Personal View site logo
Recommendations for Editing Stations under $3K?
  • 143 Replies sorted by
  • @kronstadt Sabrtooth is a very sound choice for a motherboard. I have the AMD version, and came from a Crosshair ii. Though the crosshair series allows for slightly more tweaking, and has a couple extra creature comforts, the sabertooth in true usability is equal, and a little more user friendly for those that don't necessarily need all the bells and whistles. That and a 5 year warranty ! For ram I recommend looking at Geil. They are an often overlooked company, but have very make reliable ram from Taiwan (not china), and prices are reasonable too. I picked up 16gb of 1600mhz for $60, and it runs extremely cool even if I OC it to 1886. Also on coolers, everyone knows coolermaster, and rightfully so as they are very good, but there is a little known company called deep cool that makes a cooler that just barely edges out the Hyper 212, it is called the Killer whale, and the copper version is what you want. It is a down pushing single fan that cools your mobo and ram as well as the cpu. pretty much the best cooler out there if you dig thoroughly through reviews. The fan is funky and tall, but can be replaced with a standard 120mm if need be. I actually settled for their second best cooler which is essentially a Hyper 212 for lack of local availablity, and it indeed does a very very good job. Last but not least FANS, this is the only thing I am set on, NOISEBLOCKERS !! these are the best f'n fans on earth. German made, quiet, and most importantly last forever. I had two, one I killed by tangling some fishing line in it (don't ask), the other one is still the quietest fan in my case after 4 years, I have had 4 or 5 big name fans come and go because though they start out quiet they always start rattling, or squealing at some point. Noiseblockers simply don't do this. I forget the term, but they have special bearings, and again German engineering. I swear by few products, but Noiseblockers man have no rival. You may find an initially more quiet fan.. but 6 months (often 2 months) later I guarantee it won't be the quietest fan in your case.

  • I think we need to keep this topic simple and clear.

    And make new one for details (as many of them outdate very fast).

  • @mee , thanks. I was planning to get a "Kaze Master Ace" fan controller and 3 or 4 Noctua 120mm fans because I heard they are the most silent ones. Never heard of Noiseblockers. Do you have any particular model that you would recommend? And, importantly, do you know how they compare to Noctuas?

    @Vitaliy_Kiselev I think it would also make sense to separate the threads at annual increments: "2011: Recommendations for Editing Stations under $3K", "2012: Recommendations for Editing Stations under $2K" etc

  • @kronstadt

    Nope. I much more prefer to have topic with general and sane guidlines and other with specific things.

    As for $2K and $3K topics, it is just bullshit.

  • @VK, I get it, and I know I tend to have more lengthy posts than most. Probably because it's my only chance to use English these days. PC stuff gets huge fast, and I wasn't sure if you wanted a ton of threads open.

    @Kronstadt I have started a fan topic here with the first post being a response to your last question.

  • I've recently completed a new built for £1380 (well below $3K), although it was cheap due to Christmas reductions. This system is built for Adobe Creative Suite 6.0 . The idea was to build a 2-in-1 PC... silent on a normal day (because I do a lot of reading in this space), and very powerful when in turbo mode. It turned out to be a Very powerful beast - indeed so powerful that I think editing a full feature length film (even if it's from Black Magic Camera) on this will be very easy. I also do web-development, so having a powerful WAMP server was another reason for this built. Here are my specs and comments:

    • CPU: i7-3930K with 6 cores (They go for circa £450-500, but I bought it for £395. Using this chart as well as the benchmark scores from you can see that it is one of the best value/performance CPUs. In video editing most of the load falls on CPU, so I wouldn't advise going too cheap on CPU.For my own built it turned out to be 1/3 of the price. For thoseon abudget, you can go with 2600K OR i7-3820 OR i7-3770K . I just wanted my computer to be a bit more "future proof" and serve me well for the next 8-10 years)

    • MoBo: Sabertooth x79 (£240 a very good motherboard! But expensive, and maybe it's a bit too much for my needs. I dislike the fact that it has 2 small (and not easily replaceable 35mm) on-board fans, which kind of goes against my "Silent PC" ideology. Also, it does not come with a WiFi antenna or card, so maybe I should have gone with a Gygabite equivalent UD5 motherboard. This small detail is perhaps the only thing that I overlooked. But generally it's a very reputed motherboard)

    • Cooler: Noctua D-14 (£57.50. I chose it because of its silence and it's excellent performance in keeping the CPU cool. But if you choose it, be careful, not every memory stick is compatible with it. On their website Noctrua has a table of memory sticks that will work with it. Plus their customer support is excellent.)

