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Recommendations for new PC buildout?

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Leslie Simmons
Recommendations for new PC buildout?
on Sep 15, 2016 at 2:07:30 pm

I am looking to purchase two new desktops and one laptop for Media Composer editing. Believe it or not, our desktops (which we got through Core Microsystems) are nearly 5 years old. They are still chugging, but slowly!

I'm looking to be able to meet our current project demands and take us out the next 2-3 years in terms of technology.

Our workflow:
- We work with footage from Sony F55, Sony FS5, Canon 5D -- usually using AMA for the first two and we usually transcode 5D and drone footage
- We work using simple external hard drives (USB 3.0) so we can easily transfer projects between systems

We DO want to move into 4K editing with our Sony F55. Raw if possible.

Would love to keep it under $5k each system, including 2 monitors per system. Any suggestions on vendors? Must-haves in terms of RAM, processor, etc.? I realize I can look at Avid specs but I'm just wondering if anyone has tips from personal experience. Thank you!

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Bill Ravens
Re: Recommendations for new PC buildout?
on Sep 15, 2016 at 3:01:43 pm

I'm shooting with an F5; and, editing in Media Composer and Davinci Resolve. I can offer a few of my own observations and experiences, after a new build over a year ago.

For editing 4K content, all my media drives are Samsung Evo 850, 1 Tb drives. They perform exceptionally well as single drives, or even better as dual RAID 0 systems. Software RAID is adequate, I haven't found hardware RAID to be any faster. I am committed to Thunderbolt II. USB3.0 has not shown me to be fast enough. A lot of the issue is with 3rd party drive harware that limits thrupu to less than full USB3 specs. Thunderbolt doesn't seem to have this problem. Thunderbolt 3 systems are just beginning to hit the market. I would focus on Tbolt 3, altho'. Tbolt 2 has been very adequate for me.

I've used both Macbook Pro and Asus PC based systems. Because of the limitation of a single video card in the Macbook Pro, I've found it to be inadequate for 4K production. I built up a Tbolt 2 PC system; and, have been generally pretty happy. The initial build used an nVidia Quadro 4200 GPU, for compatibility with Media Composer. The Quadro 4200's biggest advantage is that it gives me 10-bit display and activates the Full color space on my HP24xx display. Subsequently, I installed a second nVidia GTX 1070 GPU for Davinci Resolve support. This configuration has more than doubled my thruput renders in Resolve and Premiere. Media Composer remains unchanged, since it can only use one GPU.

One more note....there is a Kickstarter offering for a Tbolt PCIe add-on card that will utilize a GPU. The offering will come with a GTX1060 GPU. From what I've read, the optimized GPU level is 3 GPU's. Adding more will not significantly improve video processing. This hardware will upgrade the Macbook Pro to a second GPU, as well as providing 3 GPU capability for my PC workstation.

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