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January 23, 2013

Building Your First Computer for Video Editing? Dave Dugdale Has a Guide for You

Anyone can go out and buy a computer system, but to truly get something that is customized for video editing, and won't cost you a bundle, you'll probably be looking at buying the parts yourself and putting it together. We've got our very own Hackintosh guide to help you build a computer specifically designed to handle Mac OSX, but your options are certainly less limited if you've decided that you just want to build a Windows PC. Dave Dugdale, from Learning DSLR Video, is building his first computer, and he has compiled all of this information to help you along in your own journey. Here is the video from Dave:

The list of parts from the build:

As Dave says, some people might think this is overkill, but this is a computer that's going to run all of the latest applications extremely well, like Premiere and After Effects, and since Dave believes he might be using a RAW camera a few years from now, this is a good system to handle those kinds of files. I'm not positive if all of these parts are 100% compatible with OSX, but most of them should work with a bit of fiddling (don't quote me on that). That doesn't necessarily mean they are the best choice if you're looking to build a system to handle both Windows and Mac, but if you're strictly looking at system for PC work only (or even Linux), this is going to be a blazing fast computer for the next couple of years.

How does this compare to any recent computers you have built? Do you have anything to add or subtract from the parts list above? Let us know in the comments.

Link: Dave’s Monster Video Editing Computer Build -- Learning DSLR Video

Your Comment

126 Comments

I totally just built something similar, and blogged about it here: http://blog.yegfilm.ca/post/41170661635/building-a-pc-workstation-for-da...

I went with the 3820 CPU and a larger power source, and the 660ti, but pretty similar. :)

January 23, 2013

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Nice blog

January 24, 2013

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Anthony Marino

MAC IS BETTER HUR HUR CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS TO TURN INTO A MAC VS PC, FCP VS PREMIERE, CAMERA VS CAMERA, ETC DEBATE!!!!

January 23, 2013

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A suggestion I have is that many compter retail part stores will build the system for you inexpensively. My local store, called Memory Express, will build a custom computer for $40. You buy the parts, they build it for $40.

January 23, 2013

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Wow, that's really expensive! I know it's worth it because it will be the centre of all the workflow.

January 23, 2013

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maghoxfr

This nice part about building your own machine is the ability to work within your budget. If you don't have the budget for the top end latest and greatest, you can get new parts that are "out of date" by a few months and save a bunch of cash.

January 29, 2013

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Yes, you are right about that. Thanks.

February 2, 2013

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maghoxfr

it´s really good that u can get both. mac osx and cheap pc parts...

January 23, 2013

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Ben

This is pretty much the best setup you can have right now without spending a fortune. I wonder if anyone with a similar setup can edit RED RAW footage without RAID... I remember Tom Lowe had a similar system and said it could edit RED EPIC footage great.
One of the most important things that many people oversee/not know is the disk setup. It can make Premiere a lot faster and editing a lot easier on your current machine, simply by adding a second/third drive.

January 23, 2013

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I do have a similar setup and Im editing 4k (Scarlet footage) at 1/2 in Premiere real time. It's a 11 min short. In Premiere you gotta hack to be able to use the Cuda (GPU acceleration) on the GTX 680, this card is not on Adobe's list. Its very simple to hack Premiere to recognize it though.

January 23, 2013

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Marcus

Do you use hard drives in RAID config? I have a first gen i5 and an older nvidia card with the hack and it won't even try playing 4k RED footage in Premiere...

January 23, 2013

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Im using a simple WD 2TB 7200rpm, I have over 800gb of footage, it's working very nicely, again my setup looks very similar to the article's

January 23, 2013

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Marcus

All you do is find the cuda_supported_cards txt file under the main Premiere folder and add GeForce GTX 680 to the list.

January 23, 2013

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Razor

Actually, the 680 IS on the list! It was added from a previous update, I believe.

I didn't edit my list, and here's what I have on it:

GeForce GTX 285
GeForce GTX 470
GeForce GTX 570
GeForce GTX 580
GeForce GT 650M
GeForce GTX 680
Quadro CX
Quadro FX 3700M
Quadro FX 3800
Quadro FX 3800M
Quadro FX 4800
Quadro FX 5800
Quadro 2000
Quadro 2000D
Quadro 2000M
Quadro 3000M
Quadro 4000
Quadro 4000M
Quadro 5000
Quadro 5000M
Quadro 5010M
Quadro 6000
Tesla C2075

January 24, 2013

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Robert

You can just add whatever CUDA capable card you have, it is only a text file.
The 670 is a good budget choice, too. 10% slower at most but a lot cheaper. I'd rather buy a 670 now and in two years buy a new card for the system.
Graphics cards develop pretty quickly, better buy a new one every two years or so, then you don't always need the most expensive card, and still be up to date. Because in three years, the 680 will be just as outdated as the 670

January 24, 2013

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Heiko

ew, windows.

