how far down the road whenyou’re going to need new gear. The rule is: start saving now. Generally, when getting gear suitable for low to mid-level pro work the magic number is between $1500 – $2000 +. That’s when you can seriously start putting together a good hardware configuration. Get enough to make the unit functional and upgrade as either needed or as funds become available. Remember, 6 months from now that extra GPU, harddrive, RAM, etc. will be cheaper.
Sony cut a deal with AMD and Microsoft back in 2006so that their VAIO systems and the Sony line of production sofware would be complimentary within the windows environment. Unlike mac, Sony allowed their software to work in a similarly efficient manner across the board independent of their VAIO line of computers. So whether it’s a Dell, Gateway, HP, Compaq or whatever as long as it’s on XP or Vista (soon Win7) it will take full advantage of the AMD chipset architecture. AMD I believehas more efficient muliti-core architecture so I’m not surprised that Vegas works well with multi-core Intels due to its optimization.
Lastly, I upgrade often. Typically, the life of a NLE is 2-3 years. When we build, we do it with 5-7 years in mind. We’ve got one I built back in
07 and is currently having it’s harddrives replaced (for larger capacity ones) because it’s primary job will shift more towards being an Audio Work Station. It will still be able to do SD work and some graphics / mographics as needed. With the harddrive replacements the unit will be good for another 2-3 years! If I could find a faster CPU (no longer in production) I would replace the old one without a thought. You asked why I like AMD? The system I just mentioned runs on one and the unit has paid for itself a number of times over.
- April 1, 2009 at 6:39 PM #166219
>>If you’re doing this to pay rent and put food on the table that whole annoying ‘business cost and affectivity’ thing is the 800lb gorilla tapping you on the shoulder.
Funny. I will try to start saving now.
But if Xeon chips at Neweggdon’t cost that much more than core i7 chips, thenwhydo Xeon systems cost so much more? What am I not getting?
Also, where does onelearn about motherboards, processors, cases and such? And do you hand-pick your components, or do you purchase ‘bare-bones’ kits from TigerDirect, or what?
- April 1, 2009 at 9:19 PM #166220
>>If you’re doing this to pay rent and put food on the table that whole annoying ‘business cost and affectivity’ thing is the 800lb gorilla tapping you on the shoulder.
OK, good point; but there is perhaps maybe one thing I still don’t get.
1.I already have a reasonable CoreDuo system with thirtymonths left on my warranty (long story), but
2. Vegas renders twice as fast with a quad core, and
3. I like Vegas because my poor little head can understand it, and if
4. I need to get Adobe after that, ’cause everyone says you need Photoshop and After-Effectsif you are doing to do compositing work, and
5. You can work with Adobe realtime ona Matrox,
6. Then why is it wasteful to upgrade?
7. Since I already have warranty coverage for another two and a half years, why not ‘stave off’ the upgrade for as long as reasonably possible with a simple quad-core upgrade, and then spend a couple of years learning everything about Sony and Adobe before I make the leap to a new system, andAvid? Wouldn’t it be less expensive, in the short haul, just to bump this system up just a little bit, and run it till the hard drives fall apart?
>>In my opinion you get FCP, Vegas, Premiere and a host of others when you can’t afford an Avid setup!
Or is the real point just to get to an Avid system with SLI as quickly as possible, and therefore spending moneyon upgrades justprolongsthe agony?
- April 2, 2009 at 5:58 PM #166221
All this discussion has given me an idea for my next seminar!
In your last post you brought up 8 questions that combined are the crux of the ‘new equipment purchase dillemma.’ All your questions are indeed valid and as you expand your equipment requirements you’ll have to hash over similar issues with cameras, lights, etc., etc. The answer will be found in your research and planning your editing pipeline to best suit your budget and skillset. So you say Vegas is your choice because ‘your mind can understand it’, then base your current workflow around it. You will need phoshop and afx (there are other programs but these work best in my pipeline) to supplement your graphics and mographics creation and fortunately Vegas supports them (though not as strong as Premiere obviously). It wouldn’t hurt to have Cinescore for music creation or if you’re a closet musician like myself make the leap to ACID and Sound Forge for music and sound design production. Eventually it will behoove you to learn Premiere and or Avid. Just be advised, those programs function much differently than Vegas and you’ll spend time on their ‘learning curve’ getting used to them.
Again concerning your current system, since you still have years of warranty left try not to do anything that will void it. Make certain as to what you can upgrade on your own and what you can’t through Dell’s tech support (and get it in writing.) In the meantime, while you’re researching your potential new system, increase your knowledge and ability with what you have. I have found that after pushing the limits of a system with ‘noticeable limits’ beyond them makes me ‘fly’ when I move up to one with less. Imagine working in a confined space and then moving into a bigger space and you’ll get the idea.
Concerning parts (mobo’s and such), research and trial ‘n’ error. Certain brands usually produce good results (ASUS, EVGA, MSI to name a few) but for every ringing endorsement, you’ll find a ‘whatapieceo$&&((#!) story. For years I bought my gear from Tiger Direct and a local parts distributor. Once my company got listed as a dealer, we now get our stuff directly from a wholesaler. I still recommend TD for those starting out. However, if you don’t mind paying sales tax it may be better to build a relationship with a local computer parts store to cut down on turnaround time on returns if you get ‘lemony fresh’ parts. Oh and I order parts separately. It’smore cost effective to by a prebuilt workstation than a bare bones unit.
Concerning Matrox, do a comparison with other similar capture cards like Blackmagic (pc/mac) and AJA (mac or pc) to get an idea for what you’re looking for in capture, editing and output. All three support premiere, but BM also supports Vegas. Also, BM has capture card solutions that won’t set you back $795 – $4k like Matrox if you are budget concious. Not talking against Matrox, but it helps to know your options.
Lastly, work your way up to an Avid setup. Now that Avid has all but abandoned their XPress Pro line for Media Composer, you’ll have to spend more money putting together a system that will run it properly and acquire software to compliment your use of it (again, phoshop-afx-etc.) That’s a much bigger investment and it will be a much more feasable jump when you’ve honed your skills as an editor and have a profit margin to justify the costs.
- April 3, 2009 at 9:42 PM #166222
>>All this discussion has given me an idea for my next seminar!
Well, I am glad if I can be of some help. You are an excellent teacher, and I feel like all I’ve got is questions.
I think that is anexcellent plan, and I will try to follow your advice. Thank you.Thank you also for your encouragement to take a closer look at the various boxes and cards.
I went to the Avid site, and got completely blown away. I understand what Avid Media Composer is, but what are:
I will have to go back and take a fresh look at the spec page when I get time (I am on deadline right now), but can you please give me a short, one-line description of which one does what, and which one I need (or perhaps more accurately, the questions I need to ask myself in figuring out which hard/soft package I need)? Obviously the DS does the most: Do I need that? Or where do I shoot? And how do I know where I need to shoot? I think your suggestion to focus on how I can know what I need to do is an excellent one.
I was not able to discover what each package really is. Some seem like they are both a software package, and also a turn-key hard/soft package?
I guess I can call Avid and get their sales pitch, but any help you can give me as a real knowledgeable user would be very much appreciated.
- April 4, 2009 at 2:39 AM #166223
You’re welcome. Normally, I charge for such in-depth info but I was in your place 10 years ago and had to learn all this on my own. Not fun.
Mojo DX and Nitris DX are hardware/software breakout boxes (a simplistic term) which are souped up versions of the Matrox card you’re so interested in. Actually, they are more similiar to Black Magic Design’s Multi-Bridge Pro2 and Eclipse. These all give you external hardware acceleration for rendering, gas up your HD editing capabilities and give you connections for SDI, HD-SDI, HDMI and support for high-end video formats like XDCAM and 2k with the Black Magic boxes (I’m sure the Symphony version does 2k+.)
Now for the fun part. You may be able to choke down the cost of Media Composer software, but the lowest end of the DX line (Mojo) starts at $10k ($8k for the upgrade.) The MC DX version comes in around $25k and the DS (for news broadcasting) is in the same neighborhood. The Symphony version… fuggeddaboutit! Not to mention, that Avid strongly advises you get an approved turnkey system so they will guarantee that it will work with the system (for pc look at HP and Dell.) Those systems with the minimum of RAM, Dual Quads, good GPU and 1 harddrive start in the $8k price range. Like I said, you might consider building up to an avid system.
Now, you can put together a similar setup for a LOT LESS buy putting a system together like we’ve been discussing and getting a multi-bridge since it supports your current editing platform (Vegas 8.0b+) and Premiere CS3+. Again I stress, in your initial stages your mantra should be ‘spend no more than needed’. When you’re bringing in production profits to justify the move to Avid then by all means do so. Now on the other hand, with said built system you would be capable of putting out high-quality content more than suitable for distribution and broadcast. And you wouldn’t have spend $50 *&^%%$#~!!! Grand to do it. The producer in me hates spending money, apologies.
So why get any of the above pieces of hardware? Increased capability, higher quality of content and expanded range of output. As I’ve said before, you just have to tailor your choice based upon your pipeline, skillset and budget.
- April 7, 2009 at 1:33 AM #166224
>>And you wouldn’t have spend $50 *&^%%$#~!!! Grand to do it.
Wow. Fifty thousand dollars? I’m out.
>>You’re welcome. Normally, I charge for such in-depth info but I was in your place 10 years ago and had to learn all this on my own. Not fun.
Well I really appreciate it. It is helping me a lot. I think the Fifty thousand dollar thing finally snapped things into perspective, what you are talking about on a budget. OK, so fifty thousand dollars is out…so now we have to figure out where my budget actually is.
>>Again I stress, in your initial stages your mantra should be ‘spend no more than needed’.
I think that is the wisdom.
- April 7, 2009 at 1:42 AM #166225
>>Mojo DX and Nitris DX are hardware/software breakout boxes (a simplistic term) which are souped up versions of the Matrox card you’re so interested in. Actually, they are more similiar to Black Magic Design’s Multi-Bridge Pro2 and Eclipse. These all give you external hardware acceleration for rendering, gas up your HD editing capabilities and give you connections for SDI, HD-SDI, HDMI and support for high-end video formats like XDCAM and 2k with the Black Magic boxes (I’m sure the Symphony version does 2k+.)
I’m thinking if I were into multi-million-dollar stuff, such as editing a weekly television show, or something, then fifty grand for a computer would not be a big deal. The need for speed of editing would outweigh the cost, because of the budgets involved. However, at my level, right now, when I am just trying to get started, and just trying to scrape by, I think you are definitely right, that I should ‘spend no more than needed.’
The only reason I am hot on the Matrox is that Videoguys recommends it. They seem to be geared towards the average ‘home user’ rather than the pro level (i.e., they target basically where I am at), and they keep touting the Matrox for speeding up Premiere and Adobe in general. I tried looking at the BlackMagic cards, and basically it all flew right over my head.
>>Now, you can put together a similar setup for a LOT LESS buy putting a system together like we’ve been discussing and getting a multi-bridge since it supports your current editing platform (Vegas 8.0b+) and Premiere CS3+.
I’m not sure I understand. Maybe I misunderstand what Matrox and these other cards do? My understanding was that the Matrox RT.X2 makes Premiere and AFX render and preview in real time, in HD. So my thought was to speed up the workflow by adding a hardware card. Do the Eclipse and the Multi-Bridge Pro 2 also allow for rendering and preview in real time?
I guess what really piqued my attention was when you mentioned Sony. A BlackMagic multi-bridge can speed up Sony Vegas 8.1?
Thank you very much for your help.
- April 7, 2009 at 2:52 AM #166226
OK, considering that I’m on a budget, and my watch-phrase needs to be ‘spend no more than needed’, you are recommending some boxes that cost $1.5-10K.
>>Actually, they are more similiar to Black Magic Design’s Multi-Bridge Pro2 and Eclipse. These all give you external hardware acceleration for rendering, gas up your HD editing capabilities and give you connections for SDI, HD-SDI, HDMI and support for high-end video formats like XDCAM and 2k with the Black Magic boxes (I’m sure the Symphony version does 2k+.)
I apologize, but I amignorant.I went to the BlackMagic site and got all confused. Could you please explain what these multi-bridges will do for me that the Matrox box will not? This is from the Videoguys’ website:
>>Key features of Matrox RTX2LE
Matrox RTX2 LE extends the capabilities of the Adobe software with many important benefits.
- Realtime, mixed-format, multi-layer workflows that combine HD and SD material from analog and digital sources
- Realtime Matrox Flex CPU effects – color correction, speed changes, chroma/luma keying and many more
- Realtime and accelerated Matrox Flex GPU effects – 2D/3D DVE, blur/glow/soft focus, shine and many more
- Extensive camera support including many new models from Canon, JVC, Panasonic, and Sony
- Native HDV 1080i, HDV 1080p, HDV 720p (JVC ProHD), Panasonic P2 MXF 720p, and MPEG-2 4:2:2 I-frame HD editing
- Native DV, DVCAM, DVCPRO, Panasonic P2 MXF SD, and MPEG-2 4:2:2 I-frame SD editing
- Realtime playback of 32-bit MPEG-2 I-frame AVI files with alpha in HD and SD
- Realtime mixed-format multi-cam
- Realtime high-quality downscaling for analog SD output from an HD timeline
- Accelerated export to Blu-ray, DVD, multimedia formats including Flash Video, and Adobe Clip Notes
- WYSIWYG for Adobe After Effects, Bridge, and Photoshop, Autodesk Combustion and 3ds Max, eyeon Fusion, NewTek LightWave 3D, and Windows Media Player with dynamic Alt+Tab switching
- Composite, Y/C, HD/SD analog component input and output
Matrox Mx.tools 4.0 provides the following new features:
- Earlier versions of Adobe Premiere Pro are not supported so if you’re still using CS2 or CS3 click here for our complete line of Adobe CS4 upgrades.
- Support for the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows Vista Business or Ultimate allows users to break the memory limitations of 32-bit operating systems and install more than 4 GB of RAM on their system for improved stability and performance. Vista 64-bit also breaks the 2 terabyte disk-size limitation which exists in 32-bit operating systems. Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista Business, and Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit versions) are also supported.
- WYSIWYG support for Adobe Encore CS4 lets you preview video played back from the timeline on your video monitor by setting the player for your project to Matrox Player (available on the Advanced page of the Project Settings dialog box).
- Anew DVI monitor calibration utility turns your DVI monitor into a true-color video display for use with SD and HD video. Controls for hue, chroma, contrast, brightness, and blue-only let you adjust and control your DVI monitor exactly as you would a broadcast HD/SD video monitor.
From my know-nothing standpoint, that seems not too bad for about a grand.
So what do these othercards do, that the Matrox card does not do?
- April 7, 2009 at 4:48 PM #166227
I’m not sure which BMD product you looked at for $10k. The most expensive item I suggested you check out is the multi-bridge pro2 $1.5k which is in the neighborhood of the Matrox product you’ve described. As for Videoguys, they are a reputable co’ and I have checked out their build specs from time to time. However, never forget that they are trying to sell you something. Their reccomendations may be solid, I just wanted you to know there are alternatives and before you ‘oversell’ yourself on a particular piece of gear, take a look at some others.
You’ve struck a good point about ‘defining what your budget is.’ You have to base your equipment / software choices on the current scope of work you’re looking to do. You’re right, when you’re pulling down multi-hundreds of $k or multi-million dollar budgets then factoring in a high-end editing system is just part of the plan and no big deal.
Here’s a good review of the mulitbridge pro2 by Studio Monthly, the specs from BMD and an articleabout upgrading gear at the higher-endthat will address your questions far better than I:
Lastly, before you decide on any piece of gear or software do an ‘issues with’ search and read through the various tech forums to find out what benefits / problems others have with said items. Many times critical points others have already dealt with will arise and can help you make a much more informed choice. And don’t blow your circuts trying to ingest the tech info all at once. I’ve got a tech gene stronger than most and I have to step back from it all on occasion and just say, ‘okay, that one’. Check your options, weigh your choices against your real-world parameters and make your decisions. No matter what you get, there will still be things to contend with and you’ll have to work them out. It is highly unlikely that anything you buy will work at 100% for 100% of the time (despite what any macie will tell you) so just try to make the most informed choice you can.
- April 8, 2009 at 5:22 PM #166228
>>I just wanted you to know there are alternatives and before you ‘oversell’ yourself on a particular piece of gear, take a look at some others.
OK. Good point. I do need to check out the alternatives and not get ‘over-sold.’
I liked this article, buta lot of it went over my head. Does this box do everything that the Matrox RT.X2 does, plus it also translates to FCP (in case I ever get a Mac)?
>>Now, you can put together a similar setup for a LOT LESS buy putting a system together like we’ve been discussing and getting a multi-bridge since it supports your current editing platform (Vegas 8.0b+) and Premiere CS3+.
Are you saying that this box will accelerate rendering and previews in Sony Vegas 8.1??????? I thought Vegas was processor-only???????
Great article. And it underscores your point that what I really need to be saving up for is an Avid system, in order to maximize productivity.
Thank you for all of your help.
- April 8, 2009 at 5:32 PM #166229AnonymousInactive
Hi Composite 1,
I am a newb here. Looks like you have lots of experience and great advice with NLE systems and I have read this thread with interest. I have a quick question regarding the BMD and Matrox cards you two have been discussing: Will these cards do anything for SD performance? I capture AVI via firewire from my old VX2000 and don’t do any HD. My system is bogging down after years of programs and improper maintenance, and as I am preparing to reload everything from the system on up to Adobe CS (1) I am just looking into ways to get better performance. I thought I might also send you my system specs when I get to the office and ask if you think my system is worth upgrading., Thanks
- April 8, 2009 at 8:11 PM #166230
>>My system is bogging down after years of programs and improper maintenance, and as I am preparing to reload everything from the system on up to Adobe CS (1) I am just looking into ways to get better performance.
I am sure Comp can help you a lot more than I can, but if your speed problem has to do with years of programs and improper maintenance, then sure, a new machine would help…but what about a simple reformat, and then just load the programs you need on a fresh install?
If you want to buy a new machine, I am sure that would be faster; but if your old machine was fine, why spend the money?
I hope this helps.
- April 8, 2009 at 9:06 PM #166231AnonymousInactive
k, all of this is way over my head but I thought that I’d show you guys something that poped up in my mail box from Tiger Direct.
It looks pretty sick and someone could probably build a sweet editing setup with it.
All you’d need was the know-how to put it together, an OS, and maybe some fans and other stuff…. and only for $1000
- April 8, 2009 at 9:22 PM #166232
I just noticed your input and did not mean to blow you off (sorry about that.)Getting a custom build from a ‘builder shop’ is quite a viable option. All of our standard workstations are pre-builts and save us a ton of money. I’m at the stage now where I’m listed as a dealer and can get parts at dealer prices (much cheaper than retail) so I can still save more money building a high-endrig than getting someone to do it for me. The advantages of a reputablebuilder shop area) they’ll do all the heavy lifting for you (including testing), and b) if they are reputable, they’ll save you more money than if you’d got something similarfrom the big names.Eventually, you’ll want to take the plunge yourself and build your own. One thing I did was learn from the builders putting together my personal rigs way back when. The first few ‘puters I built were all solid (except for one in which the mobo croaked) and there were some ‘hair pulling sessions in the early days (WHY ISN’T THIS WORKING!?!?) 10 times out of 10 it turned out to just be my lack of knowledge and the eleventh it was actually the gear or software. I’d always get it cleared up and move on. As I’ll continue to state, ‘building isn’t for everyone’. What I now find not difficult would make many jump off a bridge in frustration (producing’s like that too but that’s another post.)
“I liked this article, buta lot of it went over my head. Does this box do everything that the Matrox RT.X2 does, plus it also translates to FCP (in case I ever get a Mac)?”
