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Thread: I Build Pro editing systems...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default I Build Pro editing systems...

    You will get to see me quite a bit around the forums now, I will be doing some editing and playing as I just got my self a new cam and will be looking at buying a HDV soon!!

    I am Rory Witham the CEO of GTWCMT, G-WISP and Grafixphoto. GTWCMT is a computer systems and business services providers and I provide computers to profeshionals from all around the world, prices are from a few hundread to porche prices! so When it comes to hardware and specifications you will only get the best advice from me.

    I know many of you will build your own system so here is some advice.

    CPU - Intel Duo
    RAM - 2-4 Gigabytes
    HDD - SATA2 drives
    MOBO - ATI/Gigabyte
    PSU - 650W +
    ADDON cards - Sound, Capture FX and Graphics.

    Currently the Intel Duo is the top of the CPU charts with its performance, slightly lower is the AMD cores. There isnt that much in it between the CPU's.
    AMD runs cooler so can be clocked higher and thus perform better, generally, go for the intel chips.
    Opting for Dual dual CPU's is one step to high speed editing, XEON CPU's are already used by many and the pro level software is built for these types of systems. The maximum CPU's you can use on a MOBO is 8, Yeah 8 CPU's. You will find that you wont be going that far as you need to have special software upgrades that cost a hugh amount of cash.
    The most you can go economically is 2 dual core CPU's before you get issues with software.

    RAM is a constant consideration, but so is the configuration of the opperating system that you will be using, the PF (Page file) you can see on your task manager and it shows how much is running from the HDD and not the ram, Two gigabytes is pretty much the standard as was 512MB over the past few years, the more complex work that you will do the mire RAM you will need. I have always built on 4 Gigabytes for any pro machine so you may want to follow suit.
    One thing that you do need to consider is weather it works well on your MOBO, Typically they need manual tuning to get the best performance from them.

    Setting up your harddrives is all part of your digital work flow. Many of you who have already had a computer and are now trying video editing will not have the best configurations.
    You should be using SATA2 drives, most newer PC can run these and they offer some of the better data rates. You do need to place your OS (operating system) on to a seperate HDD, RAW Video onto another and Finals onto another drive. You should be using a RAID 0 array for the RAW and Finals which are two seperatve drives not partitions.
    If you are using RAID 0 You need to take special care with backups and your data storage, if one drive fails that all the work on that array lost!
    You can be quite economical with some of the harddrives that you use,
    The OS can be on a small single drive though if you are default installing the programes, try to install on an Array.
    If you are fully multi tasking then try a quad array for the RAW footage and a twin array for the final video.

    Hard drives all perfrom differnetly with different types of data, Raptors are considered fast drives but this is not the case when video editing is concered, Raptors consistant data rates are poor when compaired to other hard drives. You will find a ling list of models from the same manurfacture with almost the same specifications and these will all have different performance results.

    Your backup is very important, arrays rely on all the disc's wrking and is one fails the whole lot will. So back up your work, Off system back up is pretty good, with the OS on a single disc, viruses are normally limited to that drive so you wont have infections running through all your work and a simple format of the PS drive will clean it up and leave your remain work intact.
    Off system back up can be in many forms, I prefer second systems with a terabyte or so of storage. they can have a old OS and be a great back up system should your system go down and you get to keep working.

    Mobo's (motherboards) are different, you need OB firewire for a start, PCI express is the way forward so keep on these tracks. I have put ATI on the list as it has some of the best data transfer rates of all board chips set builders, about 35%. The key part of the system is the data transfer from the Hard drives to the CPU and back again. This task is down to the NB (North bridge chip) which is located on the board. You will have to check the charts from leading places to get the data rates of the board you wish to use.

    PSU power is critical, low power can result is a slower system. 450 Watts for standard PC's and 650 watts for the heavy duty computer. Buy a good one as cheap PSU tend to blow up and that will be the end of your computer as they quite often burn out the drives and many other parts.

    Adding on cards will be ciritical to some, Firewire for all your devices would be a must, you can also go for a PCI audio card but many of you may wish to get something a little special with a speperate Sound studio, You will need to get a motherboard with a optical Audio port, as well as the usual extra firewires and RCA connectors.
    Capture isnt really needed any longer with digital cards, You capture software will dictate its data flow and I know that some capturing reduces the qualiy by around 50%, 77K to 46K in many cases which will make or break the quality of the out put.
    Graphic cards are not important, VIVO may be something to look at for importing older VHS and out putting VHS?? If you are really into SFX, then look at the Quadro/FireGL cards as well as an additional physix card for SFX work.