January 23, 2013

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john jeffreys

Yeah, I am not a windows fan either. But, so far so good with my new workstation.

January 23, 2013

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They have a decent price/performance ratio, and play games well, ....and thats about it.

January 23, 2013

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john jeffreys

If you're editing, aren't you spending almost all of your time inside Adobe Apps? You hardly see the OS...

January 25, 2013

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exactly.
If I had a penny for everytime I meet a pro that honestly believes you *can't* do pro work on a PC, I'd have.. well.. probably about 2 dollars by now.
From my experience the more smug someone is about mac, the less they know about computers.

January 25, 2013

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Erik

Is that just an elitist comment, or do you like to share your insights on "ew"?

Do you run your Adobe CS/Avid/Photoshop on Linux? I don't think so!
Can you provide me with a release date for a new MacPro that will have modern technology? I don't think so either!

So please, elaborate your "ew" and let us know how the better people do their editing!

January 24, 2013

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Heiko

No, I have CS5 that I run on mac when I need it, and honestly I just use Illustrator (for credits, posters, art stuff) and soundbooth sometimes to work with audio files. And sometimes I use Flash to make seizure inducing frame-by-frame intro credits/animations for fun. I edit with fcp x and grade with resolve, havent touched premiere in ages and the last time i did the user interface was ugly and primitive, so there is no point in wasting my time with it.

macs are just plain designed better, and if you are butthurt about the mac pro not being "modern" enough, or whatever that means because every computer is modern, then wait for spring when the new models come out (said by Cook himself many, many times) and then we will see tons of articles on this website praising it. Ill bet we wont see much PC fanboyism going on anymore- people are just getting impatient is all.

again, the only thing i like pcs for are games, my mac does everything else with ease and grace.

January 25, 2013

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john jeffreys

Who give's a sh..??? Does it really matter? Everything comes and goes, all that remains are the real creatives, who in fact don't care what they are using, as long as they can create. And all those PC, MAC, RED, CANON, NIKON, blah blah fanboys... who probably never really created anything that lasts.. honestly.. this debate is for nothing... you should spend your time reading a good book, getting your inspiration somewhere out there.. and not arguing about BS like that!

January 25, 2013

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Marco Boerner

Amen to that! Fanboys seem to miss the point that what they are praising are massive corporations that put products out there for money, not for love or whatever kind hearted way fanboys think of them. It's crazy.

February 2, 2013

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maghoxfr

I went to micro center and had one built with similar specs, same chip, RAM and Mobo.. I have the GTX 670 instead, probably should've went for the 680 but (Eric from ADK) says theres no major difference between the two. However you do need to add the 670 manually on your list of accepted video cards in Adobe Premire p6 to fully utilize the MPE. Once that's done you're set and its real easy to do. I'll admit I did have some issues early on. I've been a Mac guy for years, so I was really nervous in the beginning. Nothing worked, people building the same system, same specs had theirs running fine. It was painful, I was ready to give up and get the 2012 iMac. But after a few replacements (hard drives from Hitachi to WD black 3-2tb and 2- 600gb Volicirapters, Mobo p9x79 and my ram 32gb). Its running fine thank God. Despite what you may read online about micro center, they did good and I would recomend them vs going online. At least when you gotta yell its a real person standing in front of you. But my point is I didn't have to go through that with micro center. It eats through large DNxHD files like nothing from the pix240. I'm curious of how it will do with big ass 4k files? I'm sure mac will have a monster out soon but I know it will cost a ton. I spent around 3900 and that's with 8TB worth of drives and a 256 gb SSD system drive. Price is includes a $400 (auria) ips monitor 2560x1444 and a 2 year warranty. .

January 23, 2013

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Anthony Marino

The 670 was the right choice. It comes dangerously close to the 680 in all the tests, Nvidia had to make the 670 that strong because of an equally priced AMD card. When you buy an 670 now, you have more money left to buy a new card in two years or less - and that card will then absolutely smoke the old 680.
So yes, good choice, I'm gonna get the 670, too.
The most expensive graphics card at any point in time has never been a good investment in my opinion. Just wait a year or two and buy a new one instead of spending all you have on the most expensive model. Even more so, when the cheaper card is THAT close to the more expensive one!

January 24, 2013

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Heiko

I just built my first Windows 8 based editing PC that I intend to use for private projects. (Note, a 240GB SSD is absolutely worth it. I went with two 2 TB WD's in Mirrored Raid assembly, with 6GB ps throughput. I love this machine. Having come from a 27" iMac, this is far superior.

Some notes: When working with clients who are Mac-based: Format all external drives shared between you and your client in exFAT. I made the mistake of buying Paragon Software's HFS+ for Windows (http://www.paragon-software.com/home/hfs-windows/) in order to read a client's external drive. Now, he can't read it off his computer, because Paragon corrupted the file system. So I have to buy another drive, format to exFAT and shuffle all his files to the new drive, then reformat the original, and give those back to him.

