Help me configure a new computer

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Wade, Oct 21, 2002.

  1. Wade

    Wade Stunt Coordinator

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    The main purpose of this new machine is to capture video from a yet to be purchased MiniDV camcorder (most likely Sony or Canon). Our first kid will be here in December so I need a way to capture video and then be able to make copies to distribute to the family. I believe I have freedom to spend a little more money now than I did before [​IMG].
    I've mainly used computers for simple games, word, excel, email, etc... so picking out a machine then was easy. Now I don't know what the heck to get for what I want to do. I've pretty much decided on Dell since I've had good luck with the last two machines from them.
    I'm thinking about getting the Dell Dimension 8250 with the following:
    2.8GHz processor
    XP operating system
    512MB RDRAM
    80GB main drive - I plan on putting in a second drive for video capture. Any recommendations?
    No monitor - Will reuse my Dell 19" monitor
    64MB DDR NVIDIA GeForce4™Ti 4200
    16 Max DVD-ROM (or do I only need a CD-ROM?)
    DVD+RW/+R Drive w/CD-RW
    Any recommendation as to which Firewire card I should get? Along with that, what software is good to use for capturing and writing the video? I see Pinnacle stuff everywhere but I've read their stuff is not the greatest or easiest to use.
    Any recommendations on anything before I start making the purchases? Is there anything else I should consider?
    Thanks,
    Wade
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Canopus or Pinnacle are the best cards out there in terms of quality. Avoid the cheap cards that use Microsoft's DV codec. It's a hunk of crap

    DV uses roughly 1GB for every 40min of video. So how big you want that second drive depends on how big you're working with. A good rule of thumb is get enough space for 2.5x the longest project you plan on doing

    Another 80GB drive would do just fine. I recommend the new 8MB cache Western Digital drives.
     
  3. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Isn't DV closer to 1GB for four minutes, or 2GB for 9?

    //Ken
     
  4. Wade

    Wade Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff,

    Is there a particular Canopus or Pinnacle card that a beginner should get?

    Wade
     
  5. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    it's roughly 4.5min/GB, I was using round figures [​IMG]
    Wade, get the best one you can afford. The DV500 and its Canopus equivalent (Either DV-Rex or DV-Raptor, the one that isn't $2000) are the sweet spot for tha amature user
     
  6. Sean Eldridge

    Sean Eldridge Second Unit

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    If you're willing to go all out, why not go ahead and get the ATI Radeon 9700 instead of the G4?

    Sean
     
  7. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I don't think you have to get a 16x DVD-rom if you get a DVDRW.

    I think that the only reason to get the 9700 Radeon would be for high end gaming purposes. I'd get the best bang per buck card currently out if gaming wasn't a priority.
     
  8. John Parris

    John Parris Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, as my only source of income comes from building custom computer systems for people, I have to give my obligatory "Dude, don't get a Dell!" comment here. [​IMG]
    Honestly, I don't have a problem with the big names... it's just a problem with price usually... You could probably do a lot better if you had a local small computer store put it together part by part or even moreso if you order from an online wholesaler and built it yourself... just a thought.
    As far as the actual components, everything looks green except the whole DVD-RW AND DVD-ROM thing... If you're getting the RW, I dunno if you'd really need a DVD-ROM.
    I'd second the suggestion for the Western Digital 8MB cache drives for your DV capture drive.
     
  9. Wade

    Wade Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    It looks like I don't need the DVD-ROM after all so I'll replace it with the 48x CD-ROM. The graphics card is up in the air. I don't really do any gaming or extensive graphics apps so I don't know if I need the better card or not. It would however be nice to get the best they have to offer considering I may not be able to buy a new computer for quite a few years. A new house takes priority next.

    I'm not necessarily committed to buying a Dell. I've just had good luck with the last two computers I bought from them so I thought I would go with them again. My company picks up 20% of the cost or $600 max. so I don't mind the extra cost of the Dell. Having said that it would be nice to find a computer maker that could install a good Firewire card up front and include it in the cost of the machine. That way I could get the 20% percent taken off the cost of the card and software. If I have to buy it separately then I wouldn't get the discount because I wouldn't be able to justify a video capture card for work purposes. I don't know how good Dell's Dazzle solution is. I believe that is the only card they have to offer.

