PC for high def video editng

vbimport

#1

I will be getting a PC from dell through an employee purchase program, I will be using it to edit standard def video now & probably move to high def in the future, photography, & converting LPs CDs cassete tapes to digital files, in addtion I need to be able to hook up older items such as a VCR, older camcorder & turn table. I am on a budget of 1,000-2,000 dollars. I cannot go over this.

the program that is an interest free loan with dell, so I have to get a dell pc, but I want to know hat items I need for my needs, I have done live chats with agents, & they are somewhat helpful, the problem is they are sales people & I think they are trying to sell me alot of extra stuff when they configure a system & give me quotes. So I have turned to this forum for some straightforward guidance. What are the bare essentials for what I need, a complete rundown of everything would be helpful. so when I go to dells website, I can pick out just what I need. i work with standard def now, but as I only have one chance at getting a computer, this has to last me a while, so I need it to be powerful enough for high def in the future.

another problem with dell & the program I am getting this through is they have alot of rules & limits I have to abide by, or else they will not approve of the loan.

They are;

maximum monitor size is 22 inches, cant get any bigger
monitors cannot have tv tuner capability
video cards with the capability to support TVs or have a built in tuner are not allowed. In addition, the city will not approve the purchase of media systems, cameras, mp3 players, PDAs or accesories asssociated with these items.
cannot get an LCD or plasma TV that can be used as a monitor.

it is critical that I conform to these rules or else I will not be able to get the loan & computer.

can I upgrade later on if I need things that go against my citys rules?

thanks for any guidence that can be offered

Sossity


#2

Are you paying the loan or are they paying it? Reason I ask is of course if they are paying, skys the limit, if you are paying, you might not want something that has a high premium price for the latest technology (technology that will massively drop in price in 6 months).

You are kind of limited by having to buy a dell. Just looking quick, I would go with one of these and customize it.
http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/xpsdt_420?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd
I would be very careful about what upgrades you select though.
Maybe starting with the third option, no cpu upgrade, vista upgrade is your option, warranty upgrade is your option, upgrade to 4 gig memory
No hard drive upgrades because the prices are completely insane. You need lots of hard drive space for video, especially with hidef, so you would need to look into your options for upgrading yourself (if you add a hard drive yourself, will it void your warranty)? Adding a 1TB second hard drive is a 400$ upgrade!!! you can get them for 130$ or so on sale (same seagate drives dell uses), in fact, dell home recently had a 1TB segate with coupon code for 110$ shipped (and yet its 400$ to add to a computer). You can add a blue ray drive too, but again, the prices are high (200$ to go from a dvd burner to a blue ray rom, dvd burner combo).
Monitor upgrade is your choice. I would personally upgrade to the hd3870 video card but the 3650 would work. Sound upgrade is again your option. I would at least go with the 25$ audigy upgrade. its too bad they dont offer the xfi audio (only the xtremegamer). The tv tuner would be nice (you are going to have to have some sort of capture device, why not one with a tuner), but unfortunately its against the rules, so again, you need to see if upgrading it yourself will void the warranty. The dell bluetooth wireless media hub sounds interesting (not sure exactly what it is or if it violates the rules). Most of the software upgrades look too expensive. accidental damage protection warranty?

Anyway, it looks like after you configure a system, it will let you print it. You could setup a system, and post the specs here. Go to newegg and compare prices (difference between the stock part and the upgrade part) with what they want to upgrade to see whats worth it. When you post specs, post what upgrade options you have and their cost (in some of the main categories anyway). Then maybe people can give you recommendations in certain areas till you get a system that you like and is recommended.


#3

[QUOTE=ripit;2137074]Are you paying the loan or are they paying it? Reason I ask is of course if they are paying, skys the limit, if you are paying, you might not want something that has a high premium price for the latest technology (technology that will massively drop in price in 6 months).

You are kind of limited by having to buy a dell. Just looking quick, I would go with one of these and customize it.
http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/xpsdt_420?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd
I would be very careful about what upgrades you select though.
Maybe starting with the third option, no cpu upgrade, vista upgrade is your option, warranty upgrade is your option, upgrade to 4 gig memory
No hard drive upgrades because the prices are completely insane. You need lots of hard drive space for video, especially with hidef, so you would need to look into your options for upgrading yourself (if you add a hard drive yourself, will it void your warranty)? Adding a 1TB second hard drive is a 400$ upgrade!!! you can get them for 130$ or so on sale (same seagate drives dell uses), in fact, dell home recently had a 1TB segate with coupon code for 110$ shipped (and yet its 400$ to add to a computer). You can add a blue ray drive too, but again, the prices are high (200$ to go from a dvd burner to a blue ray rom, dvd burner combo).
Monitor upgrade is your choice. I would personally upgrade to the hd3870 video card but the 3650 would work. Sound upgrade is again your option. I would at least go with the 25$ audigy upgrade. its too bad they dont offer the xfi audio (only the xtremegamer). The tv tuner would be nice (you are going to have to have some sort of capture device, why not one with a tuner), but unfortunately its against the rules, so again, you need to see if upgrading it yourself will void the warranty. The dell bluetooth wireless media hub sounds interesting (not sure exactly what it is or if it violates the rules). Most of the software upgrades look too expensive. accidental damage protection warranty?

