Computer for Video Editing for Brother

bose301s

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My brother is looking for a computer to do some video editing with, mostly drone footage from his Mavic 2 Pro so 4K 10 bit footage. He doesn't intend on playing any games which makes it difficult to find a system I would recommend, I was thinking of Ryzen 7 3700X 16GB RAM and minimum 256GB SSD and a few TB HDD, probably better with a 1TB SSD though, but anything with those specs seems to come with a 1660 Ti or Super or better which is not really needed. I don't want to build his PC for him as I don't want to be tech support or be blamed if it dies, lol. Just looking for something solid for him that will work so if anyone has any good recommendations for <$1500 with lower being better I am all ears.
 

mnewxcv

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3700x is a great choice. Depending how he edits and what software he uses, many do support GPU acceleration for effects and live playback, and Nvidia GPUs are not overkill. Puget Systems summed it up nicely in a recent article:

"
Looking at the overall performance, it is pretty clear that Premiere Pro heavily favors NVIDIA video cards. While the AMD Radeon 5700XT and NVIDIA GeForce 2060 SUPER cost roughly the same, the RTX 2060 SUPER is about 10% faster overall. The AMD Radeon Vega is even worse as it is both more expensive and slower than the AMD Radeon 5700XT, but if we were to compare it to NVIDIA in terms of price/performance, it is about 20% slower than the similarly priced NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super.

One thing to note is that for most users, there is going to be little reason to get a high-end NVIDIA GPU since going from the RTX 2060 SUPER all the way up to the Titan RTX, there is only a 6% difference in performance. And if you look at the second chart for live playback performance, the difference is even less at only 4% which is unlikely to be noticeable.

In fact, there are really only two times when a GPU above the RTX 2060 SUPER may provide you with noticeably better performance: exporting to H.264/5 (due to the new GPU accelerated hardware encoding feature), and when using a large number of GPU accelerated effects."

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/a...up---NVIDIA-GeForce-SUPER-vs-AMD-Radeon-1802/
 

E4g1e

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anything with those specs seems to come with a 1660 Ti or Super or better which is not really needed.
Actually, with the increasing reliance of newer versions of NLE (video editing) programs on the GPU (while still requiring a decently powerful CPU), it is very important not to have a severe imbalance between the two. Otherwise, the underperformance component will choke off the performance of the other (this phenomenon is called bottlenecking). And in the case of that Ryzen 7 3700X, you will definitely need an RTX 2060 SUPER to avoid such bottlenecking. And even a GTX 1660 SUPER is barely a sufficient match for even a 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 3600.

So, if you think that a GPU doesn't matter, then you might as well go with a bottom-of-the-barrel CPU to match the GPU performance. And then, be prepared for an error message that the system does not meet minimum performance requirements to run the program. With such a performance imbalance between the CPU and GPU, you will end up with corrupted renders/exports and/or major stability issues. Now that's what I call "choking under pressure" or "choking in the clutch." Why would you want to turn a relatively powerful 8-core/16-thread CPU-based PC into a choke artist by simply equipping it with a substandard GPU?
 
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E4g1e

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At the movement upgrading the RAM is relatively cheap instead of buying expensive computer
In the case of the OP, then he is stuck. He would have to build it himself or order a custom build if he were to get the right balance of parts. With already pre-built systems, then he will be more or less stuck with what comes with such a system no matter what. And some brands will not offer a memory upgrade at all, and will continue to void the factory warranty if even additional RAM is installed by the user or owner.
 

UnknownSouljer

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GPU matters a lot - is the short response I'll say.
Maybe not specifically for Premiere, but if you use an NLE that actually is programmed correctly to use the resources of your computer than there are plenty of things that GPU's accelerate - things like noise reduction, color grades, keying, real-time rendering and playback - the list goes on.

