Advice re new PC for next 4 years?

PeterWright wrote on 11/24/2015, 5:40 AM
I am in the market for a new PC. Just the tower - I have the monitors and external sound card.
Although I am not outputting 4k at this stage, I am shooting some 4k on second cameras and using this to zoom in for 1080p output.

Bearing in mind the increased role of GPUs in playback and rendering, I’m very interested in hearing you guys' opinions on the relative importance of things like –

How many Cores
What speed CPU
What speed and memory for GPU
How much RAM
What power supply
Any other issues …

I do make videos for a living, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I need to pay big money for the very latest components, unless doing so makes a big difference to my editing experience. I'd be happy to pay around A$5,000, but that's only US$3550 at current rates!

By the way, is there a list of “recommended hardware” on this SCS site? I’ve had a look without finding anything.

Looking forward to hearing some advice and experiences …….

Comments

ushere wrote on 11/24/2015, 6:12 AM
i'd be a bit wary at the moment... a. whilst vegas requires something like an r9 3xx to get some umph, most other nle's work more efficiently (and cost effectively) with nvida. b. 4 years is a long time in terms of vegas's future. catalyst works better with nvidia (so i gather?)

finally, i've read that intels new desktop chip line for early next year boasts quite some umph as well.
Steve Grisetti wrote on 11/24/2015, 7:50 AM
I don't think you can buy for the future, when it comes to technology. Whatever computer system you buy will be selling for half that price in a year and will be old history in four years.

That's why I refuse to spend more than $700-800 on a computer. I can live with a computer losing $400 of its value in its first year. But I don't know if I could live with a computer losing $1500 of its value in one year!

Fortunately you don't have to buy for the future if you're just shooting 1080p -- or even 4K. Any processor rating over 6500 on this chart should be able to handle it. And anything over 10,000 is certainly more than enough power to make you the envy of your friends.
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

You'll also find links on this page to ratings for GPUs, by the way.
JohnnyRoy wrote on 11/24/2015, 8:08 AM
> "Although I am not outputting 4k at this stage, I am shooting some 4k on second cameras and using this to zoom in for 1080p output."

No one can predict what you will need 4 years from now.

Will you be editing 8K?, 16K?, who knows??? (you probably weren't shooting 4K just 2 years ago) What software will you be using 4 years from now? Vegas Pro? Catalyst Edit? ??? Will you be using Windows 128-bit OS? Who knows? (nobody... that's who)

There is only one answer to buying a PC for the next 4 years and that is to pay too much money for the latest technology today which should still be adequate 4 years from now. I know... I did this. I bought one of the first Core 2 Quad CPUs back in the day. I paid $1,000 for the CPU alone. 4 years later it was significantly slower than the current batch of Core i7 Quads that people were paying $400 for but I was still getting by with it. The only way to buy something that will last is to buy the bleeding edge today so that it to be still worth something tomorrow. I don't recommend it.

The best advice I can give is to just get something that is better than what you have today. Buy last year's technology and upgrade sooner. That way you will pay a reasonable price, and always have almost the latest technology. That's about all you can do. Just upgrade what you have to something better and don't angst over it.

> "By the way, is there a list of “recommended hardware” on this SCS site? I’ve had a look without finding anything."

Sony use to recommended systems a long time ago but customers balked that they were too expensive so they don't anymore. Here is what they currently list for editing 4K with Vegas Pro:

CPU: 8 cores recommended for 4K
Memory: 16 GB recommended for 4K
Storage: Solid-state disk (SSD) or high-speed multi-disk RAID for 4K media

So if you're thinking of buying another Quad Core and using it to edit 4K in 4 years from now... maybe not a good idea.

I'm currently editing on a 5 year old Mac Pro. Here are the specs:

2010 Mac Pro:
Cores: 12-Core (Dual 6-Core Xeon 2.93GHz)
Memory: 24GB ECC Error Correcting (2GB per core, tripple channel)
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition 3GB of GDDR5 memory, PCI Express 3.0
Storage 1: (Boot) RAID 0 OWC Mercury Accelsior E2 PCI Express SSD (650/580MB/s Read/Write)
Storage 2: (Media) 2TB WD Black
Storage 3: (Video) 6TB Hardware Apple RAID 5 (3 x 2TB WD Black)

That Mac Pro cost about $7,000 USD back in 2010 (without the modern SSD that I added). I picked it up on eBay late last year for $2,275 USD. It's a killer machine that has plenty of life left in it! So you certainly can buy a computer that will still be powerful 4 years from now, but you would have to pay top dollar now.

