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Vegas Pro 12, hardware advice. Give my old computer one last battle.

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Federico Dib
Vegas Pro 12, hardware advice. Give my old computer one last battle.
on May 13, 2016 at 9:25:02 pm

Hi. I'm a Vegas Pro 12 user.
I've been editing footage from a Panasonic GH2, a gopro and few other videos I get from time to time. Most of it on full HD.

I own very old computer (specs below), that get's the job done.... barely. It is on it's final days of editing, but I have to squeeze one more project out of it.

The problem is that rendering times are very slow, and preview playback will get choppy as soon as I start adding color correction plugins, denoiser, etc.
Iv'e always found workarounds these limitations, and since I don't have fast delivery deadlines, I can manage.

So far I've edited mostly for youtube, DVD and a few full HD. The longest video I've edited was an 18 minutes short film.

But this year I'm editing a feature movie project and I need to upgrade as much as I can afford to make the editing less troublesome.

Sadly I can't afford much. I can't buy a new computer, and budget is very limited. I might have around $300 to spend on this upgrade.

The video is going to be shot with the GH2 and a few GoPro's. I will be editing on Vegas Pro 12.

What should I buy to make the best of this limited budget?
I thought I'd upgrade my graphics cards and hard-drives. But I'm a bit lost on what to buy.
What should I do/buy?

My computer specs:
  • CPU: first generation I7.
  • 12GB of RAM
  • A very old and cheap Nvidia Card. (9400 GT I think)
    (I'm not at the editing computer right now, so I can't remember exact specs)
  • Hard Drives 1 - 1TB internal 1 - 2TB external 1 - 5TB external


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Wayne Waag
Re: Vegas Pro 12, hardware advice. Give my old computer one last battle.
on May 14, 2016 at 2:45:45 am

I would put most of your limited resources toward a video card.

Regarding hard drives, how are your external HDD's connected? If they are connected by eSata or USB 3.0, then they should be OK. If not, you can pick up an internal 1TB 7200 RPM drive for around $50.

The remainder should go toward a new card which should not only improve preview performance, but rendering times as well. What seems most often recommended is an AMD R9 card--ideally an R9-390, which unfortunately may be beyond your budget and also may require a new power supply. You might try to find an R9-290 (last year's model) on e-bay or if that's still too much, an R9-280 or even 270 series. Whichever you can afford, you should still see a vast improvement over your current Nvidia card.

Since it's just one last project, you might also consider simply using what you have. Use of proxies for under-powered systems can ease the editing burden. Once happy, you can then swap back to the original files and let it render overnight or even for a few days.


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Federico Dib
Re: Vegas Pro 12, hardware advice. Give my old computer one last battle.
on May 14, 2016 at 5:42:26 am

Thanks for the answer.
From what I gathered, that's what I thought. Better card,should be a priority.

The external hard drives are connected to usb3 ports. So that will be fine for now.
I have a 650W EVGA Gold PSU.

I'll check some of those cards prices, and do some testing with the proxy workflow.

Regarding the graphics card, I might be able to reallocate some budget and increase the amount a little bit, if (and only if) the card I get could be reused in a possible future build.

Maybe by the end of the year save enough and get a new CPU, motherboard and extra ram, reuse the rest and get a few more years of decent HD editing, and possibly some limited 4K workflow

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Aaron Star
Re: Vegas Pro 12, hardware advice. Give my old computer one last battle.
on May 14, 2016 at 7:17:07 pm

I would like to know more about what is under the hood of the old system. You can post a "Speccy" info file, or list the details from speccy. Mainly interested in the Motherboard make and chipset, as well as the memory details.

Here is an order of things I would look at:

Memory - Check that the installed memory is optimized for your chipset.

Running with 2 larger DIMMs with higher speed is better than fully populated, fully populated you lose the dual channel benefits normally.

Memory Frequency/Speed is important and can mean several more GB/s between the CPU and Memory controller. Use a tool like Speccy to determine the Motherboard chipset, then compare installed memory rating what is optimal for the chipset. "WinSAT mem" from the command line will give you a performance test to judge improvements.

Memory amount should be 16GB+ to allow windows cache to operate well. You will see Vegas not using much memory, but the system cache will be huge. It is always faster to pull from the 10GB/s+ RAM memory, than from .2-.5GB/s storage systems.

GPU - Old Gen1 i7 is PCIe 2.0 and not 3 so make sure your GPU slot is operating at peak interface speeds. A tool like GPU-Z will show you the interface speed of the GPU. Older Gen1-i7 boards would sometimes put the USB3 chip in competition with the GPU slot. Just make sure the GPU interfaces at 16x PCIe 2.0

GPU upgrade - you may need to hit Ebay for an optimized upgrade. The AMD 270X would be a good starting point, and stick with X series cards due to the amount of compute units those cards have over non X. GFLOP performance is the performance stat you want to optimize for the OpenCL aspects in Vegas. This is also closely tied to the System Memory speed, CPU, and PCIe interface speed, as you need to move large data quickly between the system and GPU.

Here is a list of good AMD models in order of Single Precision GFLOPs:

HD5770 -- 1360 GFLOPs
R9-270X -- 2688
HD6970 -- 2703
R9-280x -- 3481
HD7970 -- 4300
R9-290x -- 5632
R9-390x -- 5913
R9-FuryX -- 8600

At some point the core system will not keep up with the GPU, and so you will not see the GPU being used much. This is because the CPU has OpenCL compute devices, and they are all added into the mix. It is sort of like a fast kid and slow kid working math problems. At some point the fast kid will sitting and waiting for the next problem. This will look like the GPU is not doing much of the work.

Storage interfacing - USB 3 in fine, but there is more bandwidth, less system overhead, and lower latency with SATA drives with a fair amount of cache.

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Federico Dib
Re: Vegas Pro 12, hardware advice. Give my old computer one last battle.
on May 16, 2016 at 7:39:16 pm

Thanks for all that information. Some of that just went over my head.
I'll try to educate myself a little more on all these GPU details.

Meanwhile here are the detailed specs for my current build.

Intel Core i7 920 @ 2.67GHz 77 °C
Bloomfield 45nm Technology
12,0GB Triple-Channel DDR3 @ 533MHz (8-8-8-19)

Intel Corporation DX58SO (J1PR) 59 °C

Acer X203W (1680x1050@60Hz)
1024MB NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GT (XFX Pine Group) 78 °C

465GB Maxtor STM3500418AS ATA Device (SATA) 36 °C
4657GB Seagate Backup+ Desk USB Device (USB (SATA)) 37 °C
1863GB ADATA NH03 USB Device (USB (SATA)) 30 °C

I'll definitely have to buy at least one good internal HD, because the external ones are not 7200rpm.
(I could have sworn that the 2TB one has 7200rpm... oh well).

This I don't mind because I'll use this drive on a future build, and are not that expensive.

The GPU is another story. Because whatever I can afford now, could not be as "reusable" on a future build.

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