    • Memory: 32GB RAM GSkills Ripjaws (£107.55 + £7.20P&P. I was tempted to use Patriot, which has a better latency score, and which was cheaper, but then came the question of compatibilities, so I decided to play it safe and went with Ripjaws because it worked for someone else who used a similar combination to mine)

    • HDD: No HDD. I have a 250GB SSD Samsung 830 instead of a conventional hard drive. (£144) I keep my footages and other material on 4 external HDDs, totalling 4.5TB. Maybe in the future I will get a 3TB or 4TB internal hard drive, and more and more SSDs running in RAID0

    • Optical Drive: No optical drive for now due to budgetary constraints. I installed windows using a USB stick. In the future I'll probably get a Lite-On BR-RW. For now most of my edits and short films will be going to Vimeo and USB sticks.

    • Video Card: MSI GTX 480. (Because of the budgetary constraints and after realising that I don't really need a top-notch Vcard, I bought it on eBay second hand for £122 + £11 P&P. I would strongly advise reading this thread and especially this article so that you make an informed choice)

    • Power Supply: Seasonic 860W 80+ PLATINUM (£157+£9 P&P. A bit expensive, but mostly silent and extremely efficient PSU. I've calculated that in terms of power efficiency saving this thing will pay for itself in 2 years time. Seriously, don't go cheap on PSU)

    • Case: Corsair Obsidian 550D silent case (this one is a bit expensive £113 and there are many cheaper options even for the silent cases Cooler Master Silencio (£65) or Cooler Master 690 II Advanced OR Antec 1200 OR Fractal Design "Arc" Midi OR HAF912 0R Fractal Design R2 (silent) or R3 or R4 (£80). For those on a budget you might also like BitFenix Merc Beta (£35). But here's why I chose Corsair 550D even though it was one of the more expensive ones: as I mentioned, I wanted a PC that would be silent on a normal day and could easily transform into a Turbo beast, and this case has the best sound performance (according to charts and measurements) and it also has two fan hutches on top and bottom, which quickly open up when you need to let more air in. In the future, I'm gonna put 3 Noctual fans behind those hatches, controlled by Kaze Server Pro)

    • Keyboard: Logitech K340 wireless keyboard (£12 + £4 P&P second hand (but in good condition) from eBay. Although it has great reviews, I don't really like it. Can't get used to having to bang the "space" bar, otherwise it won't work. But it's wireless and it's cheap. Maybe I'll get one of those flat laptop-style keyboards in the future.

    • Screen & Mouse: I had them from before: Microsoft optical USB mouse and HannsG HH281 28" 1920x1200 monitor.

    And that's my basic built - a recepie in case someone need to build one. The most important thing is to do a LOT of reading beforehand, so that you end up building exactly the PC that suits your needs. So far, it doesn't break a sweat, whatever task I throw at it. I budgeted ~£900, but went well over my budget, but I'm very happy with this build.

    FUTURE EXPANSIONS (I'm open to advice and suggestions)

    • THX certified 7.1 system

    • Sound card ... do I really need one? and if yes, which one? any recommendations?

    • 250GB SSD Samsung 840 PRO. I'll buy 1 SSD at a time as they become cheaper,and will run them in RAID0. Will make editing ridiculously fast.

    • one or two 3TB internal HDDs by Western Digital to hold all the footages and to get rid of 4 external HDDs

    • Lite-On Blue Ray RW drive

    • Kaze Server Pro fan controller and 3 silent fans: one 14cm and two 12cm

    • second monitor. 30" IPS 2560x1600 something sweet like this:

    • Second Vcard to run in SLI with existing GTX480... maybe a second hand GTX680 2 years later when they become dirt cheap.

