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Old Jul 5, 2008, 10:24 PM   #1
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I am looking to buy a new PC. My current one is getting on for 8 years old and needs replacing, badly. Yes that's right, in computer terms, it's almost as old as Babbages Difference Engine. Well ok that's an exaggeration but its long overdue for updating.

Now I realise when it comes to video editing, the more power the better but due to constant expenses seemingly always cropping up (Don't they always?) I don't have the money to spare for a dream machine as of yet, but I would like to get something inexpensive yet reasonable. I don't do masses of video editing so I am more interested in the minimum CPU I can get away with that will comfortably play back HD video without jerkiness. I can always leave the PC overnight if I need to do some heavy conversion.

Believe it or not I actually used my ancient 600mhz to capture and edit my old SVHS-C videos back in the day with an old pinnacle card and it did the job so I am sure that even the bottom end PC's on sale today should be capable of handling HD video playback but I want to make sure.

Although I only have 4MBps 1280x720 HD video at the moment, I would like something to be able to playback full HD video at the kind of rates the Sanyo HD1000 and Panasonic HDC-SD9 HD camcorders shoot at. I believe the Panasonic will go up to 17Mbps now. I intend to get a better HD camcorder at some point in the future so it would be nice to be able to cope with them as well.

So my point is, what is the minimum CPU I can get away with?
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Old Jul 6, 2008, 1:49 AM   #2
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Minimum = Core 2 Duo
Desired = Core 4 Quad

Vegas and CoreAVC and MeGUI and even VirtualDub can use the multiple cores these days. It makes a huge difference to processing time. I was looking at computers in Frys yesterday. They had an HP desktop with Core 2 Duo starting at about $799. Not recommending it, just recounting what I have observed... You might also consider Refurbished units - Frys had several piles of them as well...

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Old Jul 6, 2008, 5:59 AM   #3
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You didn t even considered the videocard?!?!?
You should care more about the GPU than CPU. GPU video-editing is the future. They re much more powerful and faster than cpu.
Here's an example:
"Shuichi Takagi, CyberLink's vice president of of business development ran a demonstration on a just launched ATI Radeon 4850 512 MB, proving that the hardware and software is capable of converting four HD MPEG-2 movies into MPEG-4 simultaneously - in real time. According to Shuichi, it will take about 30 minutes to process four full-length movies and compress them into handheld-friendly 200+ MB files."
I dont know exactly your budget,and other needs you may have (silent pc??,....) but I tried to assembly a good price/performance pc for you (prices are from a German shop).
Intel E8400 is the way to go at the moment.
Here you are (please see attachment):
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Old Jul 6, 2008, 8:06 AM   #4
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This really is codec issue not FullHD, I have 2.1 GHz Athlon and it plays MPEG2 FullHD videos without problem, only problem is tightly compressed AVCHD videos. I use Mplayer for Windows to play 720p AVCHD videos from Aiptek AHD200 and it really plays them very smoothly, but some FullHD videos from Sanyo doesn't display so smoothly, but I guess they don't show properly with computer also becouse they are interlaced. But if you are buying new computer buy fastest you can afford, this is my advice.

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Old Jul 6, 2008, 1:45 PM   #5
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Sr71, my understanding is that the graphics card is not yet a factor in AVCHD or even MPEG conversion speed. I looked up a review of the graphics card you mentioned (at techgage) and nowhere was any MPEG speedup touted. My understanding is that Microsoft Vista will have the ability to use a GPU to help decode AVCHD and MPEG4 videos, but it doesn't right now. In any case, I would not suggest Vista to anybody. I personally use an assortment of Linux flavors, Windows 2000 and Windows XP machines. Since the best AVC/MPEG4 decoder for both Windoze and Linux at the moment, CoreAVC, does not yet use a graphics card, I suggested a focus on sheer CPU power.

Some folk prefer Macintosh for video, but IMO there is still a dearth of software available for AVCHD. Maybe Apple will catch up, but the lack of compatibility of Quicktime with the various cameras already on the market urges me to exercise caution with such hopes...

