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Thread: Finally; Got my wallet out for an i7 Entery Level PC - The Spec

  1. #1

    Post Finally; Got my wallet out for an i7 Entery Level PC - The Spec

    Hi, All - Part 1-2

    After much debating, I finally got may wallet out and went shopping (whhoooo).

    If you have been reading my various post, you might have picked up on my history.
    For those who don't know, I am an EX PC System builder, being out of the trade a little while, so a little rusty.
    I have decide to do video editing as a hobby, I also have a photographic background too.

    I am more familiar to gaming machines when it comes to high end spec, video editing however; is a different animal, but isn't far from a gaming machine.

    You need raw speed, and yet a meaningful graphics card (Not forgetting other tech spec's,) but not placing total importance on the graphics card.
    This is where I had issues; which graphic's card to put inside. Bearing in mind that I built this spec for ME!!!!!, with what I need the PC to
    do for ME! This might not be suitable for your NEEDS However; I would go as far to say and to keep up with modern technology, this would be
    considered ENTRY level on a non Professional Basis. This would be keeping you ahead of software developments, for a little while at least, 2-3
    years maybe more. This system has the raw power you need for trouble free editing (am I dropping a bombshell here; Doh! there's clarkson). That's
    not to say; if you have an old machine its troublesome (have to be PC here, else you will complain HEHEHE)

    I mention later about over clocking the CPU, please bare in mind, that over clocking can make your system UNSTABLE and potentially cause damage to
    your CPU. THIS WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY!!!!!!!!! I cannot stress this enough! THIS WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY!!!!!!!!! Just in case you didn't get it that time. THIS WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY!!!!!!!!! However a good video editing system is a Stable ONE!!!.

    So here is my spec; I have left some bits out, as I have plenty of other bits kicking around. I will recommend those missing Item, later; Please
    DON'T take this spec, as an absolute; spec for you, as the hardware might not be right for your requirements.

    Video Editing Spec:-

    CPU :
    Mnfr Code: BX80601920

    Intel Core i7-920 D0 Stepping CPU
    Brand New Intel I7 Chips for X58 Platform!!
    8MB Cache
    2.66 GHz
    4.80 GT/s
    Socket 1366

    CPU Fan
    : Mnfr Code: NH-U12P SE1366

    Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 Quiet CPU Cooler
    4 Dual Heat Pipes
    Includes x2 NF-P12 Fans
    12.6 to 19.8 dBA*
    158 x 126 x 120mm
    Intel CPU Support: 1366 (i7)

    ************************************************** *************
    ********* This model of fan is a bit of an over kill if you don't intend ********
    ********* to overclock, either get a 100% coverge or use mnfr ************
    ************************************************** *************

    : Mnfr Code: 90-MIB7U0-G0EAY00Z

    Asus P6T Deluxe V2 Motherboard
    Intel Core i7, Socket 1366
    Intel X58 Chipset, DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600
    ATI CrossFire & nVidia SLI, RAID, Gigabit LAN

    : Mnfr Code: TR3X6G1600C7

    6GB Corsair XMS3 1600MHz DDR3 Triple Channel Memory Kit
    Full Intel i7 and X58 Support
    CAS 7-7-7-20
    6GB (3 x 2GB Sticks)

    Graphics Card
    : Mnfr Code: ZT-X26E3KD-FSP

    Zotac nVidia GeForce GTX 260 (GTX 260-2) 896MB
    Core Clock: 576MHz
    ShaderClock: 1242MHz
    Memory Clock: 1998MHz
    Stream Processors: 216

    : Mnfr Code: CMPSU-750HXUK

    750W Corsair HX750W Modular Power Supply Unit
    x 1 24 Pin + P8/P4
    x 4 PCI-e 8/6 Pin
    x 12 SATA
    x 8 Molex
    x 2 Floppy
    SLi Ready / 80 PLUS Silver Certified / 7 Year Warranty

    Video Capture Card : I have No use for one at moment ( remember that a capture card is totally different than a graphics card. Please don't get the two mixed up)

    Hard Drive/s : I didn't get these, have some kicking around

    {Ammended January 2010 Added Solid State drive 64Gb Samsung PB22-J} Now It ROCK's

    I would have 2 harddrives, a 250Gig for your operating system and applications
    and a 1 Terrabyte HD for files (data), trust me you'll use it.

    I like seagate drives:

    1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 3.5" Hard Disk Drive
    32MB Cache

    Mnfr Code: ST310005N1D1AS-RK


    1TB Western Digital RE3 3.5" Hard Disk Drive
    32MB Cache

    Mnfr Code: WD1002FBYS

    I do find WD noisy - Its like stirring a bucket, full of bolts; if you know different please tell me.

    A raid array; is alot better and more secure storage setup, If you don't know about raid, please read the post by Marc Peters, he has explained it nicely, I will add the link when I can find it lol.