    • additional 32GB RAM to bring it to 64GB RAM, although 32GB seems to cope pretty nicely for now.

    • A digital projector to make a home cinema...but that's way-way down the road...

  • @kronstadt nice build!

    Is it possible to run SLI with two different GTX cards? I also have a GTX480 and it works a treat.

  • @tinyrobot thanks! That is one question that I'm trying to find answers to as well. Some say that you can run anything together, but I'm skeptical about that. Others say that the 2 cards have to be of the same type - i.e. GTX480 with GTX480. Others still, say that the two cards have to be identical - i.e. MSI GTX480 only with MSI GTX480. So, Iwillneed to read around tech forums. I won't be needing another card for a while, although I have to admit that this card is the only thing that is emitting most temperature and is making some bit of noise (not much) in my otherwise silent PC.

  • I am not sure if I should start a new topic, as I am prepared to spend over 3K, but I was hoping to leverage some of the research that contributors to this thread have done and get some advice. I am upgrading from a MacPro on which I am running native windows, with 8 cores and 32GB ram. I don't want to build it myself and don't need drive and monitor recommendations, other than the boot drive. I don't mind paying more for real performance gains. Here is an example of what I am thinking from a shopping cart I put together at the website of a typical hardware integrator, I am also open to brand names like Dell or HP. Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    Intel Core i7-3930K CPU 12 Core System 3.2GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) L3 Cache: 12MB Quad Channel RAM PCI Express 3.0 CPU Cooling:120MM High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler Hard Drives:240GB SATA III 6GB/s SSD Disk Drives:24X DVD Writer w/ LightScribe Support System Memory:64GB DDR3 2133MHz - Extreme Performance Memory (PC3 17000) Video Card:GeForce GTX 650 2GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCIe 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Sound Card:8-Channel Digital Sound Card (onboard) Computer Case:Cooler Master Cosmos II Black - Super Tower Keyboard & Mouse:Standard Wired Keyboard & Optical Mouse Operating System:No operating system selected Additional Upgrades:USB 3.0 Upgrade (2 Additional Ports) $3,184.99

    Thanks, Jim

  • @Jspatz read the long post above that I wrote about my own build around the i7-3930K. You can actually do it for around $2K.

    GTX650 seems to me as a waste of resources if you are building a video editing machine. Read the article link that I posted. Pay attention to card's bandwidth - that's what matters! 580 or 680 would be a better choice (IMO) if you will be editing with Adobe Premiere Pro.

    For Hard Drive SSD, I'd recommend Samsung 840 PRO - that's what I would get if I had a bit more money. Get 2 of those: 1 for OS & Programs, and 1 for video files to be edited. You might also want to get a 3TB internal hard drive for storage/archives etc.

    For optical drive, get a BR RW (by LiteOn)-- they can write DVDs too and they are relatively cheap.

    RAM: you need to do a lot or reading and research. 2133MHz might not be even supported-- so you'd end up wasting that premium money.

    It's not clear which motherboard you are planning to use.

    Good luck.

  • @kronstadt Thanks for your help. The mb is an Asus which supports up to 2400 quad channel memory.

  • hey everyone, i wanted to show you my new build just before i buy, i think i'm confident now but please tell me what you think! this will be for video editing and sound engineering/mixing too.

    • case: Fractal Design Define R4
    • motherboard: Asus P9X79 Pro
    • cpu: Intel Core i7-3930k C2
    • cooler: Noctua NH-D14 SE2011
    • gpu: Asus GTX660 TI-DC2T-2GD5 2 GB
    • ssd: RAID 2xSamsung SSD 840 PRO 256 Go
    • ram: G.Skill RipJaws Z Series 64 Go (8 x 8 Go) DDR3 2133 MHz CL11
    • power: Akasa Venom Power 850 80PLUS Gold

    it's about 2450€ or 250 mopping floor hours (no joke).

  • Does it make sense to buy used 12 core 2x2.93 westmere MAC PRO 5.1 (2010) with 32Gb ram 1333Mhz, 512Gb SSD and 1TB spinning drive and 5870 ati card that I would swap with GTX760. It is around 2500eur. Could it handle 4k from GH4 in some reasonable editing/grading scenario?