Anyway, it looks like after you configure a system, it will let you print it. You could setup a system, and post the specs here. Go to newegg and compare prices (difference between the stock part and the upgrade part) with what they want to upgrade to see whats worth it. When you post specs, post what upgrade options you have and their cost (in some of the main categories anyway). Then maybe people can give you recommendations in certain areas till you get a system that you like and is recommended.[/QUOTE]

I put some of choices together, by the 3rd option did you mean the 3rd XPS system from the 4 shown on the featured systems tab?

here are some of the specs that come with every XPS 420;

Communications
Network adapter (standard)
10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN on system board

Wireless options
Internal Wi-Fi (802.11g)
Bluetooth® 2.0 wireless technology with Media Card Reader
Ports
USB 2.0 Ports
Ten: 2 front, 6 back, 2 internal

Front & Back AV Ports
Front: Microphone (1) and Headphone (1), 1394a (1), Optional RCA and S-Video ports with XceleratorTM option
Back: S/PDIF, (1 RCA & 1 Optical), 7.1 integrated sound audio I/O (5), DVI, VGA or S-video (Video I/O port depends on the graphics or TV tuner card)

Expansion Slots
PCI: 3 Slots
PCIe x1: 1 Slot
PCIe x16 (Graphics): 1 Slot
PCIe x8: 1 Slot

[COLOR=“Red”]are these expansion slots enough for me to upgrade my sound to a sound card, my video card to an HD video card / bigger video card get the physics accleorator, & a TV tuner later on? as I cannot get these now, my city government wont permit it.

Form Factor
Mini-tower, high-gloss black front bezel, XPS logo on side panel

Dimensions
18" tall, 17.8" deep, 7.4" wide

Weight (typical)
31 lbs (41 lbs packed)

Power
375 W standard
425 W available on select configurations

what power supply should I get? especially if I upgrade my video, sound accelorator & TV tuner later on

Convenience
Tool-less access to inside chassis, Flexbay, HDD, optical drives, and expansion slots (graphics card replacement requires tools)
Easily identifiable customer service points (blue)

Security
Cable lock chassis security slot

Thermal Management
6-slot BTX motherboard and chassis design
[/COLOR]

and here is a system I put together; I started with the XPS at 799; the 1st of the 4 on the featured systems tab

PROCESSOR Intel® Core™2 Q6600 Quad-Core (8MB L2 cache,2.4GHz,1066FSB)
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Service Pack 1
PRODUCTIVITY Microsoft Works 9.0
WARRANTY & SERVICE 1 Year Ltd Warranty, On-site Service, and HW Warranty Support
MEMORY 4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 4 DIMMs
HARD DRIVE 500GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
OPTICAL DRIVE Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability
MONITOR 20 inch E207WFP Widescreen Digital Flat Panel
VIDEO CARD ATI Radeon HD 2400 PRO 128MB

[COLOR=“purple”][COLOR=“Red”]can I upgrade this later on? my city government will not allow tv media cards[/COLOR] is there a free slot I can install it later?

SOUND Integrated Sound Blaster®Audigy™ HD Software Edition

can I up grade this later? are there free slots for this?

My Accessories
SPEAKERS Dell A525 30 Watt 2.1 Stereo Speakers with Subwoofer
FLOPPY & MEDIA READER No Floppy Drive or Media Reader Included
KEYBOARD Dell USB Keyboard
MOUSE Dell Optical USB Mouse
POWER PROTECTION Belkin 8-Outlet Slimline Surge Protector
MODEM & WIRELESS No Modem Requested
My Software
SECURITY McAfee SecurityCenter 15-months
My Services & Warranties
ALSO INCLUDED WITH YOUR SYSTEM
Internet Access Service No ISP requested
Labels Windows Vistaâ„¢ Premium
Adobe Software Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 9.0 Multi-Language
Digitial Music No Digital Music Software Requested
[/COLOR]

there was an option for a physics accelorator, the AGEIA PhysX physics accelorator, I did not get it it would probably go against my citys rules, can I upgrade this later on?

thanks for your reply, this is difficult for me, I am trying to get a powwerful system but comply with my citys rules

Sossity


#4

I did mean the third of the 4 systems. They are all basically the same as you can upgrade the lower ones, but some models have instant savings (the third has 351$ in instant savings). You might want to try doing the first one, and add upgrades to make it match the second or third one to see if it is more expensive (you might be getting higher level parts free with the instant savings if you are going to upgrade some of the parts anyway).

The only way to tell for sure about open slots and what you can upgrade is to find out whats in it. With dell, that might take a phone call or 2.

The video card will take the pci-e 16x slot. I am guessing that the sound blaster cards they are installing are pci. You can get an xfi extreme audio that is pci-e 1 for 60$ on newegg right now
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102017
so you might be better off getting the sound card yourself. That wouldn’t include it in the loan, but it would free up a regular pci slot, and you will have more options for cards (there are more things available in pci than pci-e and they are often cheaper). The disadvantage is, pci-e is faster so it might be good for something that need the speed.

Here would be an example.

video card pci-e 16
sound card pci-e 1
tv tuner/capture card pci
physics card pci

That leaves 1 pci slot and one pci-e 8 slot open (you can stick anything in the pci slot but options are more limited for what will fit the pci-e slot).

With the video card, the one they install should go in the pci-16 slot (I don’t think any of the options are onboard video). You just remove that one and replace it with the one you upgrade to, if you upgrade latter and it still takes the pci-e 16 slot. Fyi the 2400 that is included on the first system is an HD card as are all the other options. They do not have a tv tuner though, so they should all be ok (in fact most video has at least some HD abilities anymore including cheap onboard video).