I sold my 2 year old 6-core PC to buy the 12-core Mac Pro so I would consider 6-cores the bare minimum and 8-cores to be a comfortable choice going forward. Memory in GB should be at least 2x the number of cores. Watch if your motherboard uses dual channel or triple channel memory. My Mac Pro uses triple channel if you install 3 pairs but reverts back to dual channel if you install 2 or 4 pairs. I did the benchmarks and it ran faster with 24GB of memory than 32GB so the number of memory channels does affect performance. That's why I dropped it back to 24GB. The next triple channel choice for me would be 48GB.

As for GPU's, AMD Radeon R9 295x is a very good choice for Vegas Pro or any OpenCL application. You can try the R9 3xxx series if you really want to future-proof your selection.

Good luck in your choices.

~jr
Chienworks wrote on 11/24/2015, 9:04 AM
"I don't think you can buy for the future, when it comes to technology. Whatever computer system you buy will be selling for half that price in a year and will be old history in four years.

People used to ask me daily "what computer can i buy that won't be obsolete in 5 years?" I'd always respond, "You can't. Anything you buy is already obsolete by the time the manufacturer puts it in the box." This is still very true today, although now that i think about it, no one has asked me that question in about 10 years. The best you can do is buy something that is a good balance between what you can afford and what will serve you sufficiently well for the next few years.

Like Steve, i tend to go cheaper, but i do it by delaying the purchase. I buy last year's top of the line motherboard & CPU at about 1/3 of what people paid for it when it was new. It's certainly no slower now than it was a year ago, and it's usually around 5 or 6 times faster than 4 year old system i'm replacing. At this rate my hardware upgrades end up costing me about $150 per year, which is darned cheap for what i get out of the beasts.

Last week i loaded an hour of 29.97 1080i into Vegas on a dual-core Pentium4 at 2.36MHz. The graphics in that system are the plain vanilla VGA onboard that came with the system, no GPU acceleration. I've got 2.5GB RAM, but since it's XP 32 bit Vegas could only see a max of 2GB of that. I made cuts down to 43 minutes, crops, added titles, synced up external audio, rendered to 480i MPEG2 and AC3, and used DVDA to burn a DVD. I also rendered a 1080i MP4 file for online viewing. It took maybe half an hour to do all the editing, 4 hours to render the DVD files, and 8 hours to render the MP4 file. The renders went overnight or while i was at work so i wasn't concerned about how long they took. Did i get real-time preview? Not quite. Before cropping i was getting about 24fps in preview. Those scenes i cropped dropped to about 15. Crossfades dropped to about 12. Certainly good enough to get a feel for what was going on. For the few times i needed 29.97 preview to sync the external audio i did a RAM prerender of the necessary section which took a few seconds.

This is an 8 year old system, successfully editing and rendering HD. Would something newer have gotten the job done faster? Sure, but maybe not enough to matter unless you're working under a deadline. Would it have given a better result? Nope.
OldSmoke wrote on 11/24/2015, 9:38 AM
@Peter

Here is what I would be building:

CPU: 5930K
Cooler: H80i or better depending on your PC case
RAM: 16GB min.
GPU: R9 390X
Power Supply: 850W-1000W

Assuming you are not changing your drives and case, this should cost around AUD2-2.5K. My preferred brands are Asus for GPU and MB, Gskill RAM, Corsair cooler and power supply. You have room in your budget to add a M.2 SSD as your system drive. With the water cooler you can OC the CPU to 4.5GHz for a 24/7 operation and that will help with your occasional 4K work.

Proud owner of Sony Vegas Pro 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 and now Magix VP15&16.

System Spec.:
Motherboard: ASUS X299 Prime-A

Ram: G.Skill 4x8GB DDR4 2666 XMP

CPU: i7-9800x @ 4.6GHz (custom water cooling system)
GPU: 1x AMD Vega Pro Frontier Edition (water cooled)
Hard drives: System Samsung 970Pro NVME, AV-Projects 1TB (4x Intel P7600 512GB VROC), 4x 2.5" Hotswap bays, 1x 3.5" Hotswap Bay, 1x LG BluRay Burner

PSU: Corsair 1200W
Monitor: 2x Dell Ultrasharp U2713HM (2560x1440)

astar wrote on 11/24/2015, 2:30 PM
What Oldsmoke lists is a good choice, I would god with 32GB+ of RAM over 16GB.

