WORKSHOP VIDEO #07: Video editing workstation build

Making workshop videos is a lot of fun, but editing the high-def video is painfully slow on even our best CAD workstation. We set out to upgrade one workstation to run Adobe Premiere with a budget of about 500 bucks. It’s not a killer gaming rig, but it encodes videos in minutes instead of hours:

We made this build video so we could test the new workstation. It’s a huge upgrade! On the old system it took about 2 hours to encode a 5 minute video for YouTube, the new system it took about 6 minutes. It took about 20 minutes to edit the video, with no crashes or lag. Editing workshop videos will be a lot more fun in the future.

Next week we’re back with a Free PCB episode. Find out why we give away free PCBs, and how we mail them out.

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  1. Ian:

    Don’t forget the heatsink grease on the CPU! I didn’t see any go on in the time-laps video….

    1. It came with grease applied in a patch, I used that for the initial test. I actually tested the bare motherboard with a video card before putting it in the case. I tore it back down after the initial test and reapplied some old magic silver arctic blast paste that has served me well for years.

    1. Unbelievably so. It would have taken all afternoon to fight with the old editor (2-3seconds for a screen refresh sometimes), then 2 hours to encode it. This went together and onto youtube in under an hour.

  2. you might want to mention the specs of the old machine. Just to give people an idea.
    You did not mention the 120 GB SSD in the video.
    If you have more machines in your local network sitting lazy around and waiting for input, you could increase the fun by getting up a cluster to crunch the videos down.

    Ahhh yes and go cooperate evil. Do some product placements in this kind of videos ;) Would been fun to see a buspirate on the desk or even play with it during the time laps video.

    There is a sticker in the video, but maybe you consider to get a Dangerousprototypes logo e.g. upper right corner of the video. Kind of dangerousprototypes TV channel.

    1. Ohhh no warm words in my last mail….
      Here it comes… nice work, great video, keep going, I really enjoy the videos and the website.

    1. We use the “best” CAD workstation for video editing because it is the biggest-baddest computer in the shop. I upgraded it, old parts will be down cycled to the other boxes.

      Per Torwag’s question – Old setup was a 2 core AMD chip from 5 years ago.

      1. @Ian,
        I’m curious how much the SSD contributes to the result, if you have time and if you are curious too, could you please add a HDD (if not already there) and compare HDD vs. SSD for the same encoding task.

      2. The SSD is what actually spurred the update. I noticed that SATA-6GB was up to 500MBps read/write for around $100. I was like, wow, that is a huge difference between my old 150MBps SSD and ~60MBps HDD.

        It helps a ton in editing, where I have to scan through video quickly and assemble clips. I don’t think it help too much with rendering which is probably more CPU intensive. In fact, I actually do output the rendered video to an old HDD (though it reads from the SSD). I will try doing both from HDD next time.

  3. SATA 6 GB is actually 6 Gb (or 6 Gigabits), right? In my world (not sure about yours), ‘B’ stands for Bytes and ‘b’ stands for bits. Looking at Wikipedia, they’re using “6.0 Gbit/s” to describe the fastest incarnation of SATA.
    Then, when you compare 150 MB/s with ~60 MB/s, it makes a little more sense.
    Note, I think you would have been fine with SATA 3.0 Gbps, since that’s still twice as fast as the burst speed of the SSD.

    1. I’m sorry, I got so lost in the marketing garbage I’m not sure. My best guess is they call it SATA-III, and it is 6Gbits/s rate. Disk specs are big B, not sure what they are using: Max Read: up to 525MB/s Max Write: up to 500MB/s. It is a huge improvement when scrubbing back and forth through video, there’s no lag at all while it loads video. I couldn’t be happier with the difference.

    1. What Sjaak said. Both DIMMs are in channel A. The old i7 board I’ve got is really picky about the memory slots you use when you don’t have all the slots filled. It won’t boot properly if you don’t follow the guidelines for filling the slots. Newer boards aren’t quite so picky and just won’t run it in dual/triple channel mode instead of not booting.

      The manual for the M5A97 board that Ian is installing says if you only have two DIMMs then split it over two channels for better bandwidth and use the two blue slots for better overclocking capability. I guess the two blue slots are at the end of the channel so less of a problem with reflections.

  4. Ah! a fellow M5A97 user.

    What tiersten says is quite interesting, using the end channels for less reflection. What is interesting is why not label those as the ‘A’ slots.

    In any case, have you updated the bios? I went from 0503 to 0901 iirc and have had lots of stability issues when POST-ing. Once up it seems to be fine.

    I had to upgrade the bios, as no linux kernel would run USB when a 64bit kernel was loaded. That was fixed with 0901 but it posts extremly slowly (when USB devices are connected it seems) and sometimes it seems (or just takes so long) to not post at all where a reset/powercycle is needed.

      1. I guess they still ship the original bios then. I can’t roll back, as I’ll be without USB ports when using 64bit kernel :S

        When you do take the plunge, post here your experiences ;) Could be still that my board is fubared.

      2. Revisiting this, I’ve just checked for a bios update (was actually going after the manual to look something up) and they have supposedly fixed all issues I had.

        There’s been more then 1 update, but they’ve ‘fixed’ USB being problematic and more importantly, and I quote:
        “3.Patch system hanged when use AM3 1090T or 1100T CPU.”

        You have the 1055T, so you would have never had that issue I suppose. I on the other hand do have the 1090T, which was giving me post problems.

        So it should be safe to upgrade and use it now :)

      3. Thanks for the heads up. I will update too. I have “USB being problematic” a lot :) Though my bugs are usually not ones that MB makers fix in upgrades :)

  5. Mostly it would sometimes not post and that required either a few resets or disconnecting USB devices. I was actually surprised to see that many updates. Normally it’s release and forget. What USB issues do you get?

    1. The front panel USB sockets (connected internally) are strange. One works with most stuff, one refuses to work with flash disks, one refuses to work with USB headset, and one is even stranger :) Will flash in a few and let you know.

  6. I’ve upgraded my system in a similar configuration(motivated by your build). I’ve used ASUS M5A88-M mobo, AMD 6core 1075T (1055T was not available), and CORSAIR 4GB@1600. All done under $300. I’m not after video editing or gaming, but I marked processing speed increase in heavy apps.
    Oh, and I had to reinstall Win7 as it refused to boot in new mobo. Did you faced any similar problems?

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