Building an editing computer

Hey gang,

I'm building my first computer (I've *built* a laptop before - i.e. selected parts for my sager). I'm not a complete slug, and do have more friends who've built their own to help me out a little - but I don't know a heap about desktop parts and good editing setups.

I don't really do a lot of after effects work (pretty light), but I want to be able to easily handle the light stuff, with the option of running heavier stuff passably.

What sort of hardrive config should I look at?

This is a build my friend (who doesn't do film) suggested: http://pricespy.co.nz/list.php?l=119053&view=m
His suggestion was use 1 SSD for OS and editing programs. The 2nd for current project files. Then the HDD for eveyrthing else. Does that make sense? Is anything in there overkill?

Ideally I'd want to spend about $2000NZD or less, but I figure that's unlikely, and can push to $2500nzd tops
 
I'm thinking that my setup from the start will be 1x SSD for OS and programs, 1xHDD for everything else and use my external for a backup. Then if it does struggle, I can always get one or two more and try another config?

That's fine. Just be aware that if you go raid 0, you'll have to reformat the existing drive. Just means you'll need a way to keep a backup (which you should always do anyway).

I'm probably not going to go higher than 1080p for a while, but I want this setup to be solid for a couple of years (and then upgrade components as need be to extend its life). And I also have ambitions of making a larger scale, more *professional* film over the next year or so, which may mean editing more intensive than 1080p GH3 footage. I also want to explore colour grading and correction a bit more, and I do use after effects here and there. But of course, I don't /know/ what will happen.

If you use After Effects and/or do color correcting, the more RAM and the better video card becomes more of part of the equation. A VFX workflow can also change your requirements as you usually use uncompressed video which will then cause you to need the multiple drives in a raid configuration.

This is the reason we ask what you're doing with it. Change what you're doing and you'll change the recommendation. As described, using h.264 footage in .mov containers at no larger than 1080p resolution up to 80kbps, a lower end configuration will more than handle Premier Pro CS6 and CC.
 
That's fine. Just be aware that if you go raid 0, you'll have to reformat the existing drive. Just means you'll need a way to keep a backup (which you should always do anyway).



If you use After Effects and/or do color correcting, the more RAM and the better video card becomes more of part of the equation. A VFX workflow can also change your requirements as you usually use uncompressed video which will then cause you to need the multiple drives in a raid configuration.

This is the reason we ask what you're doing with it. Change what you're doing and you'll change the recommendation. As described, using h.264 footage in .mov containers at no larger than 1080p resolution up to 80kbps, a lower end configuration will more than handle Premier Pro CS6 and CC.
Yep, that sounds all good.

Do you guys mind if I try and figure out another build, and post it here for feedback? Sorry to keep asking questions
 
Cheers Will.

And actually, in retrospect of my previous idea on HDDs. I have a similar setup in my laptop currently, and am being bottleknecked significantly by my HDD setup. So I think i'm leaning toward a 3-4 disk setup again... Is the idea of this that you have a scratch disk (or two) in RAID 0, an os + programs SSD and a normal HDD for everything else?
 
Cheers Will.

And actually, in retrospect of my previous idea on HDDs. I have a similar setup in my laptop currently, and am being bottleknecked significantly by my HDD setup. So I think i'm leaning toward a 3-4 disk setup again... Is the idea of this that you have a scratch disk (or two) in RAID 0, an os + programs SSD and a normal HDD for everything else?

You only really start to see (significant) speed benefits from RAID 0 with three or more drives. And regardless of the size that array ends up being, you should always consider it as a 'scratch disk' not something for long term storage.

Long term storage doesn't necessarily need to be able to fit everything that'll fit on your scratch disk, IMHO. But you'll want something better for longer term storage than a raid0 array.

External RAID 5 is a good option. It's a bit slower than raid 0, but you get some redundancy (one drive can fail without loosing data) RAID 6 is a bit more secure, but finding an external enclosure that supports RAID 6 will be more challenging.

So yes.. in short, the idea is an SSD for the system/applications/etc. a RAID 0 array for video scratch/ingestion/transcoding/etc and something either a big hard drive or a big-ish RAID 5 for longer term backup. In a perfect world, you'd probably want multiple redundant backup so either a couple of RAID 5's cloned, or a tape archive.. but that's if you're really paranoid about data loss, and your data is really that valuable -- those costs add up fairly quick.
 
And actually, in retrospect of my previous idea on HDDs. I have a similar setup in my laptop currently, and am being bottleknecked significantly by my HDD setup. So I think i'm leaning toward a 3-4 disk setup again... Is the idea of this that you have a scratch disk (or two) in RAID 0, an os + programs SSD and a normal HDD for everything else?