Also, big recommendation is Calibrated {Q} XD Decoder. Great for reading ProRes422 files on PC. It's pricey, but worth it.

January 23, 2013

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snagglebits

MacDrive. It's fantastic. With it I can read or format to any drive a Mac uses with no issues ever.

January 23, 2013

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Macdrive is all well and good, but there's no substitute for formatting a drive as something that most systems can read from the start. exFAT can read and write on both Mac and PC. When working across multiple systems, this is invaluable. All of my drives are formatted as exFAT and I would never go back to NTFS or HFS.

January 23, 2013

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Stuart Bryce

You should only use exFAT on those drives where you really need access from different systems. HFS+ and NTFS are much better and complex file systems, exFAT is made for flash drives and kept as simple as possible. It works on hdds, too, I know (and I love the fact that both Mac and PC can read and write it natively) but the other file systems are more secure and have a lot more options like rights-management.

January 24, 2013

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Heiko

Be careful when formatting a drive to HFS+ in MacDrive on a PC. They may have fixed in an update but for a long time you couldn't reformat that drive using a Mac. You had to go back to a pc with MacDrive, delete the partition, and then format.

January 24, 2013

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Nikki

Learning all this you mention is the next phase for me. Thanks for the insight.

January 23, 2013

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Anthony Marino

So what did you think of that comment policy there at the top? I really like that part about constructive comments that added something to the discussion.

January 23, 2013

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Great machine... A little overkill if you're only editing DSLR footage but for those running 3D softs and AE, this is a great computer.

January 23, 2013

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Alex Mand

Building a 680 rig atm isn't worth the money because the next series(700) is going to be out in less than months, just wait and you get 5-15% better gpu....

January 23, 2013

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Derek

2 months*

January 23, 2013

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Derek

5-15% more performance for... probably a 50-80% boost in price. Buying a newly released card is always crazy expensive while also running the risk of there not being the same level of reliable driver support as an established high-end card from the previous generation.

January 24, 2013

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Blah

for those interested in dual boot win/linux, Nvidia graphic cards is way better than ATI, since, for example, Piranha 7 requires it as some other tools work better with Nvidia than ATI too by my experience. Also the nvidia proprietary drivers for linux are great, not the same with ATI.

January 23, 2013

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guto novo

Alright, I'm finally convinced. I'll start building a hackinstosh in the next few months. Let's do this shit.

January 23, 2013

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alex

I know so many pros who talk like that - said no one ever.

January 23, 2013

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alex

Nice dickweed comment.

Dave did a ton of research on building a PC that was optimized for video production. He may not be experienced in PC building, but the knowledge he gained in setting a computer up specifically for editing and rendering is useful for many of us, including those of us who are expert computer builders. Thank you Dave!

January 23, 2013

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BenJamin

BOOM point proven. (see above comment)

January 23, 2013

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What, the 'ew' comment? That's not constructive and only detracts from the discussion, let alone Dave's effort...

January 25, 2013

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there was a comment saying something along the lines of "why do we care about dave, this site used to show pros" etc (in much lamer language). It seems to be deleted, but that's what everyone was responding to.

January 25, 2013

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alex

I run a very similar PC, and the one upgrade I would make (and that requires having enough PCI slots and enough physical space between them) is using 2 GTX 580s. Adding the second one cut my rendering time almost in half. Black Magic's computer guide suggested it, and I was skeptical at first, but it's the best thing I've done.

January 23, 2013

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It's my understanding that Premiere doesn't support SLI (dual GPU card) setups. What editing system are you using that would benefit from this?

January 24, 2013

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Derik

It's worth mentioning that Dave's setup will also run OSX. There are a few things missing from LGA 2011 in OSX like full power management(sleep), but for those interested in keeping OSX and building a comparable system, X79 is a possibility. I recently built a similar system using an Asus Rampage IV Extreme motherboard. Two of the big benefits to LGA 2011, are the 6 core CPU and the ability to add up to 64gigs of RAM. Anyone who regularly works in CS6, especially After Effects, knows that RAM could come in handy.

For those interested in editing 4 or 5k footage, a 3930k will allow you to edit realtime 4k at 1/2 res and 5k at 1/4 res in Premiere CS6 without an issue. Also, debayer is dependent on the CPU so the graphics card makes no difference in Premiere, unless you're adding effects or CC to the footage. Where the GPU will make a difference is in apps like Resolve where everything you're adding is an effect of some sort and the program utilizes CUDA.

January 23, 2013

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Clifak

Cool, I have a hackintosh already, but hadn't though that the box I built that is similar to the one in this post would possibly be able to run OSX as well. Something to look into.

January 23, 2013

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Why no "normal" Hard Drives???
And what about da Monitor?????

January 23, 2013

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Speed, that's the answer. Once you've switched to SSD you never want to go back.

January 25, 2013

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