I personally use Q6600 and E4300 Core 2 CPUs, all overclocked to 3GHz. I also have a dual Opteron, but it is too slow for today's AVCHD video, IMO.

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Old Jul 6, 2008, 2:59 PM   #6
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I'm also betting the B-Frame or "Slices" are also a problem for playback. AVC without B-Frames play back fine with some player and ones with stutter or remain frozen on a key frame. B-Frames are extremely complex to decompress. Just read the flames from the VLC, Mplayer developers about these.

I don't understand if an editor's player can play even an Aiptek file (which uses B-Frames) smoothly or almost smoothly why does it take so damn long to encode them to something like MPEG-2? By now their MPEG-2 encoding engines (which are often licensed from expert companies) shouldn't take any longer than MPEG-2 to MPEG-2 even if 1080i. It's really just a decode AVC frame > encode MPEG-2 frame loop.

At some point I will create a new video editing system for myself but I would like to see some Linux solution rather than Windoze because the latter eats up resources just to run the OS and Macs are overpiced PCs running a proprietary OS.


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Old Jul 6, 2008, 7:35 PM   #7
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Software houses are developing products to exploit gpu power instead of cpu. You will see in the next months, new video/image softwares having this feature (new version of Photoshop as well). This is both for Nvidia and Ati videocards, you just need a last generation card. There arent many tests at the moment about ati Advanced Video Transcoding (besides the one I ve already reported before about Cyberlink), but you can see some for the Nvidia (advantages are the same as with Ati):
-conversion of MPEG-2 file with 1280 X 720 resolution in MPEG-4 with 320 X 240 resolution:


-http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3339&p=1


Then, an other advantage of using gpu is in video playback. See the cpu utilization when using the gpu (old videocards in the comparison here- it is even better now):
h264 video


I dont like Vista as well, but it s the only one to support directX 10, that may become useful with these video/graphics applications.


Trevmar wrote:
Quote:
Sr71, my understanding is that the graphics card is not yet a factor in AVCHD or even MPEG conversion speed. I looked up a review of the graphics card you mentioned (at techgage) and nowhere was any MPEG speedup touted. My understanding is that Microsoft Vista will have the ability to use a GPU to help decode AVCHD and MPEG4 videos, but it doesn't right now. In any case, I would not suggest Vista to anybody. I personally use an assortment of Linux flavors, Windows 2000 and Windows XP machines. Since the best AVC/MPEG4 decoder for both Windoze and Linux at the moment, CoreAVC, does not yet use a graphics card, I suggested a focus on sheer CPU power.

Some folk prefer Macintosh for video, but IMO there is still a dearth of software available for AVCHD. Maybe Apple will catch up, but the lack of compatibility of Quicktime with the various cameras already on the market urges me to exercise caution with such hopes...

I personally use Q6600 and E4300 Core 2 CPUs, all overclocked to 3GHz. I also have a dual Opteron, but it is too slow for today's AVCHD video, IMO.
*
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Old Jul 8, 2008, 8:09 AM   #8
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Useful info. Thanks Guys. I'll probably just go the CPU route. Although quite capable I am not really into building my own PC but the graphics card info looks interesting as a future possibility.
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Old Jul 16, 2008, 4:07 PM   #9
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Seen a nice Dell with an E7200 Dual core in it within my meagre budget and according to some information I have been reading, its not that far off performance wise for video encoding such as DIVX etc as the QUAD core Q6600 which a friend just bought. Not really worth paying $200 or more extra for what may be less than 10% extra performance although some codecs will perform much better. Still anything I buy now will blow away my old PC! :lol:

It did seem that x264 does actually use all four cores for twice the performance which is what is still leading me to consider the Quad.
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 11:17 AM   #10
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I finally got a nice Dell Quad Core with Vista 64-Bit (needed as it has 6GB RAM). Plays video from my Jazz and Vimeo etc. very nice as expected.
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