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Floyd Fernandez
the best computer
on Oct 10, 2010 at 4:18:58 am

I would like to know what is the best computer system to run CS5. I know price is always a factor so I have squirreled away 3,000. I know little about computers so any info or a place to go to get preconfigured computers would be great. I do a lot of work on the go so maybe a laptop would be good for my type of video but I can work with desktop.


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Joshua Klinkenberger
Re: the best computer
on Oct 13, 2010 at 8:57:01 pm

(Not sure if this was best posted in field production)

Obviously you would get much more bang-for-your-buck with a desktop and if your looking to do some high end graphics or anything of the sort - you'll definitely want to invest in the desktop.

If you only plan to do up to 1080p editing say in premiere and some more basic graphics, I think you can get a decent laptop for $3K. I do think a laptop is a good choice for production ESPECIALLY with the adobe suite. Adobe Story and OnLocation are great programs and integrate very nicely with all the adobe production programs. Having a laptop to bring those programs into the field can be very handy. Normally I recommend building a PC from scratch as it can be up to 50% cost effective (so you could imagine getting a $6000 desktop with your 3 grand). In fact I built a $21,000 dell-equivalent computer for only about $8,500 and it had several better components and a hell of a lot more upgrade capability. The downside? Any problems need to be worked out yourself (or for me; go to the IT dept.), any faulty components need to be individually dealt with through the respective manufacturer, and you need to take the time to learn a lot about computers. For me, learning about computers and building it was a lot of fun and very rewarding rewarding (although I did have the support of IT when needed). I actually took that knowledge and build myself a $3,000+ computer at home for about $1,200 but that required a lot of deal-searching and cyber-Monday shopping!

For laptops, I would recommend the dell studio XPS as they have really nice 1080p screens. They have a bit of glare to them, but they offer multi-touch capabilities. When using it in the field, which I haven't done yet, I would imagine it's nice to touch the screen for quick changes and such. Another field program I use is the Canon software to configure user settings on the DSLRs. You can't really build your own laptop from scratch so finding a brand is a must. Dell also offers very powerful high end workstation laptops as well, but they're borderline laptops... I've seen some and they're huge! The can take well over 64GB of memory, have full-size keyboards (number-pad on the right) built in, and with large displays.

Dell also has a 'rugged-PC'. I actually saw this at an air show where they had all kinds of marine gear laid out. I'm not sure how powerfully they can be equipped but that could be useful for the extreme (or literal) guerrilla filmmaker.

Ok - so I think i started to carry on there... I apologize. If you want to build your own desk top, I can help you out, or at least guide you to some really good recourses.

Last word of advice, make sure you get a video card from the Quadro series. I have two of these monsters running and yes After Effects, rendering, and all that jazz works wonders with them, but what is really amazing is the mercury engine in Premiere Pro. I wanted to cry when I first used Premiere CS5 with one of these cards. Look into the mercury engine at adobe.com. This revolutionary rendering engine allows even low-end workstations to edit seamlessly without ever having to render (or at least rarely). Add in Adobe's Dynamic link with after effects and your editing workflow will be very fast. Use Story, OnLocation, and some of the other Adobe programs and your production workflow will be guaranteed to not be bottlenecked by software.


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Floyd Fernandez
Re: the best computer
on Oct 14, 2010 at 4:38:54 am

Wow, thanks for responding. I am just getting my feet wet. So, all the help I can get is welcomed. I am the one man band on my shoots, so I am always on the move and doing my edits in any little space I can fit. Right now I have Cs3 master suite a little over kill but it does what I need to so far. It all runs on a Dell studio 1555 and I do my capturing on onlocation. I get a good 2 hour run time on it before I need to plug in. Next buy is a bigger laptop battery! I shoot with a HDR-FX1 I like to edit in 1080i. With some of the things I have seen on the demos CS5 is what I want to be doing. So I would like to stay portable if it is ok to do so, but if it takes a desktop to do those wonderful things than a desktop is what I\'ll get. Do the Dell laptops have the kind of graphics card to use the mercury play back system?


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Joshua Klinkenberger
Re: the best computer
on Oct 14, 2010 at 1:22:16 pm

Do the Dell laptops have the kind of graphics card to use the mercury play back system?

I was thinking the same thing. It looks like only the Mobile Workstations support the mobile Quadro cards. Check with adobe's site to see which cards specifically are supported then try configuring a laptop. You will pay a lot with dell but you'll also get a their warranty and support.

There are two types mobile workstations, one of which is more portable and cost effective but also more limited in it's options. The larger one can come stalked with lots of memory, powerful processor and much more, but most importantly, it has lots of mobile graphic card options. If you decide to buy, I would put it together over the phone and ask them to help you bring the price down after you build it. When I got my XPS studio laptop I was going to get it at best buy because of the coupons I had or something but when I mentioned this while asking about some other things on the phone with dell, he said that he can help me get it lower so that I buy right from them instead. Obviously we didn't change the build or anything, he just found discounts that my purchase was eligible for. Saved a ton. They can also make sure you have all compatible components too (like 64-bit OS if you have 4+ GB of memory).

I use the master suite as well since it has everything you'll need and the integration between adobe programs is unparalleled. Like using photoshop with dreamweaver, or photoshop and illustrator with after-effects and after effects with premiere and premeire/AE/photoshop with enocore, story with onlocation/premiere, and so on!


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Joshua Klinkenberger
Re: the best computer
on Oct 14, 2010 at 1:23:50 pm

Ah - also I've seen some dell flyer-ads in my mail and they have some pretty good discount codes on them (unfortunately none recently) that I think would apply to any purchase (even the mobile workstations). These discounts may be what they find for you over the phone, but if not, then it may be additional savings!


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Evan Oswald
Re: the best computer
on Oct 19, 2010 at 1:02:38 pm

You should be aware that Premiere CS5 and After Effects CS5 both require a 64bit processor which eliminates quite a few options. CS5 master collection does ship with Premiere CS4 and After Effects CS4 if you are running a 32 bit system, but you will get better why waste your money to do that.


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