With the physics card, so far as I know, they are only usefully for gaming and still may be questionable as many games might not support it, but regardless, you have a slot open if you want it. I would do more research on it before deciding to get it, now or later though.

On the memory, make sure you upgrade to 4GB!!! It only has 4 memory slots. With the 3 gig option, it takes all 4 slots (no free slots to add memory). While 50$ to upgrade to 4 gig is a little high, to do it later, you will have to remove and replace all 4 memory cards!!! You would have to buy 4 gig and that would cost a lot more than 50$!!! Further, if the memory modules are not matched, you might not be able to run dual channel (gives a small performance increase), which is another reason you would have to replace all 4. You would be much better off getting the 4GB upgrade now.

Personally, I would upgrade the video card and the cpu now (or start with a higher one of the 4 that already has it) so you can include it in the loan. They are important parts for video work (many forms of video processing are very cpu intensive). It would cost about the same to upgrade the video card later but it would be out of pocket (less if its after a while as prices will drop). The higher video cards will give better HD playback performance. If you want to upgrade the cpu anytime soon, do it now. The q6600 is about 190$ and the q9400 is 280$. You would be paying 150$ for a 90$ upgrade, but getting the q9400 a little later would cost you 280$ (I guess you could ebay the q6600 to recoup some of it). If on the other hand, you want to go with the q6600 (certainly not a slow processor), and maybe upgrade in a year or 2 (when prices have dropped a lot), thats an option too. In all honesty, my fastest computer is an e6300 dual core (reasonably slower than even the q6600). I’m not saying the q6600 isn’t fast enough, but rather am saying, if you would upgrade it soon, then its cheaper to do it now. If you would want to use it for a while, them fine, upgrade later.

On the power supply, I’m not sure they give you upgrade options, but if they do and the price isn’t a lot, go with the biggest. In all honesty, most oem’s ten to use crappy, barely big enough power supply’s. I have seen plenty of computers with dead motherboards where the power supply was probably the cause. You can always see what they put in it (you might get lucky). If you are going to open it up and start adding parts, hard drives etc. (you need a lot of hard drive space for video), do consider a better power supply (its the most important part in the system, not only for stability, but for the computer to last too as a failed power supply can kill anything or everything in the system). If its under warranty though, its their problem for a while (though if you add stuff I can see them blaming that and not honoring the warranty).


#5

[QUOTE=ripit;2137242]I did mean the third of the 4 systems. They are all basically the same as you can upgrade the lower ones, but some models have instant savings (the third has 351$ in instant savings). You might want to try doing the first one, and add upgrades to make it match the second or third one to see if it is more expensive (you might be getting higher level parts free with the instant savings if you are going to upgrade some of the parts anyway).

The only way to tell for sure about open slots and what you can upgrade is to find out whats in it. With dell, that might take a phone call or 2.

the specs that I saw & highlighted in blue are not enough to go on?

The video card will take the pci-e 16x slot. I am guessing that the sound blaster cards they are installing are pci. You can get an xfi extreme audio that is pci-e 1 for 60$ on newegg right now
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102017
so you might be better off getting the sound card yourself. That wouldn’t include it in the loan, but it would free up a regular pci slot, and you will have more options for cards (there are more things available in pci than pci-e and they are often cheaper). The disadvantage is, pci-e is faster so it might be good for something that need the speed.

Here would be an example.

video card pci-e 16
sound card pci-e 1
tv tuner/capture card pci
physics card pci

so for video I should get a card that is pci-e? & sound pci-e? what is the difference between pci-e 1 & pci-e 16? are the numbers after the pci-e represent the speed of that card?

That leaves 1 pci slot and one pci-e 8 slot open (you can stick anything in the pci slot but options are more limited for what will fit the pci-e slot).

With the video card, the one they install should go in the pci-16 slot (I don’t think any of the options are onboard video). You just remove that one and replace it with the one you upgrade to, if you upgrade latter and it still takes the pci-e 16 slot. Fyi the 2400 that is included on the first system is an HD card as are all the other options. They do not have a tv tuner though, so they should all be ok (in fact most video has at least some HD abilities anymore including cheap onboard video).

With the physics card, so far as I know, they are only usefully for gaming and still may be questionable as many games might not support it, but regardless, you have a slot open if you want it. I would do more research on it before deciding to get it, now or later though.

thats good, because the sales rep I did a live chat with on dell said I needed this card to go with a tv tuner, said I could not have one without the other. That the accelorator was needed for encoding video.

On the memory, make sure you upgrade to 4GB!!! It only has 4 memory slots. With the 3 gig option, it takes all 4 slots (no free slots to add memory). While 50$ to upgrade to 4 gig is a little high, to do it later, you will have to remove and replace all 4 memory cards!!! You would have to buy 4 gig and that would cost a lot more than 50$!!! Further, if the memory modules are not matched, you might not be able to run dual channel (gives a small performance increase), which is another reason you would have to replace all 4. You would be much better off getting the 4GB upgrade now.

