Frankenstein 104: Building a Video Editing Workstation

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In this article, we will be looking at what makes a Video Editing PC tick. For starters, PCs for video editing here in Sri Lanka use 3 popular applications:

  • Adobe Premier CC
  • EDIUS
  • Sony Vegas Pro

As before, let’s lay out the build and then start tuning them according to the software.

Case #1: the Barebones Build

ComponentModelPriceAvailable at
CPUIntel Core i7 4790Rs. 43,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
MotherboardGigabyte B85M-HD3Rs. 12,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
RAM8GB DDR3 1600MHzRs. 11,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
Hard Disk DriveTeam Ultra L5 120GB SSD (For OS, Software and Cache)Rs. 12,000/-
Hard Disk Drive 1TB 7,200 RPM (For Storage)Rs. 8,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
Graphics CardMSI Geforce GT 740 OC 1GB GDDR5Rs. 16,500/-
Power SupplyFSP Hexa+ 400WRs. 5,500/-Redline Technologies
CasingAntec GX500Rs. 8,000/-Redline Technologies, E-Globe Solutions
Total Rs. 116,000/-

Case #2: the Recommended Spec – for HD Editing

ComponentModelPriceAvailable at
CPUIntel Core i7 4790k @4.2GHzRs. 49,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper 212Rs. 5,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
MotherboardGigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3Rs. 25,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
RAM16GB DDR3 1600MHzRs. 22,000/-Redline Technologies
Hard Disk DriveTeam Ultra L5 120GB SSD (For OS and Software)Rs. 12,000/-Redline Technologies
Hard Disk Drive WD Velociraptor 500GB 10,000RPM (For Cache)Rs. 19,000/-Redline Technologies
Hard Disk Drive WD RE Enterprise 1TB (For Storage)Rs. 24,000/-Redline Technologies
Graphics CardMSI Geforce GTX 750 OC 1GB GDDR5Rs. 21,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
Power SupplyFSP Hexa+ 550WRs. 8,000/-Redline Technologies
CasingCooler Master CM690 IIIRs. 13,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies, Barclays
Total Rs. 198,000/-

Case #3: Editing 4K – the Entry Level Build

ComponentModelPriceAvailable at
CPUIntel Core i7 4790k @4.2GHzRs. 49,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper 212 Rs. 5000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
MotherboardGigabyte Z97X- Gaming 3Rs. 25,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
RAM32GB DDR3 1600MHzRs. 44,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
Hard Disk Drive Team Ultra L5 120GB SSD (For OS and Software)Rs. 12,000/-Redline Technologies
Hard Disk Drive2*500GB WD Velociraptor in RAID0 (For Cache)Rs. 39,000/- Redline Technologies
Hard Disk Drive WD RE Enterprise 2TB (For Storage)Rs. 24,500/-Redline Technologies
Graphics CardNvidia GeForce GTX760 4GBRs. 40,000/-Redline Technologies
Power SupplyFSP Aurum S 500W 80+ GoldRs. 12,000/-Redline Technologies
CasingCooler Master CM690 IIIRs. 13,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies, Barclays
Total Rs. 263,500/-

Case #4: Editing in 4K – the Recommended Build

ComponentModelPriceAvailable at
CPUIntel Core i7 5820K @4.2GHzRs. 58,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper 212Rs. 5000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
MotherboardMSI X99S SLI PlusRs. 42,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
RAM32GB 2400MHz DDR4Rs. 80,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
Hard Disk Drive Team Ultra L5 256GB SSD (For OS and Software)Rs. 19,500/-Redline Technologies
Hard Disk Drive4*WD RE Enterprise 1TB in RAID 5 (For Storage and cache)Rs. 62,000/- Redline Technologies
Raid ControllerLSI Logic 9200-8e 8-ports SAS ControllerRs. 45,000/-Redline Technologies
Graphics CardNvidia GeForce GTX970 4GBRs. 68,000/-Redline Technologies
Power SupplyFSP Aurum S 500W 80+ GoldRs. 12,000/-Redline Technologies
CasingCooler Master CM690 IIIRs. 13,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies, Barclays
Total Rs. 404,500/-

