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How much computer do I need to edit video and record audio?

by Bearster1 / February 15, 2013 1:11 PM PST

I am interested in setting up a home recording studio and of course will need a computer. I would also like to be able to edit video as I just picked up a reasonably priced Canon HD palm video recorder.
Just how much computer do I need these days to accomplish these tasks? I am looking to record and put out high quality audio. It's my understanding Fire wire used to be the standard for audio input but now that may not necessarily be true now. I guess that for flexibility I will include a Firewire card as well as a separate usb card in my PC build. Any other suggestions along the lines of how much processor do I really need? Ram? additional slots and or PCI cards???? A good friend is willing to build a machine for me he just needs a shopping list ....
Always appreciate your help here!

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All Answers

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How much time do you have?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 15, 2013 2:18 PM PST

Look up an Acer TER-600. That's what I used way back when and it took 6 hours to render and burn a Video DVD. So the question I have is how much time do you have? Will you only accept the fastest machine?

Why build such a machine?
Why firewire?

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I dont have all day to process video
by Bearster1 / February 16, 2013 12:23 AM PST

I had an Athlon 1700 and it took maybe as long . sure it needed more RAM only had 2 gig.
I'd buy an iMAc 27" but I don't have that much to spend now but they come with a Firewire port..

I say FireWire port because alot of audio recording interface equipment are FireWire.

I dont have an interface unit yet and am still researching and getting opinions on various equipment. But now I am also seeing interfaces that utilize USB rather than Firewire. So I guess I'd need both just in case. Ram is way cheaper than in the past so I say maybe 10-12 gig???

You ask why build? I guess maybe save some dough, and get a better machine? I guess it depends on what I really need to get the job done. I do have a stock pile of videos to edit and would like to breeze through that.
So, with that said do I need to have the latest fastest processor chip? Intel or AMD?? I havent been able to tell a difference to have a preference. i7, i5, i3 or AMD 4, 6 core 8 core? Im thinking middle of the road unless my money will get the top.

I have about 700.00 to 800.00 to spend just on the machine and would like to get a larger monitor 23" 24".

Also, I'm under the impression its better to have a separate video card and audio card rather than on the motherboard. Because if the fan or card fail you can swap them out. also would like all my audio/video inputs and outputs on the front of the machine rather than the rear in a convenient location if that is possible?

of course if I get a ready built big box machine it will include Windows and bundled software my current cheap laptop pentium dual core runs Vista and it is pretty slow doing just 5 min video performance clips using Sony Vegas. is darn near an hour or so.

thanks again!


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I rarely see folk save dough.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 16, 2013 12:26 AM PST

Lately the folk I see building PCs are encountering more issues and getting burned in the process. If you must, you must.

Now that you know how much time the dual core pentium takes you can make rough guesses what an i7 will take. I'd get a nice i7 rig.

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What would the issues be?
by Bearster1 / February 16, 2013 12:36 AM PST

What would the issues be? Compatibility issues? anything in particular I should avoid if I build one?
my nephew built that AMD athlon 1700 back in 2001 it still runs. Did have a power supply burn up. my fault it sucked up some drywall dust when we did some remodling.

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Mostly bad luck, new builders and "Windows"
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 16, 2013 12:41 AM PST

I rarely find today's builders to do a great install. Most will slap the DVD in and install the OS and install a few drivers and call it done. But who knew that the Intel RST app made a difference? Will your builder really get Windows installed properly?

Look at and wonder if anyone can build that powerful a computer for that much. It includes the OS too.

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Yes ! a workstation ! thats what I need duh !
by Bearster1 / February 16, 2013 1:34 AM PST

Bob, is there a thread here that can help me do a proper OS install?
Ive been doing re-installs on my laptop. I guess I'm over simplifying the process and missing some critical stuff. I thought you just put in the windows disc and follow the directions and everything else is plug and play and drivers get loaded and configured. I not sure of the RST app......??????? not included on a windows install disc huh???
Well, Im gonna look for a work station versus a build.
What about onboard graphics and audio? Do I want avoid those?
Thanks again !


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The idea of onboard video is
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 16, 2013 1:43 AM PST

Well, anything that taps or uses the memory that the CPU uses distracts, subtracts how much work the CPU can do. It's not as bad as 10 years ago but any video card wins when performance matters.

As to installing windows, that's one thing but I brought up the finishing of the install. You add the usual drivers but if you made an Intel machine and even if you don't run RAID the Intel RST or storage manager can help performance. I use that item to see if someone has a good grasp on installing windows.

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I missed the boat on that one...
by Bearster1 / March 16, 2013 12:22 PM PDT

I had reservations about refurbished, but the more I think about it the more I think you were right so I am looking at these on ebay.


do you have any experience with these machines good or bad ???? thanks for your advice and help

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Pass. "Seller refurbished"
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 16, 2013 2:11 PM PDT

All the refurbs I've bought over the years were done by the maker. These are seller refurbs and as such I can't say how it will turn out. Look at other refurb sites such as newegg, lenovo, ibm, amazon, etc too.

I'd make a new post too.

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by pgc3 / February 16, 2013 12:48 AM PST

I agree with Bob Proffitt, I would do an intel i-5 or i-7. Start with 8gb of ram,or more and a 1gb (or better) vid card a decent sized PSU, 750 watt or thereabouts. USB3 capability and of course HDMI, most good vid cards will incorporate that. I'd use a mid tower a good all around unit would be the Antec 900 series, functional and easy to clean and maintain. As far as firewire is concerned, well Mr. Proffitt being an engineer could site the differences in speed between f/w and USB 3 but I'd almost bet he'd highside on USB 3. The items mentioned are just a basis but personally I prefer Intel over AMD for a stable reliable build, these are just some thoughts. Good luck...

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Other stuff
by pgc3 / February 16, 2013 1:11 AM PST

Oh..other items, OS, your choice....MB your choice but I prefer Gigabyte or MSI..if you want touch screen capability go Win 8, personally, for your purpose I'd likely go with Win 7...again a matter of opinion and choice..

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what type how fast a memory do I need?
by Bearster1 / February 16, 2013 2:12 AM PST
In reply to: Other stuff

what type how fast a memory do I need?

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Depends on the machine/motherboard.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 16, 2013 2:17 AM PST

But you may encounter those new builders that think faster ram EQUALS faster machine.

I have a few bridges for sale too.

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