Personally, I would upgrade the video card and the cpu now (or start with a higher one of the 4 that already has it) so you can include it in the loan. They are important parts for video work (many forms of video processing are very cpu intensive). It would cost about the same to upgrade the video card later but it would be out of pocket (less if its after a while as prices will drop). The higher video cards will give better HD playback performance. If you want to upgrade the cpu anytime soon, do it now. The q6600 is about 190$ and the q9400 is 280$. You would be paying 150$ for a 90$ upgrade, but getting the q9400 a little later would cost you 280$ (I guess you could ebay the q6600 to recoup some of it). If on the other hand, you want to go with the q6600 (certainly not a slow processor), and maybe upgrade in a year or 2 (when prices have dropped a lot), thats an option too. In all honesty, my fastest computer is an e6300 dual core (reasonably slower than even the q6600). I’m not saying the q6600 isn’t fast enough, but rather am saying, if you would upgrade it soon, then its cheaper to do it now. If you would want to use it for a while, them fine, upgrade later.

so what would be the best processor? the best video card? what about 2and best if the 1st choice is too expensive?

On the power supply, I’m not sure they give you upgrade options, but if they do and the price isn’t a lot, go with the biggest. In all honesty, most oem’s ten to use crappy, barely big enough power supply’s. I have seen plenty of computers with dead motherboards where the power supply was probably the cause. You can always see what they put in it (you might get lucky). If you are going to open it up and start adding parts, hard drives etc. (you need a lot of hard drive space for video), do consider a better power supply (its the most important part in the system, not only for stability, but for the computer to last too as a failed power supply can kill anything or everything in the system). If its under warranty though, its their problem for a while (though if you add stuff I can see them blaming that and not honoring the warranty).[/QUOTE]

[COLOR=“red”][COLOR=“Red”]what is the minimum wattage I should go with? the sytems come with 375 watts, is that eough with video,sound, & TV tuner cards?[/COLOR][/COLOR]

Sossity


#6

There is not really a perfect answer to that. For one thing, a high quality 300 watt power supply is better than a crappy 500 watt one. The ratings can be faked or exaggerated and often are. I remember some of the worst were the compusa brand ones that rated them at a very low temperature. They could actually output the power they claimed for a small fraction of a second till the unit started producing heat. By the time it was at normal operating temperature, it could put out about half what it was rated for.

Assuming that it is a good quality power supply, it should be fine (if the larger one is avalable as an option, defiantly get it), but you cannot assume that it is a good quality one. You will have to see when you get it whats in it. I have read a few places that dell tends to under rate their power supplys, and they tout this as an upgradable system, so you have a chance its sufficient. The only real wild card is the video card. Some video cards can take a substantial amount of power, especially some of the high end gaming ones. It kind of depends on what card you get.

Here is a power supply calculator. Keep in mind, these things tend to rate high (theoretical maximum power that your computer could possibly use if every part were pulling maximum power at the same time). computers don’t do that but it kind of gives you a safe ceiling. Its better to over power than under power.


after you get it, see whats in it and go from there.

I plugged some guessed parts into it (dvd burner and blue ray drive, 2 hard drives, 6 usb and 1 fire wire device, enough card to fill all your slots, hd 3450 video card etc and got 391 watts. Change the video car to a 9800 gx2 and it jumps to 523 watts (yes some video cards can take that much power). You might want to find out how much power that physics card takes too. A pci slot cannot provide that much
power, but if it has an additional power connector, the skys the limit on what it might require.

Overclocking is another thing that can take a lot of power (if it can overclock, some of their gaming systems claim to be able to).


#7

[QUOTE=ripit;2137530]There is not really a perfect answer to that. For one thing, a high quality 300 watt power supply is better than a crappy 500 watt one. The ratings can be faked or exaggerated and often are. I remember some of the worst were the compusa brand ones that rated them at a very low temperature. They could actually output the power they claimed for a small fraction of a second till the unit started producing heat. By the time it was at normal operating temperature, it could put out about half what it was rated for.

Assuming that it is a good quality power supply, it should be fine (if the larger one is avalable as an option, defiantly get it), but you cannot assume that it is a good quality one. You will have to see when you get it whats in it. I have read a few places that dell tends to under rate their power supplys, and they tout this as an upgradable system, so you have a chance its sufficient. The only real wild card is the video card. Some video cards can take a substantial amount of power, especially some of the high end gaming ones. It kind of depends on what card you get.

Here is a power supply calculator. Keep in mind, these things tend to rate high (theoretical maximum power that your computer could possibly use if every part were pulling maximum power at the same time). computers don’t do that but it kind of gives you a safe ceiling. Its better to over power than under power.


after you get it, see whats in it and go from there.

I plugged some guessed parts into it (dvd burner and blue ray drive, 2 hard drives, 6 usb and 1 fire wire device, enough card to fill all your slots, hd 3450 video card etc and got 391 watts. Change the video car to a 9800 gx2 and it jumps to 523 watts (yes some video cards can take that much power). You might want to find out how much power that physics card takes too. A pci slot cannot provide that much
power, but if it has an additional power connector, the skys the limit on what it might require.

Overclocking is another thing that can take a lot of power (if it can overclock, some of their gaming systems claim to be able to).[/QUOTE]

I went into the power calculator & plugged in some of the items I picked out for an XPS system & according to it I am way underpowered, 375 is what is offered, it says I need 501 watts. I have read reviews about this model XPS 420 right on dells site & a couple of people did have their power blow out. what exactly do you mean when I will have to see when I get it whats in it? will I have to open up my brand new PC to look at the power supply? where & how do I look? what do I look for? are there visible signs of an inadequate power supply before I plug in & start up my computer? is this the only way I will be able to determine the quality of the power supply? or is the only way is by just using my computer until something happens? is there any way I can check before something happens?

do I need that physics card to encode video like the dell chat person told me? do I need a TV tuner when & if I get the physics card?

thanks for your help so far

Sossity


#8

[QUOTE=ripit;2137074]Are you paying the loan or are they paying it? Reason I ask is of course if they are paying, skys the limit, if you are paying, you might not want something that has a high premium price for the latest technology (technology that will massively drop in price in 6 months).

