It is about time to update this site and give you the latest news about building a new system. You are quite right in complaining about the content on several pages, that is rather out-of-date. Well, now that a very hectic year is approaching its end and things are getting a bit quieter, I could not avoid thinking about upgrading my Monster system. There are now a number of 'State-of-the-art' systems that were recently built with the latest technologies.

I had postponed the investment for several reasons, the main one being that my 'Monster' was still going strong and even 4K material edited without problems. Simply, there was no urgent need, not even a need to upgrade my system. But I looked for excuses to justify the expenditure, since it is always nice to have a very fast and modern system.

Let's start with my current 'Monster' and the main components:

  • i7-3930K @ 4.5 GHz
  • 64 GB @ 2160 MHz
  • Geforce GTX 680/4GB @ 1147/1851 MHz
  • Samsung 840 Pro 256GB boot disk, OS, programs and page-file
  • 4 x Samsung 850 Pro 256GB in raid0, media cache & previews
  • 24 x Seagate Constellation 1TB in raid30, media, projects and exports
  • Several miscellaneous SSD's

That is basically my old 'Monster' that has been in operation for three years and delivered reliable performance all that time. I did have one problem with the motherboard, but that was quickly replaced under warranty. For the rest this system has done it's job without any problems and even my 24 conventional HDD's are running great. Not a single disk failure in those three years. Notice again that there is no need to upgrade. Like some say: "Never change a winning team". That has kept me from upgrading, but I will repeat what I have stated over and over again:

Not everybody agrees with that choice, but I have no problems with CS6 and I can edit all the formats I need, including XAVC-S 4K material. I never use anything that requires the QT32 server extensions, so I'm not hindered by the 32 bit nature of it. OK, I miss out on the latest and greatest by Adobe, including their numerous bugs. Anyway, that choice alone has saved me around € 2,500 up to now and those savings go a very long way for my upgraded system. That was the excuse I needed... and you know what the best news is:

The above argument of course still holds when - notice I say when, not if - I say goodbye to Abobe and their rental scheme in favor of the free Premiere Pro replacement BlackMagic Davinci Resolve 12.1 and the After Effects replacement BlackMagic Fusion 8. Both are free if you can live with UHD resolutions or smaller, as I can. And it gives the opportunity to add a second nVidia card to improve performance even more.

Now the question arises where the weaknesses in this 'Monster' are and what needs to be upgraded in order to get a significantly faster system. I have always tried to use 'balanced systems' that do not show clear weaknesses, and this old system still does not show real weaknesses, but a lot of components are no longer considered top notch. They have been replaced by new and more powerful components.

Nearly everything can be replaced by newer and faster components, but is that wise? Does it deliver a significant performance gain that makes the investment worthwhile, not a waste of money? Let's find out.

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  • Guest - Jochen Rupp

    @ppbm-Team:
    Thank you for your great page and the hepful tips!

    @Michael:
    After long time of research I'm planning nearly the same system like you! ;) It'll be for my father-in-law who is the Adobe-freak, I don't know much about video editing but am the PC-nerd in the family...
    For the storage, I'm planning 1*Samsung Evo 850 512GB (OS, programs), 1* Samsung Evo 850 256 GB (Cache) and 2*2 1TB 7.2k SATA-HDDs (Video data-source respectively -target). For I/O-reasons I'd run each 2 of the HDDs either in (software-)RAID0 or with Windows Storage Spaces in simple mode, which from what I've understood should be nearly the same as SW-RAID0!? So, if the I/O of the HDDs isn't good enough, I'll be able to expand the RAID0 with another 2 HDDs in order to gain more I/O-performance and besides that more space. Unfortunately, a real HW-RAID-Controller is way out of budget, so I'm hoping, the SW-thing will perform good enough.
    Final data will be on a NAS.
    The only thing I don't know, is, whether the sizes of the cache/Video-storage is properly adjusted from a video-editing-perspective...?

    @Superuser:
    There will also be a 10-core Broadwell-E. Don't you think, the 8 or 10 cores will bring much more (needed) power? Depending on the price and whether it'll fit in our budget, I'm very interested in the Core i7-6900K, 8cores/16threads, 3,3 GHz/? GHz, 20 MB Cache.

    Thanks and best regards,
    Jochen

    from Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    0 Like
  • Guest - Jochen Rupp

    @ppbm-Team:
    Thank you for your great page and the hepful tips!

    @Michael:
    After long time of research I'm planning nearly the same system like you! ;) It'll be for my father-in-law who is the Adobe-freak, I don't know much about video editing but am the PC-nerd in the family...
    For the storage, I'm planning 1*Samsung Evo 850 512GB (OS, programs), 1* Samsung Evo 850 256 GB (Cache) and 2*2 1TB 7.2k SATA-HDDs (Video data-source respectively -target). For I/O-reasons I'd run each 2 of the HDDs either in (software-)RAID0 or with Windows Storage Spaces in simple mode, which from what I've understood should be nearly the same as SW-RAID0!? So, if the I/O of the HDDs isn't good enough, I'll be able to expand the RAID0 with another 2 HDDs in order to gain more I/O-performance and besides that more space. Unfortunately, a real HW-RAID-Controller is way out of budget, so I'm hoping, the SW-thing will perform good enough.
    Final data will be on a NAS.
    The only thing I don't know, is, whether the sizes of the cache/Video-storage is properly adjusted from a video-editing-perspective...?

