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FWIW, I’m in a similar boat. I need to upgrade to a system that will rock in editing video.
However, there were a few things you didn’t make clear.
First, what NLE are you going to be using? If you are going to be using Adobe Premiere Pro (CS5 or later for CUDA support!), you want an Nvidia card as opposed to the ATI cards. A Nvidia card will enable CUDA acceleration of rendering and, in some cases, encoding. Be aware that Adobe does not support the ATI equivalent of CUDA, OpenCL… and they have not said they ever will.
Technically, this would only include the following cards: GeForce GTX 285, GeForce GTX 470, GeForce GTX 570, GeForce GTX 580 (unless you decide to go crazy and get a Quadro card, which start at about $750). They are the officially supported CUDA cards, per Adobe:
The procedure for adding other Nvidia GTX card can be found in the thread below. Be aware that this is a “hack” that works, but is not supported by Adobe.
I just purchased a ASUS GTX 560 Ti (the next generation of the GTX 470) for ~$265 (after $20 rebate and taxes, ASUS ENGTX560 TI DCII TOP/2DI/1GD5). The GTX 560 Ti is available for less, but I went with a more expensive ASUS because I’m going to buy an ASUS motherboard and want to minimize compatibility/support issues. Any GTX 200 series will help a lot. You can see some benchmarks at the link above.
If you are looking at a different NLE, then you need to check CUDA/OpenCL (ATI) compatibility before buying the NLE to make sure you have the right card.
Second, are you looking at getting a completely new system, including drives, display, and case? Or are you looking to replace a motherboard, processor, memory, GPU, and, possibly, power supply? If it is the later, then that will reduce your expenditures.
OK, I just remembered reading you have a “VGA monitor”. That can mean a lot of things. I take it you are referring to CRT monitor with a 15-pin VGA connector with a maximum resolution you haven’t specified, rather than a monitor that is limited to the official VGA spec of 640×480 resolution. The ASUS GTX 560 Ti, for example, comes with a DVI to VGA converter.
Be aware that most NLE’s have a minimum resolution requirement, so you will want to confirm you won’t need to get a new monitor. However, there are many “starter” ~$100 19″ LCD monitors with ~1440×900 resolution, sufficient to start. Newegg.com has a 21″ for ~$150.
Third, the AMD equipment you are talking about will probably be replaced in the next 6 months or so. I’ve been an AMD fan for years (my current home built PC is running a OC’d Opteron 165). However, the new Sandy Bridge I7-2600K quad-core CPU’s are absolute screamers! The 2600K has hyperthreading, which means that the OS sees it as an 8-core! Also, the majority of people who have been overclocking them report hitting 4 GHz on the stock air cooler without much effort. Frankly, it will leave that AMD in the dust. The downside is that it is ~$300. I’ve been looking at either the ASUS Sabertooth or WS Revolution mother boards. From what I can see, their build quality is on another level altogether. They will set you back ~$230-270.
Finally, I’d get at least 8GB (16GB would future proof you and then you’d be able to buy “matched” memory, eliminating one more potential problem). You’ll be looking at ~$80 or $160, respectively for G.Skill Ripsaw X (designed for the P67 motherboard).
Now assuming you have at least a 750W power supply (~$70-100 for an “80 Plus”, an efficiency measure, supply), a case, and a keyboard, you should be set. I’m assuming you will be using a Windows license you already have (Win 7 Home Premium should be fine).
If you need a hard drive or two, I’d suggest two drives, one for the OS/programs and the other for Video. 7200 RPM 1TB 6.0 Gb/sec drives are ~$60-90, depending on brand. You might even want to spring for a third drive and run two of them in a motherboard based RAID 0 array for your video “drive”.
Anyway, with the configuration I’ve outlined above, you are looking at between $950 and $1400 for the hardware only, depending on additional items (case, keyboard, monitor, power supply, 16GB DDR3, hard drives, etc.)
Here is another link in the Adobe forums you might find worth reading:
Anyway, just some thoughts.