Side by side the Matrox andthe Multi-Bridge Prodosimilar things. Bothhave PCIex interface cards and both are breakout boxescombined withthe cards will givesupported NLE programs hardware supported render acceleration. Where they really start to differis in price and scope of input/output. TheMatrox RTX2 has a ‘step down’ version in theRTX2LE which btw is cheaper and does similar stuff. The Multibridge Pro2 is the ‘step down’ version of the Multibridge Eclipse which is a muuuuuuuuuuch more affordablealternative to the Avid Nitris line ofbreakout boxes and does nearly the same thing. The Eclipse Pro2 does everything the Eclipse does (except) ithas half the array of pro connections and no cool flashingLED’s on the front. That’s the huge difference between the Pro2 and the Matrox.The RTX2 breakout boxdoesn’t have professional connections for audio and video. No HDMI (for straight to NLE capture),no XLR’s, BNC’s for HD or SD analog connections, no RS-422 port for remote control of pro decks and no SDI connectors for affordableprocameras like Canon’s XH-G1, XL-H1 or JVC’s GYHD250. And if the ‘Production God’s’ willing you get hold of a RED ONE it would be a shame not to be able to just hook it up because you don’t have an SDI connection. And yes, if you have collaborators who have been rendered hopelesslysubsurvient to the mac empire (that one’s for my fellow producer who’s been lamenting his wallet lightening purchase of a new G5 setup) then you can easily hook it up to their system and off they go (just wipe up after you’re done.) As for whether it will accelerate Vegas, I currently have no answer. Currently, it has drivers to support it but I haven’t seen anything more about its performance with Vegas. Lastly, I’d take it in stages; gas your current system far as it can go / you can afford. Then the next system build / get built something with a particular software in mind. The good thing about Avid is they have ‘stages’ too. Now that Media Composer is their lower – mid-line workhorse they’ve adapted their breakout boxes to meet the need. Mojo DS is where you’ll start (but you’ll pay $10k for the software and the breakout box) and those same Production Gods willing, you’ll move up to Nitris (cha-CHIIIIINGGGGG!) Either way you may have to buy a pre-built since Avid is certified to work only on HP’s, Mac’s and maybe specific Dell’s. If you research your parts well, you’ll probably be able to build something that will run it without grief.
Welcome aboard. And yes they will enhance SD performance. Ohy! You’re draggin’ the old workhorse along aint’cha? I’m not too sure either of these setups are going to work for you. If your system’s mobo doesn’t have a PCIex slot fuggeddaboutit! Also, much as I resist getting on the software upgrade ‘merry-go-round’ Adobe runs us on (I upgrade every other version at max. Those of you who just bought CS4, 5 is due out next year), CS 3, 4 or 5 should be in your immediate future. Yeah, just post your spec’s and I’ll ‘survey the devastation’. Hopefully, I won’t have to grab the paddles and yell, “CLEAR!!!”
- April 8, 2009 at 11:30 PM #166233
No worries. I threw that out there as an option to the build your own to be done with as any saw fit. Running it as a bare bones build type, let them do the dirty work, then you add to it when youget it home sometimes makes the task easier.
- April 9, 2009 at 5:29 AM #166234
>>The Multibridge Pro2 is the ‘step down’ version of the Multibridge Eclipse which is a muuuuuuuuuuch more affordablealternative to the Avid Nitris line ofbreakout boxes and does nearly the same thing.
You’re not kidding. I priced the Avid Nitris, and they were anywhere from $14-28K. In contrast, the Multibridge Eclipse is only about $1500, while the Matrox is about $1200 (or less for the diminutive version). But it sounds like the Multibridge does a whole lot more.
So the Multibridge Eclipse is not only compatible with CS4, but also with Avid, andaccelerates Avid?
If it accelerates Avid, then that would be a huge advantage over the Matrox, and for not very muchmore money.
- April 9, 2009 at 5:31 AM #166235AnonymousInactive
<<I am sure Comp can help you a lot more than I can, but if your speed
problem has to do with years of programs and improper maintenance, then
sure, a new machine would help…but what about a simple reformat, and
then just load the programs you need on a fresh install?
If you want to buy a new machine, I am sure that would be faster; but if your old machine was fine, why spend the money?>>
Yeah, that’s what I am doing at the moment. However, I can’t say I ever thought the old setup was “fine”. I always wished it was faster and less buggy, and now I think it probably behooves me to upgrade to CS4. I am working with an HTT P4, DDR (1), and an X600 gpu. it seems like doing justice to CS4 requires a 64 bit OS and some seriously upgraded hardware. I actually produce live entertainment, and so shooting and editing my own promo is an important step, but not a full time pursuit. My desktop system used to be used for everything related to my business, which occasionally includes video production, and DVD authoring. However, I was on the road creating and touring my last show for about three years and most everything had to get done on my laptop. Now that I am working out of the office pretty much full time again (and since the hideous death of the laptop) I need to get back to using the full CS package to develop new projects including video, audio, brochures, web, etc..
- April 9, 2009 at 5:35 AM #166236
This just came into my inbox.
What’s up with this?
- April 9, 2009 at 5:38 AM #166237
>>Yeah, that’s what I am doing at the moment. However, I can’t say I ever thought the old setup was “fine”. I always wished it was faster and less buggy, and now I think it probably behooves me to upgrade to PS4. I am working with an HTT P4, DDR (1), and an X600 gpu. it seems like doing justice to PS4 requires a 64 bit OS and some seriously upgraded hardware. I actually produce live entertainment, and so shooting and editing my own promo is an important step, but not a full time pursuit. My desktop system used to be used for everything related to my business, which occasionally includes video production, and DVD authoring. However, I was on the road creating and touring my last show for about three years and most everything had to get done on my laptop. Now that I am working out of the office pretty much full time again (and since the hideous death of the laptop) I need to get back to using the full CS package to develop new projects including video, audio, brochures, web, etc..
Well, it sounds to me like you could use a new machine, but Comp is the one who knows, so I’ll let him comment.
- April 9, 2009 at 5:51 AM #166238AnonymousInactive
<<If your system’s mobo doesn’t have a PCIex slot fuggeddaboutit! Also,
much as I resist getting on the software upgrade ‘merry-go-round’ Adobe
runs us on>>
Yeah. I ended up on this thread because I want to upgrade my software suite and feel my system is way outdated for the potential power of CS4. I was looking into the cost of a new 64bit system and considering building it to stretch the budget. I kind of want to upgrade the old system, but I think I could only salvage the case and the drives. It just seems such a waste to toss out a perfectly good puter (processor, mobo, ram & gpu) just because it maybe isn’t up to CS4 standards. So, I’ll probably end up with a new system to dedicate to CS4 and keep this one for other tasks. Either way I really don’t NEED a new camera so I was wondering if an accelerator should be on my wish list in a non HD NLE environment. So, you have answered Ymy question. Much appreciated. I’ll shoot you a post tomorrow with my system specs and I will very much appreciate your input on just how far behind the times my hardware is for PS4. I would love to not have to spend the money for a new workstation, but I just can’t abide painfully slow render times, crashing while scrubbing, etc. Thanks.
- April 9, 2009 at 6:03 AM #166239AnonymousInactive
<<Well, it sounds to me like you could use a new machine, but Comp is the one who knows, so I’ll let him comment.>>
Thanks for your input Norman. I checked out the VideoGuys after reading your earlier posts (before I ever posted here), and their latest DIY system sounds awesome for the money. I do worry about running into trouble and having nobody to call for support though…
- April 9, 2009 at 4:49 PM #166240
>>I do worry about running into trouble and having nobody to call for support though…
I hear that loud and clear.
I think perhaps someone like Comp, who has a lot of machines, and whodoes enough business to get classified as a wholesalerprobably needs to build his own systems:
a: because he loves it, and
b: because it is cheaper (and in that order).
However, speaking only for myself, while I love learning about this stuff, I cannot afford to get hammered by downtime. If Avid is worth the cost of the softwarebecause it saves time in editing, then it makes sense that there is also a ‘worth it’ factor for taking away technical support headaches.
What we are really discussing here is the old”Make or Buy” question (hence the name of the thread, “To build, or not to build…that is the question.” Or in other words, it is the old “Time is Money” equation; and the variables are different for each of us.
I don’t know anything about Comp’s business, but my guess is thatsomeone likeComphas enough machines, and enough guys working for him thatit is cheaper for him to educate himself on the tech aspects, and handle the tech issues in house. He loves it, plus he savesmoney, and gainsexpertise he would not otherwise get, which also helps him in a myriad of ways. Therefore, it is ‘worth it’ to him to handle the tech issues in house, rather than hiring the job out, simply because of the old ‘economy of scale’ factor. It would also be worth it if he was trying to build a larger business.
However, speaking only for myself,I amon a weekly posting deadline,and if I get knocked down for x number ofdays (or longer)having todeal with a tech support problem, then I’m toast for that week (which is not pretty).I have so many other irons in the fire thatI cannot afford to take time out to learn how to conquer all of the tech aspects.Just like I need my car to stay up, Ineed my machine to stay up; and if it does not, I need help.
Actually, as anaside,I drive used cars, but I have four of them, and I pay a mechanic to maintain them. But that is only because I used to work on cars, and so I know a lot about them, which today equates to, “I know what to buy, and what not to buy.” But if I did not know about cars, then I would probably buy new, just to take the headache away. The thing I am still pondering for myself is that for me, computers have kind of replaced cars, in a sense. Computers are not what I do, but they are an integral part of what I do, and by working on them I get to know more about them, which also has ancilliary benefits. However, with so many other irons in the fire, there is a point of diminishing returns. Basically, I just need my machine to work; and learning about computers is just another way of getting the ‘best bang for the buck’ (read: Time is Money).
Here is what little I have learned about purchasing a machine from Dell:
While Dell Home and Home Office technical support is really not the best (i know more than some of those guys), Dell Gold TechnicalSupport (Business) has been nothing short of astonishing. For about $500.00 I got five years coverage byschool-trained North American technicians,24×7 phone or email chat(your choice), and next-day repair service (even if I drop it). Maybe that’s not worth it to everyone, but to me it is worth $500.00 (and you can even get 4-hour service for a couple of hundred more).
Why is it worth it to me? Formy video editing workstationwas a Pentium D 930 at 3.0 GHz (long story). It was almost three years old, and it went down for the count about four months ago, and after troubleshooting for a while Dell gave me a spanky new Dell Precision T3400 Workstation with a CoreDuo and a larger power supply (525W) to replace it.The only real thing is that the chipset won’t run SLI (even if the power supply was big enough); but I justlearned that Avid will support it if I get a Quadro FX3700 (and a slower processor???????).
I’m guessing that Avid will run on a CoreDuo Quad Q9650 at 3.0 GHz, but the point is thatDell Gold Technical Support has been very good to me. (And no, Dell is not paying me to say that.)
So while I am going to try to stretch this machine out for as long as I can while I learn Sony and CS4 (and maybe get thatMultiBridge Pro 2 Comp is talking about),once I get my dollars saved up for a new machine that runs Avid, I am definitely going to take a long hard look at Dell’s offerings before I do anything else, because as a small time operator with lots of other irons in the fire, the Dell Gold serviceis worth something to me.
The only thing I would add is that have noticedthe manufacturers charge an ultra-premium for some components that you can add later yourself. For example, Apple charges an ultra-premium for RAM, and Dell charges an ultra-premium for hard drives ($506.00 for each 1TB HDD????). So I would probably purchase 1 GB ofRAM and one boot HDD (or maybe two HDD’s in RAID), and then go pickup (faster) Corsair or Crucial low-latency RAM, and Seagate HDD’s warrantied for five years. But even when I buy the components, I would take alook at their service, and not just their price.
At least as asmall-time operator,the lowest price is not always where it is at. Get up and running and taking away all the headaches is worth some amount of money. For Comp, assembling his own machines probably makes the most sense, because he has a lot of them, and because he gets wholesale prices. But for me, because I only have a few systems, it just seems worth it to have someone there to walk me throughtroubleshooting, and replace hardware components as needed.
I suppose one could accuse me of makingan argument for Apple/Mac, but I don’t think I will go that route. I think I will probably stay PC, just because so much more software is available. But I will probably also stick to Avid certified machines, atleast as a base, which probably means Dell or HP. (In all due fairness to HP, I probably need to take a lookwhat they have to offer also, because as good as Dell Gold has been to me, a lot of professionals use HP’s).
- April 9, 2009 at 6:04 PM #166241
I can fit a GTX 260 video card will fit on my 525W PSU. Do you suppose Avid would probably run on a GTX 260?
Or do you suppose I probably need to save up for a Quadro FX3700, like it says on the Avid spec sheet?
Thank you very much for your help.
- April 9, 2009 at 7:12 PM #166242
“To build or not to build, that is the question….”
I’m glad to see this post is catching on. I know that there are numerous folks out there who are ‘starering down the barrel’ of having to accquire a new system and this issue comes up. Looks like more folks are tossing in their input and already I’m seeing some great points and really good solutions.
As for why I build, it came purely out of ‘self-defense’. To cut down on downtime and costs I had to learn how to do it myself. After I left a large and well-funded production house, I wanted to stay in the biz but could not (more like no way in H377!) afford to do so in the same manner of my old gig. Fortunately, the ‘Digital Revolution’ was in the toddler stageso I realized with a lot more ingenuity and some cash I could continue working just on a smaller scale. Eventually, as the revolution progressed gear got more powerful/ affordableI could ‘scale up’ my capabilities. Crafters and Norman both bring up excellent points concerning purchasing pre-built systems as either bare bones or complete systems. In my experience I’ve used both types and in-house builds. Now I only build systems intended for graphic, NLE, or animation work. When I’m fortunate to have techs on hand (high turnover rate ’cause these guys learn what they need to know then roll) I can be more ‘loving’ toward the building process like a grandparent (just when it starts being a pain, ‘here it’s your kid you deal with it.) When it’s just me, then I have to be exceptionally efficient putting a new system together. One of the few rules I will admit to other than ‘stay flexible’, is ‘always have a backup system up and running’. I never do a build without another system capable of handing the workload on hand.
Concerning ‘what to do with an older system?’ that’s not too tough a question. Realocate it to tasks it’s best suited for. Our current ‘old workhorse’ was built back in ’07 are built for much longer upgrade cycles than ever before.
This post was longer, but for some reason it cut off the last quarter of it.
Anyway, here are some of the links I included:
For newbie builders checkout these: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=building+pc+rig&aq=4&oq=building+pc
To see some of the work my builds have contributed to go to my company site at: http://www.dreadedenterprises.com
- April 9, 2009 at 8:18 PM #166243
Welcome to the thread. Yeah,sometimesInotice I’m in ‘deep water’ with this stuff too! You’re on the right track though. Tiger Direct is a great resource for inexpensivepre-built and barebones kits.I’ve gotten gear from them for years with only two glitches spaced years apart. Now that my outfit is listed as a Dealer (we build our own higher-end rigs and sell them on occasion) we get out gear from a wholesale firm. However, I still recommend TD especially for those breaking into ‘the family biz’ as a hobby or as a vocation. I do envy a young kid like yourself getting into this at this stage of your life. If you stick with it, by the time you’re 30 you’ll be building stuff like ‘IRON MAN’ in your back yard!
- April 9, 2009 at 8:41 PM #166244
That GTX 260 is one nice looking card. Yeah, Media Composer should support it (minimum of NVidia Quadro FX 560 or higher or any card in the NVIDA Geoforce class of GPU’s). Also, it’s a Dual Link capable card. My Geoforce 8800GT’s are dual linked (1024GB total memory) and I am sold on multi-cards. Those 260’s are 896 RAM instead of 1GB or more like the Quadro’s, but a single or dual should get you running quite well. Funny how gamer cards though not constructed specifically for NLE work will get you not only in the ballpark, but in the rotation if you pick the right ones.
“At least as asmall-time operator,the lowest price is not always where it is at. Get up and running and taking away all the headaches is worth some amount of money. For Comp, assembling his own machines probably makes the most sense, because he has a lot of them, and because he gets wholesale prices. But for me, because I only have a few systems, it just seems worth it to have someone there to walk me throughtroubleshooting, and replace hardware components as needed.”
Actually, we only keep around 5-6 rigs (including admin workstations andlaptops) on active duty at any given time we’re working on large projects. The rest of the time it’s no more than 3. I started doing this when it was just me and 1 system I was using for everything. The reason it’s not that big a stretch for me now is because I’ve been doing this a while. As long as you keep your ‘bread and butter’ machine up and running, you can work on your builds separately (nights and weekends are my SOP.) Doing it that way keeps the pressure off but will motivate you to get finished (because no matter what system or platform you have, something will cause it to go down when you least want it to so you’ll want to have that new rig ready to go when it does.)
- April 9, 2009 at 11:15 PM #166245AnonymousInactive
?<<<Yeah, just post your spec’s and I’ll ‘survey the devastation’. Hopefully, I won’t have to grab the paddles and yell, “CLEAR!!!”Yeah, just post your spec’s and I’ll ‘survey the devastation’. Hopefully, I won’t have to grab the paddles and yell, “CLEAR!!!“>>>
Thanks in advance for looking this over. It is an off the shelf Sony Viao R VGC-RA826G. I only added a SCSI controller and storage.
3.4GHz Pentium 4 550 with HTT (shows up as two proc’s at 3.4 & 3.39), 800 MGz FSB, 1MB L2 Cache, 1GB PC-3200 400MGz DDR, ATI Radeon X600 XT 256 MB, system on WD 250GB 7200 rpm SATA, storage on Promise 2+0 Stripe SCSI RAID0 (2 400GBWD drives), Realtek audio card, Windows XP Media Center edition SP2 (had trouble upgrading to SP3 but I’m getting to it).
Can’t explain why I never added a gig of RAM (the packaging says 2GB max – does that still hold true, or was that due to the limitations on chips back then? Can I addbigger and/or better chips?).
It never seemed particularly “fast” or “solid” running CS1, but it was light years ahead of what I had before. Anyway I guess I could max out the RAM and maybe get a new video card, or maybe more? But the question is whether I will have a decent CS4 platform. I kind of doubt it, and in the end I will still be answering the “buy or build” question. But for now, whaddya tink? Is this worth tweaking on?
- April 10, 2009 at 1:00 AM #166246
>>As long as you keep your ‘bread and butter’ machine up and running, you can work on your builds separately (nights and weekends are my SOP.) Doing it that way keeps the pressure off but will motivate you to get finished (because no matter what system or platform you have, something will cause it to go down when you least want it to so you’ll want to have that new rig ready to go when it does.)
Well that is a good point. Even when the Dell tech comes out the next day, sometimes he still has to order parts, and that takes a while. And Dell often uses ‘recycled’ parts, and the reason they replaced two of my machines was because they were down for months. So either way I do need to have a second system on hand, don’t I?
- April 10, 2009 at 1:03 AM #166247
>>The reason it’s not that big a stretch for me now is because I’ve been doing this a while. As long as you keep your ‘bread and butter’ machine up and running, you can work on your builds separately (nights and weekends are my SOP.) Doing it that way keeps the pressure off but will motivate you to get finished (because no matter what system or platform you have, something will cause it to go down when you least want it to so you’ll want to have that new rig ready to go when it does.)
Does anyone make a simple switch so that you can switch between two workstations, and still use the same two monitors? Or do I need a second set of monitors as well?
- April 10, 2009 at 2:12 AM #166248
There are many styles of KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switchers out there that allow you to do that. VGA stylemonitor ones are the cheapest at around $45, Then DVI and HDMI. They get expensive (for me at $150+) when you want toswitch sound as well.
- April 10, 2009 at 4:33 AM #166249
>>There are many styles of KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switchers out there that allow you to do that. VGA stylemonitor ones are the cheapest at around $45, Then DVI and HDMI. They get expensive (for me at $150+) when you want toswitch sound as well.
- April 10, 2009 at 4:21 PM #166250
You’ve got a fair rig for doing ‘less than broadcast quality DV’. However, if you want to work in HD (and you will) your current system won’t push it. Though your CPU’s fast enough, you’re going to need at minimum 2GB of RAM (4GB or more is better) to help with rendering and other computer processes. Those ‘limitations’ you mentioned were because of the mobo. The motherboard absolutely dictates how much RAM capability your system will have. Is that a ‘Promise’ Card you’re running the RAID array off of? In our old ‘workhorse’ (built back in ’02 and still going) we couldn’t get the fancy onboard raid setup to work. I stuck a $40 Promise card in there and it’s still running. Those things were awesome. Also, an 800GB RAID for DV’s not bad at all. Now if you’re doing uncompressed long-form projects with effects, transitions and animations that space will evaporate quick. On your next choice consider building your RAID with larger drives. On our latest build we raided 3 750GB WD Caviars for a total of 2.25TB for less than $500 last year. Their much cheaper now (crap!)
