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Choosing a correct computer for video editing Pinnacle Studio...

UPDATED 1st September 2010: my configuration, the choice, why ?...

In May 2010, I started looking for a good engine to do my video editing in HD. It takes time to select all the components and make sure everything is compatible. Also, you need a good dose of patience, read read and read forums and listen to the advice of each other (I am grateful for their advice: Gilles, gégé85, Guignol Film, cyborgjeff). Note that there is no "best configuration for video, there are only configurations tailored to individual needs. I will try below to inform you of my efforts so that you can also find a PC to suit you to do video editing with Pinnacle Studio. This configuration is valid for the period August to November 2010, it will soon be obsolete, but of course you can still try to redo the route described here to find the right machine.

I think I found the correct configuration to continue to do any video editing for the next few years (4-5 years at best, at worst 2-3 years?). But beware, there is no point taking a huge processor if you do not have the correct motherboard / memory / graphics card ... This is all that is important!

  1. The Processor is the first step. AMD or Intel? At present, we must acknowledge that AMD has fallen behind, we therefore turn to Intel. This will be an Intel i7, 900 or 800 series. The 860 or 930 are similar (one in 1155 and another in 1366), a little more low end than the 870 or 960 which I hesitated between (about 300$ difference between the 870 and 960). We will not discuss the new six-core (980) far too expensive at the moment (but certainly efficient!). Beware, the frequency is not the only thing to compare, you may be surprised! The latest tests, an input gamma (920) provides 20% speed increase in rendering compared to a Core 2 Duo that I have now. Below is an overview of the excellent comparison made by Hardware.fr 146 processors (March 25, 2010), comparison processors for video (Avidemux)

Comparatif processeurs pour vidéo (AVIDEMUX)

It's decided, it will be a ...
Intel Quad Core i7-960 3.2 GHz [LGA1366 - 8MB - QPI 4800 MT / s]
To save 300$, I recommend the 870 instead of 930 as you can see above, it will be more efficient (H264 encoding test with Avidemux).

  1. Motherboard: everyone is in his arguments, ideas, his desire, so I will not deal on that. MSI, Gigabyte or ASUS for me are three good choices. I personally had 2 MSI and 1 GIGABYTE. As I have already had problems (minor) with MSI and GIGABYTE, and a friend has always been satisfied by ASUS, ASUS will be my choice... Which card, big question?If you are decided on a i7 800 Series, this will be a socket 1155. If you opted for the 900 series will be the socket 1366. We already have a somewhat restricted choice. Then we look at the price, and features present on the motherboard. In general, they all have onboard sound (if you're not a fan of games, it will be quite sufficient). Then look at the number of outputs (USB), if the future standard USB 3.0 is present (almost as fast as e-SATA), how many PCIe, PCI, SATA, etc. are present. If you were hesitating between GIGABYTE and ASUS, Gigabyte GA-UD3R or ASUS X58A-E-P6X58D (or Premium) are good choices. In view of the various forums traveled (including a thread that helped me), I opted for
    ASUS P6X58D-E (Intel X58 / ICH10R - Socket 1366 - FSB 6400) (link ASUS)
    Sound 7.1 / PCIe (4x) and PCI (2x) / Lan 1Gb / FW400 / USB 2.0 (8x) and USB 3.0 (2x) / RAID / SATA600 (2x @ 6Gb / s) / SATAII (@ 6x 3Gb / s) / DDR3 1600 / 6 DIMM RAM (24 GB) / Realtek ALC889 8-Channel ® High Definition Audio CODEC DTS / Coaxial / Optical S / PDIF out ports at back I / O / 2 x 1394a
    The bench test conducted by many fans (in Canada) shows that the combination is successful, it is one of the best time (you will see the small dot representing the config that is on top of its class, the considered column - ASUS P6XD58 E-960 and i7):