 Case #5 : the YOLO build

ComponentModelPriceAvailable at
CPUIntel Core i7 5960X 3.0GhzRs. 150,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
CPU CoolerCorsair H60 Hydro Liquid CoolerRs. 16,000/-Redline Technologies
MotherboardAsus X99 DeluxeRs. 68,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
RAM64GB 2400MHz DDR4Rs. 160,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
Hard Disk Drive 256GB SSD (For OS and Software)Rs. 38,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
Hard Disk Drive 3*Samsung 850 Pro 1TB Enterprise SSDs in RAID 5 (For Cache & Storage)Rs. 360,000/-Redline Technologies
RAID ControllerLSI Logic 9200-8e 8-ports SAS ControllerRs. 45,000/-Redline Technologies
Graphics CardNvidia GeForce Titan BlackRs. 170,000/-Redline Technologies
Power SupplyFSP Aurum PT 650W 80+ PlatinumRs. 19,500/-Redline Technologies
CasingCooler Master Cosmos IIRs. Rs. 47,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies, Barclays
Total Rs. 1,073,500/-

The key word when running a video editing rig is CPU. Rendering a video is very, very dependent on the CPU, which is why we start off fairly high with the i7s. The next thing is the drive speed. You basically need a really fast storage and retrieval disk that you software can read to and write from – hence the SSDs. The graphics card is useful, but not that much.

Adobe Premiere CC and EDIUS do it this way

premiere_procc_interface-100048966-orig

We’ve thrown in a GPU recommendation because Adobe Premiere CC has something called the Mercury Playback Engine. It can leverage both OpenCL (AMD) and CUDA (Nvidia). Premier likes CUDA. But, we’ve thrown in the GTX750 on the recommended build, because for 21,000 rupees there is no Nvidia card that’s really worth it. It’s chief advantage is utility – having multiple ports to run a multi-screen setup (which really comes in handy for video editing).

What these two software need, is speed. More specifically, hard drive speed. The higher the bandwidth of your video, the faster your hard drives need to be. Adobe Premiere for example makes use of a drive called a cache drive. So when you load your project, the files are loaded into the cache drive for fast access. The faster the cache drive, the better (hence the use of a 10k RPM drive and the use of enterprise drives in a RAID 0 or RAID 5 setups. Generally the motherboard is capable of setting up a RAID 0 or 1 system, but if you’re going RAID 5, investing in a separate RAID controller is a more viable option. Plus if the RAID setup fails on the motherboard, your data is at risk but with the controller, that is not an issue.

On the YOLO build, there’s a GTX Titan Black that should really pulls its weight. The formula is fairly simple: go for as much disk speed (cache), CPU and RAM as you can afford. Then go for disk space. Lastly, think of the GPU.

Sony Vegas Pro

1600-VegasPro9_screen

Vegas Pro is again another GPU intensive application. More specifically, it deals with GPU Compute performance. GPU Compute can be of either OpenCL or CUDA (proprietary of Nvidia). Ironically even though only 20% of applications use CUDA, it is that very same 20% that are the most popular applications.

If your software can handle and process OpenCL, then going for a build consisting of an AMD card is recommended. But it has its drawbacks. For instance, there can be times when there are plugins that only work with CUDA. But all is not lost, with a little bit of research, you could also find alternative plugins that work with Radeon cards thus keeping the better performance of the Radeon card whilst getting the functionality of the plugin.

What we’re basically saying is that Vegas Pro comes down the the plugins you use and how good you are at Google. If you don’t have plugins that are exclusively CUDA-based, the AMDs utterly trump the Nvidia lineup. The cache drive is of no use so that can be dropped. For a sample build, we can take elements from both Case #02 and #03, mix them up and come up with something that looks like this:

ComponentModelPriceAvailable at
CPUIntel Core i7 4790k @4.2GHzRs. 49,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper 212 Rs. 5000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
MotherboardGigabyte Z97X- Gaming 3Rs. 25,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
RAM16GB DDR3 1600MHzRs. 22,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies
Hard Disk Drive Team Ultra L5 120GB SSD (For OS and Software)Rs. 12,000/-Redline Technologies
Hard Disk Drive WD RE Enterprise 1TB (For Storage)Rs. 15,500/-Redline Technologies
Graphics CardSapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X OC 4GB GDDR5Rs. 64,000/-Redline Technologies
Power SupplyFSP Aurum S 600W 80+ GoldRs. 15,000/-Redline Technologies, E-Globe Solutions
CasingCooler Master CM690 IIIRs. 13,000/-Unity Plaza, Redline Technologies, Barclays
TotalRs. 220,500/-

Like it? Have something to add? We would love to hear from you.

*All prices listed are accurate as of the time of writing.  

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