GPU is a hard call at the moment what with the changes coming down the road for Vegas and Catalyst Edit. Multi GPU may be supported in the future with Catalyst Edit, but it is not supported with Vegas13. So getting a single GPU with the highest compute performance (GFLOPS) will help the most with Vegas 13.

Multi-GPU cards like the 7990 & 295X are huge GFLOP performers on paper, but in Vegas 13 you only get the performance of 1 of the GPUs. This is still not all bad, since you can utilize the other half for display only, and one for compute in Vegas. Applications like Resolve handle both GPUs for compute. This is something that we all hoped an update to Vegas would allow, but not that seems more like something Catalyst will support.

I would not over think you storage requirements. If you are trying to do multicam work then IO on your storage should be looked at. Either spreading camera angles across multiple drives or getting a good PCIe SSD setup. Do not over look the advantages of NVME support, as it offers massive IO improvements. Most HD codecs are only 200Mb/s or less, that means most are only 3-30MB/s. XAVC-I is only 100-800Mbs depending on the level you are working at, that still is only 12-100MB/s in the range of spinning media. Most of the action in Vegas happens in the CPU, RAM, and GPU.

RAM amount is important, and while 32-64GB may seem excessive, Windows does a great job of using extra memory for cache. Accessing information from cache memory exceeds even PCIe SSD access speeds.

SATA6 crossing DMI 2.0 = 1.5GB/s
SSD PCIe 8x = 6.5GB/s
DDR3 memory is 15GB/s+

Here is 12 core XEON configuration - which is why the x99 board is so attractive, it is almost a XEON class setup. Xeons connect with QPI vs DMI, and QPI is as fast as DMI3.0 on skylake. There are a lot of little advantages in Xeon like that, which is why you pay a premium for it.

http://www.asus.com/us/Commercial-Servers-Workstations/ESC2000_G2/specifications/

+

32-64GB of RAM - keep in mind the 4 channel configuration.

+

http://www.asus.com/us/Commercial-Servers-Workstations/ESC2000_G2/specifications/

+

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=fury+x&N=-1&isNodeId=1

You could also look at FirePro cards, but the top W9100 at the moment is inline with the 290X/390X plus pro futures. Waiting on the next generation of Firepro based on the FuryX chips would be the best bet right now.

AMD has the lead right now in GFLOP performance and OpenCL support. OpenCL is supported by Vegas, Catalyst, and Resolve. Apps like Premier rely on CUDA which is NV only.


JohnnyRoy wrote on 11/24/2015, 4:15 PM
> "Apps like Premier rely on CUDA which is NV only."

This is no longer true. The only component that "requires" CUDA is raytracing in After Effects. Premiere Pro actually performs better with AMD cards now than NVIDIA.

Here is one such test:

OpenCL vs Cuda Adobe Premiere CC rendering test

This was their verdict:

"Real time playback of the timeline in full resolution from both cards was virtually identical so it’s a tie in that department. While the Radeon Sapphire R9-290x 4GB did win the rendering test by 6 seconds, I would also call the rendering test an overall tie. What the results of this little experiment really mean for me is that i’m no longer tied strictly to Nvidia for GPU upgrades with Premiere Pro CC. Adobe seems to really be improving their support for OpenCL and it’s come along ways over the past few years. At this point you can choose the GPU you want and expect very comparable performance in Adobe CC."

IMHO, there is no reason to buy an NVIDIA card.

~jr
TheHappyFriar wrote on 11/24/2015, 7:40 PM
I like to buy what was "the best" a year or two ago. it's cheap and is pretty darn fast. The PC I built in 2008 lasted until ~2 months ago. The only changes I did was upgrade from XP to 8.1, add an extra DVD+RW & update the GPU. Odds are I won't replace this one for another 7 years and will again have no complaints. In 2008 I spent ~$1200 for everything. This time I spent ~$500 on a new CPU, MB, RAM, PSU, & 2 new HD's. Put it in the old box.
ushere wrote on 11/24/2015, 8:44 PM
@ jr - how are you finding the amd drivers? my last (admitted quite some time ago) experience was lest than satisfactory. gave the card away.

in general i agree with thf above - being on the cutting edge simply costs too much and doesn't generally give me a good return on investment. i prefer to buy pc hardware conservatively and spend what i save on improving acquisition.
JohnnyRoy wrote on 11/24/2015, 11:07 PM
> "jr - how are you finding the amd drivers? my last (admitted quite some time ago) experience was lest than satisfactory. gave the card away. "

They are better than they use to be. I had installed several versions to see which performed better so I installed and reinstalled several times and everything seemed OK.