In my honest opinion it’s time to move to another system. Your Vaio will make a good backup system for DV and or an audio workstation. I don’t know how serious you are with your workload, but it’s really convenient when you can switch to another system for different tasking while another system is rendering or exporting. Concerning ‘buying or building’, throughout this post many of the points good and P.I.A. have been mentioned and will apply to your situation. You don’tneed the ‘tech gene’ to put together your own rig as the hardest part is getting past what you don’t know. Of course that’s similar to editing, shooting, producing, writing and just about everything involved with this biz. Fortunately, there are plenty of knowledgeable people around online and in the real-world to help point the way. The comfort I get from our builds is knowing exactly what went into it, how it’s configured and how much it cost. There is a certain amount of comfort from thetech support that comes with a purchased product. Often, it gets annoying for me because most tech’s are used to dealing with people who know ‘jack sprat’ about the gear they’re using and talk to you like Doctor’s do (tell me, what part of your tummy hurts?) I can’t count how many times I’ve spoken to support personnel and I knew more than they did (Adobe, can you hear me?) I’ve mentioned it before on this thread that no matter which way you go, make sure the system fits the minimum specs of the software your planning to use. Far as OS goes, WinVista Business is a worthy successor to XP Pro. I’d avoid Ultimate for a professional tool like an NLE. Save the space for the graphic, editing and authoring programs you’re going to be working with. Besides, do you really need to be able to watch tv on your workstation? I may be old fashioned, but that stuff is more useful on a system dedicated to presentations.
- April 10, 2009 at 4:52 PM #166251
“Well that is a good point. Even when the Dell tech comes out the next day, sometimes he still has to order parts, and that takes a while. And Dell often uses ‘recycled’ parts, and the reason they replaced two of my machines was because they were down for months. So either way I do need to have a second system on hand, don’t I?”
Yes. When you reach a certain point with your workload you’ll need a second system. If nothing more than during the scenario I mentioned with Global concerning going to another machine while another is rendering. In my case, it was high time we had a system capable of doing mid-level finishing work (for finishing like you see in the movies you’re going to spend a lot of money!) Now we don’t have the same scheduling conflicts for editing time (HOORAH!) and working on multiple projects simultaneously is much less of a hassle.
The most important reason we build our own NLE’s is we don’t fool with any of that ‘recycled parts’ crap. Components are far too inexpensive these days to roll like that especially for what those companies charge you for doing it. Most component companies are good about warranties and returns. More often it’s just cheaper to give you a new one. Now I’m not completely down on refurbed parts as you can save money purchasing them in the short term. However (man there’s always one of those in the mix), you don’t get the same warranty protections as new parts despite them working as well.I’d much rather get a new replacement component under warranty than pay for another cheaper than new refurbed part (I swear the producer in me hates spending money!)
Contrary to the producer in me, the KVM switch is an alternative but if you’re going through the trouble of buying / building a second system, get the monitors. ‘Monitors’ hesaid? Yes, more than one. Why two monitors? Two monitors will bring an efficientcy boost to yourworkflow. Working with Avid taught me the value of two screens. One monitor contains your source / timeline monitors, timeline and primary controls. The second holds the bins, audio level meters, effects editors, effects catalogs and whatever else right where you can see them without constantly having to switch in and out of ‘docked menus’ despite whatAdobe thinks. When it comes to monitors, go big as you can afford. The more space you have to work on thesmoother your workflow gets. Cool thing about monitors these days is just like other computercomponents, you can get good ones for not a whole lot of money.
- April 10, 2009 at 5:37 PM #166252
>>When you reach a certain point with your workload you’ll need a second system. If nothing more than during the scenario I mentioned with Global concerning going to another machine while another is rendering.
Good point.But do you need”Adobe RGB” monitors, or whatever they are called? Or will a couple of good Samsungs and Color Correction software do in a pinch, for a guy who is just starting out?
>>The most important reason we build our own NLE’s is we don’t fool with any of that ‘recycled parts’ crap. Components are far too inexpensive these days to roll like that especially for what those companies charge you for doing it.
Hmm. Another good point. (Is there an echo?) Is it your experience that custom components have a better mean time between failures than Dell or HP?
>> In my case, it was high time we had a system capable of doing mid-level finishing work (for finishing like you see in the movies you’re going to spend a lot of money!)
And what is ‘finishing’? (You mentioned it in a few other posts, but I never did find out what it is.) Is it just high-detailed rendering?
Also, is this a good thread to ask questions about upgrading cameras?
- April 10, 2009 at 5:58 PM #166253
If I need to alternate machines because of render times, thenI am looking at this Tiger Direct Bare Bones kit.
It looks like a good machine, except the core i7 processor is only 2.66 Ghz.
>>I’ve mentioned it before on this thread that no matter which way you go, make sure the system fits the minimum specs of the software your planning to use.
In checking the minimum specs on Adobe CS4, then want a minimum of 3.4GHz processor for HDV (my cameras are HDV), or dual 2.8 GHz for simple HD.
Cineform’s “NeoScene” codec is supposed to convert HDV (I think) to .avi (either that or simple HD), and Adobe says it only needs a minimum of twin 2.8GHz cores to work with HD (or .avi), but is a quad 2.66 GHz core i7 enough to handle CS4? Or do I need to jump for the 2.93GHz processor (currently $609!) or the 3.2 GHz processor (currently $1079!).
Also,the bare bones kit has a 750W PSU, and it only claims to save you $69.94 over purchasing the individual components; so perhaps would it be better topass on the bare bones kit(as good as it is), and then when prices on the core i7 come down a little bit more, to purchase the individual components, and get the 1000W Corsair PSU, and either the 2.93 GHz or the 3.2 GHz core i7 processor, instead?
I don’t think I have the money to be an ‘early adopter’ with this one. But when prices do come down, which processor do I really need?
Thank you, Comp.
- April 10, 2009 at 8:01 PM #166254
“the bare bones kit has a 750W PSU, and it only claims to save you
$69.94 over purchasing the individual components; so perhaps would it
be better topass on the bare bones kit(as good as it is), and then
when prices on the core i7 come down a little bit more, to purchase the
individual components, and get the 1000W Corsair PSU, and either the
2.93 GHz or the 3.2 GHz core i7 processor, instead?”
The main ‘benny’ you get with a barebones is the relative security of knowing the components have already been tested to work together. There is some savings depending on what your final configuration plans are. With some careful shopping, you’ll save more money buying components. Plus you’ll have to buy a harddrive, OS and GPU for a barebones anyway. The only thing BB’s really hold my interest for is building a render farm. But, for a fast and dirty build BB’s are a good option.
Be advised when it comes to power supplies, you’ll need a UPS for backup power/surge protection. Conventional wisdom is to get a UPS at least 200w larger than your power supply to cover your PSU, GPU(s) and monitor(s). After about 700w UPS’s get downright expensive.
A straight 2.66GHz quad duo core will push CS4 and combined with RAM of 4GB or more and one or more 512GB GPU’s you’ll have a fine working machine. Check the benchmark stats on the core i7’s vs quad duo’s to see what improvements in speed will be vs cost effectiveness. Then decide what you can work with. The goal is to build something, test it and get it in action in the least amount of time for the least amount of money with the maximum amount of upgradeablity. Remember, ‘spend no more than needed’. You can always upgrade. Also, remember CS5 is just around the corner (they’ll probably be showcasing it at NAB this year.)
- April 10, 2009 at 11:59 PM #166255
>>A straight 2.66GHz quad duo core will push CS4 and combined with RAM of 4GB or more and one or more 512GB GPU’s you’ll have a fine working machine. Check the benchmark stats on the core i7’s vs quad duo’s to see what improvements in speed will be vs cost effectiveness. Then decide what you can work with. The goal is to build something, test it and get it in action in the least amount of time for the least amount of money with the maximum amount of upgradeablity. Remember, ‘spend no more than needed’. You can always upgrade. Also, remember CS5 is just around the corner (they’ll probably be showcasing it at NAB this year.)
I would think the main thing for me at the moment is just toget started with what I’ve got. I think my HTML woes may finally be over (I think maybe the Almighty finally sent me someone really good to help), and so now I can get back to learning Sony Vegas, and then Acid. I know Vegas works on the number of cores, so the fastest and cheapest thing just right now, at this moment would probably be to get a CoreDuo Quad at 3.0GHz ($330.00 plus shipping), and then get the GTX 260 (for about $199.00). I already have 8GB fast DDR2 RAM and 4GB ReadyBoost RAM, so that should probably max this box out for the duration of its useful life. Then just use it,andstart saving for the new one?
After Vegas, I need to finish learning Boris Red. I figure that will take me a little while. However, once I get knee deep into Boris, I already know I will need CS4, because to make maximum use of Boris one needs Photoshop (and also After Effects). I also know I want to use the virtual studios included in Adobe Ultra (which they wrapped into Premier on CS4). I figure it will probably take me some time to figure all of that out (even with tutorials), but basically once I get started with Boris, I will need CS4 soon thereafter. I hope CS5 will be out by that time.
After CS4/5I am not sure whether I will go for LightWave or Avid, but probably Avid, because the thought of maximizing workflow is very appealing.
Somewhere in there, there will have to be enough money to get a new machine….
- April 11, 2009 at 12:09 AM #166256
>>Check the benchmark stats on the core i7’s vs quad duo’s to see what improvements in speed will be vs cost effectiveness.
I have not checked the benchmark stats. All I know is that when I looked at the Core i7 ads, they boasted that the Core i7 is some 40% faster for gaming, than the CoreDuo series. But whether that was with a CoreDuo 2-core or the Core Duo Quad, I do not know. All I know is that the Quad will double the speed for Sony.
I think they said that the reason theCore i7 series is so much faster is that itmakes better use of the RAM. It does not need to go through a front-side bus, but it accesses the ram directly (and in three channels, not just two). Sothat is supposed to be 40% faster.
Forty percent would be nice, but I do not have money for a whole new machine at the moment. All I can do at the moment is just to get those two components,effectively maxing this chassis out,and then use it, while saving for a new one.
Thank you for your help.
- April 11, 2009 at 1:27 AM #166257
Like I said in the previous posts, I could probably max this box out for right around $575.00 ($330 for the Quad, and $199 for the GTX 260, plus shipping and tax and all that). It won’t be as fast as a Core i7 machine with SLI, but it would be at least twice as fast (with Sony) as what I have right now, and for $575.00, it is what I can do. The only thing I do not really have yet is a good long-term backup for D:.
D: is two 1TB Seagate 7200 RPM internal HDD’s in RAID 0. I useSymantec Backup Execto backup C: to an externalSeagate Free Agent 1TB USB drive, andthat works very well. Therefore, Ithought I might also use Symantecto back up D: to an external drive. However, the largest thing I could get at the time wasa 1.5 TB Seagate Free Agent Extreme on eSata. I thought that would work, because I only intended to write the used portion of D: to the backup. However, Symantec refuses to back up to it (at all), because it wants a volume at least as large as D:.
I suppose that at the moment I can just copy the files straight from D: across to the backup drive. However,while that might workfor a while, it seems like a lot of fiddling around, and it is not really what one might call a ‘truly redundant array.’
I have aThermaltakeeSata HDD dock (as well as the 1.5 TB Seagate Free Agent Extreme).
I could pay a premium to geta 2TB HDD to slap in the eSata port, and then Symantec can backup D: incrementally. However,right now 2TB hdd’s are at a premium (over $300), so I won’t really save me that much money over a Drobo2 with 1TB drives installed; and the Drobo2is what I really want, since it is a truly redundant array.
Another option would be toget the Drobo2 now, and then work on the processor and the GTX 260 later.
May I please ask to hear your thoughts?
- April 11, 2009 at 3:37 AM #166258
I applaud your efforts in trying to learn Boris. Boris Fx and their title software came with my first avid kit back in ’02 and to this day AFX has been infinitely easier to learn.
When you get past RAID 0 you start dealing with various stages of redundancy. A striped RAID 0 is the K.I.S.S. version as it simply spreads the drive capacity across all the drives in the array. Unfortunately as you mentioned there is no backup of data so what are the options other than doing a RAID 1-5 setup? One option is the one you discussed by setting up an additional internal array. Another, which is the one we use is to setup an external array. Since drives and harddrive cases are very inexpensive now after we get the internal array up and running, we put together an external setup for use as backups and client project drives. It was simple to put in a pci esata raid card and now we use 1-2TB drives for the job. Cheaper and much less headache to setup and use. Iogear makes a good 4-port pci esata card for less than $50 bucks (spare the pcie slot since most mobo’s have only one and you’ll want it for your hardware accelerator breakout box.) Worth a look.
“And what is ‘finishing’? (You mentioned it in a few other posts, but I
never did find out what it is.) Is it just high-detailed rendering?”
Film finishing includes the adding of completed visual and audio effects (including opening mographic titles, cg imagery, final stage color correction, and audio sound design) once ‘picture lock’ has been determined. A good view of the process can be seen in the ‘making of’ section of the Iron Man special features DVD. They take you in deep from pre-production to ‘finishing’ in the editing suites at ILM. Very educational.
- April 11, 2009 at 3:39 AM #166259
Yeah, upgrading cameras is another thread but with similar answers.
- April 12, 2009 at 6:58 AM #166260
>>Another, which is the one we use is to setup an external array. Since drives and harddrive cases are very inexpensive now after we get the internal array up and running, we put together an external setup for use as backups and client project drives. It was simple to put in a pci esata raid card and now we use 1-2TB drives for the job. Cheaper and much less headache to setup and use. Iogear makes a good 4-port pci esata card for less than $50 bucks (spare the pcie slot since most mobo’s have only one and you’ll want it for your hardware accelerator breakout box.) Worth a look.
Great tip. That should save a lot of money.
Please let me see if I understand. If I already have an Iogear esata card and a 1.5 TB eSata external HDD, then I would just get a second one ($179.00),and create a 3TB external RAID 0 array? Then I letSymantec back upD: to this external 3TB array? That would be much cheaper.
>>On our latest build we raided 3 750GB WD Caviars for a total of 2.25TB for less than $500 last year.
How do you like your 3 drive D: RAID 0 array?Would you recommend that for my next machine?And what does one set as the target drive for finishing/final rendering?
And how would Iback up a three-drive RAID 0 D:? Do Iputthreeexternal eSata drives in RAID 0? Or do I getfour external eSata drives (slightly larger than the internal drives) and back D: up into RAID 5?
Also, how do you back up your data at project completion? What is your preferred long-term storage? Do you burn to tape? Or do you get different client drives for each new project, and store the old drives on a shelf? Or do you burn to tape? Or how do you do that?
Will an eSata RAID array 0 or 5 array work once it is unplugged from the machine, and then the drives are plugged back in? Wouldn’t that break the array?
- April 12, 2009 at 8:01 AM #166261
>>I applaud your efforts in trying to learn Boris. Boris Fx and their title software came with my first avid kit back in ’02 and to this day AFX has been infinitely easier to learn.
Well, thanks; but it’s not like it was anything noble on my part. I had a co-worker who was supposed to help with the video editing, and he wanted Boris, so we got it. Thenhe flaked and the whole video editing thing got dumped back into my lap. That is when I decided, “Well, I already have Boris, so I might as well learn how to use it.” But then I got hooked on how video editing, and how interesting compositing and special effects can make a presentation; so now I am really eager to learn all about it (as well as AFX and LightWave).
One thing that helped me a lot was the Chris Vadnais “Boris RED” training DVD. I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere without it.
Once you get the interface, Boris is really pretty simple. The main thing is figuring out the X, Y and Z axis things. But Chris walks you through pretty well. I must have played it a half dozen times, and I still need to go over the tutorial again because I did not catch it all yet. However, with your knowledge and experience you would probably just blow right through it in one sitting.
You have really helped me a lot, and I would be glad to loan you the DVD if you want. Now that it looks like the HTML monkey may finally be off my back (at least for a while) the first thing I need to do is to go back and finish learning Vegas. With everything else going on that will probably take meat least a month (and probably two), although you will probably blow right through it on the first pass.
Please let me know if you would like to borrow it, and I will try to send itright out to you. There is also a manual, if you want.
Thank you very much for your help.
- April 13, 2009 at 12:46 AM #166262
>>Film finishing includes the adding of completed visual and audio effects (including opening mographic titles, cg imagery, final stage color correction, and audio sound design) once ‘picture lock’ has been determined. A good view of the process can be seen in the ‘making of’ section of the Iron Man special features DVD. They take you in deep from pre-production to ‘finishing’ in the editing suites at ILM. Very educational.
OK. So what I was calling ‘final rendering’, you call ‘finishing’; probably because you may render on occasion before you hit the actual finished product?
Yes, the ‘making of’ was very educational.Thank you for recommending it. One thing that was very eye opening was how the talent ‘stayed on’ and ‘stayed up’ andpositive, even when the cameras were not rolling. That was very educational.
- April 13, 2009 at 1:29 PM #166263
>>Also, much as I resist getting on the software upgrade ‘merry-go-round’ Adobe runs us on (I upgrade every other version at max. Those of you who just bought CS4, 5 is due out next year), CS 3, 4 or 5 should be in your immediate future.
I have just started to notice the telltale signs of an impending upgrade in software. For example, on TD they now wing Vista at you at a discount, and on Toolfarm and Videoguys they are offering sales/specials on CS4. So that seems to be the big clue that they are preparing for an upgrade to Windows 7/CS5?
On that note, from what you can tell, will there be any real speed advantage to Windows 7 over Vista? Or maybe a little bit, but nothing like picking up 40% by making the switch to a Core i7 on the next build?
>>Far as OS goes, WinVista Business is a worthy successor to XP Pro. I’d avoid Ultimate for a professional tool like an NLE. Save the space for the graphic, editing and authoring programs you’re going to be working with. Besides, do you really need to be able to watch tv on your workstation? I may be old fashioned, but that stuff is more useful on a system dedicated to presentations.
Can you please say more as to why not Ultimate? Is Ultimate bad (like Media Center Edition), or is Ultimate just a bloat/waste of $30.00 for added features I don’t need/probably will never use?
- April 13, 2009 at 3:30 PM #166264
“Please let me see if I understand. If I already have an Iogear esata card and a
1.5 TB eSata external HDD, then I would just get a second one ($179.00),and
create a 3TB external RAID 0 array? Then I letSymantec back upD: to this
external 3TB array? That would be much cheaper.”
That would be a yes. I’m not familiar with Norton back-up software. However, if similar to XP Pro / Vista Biz back-up utility at the end of the day’s editing you’d do a ‘hard backup’ from the internal RAID to your external one. Advantages: less cost, complete back up of raided drives. Disadvantages: no immediate redundancy of data and potential data loss if one drive goes down. Yet, on our recent build faulty file structuring on the internal caused us to lose 4 drives (weird for Western Digital’s in my experience.) Fortunately, all data was saved because we previously backed everything up to an external RAID.
Depending on how many slots your esata raid card has and what its max capacity is you may be able to have a 4TB + external setup. You can do some serious rendering / finishing with that kind of space. The problem you run into is archiving. So far, the most economical solutions are; tape, DVD (lots and lots of DVD’s), Blue Ray (which we haven’t gotten into yet, HDD was a much better format) and our current solution, external firewire drives.
“I have just started to notice the telltale signs of an impending
upgrade in software. For example, on TD they now wing Vista at you at
a discount, and on Toolfarm and Videoguys they are offering
sales/specials on CS4. So that seems to be the big clue that they are
preparing for an upgrade to Windows 7/CS5?”
And now my friend you can see…. I cannot tell you how much I despise the software companies. Though I love many of the products they put forth and as a business person I can completely see their selling strategy, but as a consumer and user ENOUGH ALREADY! Adobe used to put out updates (v.1.1.2 etc.) until they got to a significant point where they’d put out the next version. Then they went to putting out the v.5 then shortly releasing the next full version. Now they don’t even bother with that stuff anymore. CS3 was released in mid ’07 and CS4 came out in mid ’08. Dollars to doughnuts CS5 gets unveiled at NAB this year and released in May or June this year. They don’t even allow the guru’s time to get the ‘how to books’ written and published for one version before they move onto the next! I applaud (look at questioningly) companies that can afford / accept the ‘merry-go-round’. My company’s not going to do that. We might upgrade to 5, but they don’t allow enough time to get full mastery of the software. Granted, you may have long-term skill built up with the core tools (we upgraded to CS3 from the Digital Video Collection Production Bundle (2002) Despite what the demographic and marketing weenies say, it still takes years to get mastery of your tools as most professionals aren’t chained to their workstations 24/7 (you still have to sleep, eat and poop.)