    @Superuser:
    There will also be a 10-core Broadwell-E. Don't you think, the 8 or 10 cores will bring much more (needed) power? Depending on the price and whether it'll fit in our budget, I'm very interested in the Core i7-6900K, 8cores/16threads, 3,3 GHz/? GHz, 20 MB Cache.

    Thanks and best regards,
    Jochen

    from Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    0 Like
  • Guest - Rachel

    'm building what I consider a "Prosumer" editing machine. Most of what I've put together is based off what I've learned from research, which seems to mostly come back to Mr. Milaard's philosophies, so I won't go into great detail on my reasoning for each component (feel free to critique or ask if clarification is needed). Barn Lights

    from India
    0 Like
  • Guest - Michael Middleton

    Thanks for the writeup and update, and thanks Mr. Milaard for your resources across the net. You've set the standard. (BTW, I've enjoyed your videos, as well, Dave!) I've read, researched and watched videos on editing builds and am close to putting it together.

    First, I'm not a full-time, professional video producer/editor, so as much as I'd like to have a $10K+ editing studio, it's just not in the budget. However, I do a fair amount of video editing - some for web content and increasingly some customer work - that allows for what I consider a reasonable budget of $2k-2500. I'm developing somewhat of a niche in video projects that include DSLR and 4K drone (Inspire 1) work, so an upgrade is required. I use Adobe PP and AE, do some photo editing with LR and PS. I also have another full time sales job and intend to continue using my Dell Latitude WS for productivity and some relatively simple field editing, so the new build will likely be dedicated exclusively to video/photo production. I'm not a gamer, so that's not a factor in part considerations.

    So with that history, I'm building what I consider a "Prosumer" editing machine. Most of what I've put together is based off what I've learned from research, which seems to mostly come back to Mr. Milaard's philosophies, so I won't go into great detail on my reasoning for each component (feel free to critique or ask if clarification is needed). Here are my parts:

    Six core Intel i7 5820k, ASUS X99A (w/ USB3.1), EVGA SuperNova 85 W PSU, G.Skill Ripjaws 32GB DDR4-2400 RAM, EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW+ACX 2.0 GPU (1x), Phanteks EnthooLuxe ATX Full, Corsair H100i, Windows 10 Pro (a little nervous about this).

    I feel fairly confident with my selections on the above, buy my storage solutions are still an issue for me. I've read the writeup about storage and RAID above, but I think for my purposes 24-plus HDDs is overkill and $1k+ hardware RAID controllers would seem to be a large % of my budget. Based on Harm's Guidelines for d=Disk Usage, here are my options, and I would love anybody's thoughts on plusses, minuses or if I'm way off track:

    1x Samsung 850 Pro 128GB for OS/Programs, Static Page Files (better to put this on separate drive?)
    2-3x Samsung 850 Evo 256GB (over 1x500GB) for Media Cache, Previews, Exports? - (Would I be better off striping these or keeping separate and splitting up uses/processes?)
    2-4 x Seagate Barracuda 2-3TB 7200 RPM/64MB Cache drives for Video Media - RAID 0?

    I also currently have a Drobo (gen1) 4 Bay Storage Array (up to 16 GB total capacity) with "BeyondRAID" (essentially parity RAID with different drive sizes?)for storage and backup, as well as several external HDDs of various sizes that I use mostly in the field to offload from card media until I can transfer to project or LT storage. The Drobo is slow transfer, but should be adequate for file backups for awhile.

    I guess after all that, my question boils down to how I should configure my SDDs and HDDs given 1x 128GB SSD, 2-3x 256GB SSD, 2-4x 2TB HDD and external Drobo backup solution? Any other glaring omissions with this "Prosumer" setup?

    from Texas, USA
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  • Nice write up as usual. Thanks for sharing. Good to see I got the same card as you have. I am looking into that new m.2 drive now, looks good!

    0 Like
  • Guest - abc

    Good post, thanks for sharing.

    Comment last edited on about 10 months ago by Super User
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  • Guest - fluffy

    with brodwell-e around the corner (first querter of 2016) why did u not wait until then?

    0 Like
  • To get the very latest is usually very costly and in this case with Broadwell-E it does not appear to be worth the wait. Same chipset, same socket, 6 and 8 cores, up to 20 MB L3 cache, etc. The only difference is the speed of the memory, up to 2400 now. Not worth the wait.

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  • Given that it looks like Broadwell-E will have a 10 core CPU, what are your thoughts?

    The new generations of graphics cards coming later this year are also promising quite a performance boost.

    Beyond that though, over 2 months on, have you built it and what's the performance like?

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