~jr
PeterWright wrote on 11/25/2015, 3:25 AM
Thanks very much guys - lots of info there to sift through!

My "next 4 years" was based on how long since my last new PC - I know they soon become "old", but you can't keep putting it off. Something like "last year's best" sounds a fair place to start - I'll let you know what I decide in due course ....

Peter
PeterWright wrote on 1/23/2016, 10:20 PM
Following up this thread - my new PC is being built - delivery in about a week. Here is the spec:

Case: Thermaltake Versa HY21, with Tough Power 850W
MB: Gigabyte GA-X99-SLI
CPU: Intel Xeon E5-2620V3 / 2.4Ghz 6 core
RAM: 32Gb = 2 x Kingston 16 Gb 2133MHz DDR ECC
GPU: AMD R9 FuryX 4 Gb
System Drive: Samsung 950 Pro (2500 MB/s) 512Gb
Second Drive: Seafate Barracuda 7200 RPM 2 Gb

If someone would let me know what the current Render Test is, I'll download it ready to see how we go.
PixelStuff wrote on 1/24/2016, 12:25 AM
Peter,

Those specs look pretty good except for the 2 sticks of ram on a motherboard that supports quad channel memory. Are you trying to save money now, with plans to add another 2 sticks later, or was that an oversight?

Also not sure, at first glance, if that motherboard supports ECC ram at all. Did you confirm that?

The motherboard also seems to only support DDR4 memory, but I couldn't tell from your specs exactly what you were planning to use. In the Qualified memory list they do list a Kingston KVR21R15D4/16 (which is RDIMM DDR4). Is that what you were getting two of? If so, then it should work fine, but you won't have quad channel bandwidth with just 2 sticks.
PeterWright wrote on 1/24/2016, 6:21 AM
Thanks PixelStuff,

Yes, it is two x Kingston KVR21R15D4/16 that I'm currently getting - the guy doing the building selected those, but I'll pass your comments on quad channel bandwidth on to him tomorrow.

Peter
PeterWright wrote on 1/25/2016, 11:57 PM
I originally asked for 32 Gb of RAM, and the builder now realises he should have gone for 4 x 8 Gb, but he has already received the 2 x 16 Gb sticks, so I've said get two more!

I doubt I'll need 64 Gb of RAM, but it'll be interesting to see how she runs.
Sobering to think I used to create 16 tracks of midi music on my Atari 1040 STe with 1 Mb of RAM - 1/64,000 the size of this one!
Stringer wrote on 1/26/2016, 6:23 PM
@ If someone would let me know what the current Render Test is, I'll download it ready to see how we go.

The benchmark database for the Sony Press Project is here. ( ... not being updated anymore ) http://www.hyperactivemusic.com/vegaspro/vegaspro.html

And the benchmark files link, found on that page are here:

I think OldSmoke may still have a 4k version that he put together.
OldSmoke wrote on 1/26/2016, 6:45 PM
@Peter

What was the reason you opted for the rather slow Xeon? A 5820K would have been better in my opinion.

Proud owner of Sony Vegas Pro 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 and now Magix VP15&16.

System Spec.:
Motherboard: ASUS X299 Prime-A

Ram: G.Skill 4x8GB DDR4 2666 XMP

CPU: i7-9800x @ 4.6GHz (custom water cooling system)
GPU: 1x AMD Vega Pro Frontier Edition (water cooled)
Hard drives: System Samsung 970Pro NVME, AV-Projects 1TB (4x Intel P7600 512GB VROC), 4x 2.5" Hotswap bays, 1x 3.5" Hotswap Bay, 1x LG BluRay Burner

PSU: Corsair 1200W
Monitor: 2x Dell Ultrasharp U2713HM (2560x1440)

BruceUSA wrote on 1/27/2016, 11:20 AM
I guessed, he is happy with just 2.4ghz 6 cores. But I would rather choose a 4.5ghz 6 cores i7 instead of a low speed Xeon chip. Just my .2 cents.