Far as Win7 goes, everything I’ve heard about it so far is that it’s just a stripped down version of Vista. Or as I like to call it (de-mac-ing of the interface.) Vista can be a memory hog, but just turn off all the ‘doo-dads’ you don’t need. I recently tried the Aero theme and though it was pretty (like a mac) it was sucking up an additional 500 – 1000MB of memory! Changed the theme back to Visa Basic, problem solved.
“Is Ultimate bad (like Media Center Edition), or is Ultimate just a
bloat/waste of $30.00 for added features I don’t need/probably will
Ultimate isn’t bad if you’re not using it for your workstation. If you plan on showing presentations, or previewing client edits and what not then it’s fine. On your workstation(s) the less ‘extras’ (or junk in the vernacular) the better. This is a good use for your older machines that you’ve reallocated to other tasking.
- April 13, 2009 at 5:24 PM #166265
>>I’m not familiar with Norton back-up software. However, if similar to XP Pro / Vista Biz back-up utility at the end of the day’s editing you’d do a ‘hard backup’ from the internal RAID to your external one.
I am not familiar with Vista Biz backup. Hopefully you can clue me in?
The thing about Norton/Symantec is that it allows for incremental backups, which saves disk space (which then allows for a lot more backups). This is pretty handy with a backup on theOS drive, because you can keepa full backup ofyour fresh install, so in case your boot drive evergets corrupted, you can restore it pretty quickly, without having to purchase an additional backup drive.
One can also mount the disk image as avirtual drive, so if you want to dig into a past image andpull out a particular file, you can do that. Not that I have ever used that feature….
If Vista Ultimate/Biz has these features, then perhaps the thing to do is just not to renew Symantec once it reaches the end of its useful life. One of the things I appreciate about MS is how they tend to incorporate the main features of other useful programs right into the OS, over time.
>>Depending on how many slots your esata raid card has and what its max capacity is you may be able to have a 4TB + external setup. You can do some serious rendering / finishing with that kind of space.
OK, sorry to be so dense. It’s got four slots, but if my internal D:array is only 2TB, then what advantage is there in purchasing 4TB of external array, over a simple 2TB? Is it important/useful to save all of one’s previous versions until finishing? Or what am I not getting?
- April 13, 2009 at 5:27 PM #166266
>>Then they went to putting out the v.5 then shortly releasing the next full version. Now they don’t even bother with that stuff anymore. CS3 was released in mid ’07 and CS4 came out in mid ’08. Dollars to doughnuts CS5 gets unveiled at NAB this year and released in May or June this year. They don’t even allow the guru’s time to get the ‘how to books’ written and published for one version before they move onto the next! I applaud (look at questioningly) companies that can afford / accept the ‘merry-go-round’.
It’ll probably get worse than that, before they are done. One reason MS went to the “Windows 95” format was that they wanted to start charging an annual fee for the use of their software (i.e., lease agreements), and that is still their goal. It is enough to make one want to go Linux (except that MS is in talks to purchase Sun, hmm).
But we know that all things work together for good, to those who are chosen by the Father, and are called according to His purposes, so no problems here.
- April 13, 2009 at 6:30 PM #166267
I looked for your machine builds on your site, but did not see them.
When you go to build a new machine, how do you do that? And how do you research the parts?
Do you analyze someone else’s build, and then try to duplicate it yourself?
Or do you follow the technical ezines (tom’s hardware, etc)?
- April 13, 2009 at 7:43 PM #166268
“I am not familiar with Vista Biz backup. Hopefully you can clue me in?”
Vista’s back up doesn’t do incremental backups. It can do straighforward file backups, single drive backups or complete system backups. Though not as convenient as an incremental, backing up your files with it is close to ‘idiot proof’ (which comes in handy when you have multiple editors working on a project.)
“if my internal D:array is only 2TB, then what advantage is there in
purchasing 4TB of external array, over a simple 2TB? Is it
important/useful to save all of one’s previous versions until finishing?”
Yes you would want to save your different versions and specific renders. If you saw in the post-production section of the “Iron Man” special features disk, they discussed how they had different versions archived as changes were made before picture lock. Hopefully, you wouldn’t have to do more than 1 (production gods forbid or 2) final renders as they are the most time consuming and potentially most expensive portion of the finishing process. You want your internal RAID to hold your active project files and do your working renders. You use your external RAID for the load bearing like holding raw source media, rendered clips and project backups. Having the external 3TB like you mentioned will give you that option, plus you could make it a redundant raid or another raid 0. The extra slots give you additional ports to connect drives to be raided or left as singles.
“I looked for your machine builds on your site, but did not see them.”
Hmm. I mentioned the site so folks could see the projects we had done with in-house builds (except for the Navy one, that was an Avid Media Composer set up.) We’re currently getting ready to ‘burn the site to the ground’ and rebuild anew. I was going to put a blog or two on the new site, yeah I guess showing some of our builds will be good material as well.
“Do you analyze someone else’s build, and then try to duplicate it yourself?”
Sort of. I’ve never duplicated a build part for part. More often than not, I always find something that works better or as good for less money. I do however, get motivated by other products. Last year when I saw HP’s top of the line workstations (with much drooling) I wondered, ‘For the same amount of money, how much of that system could I build in-house and still have left over for software?’ Our latest build is based on the HP I looked at and except for a slower processor (2.4GHz quad duo OC’d to 2.8) as the HP had 2×3.0GHz quads, it in many respects rivals the HP because it has 4x the memory (8GB), twice the GPU power (2 PNY Geoforce 8800GT’s) and 4 (count’em 4)TB’s worth of internal drive space, plus CS3 Master Collection and 2 28″ HDMI monitors for 4/5th’s of what the hp workstation cost. Oh and there’s a pro Sound Card in there too plus the external raid card.
- April 13, 2009 at 7:46 PM #166269
For anyone that’s interested, here’s a unique application for an in-house built render farm.
- April 14, 2009 at 6:38 AM #166270
>>Vista’s back up doesn’t do incremental backups. It can do straighforward file backups, single drive backups or complete system backups. Though not as convenient as an incremental, backing up your files with it is close to ‘idiot proof’ (which comes in handy when you have multiple editors working on a project.)
Well, using the software within Vista means one does not have to purchase other software, and complete system backups is probably all anyone really needs; especially if one has a big enough backup. So the 3/4 TB idea sounds pretty good.
- April 15, 2009 at 11:16 PM #166271AnonymousInactive
Sorry for the delayed response. Tax time!
<<You’ve got a fair rig for doing ‘less than broadcast quality DV’. However, if you want to work in HD (and you will) your current system won’t push it. Though your CPU’s fast enough, you’re going to need at minimum 2GB of RAM (4GB or more is better) to help with rendering and other computer processes.>>
Well, this mobo maxes out at 2GB, so I am going to put in the new RAM
<<Is that a ‘Promise’ Card you’re running the RAID array off of?>>
<<In my honest opinion it’s time to move to another system.>>
Thanks for the advice. I’ll just do the RAM upgrade and stick a fork in this one. Although I do have one question below…
<<I’d avoid Ultimate for a professional tool like an NLE>>
Yeah. Not being a pro, I thought Media Center was a good thing when I bought this system. I should have paid more attention, as I ended up with software and features I either don’t need, or just downright interfere with Adobe CS (particularly Premier Pro). I ended up un-installing all of the media center software. One question though, this system has two GPU’s, one being the “Giga Pocket” for inputting video to the Sony Media Center apps. Any idea if I could replace that with another GPU that would be beneficial to Adobe CS (and compatible with this system)? I am guessing “No” as it seems this system was really not meant to be upgraded. I assume that if there were another GPU that would benefit this system, it would require another case and power supply which seems like going a bit far to upgrade this system. Otherwise, I will keep it intact and build a new system when the need arises. Any thoughts on replacing the “giga pocket” gpu?
- April 16, 2009 at 7:30 PM #166272
Use the cash you’d spend on a new GPU to put it in your next rig. Your old rig with that extra RAM will make a good DAW or web video editor after you’ve moved to a more modern rig. Far as windows OS’s, much as I loved XP Pro Vista Biz SP1 and whatever the Pro flavor of Win7 will be your best bet for your next rig.
- April 19, 2009 at 8:48 AM #166273
OK, I am working on backup for D:. D: istwo internal 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM drives. I really like your idea of backing them up to an external RAID 0 array via an IoGear eSata RAID card. It seems much cheaper thana Drobo (and the Drobo does not do eSata: only Firewire).
Ihave the IoGear eSata RAID card installed, and alsoI presently have one1.5TB Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme external hdd installed.
I was ready to purchase two 1.5TB Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme drives and then put them in a RAID 0 external, but I could not find them on Tiger Direct. Then I saw on Amazon.com that (while Seagate normally gets perfect reviews) this particular model gets really mixed reviews, with as many one star reviews as it gets four-and-five-star reviews combined.
I have a few of the Seagate1TB USB 2.0 external hdd’s. I have never had any problems withmy USB drives (and they get great reviews).I have also never hadany problems with my eSata drive;but then I have not used it very much, either.
Q: If the eSata model gets lousy reviews, then perhaps I should not buy any more of them? Perhaps I should do something different?
For reference, thereis always the Drobo ($398.56 empty, after rebate):
However, as another alternative, I also haveone Thermaltake BlacX eSatadock installed.
The docks are $42.99 each.
They also offer a combination of the dock plus a 1TB Seagatefor $127.98.
So I could hypothetically getfour of these rigs for = $511.92, plus $80.00 for four 6′ eSata cables.
Alternately,I can get theSeagate 1.5TB internal hdds for $129.99 at TD:
So, hypothetically,I could get three more docks for $42.99 x 3 = $128.97
Plus four 1.5 TB Seagates for $129.99 x 4 = $519.96
Plus $19.99 for 6′ eSata cables x 4 = $79.96
Equals = $728.89 (plus tax, shipping and handling)
As compared to the Drobo for $398.56
Plus four 1.5 TB Seagates + $519.96
plus no cables (because I have firewire cables) = $918.52
Except because the way Drobo operates, I could probably start with just two 1.5TB drives, and that would give me enough capacity to get going, and then I can add more drives, later as the prices on hdd’scome down. So to start off with a Drobo and just two drives would give me:
One Drobo2 at $398.56
Plus two 1.5 TB Seagates at $259.98
Equals $658.54, plus tax, shipping and handling.
So I could actually get started for cheaper if I get the Drobo; and then I can expand as we go.
Am I making sense? Or am I all confused?
- April 19, 2009 at 9:10 AM #166274
Because of the redundancy thing, it looks like I would need three of the 1.5 TB drives with a Drobo before I could get started.
So basically I would be looking at about $788.53 to get started with the Drobo and three 1.5TB drives,
versus$515.93 to get the docks and drives (3 x $129.99 drives + 2 x $42.99 docks +2 x 19.99 cables,because I already have one dock and cable).
So if I go with the exposed hdd’s it is $515.93, and if I go with the Drobo it is $788.53, or $272.60 difference (plus whatever difference in shipping and so forth).
Would that look kind of hokey, to have three eSata docks with exposed drives? Would there be any problem with that? And would you recommend it?
Or what would you recommend?
- April 19, 2009 at 9:34 AM #166275
I went to Tiger Direct to order theGTX 260:
I selected this card specifically because it recommends a 525W power supply, which is what I have on my new box. However, when I called sales to see if it came with all of the necessary connectors, the sales representative told me that the 525W number was a minimum, and thatI would need at least a 600W PSU for that particular card if I wanted to run it reliably, unless I had absolutely no other peripherals on the machine.
I told him that I thought I read somewhere that the maximum draw on that particular card was 175 Watts. However, he told me that unless I got a larger PSU, I was running the risk of the machine shutting itself down, for lack of enough power.
May I ask you if I have a big enough power supply for this machine? I have:
Two 250GB WD hdd’s for C:
Two 1TB Seagate hdd’s for D:
Palit GeForce 8600GT Super +1GB video card (I was hoping to upgrade to the GTX 260)
8 GB Crucial RAM
4 GB ReadyBoost RAM
Contour Shuttle Pro
Two monitors (but they are externally powered)
Seagate 1TB USB external hdd (externally powered)
Seagate 1.5TB eSata FreeAgent Xtreme hdd (externally powered)
Thermaltake eSata dock (externally powered)
UPS is APC Back-UPS XS 1500
Speakers and sound card are all external, and are externally powered.
Maybe there is something I am not getting, but is my power supply really too small?
As we spoke earlier, I am hoping to shoehorn either a BlackMagic MultiBridge2 or some kind of accelerator card into the second PCIeX-16 slot when the time comes. I just want to bump this box to the Core2 Quad Q9650, and then get this GTX 260, and then run with this box for a long time, while I save up my dollars for a newer SLI machine. Do I really need a larger power supply in order to run this card?
- April 19, 2009 at 10:09 AM #166276
One last question tonight (and perhaps the most important one):
I am not really sure how an external RAID 0 array works. With anexternal RAID 0 array through an IoGear eSata card: what could happen if I were to have (Heaven forbid) a massive failure on C:, or on the motherboard, such that I lost the machine?
If I had to move the external RAID 0 array to another machine, or if I had to replace C: or the mobo, would that break the D: or the external RAID 0 arrays? (And would I possibly lose those arrays?)
Even if the Drobo2 does cost $280.00 more, if it would keep me from having a catastrophic data loss, then it woul dbe worth it, wouldn’t it?
- April 19, 2009 at 6:00 PM #166277
>>The Multibridge Pro2 is the ‘step down’ version of the Multibridge Eclipse which is a muuuuuuuuuuch more affordablealternative to the Avid Nitris line ofbreakout boxes and does nearly the same thing. The Eclipse Pro2 does everything the Eclipse does (except) ithas half the array of pro connections and no cool flashingLED’s on the front. That’s the huge difference between the Pro2 and the Matrox.The RTX2 breakout boxdoesn’t have professional connections for audio and video. No HDMI (for straight to NLE capture),no XLR’s, BNC’s for HD or SD analog connections, no RS-422 port for remote control of pro decks and no SDI connectors for affordableprocameras like Canon’s XH-G1, XL-H1 or JVC’s GYHD250. And if the ‘Production God’s’ willing you get hold of a RED ONE it would be a shame not to be able to just hook it up because you don’t have an SDI connection. And yes, if you have collaborators who have been rendered hopelesslysubsurvient to the mac empire (that one’s for my fellow producer who’s been lamenting his wallet lightening purchase of a new G5 setup) then you can easily hook it up to their system and off they go (just wipe up after you’re done.) As for whether it will accelerate Vegas, I currently have no answer. Currently, it has drivers to support it but I haven’t seen anything more about its performance with Vegas. Lastly, I’d take it in stages; gas your current system far as it can go / you can afford. Then the next system build / get built something with a particular software in mind. The good thing about Avid is they have ‘stages’ too. Now that Media Composer is their lower – mid-line workhorse they’ve adapted their breakout boxes to meet the need. Mojo DS is where you’ll start (but you’ll pay $10k for the software and the breakout box) and those same Production Gods willing, you’ll move up to Nitris (cha-CHIIIIINGGGGG!)
I just want to make sure I understood you: The Eclipse Pro 2 is a much cheaper equivalent not only of the Avid Mojo, but of the Avid Nitris line of breakout boxes?
- April 19, 2009 at 6:05 PM #166278
>>A straight 2.66GHz quad duo core will push CS4 and combined with RAM of 4GB or more and one or more 512GB GPU’s you’ll have a fine working machine.
I have been re-reading and thinking a lot about what you said. This question may seem redundant, but I need to ask it for clarity:
If a straight 2.66 GHz quad duo core will push CS4, then why does Adobe list the system requirement at3.2 GHz for HDV?
Do you mean a 2.66 is enough for simple HD or .avi? And if so, what is the minimum sysreq for HDV?
- April 20, 2009 at 1:58 AM #166279
I contacted B&H Photo& Video. The man I spoke with denied that the BlackMagic Bridge had any acceleration capabilities at all.
Do you have firsthand knowledge that it does?
- April 20, 2009 at 6:00 PM #166280
I’m on a shoot for a few days and lots of questions pop up! Where to start?
“Would that look kind of hokey, to have three eSata docks with exposed drives? Would there be any problem with that? And would you recommend it?”
No, it wouldn’t. As long as your gear doesn’t have stray wires hanging out and presents an orderly appearance I doubt any of your clients will sweat exposed harddrives. In fact it may enhance your outfit’s ‘high-tech’ feel (function over form and all.) I didn’t see the thermaltakes you mentioned either, but there are a number of suitable options available. Concerning ‘Toasters’ or HDD Docks I don’t have any experience with them as they only came out last year. However, it is an excellent idea if the drive will be treated as a ‘removable’ and the system won’t get bent looking for it when it’s not connected. That would be an excellent option for client drives and ‘backup only’ drives. I wouldn’t recommend a toaster for a RAID setup. Once you’ve pulled a drive out in a Raid 0 the integrity’s broken and good luck trying to get your files out.
To get a good idea of what size power supply you’re looking at ASUS has a Power Supply Calculator you can check your stats on:
“If a straight 2.66 GHz quad duo core will push CS4, then why does Adobe list the system requirement at3.2 GHz for HDV?”
It took me a minute to figure that out too. I pulled the stats from the adobe site and it reads;
2GHz or faster processor for DV; 3.4GHz for HDV; dual 2.8GHz for HD*
All the information I’ve found points to these being the minimums for single core CPU’s. Our current build uses a 2.4GHzQuadcoreDuoOC’d to 2.8. It pushed HDV at 2.4 just fine. I tweaked it just to see if we could get more out of it. When we upgrade, it will be to a 3.0.
“I contacted B&H Photo& Video. The man I spoke with denied that the BlackMagic Bridge had any acceleration capabilities at all.”
The Multi-bridge pro2 through itshardware architecture supports real-time effects for selected NLE programs. Here’s the link to the tech spec sheet:
- April 22, 2009 at 3:31 AM #166281
>>I’m on a shoot for a few days and lots of questions pop up!
Lol. Sorry about that. I did not know. I was trying to do my research before I wrote you.
>>To get a good idea of what size power supply you’re looking at ASUS has a Power Supply Calculator.
I went to the Asus calculator, and it said I need a PSU with 750 Watts. I found a model for 875W that specs into the next larger workstation, the Dell T5400. I contacted Dell technical support, and they said they “would not guarantee it”, but said it should work/fit, so I bought a used one on Ebay for 50 bucks. It should be here in about a week.
It was very educational pulling out the power supply. It was a whole lot easier than I thought. Then, once I had it out I saw what was left in the case, and I realized that what you were saying is true: it really is as easy as just picking out the right components, and then stuffing them into the right case, isn’t it?
>>The Multi-bridge pro2 through itshardware architecture supports real-time effects for selected NLE programs. Here’s the link to the tech spec sheet:
Yeah, but is that the same as saying it will accelerate Avid?
Thank you for your help.
- April 22, 2009 at 4:29 PM #166282
No worries. I’m just glad this thread is turning out to be useful.
“It was very educational pulling out the power supply. It was a whole lot easier than I thought. Then, once I had it out I saw what was left in the case, and I realized that what you were saying is true: it really is as easy as just picking out the right components, and then stuffing them into the right case, isn’t it?”
Yup. It’s almost criminal how easy it is and how much consumers get charged for the ‘feeling of security’ they get from tech support. Granted, everyone is not qualified to work a computer let alone start taking one apart. But once you have a clear idea of what components do and where they go, the hardest part is doing the research to get the proper parts. The fun part starts when the ‘stuffing’ process begins and making said components play nice together. “WHY ISN’T THIS WORKING!!! Ah, good times, good times…. Despite the ease, you still have to take all the proper precautions (grounding, powering off and not ‘cavemanning’ components in when they don’t seem to fit.) When you do your first build, I strongly reccomend having an up to date copy of ‘The Idiot’s Guide to Builiding PC’s’ in hand. Some of the info may seem infantile to someone like yourself whose done research on their components, but the building steps are solid and in the ‘notes’ there are always those little important tidbits that will keep you from getting bit in the ass. Having a copy on hand for simple upgrades wouldn’t hurt either.
“… is that the same as saying it will accelerate Avid?”