You are kind of limited by having to buy a dell. Just looking quick, I would go with one of these and customize it.
http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/xpsdt_420?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd
I would be very careful about what upgrades you select though.
Maybe starting with the third option, no cpu upgrade, vista upgrade is your option, warranty upgrade is your option, upgrade to 4 gig memory
No hard drive upgrades because the prices are completely insane. You need lots of hard drive space for video, especially with hidef, so you would need to look into your options for upgrading yourself (if you add a hard drive yourself, will it void your warranty)? Adding a 1TB second hard drive is a 400$ upgrade!!! you can get them for 130$ or so on sale (same seagate drives dell uses), in fact, dell home recently had a 1TB segate with coupon code for 110$ shipped (and yet its 400$ to add to a computer). You can add a blue ray drive too, but again, the prices are high (200$ to go from a dvd burner to a blue ray rom, dvd burner combo).
Monitor upgrade is your choice. I would personally upgrade to the hd3870 video card but the 3650 would work. Sound upgrade is again your option. I would at least go with the 25$ audigy upgrade. its too bad they dont offer the xfi audio (only the xtremegamer). The tv tuner would be nice (you are going to have to have some sort of capture device, why not one with a tuner), but unfortunately its against the rules, so again, you need to see if upgrading it yourself will void the warranty. The dell bluetooth wireless media hub sounds interesting (not sure exactly what it is or if it violates the rules). Most of the software upgrades look too expensive. accidental damage protection warranty?

Anyway, it looks like after you configure a system, it will let you print it. You could setup a system, and post the specs here. Go to newegg and compare prices (difference between the stock part and the upgrade part) with what they want to upgrade to see whats worth it. When you post specs, post what upgrade options you have and their cost (in some of the main categories anyway). Then maybe people can give you recommendations in certain areas till you get a system that you like and is recommended.[/QUOTE/]

I found the choices of XPS processors,

XPS 420

 	Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Processor Q9450 (12MB Cache,2.66GHz,1333FSB) [Included in Price]

 	Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Processor Q9550 (12MB Cache,2.83GHz,1333FSB) [add $140]

 	Intel® Core™2 Q6600 Quad-Core (8MB L2 cache,2.4GHz,1066FSB) [subtract $200]

 	Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor E8500 (6MB L2 Cache,3.16GHz,1333FSB) [subtract $100]

 	Intel® Core™2 Extreme QX9650 (3.0GHz, 1333FSB, 12MB L2 Cache) [add $950]

 	Intel® Core™2 Q9400 Quad-Core (6MB L2 cache,2.66GHz,1333FSB) [subtract $60]

[COLOR=“Red”]should I go with the Q9400? will it be enough? I cannot up grade this so should I get the 256 mb video card & upgrade later if I need more & get the biggest processor now? if one of the others is more powerful than the Q9400? out of these which is the most powerful?

 	Intel® Core™2 Q9400 Quad-Core (6MB L2 cache,2.66GHz,1333FSB) [subtract $60]

 	Intel® Core™2 Q8200 Quad-Core (4MB L2 cache,2.33GHz,1333FS

[/COLOR]

cannot go with the 3rd XPS out of the 4 because it comes with a TV tuner & there is no option to deselect or have no TV tuner, so that leaves me with the 1st or 2and XPS systems, at 375 watts.


#9

According to what I read, they shipped some of the systems with the 9800 video card with the smaller power supply when they are supposed to get the bigger power supply (and its not really enough for that video card). Yes your would have to open your system to see what the power supply is. If you are going to change/add cards etc. you would have to open it any way. To see the power supply, all you have to do is take out two screws, take the side panel off and its right there. You can look at the label to see what it is. Unfortunately, it seems that they are using a special dell btx power supply. I did read a post somewhere where dell told someone it will fit a standard atx power supply though. If it has a brand name power supply, you can tell the quality from the brand (plus the sticker should have specifications that will tell you more about it). If it is a dell one, about all you could do is look up the ul number on it to see who actually made it. That should give you at least some indication of the quality. What is raising your power supply requirements so high by the way, a high end video card? In theory, the power supply should be big enough for what originally came in the computer, but who knows (especially since people are having them blow out). If it were me, I would just get a bigger power supply to replace the original (plus a bought one would be of know quality). When you do upgrades, I would even more so recommend replacing it. They are not terribly expensive, especially if you get one on sale. micro center has an antec basic 500 w on sale for 30$ (I got one for 26$ with 110% price match at circuit city). You can go bigger and better and still get them cheap enough on sale.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0257452

As far as the physics card, pardon my language, but the dell person is completely full of shit. you absolutely do not need the physics card to do video encoding. I’m not familiar with them enough to know if they would improve performance, but everything I read says they were designed for gaming. As far as I can tell, all they do is Offloads physics (movement and interaction of objects in space) processing from the cpu. That doesn’t seem to have anything to do with encoding. The only thing that I can see where it might help with video is decoding which is done during playback, but its completely unnecessary for that. There are some nice video cards that are not that expensive that do an excellent job of decoding video, offload the work, and handle hi def just fine. If you want it for gaming, then maybe, but from what I understand, most games don’t even support it, so it wont help. Further, nvidia bought the technology, and newer video cards are going to have the technology built in. I would do some research on it before I wasted my money on the physics card because I think they are just trying to unload old worthless crap that they cannot sell. They are probably recommending them to everyone. You can also get them cheaper than 250$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121246
You might be able to find out a bit more reading the reviews on newegg for that card.

