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Enough Hardware Specs

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Adhithya Ravishankar
Enough Hardware Specs
on Dec 21, 2012 at 4:41:41 am

So, I am trying to set up for a friend of mine a video capture studio. He wants to record via BMD's Intensity Pro and Ultrastudio Mini from 3 sources. So, these are the specs I have come up with for the computer that he would require:

Intel Core i7-3770 Quad Core
Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR3 RAM
ASUS Maximus V Extreme LGA 1155-Z77 Motherboard
Nvidia 4GB GTX670 Graphics Card
Sandisk 64GB SSD for OS/Programs
3 WD Velociraptor 10000 RPM 250GB
Windows 8 64-bit

Would this be enough specs for his video capturing needs? Or does he have a bottleneck somewhere. I don't think I need RAID because he doesn't need redundancy, because he will delete the videos after max 1 week. He would like to do HD but it isn't a necessity, so basically if he can do NTSC or PAL, that would be fine with him. My main worry is the hard drives: is 10K RPM okay or does he need SSDs.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Enough Hardware Specs
on Dec 21, 2012 at 6:32:13 am

[Adhithya Ravishankar] "He wants to record via BMD's Intensity Pro and Ultrastudio Mini from 3 sources."

Simultaneously? Using what software?

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Adhithya Ravishankar
Re: Enough Hardware Specs
on Dec 21, 2012 at 4:05:44 pm

Yes, simultaneously. I was thinking MediaExpress that Blackmagic provides. If one opens multiple instances, you can capture multiple streams. Not sure if there is anything else in Windows that can capture multiple streams like Premiere Pro, Avid, or some other capture software. I do know that there is software for Macs that allow multiple captures like Softron or Tools on Air. Not sure about anything similar for Windows.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Enough Hardware Specs
on Dec 21, 2012 at 11:20:41 pm

[Adhithya Ravishankar] "If one opens multiple instances, you can capture multiple streams."

Have you tried that? That'd be interesting if it's possible.

[Adhithya Ravishankar] "Not sure if there is anything else in Windows that can capture multiple streams like Premiere Pro, Avid, or some other capture software."

There were related discussions here on Cow and some other names were dropped, possibly something for Windows. None of the major editing software can capture multiple streams.


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Adhithya Ravishankar
Re: Enough Hardware Specs
on Dec 22, 2012 at 12:06:35 am

[Alex Gerulaitis] "Have you tried that? That'd be interesting if it's possible."

No, I have not tried that, since I have never played around with MediaExpress for multiple streams, but I have heard on one of the threads I saw while looking for info for this problem.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/124/874233

However, it is the hardware specs and not software that I am more worried about. Can today's computers handle 3 HD or even SD streams, without having to split it among multiple computers. I know the Macbook Pro can handle one HD stream, and I think the MacPro can handle multiple, but that was not for capture and storage. That was just for media processing, and outputting it. I feel that today's beefy systems can handle it but I want double confirmation from someone. If 32GB of RAM, 10000RPM hard drives, an Ivy-Bridge top of the line quad core, and the third-best graphics card one can get is not enough, I don't know what is then.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Enough Hardware Specs
on Dec 22, 2012 at 12:34:16 am

[Adhithya Ravishankar] "No, I have not tried that, since I have never played around with MediaExpress for multiple streams, but I have heard on one of the threads I saw while looking for info for this problem.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/124/874233"


Great info, thanks for the tip. Hope this still holds true today, two years later.

[Adhithya Ravishankar] "Can today's computers handle 3 HD or even SD streams, without having to split it among multiple computers."

For non-GOP codecs (uncompressed, intra-frame compression like ProRes, DNxHD, DVCProHD) - absolutely, and it's more a question of available storage bandwidth than computer power or amount of memory. An uncompressed 1080/30fps 4:2:2 8-bit stream is around 120MB/s, so a RAID0 with 3-4 decent dives will handle two streams easily, assuming the computer isn't choking on anything else.

I don't believe ME (Media Express) demands any significant amounts of memory - you may be able to capture multiple streams even with 4GB. Video capture and playback in general, unlike editing, don't demand a lot of memory and I don't remember ME having a large memory signature.

Two of my friends wrote custom software applications (not available stand-alone) to capture simultaneous streams using BMD hardware. One of them is slomo.tv. Don't think they are putting gobs of memory or CPU power in their systems.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Adhithya Ravishankar
Re: Enough Hardware Specs
on Dec 24, 2012 at 9:22:29 pm

[Alex Gerulaitis] "I don't believe ME (Media Express) demands any significant amounts of memory - you may be able to capture multiple streams even with 4GB. Video capture and playback in general, unlike editing, don't demand a lot of memory and I don't remember ME having a large memory signature."
I had actually looked at the required hardware specifications for the Decklink Quad, which handles 4 HD video streams and it required just 4GB of RAM, so you probably are right on that regard.


[Alex Gerulaitis] "(uncompressed, intra-frame compression like ProRes, DNxHD, DVCProHD)"
Are those codecs offered on the Windows version of Blackmagic MediaExpress? I know ProRes isn't because it's Apple's, but what about DNxHD or DVCProHD? And, do you know how good MJPEG is, because that's the one I hear most about?


[Alex Gerulaitis] "so a RAID0 with 3-4 decent dives will handle two streams easily, assuming the computer isn't choking on anything else."
I think so too, and thanks for your double confirmation. I hope that the i7 won't choke on handling it. It should be able to handle 8 threads on the 4 cores, so if MediaExpress is max 3 threads for each instance and the video itself is a thread, then that leaves 1 core to handle anything else.

Also, I will be changing from the Western Digital Velociraptor 10K RPM hard drives at 250GB to the 7200RPM 1TB Barracuda from Seagate. There's only a 10MB/s drop according to some benchmarks, a $10 decrease in price, and 4x the space.


Thanks for your help. I hope that this will be enough for my friend.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Enough Hardware Specs
on Dec 27, 2012 at 3:57:58 am

[Adhithya Ravishankar] "Are those codecs offered on the Windows version of Blackmagic MediaExpress?"

They aren't. MJPEG, uncompressed AVI, DPX.

[Adhithya Ravishankar] " And, do you know how good MJPEG is, because that's the one I hear most about?"

It's an OK codec, the main benefit is that it's royalty free, I think, and thus used by Library of Congress for archiving (I think).

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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