    Found the link:
    Digital Video Editing Guides: Digital Director - hardware - RAID & Video Editing for the non-technical computer user

    DVD-Burner :This is something that you can choose

    DVD-Rom: This is something that you can choose

    Card-Reader: This is something that you can choose

    Keyboard & Mouse: This is something that you can choose

    Case: This is something that you can choose (would recommend an ATX Full Tower)

    This is something that you can choose

    Operating System:
    Non as yet as I am testing Window 7 64bit RC (beta)

    {Ammended November 2009 Purchased Window 7 professional 64bit }

    I would wait till October 22nd until Windows 7 is released, I can't believe that I am recommending an OS before the first Service Pack Release. (I am excited about this OS- MMMmmmm comments; does that put me in the SAD catagory?)

    How much ram you can use in Windows 7

    32 bit version of any windows operating system is limited to 4GB

    Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit : 16 GB
    Windows 7 Professional 64 bit: 192 GB
    Windows 7 Enterprise & Ultimate 64 bit: 192 GB

    XP and Vista are fine if you already have licenses you can use.

    Please remember when choosing an OS; what is the max ram you can put in

    • 32-bit versions of Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate: 4GB
    • 32-bit Windows Vista Starter: 1GB
    • 64-bit versions of Windows Vista Home Basic: 8GB
    • 64-bit versions of Windows Vista Home Premium: 16GB
    • 64-bit versions of Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate: 128GB

    Official amounts from Microsoft

    Last edited by zandebar; 02-11-2010 at 12:19 AM.

  2. #2


    Part 2-2

    OK a little explanation of what I have chosen:-

    This CPU is the best one to go for in my opinion, great to over clock. DO NOT attempt to over clock
    unless you know WHAT!!!!!! you are doing. I generally don't advocate this, but as I bought the CPU to over clock slightly to get me over 2.8Ghz. For
    HD editing at a later date, this CPU has four cores and seen by the OS as 8 cores (HT Technology) anyway. So I didn't see it as a problem, at
    normal settings, I could be wrong, hey I have a plan (over clock). These processors (920) are going to be stopped in production and replaced with
    something else (less over clockable I expect). As people have been buying the 920's and over clocking them, which has led Intel to have sold less of
    the higher badge ones. So I am led to believe from my distributor, so these will be hard to come by soon (this information is unverified, might
    just be more, distributor BullS*&T). This processor is coming up to be a year old, and development still continues.

    AMD Phenom II processors;
    Still agreat processor, lags a little behind the i7, Intel are still Whooping AMD's Ass, I used to be a big AMD lover.

    CPU FAN:
    OK; its common knowledge that the CPU fan supplied in the Retail Boxed version. Are usually not much cop, this FAN has 85% coverage on the CPU; imagine a box and draw a circle inside the box, the bits on the outside of the circle, are not transferring heat to the heat sink, leaving a slightly hotter CPU. The manufactures FAN!!! is totally fine if you are using stock settings, please DON'T worry if you are using this fan type in your machine. I personally like to go for a more beefy FAN, than the manufactures one. As I like to keep my CPU on the cool side as much as possible. Since I plan to over clock my CPU, I defiantly need a more substantial fan. With a more effective cooling air flow, in my system, the fan that I purchased, has a 100% CPU coverage and more substantial cooling fins.

    This is a very high spec Asus motherboard (I do like Asus hence my purchase), the only downside to Asus for people in the UK, is that they don't have a UK technical helpline, there helpline is based in Germany (Europe). However; I didn't let, that little issue discourage me from my purchase. There are so many good X58 motherboards out on the market, another good brand is Gigabyte; it's well advised, to stick to branded high-end motherboards. Its only fair that we tackle this on another post as there are so many, I would like to recommend a selection based on budget, which you can choose from.

    Memory: I went for
    6GB 1600MHz DDR3 Triple Channel Memory Kit (Matched set) fast latency 7-7-7 20, to give a little extra boost. I put 6GB in because of my budget, I don't believe, in overloading a system with memory either, just because you can. However; I might find because I am new to video editing, that I will need more memory, at a later date. 6GB is a good starting point; 12GB maybe what I really need or too much as the case maybe. For now; I will see how I go and let my system tell me if I need anymore for my usage. However please stick to these makes; Corsair, Crucial, Kingston - These are branded names and reliable in my opinion.

    Graphics Card: This gave me a little headache, not from the tech angle, but what my supplier had in stock. For some reason, they have a very wide range of graphics cards, but keep low stock values of them, from zero to 1 on some. So I chose the newer nVidia GTX 2 series of card, as this was the newer technology, twice as fast as the 98 series. I wanted a card with CUDA, around 500Mhz GPU with 512+ memory on card. About mid-range in the series, that’s why I chose the GTX 260 version 2. It's about comparable to a ATI 4870 card, they claim that this new version is faster, the same will do for me. Between manufactures of graphic cards for video editing, whilst not knocking ATI who also make excellent cards. I have to give nVidia the video editing platform, as they are more compatible with most video editing software on the market, please check yourself on compatibility issues (I have checked most popular editing suites for graphics brand). ATI however win the gaming platform hands down in my opinion, its just choosing the best equipment for the intended job.