I further don’t see what a tuner card has to do with the physics card? They seem to be trying to talk you into anything they can add weather you can use it or not. A tuner card is for tuning tv, period. They don’t provide any performance enhancement to anything (though they do provide capture function too)!!! They are very nice to have, but have nothing to do with video playback performance, or video encoding performance. If you want to capture video from a direct source (like a cable box where it does the tuning, a camcorder, a vcr or what ever), you just need an inexpensive capture card. If you want to be able to actually change channels on the computer, and set up a pvr (personal video recorder where your computer acts like a vcr) and you can change channels, watch tv on your computer, then you want a tuner card which also can capture from a vcr, cable box or whatever. Be aware, that many tv tuner cards can not change channels with digital cable tv (some can). They are designed to tune broadcast, over the air channels. I do recommend a tuner card if those functions sound appealing (I have them in my computers) but the dell rep seems to be dishonest about how they will help you.

For the processor, the q9400 is a VERY, VERY fast processor. It is overkill for playing high def video. As far as video encoding, yes a faster processor would help, but the q9400 is already at the luxury point, where you are starting to pay large amounts of money for small increases in performance. Going any faster, you are going to pay a LOT of money for a little performance.

As far as which one though, you are looking at two different kinds of processors. The core 2 duo processors have two cores (basically 2 cpu’s in the one chip). The core 2 quads have 4 cores (4 cpu’s). With the same kind of chip, there are two things that make a difference, the amount of cash memory, and the speed. So for instance, if you compare the q9450 and the q9550, they both have 12MB cash. One runs at 2.66Ghz, the other at 2.83Ghz. Yes that does mean that it is only 6.4 percent faster, and you are paying 140$ for it. These processors are in the price range where you are paying out the but for the latest, greatest technology. A little faster cost a lot more and going faster than the q9400 would be a waste of money in my opinion.
As far as dual core or quad core, the dual core are faster clock speeds for the money, which matters for some kinds of processing (games, audio encoding), but doesn’t matter for other kinds of processing. Some programs will be able to take advantage of all 4 cores, while others wont be able to use all 4 cores so the clock speeds matter more. In other words, which is faster for the same price just depends on the software. My opinion, is that down the road, when most software can use quad cores, the quad cores will have the advantage. I would prefer a quad core, but either would be a good choice. You can look here and compare processor speeds.


You can change what benchmark you look at at the top. you will see that with some work, the faster clock dual cores are faster, with others, the quad cores are faster. Even with video work, either may be better depending on the software. Regardless, with any of these fast processors you are looking at, you are talking maybe 10-20 percent speed difference at the extremes (with many programs, more like 5-10 percent difference in speed). Is it going to take 10 minutes, or 11 minutes, and how much do I want to pay to save that minute.

One last point. It might take 6 months, it might take 2 years (its hard to predict the future), but if I’m not mistaken, intel is coming out with new processors again, which will drop prices even more. Eventually, those 400$ processors are going to be 50$ processors, and the way things have been going lately, its probably going to be sooner. You can always drop in a faster cpu later if the motherboard supports it. Thats another problem with oem computers, you have to track down what the motherboard is to know what it supports. I would assume that these computers have the same board so you could always upgrade to any of these cpu’s later (just drop a new chip in).


#10

On a side note, once you get most of it worked out, you could make a separate post just asking about the few main (and most expensive parts). You will liklly get a lot more responses asking which cpu and which video card, listing your options, than posting which dell. That way you could get several opinions about the few most expensive parts.


#11

I am doing HD video editing with my system listed in my signature… (The Inspiron 530). Yes there are faster processors which will encode faster, and if you can afford them, go for it. But they are not necessary. Faster processors will give you the convenience of being able to encode faster. Like Ripit said, look at the processor comparisons for encoding times, and see what you can live with. Some of the Dell XPS systems come with a 400w power supply, and that will do you just fine, unless you are running everything on your system, all at once, at max power, which is extremely unlikely… For video work, do make sure that you have multiple HD’s… Always put your software on one HD, and store your files on another HD. Get a good HD video card, but you don’t need the newest and greatest one, by any means… (like before, buy the best that you can afford)


#12

PROCESSOR Intel® Core™2 Q9550 Quad-Core (12MB Cache,2.83GHz,1333FSB)
or Q9450 (12MB Cache,2.6GHz,1333FSB)
Either would be great. The 9550 would be best, it’s probably the 2nd most important part of a video editting system.
Encoding Video uses lots of processing time.

OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Service Pack 1
Up to you. Dell is still only dishing out 32b operating systems.
If I’m stuck with 32b, I’d rather XP professional.

PRODUCTIVITY Microsoft Works 9.0
And it can go in the bin.

WARRANTY & SERVICE 1 Year Ltd Warranty, On-site Service, and HW Warranty Support
Isn’t this minimum requirement in practically every country in the world?

MEMORY 4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 4 DIMMs
Spend the money to get faster ram if you can … or better still, go with as little as you can now (from Dell) & buy a decent HIGH-SPEED kit later for much less $$$. it’s dead simple to install.
32b OS’s can only handle 3.2GB of ram reliably, so no point getting more than 4GB - but 1333Mhz ram will speed up your machine.