If all you want to run is Premiere (a terrible and inferior program) then you can make the case that number of threads on your CPU doesn't matter much either, as it favors fast cores and doesn't properly utilize multiple cores either. In which case I'd recommend the fastest Intel machine you can afford. Otherwise, using an NLE like Davinci Resolve will utilize all cores, all GPU, and certainly all of your RAM, and SSD caching. In which case the sky is the limit and you should definitely buy the fastest of every component you can afford. Premiere also isn't particularly stable. As has been noted for sometime even of proponents of it. The last several updates from Adobe have all been stability based (finally).

The heart of the issue is the Mercury Playback Engine, which at this point is over a decade old and needs an overhaul. While Adobe has made strides to better utilize system resources, Resolve is already multiplicatively faster, it does everything that essentially Premiere and After Effects does (in one program without round tripping), and it has the best color grading tools of any NLE, and is significantly more stable, while also being more ergonomically friendly (it also costs less at free, or $300 for a forever, always updated, license - unlike Adobe that expects you to pay forever).

---

On Topic I'd still go AMD + nVidia for best performance. Get as many cores as you can and the fastest GPU you can afford. I'd also get at least 32GB of RAM, if not 64GB. And pick up a 1TB NVME SSD. It doesn't have to be a top of the line one - but at this point it makes zero sense to not at least get that. There are options from Sabrent as an example for around $100 which are plenty quick. For storage HDDs, faster is still better. If you can afford a bunch of smaller 1TB SATA SSD's, that might be a nice option. I've seen 1TB Team Data SSD's go on sale for <$100 a piece. Depending on how often your brother flies (as in, how much data he's going through a month), it might be viable to go smaller but faster. No matter what his storage will run out eventually. It's a perpetual problem trying to figure out where to store video data.

EDIT: As another aside, if you can wait until the end of the year, prices will either drop significantly for the same stuff you can buy now, or alternatively you can buy AMD 4000 processors and nVidia 3000 GPU's, which to me would be the way to go. Buying a 3070 for $500 and a "cheaper" 12 or 16 core 4000 series processor I think will be a no brainer for not only video editors but possibly gamers as well (although no games require anywhere close to 16 cores).
 
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UnknownSouljer

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The biggest problem is that Adobe's code still allows operation on inferior (but still very recent) hardware configurations. That results in a relatively bloated and somewhat unstable program. You do not want the opposite, either: Requiring a CPU with more than 16 cores just to run properly, if at all. That would drive away hobbyists on a budget, restricting the software to wealthy professionals only. After all, Intel still produces dual-core CPUs with no more than 4 threads at the low end. Those particular CPUs should have been axed completely when the Comet Lake CPUs were introduced.

What you want is a program that will properly scale and use resources as they’re given to it regardless of how fast or slow your system is.

Mercury Playback engine uses one thread. One. Having 4 cores doesn’t help it immediately be faster other than offloading other system tasks. It would be better to have a 5Ghz dual core processor when running Premiere than a 4GHz 16 core for this reason. It’s incredibly inefficient.

With resolve it scales with your resources. If you have 4 it uses 4. But if you have 32 it will use 32. Obviously there’s a tipping point. There are only so many concurrent tasks an NLE can do. But having 16 is a nice middle ground generally between clock speed and number of cores. Resolve is a superior program is virtually every way. Other than people’s knowledge of it.
 

UnknownSouljer

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Therein lies another problem: Intel does not currently make a dual-core CPU with a clock speed that's higher than 4.2 GHz (in the form of the Pentium Gold G6600) - and, at a very high (for its performance class) price of $86, it's just a poor buy. What's more, none of the Pentium-branded desktop CPUs have Turbo boost at all. One would definitely need a quad-core i3 CPU just to get higher clock speeds than 4.2 GHz (in this case, the i3-10300, which is also ridiculously high priced for its class at almost $160). And the i5-10600 and 10600K would definitely be better choices for Premiere Pro than any of the dual-core Pentiums because the real sustainable (as opposed to the peak) all-core Turbo clock speed is almost equal to the locked clock speed of the G6600 while also Turboing higher when fewer cores are utilized.

Now, exporting is a completely different matter.

