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Thread: Processor/Motherboard Upgrade Help Please

  1. #1

    Default Processor/Motherboard Upgrade Help Please

    Hi everyone.

    I'm after a bit of advice here and as all my past google searches have always pointed here I thought I'd join up and throw my question to those who know and see what I get back.

    Needless to say, this is my first post but hopefully not my last. Excuse me while I waffle for 10-20 minutes before getting to the point, but hopefully my waffling will give you more insight into what I'm after and why.


    For the past god knows how many years, I have been a devote Apple Mac user, until something set me away a year past October and I bought my first PC.

    Since around March this year I have spent a lot more time working on video editing and DVD authoring than I spent in my usual professions of web and graphic design and as a result I moved on from iMovie and iDVD on said Mac, to Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro.

    However, as the amount of extra curricular work was starting to outweigh my daytime job I opted to go it alone, but quickly found out that working from home with a family running round was not the viable option and I therefore took on a unit.

    Unfortunately, because my budget was pretty much blown on building/decorating etc. work, I was limited to buying just 1 computer for the office and therefore plumped to buy a reasonably spec'd PC. 3200+ AMD, 1Gb memory, 160Gb HD, Firewire, 17" TFT etc.etc.

    Seeing as I was spending a lot of time still doing video editing on the one Mac, it meant I had to keep ferrying it between home and the office and in September/October I started getting annoyed with all this lugging around and constant unplugging and replugging, so I started to look into Video and DVD software for the PC and after a few trial versions of different software I forked out a small fortune to buy myself Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Encore DVD.

    Now personally I'm impressed with their current performance and I'm overly impressed by the range of export options which are a lot better than Apple's MPEG2 export options, however, I noticed that Premiere Pro has a lot of plugs for it's support of Intel's Hyper threading technology and as a result I'm looking towards upgrading my system.

    I'm happy with the system I have at the office for the time being, seeing as it's only 3 months old, however, my home system is an AMD 2600+ 1.5GB Ram, 1 x 120Gb HD, 1 x 160Gb HD, ATi x800 Pro 256Mb graphics card, 8X Optirite DVD-RW drive, 1 x 19" CRT monitor and 1 x 17" TFT monitor, 1 x Pioneer 108 external USB2 drive and, once I clear all the Mac Video footage and can reformat them, 6 x 160Gb Firewire drives which I'll be using to ferry the video footage back and forth between home and office.

    So..... the point.....

    I'm looking towards upgrading my motherboard, CPU and memory along with getting a new hard drive to run it with as I'll then have enough leftover bits from my past upgrades to build a third PC from the older components and will be keeping the current hard drives for that. So what to get?

    Considering what I've spent so far in this Mac to PC transition, I'm now looking towards spending up to another 500 to mix in with the best bits of my current home system.

    I am currently looking at a 3.2GHz Intel Pentium 4 with hyperthreading, 1Gb RAM and a Gigabyte GA-8IPE 1000 Pro-G motherboard along with a 160Gb hard drive. Does this sound like it would give me a descent/noticeable improvement over my current AMD Processor or are there better options?

    As an example, when I was first trying out the PC software I tried importing and then converting a 9 minute video file to M2V for DVD. With all the settings on rediculous it took 2 hours 32 minutes to encode and as my mac took approx 20 minutes to do similar, I thought that my transition was going to be short lived. However, when I then tested it on another bit of video that was 1 hour 41 minutes long, by changing one compression quality setting from 5 down to 4 while leaving the rest of the settings on stupidly high, it came in at 2 hours 30 minutes to encode, as opposed to 8 hours on the mac.

    Needless to say, I was straight off to my local software supplier and two new applications were whisking their way home to be installed.

    The upshot is that I'm hoping to boost my system's performance, and obviously the performance of Premiere Pro and Encore DVD but I don't want to end up spending a fortune on a minor improvement if you know what I mean.

    So if anyone could let me know if I'm looking towards the right things, and if this will give me a good performance boost, or if there's something that would give me a better boost I'd be very grateful.

    I'm also interested to know if SATA would give me any performance improvements over IDE, and if putting any for of RAID system in would improve performance. So far I haven't had any skipped import frames, however, I'm always looking at the time it takes to render/encode/convert etc. so any improvements to any part of the end product would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in anticipation.