HARD DRIVE 500GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
Go with the smallest that Dell will give you. Buy 2x 750GB/1000GB or better 7200rpm HDDs later & install those - if possible, all three at the same time - These are most likely the most important part of a HD video editting system.

OPTICAL DRIVE Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability
Anything dell gives you will be the cheapest thing on the market. That said, most burners these days will perform decently if you feed them good Taiyo Yuden or Mitsubishi Media.
At any rate, you’ll be ripping it out for a Bluray burner in the near future anyway :wink:

MONITOR 20 inch E207WFP Widescreen Digital Flat Panel
A 24" monitor would be preferable, but since you aren’t allowed to get monitors with multiple inputs or LCD TVs or similar, get the cheapest that you can from dell & buy a nice 24" or 30" monitor later, or several. I can’t work without two monitors anymore - you’ll never go back.

VIDEO CARD ATI Radeon HD 2400 PRO 128MB
Has Hardware Acceleration of High Definition Video inbuilt. Is more than adequate for watching/editting video - you may want the HD3650 though as it has dual monitor output + HDMI output. It’s probably the least important component at this stage, as the CPU will be doing most of the work anyway.

I’d also recommend a very good after-market Audio card.
The XPS noted above has a PCI-E x1 slot which will allow you to get a Xonar2 for excellent surround sound reproduction.


#13

@Sossity, those are some great recommendations by debro. Personally I would stick with the q9400 as its more cost effective, but with the price range you are looking at, you can afford a little luxury. Further, if the video editing is going to be work related where time is money, then it might be more cost effective to get the faster processor.

@ debro, the 9550 is only 45$ more than the 9400 on newegg, but dell wants an additional 200$ for the upgrade. I wasn’t sure if you noticed that. If the price difference was only 45$, I would have recommended the 9550 too.

Just to clarify on the video card a little more. Lower end cards have 4 pixel pipelines for processing, where higher end cards may have 8, 12 or 16 pixel pipelines. Thats one of the big things you are paying so much for with high end video cards (plus faster memory and clock speeds). The problem is, video can only use 1 pixel pipeline so the high end cards provide no advantage with video. They are intended for gaming. further, cards like the hd2400/hd2600 have special processing abilities for HD playback (the unified video decoder for ati cards) that higher cards like the 2900 and others do not have, so the higher cards will actually perform worse with video. Further, only a couple of programs can take advantage of the hardware acceleration from the unified video decoder, where most programs have the main cpu do the processing (and you have to enable it in the software). The processors you are looking at are by far fast enough to play video, so unless you are encoding video and playing it at the same time, it wont matter anyway (if you are doing both at the same time, then the video playback could steal a bit of power away from the encoding).
I actually did a lot of research back when the 2400/2600 were the newest HD video cards. The 2400 was just about as capable of playing HD video as the 2600 was. The primary difference was the 2600 had slightly better image quality (the 2400 scored 80, the 2600 scored 90), but only slightly better. There was no large advantage for processor power for the faster card with video. If you are only going to be running it to a monitor, I doubt the 2600 would show any advantage. If it is going to be feed to a high end big screen HDTV, then you might see a slight advantage. With what dell wants for the cards, it would cost the same for you to get the 2400 and upgrade later as it would cost to upgrade now. The 3000 series cards are just the newer version of these cards (they may have more features but probably are not going to give any significant advantage with HD processing power). The 2400 is just fine power wise.
Video cards have no effect on encoding and processing video by the way. they are only going to have an effect on playback. Thats one reason that I don’t think the physics card will do you any good. Even cheap video cards like the 2400 have sufficient power for HD video playback. The physics card would only improve gaming performance and it won’t effect encoding and processing video either.


#14

Based on your budget, I would also go for XPS 420.

My Components
PROCESSOR Intel® Core™2 Q9400 Quad-Core (6MB L2 cache,2.66GHz,1333FSB)
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium w/ Digital Cable Support SP1
MEMORY 4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 4 DIMMs
HARD DRIVE 750GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
OPTICAL DRIVE Dual Drives: 16x DVD-ROM Drive + 16x DVD+/-RW w/ dbl layer write capable
MONITORS Dell S2409W 24" Full HD Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor --1920x1080 resolution, good for your purpose, hidef video editing
VIDEO CARD ATI Radeon HD3870 512MB GDDR4
SOUND CARD Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
SPEAKERS Dell A525 30 Watt 2.1 Stereo Speakers with Subwoofer
KEYBOARD Dell USB Keyboard
MOUSE Dell Premium Optical USB Mouse
BLUETOOTH AND MEDIA READER Dell 19 in 1 Media Reader with Bluetooth
FLOPPY & MEDIA READER Dell Media Card Reader included in Dell Bluetooth Package
MODEM No Modem Requested

My Software & Accessories
ANTI-VIRUS & SECURITY McAfee SecurityCenter with anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, 36-months
OFFICE SOFTWARE Microsoft Works 9.0

My Service
WARRANTY AND SERVICE 3Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis
DATASAFE ONLINE BACKUP Dell Online Backup 2GB for 1 year
DIAL-UP INTERNET ACCESS No ISP requested

Price: $2,007
Instant Savings $508
Subtotal $1,499

Now you have around $500 to buy more hardwares (or less than $500 with tax and shipping).

Does all the $2000 budget need to be spent at Dell?

Like others have said I would consider getting additional harddrives, two of the 1TB harddrives and a blu-ray drive. But I don’t know if the PC will fit two more additional harddrives. The flash presentation show it has only two harddrive cases. But you might be able to maneuver, or you can try to build [B]XPS 630[/B], it has room for 4 harddrives, comes with 750W power supply and overclocking capability.