    You should consider using te correct hardware and software to do the job right Everything will have a factor on your work flow as Video is quite intensitve on all of the systems hardware, Software can make or break the system, so be warned about your selection.

    I Hope thats food for though, I will place up some system specification now and then so you can build your systems, On my site will be some system matching up plenty of budgets, I havent kept the site up to date on all computer systems.. TO much hard working..
    Need Pro Computer advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    Very informative, prehaps this should be stickied.

  3. #3


    Yep, not bad at all, although those of us used to building our own systems will be aware of most of it. I like the idea of updated info on drive configurations and chipsets. Iíve been losing touch these last few months.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006


    I was over 2 years in advance on system hardware config's last year, so it was pretty much all in amy head then, Ive been slacking where it some to computer hardware, but I am still a little ahead.

    Put it this way, I stopped production of the top end Ultima machines for 9 months becuase of technology changes and the results of performance. the ultima systems are built to be the fastest systems on the planet, which I have wrote into the terms and conditions for my clients. so they have to be the dogs danglies.

    I will update this post on hard ware config's chips sets, Mobo and RAM configs at some time. But I am really busy working so I havent got much time to complete it all. (forums get updated at the exspence of my websites)
    I'm pretty sure that I have a big write up on my gaming computers site somewhere. [just had a look] Under gamer computers, computer selection list.

    Just a note on user built computers,
    I have been called out a number of times becuase users have not correctly set up their systems, these have shown big performance shortages because the fine details were missed. Hardware compatability is really becoming an issue again so its not so much lego building again.

    It still takes me around 8 months of research to build my systems and I know what Im doing and what hardware is comming on the markets, so I have a bit of a head start on most people.
    Need Pro Computer advice?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Post Pick the processor for YOU

    There is alot with a processor selection, changing processors to work with exsisting motherboards, Graphics and RAM may be not part of your budget and then it may be, Dont think for one minute that you can just jump in with: "I'll get the latest processor," It just wont happen.

    For example, I run AMD systems I currently have on of my GTVS Rev1So systems, its a budget system and makes many of the top of the ranges systems look slow (inc Alienware, HP and Dell XPS systems) This is the budget range of systems and its a SLI system just running a Dual Raid array.

    Obiously saying that the CPU makes a big difference is untrue. its the system as a whole that makes things speed up and slow down. My System has a AMD 3700 San diego Single core processor, Tomorrow afternoon it will be running a AMD X2 4600 Processor that from Tom's charts gives me a performance boost of 5X in some applications. So that really is a big difference. five times faster!

    If you want to check out the chart to check your performance over another CPU, perhaps your current processor with one you want to buy then click here:

    What I didnt do was go for the AM2 Processor as I didnt want to buy a whole new load of kit of RAM, MOBO though I did add some more RAM (1 more gig)
    While I am In the Know, I will not be uning the stock cooling on the processor and I know that I can clock this processor right the way up the the AMD X2 5000, thats a processor more than 5 times the cost. - At stock there will not be much difference between what I have now clocked up over that of the AMD FX55 CPU.

    I guess the moral of the story here is:
    Can you pay less and get more? YES
    Is it easy to do? YES
    WIll it give me a great improvement with minal alterations? YES
    Will I have to re reg XP? NO
    How long will it take? 10 minutes.

    When you check out the result from the chart, dont exspect your systems to give you the same results, Pro build systems are normally tuned and hardware altough the same models makes etc, will not always give you the same results.
    We had two AMD FX55 Processor, both were from the same batch code - That means that they came from the same die cake. Both processors performed differently by quite a large gap. In fact It was one of the most famous AMD FX55 is rubbish post on the internet!

    If your updating for performance then dont forget older motherboard really do make a difference. Old NF2 boards give you around 50% RAM data through put as the NF4, The ATI first chip set gave you 20% better performance on top of that.

    DO you just add up performance? NO, You cannot same that getting a new CPU, ATI board and some newer RAM is going to give you a performance hop of 80%, Maybe if your trying to use a Dell desktop then thats not really hard.

    Matching it in to the system.
    Your CPU works different, Intel of off CPU memory controller and is based on the mobo, this add latancy to the system and slows the data flow between all parts at the RAM.
    AMD on its newer CPU's ( last 18 months) has a on CPU controller.

    The on CPU controller runs at around 16GPS and will run faster as you clock higher until it fails, this happens on the Winchester chips as these were the first ones to have the RAM controler on the CPU. most of the other ones were fine.