    Branded names, XFX, BFG, Zotac

    I really had my eye on the NVIDIA Quadra FX 1800 Graphics Card, as this professional level entry graphics card has a plug-in to best optimise the
    GPU. Please remember that; the graphics card, is all to do with what you see on screen, and has nothing to do with the final edited rendered file
    you end up with. This is all CPU based; while I was choosing my components, I was thinking about an article I read many years ago on The Terminator film. If I remember right, for the render of the Silverman and the film, they used 50 parallel processed machines with 500MB onboard and the fastest CPU of the time. When they made this film; that was really out there doesn't seam much now. It apparently took 3 months to render the film, this had nothing to do with the graphics card, but all to do with the raw processing power of the CPU (loosely, as there are other things to consider).

    However; things are changing, how software developers handle video output. Many video editors will know that they have to render there film to see
    how it looks, this is true of Adobe premiere CS which I use, and I am just getting to grips with. (Whilst playing with after effects, I also fancy a
    bit of 3d as well) The software makers are heading towards live previews of video editing, certainly with adobe CS4 (heard badly). I have read many things about CS4 and this forum is very opinionated lol.

    What this means is; they will use the graphics card GPU to process the live preview information, usually the CPU just gives the graphics card the
    information to display, once it has been converted/rendered to a file, the card just goes OK and displays it. with this new technology the graphic
    card with live render of the preview, has to convert the software code into an image, on the graphics card. This technology, has some debate on the forum, this is a new approach by the software developers and has been taking sometime top get right, we have to thank ATI for this.

    There is also a case for off loading some of the CPU work on to the GPU, hence freeing up the CPU to do other things during rendering of the final
    file. The geekyness is coming out of me with a bunch of curiosity, Which is why I chose this card. To see if this is the case. I feel that I will
    have more success with the Quadra 1800 card. As I was unable to purchase this card, at this time because of budget restraints. I thought I would have
    a play with the GTX 260 v2, and lets see what it can do, a card I can afford now. My thoughts are to upgrade to the Quadra 1800 or equivalent at a later date.

    Quadra 1800 - Mid Range
    Quadro FX 1800

    Quadra 3800 - High End (This looks very sexy)
    Quadro FX 3800

    Giving the reviews I have read and bench reports, I might not have to, giving my intended usage of the card.

    PSU; Power Supply Unit: Because you are using a lot of juice, so to speak. It's better having a high spec power supply unit, for a high spec machine. This 750 watt should see you right, leaving some room for future upgrades, along the way. If you MUST!! you can even dress your case with a few lights, if your inclined that way, in this time of carbon foot prints; why on earth would you want to do that. lolol hehehe

    That really sums it up; I have being chatting to Marc Peters about putting up some newer spec's to make sticky for some of you non-technical guys,
    from entry level to advanced PC based NLE systems. I would really like to establish a squawk squad to debate some of these spec's, with
    technically minded editors. To be placed in a private thread before the spec's are made public, as this idea is probably new to Marc, could you
    (Marc) please reply if you feel that this is appropriate for your forum. And technically minded editors please register your support for the Squawk
    Squad private thread, to have your input/opinions OH!! we know you'll have lots of those LOLOL aired before the specs are made public.

    Please let me know your what your thoughts are; TY
    Last edited by zandebar; 02-11-2010 at 12:23 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    A nice read zandebar.

    I would love to be a part of you "SquardSquad".

    I have many a times gone onto novatech, choosing the parts for a uber edit machine adding each piece into the shooping basket and then looking at the price and then going "wow, thats a lot of money", but then again you can make a decent machin for 250. mine costed that much and it is very capable.

  4. #4


    OK Simfis, Tell me what spec your machine is and what software you use on it.
    and the length of your movies, PM it to me.

    I will spec up a machine for the 250 mark, for the budget end, good practice.

    Now Smiftis, is this a box unit or a full machine with keyb-mouse, Monitor, speakers etc.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    East Riding of Yorkshire


    Pretty impressive machine you've made there!

    I've been thinking about having an upgrade to an i7 around
    Christmas time (with about 600 to spend). Do you think the price of the 920 will have gone down at all by then? It'll be a welcome change coming from a E2160! Editing AVCHD gets about 1fps on that, not cool.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    It's the base unit and keyboard, mouse. i already had monitors so i didn't get any.

    It's an...
    - E2220 @2.5ghz
    - 2gb of value ram
    - 500gb maxtor hard drive,
    - el cheepo dvd witter, (comes with 5 yr warranty so thats good enough for me)
    - MSI thingy bob board
    - Nvidia 9200gt graphics card
    - el cheepo novatech case - comes with powersupply.

    i think thats right.

    one sec. i have an cpu-z report somewhere.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    this was just me seeing how far i could get it to go. not bad for a 30 board

    CPU-Z Validator 3.1

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Detroit Metro


    Quote Originally Posted by smifis View Post
    this was just me seeing how far i could get it to go. not bad for a 30 board

    CPU-Z Validator 3.1
    Wow 3GHz? thats impressive with that setup.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    I got a lot higher, thats just one i submitted.

    i managed to get to about 3.8ghz if i remember correctly but it wasn't stable due to the fact i couldn't change the vCore, or anything else for that matter.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Detroit Metro


    Yo btw zandebar, how much did that end up costing you?

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