Last year at NAB I specifically asked BMD’s reps whether the MBP2 would work with Media Composer and they said unequivocally “YES”. Since then, I’ve combed through tons of techincal forums and BMD’s site and haven’t gotten a hard and fast yes or no. I’ve contacted their tech office about this and await their response. Now that I think about it, the odds are long against it. Avid as good as their products are hold their proprietary rights just as tightly (and annoyingly) as Apple. I figure the last thing Avid would want is for someone to make a breakout box that does the same thing as their Media Composer Nitris DX for a14th of the money? I hope that’s not the case. We’ll see….
- April 23, 2009 at 1:45 AM #166283
>>Now that I think about it, the odds are long against it. Avid as good as their products are hold their proprietary rights just as tightly (and annoyingly) as Apple. I figure the last thing Avid would want is for someone to make a breakout box that does the same thing as their Media Composer Nitris DX for a14th of the money?
Yeah, good point. Why would they want to let someone else like BMD (or even Matrox) bust in on their obscene profits?
One thought I keep having is that since Vegas processes based on the number of cores, as the Gigahertz wars becomes the Core-wars, Sony is going to continue to improve.
But just so I have asked, do you think my progression of Sony-then CS4- then Avid is a logical and intelligent one? Or since it turns out that this machine will do Avid, would you just go straight for that?
- April 23, 2009 at 10:30 AM #166284
>>But just so I have asked, do you think my progression of Sony-then CS4- then Avid is a logical and intelligent one? Or since it turns out that this machine will do Avid, would you just go straight for that?
That is, considering that I am not too swift with this kind of thing, and I just figured out Sony….
- April 23, 2009 at 3:58 PM #166285
“But just so I have asked, do you think my progression of Sony-then CS4-
then Avid is a logical and intelligent one? Or since it turns out that
this machine will do Avid, would you just go straight for that?”
To paraphrase a conversation I had with a martial arts master a while back, ‘…Master that which you have before seeking new techniques. You will be more formidable using the stick you have mastered than the sword you just bought.’
I’d build my chops with Vegas first. I had been working with premeire for almost 5 years before I took training in Avid. Currently, I work with Vegas and Premeire Pro (which is way diff from when I worked with 5.5.) We’ve got Avid Express Pro on our old system (built in ’02) and I use it from time to time to keep up on the interface, but I know when I move to MC (more money… sigh) there’ll be a learning curve so I’l have to retrain to get up to speed with the new innovations. Yeah, you will have to learn a number of NLE’s if you decide to move deeper into the pro arena. The progression you’ve mentioned is a reasonable one.
- April 24, 2009 at 6:55 AM #166286
Sounds like good advice. “Build on your strengths first; then flesh out your weaknesses.”
OK, so I went to Tom’s Hardware, and asked about the PSU.
The guys there seem to be in agreement that the Asus calculator notwithstanding, since the CoreDuo Quad CPU will draw less than 100W, and the GTX 260 video card will draw just over 100W, not to worry about a thing, but to install the 525W PSU, and don’t worry about it.
OK, so the 875W is already on the way, and if the thing shuts down for power during finishing I can always swap out the PSU. But now they got me looking at cases, and now I am wondering about airflow. Some of those gaming cases have astonishing amounts of airflow. I watched the video on this one, and was blown away:
I was looking at the size of the heatsink on my CPU inmy T3400, and I was thinking itwas pretty good, but then I watched that video and realized that there is no way my poor little old T3400 can match that one…and with the big old fans, it is bound to be quiet.
Then I also realized that then I take the sidepanel off of my T3400 and stare at the mobo, the air intake/front of the machineis on the left, and the back of the machine is on the right. But on all of the cases I am looking at, it is the exact opposite (when staring at the mobo, the front of the machine is on the right, and the back of the machine is on the left).
Do they make aftermarket cases for Dell T3400’s that would improve my airflow? And if not, since there are no small children and no animals in the house, how would it be just to take the side panel off of the machine, and operate with it that way? Or does anyone make side-panels with fans and/or mesh? Or could a guy rig up a mesh screen, to make sure no flies get in there?
Or would you specifically not do that?
Thank you for your help.
- April 24, 2009 at 6:58 AM #166287
Oh, yeah; one more thing.
What is the deal with Avid? Why are they so restrictive on the hardware that they will support? It seems like they will support Dell, HP and Mac, and that is all. I was talking to one of the guys at Safe Harbor (http://www.sharbor.com), and he said that Avid used to work with them, but now they will not even give them a spec sheet, so they can design their computers for Avid.
I thought that limiting the hardware was the reason Sony Beta lost the war with VHS? Or does Avid know something that we don’t?
- April 24, 2009 at 5:03 PM #166288
>>Do they make aftermarket cases for Dell T3400’s that would improve my airflow? And if not, since there are no small children and no animals in the house, how would it be just to take the side panel off of the machine, and operate with it that way? Or does anyone make side-panels with fans and/or mesh? Or could a guy rig up a mesh screen, to make sure no flies get in there? Or would you specifically not do that?
One guy on Tom’s Hardware suggested just adding an 80mm fan to the back of the case, to help pull air out. That sounds like a good idea.
- April 24, 2009 at 6:11 PM #166289
Thanks for the link on the case. TD’s pretty good about showcasing components which really helps when you’re researching gear. That was one snazzy case. I might roll with something like that if I ever decide to build a watercooled rig. If you check the #3 case next to the video window you’ll see the one we used for our latest build. I’d hold off on anything too hardcore on your first build. I prefer towers for my builds because they give me room for harddrives, DVD burners, graphic cards and PCI cards. And you have room to work in. On your first build get a good case with lots of fans and good airflow. In the begining, stick with aircooled systems as they are less complex and less expensive. Get a few (successful) builds under your belt before you push on to watercooling.
I’ve never heard of ‘aftermarket’ cases for the main manufacturer’s (Dell, HP, etc.) The only thing like that I remember is when Apple used to allow folks to build ‘mac clones’. I wouldn’t leave the side panel off the case to improve airflow. All that electronic equipment creates fields which attract dust, moisture and certain destructive insects such as roaches. Putting a bigger fan or two at the rear is a sound idea. Remember, at this point you just want to stabilize your current system as you prepare to buy or build your next.
As I mentioned earlier in the thread, Avid’s malfunction is the same as Apple’s. Avid wants to control as many aspects of the production and sale of their products as possible. Years ago when you could only get Media Composer on an apple was because they had an exclusive deal with apple. At the turn of the millenium that deal went sour and avid cut a deal with hp/compaq. Later on, they renegotiated with apple but part of the deal was they could go with some pc companies since they had developed specific crossplatform hardware. As is apple, hp and dell (gateway?) are the only ones who have full tech support from avid. On the one hand, it helps keep the quality assurance level high. On the other it’s a monumental PIA for the independent builder. Avid can limit their hardware because they have a strong enough customer base to do what they want. Much as FCP is trying to make inroads, most movies and television programs get cut and or finished on an avid system. That’s not going to change anytime soon.
- April 24, 2009 at 7:48 PM #166290
I appreciate your comments with regards to leaving the side of the case on. However, I am going to have to do something.
The GTX 260 just came in this morning.I had no idea the card would be that big. It is a completely full-length card, twice as long as my 8600 GT, and just as tall…except that ithas a solid outer shell all the way around it. Since Matrox wantsthe bottom PCI X-16 slot, the GTXis going to have to go in the top slot. The only problem is that there is maybe only3/16ths” clearance between the air intake for the GTX 260 and the bottom of the shroud that covers the heat sink on the CPU. I do not believe it will seriously obstruct air intake for the GTX, but it is going to obstruct the airflow for all of the PCI cards below it, as well as for the two D: hdd’s…something I absolutely do not want. Add to that the fact that the GTX pushes air out the bottom and sides of the case, and it is going to push lots of heat into the bottom of the case, andright now there is no way for it to get out.
I would really rather not migrate the guts to another case, especially since I do not know why my caseappears to be backwards from all of the other cases on Tiger and NewEgg. We do not have roaches here (praise Yahweh), one of the few benefits of living ina semi-arid semi-desertregion. Also, we keep the house sprayed pretty well for insects, so there are not a lot of bugs in general. Wealso do not get a lot of dust.However,we do get small flies occasionally, and I imagine they will go for the lights on the Crucial RAM (which I did not know were going to be lit up bright red when I purchased the sticks). But I am going to have to do something.
Does anyone make a metal grill or metal mesh, so that Ican cut the meat out of the side panel below the GTX, to allow unrestricted airflow? I did order asuper-quiet 92mm fan from NewEgg to mount on the back grill, to pull air out of the back of the case above the GTX:
However, that is only going to evacuate air from above the GTX. It does not look like it will do much tohelp circulate air beneath the GTX card.
Below the 120mm CPU fan, Dell has also mounted what looks to be a92mmfanwhichblowsair over the top of the two bottom hdd’s, and then onto thelower PCI cardslots. However, with the GTX in there, there is nooutlet for that airflow. Some of the airflowmight make it up throughthe 3/16ths” gap between the top of the GTX and the bottom of the CPU heat sink shroud (and will probably get sucked down into the GTX), but the rest of that 92mm air is going to bounce off of the bottom of the GTX card, and swirl around in the lower PCI card space, where there is no outlet.
If I do not remove the cover, I couldcutthe meat out of the side cover, and install either a metal grill, or mesh. Alternately, I could drill about a bazillion holes (or hit it with a shotgun…lol). Buteither I have to seriously ventilate the lower part of the side cover, or else I have to leave it off.
The Matrox RT.X2 will populate the lower PCI X-16 slot. It also is a full-sized card (and I want the extra monitor connectionthe full-sized RT.X2 offers), so when I look at the case, all I see is maybe room to mount two teentsy 40mmfansin bottom corner, by the back of the case, to push air out.
Maybe I need to do that.
I just ordered three 40mm fans. Let’s see what I can figure out.
P.S. Yeah, and next time I am purchasing a tower case!
- April 24, 2009 at 11:13 PM #166291AnonymousInactive
I started reading this forum, I got 3/4 down on the first page and realized that this computer jargon was over my head. I was a News Photojournalist for the past 5 years at a couple of stations. I have the passion to shoot the best video and put it together. I am very creative and use my right side of my brain more than my left. So what I am saying is my strenghts are being creative, shooting, and editing the video. I wish I could use all of this great information in these post to make the best computer for a NLE System, but I was not blessed with those talents.
So, what I am looking for is a solution to my problem of trying to find the best NLE System with the best computer that will do the job. Right now, I have decided to start a video production business and my budget for this NLE System and Computer is below $5,000. I would like to put video on the website I will create, put video on the iphone to show people demos of my work as I am marketing my business, be able to edit HD and SD footage on the system making DVDs and bluray discs. I haven’t decided if I want to go laptop or desktop? I understand that the desktop will probably be more powerful than the laptop, but you can take the laptop anywhere to edit. Good example, if I have a client that wants a sample right there and then, I have the ability to do so on the laptop. I understand the importance of having monitors to hook up to the NLE System is important, I am guessing it is best to use a desktop for the monitors. Bottomline is, I just need a system to do the job and not get in my way by creating more problems that I don’t need. I would like to start out simple, build a good foundation, and have the ability to put more powerful parts in the computer. If I can think of anything else, I will add it. I may start my own forum for this question. All of your answers and postings will be much appreciated!
Oh one more thing, I have used Grass Valley NewsEdit, Final Cut Pro. and Tape to tape. Here are my impressions of some of the systems. It seams like Vegas is a good user friendly system, but I am wondering if it is powerful enough to do professional work versus prosumer work. I read in this forum that it may be lacking in some areas. Final Cut Express would not do the job, because I read something that it does not work with timecode or something like that. Final Cut Studio seems like it is pretty expensive, but not compared to Avid. It also seems High Maintence and picky of how to do things. Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 seems like a pretty good system that has gotten rave reviews from some of my colleagues. I saw a Matrox Product Demo that was using Premiere and I liked that you could change the windows around, if you didn’t like where the bins were versus your source and record windows. One negative thing that I saw though was if you were typing something in the file search folder, you would have to type matrox in, if you were using anything matrox. I figured that they could make it a little bit easier and more functional for your work flow. Edius has my interest to, since I used Grass Valley NewsEdit, but I noticed it doesn’t seem like there are a lot people using it. Good Example there is no Forum for Edius. Again thank you for your responses, I hope this info helps.
- April 25, 2009 at 12:13 AM #166292
You could get as many different answers had you asked what is the best car to buy. Everyone has their favorite (Mac/PC as example). Off the lot or custom built is another. You have to know what you want to do with it. Do you want to get across the country in the shortest amount of time or handle the offroad terrain of a cross desert trek.Many of themwillpretty muchdo a good job of getting you from point A to point B, it all depends on how you want to get there.
You have stated that you have done some editing. What system(s) was/were this on? That might give you a starting point for what to look for.
Knowing what software you are going to use can set the level of what computer you are going to need. Something to pay attention to is the system requirements of your software. Do not short change yourself by looking at the minimum requirements. Following the Recommended requirements, or higher,will give you a much better experience with your software. Look at the plugins and accessories that are available. Those may have additional requirements as well. As far as best computer? Best is a relative and very short-lived term as witnessed by all the different versions/revisions of software out there, and the constantimprovements to CPUs and such required, something else to keep in mind as well.
Take a look at the reviews at http://www.videomaker.com/learn/introduction/computers/These will give you some ideas of what is available.
You can also look up desktops and laptops here http://www.consumersearch.com/computers-and-internetand see how they compare.
- April 25, 2009 at 12:15 AM #166293
Ah a long time ago, I was like you (creative side dominant.) Now I need a minute to figure out which side is which! No worries, I speak ‘non-techese’.
Okay, you sound like a serious ‘pre-built’ kind of guy a little bit ‘macie’ and a little bit ‘pcie’ (I promise no music will start up.) Pre-builts are an obvious choice. Since you say you have no head for the technical side (I advise you grow one as time goes on, it will save you money and aggravation) stick with the name brands like HP, Dell and of course Mac. For those of you unfortunate types who are technology challenged but creatively endowed, I thoroughly recommend a ‘Turnkey System’.
Turnkey Systems are nle’s that are built specifically for a particular editing program. These are workstations (serious tools) designed for editing, graphics and mographic work. You’ll have to decide what program you want to use and what platform you want to work in (i.e. pc or mac.) Then, you contact a company that makes turnkey systems, tell them what you want and then pay them. They send you a pre-built nle that all you should have to do is pull it out of the box, hook up your monitors and junk and get started editing. The main drawback about turnkey’s are; price, they usually don’t come with monitors included (unless you buy a one-piece which I don’t recommend for serious editing) and any extra’s (ram, harddrives, etc.) will cost more than if you bought them yourself. Also, doing in-house upgrades will most likely void your warranty and if anything goes wrong you have to ship it back to the company you bought it for repair thus increasing your down time. However, there is a certain amount of security with a pre-built from a reputable firm as they may have more intensive tech support. But the bigger they are, the more likely you’ll be calling to India for tech support and talking to a very nice person who doesn’t know what the hell they are talking about.
Here’s some links for turnkeys:
Promax – You’ll want to look in the ‘Browse Solutions Window’ and start with ‘The Startup’. They have solutions in both Mac and PC
B&H Photovideo – This link will take you directly to the turnkey page. They too have solutions in both PC and Mac
There are many other places that sell turnkeys but these two are the most reliable. Don’t be surprised at how much these things cost. Just remember, they come with the software installed.
BTW, Vegas is a professional nle. If you’ve ever watched Discovery’s ‘Survivorman’ since late 2006, all the episodes are cut on Sony Vegas. Oh, and they switched from FCP and mac to do it. That weirdness you mentioned with Matrox is one of the reasons I stopped using dedicated cards like that. Matrox was alway a little ‘squirrelly’ for my taste. Norman swears by the RTX, but I’m leaning toward Blackmagic Design’s line of products. Another thing you seriously want to consider; which nle will allow you to work with the most amount of other editors if the need arises? Avid and Adobe are the kingfish when it comes to crossplatform collaboration. And, if you’re running a pc and have premeire you can pitch out an EDL to someone using FCP without a lot of hassle. Alot of editors use FCP, but they’re all mac, if you have the chance to do a bigger company’s field edit and they use PC getting that EDL out to them may be dicey. Are you going to not take the gig because they use pc? If you’re crossplatform, life’s a lot easier. In fairness to ‘isolated platformers’ like FCP and Vegas, the good news is you should be able to export out scene clips in whatever flavor the other company uses. It’s more work, but it can be done.
Take a look at some of the stuff on those links and if you have more questions, just ask.
- April 25, 2009 at 1:05 AM #166294
I got started on this thread because I ended up hijacking someone else’s thread without meaning to, and Composite1 helped me out by starting a new thread for me. I thought I would pass along the favor.
I started a new thread for you, “Recommendations for best NLE and system <$5,000.00”, and I put in my two cents there.
I hope that is helpful.
- April 25, 2009 at 1:06 AM #166295
Oh, wow. I see there are already two other answers since I created a new thread.
I hope the new thread will help.
- April 25, 2009 at 1:37 AM #166296
>>However, there is a certain amount of security with a pre-built from a reputable firm as they may have more intensive tech support. But the bigger they are, the more likely you’ll be calling to India for tech support and talking to a very nice person who doesn’t know what the hell they are talking about.
In my other post, I wrote that I would happily use Dell Gold Tech Support again. Dell Gold is North American tech support. Ninety percent of them know more than I do (which is not saying all that much). However, Dell Home and Home Office tech support is not good. They are overseas (mostly India), and while three years ago they knew more than I did, now I know more than ninety percent of them (no joke).
I hope this helps.
- April 25, 2009 at 2:16 AM #166297
>>That weirdness you mentioned with Matrox is one of the reasons I stopped using dedicated cards like that. Matrox was alway a little ‘squirrelly’ for my taste. Norman swears by the RTX, but I’m leaning toward Blackmagic Design’s line of products.
Well, the only reason I keep talking about the Matrox RT.X2 is that it is the only product I see advertised as accelerating multiple layers of HD and HD effects real time in Premiere. I have looked and looked and looked, but while I see the BlackMagic Design Multibridge billed as ‘working with’ Avid and Premiere, and while it lists several ‘real time effects’ that can be applied to the timelines, I have yet to see any claim from BMD (or any reseller) that says it accelerates rendering of either Avid or Premiere. If I missed something, please let me know, butI do not understand howthe Multibridge can accelerate Avidand Premiere for 1/14th of the cost of a Nitris, or else why would anyone buy a Nitris? Add to that the fact thatthe Nitris is way costy, and the Matrox is not. So until I can work my way up to Avid MC3(probably a couple of years from now) and until I can afford a Nitris (who knows when), I will probably continue to be interested in the Matrox RT.X2. But maybe not? Time will tell.
I know you also work lots of hours, as do I, soI will take all of the time savings I can get. If I could find any claim in writing from BMDthat the Multibridge will accelerate both Premiere and Avid, I would probably stop being so interested in the Matrox, and become more interested in the BMD Multibridge.
As you also stated before, Sony works on the number of cores, and as the GHz wars continue tobecome the Core Wars, I imagineSony will benefit greatly. Oh, and by the way, did you see that Sony just advertised Vegas Pro 9, and a new ‘Production Assistant’ package for Vegas Pro that was created by VASST?
Eventually I hope to learn all three NLE’s; but since I am kind of pokey in the new-learning-curves department, that may take me some time….
I hope your shoot went well.
- April 27, 2009 at 2:03 PM #166298
I checked with B&H. They said that the Multibridge does not do any acceleration at all. They said it is only an input/output device with some added effects.
On my box, it looks like I am going to add a 92mm fan to the back of the case to suck air out; and then I am also going to have to cut two small holes in the bottom-right-hand side of the case cover (below the GTX 260), and add two 40mm fans to suck hot air out.
How did your shoot go?
- April 27, 2009 at 7:14 PM #166299
Shoot went well despite getting rained on.
I still haven’t gotten any word back from BMD so I’ll take your word on the Multibridge until proven otherwise. Sounds like a plan on the fan, but I’d check with Dell about what will void your warranty before doing any cutting.
Concerning the RTX2 here’s some reviews to help you with your decision:
As for why someone would buy avid over matrox again falls into how high the level of uncompressed format you need. The RTX tops out at HDV whereas the Mojo supports XDCAM, Canon 24f HDV, Sony progressive HDV, Panasonic P2 cards and has support for ProTools hardware. So if you’re working in a serious pro environment, it’s nothing to do a hardcore offline edit and then hand it off to a hardercore stand alone finishing workstation or full-on online finishing array when you’re working with a product so heavilly supported. In that case, it’s worth the extra money.
