Video editing, digi camera, games and web machine

  OhBeardedOne 08:19 19 May 2004

Hi everyone

Looking to buy a new machine to replace my aging Dell P11 486. New machine must be able to cope with video editing from both digital and analogue formats, writing to DVD and making copies of result. Will also be used to store digital photos, platy the odd game, and of course web access.

Budget up to around £2K. Anyone any specific recommendations for manufacturer and model ?

  961 10:16 19 May 2004

First, please don't spend 2k. You really don't need to spend 1k to get the spec you need

In my newspaper today there is an insert from Dell advertising a range of desktops with Intel P4 2.6Ghz & 2.8Ghz processors. These will be ideal for what you want and start at no more than £362 inc vat and delivery.

You'll need to upgrade the basic spec to

120Gb hard drive

AGP graphics card

512 MB memory

and Firewire card for video in/out + dvd writer, but even allowing for all that you should still be well under £1k

Remember that for video work you need to stick with a good quality CRT monitor, not a flat screen

Another supplier you may care to look at is Novatech at click here

  Steven135 13:20 19 May 2004

961 makes sensible points but who wants to be sensible! Seems like you have had a PC that has given you good service over a considerable time, my advice would be to buy the best you can afford taking into account 64 bit computing.

9 months ago I bought an Evesham AMD 3000+ 2x 120 Sata HD, I Gig RAM, ATI 9800Pro Graphics etc An excellent machine that does all the things you are wanting it will also last a few years. take a look at click here.

  OhBeardedOne 07:47 20 May 2004

Thanks guys
961 is correct in that my current machine has done sterling service over a number of year, but it was expensive when I bought it. In many ways it is still fine for most things, but I've run out of hard disk space, it doesn't have a dvd writer, and the processor struggles to cope with games the kids want to play.
My aim is to buy another machine that will achieve a similar lifespan before replacement (ie 5+ years), hence my possible budget.
Steven135 raises the issue of 64 bit computing, as far as I am aware that means non intel at present ?

  961 09:05 20 May 2004

64 bit computing is really for the future, I would suggest. At the moment everybody is writing software, changing motherboards and the number of pins the processors have and so on. In the meanwhile current systems which are not "state of the art" are cheap, efficient (many of the bugs well sorted) and very, very fast

As an example of what an under £1000 machine will do can I suggest you look at the June issue of Computer Buyer which has a Mesh 2800+ which includes everything you need including a 160GB hard disk, dvd writer, firewire etc plus a great monitor, exactly the same as the one I'm looking at now in fact

That's an example of what you get for £1000, not necessarily a vote for or against that computer, but the idea that you will gain more by spending another £1000 on top in the way of future proofing is, I suggest, incorrect

You'll get just as much fun out of the £1k jobby, and have some more planning on what to do with the other £1000

  party-time 11:09 20 May 2004

>> You really don't need to spend 1k to get the spec you need

How do you know? He said he's looking for a machine to do video editing. Decent realtime video editing cards like the Matrox RT.X100 cost about £900-£1000 on their own.

If he compromises and goes for a £1000 PC (what?! including monitor, VAT etc?) that is more than a bit on the cheap side if he's looking to do editing. Depending on how much of video editing he does he could end up spending weeks more of his time during the life of the PC twiddling his thumbs waiting for his PC to render his clips. Even if he's not looking for a card that can do realtime rendering or realtime MPEG encoding he's still far better off paying a bit more for extra speed. Pentium 4, 3.2 and 3.4 CPUs are mainly what good video editing PCs are based on. RAID hard disks etc do help.

>> and Firewire card for video in/out + dvd writer, but even allowing for all that you should still be well under £1k

Right, and what about the analogue inputs and outputs? Do you know how to add a composite I/O via internal or external means? Do you know that if he gets stuck with an overlay problem in a decent video editing software like Adobe Premiere your "cheap" machine supplier's helpline is hardly likely to even know what that means!

OhBeardedOne, you have a decent budget in mind. The main video editing cards are the RT.X10, RT.X100, Raptor RT2, DVStorm2, and Pinnacle Edition Pro, but the Pinnacle won't give you dual head. They will all give you analogue inputs and outputs. A good video editing PC does have some slightly different requirements to an average home PC. You do really need to go with a company that specialises in digital video like PlanetDV, DVC, Poweroid, CreativeOne etc. Do a search in any UK search engine for video editing computer related terms. Good luck.

  961 11:44 20 May 2004

With respect I know because I do video editing on my own computer

In no way am I suggesting that he is about to make a Hollywood movie with the equipment I have described, merely that many movie amateurs achieve excellent results that way

  MichelleC 11:55 20 May 2004

I do my rendering overnight. A 45 mins video at cira 8gb takes about 4 -5 hours. My pc cost less than £1000, with onboard graphics and a 733 P3.

I'd suggest hd space is premium with dv, so if you're going for 120gb single drive split it into 3 partitions, or have 2 - 3 separate hd's: data transfer works better with capturing, ptt and rendering. The only different spec you'd need (as well as a firewire card for dv capture) is a decent capture card for analogue. If you're going to do a lot Canopus is the one liked by most dv'ers.

  party-time 11:57 20 May 2004

You don't need to be working on Hollywood movies (your home PC won't even handle SD, far less D1/HD quality) to need power. A simple gamma correction to increase/decrease the lighting in your clip if it's too bright or too dark requires serious rendering. Even if it's a "small" 10 minute clip it takes a lot of power to render the full resolution (PAL, DV) version of that clip. And that's before you even go into special effects or transitions and titles :-)

  party-time 12:01 20 May 2004

My best choice for a video editing card at this price would be the RT.X10. It offers excellent value and a proper video editing software to boot - Adobe Premier Pro 1.5! Canopus do a range of cards but lately their product range has become too confusing for me to understand. And they've departed from their support for most popular programs like Premiere in favour of their own software. Dodgy practice if you ask me. That's more like a M*crosoft trick ;-)

  Steven135 17:51 20 May 2004

64 Bit is not too far in the future machines are available now if I were upgrading now I'd go for one even though it'll take some time for software etc.

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