#15

[QUOTE=ripit;2138232]@ debro, the 9550 is only 45$ more than the 9400 on newegg, but dell wants an additional 200$ for the upgrade. I wasn’t sure if you noticed that. If the price difference was only 45$, I would have recommended the 9550 too. [/QUOTE]
Agreed … the 9550 is priced too high from dell (I hate Dell).
For the $60 though, I’d still recommend the 9450 to get the 12MB cache, which will give a nice boost in performance - we are talking about streaming HUGE amounts of Data through the processor & the double prefetch buffer will save much waiting time & get better CPU utilisation :wink:

Maybe you can get the Q9400 from dell with the system now … buy the Q9550 from newegg for $320 & then ebay the 9400 C/W heatsink?


#16

[QUOTE=debro;2138443]Agreed … the 9550 is priced too high from dell (I hate Dell).
For the $60 though, I’d still recommend the 9450 to get the 12MB cache, which will give a nice boost in performance - we are talking about streaming HUGE amounts of Data through the processor & the double prefetch buffer will save much waiting time & get better CPU utilisation :wink:

Maybe you can get the Q9400 from dell with the system now … buy the Q9550 from newegg for $320 & then ebay the 9400 C/W heatsink?[/QUOTE]

Yea it probably would be worth 60$ for the extra cache.

@Sossity, the only thing that I didn’t like about the xps 630 is that it is sli, so it would limit how many cards you can have as it only has 2 pci slots. From the looks of the picture, it has a pci-e 4 slot, and as far as I know, you can use a pci-e 1 card in a pci-e 4 slot, so perhaps you could make use of that. It does have the much larger power supply, plus it it atx (the 430 is btx), so the 630 has better long term upgradability (you could change the motherboard and cpu to a whole new class of processor a few years down the road), whereas btx board selection is extremely limited and possibly hard to find. You would be paying for features such as sli that you don’t need though as well as the limitation on the number of slots, so there is a trade off.


#17

[QUOTE=ripit;2138232]@Sossity, those are some great recommendations by debro. Personally I would stick with the q9400 as its more cost effective, but with the price range you are looking at, you can afford a little luxury. Further, if the video editing is going to be work related where time is money, then it might be more cost effective to get the faster processor.

@ debro, the 9550 is only 45$ more than the 9400 on newegg, but dell wants an additional 200$ for the upgrade. I wasn’t sure if you noticed that. If the price difference was only 45$, I would have recommended the 9550 too.

Just to clarify on the video card a little more. Lower end cards have 4 pixel pipelines for processing, where higher end cards may have 8, 12 or 16 pixel pipelines. Thats one of the big things you are paying so much for with high end video cards (plus faster memory and clock speeds). The problem is, video can only use 1 pixel pipeline so the high end cards provide no advantage with video. They are intended for gaming. further, cards like the hd2400/hd2600 have special processing abilities for HD playback (the unified video decoder for ati cards) that higher cards like the 2900 and others do not have, so the higher cards will actually perform worse with video. Further, only a couple of programs can take advantage of the hardware acceleration from the unified video decoder, where most programs have the main cpu do the processing (and you have to enable it in the software). The processors you are looking at are by far fast enough to play video, so unless you are encoding video and playing it at the same time, it wont matter anyway (if you are doing both at the same time, then the video playback could steal a bit of power away from the encoding).
I actually did a lot of research back when the 2400/2600 were the newest HD video cards. The 2400 was just about as capable of playing HD video as the 2600 was. The primary difference was the 2600 had slightly better image quality (the 2400 scored 80, the 2600 scored 90), but only slightly better. There was no large advantage for processor power for the faster card with video. If you are only going to be running it to a monitor, I doubt the 2600 would show any advantage. If it is going to be feed to a high end big screen HDTV, then you might see a slight advantage. With what dell wants for the cards, it would cost the same for you to get the 2400 and upgrade later as it would cost to upgrade now. The 3000 series cards are just the newer version of these cards (they may have more features but probably are not going to give any significant advantage with HD processing power). The 2400 is just fine power wise.
Video cards have no effect on encoding and processing video by the way. they are only going to have an effect on playback. Thats one reason that I don’t think the physics card will do you any good. Even cheap video cards like the 2400 have sufficient power for HD video playback. The physics card would only improve gaming performance and it won’t effect encoding and processing video either.[/QUOTE]

I think I may have misunderstood the dell agent about the accelerator, when I went to look at one of the systems, I think the agent was talking about one of the TV tuners offered that was also called a video accelerator or it had it as part of the TV tuner.I think this is what they meant or said I needed for video encoding, said it would take pressure off the CPU.


#18

There does seem to be a video encoder they offer. I did not see it before as it doesn’t seem to be shown as an option with some configurations (maybe it is the default or something).
http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/document?c=us&dl=false&l=en&s=gen&docid=36A388DA6839C09BE040A68F5B2876DB&doclang=en&cs=
Its function seems limited though it might be of some use. Do you have any idea what the cost on it is, or why it requires a tv tuner to work? I haven’t found much information on it yet.


#19

Probably not very useful to you, if you’re encoding HD video :iagree:
The media accelerator plugs into the TV tuner also. So again, not useful to you.


#20

I really wish there was a decent hardware solution that wasn’t very expensive and worked well. ati really dropped the ball on their converter. Maybe nvidia will do better with cuda, but its too soon to tell.