    I know I can buy a lot PC components, but I need to use OSX and I'm getting progressively tired of years of hackintoshing.

  • My i7 Hackintosh (Ivy Bridge) 32-bit geekbench (free version) score is ca. 13000 It replaced my 2008 MacPro 3,1 octo core 2.8 GHZ which scored 10000. I thought the Hack would have been faster than 30% (if I am understanding the numbers correctly).

    The IO is better in the Hackintosh, but, I believe there is aUSB 3 card that can be added to the real MacPros (ex: 5,1) to help things if you have an open slot. Sata 3 cards are available too.

  • I have to upgrade from my i7-920 hackintosh, it is very usable for HD, but for 4k, forget it..

    My choices are:

    • Haswel 4770K hackintosh

    • 2010 Mac from above

    • new Mac Pro mighty trashcan, but that is highly unlikely to happen, and it would mean that I have to get everything new, storage, external cards etc. so really the choice is between the first two

    The thing is that for the price of Mac and few hundreds more I could probably get new CPU, MOBO, GPU and RAM + GH4, since I could use existing case, PSU, storage etc..

  • @inqb8tr Which 4k file did you have problems with your computer? Do you normally cut on prores? I have a i72600k and tried a 4K 100mbps mov file in fcpx and it can't handle more than one stream. I transcoded it to prores and stacked five streams and it played fine.

  • Checked it again and it can only handle 4 streams of 4k prores before it starts to stutter.

  • I've been reading this thread for advice, so I guess it's a good place to post my question. I'm thinking of upgrading my CPU and mobo to an Intel 4770K system, and I want to know a few things before proceding.

    My current system is an AMD Phenom II 955, with 16 meg of memory, and I'm using an NVIDIA GEForce 670 (which has lotsa CUDA). I use Premiere Pro CS5. Most benchmarks have it that the Intel 4770K is roughly three to four times faster when performing tasks in PP. Here are the questions.

    1) Multistream editing. Currently, I can't play more than one AVHCD 1080p stream without stuttering: when I want to do multicamera editing, I've had to render each stream into 720p versions. Huge bottleneck. Will I be able to do multicamera editing on 1080p AVHCD video files?

    2) Will this have any impact on watching effects? I plan on doing some noise reduction on an upcoming project, and my current system can't seem to play this effect very well. Makes it hard to gauge its effectiveness and quality. I've read that my CUDA cores take up much of the work when rendering effects in playback, but will this CPU help in this area?

    3) Will it have much of an impact on rendering? Again, I know the CUDA cores on my GPU have helped, and there will be some improvement, but roughly, what can I expect?

  • May be real issues are " I use Premiere Pro CS5" and also some storage speed?

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev Maybe, but the CPU benchmarks indicate that upgrading would be a huge boost. (I'll probably upgrade to the Adobe Cloud and faster drives when business picks up.)

    ADDENDUM: it's looking like the 4770K is getting harder to find, so maybe I should be asking about the 4790K CPU.

  • If you want to upgrade it must be 4790k and Z97 MB, not 4770k. Same price, but slightly better cooling interface and higher default clock.

    AMD also make power hungry and quite cheap 6 core beasts if you like only AMD.

    In September it'll be new Intel 2011 mount CPUs and chipset (up to 16 core).

  • Thanks for the word on the upcoming Intel chips. Sadly, I'm keeping to a budget, and can't spend more than $500 for the CPU and mobo. (Maybe the prices on 4790Ks will drop in September.)

  • Maybe the prices on 4790Ks will drop in September

    They won't. Intel prices are very steady last years.

  • Yes. Prices for the video friendly chips still high. If there is one and only one item in your rig that you need, it is either the hexacore i7 or wait for one of the new octacore. Memory and a decent cuda card are "cheap as chips" but that hexacore i7 is the jaws of life as far as cutting video.

  • Memory and a decent cuda card are "cheap as chips" but that hexacore i7 is the jaws of life as far as cutting video.

    It is good to see tests that show how it is required. As I am not sure you need >4790K for usual editing tasks. Storage speed, GPU and memory amount define real boundaries.