View Full Version : Building a video-editing machine?

11-07-2005, 08:59 PM
I'm usually building office-type workstations or gaming machines, and I have no idea what kind of specs DV machines need.

I need help with figuring out requirements and hardware. I know that a lot of HD space is needed, but how much is a lot?

What does proc need to be?


Is there any acceleration done my GPUs in video editing (i think the answer is no).

So help me spec out a reasonable configuration. With how cheap HD space is I guess it would probably have at least 500GB of workspace. Do I do RAID0? 0+1?



11-07-2005, 09:33 PM
there are light years of difference in equipment requirements depending on the actual usage pattern.

processor: depends on effects and encoding, downplayed if not much is done in that dept

ram: depends on app/plug-in footprint, probably less than you think

hard drive: storage is obvious, raid won't be necessary for function but might be appreciated depending on usage patterns

some people edit home movies and some people do it for a living. just about any computer can edit video, and the need to purpose-build systems for it is growing increasingly rare. if it's a fast computer it should do fine. if it won't do fine, then there should be some obvious requirement that is obviously missing (e.g. 'i need to have a terabyte of storage').

people really out-think/out-spend once any sort of 'editing' gets mentioned. it's easy to plan for the ability to add more ram or storage. get a decent cpu and it should be fine. intel traditionally does better on media encoding, but you could probably brute force past that and still keep relative cost efficiency if you get a higher-classed athlon64, so pick whatever architecture you want.

11-07-2005, 11:17 PM
Just to throw my 0.02 in, I have only a small sample size in this area.

For video work, disks are probably going to be the limiting factor, unless some serious software effects are being put to use.

I have a few machines, one has a 2x80GB raid-0 setup. Another has 2 seperate drives, 120gb but identical for comparison's sake.

The raid-0 is _fast_, but only when conditions are right. This is usually loading levels or some such when playing games. For this, the RAID-0 rules.

Mostly when I am processing video, I am using TMPG or similar to encode sections of a source file into a destination file, for example, chopping the ad-breaks from a TV program, or encoding a capture in to a more suitable format for long term storage, eg DV avi -> Xvid. Or converting DVD video to 4.4GB for backup purposes, like using DVD2One.

For this task, the RAID-0 is really poor. It performs as basdly as a single, low spec drive, if not worse. The problem is that the same drives are used as the source & the destination, casuing the disks to spend most of their time seeking. This same problem is present with only one (large) drive.

Using two independent disks, processing times for this sort of task can be reduced substantially - now I am using 2 160GB SATA drives, and the job is done in about 1/3 of the time it used to take.

I expect using 4 drives to construct 2 RAID-0 arrays would provide further performance increase, but I've not tried this yet.

Hopefully this is worth knowing for you - reading one video file + writing another loves to have sepeate disks for the source and destination files, but this depends on what you are planning to do with your "Video Editing Machine".

Good luck,


11-11-2005, 01:53 PM
if you're doing any serious video editing get a mac.

right now they've got a quad 2.5GHz power mac that's supposed to be [censored] amazing.

pretty much that's all you'd really need.