    One of these days I would like to build a computer myself but now is not the time.

    Wade
     
  10. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    If price wasn't an option, and if I didn't build my own systems I would go with Alienware.
    They have the ATI Radeon 9700 available in their systems. [​IMG]

    ...and free shipping until Oct 31.
     
  11. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    ALienware has gone wayyy downhill since they started selling at Best Buy

    Pick up a copy of DV magazine, should be at any borders or Barnes & Noble. There are a ton of places in there that make computers designed for video, and they're willing to customize no problem AND give you the same kind of support that Dell would and cheaper.

    I would go with the DVD-ROM that can also do 48x CD-ROM unless you don't plan on doing much DVD watching. No sense in wearing out your burner
     
  12. Chris Rosene

    Chris Rosene Second Unit

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    I don't know John, Dell crushes the local guys (as well as the other big name guys). My Dell arrived today:

    P4 @ 2.4 GHz with 533MHz
    15" FLAT Panel LCD
    64MB NVIDIA GeForce4
    40 GB 7200 RPM HD
    5.1 Audio Card
    40/40/10 CD Burner
    Keyboard, Mouse, Floppy
    256MD DDR SDRAM at 333MHz
    Fully Licensed XP Pro

    All this for under $600 shipped to my door.

    I just can't imagine building this system for under $1000 (don't forget case, motherboard, etc). Heck, the LCD's alone are $300+.
     
  13. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    How'd you get that for $600? Some MSN deal?
     
  14. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Isn't forty rounding way up? [​IMG]
    //Ken
     
  15. Chris Rosene

    Chris Rosene Second Unit

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  16. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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  17. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    No, you don't want a Mac. Apple's DV codec is still quite buggy, AND has a number of compatibility problems with various camera models.

    Sorry Thomas, but I recently watched Steve Jobs' sermon to the masses at MacWorld, and what you just said is virtually verbatim. You're paying at least a quarter again more money for less performance (and in the case of the SuperDrive, for the SAME DRIVE)

    If you buy from one of these turnkey A/V companies, it's fully tested for compatibility.
     
  18. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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  19. Wade

    Wade Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm going to scratch what I said earlier about not wanting to build a computer at this time. The more I thought about it the more I realized that I probably could do it. I work with enough Sparkies that probably dabble in this stuff that I could get the help I need if I were to actually need to it. Last night I put together a quick list of components that I think I would need. I also added some manufacturers just to get the conversation going. This is all subject to change but I've got to start somewhere.
    Case - Enlight 340W #EN-72370AZ. I just picked the first case that popped up. Need to look around more.
    Motherboard - ASUS P4T533-C
    Processor - Intel 2.4BGHz 512K 533MHz
    Memory - RAMBUS 256MB 1066MHz ECC (2X)
    Hard Drives - W.D. 80 GB 7200RPM 8MB cache (2X). Could possibly go with the 100 or 120GB for one of the drives.
    DVD-RW - Pioneer DVR-AO4 DVD-RW EIDE
    DVD+RW - SONY DRU-500A
    DVD-ROM - Lite-On 16X
    Floppy Drive - TEAC or Samsung 1.44MB Floppy
    Graphics Card - ATI RADEON 9700 PRO (I might as well go for it)
    Modem - Encore ENF656 (I'm cheap here)
    Firewire Card - Pinnacle DV500 (might as well go for this as well)
    Operating System - XP. Would 2000 be better? That is what I am currently using.
    Other - XP Small Business if I go with XP
    Unsure about:
    Sound Card - ?. How is the onboard audio on this mb?
    Network Card - D-Link 10/100. Do I need this considering the mb has onboard LAN? I have this card in my current machine and I have a D-link 4 port hub.
    Speakers - ?
    Am I missing something or do I have things that don't work well together?
    I am not certain I have chosen a good motherboard. The 1066 ram I have listed is a little more expensive than the 800. Is the difference in performance worth the extra cost? Also, would I be better off going with another motherboard which uses DDR ram instead?
    I'm sure I could buy this machine cheaper than what I can build it for but the learning experience would be awesome. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also any good web sites that outlines how to build a computer would be nice. I found a few last night but I believe they were oversimplifying things just a bit.
    Thanks,
    Wade
     
  20. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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