    Martin (AKA SL Yugioh)

  2. #2


    Um..... Just a quick note. I have just realised that there is a "Building the best PC" and a few others in another area of the forum, however, if anyone could give me advice on my specific components I'd be really grateful.

    I'm now off to read that forum.

    Wish me luck

  3. #3


    Because video editing (or viditing as Mike prefers) has become THE reason to own a pc on '04, almost every benchmark will include an MPEG2 or MPEG4 rendering test. Historically, Intels have outperformed AMD in the encoding stakes, but this is starting to change. Perversely, even applications that SUPPORT hyper threading (HTT) can take longer to render when HTT is left on. Crappola.

    Going a bit deeper, the new 64bit athlons seem to have the edge over the 32bit Pentiums - they're giving the same or better "performance per buck", but are clearly the better upgrade path if you're thinking of "going 64bit" as soon as the relevant windows version pops out of Microsoft. You may also notice that the AMD route is no longer significantly cheaper for the high end athlons.

    A new name to look out for at the top-end of the processor market is Nocona. This is represents Intel's admission that they got the 64bit approach all along - and are now going the same route as AMD. So if you're going to go the dual processor way, look at these:
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  4. #4


    The motherboard is a very, very important equation in this, which a lot of people overlook. If you're going for AMD64 (my personal next upgrade option) there are socket 754 versions which are cheaper, but the socket 939 range is the most future-proof. I work for a university hardware department, we've used loads of different manufacturers over the years, and discovered that Asus (Asustek) motherboards seem to be te most reliable, and the best to depend on. I know Abit boards come highly recommended by other people on this board too, so that's an option.

    RAM: Get Dual Channel. Spend a bit extra getting some proper brand-name RAM. Beware of some PC vendors selling "major brand" RAM. There's a shop near us that lists Major Brand RAM. We bought some once and it was by some piece-of-crap company that we'd never heard of. We generally use Hynix or Samsung RAM, but there are plenty of other decent RAM manufacturers, Cruical (Micron), and if you're planning on overclocking, Corsair, OCZ and Mushkin are generally well received (though i've never had any personal experience with the last two). There are other types too- best thing to do is read loads of reviews online.

    Hard Disc - there's no reason to go for Parallel ATA any more - serial ATA is the way to. A couple of companies are offering Hard Discs with 16MB cache. One thing to say: there is no such thing as too much hard drive space. I've got 240GB in total on my PC and i'm having to watch what I use

    There are other things to consider, video cards, monitors etc, but I need to go out, so someone else can carry that on :-P

    Marc - maybe me and some of the other PC geeks on here should write a regualr column on "recommended video editing systems" on a couple of different budgets?

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by mikefishcake
    Marc - maybe me and some of the other PC geeks on here should write a regualr column on "recommended video editing systems" on a couple of different budgets?
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  6. #6


    Not if you make me wear that 'special' suit again.

  7. #7


    First up........... Settle you two!!!!

    Actually, I think that's a good idea, esp if it's regularly updated. It's always good to know what other people recommend and what they work with.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice. I spent quite a few hours after I'd posted that last night looking through different setups and reviews and also when I got up this morning, realised that you have that other section on the forum for PC setups, so I had a look through that and compared prices and specs. Of course you can never find a flamin MPEG2 comparison chart between CPU's when you want one, but there's always someone who knows where there is one so I've taken those things on board.

    As it happens, I'm now ditching my Intel route, esp with the note about HTT sometimes slowing things down, flamin typical really, and looking at the AMD 64 route instead. Prices I'd seen so far were only for the 754 which for the top motherboard at my local supplier, and the processor, came to 4 more than the Intel version I'd been looking at, but I'm going to investigate this Socket 939 range a bit more.

    Thanks again for the advice, if anyone else has more I'll also take that on board, and I look forward to letting you know how my project goes, and LOL at 240Gb mikefishcake. I remember when I had that in Mb. Ah the good old days of 250Mb drives. Where are they now As it is, I think I've got something in the range of 1600Gb if I pull all my computers and external drives together. annoyingly, my housekeeping's really bad, so most of it's full of crap I just haven't got round to editing or offloading onto DVD.

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