ASUS P6XD58-E et i7 960

  1. Memory: Easy, if you're DDR3 (three channel), you will opt for three times the same barrette (you might as well with the right frequency). I advise you recognized brands, and may as well have the strips that have been tested and made to work together (in the case of "Triple X" CORSAIR example). Optionally, KINGSTON, CORSAIR, CRUCIAL, OCZ, ... Finally, 6 GB should be enough to start, or even 12 GB. If you have a 32-bit OS, limit yourself to 3.2 GB (otherwise the rest will not run!). Check that the memory card manages your memory and allow you to plug in the number of strips wanted ... On my side, it will be:
    12GB DDR3 2x[3x2GB] DDR1333 (PC3-10666) - CORSAIR TR3X [TR3X6G1333C9]
  2. Fan: your processor is usually provided with a fan, but if you do not want to be a fighter in the housing (in terms of noise), use a fan NOCTUA NH-U12P SE2 well recognized.
  3. Case: Hard choice... It has everything for everyone, of all colors. Make sure the size (do not do like me back at home with a box too high to fit into the niche to which it is dedicated), the number of disks you can insert, if it says Silent or not (with their pros and cons, because as it is isolated, it heats up more easily), so you can insert front USB ports, an e-SATA (handy if the card you have chosen like mine, has no e-SATA by default, it allows you to connect to the SATA motherboard and have an e-SATA standard!), the number of fans in the box (proper cooling is important, focus on the fan with large propellers, 120mm if possible), location of power supply separate hard drives, ... Choosing a box! As for me, it's an Antec P183 Black, which allows me to have a front eSATA and two USB ports (and a multi-card reader that will connect the USB port on left).
  4. Hard Drives: Either a fast disk VELOCIRAPTOR at 10,000 or a RAID0 (2 discs miroring) or ... why not SSD? Prices have fallen, and the gains in performance are huge! Judge for yourself, the loading of Windows is divided by 2 from a VelociRaptor with a SSD, whereas the loading of Windows and applications, even higher, divided by 3.5x. This is important, please choose a good model, as CRUCIAL 2.5 "128 GB C300 (CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1). You will see it is the most powerful in its class. Then, for video, it will be 2 x 1TB in RAID 0 (1.0 TB SATA600 7200 RPM WD Caviar Black (64MB) [WD1002FAEX]. Finally, the data is on a SATA 320 GB Western Digital Caviar SE (16 MB ) WDC WD3200KS-00PFBO 7200 rpm while the backup is performed on a 500 GB Seagate NL35 SATA (16 MB). An additional disk is inserted in a removable rack (HDD swapping) for long term backup (storage outside home for fire risk).
  5. Graphics card: If you're not a gamer, no need to type in high-end cards, and unnecessary to make a phenomenal memory if you do not have the appropriate GPU. Basically, choose ATI for Pinnacle Studio (avoid NVIDIA). A 5770 processor will be quite sufficient. Check the number of ports for the future (possibly the display port if you intend to upgrade your PC). From our side, it will be:
    HD-5770-XFX PCIe ZNFA (Radeon HD5770 1024MB DDR5 2xDVI HDMI Display Port)
  6. Power Supply: A short check with Antec for the calculation, and you choose a great name (ANTEC, or CORSAIR ENERMAX). We will opt for ENERMAX 700W Modu87+ (Gold series = efficiency / performance).
  7. OS: Windows 7 64 bit of course! ...


Quad Processor Intel Core i7-960 3.2 GHz [LGA1366 - 8MB - QPI 4800 MT / s]
Motherboard ASUS P6X58D-E (Intel X58 / ICH10R - Socket 1366 - FSB 6400)
12GB DDR3 Memory 2x[3x2GB] DDR1333 (PC3-10666) - CORSAIR TR3X [TR3X6G1333C9]
XFX Graphics Card HD 5770 PCIe-ZNFA (Radeon HD5770 1024MB DDR5 2xDVI HDMI Display Port)
CRUCIAL SSD 2.5 "128 GB C300 (CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1).
Video 2 x 1TB in RAID 0 (1.0 TB SATA600 7200 RPM WD Caviar Black (64MB) [WD1002FAEX].
Data SATAII 320 GB Western Digital Caviar SE (16 MB) WDC WD3200KS-Backup 00PFBO 7200 rpm SATA 500 GB Seagate NL35 (16 MB)
Antec P183 Black Case
ENERMAX 700W + Modu87
64 bit Windows 7 OS

LAST MINUTE ! I just received the computer yesterday, I will install everything rather soon... Stay tuned...

Choosing a camcorder ...

As for the camcorder, I have one little hesitation for Pana TM700 ... It does not please me (handling feeling), compared to the Sony CX-550 ... It has a lamentable and poor viewer (very poor picture quality), an LCD smaller than the Sony, it's really plastic gadget. Sniffffffffff
As for Sony, it does not have a ring (a handy jog dial), no zebra, an OIS much less efficient than the Panasonic!
In short, I am very mixed for the moment, I wonder if I'm not going to wait a bit! At Christmas we will be in the new AVCHD? ...