    You are looking at data rates of around 19-26GBS on a resonalble system.
    You can see your down fall of you system by running a few tests.
    Everrest Home is system testing software thats accurate. It will tell you your RAM data rates.
    Cystal mark 8 will tell you your Hard drive data rates (ON , OFF, Cache)

    IF you wish to run direct tally charts agasint some of the worlds fastest computer sytems then hit this link:

    Its a shame that they dont have the charts from last years wars, as these were more general as the system total performance areas. you may want to hunt it down.
    If you want to trawl thoguh some data then many of forums who were in the competition left there specs and results

    We will have to go into more detail on the ram as these are system spacific and processor spacific.
    Need Pro Computer advice?

  6. #6



    What do you think of the following spec for a video editing PC:
    Antec NSK1300 ATX Cube Case - 300W PSU (CA-059-AN)
    ASUS M2NPV-VM Micro ATX (Socket AM2) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard (MB-144-AS)
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4200+ 2.20GHz (Socket AM2) - Retail (CP-168-AM)
    ASUS GeForce EN7300GS-HTD 256MB DDR TV-Out/DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail (GX-093-AS)
    Samsung SpinPoint P SP2504C 250GB SATA-II 8MB Cache - OEM (HD-018-SA)

    Crucial 2-512MB 240-PIN DIMM 64MX64 DDR2

    Turnkey ECHO GINA 3G Audio Interface G31737686

    Is there anything that you would change?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006


    It will have issues.
    A PSU of 300 watts is very low by todys standards, in fact most systems will crash under a heavey load and it has been linked to causing he system to under perform. I always recomend a minimum of 420 watts.

    The motherboard has intergrated graphics which you will have to deal with in the bios or the graphics wont work from the card. I would also be concered with this comment on the boards profile "HDTV/AV/S output module was bundled" The key word there is WAS.

    While the processor will give you a boost over a single core processor the intel 6600 will give you better performance.

    Graphics cards will not make any difference to the performance, but should you be buying the board for its HD oit put this may be lost when using a graphics card

    Spinpoints are know for there good performance on the 80 gig models, I havent looked into them and you have to adjust them for the best performance (dynamics) You would be better off adding a few drives in a RAID array to give you better data rates and to split off the OS from the RAW and Edited files.

    The ram you have suggested isnt great, I can tell that from the 64 Meg banks, you should be looking for 128 meg banks. You havent given the clock cycle information.

    The sould device may be all well and good, but as computers are digital and there is also software like Audiocity you just need the ability to plug the audio into the system.
    The one thing I would consider is adding a Audio out sound card.

    (sorry I cannot be of more help, Nursing a hangover and I cant really see today)
    Need Pro Computer advice?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries


    I havent got a hangover and all i can see is spam.... I think it is a bit naughty to open a thread that is really self promotion and your claim to be an expert needs to be backed up with consistently high calibre advice. If you are not an expert is is wrong to claim you are and i for one have become suspicious of this claim after seeing many posts containing factual inaccuracies and misleading advice.

    It is better to offer qualified cautious advice in my expirience rahter than attempting to be an expert.

    I may claim to be an expert on documentary vidoe as I am studying film making at MA level but I am sure the professor who teaches me would point out the it is HE who is the expert, not me.

    On what grounds do you calim expert status? This is a rhetorical question. Please reflect on that point Rory.

    BTW I have a system with 4 hard drives and all my card slots full on a 300w power supply, and all has been well for 18 months....
    Last edited by Mark W; 10-15-2006 at 10:05 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006


    As an internationally respected IT consultant with many years of experience with the qualifications to match. You do not have the skills/experience or qualifications in which to base your comments.
    If you wish to review the hardware specifications and the manufactures information on the power requirements as well as many of the ampere specifications of the hardware then you would be more aware of your unfounded and inacurate comments.
    Need Pro Computer advice?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Warsop, Nottinghamshire.
    Blog Entries


    Ok, I can see hackles rising here. Calm down all...

    GTWCMT - I would suggest that you just restrict yourself to posting answers without littering the posts with links to other sites. It kind of does look a little Spamalot.

    It would also perhaps be useful for you to quantify what "Internationally respected" actually means, or maybe list your qualfications to reassure the folk getting the advice that it is indeed accurate. I am intriugued also by your claims of Award Winner for this and that. Could you just let us know what awards and for what?

    You have kind of steam rollered in here and whilst some of your info has been useful, I can see Marks point about other stuff too.

    This forum is a very friendly place, and it does sometimes take time for posters to find their feet, but I would say you do seem to have some knowledge that video editors will find useful.

    As I said above, please just let everyone know what you've done and what qualifications / awards you have and I'm sure you will be able to contribute in a valuable way.

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