I'm not an expert in laptops so take this with a grain of salt. Laptop HDD's and desktop HDD's are quite different. Not including the SSD drives, the speed of Laptop drives are slower (topping out at 5200rpm, where it's common to have 7200rpm drives) and use less power than their desktop counterparts. In Laptops, the bottleneck can easily be the ram (often 4gb) forcing a ram swap with the operating system, causing the problem to be even worse. This problem gets even worse if the laptop uses an onboard video card that also shares Ram with the system (which makes the video ram both slower and less ram for the system to use).

If you set up multiple hard drives in RAID 0, you will get an increase in speed from the hard drive setup, though I suspect it'll be overkill while editing. If you're copying footage from a SSD, it'll help you dump footage faster, so maybe that'll be worthwhile to you. You would end up needing it if you edit r3d footage.
 
Why waste your time on building a computer for "light" stuff? Go to your nearest computer store , get any 300 dollar computer as start editing on that.
Or use a computer that you have right now.
 
Alrighty thanks guys. I think I'll hold off on setting up a RAID 0 system until I've run a few tests. So get a SSD + large HDD for now.

So here's the build I currently have configured.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/33FX9

I have left the graphics card there, as I do want one for light-moderate gaming, and for any potential after effects work.

I don't know enough about cooling, cases or screens to pick stuff there - any advice? I also may have made some mistakes picking RAM and HDD's, as I don't know a heap about the variation between brands and so on there..
 
This is the cooler I have: http://pcpartpicker.com/part/cooler-master-cpu-cooler-rr212e20pkr2

I'm running the 4770k (which runs hotter than your 3770k) and I'm overclocking to 4.2GHz with that air cooler. The prepackaged water coolers are mostly a waste of money and unless you went with a 240mm you're not going to get any benefit over this or another good air cooler.

Price wise, it's not much different, but there's less components to fail with air cooling. ;)

Otherwise your list looks decent to me. I've had mixed results with seagate, but I think it was a bad batch of drives several years back when I last bought them. They've been around forever, so should be fine.
 
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Great, thanks Will. Any advice on screens?

Why waste your time on building a computer for "light" stuff? Go to your nearest computer store , get any 300 dollar computer as start editing on that.
Or use a computer that you have right now.

I never saw this comment. I have a pretty powerful laptop (powerful enough to run nearly all modern games with at least 'ok' settings) which doesn't handle my editing, so..
 
If you want color critical for color grading, The Dell Ultrasharp's that cover 95%+ of the AdobeRGB range are probably the best deal available, but they're not cheap.. $500+ (Which is actually cheap compared to other options covering similar color ranges).

If you less concerned about color accuracy, it's hard to beat the IPS WQHD (2560x1440) monitors from Korea that are available via ebay. Crossover/Yamakasi/etc.
 
I'm not a power supply guy either, but I'd put some serious thought into getting one that is silent (if not, close to it). They cost more but I find they're worth it.

I think the video card is overkill, but as I said, it does depend on the other things you're going to do with the system.
 
My build:

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87-D3HP on sale for $99
CPU: i7 4770k on sale for $249.99
CPU Cooler: Coolermaster EVO212 $36.99
RAM: 2x Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB for a total of 32GB on sale for $129.99/ea
Power Supply: Corsair CX750M paid $109 (It's cheaper now :()
Video Card: EVGA GTX760 FTW on sale for $319.99
Case: Thermaltake Commander MS-I Snow Edition on sale for $44.99
System Drive: Samsung EVO840 240GB SSD on sale for $159.99
RAID Drives: 4x Western Digital RED 2TB in RAID0 config for total of 8TB $99.99/ea
Case fans: 2x Cooler Master 120mm $9.99/ea

I mounted one case fan in front of the 3.5" bays, the other replaced the stock rear fan, mostly because I didn't like it glowing blue :P


I specifically bought parts that would work for a hackintosh build, but this would make an equally stellar windows machine.

All told, this was about $1800, including tax.
 
I built my PC last year and for my GPU I have an MSI GTX660 OC Twin Frozr. It plays games at 1080/60fps with no problems and it renders my videos (granted, no more than about 2 mins, with minimal colour correction/effects) almost in real time. I was very pleased with it.

My complete build looked something like this:

MB: Asus Z87-K
CPU: i7 4770K
RAM: Corasir Vengence 16GB (2x8GB)
GPU: MSI GTX660 OC Twin Frozr
SSD: Kingston 120GB
HDD: WD 2TB Green HDD
PSU: Corsair CS650M
CASE: Corsair Carbide 330R

Total cost was about £950-ish.

That's about it. I decided against RAID (for now), but I've got plenty of room for expansion. I used the stock cooler. Everything runs silently. As I said, I'm very pleased with it so far. Whether I may have issues with this in the future, trying to edit something feature length, I'm not sure.
 
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