Previous article published on 13 May 2010

New camcorder, new computer...

Yep, that's it, it's decided! Yours truly DV will follow the footsteps of many of you who already migrated to full HD years ago !....

So I decided to start the process of searching for HD camcorder, computer, player and TV. For TV, I think I'll keep the LCD recently acquired, I will discuss this topic soon. Currently I'm trying to find the correct computer / camcorder.

So if you're interested, I will inform you regularly of the strategic choices, why and how. On your side, do not hesitate to give me your thoughts, your ideas in comments below. You have a recent configuration ? You want to talk or share ideas, please do so! It's always more then welcome to discuss this complex subject, and I am very far from being an expert in the field. You know that I will also publish other kind of information on Twitter, you'll have all details or other information.

Camcorder: this one will be a Full HD, if possible with manual adjustment ring, and why not display the zebra that I appreciated so much on my previous Panasonic NV-GS400. For the storage, hard drive or memory card, what is your opinion? What do you own? Disadvantage/advantage? The menu is of course important, the flash is rarely used for pictures, so we can ignore it. A separate charger would be more than welcome. On your side, what was considered for buying yours ? The price? The little extra gadget ?

PC side: of course it will be an Intel i7, 900 or 800 series (860 or 930 or so 870 or 960?). The latest tests, with basic processor 920 provides ~20% speed increase in rendering compared to a Core 2 Duo that I own.
Memory: 6 GB is enough?
For the system disk, I am in favor of a
Crucial SSD C300 120GB (SATA 6Go unlike "classic" 3 Go). Or a WD VelociRaptor (10,000 rpm). For video disks, RAID 0 is necessary ?
For the OS, it will be of course Windows 7, but should I opt for 64-bit version? (Watch out for drivers, I know). I think it's probably necessary.
Motherboard: ASUS (1366 or 1156 depending on the processor), if possible with management of the V3 USB (10 times faster than USB 2) but without the G series that include video on the motherboard.
For the graphics card, ATI is preferred to Nvidia (am I wrong?), with chip H.264 or VC1 decoder (UVD or PureVideo). The memory of the graphics card has little importance, its influence on performance for video editing is quite null. Passive or active cooling, what are the opinions? Of course, I will consult our tutorial regarding
graphic card !

That's my today thoughts, we will see in the next issue, according to the opinions and comments ....

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Friday, May 14, 2010 12:57 AM
INTEL moederbord BOXDP45SG/P45 1333 DDR3 ATX
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 Geheugen non-ECC CL9
CPU Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 / 2,83 GHZ FSB1333MHZ 12M
BEHUIZING ANTEC STIL behuizing hulpenergie SILENT 550 W
Toetsenbord MS WIRED KB 600 zwart / NL

werk met:
Canon leigra HF21
Jeff Naylor
Friday, May 14, 2010 1:21 AM
Regarding your choice of processor, have you though about using AMD? If you aren't on a tight budget this might not be relevant.
Peter van Dort
#Peter van Dort
Friday, May 14, 2010 1:57 AM
Greetings. Re your selection for a HD camcorder. Please check out the Canon range. I own a Canon HG10 (older model - 2 years ago) and it is fantastic. The newer models cme using an SD card (32 GB - larger to come) and there is no danger if it is dropped as there is no Hard disk inside. Incidentally I dropped my HG10 in Singaporwe on that big wheel. The only damage (thank heaven) was to the METAL hinge which is bent slightly but still shuts OK. Canon will get me a new metal hinge and they have it there for me now. The after sales service is very good indeed. For top quality and great after sales go fo Canon.
As for your computer, I just had one made up. I asked for the ASUS superfast CPU, the top NVidea Graphics card and very good sound card. I have 4 GB of RAM and that is good for now (if you can get 6 GB then the better for you) do get at le3ast a terabit Hard drive AND a terabit external drive for saving your finished work in their respective folders. Everything else is OK. I hope that I have helpful. Good luck with your purchasing.
Déclic Vidéo FX
#Déclic Vidéo FX
Friday, May 14, 2010 9:20 AM
@ Jeff: sure, but AMD does not provide good processor currently. It was the case in the past, but now, they have been surpassed by Intel.

@ Peter: Ok, I will have a look for CANON, currently, the Panasonic TM-700 sounds good, with internal memory, no hard disk. But for sure, I will look Canon camcorder, my cousin is working for the CANON after sale !.... ;-)

Friday, May 14, 2010 11:47 AM
I built this system myself. First time I built one. Cost was basically not a concern for me. I just wanted something that will last for a while and be upgradeable if needed.