You're missing the forest for the trees. The point of bringing up a theoretical dual core 5GHz processor was to highlight deficiencies in Adobe's NLE and contrast that with Resolve that uses system resources much better. Premiere is a poorly coded app, for more than one reason.
 

UnknownSouljer

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You've said a lot. But I don't necessarily feel like most of it needs addressing. The point still remains that building a "monster computer" for Premiere Pro is a fools errand because it's a poorly coded program.

Had Adobe redesigned its program, then it might as well require a monster 16 or more cores just to even run at all. There is absolutely no free lunch, in this case, as one even slight change to the program code would have chased away almost every hobbyist and restricted use of the program to the absolute wealthiest elite professionals.
You've said this now more than once. I don't pretend to be a coding professional, but I can point to other programs that directly contradict this.
FCPX runs incredibly efficiently regardless of if you're using a dual-core Macbook Air or a 28-Core Xeon in Mac Pro and scales nicely throughout. There is a tipping point, like I mentioned before, where adding more cores to gain more performance specifically for an NLE drops off, as again there are only so many tasks you can separate into different threads. But certainly it has been shown that up to 16-18 threads shows solid gains.
Davinci Resolve also operates in a similar way. Although its base requirements are higher than FCPX, after meeting the minimums it scales incredibly well. Enough that FCPX and Resolve have been playing the optimization battle to see who can win fastest NLE.
So there are already two cases that show it's more than possible to design software that utilizes all hardware and isn't closed off to all but the elite. In fact, quite the contrary. They're two of the most available to all. More so than Premiere's perpetual paying license.

Worst of all, Adobe has been consistently under pressure from the third-party companies that provide the plugins which provide much of the functionality of Premiere Pro. For example, the program's MPEG-2, H.264 and HEVC encoders are not produced in-house at all, but are actually licensed from MainConcept. And Adobe must pay MainConcept for the license to use the MainConcept encoders in Premiere Pro. And some of those third-party companies charge rather exorbitant license fees. That alone stifled any chance of a significant rewrite, to the point where Adobe would have had to increase the subscription cost for Premiere Pro substantially just to break even had it proceeded with the overhaul. And Adobe opted to use MainConcept rather than the open-source x264 or TMPGenc because at the time it believed that neither of the open-source encoders produced results that were compliant with industry standards that existed at the time of Premiere Pro's development. Adobe vowed to never revert back to the "perpetually licensed" one-time-purchase model, with availability only on disk at selected authorized resellers, no matter what.
Sounds like an Adobe problem. You can buy either FCPX or Resolve for life. As both Apple and Blackmagic has a hardware model in addition to a software one. Adobe is screwed by their own model. Sounds like more reasons to not use their software and move to organizations that can natively support codecs or indeed are two of the leading organizations that are making new codecs such as ProRes RAW and BMRaw as well as all the decoding and support for said codecs. Especially if you want to be operating on a camera made within the last 5 years and have the most options available to you. Unless you're shooting on RED. And that's an entirely different bag of worms. Even Canon Raw Lite, a notoriously heavy codec is easily trans-coded in either Resolve or FCPX.

Lastly, any significant change to Premiere Pro would drive away the big studio pros (those whose camera equipment costs tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars) to whom this software was really targeted for in the first place. Adobe only begrudgingly added support for the increasingly common consumer or amateur video formats over the years. In this respect, Premiere Elements is no better because although it is friendlier to consumer video codecs, its capabilities are severely nerfed.

If you're talking about people that are primarily shooting on Arri, Red, and Panavision cameras, you're also talking about people that are also not primarily using Premiere.
Most TV shows are still produced on Avid. And most of the film industry is also still using Avid. Resolve is now the defacto color grade software that colorists round-trip to (and has been for at least 5 years). Some editors (as in purely editors, not people in sound design or other departments) have actually moved back to FCPX because its specific tools for creating an edit are much faster. Then colorists, sound designers, compositors etc will all move to their preferred software to do their jobs.