Intel i7 12700k @5.2Ghz Turbo boost @5.4Ghz                                            

MSI Z690 MPG Edge DDR5 Wifi                                                     

TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta RGB 32GB DDR5 -6200                     

Samsung 980 Pro x4 Nvme .M2 1tb Pcie Gen 4                                     

ASRock RX 6900XT Phantom 16GB                                                        

PSU Eva Supernova G2 1300w                                                     

Black Ice GTX 480mm radiator top mount push/pull                    

MCP35X dual pump w/ dual pump housing.                                

Corsair RGB water block. RGB Fan thru out                           

Phanteks Enthoo full tower

Windows 11 Pro

PeterWright wrote on 1/27/2016, 6:17 PM
Old Smoke and Bruce USA

You may well be right - I can't remember the exact thinking process that led to the 2.4 Ghz, but it's almost built now so I'll see how it goes.

Would you know if, later I can swap to a faster CPU on the same motherboard )Gigabyte GA X99 - SLI)?
OldSmoke wrote on 1/27/2016, 6:37 PM
Yes, you can; all the way to 5960X. Let us know how well the Xeon does by runing the SCS Benchmark.
To me a Xeon only makes sence if you go for the 10-core or higher and at least 3GHz, but can get costly, and ECC memeory which your board doesnt support or does it?

Proud owner of Sony Vegas Pro 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 and now Magix VP15&16.

System Spec.:
Motherboard: ASUS X299 Prime-A

Ram: G.Skill 4x8GB DDR4 2666 XMP

CPU: i7-9800x @ 4.6GHz (custom water cooling system)
GPU: 1x AMD Vega Pro Frontier Edition (water cooled)
Hard drives: System Samsung 970Pro NVME, AV-Projects 1TB (4x Intel P7600 512GB VROC), 4x 2.5" Hotswap bays, 1x 3.5" Hotswap Bay, 1x LG BluRay Burner

PSU: Corsair 1200W
Monitor: 2x Dell Ultrasharp U2713HM (2560x1440)

PeterWright wrote on 1/27/2016, 7:12 PM
Yes it does support ECC.
OldSmoke wrote on 1/27/2016, 7:20 PM
Yes it does support ECC.

I doubt that; it would be mentioned in the manual and it isn't.

Proud owner of Sony Vegas Pro 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 and now Magix VP15&16.

System Spec.:
Motherboard: ASUS X299 Prime-A

Ram: G.Skill 4x8GB DDR4 2666 XMP

CPU: i7-9800x @ 4.6GHz (custom water cooling system)
GPU: 1x AMD Vega Pro Frontier Edition (water cooled)
Hard drives: System Samsung 970Pro NVME, AV-Projects 1TB (4x Intel P7600 512GB VROC), 4x 2.5" Hotswap bays, 1x 3.5" Hotswap Bay, 1x LG BluRay Burner

PSU: Corsair 1200W
Monitor: 2x Dell Ultrasharp U2713HM (2560x1440)

PeterWright wrote on 1/27/2016, 8:34 PM
Pixel Stuff posted above:

In the Qualified memory list they do list a Kingston KVR21R15D4/16 (which is RDIMM DDR4)

This is the memory I'm getting, and in the supplier's spec it's listed as ECC.
OldSmoke wrote on 1/27/2016, 8:51 PM
This is what I found in the manual:

Support for DDR4 3333(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2133 MHz memory modules
Support for non-ECC memory modules
Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
Support for RDIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx4/2Rx4 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)

While you may be able to use ECC modules, the motherboard will not take advantage of it. Usually only high end workstation boards and server boards do fully support ECC.

Proud owner of Sony Vegas Pro 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 and now Magix VP15&16.

System Spec.:
Motherboard: ASUS X299 Prime-A

Ram: G.Skill 4x8GB DDR4 2666 XMP

CPU: i7-9800x @ 4.6GHz (custom water cooling system)
GPU: 1x AMD Vega Pro Frontier Edition (water cooled)
Hard drives: System Samsung 970Pro NVME, AV-Projects 1TB (4x Intel P7600 512GB VROC), 4x 2.5" Hotswap bays, 1x 3.5" Hotswap Bay, 1x LG BluRay Burner

PSU: Corsair 1200W
Monitor: 2x Dell Ultrasharp U2713HM (2560x1440)