CPU: i7-920 2.66GHz Quad Core, I don't want to be obsolete quite as fast as my 5 year old P4 3GH Dell. Current benchmarks for me are 6 to 9 times faster than the Dell. That's just on speed alone. I don't have a 64bit app to benchmark against a 32bit version.

Memory: I went with 12GB of Triple Channel DDR3. This is in anticipation of more 64 bit apps coming online in the near future. I multi-task a lot having 3 or 4 apps open at one time. Again, trying to stay ahead of the built-in obsolesence. The Dell struggled to keep up with things. I even had trouble running Studio 14, lots of jerkiness, and pretty slow. All that is fixed now and S14 runs like a champ. I also Adobe CS4 apps. Yes, there is a need for S14 and Premiere Pro and After Effects. :-)

OS: Win7 Pro 64bit. I probably should have gotten Home Premium instead. Live and learn.

MOBO: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R. Has support for USB3, room for 24GB of RAM, 1366 slot for the i7 of course. Also has SATA 3 6GB jacks in addition to plenty of SATA 2 jacks.

VIDEO: ATI Sapphire HD4870 1Gb card. Maybe I overdid this too. I'm into graphics editing, not games.

SYS DISC: WD Caviar Black 500GB, and a 750GB internal for other files. I also have 6 external drives that are on or off as needed. I'm old-fashioned, I don't trust a single TB drive for all my goodies. I like to spread things around.

CASE: Antec 1200. Room for 9 hard drives plus 3 optical drives. Right now I have 3 hard drives installed, 2 Asus SATA DVD burners, and a card reader. I'll never have more than 4 hard drives I'm sure of that. If needed, down the road, I can pull out one of the burners and put in a BD burner.

I bought a used Sony HD camcorder that uses miniDV tapes. I know the tapes are being obsoleted but they will be around a long time still. I also have a Canon GL2 SD camcorder that takes terrific video with it's 3CCD sensor. The HD video should edit very nicely on this new machine. Since I don't shoot a lot of video except when I see the grand kids, it's just not a problem transferring the tapes in real time.

I'm not that big into HD or know if I ever will be.

I don't own a flat screen TV. And I know I won't buy one just to watch TV. There's too much crap on TV to make me want to pay extra to see it in hi-def. I would need a better motivation for that than watching that Geico gecko in HD 47 times a day. ;-) Our American friends will know what I mean, hehehe.

Gert Oskar Reitner
#Gert Oskar Reitner
Friday, May 14, 2010 2:23 PM
How about specs on a laptop ??
Déclic Vidéo FX
#Déclic Vidéo FX
Saturday, May 15, 2010 4:46 AM
@ Loosecannon, why do you regret Win 7 Pro and would have preferred Home Premium Edition ? Thanks a lot for all your explanation, very much appreciated !!

@ Gert, on my side I prefer home computer, therefore I will not enter into specifications for a laptop. In addition, to my opinion, laptop are not suitable for video editing (too small, screen resolution not sufficient, etc...)

Saturday, May 15, 2010 4:59 PM
Loosecannon, why do you regret Win 7 Pro and would have preferred Home Premium Edition ? Thanks a lot for all your explanation, very much appreciated !!

I thought I would need the Virtual XP mode. Turns out I don't need it for what I do. If I had done a little more research I could have saved myself a few dollars.
Gert Oskar Reitner
#Gert Oskar Reitner
Sunday, August 15, 2010 1:58 PM
I for one appreciate and value the effort in the research for the Computer specs you have presented .
As for the Camcorder I will be acquiring the new Sony NEX-VG10 . It looks like it is being used on the new ProDad website on serveral pages and I think that maybe they are leaning towards Sony Vegas software in the future ??
Sunday, August 15, 2010 5:28 PM
Thank you very much for this excellent report. It has helped me and I'm sure many others.
Thursday, August 19, 2010 7:18 PM
Have just discovered you here. Very helpful. Thank you. I still love my Sony TRV30, and have just got a new Windows 7 Home premium computer but having problems with so few transitions in Studio 14. Will be following your tutorials. Again thanks.
Déclic Vidéo FX
#Déclic Vidéo FX
Sunday, August 29, 2010 6:08 AM
Regarding Sony NEX-VG10, take care since it seems that you might need to change the way you shoot video (no automatic zoom, warning !!!)...