Of course you can see examples in Hollywood where Premiere was used, you'll always find editors that favor every individual piece of software (IE: I have a cousin that works in high-end reality TV and they use Vegas to scrub through all their "storylines"), but Premiere isn't what I would call the predominant software. Premiere mostly gets working professionals that are either solo operators or small organizations. That isn't to say there aren't seven figure businesses using Premiere (like Linus Tech Tips as an obvious example).

EDIT: We’re in the weeds here and this conversation is no longer fruitful for the thread. If you want to respond back and have the last word, that’s fine.

On topic, again, if you’re using Premiere you’ll want Intel, high clock speed, and whatever graphics card you can get with maximum cuda cores. 9900k can be had for not a lot of money relatively and can be overclocked well.

If you’re using a better coded NLE, then getting a 3900x or 4900x will be beneficial. 64GB of ram if possible. Fastest Nvidia card you can afford. nvme main hdd and the fastest storage you can to hold project files.
I think $1500 is a reasonable budget to accomplish this. Provided there is no display needed. Getting a great 10-bit display with decent uniformity and contrast is obviously important for any color critical work you do with said video files.
 
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daglesj

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Pick up a reconditioned 2x8core 32 thread Xeon workstation with 32GB of ram for like $450! Slap in your GPU of choice.
 

UnknownSouljer

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Pick up a reconditioned 2x8core 32 thread Xeon workstation with 32GB of ram for like $450! Slap in your GPU of choice.
I'd love a link. At that price, I'd buy one. Heck, at that point I'd basically recommend it for anyone trying to buy a machine for less than $1k.
 

daglesj

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UnknownSouljer

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We have quite a few online suppliers in the UK that sell off old dual CPU workstations. I specced one up like I mentioned a week or so ago for a customer.

An example - https://www.bargainhardware.co.uk/refurbished-workstations/dell/dell-precision-t5600
If available in the US, that could be useful. Thanks for the link.
Top spec on these is pretty slow, but if you're using a lot of programs that are multi-threaded then it's still a decent option. The big question is whether or not it's faster than equivalent Ryzen systems for similar money. And I think buying Ryzen new for the 5000 series is going to give even dual 8-cores (especially when clocked much lower) a run for their money.
 

daglesj

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If available in the US, that could be useful. Thanks for the link.
Top spec on these is pretty slow, but if you're using a lot of programs that are multi-threaded then it's still a decent option. The big question is whether or not it's faster than equivalent Ryzen systems for similar money. And I think buying Ryzen new for the 5000 series is going to give even dual 8-cores (especially when clocked much lower) a run for their money.

Oh I agree but for say a student or someone that wants to dabble but not spend a fortune, its a bargain and sensible way forward. Tank like build, easy to work on and repair. Will still churn through anything you throw at it unlike any box you build for $450. Slap a good GPU in for some compute and you'll not do too bad. Maybe even find one of those compute cards Nvidia put out too...
 

thesmokingman

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My brother is looking for a computer to do some video editing with, mostly drone footage from his Mavic 2 Pro so 4K 10 bit footage. He doesn't intend on playing any games which makes it difficult to find a system I would recommend, I was thinking of Ryzen 7 3700X 16GB RAM and minimum 256GB SSD and a few TB HDD, probably better with a 1TB SSD though, but anything with those specs seems to come with a 1660 Ti or Super or better which is not really needed. I don't want to build his PC for him as I don't want to be tech support or be blamed if it dies, lol. Just looking for something solid for him that will work so if anyone has any good recommendations for <$1500 with lower being better I am all ears.

If you don't want to be on the hook for support, have him buy a prebuilt with as many Ryzen cores as you one can afford and comparable Nvidia gpu. For system ram, generally you wanna get as much ram as you can but these are cheap desktop platforms and ram costs are high so, its again a compromise. I'd suggest at least 32gb ram to start. Maybe look at cyberpower or other system builders. Got a microcenter near you? They have their Powerspec line too. 1500 bucks buys a decent amount of power.

Just an ex.

https://www.microcenter.com/product/613824/powerspec-g464-gaming-computer
https://www.microcenter.com/product/608933/powerspec-g706-gaming-desktop-computer
 
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