Building a new monster PC

Step 1, buy all the parts of course!

Step 1, buy all the parts of course!

Getting stuck into the video editing of my video show Supercar Spin every month has become a real patience test and a half in recent months. The trouble is, as we are getting a little bit better and better with more HD footage and more videos of the cars we feature and the show creeps each episode a little bit longer, my old laptop is really starting to grind. I thought about it for a minute, all the times I press ‘play’ to preview a change I’ve made, if you add all those up through the video editing complete process, they work out to be close to hours wasted.

The solution was to spec out and build a fast video editing workstation specifically designed to power through the video editing process  from beginning to end, to give me more time being creative and less time waiting for the laptop to play catch-up.

After a few evenings of research on the internet to find out what the best ‘bang for yer buck’ parts were for a ‘video editing workstation’ I learnt it is (warning this gets real geeky now):

  • as fast a CPU as you can afford – so I bought a Intel i7 960 quad core CPU
  • a SSD (Solid State Drive) – for Windows and all programs for ultra fast random read/writes
  • 2 x ‘Raptor’ drives in RAID 0 configuration – for all video content to be written to/read from
  • NVidia GTX470 video card – compatible with Adobe Premiere Pro hardware acceleration
  • 8Gb of RAM minimum – RAM is so cheap nowadays so I opted for 12Gb
  • A 64bit operating system – So I went with Windows 7 64bit
  • A good backup solution – so I got a 2Tb USB 3 external hard disk that gets locked in the safe after every monthly backup

I haven’t built a PC at home for about 10 years now, but I’ve been building servers in the day job in that time so how hard could it be? Driving all around Sydney to get all the parts for the cheapest prices around from dodgy hard to find Asian suburbs was the hardest thing to do!

Driving all the way round bloody Sydney just to get the cheapest parts

Driving all the way round bloody Sydney just to get the cheapest parts

Actually building the workstation wasn’t too hard. Firstly you go buy all the parts as mentioned above and you can see in the first photo at the top of this blog post. Next is to get all the parts out of their over packaged boxes and start prodding expensive shiny looking parts with your fingers showing excitement, I did this part when Sanna was out so she didn’t get jealous of my excitement Smile

Lay all the expensive bits out on a table to poke at

Lay all the expensive bits out on a table to poke at

Now we build the complete computer on the kitchen table and power it up and start to install Windows. You don’t have to build the whole computer on the kitchen table but it does look quite cool doing so, it also does provide good opportunities for short-circuiting stuff so its not really advisable, but it looks cool!Turn the kitchen table into a electrical hazard

Turn the kitchen table into a electrical hazard

Now you have to get your new computers case and strip out all the wires and install the power supply usually at the bottom at the back. If your a cashed up teenager, this is usually when you install silly things like water cooling and neon lights in the computer, because we all know neon lights make your computer more powerful! just like stripes on a car make it go faster!

Empty case, boring and doesn't let you edit too many videos

Empty case, boring and doesn’t let you edit too many videos

Lastly we bung all of the parts you saw on the table before into the case as neatly as possible. Would you believe it, after not building a computer for myself in 10 years it all worked first time, no troubleshooting! and boy is it miles faster than my old SONY  VAIO laptop.

Fully built video editing workstation, does let you edit videos in blistering speed

Fully built video editing workstation, does let you edit videos in blistering speed

So I set out with the aim to research and build a purpose built workstation for video editing and rendering HD videos for supercar spin and yes it delivers well, its bloody fast! The only way I could prove this to myself was to run up Adobe Premiere Pro and set it on a versus rendering faceoff between the old laptop and the new workstation in the video below.

Old laptop Vs. new workstation faceoff

Ok ‘geekyness’ over with, time to return to normal life and make another episode of Supercar Spin.

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