I do have a better opinion of the RTX now, however, I built my latest system with the multibridge in mind and will need the pro connections provided. Also, I wouldn’t be limited to HDV. I like the idea of being able to capture via HDMI to get the cleanest and least compressed signal possible for the money. However, I do believe the RTX2 is a viable option on the cheap.
- April 27, 2009 at 7:16 PM #166300
I took a look at the votes and so far nobody has given using pre-built systems only the nod. That’s curious. Anyone want to elaborate?
- April 27, 2009 at 10:09 PM #166301
Thank you for the links. I will try to check them out later on tonight.
>>I took a look at the votes and so far nobody has given using pre-built systems only the nod. That’s curious. Anyone want to elaborate?
Well, when I went to vote I only saw two choices/options, one for custom builds, and one for modifying prebuilts. Are you sure that a third option shows up on other people’s screens?
However, as for my vote, in mulling over Avid more and more, it hits me thatAvid only supports certain Dells, HP’s and Macs, or else they won’t take you seriously. So when it comes time to learn Avid, I will probably get a pre-built job, as I do not want to be without support, either hardware/software, or NLE. I am sure that comes at a premium, butin my mind the extra support seems worth it.
>>The RTX tops out at HDV whereas the Mojo supports XDCAM, Canon 24f HDV, Sony progressive HDV, Panasonic P2 cards and has support for ProTools hardware.
Wow, good points! OK, I did not know that. So my present camera is HDV 1080i, but when they raise the standards to 2K in 2015 I will probably end up looking ata newer/different camera withflash-memory-based filerecording. That sounds like a good reason to migrate to Mojo or Nitris at that time (assuming I have the funds).
>>Sounds like a plan on the fan, but I’d check with Dell about what will void your warranty before doing any cutting.
I’ve just been astonished how Dell Gold Technical Support seems to support me in almost whatever I do. I can swap the OS, swap parts, add parts, and they still talk with me, and help me out (this is not at all true with Home and Home Office, which seems like it looks for almost any excuse not to help).
I found aused side door for my T3400 on Ebay for about $25.00 including shipping,so I will probably just pick that up, and then there are no worries.
Got to run, but I hope to look at those links later on tonight.
- April 27, 2009 at 10:59 PM #166302
“…when I went to vote I only saw two choices/options, one for custom
builds, and one for modifying prebuilts. Are you sure that a third
option shows up on other people’s screens?”
Yep, there are three voting choices;
Pre-built Systems, In-House built and Combination of both.
“I’ve just been astonished how Dell Gold Technical Support seems to support me in almost whatever I do.”
Well since you paid for one of their higher(est) ends of support I’m not surprised their willingness to help. I am surprised that they are willing to honor the warranty with you making some drastic physical mods to the system.
Concerning ‘migrating to avid’, if you plan on staying in this biz and pushing to do ever larger projects with increased production values no matter what platform you use, you’ll end up using one of the major setups. The fact that the larger production houses all use avid, fcp, media 100 or grass valley if you want to collaborate with them, you’ll need something they work with. Despite FCP’s popularity, Avid is cross-platform and long as your project is based in avid you can work in avid. But, in the meantime the goal is to make or buy an nle setup that will give you production values beyond what would be expected outside of the medium to large scale production house budget. One thing about it, Avid doesn’t say that MC and it’s various breakout boxes won’t work with uncertified gear, they just aren’t planning on supporting it.
- April 28, 2009 at 3:40 PM #166303
>>I am surprised that they are willing to honor the warranty with you making some drastic physical mods to the system.
Yeah, I am surprised by that also. But they always seem to do it.
- April 28, 2009 at 6:26 PM #166304
Just so you know, concerning avid despite it’s leading industry position and powerful software/hardware solutions the one thing I give all its competitors over it is; you don’t have to use a @@#$%#^&!!! stupid dongle to use them! Used to be if you lost your dongle, you could get a replacement for $150 bucks (for a plastic USB !@@#$%$#@!!** dongle!) Now, if you heaven forbid damage or lose your dongle, you have to buy a whole new copy of the software!!!!!!!!!!!) That has always been Avid’s Achille’s heel for me. As a business person I wholeheartedly understand the need to protect intellectual property. But there’s protection and then there’s straight up blackmail, extortion and robbery.
- April 29, 2009 at 2:41 AM #166305
>>Just so you know, concerning avid despite it’s leading industry position and powerful software/hardware solutions the one thing I give all its competitors over it is; you don’t have to use a @@#$%#^&!!! stupid dongle to use them! Used to be if you lost your dongle, you could get a replacement for $150 bucks (for a plastic USB !@@#$%$#@!!** dongle!) Now, if you heaven forbid damage or lose your dongle, you have to buy a whole new copy of the software!!!!!!!!!!!) That has always been Avid’s Achille’s heel for me. As a business person I wholeheartedly understand the need to protect intellectual property. But there’s protection and then there’s straight up blackmail, extortion and robbery.
A few years ago I had a copy of ProTools LE, which I returned to them for that exact reason. While I understand their position, I found the whole thing altogether insulting. And not only that, but the dongle was so big it blocked four of my USB ports. Not only insulting, but not usable as well.
However, what you say with Avid being perhaps twice as efficient, I think I need to go there, when the time comes.
- April 29, 2009 at 6:56 AM #166306AnonymousInactive
Thank you Crafters of Light, Composite 1 and Norman Willis for all of this good information! I will look at all the websites and info you guys have given me. Sorry Norman, I didn’t mean to hijack the thread for a second, but thank you for starting up that other thread. Well to give you guys an update, I purchased Vegas Pro 8 for a very low price. I know 9 is coming out in a couple of weeks, but I couldn’t pass this deal up for Vegas Pro 8, so I went for the plunge. I am now looking for a computer for Vegas Pro 8. I started this thread:
If you want to check out the thread and want to give any suggestions, please do so. I will appreciate it.
I was reading the rest of the thread and was surprized about Avid. What is a dongle for Avid? That does sound like straight up blackmail, extortion and robbery, if you have to buy a new copy of software and blocks four of your USB Ports.
- April 29, 2009 at 1:27 PM #166307
NP. (not a problem).
I responded to your other thread. It is good to see you checking things out first, before you take the plunge. Getting started with Vegas 8 is not a bad idea at all. Then you can wait for the Vegas 9.0b version (so they work all the bugs out) before you cut over. That way you will have less down time.
The best advice I can give you is to read what the other posters say, consider how much experience they have (most of them will have more than me), and even if you are not a believer, pray. Then sleep on it before making your purchasing decision. When it seems right, go for it. No decision we ever make is perfect, but so long as we stay in prayer, usually it all work out.
Best of success.
- April 29, 2009 at 2:18 PM #166308
I knew the Avid Dongle takes up one slot, but didn’t know the Pro Tools dongle blocked 4? If true that’s pretty lame for so powerful a program.
I’m glad to have been of some small assistance to you. Just remember when you start editing with Vegas to render your segments with effects once you’ve got them completed. Vegas is deceptive in that it will allow you to scrub through the video with no prob, but won’t let you do a preview burn to tape or anything else without rendering. Unless you have a lot of elaborate effects and a slow system, knocking out the segments as you go will save you from hideously long render times. Oh yeah, and the titler is goofy. Just doing straight titles and using keyframes to do motion effects was a lot less headache than trying to figure out how to work the controls in the titler. Maybe you’ll have better luck. Down the road, you’ll want to add Sound Forge, Cinescore and maybe Acid for sound post and music scoring. I agree with Norman on 9.0. Build your chops on 8 first and by then they’ll have the bugs worked out of 9.
- April 29, 2009 at 2:56 PM #166309
>>I knew the Avid Dongle takes up one slot, but didn’t know the Pro Tools dongle blocked 4? If true that’s pretty lame for so powerful a program.
I might be recalling that wrong. It might have only taken up two slots (because it is so thick), and then ‘cramped’ the other two slots that sat right next to it (again because it was so thick). Then when it kept crashing my system I sent it back, without really even trying to troubleshoot it (because I was already hacked off).
- April 29, 2009 at 3:25 PM #166310
Understandable. As I said previously, I thoroughly understand the need to protect intellectual property. But you’re not going to stop people from coming up with ‘workarounds’. Though I’ve alway kept a legal copy of Avid software on at least one system, I’ve always had back up software like Vegas and Premiere on hand in case something happened to the avid dongle. I don’t like the idea that a whole production could be crippled by the loss of a @##$%!%%^&!!! piece of plastic with a little code on it.
BTW, that was some good advice you gave chad on the other thread.
- May 1, 2009 at 12:29 AM #166311
So long as we are looking at accelerator cards, what is the deal with Edius?
- May 1, 2009 at 1:02 AM #166312
Nada clue. I’m somewhat familiar with them but not enough to make it worth commenting.
In the meantime, since we haven’t discussed pre-built systems much I wanted to show you HP’s latest high-end NLE. The Z800 has eight core xeons, 192GB RAM (that’s right 1-9-2!) is 64-bit (winxp pro though you probably can get it with Vista Biz) and can use SAS, SATA or Solid State Harddrives. The solid state drives are small 64GB and pricey ($1k each), but can do read/write speeds of 500+ mbps!. They’ve got an airflow cooling setup that looks like something you’d see under the hood of a lamborgini and for an additional $300 they’ll ditch the air cooling system for a watercooled one. I don’t remember what the GPU in it was but without the extras the Z800 goes for $10k. That my friend is a serious finishing computer! It seems mandatory that you’d put MC on it. It would be nice to see a comparison between that and mac’s latest rig in the same weight-class. 192GB?!?!?!?!?!?
- May 1, 2009 at 3:09 AM #166313
>>I don’t remember what the GPU in it was but without the extras the Z800 goes for $10k.
It sounds like a very (very) nice machine.
However, with your wholesale discounts, how much would it cost you to make a machine identical to the one you just described?
And how difficult is it to get set up for wholesaleprices?
- May 1, 2009 at 4:24 PM #166314
“… with your wholesale discounts, how much would it cost you to make a machine identical to the one you just described?
And how difficult is it to get set up for wholesaleprices?”
Good question. I’d hate to check because I’m still working to get the new machine to pay for itself (though I am growing curious by the second.) I got listed as a dealer mainly because my co’ was buying so many components a wholesale outfit noticed it and offered a professional listing with their company.
In the meantime, check your messages for a look at the Z800.
- May 3, 2009 at 5:16 PM #166315
>>In the meantime, check your messages for a look at the Z800.
Wow. That’s one impressive machine. And it looks for $10,000.00 they do what the Mac charges $25,000.00 for.
And it has cowling on the inside, to improve air cooling???? And it also has cable-less trays????
Wow. I’d sure love to have one of those!
- May 4, 2009 at 4:34 PM #166316
I was watching the Class On Demand video on Vegas. The instructor (Douglas Spotted Eagle) strongly advises learning all one can about compressing the narration audio within the project.
I am looking to do essentially training/documentary films. My camera is an HDR-FX1 (with the standard noisy pre-amps), so I bought a juicedLInk CX-231 to bypass them, and quiet them down. Microphone is a DPA-4088B headset going through a Shure wireless transceiver (or I could patch straight to a mixer, if I want. I also have a PreSonus Comp-16 Compressor/Limiter, but in the video DSE was saying how you can compress audio right within Vegas itself.
The goal is the highest quality audio possible. Would you recommend compressing the audio before it gets to the camera:
DPA-4088 >> Shure >> Comp-16 >> juicedLink CX231 >> HDR-FX1
or would you leave the compressor out, and then do all of your compressing in Vegas?
DPA-4088 >> Shure >> juicedLink CX231 >> HDR-FX1
- May 4, 2009 at 4:54 PM #166317
I try to keep video and audio as separate as possible during production. I’m sure compressing audio in the field has its uses, but you neverknow what you’ll use raw footage or audio for. I’ve found it works out better in the long run to have everything uncompressed in raw form as you can ‘work the magic’ on it later in post if need be. So yeah, I wouldn’t do in-field compression unless a client specifically asked for it. Even then, I would record uncompressed secondary audiojust to be safe.
Now, Spotted Eagle is one sharp cookie. I’ve attended several of his lectures and the man is definitely worth listening to.
- May 4, 2009 at 8:41 PM #166318
>>I try to keep video and audio as separate as possible during production. I’m sure compressing audio in the field has its uses, but you neverknow what you’ll use raw footage or audio for. I’ve found it works out better in the long run to have everything uncompressed in raw form as you can ‘work the magic’ on it later in post if need be. So yeah, I wouldn’t do in-field compression unless a client specifically asked for it. Even then, I would record uncompressed secondary audiojust to be safe.
I called Robert of JuicedLink.com, and he said the same thing: record the audio raw, and then tweak it in post…so since you both agree, I guess that’s it.
- May 4, 2009 at 11:55 PM #166319
Here’s the answer to the questions you brought up about the Multibridge Pro/Eclipse from the BMD design engineers;
“Avid software traditionally has never supported
any 3rd party hardware whatsoever. So with that we are not supported by
<span class=”yshortcuts” id=”lw_1241479553_0″>Media Composer</span>. Possibly you could capture a file with our Multibridge and
then bring it to Composer, but we are not directly accessible by Composer.
Extremely BETA support for 8.0c, in fact that hasn’t been updated in an
extremely long time. Development has come to a standstill so I wouldn’t
expect to see anything coming out in that regards any time soon.
We don’t do any additional rendering or acceleration via software or
hardware. We support the RT effects of Premiere meaning, we support their
native RT effects and do not override them as how some manufacturers used to
in the past.”
So no it doesn’t support avid as we both suspected (too bad.) But he was wrong in that Avid DV Express pro 3.5 supported the PYRODV PCI firewire card and firewire PCMCIA adapter. So they were ‘friendly’ at least once. As for acceleration, that’s a negatory. Whereas the RTX2 does hardware acceleration but is limited to HDV and only has basic inputs (RCA, Firewire) the MBP2 does no acceleration but can facilitate the capture and output of formats from SDI to 2k and has a number of professional input/outputs like BNC, HDMI, XLR in addition to standard connections like firewire and RCA. So, it really depends on what you want to do and how you want to output it.
- May 5, 2009 at 4:01 AM #166320
>>So no it doesn’t support avid as we both suspected (too bad.) But he was wrong in that Avid DV Express pro 3.5 supported the PYRODV PCI firewire card and firewire PCMCIA adapter. So they were ‘friendly’ at least once. As for acceleration, that’s a negatory. Whereas the RTX2 does hardware acceleration but is limited to HDV and only has basic inputs (RCA, Firewire) the MBP2 does no acceleration but can facilitate the capture and output of formats from SDI to 2k and has a number of professional input/outputs like BNC, HDMI, XLR in addition to standard connections like firewire and RCA. So, it really depends on what you want to do and how you want to output it.
Yeah, good points.
My camera is HDV, and I am going to have to try to wind this camera out for some time, because it is what I have (and I cannot afford to get anything else right now).
But what is the deal with 1080i? Why is it difficult to work with? And are there any things I need to know about Vegas, that will help it work with it?
- May 5, 2009 at 4:05 PM #166321
“But what is the deal with 1080i? Why is it difficult to work with?
And are there any things I need to know about Vegas, that will help it
work with it?”
The diff between 1080i and 1080p is the ‘i’ and ‘p’. The ‘i’ stands for Interlaced which is the traditional mode of showing a television signal by using alternating scan lines to create ‘fields’. 2 alternating fields make one frame. The ‘p’ in Progressive scanned video means that the scan lines are drawn in a single sequence not alternating fields. The progressive scan method gives you much higher resolutions than interlaced video. The drawback is progressive scan video is more data intensive thus requiring more storage space on an nle or online editing network.
It’s not that 1080i is ‘difficult to work with’, interlaced video has been around for a long time so the tech is already on hand. But, now that the CRT style of television has its spot next to the Smilodon in the ‘tar pit’ you can see the scan lines on LCD and Plasma screens now taking over the market. Progressive scanned video is perfect for LCD and plasma screens used to watch DVD, Blu-ray and online video. To ‘clean up’ the scan lines in interlaced video you have to ‘deinterlace’ your raw footage / final product. Deinterlacing will deemphasize those pesky scanlines, but at a loss of resolution.
Vegas has the capability to deinterlace video. You just have to select deinterlacing when you set your new project settings. As is, your camera format at 1080i is fine for now. Just know that within the next 2-3 years 1080p will render it obsolete.
- May 5, 2009 at 5:17 PM #166322
Thank you for”telling it like it is.” I do understand that I will have to upgrade at some point. I also understand that 1080i is inferior to 1080p. I also understand what you said earlier, about having to justify one’s costs. I would love to have 1080p (or even 2K), but I do not have the money, and cannot justify the cost at this point.
I have heard that the standards committees are looking to raise the HTDV standard to 2K in 2015.I am hoping to transition to a P2 (something like what Chad is looking at) in a few years. However, I will have to save for that, and am hoping that my 1080i will get me started for right now, because that will get me off of ‘print only’ and into the video world, which will be a huge breakthrough for our ministerial outreach. I expect it will change a lot of things.
I would guess that some 90-95+% of our views will be on the web, because the web video is free. Therefore I would think that de-interlaced 1080i should do great, at least untilbandwidth increases significantly in this country, which iteventually will.Japan averages 30 mega DSL, and South Korea has 50 Mega DSL. People are already Tube-surfing with their Media Center PC’s and an HDMI screen, and I would think that will only increase. However, since most of the stuff we are going to do is essentially web-based HD flash, I would think thatde-interlaced 1080iis going to be ‘good enough’ for a long, long time, such that I do not have togo back and ‘re-do’ anything I do now, based on resolution (at least not when most people are happy to watch SD on YouTube right now).
>>Vegas has the capability to deinterlace video. You just have to select deinterlacing when you set your new project settings. As is, your camera format at 1080i is fine for now.
I was hoping you would say that. So to de-interlace the1080i, I just ‘check the de-interlacing block’ in Vegas? And then approximately how much loss do I get in the resolution? Will it be comparable to 720p?
- May 5, 2009 at 5:34 PM #166323
A green screen question.
I have two Lowel Tota halogen lighting kits with umbrellas, for a total of six light stands each. I also have a ten foot wide ‘non-reflective’ soft fabric green screen from http://www.eefx.com, and we are trying to build a good frame for it(sothere will be no wrinkles).
My filming space is somewhat restricted (my bedroom is doubling as the studio). Basically I will be able to stand about three feet in front of the screen, and that is about the length of the shot: so do I still do the ‘key light’ thing? Or do I want even lighting instead?
To get the most even lighting, I thought I would take four of the six lightstands, and make two of them just above face height, and then make two of them just abovewaist height, each with 500W halogens and umbrellas. Then Iwould put two on my right, and two on my left (one high, one low). Then I thought I would take the remaining twostands with 300Wbulbs, to kill any green on my shoulders or hair. (I am also thinking about an eye-light next to the camera, assuming it does not make it too difficult to read the teleprompter). Basically I can shift left and right a lot, but there is not too much room for forward-and-backwards motion in the studio (which is probably fine, because I am just going to set the focus, and then leave it).
Does that lighting solution sound like it would work? OrdoI still want to go with key-lighting(three-point lighting)?
- May 5, 2009 at 5:34 PM #166324
Also, one of the features I am most looking forward to in Premiere/Ultra are the virtual sets. Does anything like that exist for Vegas?
- May 7, 2009 at 11:07 PM #166325
I keep thinking about it, and at the minute, I think this poor little old HDR-FX1 is all I really need.
AVCHD would probably be a lot faster to feed in, but then I would still have to burn backups of the media, so I don’t really lose any time, do I?
- May 8, 2009 at 3:13 AM #166326
“I keep thinking about it, and at the minute, I think this poor little old HDR-FX1 is all I really need.
AVCHD would probably be a lot faster to feed in, but then I would
still have to burn backups of the media, so I don’t really lose any
time, do I?”
Buying all of the gear you want, expensive.
Having the clarity of vision to make the best of what you have, priceless.
The one real advantage of tape based workflow is being able to download your footage vice digitizing it. The disadvantages are it’s currently expensive and finding the best way to archive the footage. I’ve worked with both and I do like having the footage ready to go, but I also like having a stable and inexpensive archival format like tape.