Bill Carey
#Bill Carey
Thursday, September 2, 2010 10:02 AM
Good thoughts on PC selection but I have one question; why MoBo with X58 chip set? I have read P55 chip set is just as good or better for video processing. X58 is only advantage for people who play games. Did you consider P55 and if so why did you reject it?
Déclic Vidéo FX
#Déclic Vidéo FX
Thursday, October 7, 2010 11:17 AM
Hello Bill,

Sorry for answering so late !! I was a little bit away from my website...
I just wanted to use the i7-960 processor. Therefore, I need to be with a 1366 socket. And P55, as far as I remember is on a 1155 socket.

That's the main reason.
Thursday, October 7, 2010 7:16 PM
Thanks for reply. It's amazing to me how these configurations are so complex. I'm going with a i7-860 (1156 socket, P55 chipset} because the Op Freq. is only approx. 14% slower and by your chart the encoding time is approx. 12% slower. But the price, oh the price, at Newegg, the i7-960 is over 100% more expensive compared to a i7-860. So for this "personne pauvre" the i7-860 will be my choice.
Thanks a million for your site and newsletter. Please keep it going (in English).
Déclic Vidéo FX
#Déclic Vidéo FX
Friday, October 8, 2010 11:19 AM
Thanks for your support. You are absolutely right and you well understood the purpose of the article: to provide all possible information, so people can construct their own configuration while understanding each component, and choosing the right one according to their wishes/budget.
Therefore your choice is fully valid and it's also a good solution for a lower budget (have you checked the price of i7-870 ??).

Concerning the english part, we need people to help us, in all domain (translation, help in answering comments, etc...), and nobody is willing to help so far... :-(
If you have anyone who is interested, please promote it so we can continue this way. It's true that we have stopped the publication since one month...

Gert Oskar Reitner
#Gert Oskar Reitner
Saturday, February 26, 2011 12:39 PM
Since your last update of last year did you make any changes to your Computer Specs and is there any changes you wish you had or are there changes that you will be making ?
Déclic Vidéo FX
#Déclic Vidéo FX
Sunday, March 6, 2011 6:09 AM
Hello Gert,

Nothing has changed since my last update concerning my computer.
For the camcorder, I did not buy anything for the moment....

But... If I was about to perform the same operation, I would opt for a MAC !!! (and emulating Windows for Pinnacle Studio). I think that PC are too much complicated, and since MAC is emulating Windows, it's a very good alternative... My next computer will be a MAC, definitely.

PS: Sorry for answering so late, I was on holidays...
Sunday, March 6, 2011 6:14 AM
Greetings. I noticed you mentioned that your next computer would be a mac emulating Windows. That is interesting but surely, an Apple Mac would be more costly? You could get a Windows computer with greater speed etc than a mac for a slightly lower perice than the mac? That is trues here in Australia. I do not know your market there. But, all the same, I am interested to know moroe , when you have settled down from your holiday. Thank you for your information. It is much appreciated.
Déclic Vidéo FX
#Déclic Vidéo FX
Sunday, March 6, 2011 8:03 AM
Hello Peter,

I just bought my new computer few months ago... So for sure, the next one will wait at least 2-3 years.
You are right, a MAC is more expensive than a PC, but I finally bought a very expensive computer, which does not solve the "Windows Problem"... And finally, buying such a computer for using Pinnacle Studio 15, is it a good solution ?...

Sunday, March 6, 2011 6:07 PM
Dear Sirs,

Re the comparison between Mac & PC clone. I too will be going for the Windows unit. However, I am absolutely confused at this time to compare the Pinnacle 15, AVID or the 'new' competitor that is cyberlink's 64 bit version. I am trying to get a test copy of Crberlink's software before I decide and then I will either go with Pinnacle15 (or "go up to" Avid) or change completely. I plan to retain Pinnacle in my computer as a supplementary program so I do not lose software plug ins that I have purchased - some very recently. Thank you very much for all you do for us followers.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 7:08 AM
Great blog! I will compare the things written here with my computer to see if I need some updating to do. Thanks for sharing.
Friday, January 6, 2012 4:59 AM
Choosing the right camcorder and computer editing software is a must if you want to have a great video outcome!
Gert Oskar Reitner
#Gert Oskar Reitner
Friday, February 24, 2012 7:39 PM
In todays environment with all the extras in editing and video recording methods and systems what would your wish list for a new windows system look like based on your experiences ??

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