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Seeking info on potential new workstation

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Lon WaitmanSeeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 27, 2013 at 5:00:17 am

Hi,

I hope this is an OK place to ask this question (I asked this in the Premiere forum too, but would really like to get some input from AE users as well). I am considering getting the new Dell T7610 workstation. Any thoughts, insights, suggestions? (I do not want to build my own system) I spend a lot of time in AE and Premiere CS6. I often have four or five applications open at once (Photoshop, Fireworks, AE, Premiere, Bridge, Particle Illusion, Poser, etc) Here are some of the specs for my potentially new system:

--Dual Intel Xeon Processor E5-2650 v2 (Eight Core HT, 2.6GHz Turbo, 20 MB)
--64 GB (16x4GB) 1866MHz DDR3 ECC RDIMM
--4GB NVIDIA Quadro K5000
--4 2TB internal 7200 RPM HDD's (Including boot drive) They offer a 256GB SSD boot drive, but not sure how that would be significantly better, except for boot speed)
--Win 7 Pro 64bit

Thanks.

PS: Or if not that, then the HP Z820...



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Alex GerulaitisRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 27, 2013 at 8:43:33 am

Looks like a fairly well balanced system - except you do want an SSD - if not for the boot drive - then for AE GPC (Global Performance Cache) - which seriously speeds up things in AE.

Also, how will those 4TB drives be configured?


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Todd KoprivaRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 27, 2013 at 3:59:57 pm

Listen to Alex about the SSD for your disk cache.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
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Lon WaitmanRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 27, 2013 at 5:16:31 pm

Thanks, Todd! I really appreciate it.



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Lon WaitmanRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 27, 2013 at 5:15:59 pm

Hey Alex,

Thank you so much for the quick, helpful comment. The internal drives are not presently set up as a RAID or anything like that. I have never done RAID before and don't really understand that, or it's benefits vs maintenance/complexity.

Lon



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Alex GerulaitisRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 27, 2013 at 9:58:28 pm

RAID is very simple to set up and you can have Dell pre-configure it for you, or simply call me when you get the system so I could walk you through it.

RAID is basically arranging several drives so that they appear as one, with the benefits of faster speeds, larger capacity and possibly (with RAID levels other than 0) - resistance to drive failures.

If you can tolerate rare downtime and data loss caused by a dead drive - which assumes you either do regular backups and/or have a copy of that data somewhere else - then RAID0 is fine.

-- Alex Gerulaitis | Systems Engineer | DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Lon WaitmanRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 30, 2013 at 10:27:09 pm

Thanks, Alex. I really appreciate the info. So, can you or anyone tell me which RAID is best? (I guess I didn't quite understand what you were saying about RAID 0)



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Alex GerulaitisRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 30, 2013 at 11:13:02 pm

Standard RAID levels (Wikipedia)

Best RAID level is the one that best suits your needs... :) My personal favorite is RAID6 on 8+ drives with a good controller and SSD caching - implementing something like that usually costs upward of $2K for a good RAID controller, storage chassis, etc. - not including drives.

T7610 includes a very basic RAID controller (Intel RST) that supports RAID0, 1, 5. Its RAID5 performance is neither fast nor reliable so use with caution. It also has an on-board SAS controller that supports RAID0, 1 and 10.

If you describe a bit more what kind of projects you do, what are your storage needs - then perhaps one of the resident Cows will chime in with suggestions. Or you could hire one of the resident Cows to help you make the right decision with your storage configuration.


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Lon WaitmanRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 30, 2013 at 11:44:11 pm

Hey Alex,

I create a lot of short videos using AE and Premiere (this past year, I created hundreds of short videos, both HD [720p] and SD). Mostly motion graphics, plus a little low-end animation on programs like Poser and View Infinite. I also use Fireworks and Photoshop a good bit to create/edit graphics for my vids. I don't usually shoot anything. I use a lot of stock images, video and music.

In case this is helpful info, I also have a number of plugins that I use in AE, including Element 3D and Trapcode Particular. My current system is a Dell Precision T7400 with 20GB of RAM. I often get choppy playback in Premiere.

Currently, my system has five internal HD's (4 1TB 7200) and a smaller 7200 rpm HD for the OS drive, and this system is pretty maxed out as far as storage room. No raid, no SSD drives. I also have a number external drives that I back-up to.

Hope that was helpful. Thanks so much for any further info you can give me.

Lon



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Alex GerulaitisRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 31, 2013 at 12:27:13 am

What is the graphics card in the T7400?

Adobe CS version?

When you're done with a project, do you offload / archive the source files or keep it all on the internal drives?

Two options. One, you could try to update / tune your existing system to eliminate that choppy playback problem, and perhaps upgrade your graphics card and media drives. Two, just get a new one, configure it properly. With a limited budget, I'd recommend looking at (1) first.

Ideally you'd want to zero in what's causing that choppy playback, regardless of how you proceed. Perhaps it's something simple that's easy to fix - then you can extend the lifetime of your existing system. If the drives are full, consider doing a full backup, replacing the drives with larger capacity, configuring them as RAID, restoring the data. Another option is getting an external archival storage (e.g. a bunch of USB 3.0 or eSATA drives) to free up the space on your internal ones.

How to zero in on the problem: run Windows Task Manager and Resource Monitor, and look at CPU, memory, hard disk activity during that choppy playback. Whatever is maximized (hitting the performance ceiling) is what likely needs attention. Look also at Pr settings, play with playback resolution and other settings. If you're not sure how to do it, you can hire me or someone else to do it for you.


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Lon WaitmanRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 31, 2013 at 6:31:33 pm

thanks so much for the help! i will consider carefully everything you have said. one last question for you or anyone -- the dell guy is saying that if i do an ssd boot drive (2.5 inches), that i have to do all ssd drives in the system. someone said that an ssd boot/os drive would help after effects a lot -- but buying all ssd drives would be very expensive... is there no way to combine both?



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Alex GerulaitisRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 31, 2013 at 6:44:44 pm

[Lon Waitman] "the dell guy is saying that if i do an ssd boot drive (2.5 inches), that i have to do all ssd drives in the system"

Amazing BS... Just amazing... :) Dell's margin on SSDs is like... 100%? That would explain it... :)


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EricBowenRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 31, 2013 at 8:47:30 pm

Hehe I didn't know Dell had a all SSD policy if you buy 1. That is a new 1 I haven't heard before even from a Dell sales person ;) I think I see why HP protects their Var's so much sheesh.

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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Lon WaitmanRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 31, 2013 at 8:56:57 pm

actually, it appears that it was a misunderstanding. the dell guy got back to me with more options.



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Alex GerulaitisRe: Seeking info on potential new workstation
by on Dec 31, 2013 at 9:10:20 pm
Last Edited By Alex Gerulaitis on Dec 31, 2013 at 9:33:45 pm

Gettin one SSD potentially (doesn't have to) changes the config from four 3.5" to eight 2.5" drive bays - so I can see where this comes from, the future is in SFF and smaller form factors. Something the Z820 could learn from, although I still like it better.

Yet it's not a requirement, you could certainly have one SSD and at least four 3.5" drives in a 7610.

P.S. My apologies to the Dell rep - I know I am making his life a bit more difficult. ;p


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