On the greenscreen make sure you have sufficient light coverage on the background. They should all be the same type of light and the same color temp. Yes, you will need a keylight on your subject. Two important items; make sure your background is wrinkle-free as possible and get your subject as far away from the background as possible. That’s the best way to get rid of green spill.
Ultra is a neat little program for fast and dirty keying. Afx is a much better keyer and Ultra is kind of an unnecessary extra. What it’s good for is on a laptop field editor so you can save the hardcore stuff for afx on your in-house editor. The keyer in Premiere is okay, but redundant if you get the production suite and afx comes with it.
- May 8, 2009 at 3:55 AM #166327
>>Buying all of the gear you want, expensive. Having the clarity of vision to make the best of what you have, priceless.
That’s well said. Lol.
- May 8, 2009 at 4:33 AM #166328
>>On the greenscreen make sure you have sufficient light coverage on the background. They should all be the same type of light and the same color temp. Yes, you will need a keylight on your subject. Two important items; make sure your background is wrinkle-free as possible and get your subject as far away from the background as possible. That’s the best way to get rid of green spill.
The screen will be wrinkle-free, and I don’t think it will reflect much (it is foam); but how close to the color temps have to be? Are 3200K,3000K and 2900K close enough? Or do they need to be exact (e.g.,use only 3000K lamps)?
I read somewhere that one wants toput more light on the greenscreen than on the subject.Is that true? Right now the halogen bulbs I have are these:
300W 2900K EHZ
500W 3000K FCZ
750W 3200K EMD
Are those color temps close enough? Or should they be exact?
The ‘studio’ is my bedroom. I am somewhat constrained by the furniture (i.e., bed). Overall distance from camera lens to green screen will be about 12.5 feet. If I need a key and fill, here are some options that I see (along with some questions):
Icanput two bright umbrella lamps (either 750W EMD’s @3200K, or 500W FCZ’s at 3000K: which?) on the greenscreen from about four or five feet away. That should light it pretty well. (Which would you use, the 750W’s at 3200K? or the 500W’s at 3000K?)
If I stand six feetaway from thegreen screen, I canmove left and right, because the bed will not block my lateral motion. However, if I need more roombetween me and the greenscreen, then I can maybe bump that to seven or eight feet between me and the greenscreen, but that will severely curtail my ability to moveleft and right (due bumping into the bed). (I suppose I could always stand the bed up, if it is important).
I canmaybe put a 500W FCZ @3000K on me for the key light, and then another 500W FCZ a little farther away for the fill; or would it be OK to usea 300W EHZ at 2900K for the fill light, maybe a little closer?
I would really like to be six feet from the screen, if that will work, because it would be nice to be able to move left and right some. If I am sixfeet from the green screen, and I have the two umbrellas that light up the green screen about a foot behind me, then doI still need to puta pair of300W EHZ’s on my shoulders, tokill any green overspill? Or would I be better off to go with just one 300W EHZ for a backlight, and not worry about overspill?
Or should I use the exact same lamp in all the umbrellas? And if so, which one would you recommend?
Thank you very much for your help.
- May 8, 2009 at 4:43 AM #166329
>>Ultra is a neat little program for fast and dirty keying. Afx is a much better keyer and Ultra is kind of an unnecessary extra. What it’s good for is on a laptop field editor so you can save the hardcore stuff for afx on your in-house editor. The keyer in Premiere is okay, but redundant if you get the production suite and afx comes with it.
I apologize, but I do not have anything Adobe at this time, more than Acrobat (.pdf maker).What I have at the moment is Vegas, and Boris Red.
How is the Vegas keyer? Is it any good?
In his training DVD, Chris Vadnais talks great things about the Boris keyer. However, I would have to watch that DVD again before I couldeven begin to figure it out. I probably do want to watch that DVD again before I actually get going, but I have no clue as to whether or not the Boris keyer is any good.
On a separate note, I have a free pass to a beginners Adobe Photoshop workshop in Sacramento on Monday. The only trick is that it is not specifically geared for video, andI have no idea who the instructor is. I would also have todrive for three-plus hours each way, just to get there and back.
If you were me, would you drive for six or seven hours and fight traffic just to attend an eight hour workshop? Or would you purchase some trainup DVD’s from VASST and Total Training instead, and then spend all fourteen hours poring over the DVD’s?
Thank you very much for your help.
- May 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM #166330
Hoss, we are way off topic for this thread. If you want to know more about greenscreen tips and other stuff, start a new thread so others can give their input and or read up on the info.
Fire at will.
- May 8, 2009 at 4:39 PM #166331
I see someone voted for ‘pre-built’ systems. If you would please give your opinion as there isn’t much representation on that point.
- May 8, 2009 at 4:44 PM #166332
Hoss, we are way off topic for this thread. If you want to know more about greenscreen tips and other stuff, start a new thread so others can give their input and or read up on the info.
Fire at will.
OK, I will start a new thread. I apologize, I did not realize. Thank you very much for your help and advice.
- May 8, 2009 at 5:38 PM #166333
OK, here is the new thread:
Thank you for your help and advice.
- May 16, 2009 at 12:19 AM #166334
Videomaker’s latest review of the HP Z800 says thatthe Polywell Core i7 rig outperformed the Z800, even though the Z800 had twin Xeons at 3.2GHz.
It also says thattwo Xeon processors was notany faster than just one.
I wonder what tests he ran; and if it would make any difference to Vegas Video.
Do you know why a Xeon would not outperform a Core i7; and why two processors would not be any faster than one?
- May 17, 2009 at 4:26 AM #166335
Would have responded sooner, I’ve been chained to an edit bay for a while….
I read the review. It seems balanced enough but I would have liked to seen how it performed with nle programs despite what ‘polywells’ did in the benchmarks. I’d also like to know why there was no change in performance when one cpu was removed. That’s just weird. As to why 2 Xeon’s would not outperform an i7 (I look forward to the day when ‘i’ and ‘e’ are no longer in front of things for marketing purposes), my guess would be for the same reason two cpu’s combined usually are equal to or less than a single nextgen cpu. I would have to have more info to give an educated assessment.
BTW, did you ever decide what you were going to do upgrade wise?
- May 17, 2009 at 7:15 AM #166336
>>I read the review. It seems balanced enough but I would have liked to seen how it performed with nle programs despite what ‘polywells’ did in the benchmarks.
Yeah. I agree. What did they do for their ‘benchmark’?
>>I’d also like to know why there was no change in performance when one cpu was removed. That’s just weird. As to why 2 Xeon’s would not outperform an i7 (I look forward to the day when ‘i’ and ‘e’ are no longer in front of things for marketing purposes), my guess would be for the same reason two cpu’s combined usually are equal to or less than a single nextgen cpu.
Yeah, me too. I guess what really throws me is that I thought they were using the new Nehalem architecture on those Xeons (Core i7 style, which accesses the RAM directly). Each one of those Xeons should be way more powerful than a Core i7…so unless their Polywell was overclocked to about Mach 9 or something, how could one Core i7 outperform two Nehalem Xeons at 3.2GHz??????? And why would two Xeons not do any better than one??????? It just does not make any sense.
I wish I knew whom to write, to ask, because if it really does not make any difference, then why spend all that money? But I have a hard time believing it would not make any difference.
>>BTW, did you ever decide what you were going to do upgrade wise?
Yeah. Since Vegas works on the number of cores, I broke down and bought the Q9650 CoreDuo Quad at 3.0 GHz. Then I also picked up a BFG GTX 260 from Tiger Direct that comesfactory (!) overclocked,with athree year warranty. (I just don’t see how they can do that).
It works great. It blows my old 8600 GT right out of the water. SpeedFan says it was idling at about 50 degrees C. I ran some speed test on it (something like Furmark, only for x64) and it drew a maximum of 285 Watts or something, so I decided the factory 525W PSU will do me just fine.
The only thing was that the card is bo big it was blocking all the airflow in my case.So I puta 92mm super-quiet fan in the back of the case.
Then I found a spare T3400 side door on EBay for about ten bucks, and then cut the middle of the door out, to within about an inch of the sidewalls (so there is about a 1″-wide strip of metal all around. Then I used some rubber cement to fluestandard window-screen bug mesh into the sides of the case, to keep the bugs out. Now the thing vents!
Current configuration is:
Q9650 CoreDuo Quad at 3.0 GHz (stock)
8GB Crucial low-latency RAM
4GB Windows ReadyBoost RAM
GTX 260 withfactory (I can’t get over that) overclocking
2 x 500GB WD Caviar in RAOD 0 on C:
2 x 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPMin RAID 0 on D:
All backups are external.
That’s way more machine than I know what to do with at the moment, so I figure that ought to hold me while I get going with Vegas 9.0, the new Production Assistant,and the Boris Red. When I figure those two out, then I will try the Matrox RT.X2 (full size). I figure that will give me all the power I could ask for while I am doing Sony, Boris, and then Adobe. And unless I miss my guess, at the rate my brain work,and with the amount of time Iam able to carve out tolearn new stuff it will probably take me at leasttwo years to get through all of that, by which time I will be ready for an Avid machine (which I am looking forward to very much).
And speaking of which, just for fun I went ‘pre-shopping’ for my next machine. First I went to the HP site, and then I went to the Apple site. The Apple machine actually priced out much lower than the HP??????? How could that be?
- May 18, 2009 at 2:36 AM #166337
I read the Videomakere review of the Polywell Core i7 system that beat out the HP Z800.
They used a Core i7 Extreme at 3.2 GHz (no overclocking), 2 Seagate Cheetah drives at 15,000RPM in RAID 0, and an Nvidia Quadro CX accelerator card.
<p class=”breakhead”>As tested, the Polywellwas $4,899.00, and came with 5 years labor, 3 years parts warranty.
<p class=”breakhead”>The HP Z800 as tested was $10,787.00, and the warranty was not mentioned.
<p class=”breakhead”>I would still really like to know what kinds of tests he did, and why the second processor did not increase the overall speed of the system.
- May 28, 2009 at 6:01 PM #166338
As promised, I researched a comparable build to the Z800. To see their unit I based my build upon go to:
To see what I could build for $1300 more check your messages.
Now to be fair, HP does include Adobe CS4 Production and techsupport for those who are not tech inclined. But you do have to pay for that. Let me know what you think.
- May 28, 2009 at 7:44 PM #166339
I am really grateful for all of your help and continuing advice. It is such a wonderful blessing to be able to converse with a ‘real industry pro.’
However, I am confused.You are telling me that for $1300.00 less I could get HP’s machine with Adobe CS4 Production and three years’ tech support?
I don’t get it. If I get more for less if I go with the HP, then why would I even consider building? What advantages am I not picking up on?
- May 28, 2009 at 9:20 PM #166340
“I don’t get it. If I get more for less if I go with the HP, then why
would I even consider building? What advantages am I not picking up on?”
Actually, for only $1300 more the build gives you an immensely powerful NLE for a lot less money. Two faster CPU’s, a GPU that’s 3x faster, 10.5x more memory, nearly 7x the harddrive space, e-SATA controller card, multiple media card reader, A Blue-ray reader and recorder with 2 giant HD monitors. To get anything approaching the same thing from HP you’re going to spend $17k (64GB RAM, 3TB harddrive space, no blue-ray.) Yeah, you get tech support, but to buy a system with the same capacity you’re going to spend over $25k-$30k. You figure after putting CS4 production suite or the Sony Suite on it your’e still under $12k and have a hideously powerful system. You just have to be your own tech support.
Think about it, you could build a complete system for less than half of what you could pay for as a pre-built.
- May 28, 2009 at 10:07 PM #166341
I apologize if I misread.
- May 28, 2009 at 10:33 PM #166342
>>You just have to be your own tech support. Think about it, you could build a complete system for less than half of what you could pay for as a pre-built.
How many hours a year do you figure you spend, either directly at tech support, or in preparation to be your own tech support?
In other words, how many hours a year does it take to be your own tech support?
- May 29, 2009 at 2:15 AM #166343
“… How many hours a year does it take to be your own tech support?”
That’s a pretty good question. The majority of the time is spent during the build and testing phase. Unless you do something stupid like fry components (not yet in 9 years) or get a few ‘lemony fresh’ components putting everything together usually takes about a week. If you are not fortunate enough to have everything you want all at once, you’ll have to spend a few days reconfiguring your expansion card arrangement or installing extra harddrives, RAM, etc. depending on how many add-ins you’re installing. Unless something doesn’t fit out of the box or is defective, it takes maybe a couple of hours to get additions in and test them properly.
The next phase that takes the longest is installing and getting all of the software to ‘play nice’. This last go-round from 32-bit to 64 took longer than usual only because some of the components which said they supported Vista neglected to mention they didn’t at 64-bit. So, the time it took to change out for comparable supported gear or waiting for a software update had to be factored in.
Lastly, the regular upkeep and maintenance is where the rest of the time goes. I never really thought of that as ‘hourly tech support’, but it is. With the new rig there’s a lot less regular maintenance as the system defrags while idle and now with the major bugs worked out (I always leave room for conflicts with new software) the only thing to do is maintain regular back-ups.
Now, I do have a couple of small upgrades scheduled as I plan on putting in a faster CPU and adding a blackmagic pci-e multibridge card. That and keeping our other ‘puters in good working order I figure without a build going on I spend no more than 150 man hours a year with 2 active NLE’s, 2 admin systems and a laptop. With an in-house build that jumps an additional 100-200 hours depending on how meticulous I get. So 350 hours a year may seem like a lot, but the amount of time and money I save not having to send gear off and waiting around to get it back, I can’t put a number on it.
As an aside, rarely does anything just go completely ‘mam’s up’. Recently, we had a large client drive nearly go down and it took about 20 hours to restore it. Mainly, because the older NLE wasn’t capable of fully restoring it. The next day we hooked it up to the new system and it restored the drive completely in 5 hours. If I had to depend on outside techsupport, it would have cost me over a thousand dollars and days if not weeks to get that drive back.
Being ‘your own tech support’ once you’ve gotten some experience building your own rigs is an invaluable asset. However, on occasion you will run into things that are outside of your experience and you’ll have to ‘fight your way through it’. It’s definitely not for the tech challenged nor for the faint of heart. When my associate techs and I run out of ideas and we can’t dig anything up online, then I’ll send it in. More often than not, there’s someone in tech support who’s just as stumped but on occasion you run into some real guru’s. So I’m not against tech support at all. I just consider it a ‘last resort.’
- June 1, 2009 at 7:42 AM #166344
I really appreciate your help and adviceon this thread.
I am running behind right now. If I had more time (or if I was looking to buy anytime soon) I would price a bare-bones Z800 (and probably also a Dell T7500; and to be honest, also a Mac Pro)and then price it out with adding my own drives and such. My goal would be to see what I could get a machine with awarranty for, that Avid would also support.
As earlier stated, Dell charges a fairly tight price for the basic model, but then where they ‘make their money’ is by all of the add-ons to the basic models. The last time I checked they wanted something like$506.00 for a simple 1TB Western Digital Caviar HDD, when one can get a 1.5TB Seagate for something like $129.00 through Tiger Direct (when the Seagate comes with a 5 year warranty). One can also get lots faster RAM from Crucial, and other aftermarket RAM houses. I would imagine that HP is about the same.
The last time I looked, Apple also charges a small fortune for their RAM. Right now they only want $6,100.00 for 32 gigs of RAM, which is down from the $10,000.00 they were asking a few months ago. Mercy!
My original plan was just to purchase the base model, and then trim it out with my own stuff. However, consideringCharles Fulton’s Z800 review, which showed that thefirstXeon processor does not even ‘break a sweat’ when rendering Premiere and such, I am wondering whether I really need a twin-Xeon model after all,when I go to upgrade.Right now I am thinkin’ the Z400 looks pretty good.
But I don’t know. All of this is still in the majorly’hypothetical’ phase for me right now, because I am still trying to get my mind wrapped around all of the tools and codecs and gizmos that I already have.It has been good to dig into this kind of thing at the hypothetical level, but I cannot get too serious aboutpricing DreamWorks-class machines when I’m still only getting started….
- June 1, 2009 at 3:26 PM #166345
“All of this is still in the majorly’hypothetical’ phase for me right
now, because I am still trying to get my mind wrapped around all of the
tools and codecs and gizmos that I already have.It has been good to
dig into this kind of thing at the hypothetical level, but I cannot get
too serious aboutpricing DreamWorks-class machines when I’m still only
Recognizing one’s current limitations, priceless.
You’ve hit upon the mantra I express to anyone in the biz no matter what their level. Recognizing your limitations at your current stage. Even if you have dumptrucks full of cash to throw at it, I would still say start small and build up as your skillset increases to take advantage of your current capabilities.
Concerning the ‘Dreamworks-class’ workstation build I priced out, I have to say initially it was just a curiosity. But now that I see for around 10k I could build one, it’s not that far fetched a prospect. I’m just sorry that model would only fall short of the 1.92TB HP max RAM by 64GB. Still, 1.28TB isn’t shabby.
The only real diff between a prebuilt and an in-house built system is how much you pay for it. Granted, with a prebuilt you get tech support, but you have to pay for it and you have to go on their time. Most times, you don’t get ‘the guru’ on the line. Usually it’s some poor sap working off a script. Depending on the firm, eventually you will hook up with a guru and get things worked out. With an in-house, you’re the guru and depending on your depth of knowledge, skill and confidence handling the tech end can be ‘a no biggie’ or a nightmare which could get expensive. It’s a choice that any working professional will have to make and both have their pos/neg effects on both your workflow, wallet and sanity.
- June 1, 2009 at 3:40 PM #166346
>>I’m just sorry that model would only fall short of the 1.92TB HP max RAM by 64GB. Still, 1.28TB isn’t shabby.
The only real diff between a prebuilt and an in-house built system is how much you pay for it. Granted, with a prebuilt you get tech support, but you have to pay for it and you have to go on their time. Most times, you don’t get ‘the guru’ on the line. Usually it’s some poor sap working off a script. Depending on the firm, eventually you will hook up with a guru and get things worked out. With an in-house, you’re the guru and depending on your depth of knowledge, skill and confidence handling the tech end can be ‘a no biggie’ or a nightmare which could get expensive. It’s a choice that any working professional will have to make and both have their pos/neg effects on both your workflow, wallet and sanity.
Well, I think this is just exactly it.
As I see it, my practical options are:
A. Build your own. This will save money, and possibly time if you know what you are doing.
B. Buy a Dell, HP or Apple prebuilt and add to it. This will cost more than a prebuilt, but less than buying the whole thing from Apple, HP or Dell. However, it comes with tech support (more eyes on the project) and Avid will also give you support.
At the moment I get the sense that you would go with option A. Since you know a lot more about troubleshooting than I do, this seems like a wise choice for you, and if I had your level of knowledge I would probably opt to save the extra bucks. However, at my level I would probably choose option B, because I believe I am going to want the support from Avid, and Dell Gold Technical Support has been awesome (but again, I do not recommend Home and Home Office).
But is this an appropriate place to ask how much practical difference there might be between 1.92TB RAM and a ‘mere’ 1.28TB? You mentioned earlier doing a build like this for use as a ‘render farm.’ I am curious to know about render farming, since I think I read that Vegas Pro 9 now supports that as an option. But with a twin-Xeon and 1+TB of RAM, would you really need to ‘send it out’ to a render farm? Or could you not simultaneously render in the background, since one would have so many cores and so much RAM that one could render and simultaneously edit?
Or where is my thinking off?
- June 1, 2009 at 3:44 PM #166347
And unless one is doing full-on 3D graphics, how much might one be limited by having, say, a ‘mere’ 32 GB of RAM?
8GB is as much RAM as I have ever had, so 32GB, 128 GB and 192GB are all pretty much breaking the ceiling of my scale.
- June 1, 2009 at 5:15 PM #166348
“I get the sense that you would go with option A. Since you know a lot
more about troubleshooting than I do, this seems like a wise choice for
you, and if I had your level of knowledge I would probably opt to save
the extra bucks.”
You’re correct in that I am an ‘Option A’ guy. However, it was not always so. When I started out, I was standing exactly in your shoes. As I tell those who attend my lectures, ‘I learned how to do all of this stuff out of self-defense!’ I initially did as you plan to. I bought relatively inexpensive workstations from computer companies overstock and learned quickly to ‘improve them.’ Once the ‘arcane secrets of the computer’ were demystified for me building ‘my own’ became the more reasonable path. Now, if I wanted a ‘super computer’ like a Cray I’d buy one because my level of expertise does not go to that level… yet. Also, when I research components I look for items that are documented as compatible with the major software my firm uses.
Now concerning tech support for software that’s different. To get full support from Avid, they want you to use only fully approved workstations as they won’t have to do any guesswork. Now that I know I can build a comparable system to the Z800, I would make sure the build would be as compliant as possible for Media Composer.
“But is this an appropriate place to ask how much practical difference there might be between 1.92TB RAM and a ‘mere’ 1.28TB?”
Yes as researching the practical limits of potential components for a build is very important. The ‘practical difference’ between 1.28TB and 1.92TB of RAM is 64GB. Just think about how much more data your 8GB system pushes than your 1 or 2GB system did. The more RAM you have, the less heavy lifting your CPU has to do. Having a RAM memory cache bigger than most harddrives would free a CPU up considerably. Then again, it’s all relative to what you are doing. Eventually, these will become more commonplace as 2 and 4k video become more mainstream. Currently, if you are doing really complex motion graphics, visual fx and 3D rendering, you would be able to tell the diff in how much faster your render times would be using such high-end RAM bundles. Not to mention that currently, neither win or mac can support 192GB yet (Win7 192GB, Snow Leopard 16TB?)
Anyway, here’s the seminal article on building your own render farm and a side article to show you what one outfit did with theirs.
- June 1, 2009 at 6:25 PM #166349
>>Having a RAM memory cache bigger than most harddrives would free a CPU up considerably.
>>Then again, it’s all relative to what you are doing. Eventually, these will become more commonplace as 2 and 4k video become more mainstream. Currently, if you are doing really complex motion graphics, visual fx and 3D rendering, you would be able to tell the diff in how much faster your render times would be using such high-end RAM bundles. Not to mention that currently, neither win or mac can support 192GB yet (Win7 192GB, Snow Leopard 16TB?)
Another good point. As everything drifts towards 2 and 4K, one is going to want more and more RAM.
I don’t know really know for sure that this was a RAM issue, but when I was going through the Boris RED trainup DVD, I put together one 30-second effect with Boris RED; and then when I went to render my machine ran for something like 3 hours before I shut it down. I was really confused by that, because all I did was recreate a project that Chris Vadnais did in the Boris RED training DVD, and his laptoptook something like twenty seconds to render before it played, so I figured mine would not take much more than that.
The DVD was made in 2004, so I think Chris Vadnais wasprobably working with an XP laptop with I am guessing maybe 2GB of RAM, and I had a Vista 32 box with 4GB RAM and 4GB ReadyBoost RAM (which in my experience is maybe 80-90% as fast). I turned the paging file off, and then tried it again, and still it took forever, and no finished product. Then Iwrote the Boris team on Creative Cow and got two attempts at support from them before they stopped answering my emails.
That was all at the time when my Dell Precision 380 was down for the count, and Dell wasbusy figuring out that they had to send me a Precision T3400 to replace it, so I figured that when it came in I would get it all set up on 64 bit and then try it again (and I am almost there). Except that RED is supposed to be a 32-bit app. It is supposed torun under Vista 64 (they say), but John Rofrano (VASST, on Creative Cow) said heinstalled CS4 on his 64 bit and his RED no longer worked. He said he thinks it has something to do with the codecs that CS4 installs.
Boris is supposed to be working on a 64 bit version of RED (and the more I think about it, the more I want BLUE, actually), but what that experiment in patience did for me was to pique my mindto the very real possibility that I might want to render stuff some day that would take a really long time…and I had best seek ways to offload it off of my primary machine, unless I wanted to kiss it goodbye for the week.
I do have an XP laptop with a video card that I may load RED onto, and try that. It is probably similar enough to Chris Vadnais’ machine that it should render if the new workstation won’t handle it (because of compatibility problems, or whatever). But I would like to get into LightWave Core some time also, and I imagine that is going to take a long time to render. In fact, LightWave is probably what will push me into a second system, I am just guessing. But again I am still all in the guesswork and ‘looking ahead’ mode…which it is about high time in my life that I begin doing that.
I keep turning over in my mind that if I go Mac, I can have Avid, Premiere and Final Cut Pro all on the same machine. But then there is only 32 GB RAM (currently). Or one can go HP, or do a built-it-yourself, and stack the RAM from here to wherever (which sounds very appealing), and as long as you dedicate the machine for simply just video work, it is probably very stable (which is why I test everything out on my laptop, and then only install stuff on my workstation that I really want).
- June 1, 2009 at 7:36 PM #166350
>>Anyway, here’s the seminal article on building your own render farm and a side article to show you what one outfit did with theirs.
OK, so I read the article (I read the other one before).
So their comparison machines are relatively ancient.
<p itxtvisited=”1″ class=”imgright”>
<p itxtvisited=”1″ class=”imageCaption”>click on image for full view
A local render on one of the school’s 2-GHz Dell workstations, which are equipped with nVidia Quadro4 XGL cards and 512MB of RAM, draws out the 800-frame piece in 52 hours. Using a one-worker farm, our time shoots up to 104 hours-unsurprising, considering the age of the machine. But after adding six more workers to the farm, the same render clocks in at just over 13 hours, more than three times as fast as in pre-farm days.
And unless you are going to wall mount, as in the other article,
then we also have to consider that theseven-machine render farm he is proposing has a relatively large ‘footprint’; and I imagine it sucks down afair amount ofjuice, too. So do you have a scientific wild-eyed guess as to how long it would take either a Z800 loaded with RAM or the Comp-Monster1 you are proposing to build to render this kind of thing, in comparison? And how much juice does a wall-mount six-machine render farm suck down, as compared to a single-footprint Z800?
- June 1, 2009 at 8:18 PM #166351
But I guess if I go with LightWave Core, then I can forget about Apple, because LightWave is a PC-platform application….
- June 2, 2009 at 2:20 AM #166352
Check this out. This thing looks twice as powerful as the Z800.
It has four Nehalem-class Xeon processors!
(Also, I guess LightWave runs on a Mac).
- June 2, 2009 at 7:49 AM #166353
And wait: isn’t 196GB of RAM 0.196TB?
- June 2, 2009 at 2:50 PM #166354
“This thing looks twice as powerful as the Z800.”
A 16 core rig is hardcore. However, this unit is a renderfarm management unit. The management unit is the first computer in the render chain. I didn’t see a price on it. My guess is it’s pricey. A unit like the Z800 would be where your hardcore compositing, color correction and perhaps high-end audio would all be combined into your production cut. With 192GB of RAM and 8 cores you could also do a final render out to HD or 2k+. Running the same project through a renderfarm would free up the unit to work on other projects. 192GB = 1.92TB. I’m curious about mac’s claim that OSX Snow leopard will handle 16TB. That’s a pretty ballsy claim, but pretty far reaching seeing how current mobo architecture is only now reaching the 1.92TB RAM mark. One thing about it, you wouldn’t see your average ‘macie’ rollin’ into the apple store to pick up a unit with 16TB in it without having to sign a ‘blood contract’.
Nope, Lightwave runs on PC and mac. You can get Blender for free.
- June 2, 2009 at 5:53 PM #166355
>>You can get Blender for free.
Good to know. Thanks!
>>A unit like the Z800 would be where your hardcore compositing, color correction and perhaps high-end audio would all be combined into your production cut. With 192GB of RAM and 8 cores you could also do a final render out to HD or 2k+. Running the same project through a renderfarm would free up the unit to work on other projects.
With a monster like the Z800 or the ‘Comp1’, do you suppose one could simultaneously render and edit? Or is the rendering going to chew up all of the HDD throughput, such that you really need a separate machine for rendering?
>>Nope, Lightwave runs on PC and mac.
You are taking away one of my reasons to ‘stay PC.’
Is it possible to mix PC’s and Macs in the same network? Or is it best all one way, or the other?
- June 2, 2009 at 6:45 PM #166356
How does software work on a render farm?
Does one need to purchase separate licenses, if it would make one have more than one instance of the program running at one time?
- June 2, 2009 at 11:47 PM #166357
“You are taking away one of my reasons to ‘stay PC.'”
Not at all. As I have always said, there are advantages to either platform. Both can do the same things you just have to find the software and gear to facilitate what you plan to do. I was quite fluent with mac’s when I changed over to PC. At the time I would be at work on the mac and go home and do my own projects on a PC. After awhile, I began to prefer the PC for the numerous reasons I’ve already mentioned. Mac is a stable platform (depending on what you call stable) and so is Windows for the same reasons. The biggest differences between the two are primarily the file system (FAT 32 mac, NTFS win.) I much prefer the NTFS file system as it allows for really big video files (aprox. 1 150 year clip in DV if you had a drive that could hold it!) FAT 32 is ancient tech. It works mind you, but NTFS is more modern and more efficient to use in my opinion. The other glaring difference is the fact that you can still build your own PC legally. Truthfully, the only reason I would have a mac in my shop is for visiting editors or clients that couldn’t edit their way out of a wet paper bag without FCP. Not that I don’t like them or FCP, but I can do most and some things with Premiere, Vegas and Avid that FCP can’t. Blue-ray anyone?
Yes you can ‘mix and match’. However, most of my IT bud’s hate it. According to them mac is not as efficient on a network as windows particularly when they are on the same one. They say it does work and I’ve seen it done, they just hate having to work on it. Now, I hear tell that mac networks run just fine alone. You’d have to ask several IT specialists to get a real picture.
No, you don’t have to purchase several licenses for software on a renderfarm. Read the article renderfarming and it will give you a much better explanation than I can. Also, keep an eye out for this month’s Studio Monthly for an article about a producer who transitioned to making videogame trailers. He was quite specific about why when he built his editing suite he knew ‘it couldn’t be a Mac-based workflow’. It’s a good example of how depending on what work you’re doing will truly decide what platform is best for it.
- June 8, 2009 at 4:45 PM #166358
How are you doing?
I got blasted by a ‘good avalance’ of stuff, and am presently still buried, will have to catch up as I can. I will try to read the render farming article later, as I believe that is a way I would like to go. Thank you very much for sending me the article. If there is anything else good on render farming I should read, please let me know.
By the way, about the Matrox RT.X2, I was talking to a guy with Cineform, and he was saying that I would have much better success with Cineform Prospect HD and one of the new Matrox MX.O2 boxes with the MAX technology chip. He said the quality of the Cineform codec is far superior to that of the RT.X2, and the MX.02 with MAX would give me the ability to encode H.264 faster than real time. Since most of our views will be on the web, I thought I should ask you about that.
- June 8, 2009 at 10:50 PM #166359
No worries. I am also trying to stay ahead of ‘an avalance’ as I’ve got several pending in-house editing projects staring at me waiting to get done. Still trying to recover from the last 2 weeks worth of shooting. Fun, but tiring. You can see our latest commercial at: http://www.dreadedenterprises.com/Screen in the sample videos section. Did all the post work on the new system and it works just fine. Now, I’m sort of wanting to build that beast I sent you the specs on. That will have to wait.
When I get a moment, I’ll look up those specs on the Matrox boxes. I’m still locked down on a Multibridge for this current system, however the AJA Xena line is looking interesting for the ‘beast’ maybe. I was looking to roll with Media Composer down the line, but the Adobe/Sony workflow we’ve got going is starting to gel. Maybe when they bust out with CS5 I’ll be looking to build that new rig….
- July 15, 2009 at 10:16 PM #166360
I thought you would appreciate this.
I have been on Creative Cow a lot (grazing). John Rofrano of VASST is telling me that he and all of the people he knows use in-house built PC’s. He says that because MS and Intel work so closely together, that so long as one sticks to an Intel processor, an Intel motherboard, and uses RAM and components that Intel recommends, one essentially has the equivalent of a ‘closed system’ Mac, for a lot less money; and with more possibilities.
Apparently it is not Windows that is unstable, but deviations from the MS/Intel standard combinations that causes instability.
I just thought I should pass that along.
I appreciate all of your help in this thread.
- July 16, 2009 at 4:36 PM #166361
Nice article. I too ‘graze’ at the Cow from time to time. Yeah, there are a lot of myths as to what causes instability with windows products. The biggest cause is as you mentioned coming from parts that don’t play nice together due to driver issues. The great advantage of building your own can also be the biggest disadvantage. Being able to ‘mix and match’ parts can save you time and money up front. But, if you don’t do proper research on the system requirements and driver compatibilities, you’ll end up ‘paying’ those savings back by having to replace parts and or time spent on reconfiguring.
Mr. Rofrano is on point about in-house built systems. I personally do not recommend them for the casual user. For the professional editor, freelancer or production house I strongly recommend them provided they have the technical resources and personnel to maintain their systems which by the way they would need anyway.
Yes, the closer you stay to recommended system requirements/compatibility the better. That goes for AMD chips and mobo’s as well. So far my latest build has been quite stable. The only oddities have been; CS3 glitches involving the licensing and Vista’s protection protocols (fixed), minor weirdness with the ‘Gadgets’ panel on the desktop after startup (fix by hitting refresh) and the very rare startup stall (fix by restarting system.) I’m just sorry we currently don’t haveroom for that ‘super system’ I spec’ed out!
And you’re welcome.
- July 16, 2009 at 5:48 PM #166362
Yeah, well at least I finally understand why Avid specs their machines out like they do.
I wish I knew how to go back and change my vote from ‘modified Dell’ to ‘home-built’!
- July 17, 2009 at 8:12 PM #166363
You voted your mind at the time. It’s been a long thread and a great deal of info and research on your own later. Pre-built systems obviously have their uses or they wouldn’t be as prevalent. If you think about it, though there are tens of thousands of in-house built units out there the number wouldn’t scratch the paint on the number of pre-built’s that get made each year.
As I mentioned at the begining of this thread, building your own is not for the casual user or the technically disinclined. You must have a strong background in computer usage and understand the basics of how they work. Once you get past the concept of the unit being ‘sacrosanct’, you’ll be able to ‘crack open’ the case and find the computer is just a machine that can be altered. With practice, you’ll get to the point where you’ll see a pre-built and either know you could build a better one or be ready research you could.
Yeah, Avid has been at this since the beginning. That Apple has been able to gain on them is because of their initial association and their similar tightness on the technology. Avid really stepped away from them when they went cross-platform. If apple ever unpinched their sphincters and allowed some of their software to go crossplatform, they would probably dominate for a while. Lately, I’ve changed my mind about going back to Avid. I’ve been working with the Adobe Suite for the last year and it’s really a pro setup. I’m still a hardcore Vegas Suite user (haven’t gotten 9 yet) and find that there are things Premiere can do and Vegas can do so I use them both. The combination of the two suites allows me to do some serious finishing work and with certain compatible hardware options, I can do similar work at far less expense than putting together a Media Composer setup. Now that money all around is much tighter, that is a serious consideration.
- July 19, 2009 at 7:30 AM #166364
That MacVideo that said ProApps was going down along with Steve Jobs’ health really made me think twice about going Apple, orAvid. I had no idea that Avid is going down, and that bit the guy said in the end about Adobe quietly but steadily improving CS4 and 5really made me think hard.
I amlooking forward to getting into Creative Suite, but right now I am just trying to learn all of the ins and outs of Vegas. The software does so much. I will probably build my next machine, and although I will probably build a machine that could run Avid (with “Intel everything”, as John Rofrano is recommending)I don’t see much reason tospend big bucks on their software. What makes more sense is just to learn Vegas, and then pick up CS-whatever after that.
So far VegasPro 9 has been really stable. It is ona fresh install of Vista 64 Ultimate (b/c I need the language support), and not one crash so far. Way better than I expected.I did get an external USB drive for ‘drive wipes’ like you suggested somewhere; and if the machine ever gets unstable, then a clean install is only a couple of hours away.
So it looks like I also will be heading for the Vegas/CSX combo….
- July 20, 2009 at 11:09 PM #166365
Yeah the Apple/Jobs thing is a real factor. Seeing how the bean counters over there are already rolling with ‘iLife’ and ‘iThis’ and ‘iWannapuke’. It may well be innovative software, but it will be interesting to see what happens when Jobs ultimately steps down or passes on. Not to mention they’re coming out with ‘Snow Leopard’ and they make some ballsy claims about it’s max system requirements. How they are going to back all of that up while still using the FAT32 file system will also be interesting.
Yeah, Avid has their own weirdness going on as well typically, because the bean counters are looking at ‘what sells’ not ‘why it sells’. They seem to be under the auspices that their primary market is big-time Hollywood. But, like they implied in those discussions all that’s starting to change.
The Sony/Adobe combo is a pretty good fit. Encore is alot like Cinescore, but I believe the latter is a lot easier to use. I much prefer ACID for the freedom to create with premade loops or your own. Takes a bit of tweaking to make it line up but I think it’s much better. Encore has not impressed me. Glad to hear V9 has been stable for you.
Backing up is my main beef with a fully tapeless workflow. You have to put all of that footage onto a drive and drives are fragile. Maybe when the solid-state harddrives become prevalent, larger in capacity and much cheaper they will be a stable option. I find that any savings in time not digitizing is lost in how many redundancies of backup sources needed. Even the vaunted Blue-Ray technology is already obsolete as you can’t store any real amount of stock footage on a BR disc. 40GB max for a dual-sided BRD is still going to come out to quite a large and expensive pile when archiving a 500GB+ Drive full of uncompressed HD footage.
- July 24, 2009 at 3:33 AM #166366
>>Backing up is my main beef with a fully tapeless workflow. You have to put all of that footage onto a drive and drives are fragile.
I think the key here is redundancy. You can get a 1TB external USB Seagate Free Agent for $129.00 right now through Tiger Direct, and prices keep dropping. So that’s $129.00/1000 GB = $0.129 cents per gigabyte of storagein hdd’s, versus $7.00/13GB =$0.54 per GB with HDV tape, or something like, I dunno, 400 times cheaper? So even if you have three external hdd copies of everything (just for redundancy’s sake), you are still at least 100 times better off, in the long run.
But I do have a couple of questions for you. Earlier you said that Sony Vegas was optimized for AMD. How big of a factor is that, considering the fact that Intel processors currently outrun/outperform the AMD ones?
And does anyone ever home-build a Xeon?
- July 27, 2009 at 5:50 PM #166367
I’m on the fence on the AMD vs Intel debate. I happen to have had good results with both brands. Now that more programs are developed with AMD in mind, the main things I’m looking at are; speed, price, stability and flexibility. Right now, Intel has the advantage in the flexibility dept. while AMD has the advantage in pricing. Both produce very stable chips but Intel seems to be winning the ‘core wars’. I currently am using an Intel Quad in my latest system and don’t necessarily have any plans to build anything with an AMD in it. However, that could change.
Concerning your fine argument for HDD backup vs Tape; numbers wise, it is much cheaper when you put it the way you did. But, you also have to figure real-world components into the equation like; power, medium stability and reviewing capabilities.
Power issues are mighty important. With no power, you can’t view the footage from a harddrive particularly with the bigboy’s you mentioned. With tape, if need be I can take a battery powered camera and a tape, plug it into a battery powered laptop and still keep working. As an aside, you can do the same thing if you have your materials archived on solid-state media (but those are more expensive than tape.)
Medium stability is a major factor as well. Long as the tape was in good condition initally, you use a VTR with clean undamaged heads and store it properly, digital tape will last a very long time. Harddrives are also very good for archiving but you are completely at the mercy of the hdd’s mechanics and file system. At any given time you connect your drive to power and to your system it could fail catastrophically. It’s a regular occurrance no matter what platform you work with ergo the ‘many redundancies’ used to back up volatile digital footage. Unless a tape broke, I’ve never seen one ‘crap out’ like the many harddrives I’ve had to recover or lay to rest.
Lastly, you have to factor in what you’re viewing it on. If you need a quick look at some archival footage, you can keep a small rechargable player or camera in your archiving area. Whereas with HDD’s you are committed to connecting them to a computer or laptop for external drives. The cost of the computer / laptop has to be factored into your overall costs of useage along with it’s power usage and time accumulated in it’s use (start-up, shutdown, etc.)
Don’t get me wrong, I like and utillize HDD storage, but still will store footage on tape as well until the solidstate technology reaches the economical / storage capacity of current HDD’s before I make a 100% switch over.
Oh, and I am unaware of anyone who’s built a Xeon system.
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