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Seeking to upgrade hardware


Trias

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Hi guys,
I'm looking to upgrade my workspace for 4K workflow and for a generally more demanding and aggressive grading work. As is, I'm FED UP with the stuttered playback and am willing to invest whatever it takes to remedy it.

I'm looking for a reliable storage/work solution for my project files, for I think this is the real bottleneck in my hardware; as it turns out - my present solution (using regular HDs or external HDs through usb 3.0) does not cut it anymore.
I'm using nvidia quadro k4000 GPU and (a rather old) Intel Sandy Bridge Core i7 2700K, sitting on the board msi Z77A g45.
Perhaps I should upgrade my mother board for some thunderbolt solution?
I'd love to hear your recommendations on storage solutions. I don't mind upgrading my board/cpu either, and my budget can get high as $3k
Many thanks for the helpers!

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Even though your CPU is 'old', a newer i7 is just a little bit faster. You don't have an SSD yet? Definitely get one, this will make your pc feel a lot faster. You can get a 1TB SSD for something like €400 (I recommend Crucial, very reliable), it will probably fit your OS, programs and project files.

Anyway, your disks can't cause stuttering playback. Even a regular he is easily able to playback 4K fluently.  Where do you experience stutter? Probably while editing? 

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Unless you have crazy money for a dual socket, dual CPU setup with 12-core intels, the performance hasn't really been significantly upped for single-workstation CPUs in a while (assuming overclocking)

 

I still think the best value is the 3930K .  6 cores/ 12 threads that can be overclocked easily to 4.5 on air, and 4.9 on water.  The newer chips are more expensive and don't overclock well.  Although power consumption is better.

 

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Hi guys,
I'm looking to upgrade my workspace for 4K workflow and for a generally more demanding and aggressive grading work. As is, I'm FED UP with the stuttered playback and am willing to invest whatever it takes to remedy it.

I'm looking for a reliable storage/work solution for my project files, for I think this is the real bottleneck in my hardware; as it turns out - my present solution (using regular HDs or external HDs through usb 3.0) does not cut it anymore.
I'm using nvidia quadro k4000 GPU and (a rather old) Intel Sandy Bridge Core i7 2700K, sitting on the board msi Z77A g45.
Perhaps I should upgrade my mother board for some thunderbolt solution?
I'd love to hear your recommendations on storage solutions. I don't mind upgrading my board/cpu either, and my budget can get high as $3k
Many thanks for the helpers!

In general you should invest in a "balanced system", which means improving your weak parts first. There are several sites like this that you can find more details.  

From what you describe an SSD will be helpful, but it really depends on the compression of the 4k file... You can find out what exactly is slowing you down and produces the stuttered playback. For example if during playback a single core is maxing out but all the other ones are not being used (or the % use is close to the % of each core in windows task manager) then that shows your file is being decoded slowly. If there is minimal cpu usage and your hard drive is at its maxed speed, then that should tell you that you need an ssd. If all of your cores are maxed out, then you are CPU limited, but at least in premiere you can reduce the playback resolution. Your GPU should handle most things just fine, but you can see if it is maxing out too. Sometimes of course it is not possible to see what is limiting you (bus speed etc.) so you just improve few things at a time and see how it works out. 

Most of the times, you can change the way that you edit (transcode, reduced resolution playback, etc) but a modern system can provide some advantages too. CPU wise a 5960x has double the processing power (multicpu tasks) and the ddr4 at least double the bandwidth with what you currently have. A system like that with a asus x99 deluxe that supports thunderbold and 32gb ram will be ~$2000. Adding a couple of SSD for media/exporting will be important too. If you work with davinci resolve and your GPU is limiting you, a gtx970 might do the trick. It is important ot find out what is limiting you before you spend any money... 

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Hi,

Of course I have SSDs. But these are not a *reliable* solution for storage, I cannot spend 400 euros for 1TB.. each project I shoot is 500-1500GB. Relying on SSDs is financial suicide.

I think I'll get a motherboard that supports thunderbolt 2 and hook it up with a nice Raid 5 array. Anyone has experience on those?

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Hi,

Of course I have SSDs. But these are not a *reliable* solution for storage, I cannot spend 400 euros for 1TB.. each project I shoot is 500-1500GB. Relying on SSDs is financial suicide.

I think I'll get a motherboard that supports thunderbolt 2 and hook it up with a nice Raid 5 array. Anyone has experience on those?

​Won't you be spending a lot more to do that?

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Hi Trias,

As Kotlos said, it's all about findind the bottlenecks. Your GPU seems a little dated. In the Adobe forums -I believe it was there- I remember reading that a minimum of 4GB DDR5 in your GPU was the recommendation to edit 4K.

The Quadros are OK for many uses (CAD), but for video they have been long surpassed by the chaper GTX. Check out this video:

(Embed doesn't work "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGP0ga6salw") 

The GTX 970 or even better 980 are obviously faster than the GTX780, and especially a lot less power-hungry.

Regarding HDDs, never use USB3 external drives for editing. They are useful for storage, but they cap at 150MB/s at best, which is only good enough for certain uses. If you want to use mechanical disks, you can set them in RAID to combine their speeds. The more you have, the better (or faster) until you reach the bandwith limit of the SATA controller.

The SSD solution is not as stupid as you think. You can have 3-4TB of SSD for editing purposes and use USB3 or Thunderbolt external HDDs to store original rushes and finished edits. That's actually my configuration. I distrust RAID configurations (just an irrational fear of losing data, which has been know to happen in RAIDs though it is unusual), so I have my current editing project in separate internal SSDs (1TB for project files, 2TB for rushes and 1TB for previews) that yield 500MB/s each. Of course you cannot leave previous jobs just hanging there in your drive, which forces you to be organized and tidy. As soon as I finish a project, rushes/previews/project files/exports leave the editing station via USB3 to an external "storage" drive (or many).

1,600$ in SSD + 400$ in a new GPU + some RAM (you never said how much you had and I'd recommend at least 32GB) and you'd still have money left for a new kickass mobo.

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Unsure about how the new gaming GPUs perform at viewport stuff, but my K5000 Quadro did WAY better than the previous generation of gaming cards at handling large sets of geometry.  Unless you plan on rendering via GPU (which most of the terrific, supported renderers are still CPU based), I'd still consider a Quadro. Unless someone can post some viewport tests saying that the new gaming cards are up to the task.  The old titans weren't very suitable for workstation work (again, unless you use cuda GPU rendering)

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CPU/mobo/memory: The new X99 platform is great for high end production tasks. An i7-5960x is right about a thousand dollars - less on sale - and gives you 8 cores, 16 threads. The motherboards have tons of options for high end storage arrays, USB 3 ports out the nose, optional Thunderbolt 2, the works. Support for large memory configurations means you can buy 32 GB (4x8) right now and upgrade to the full 64 with the remaining 4 empty slots at your leisure later.

GPU: Honestly the 970 is great, despite the weird memory quirk. But the 980 and maybe even a Titan are worth looking at. I'm in the camp that feels Quadros are a waste.

Storage: I'm using a hybrid setup. I have an array of WD Blacks for most of my work, and SSDs for main drive and a secondary 'working' array. The SSD array functions like a 1 TB scratch space - I'll move stuff onto it while I'm working for a few weeks, then transition them back onto the big magnetic platters when I'm not using them so regularly. Note that these are all internal - I'd look seriously at Thunderbolt (2) based systems if you wish to go external for whatever reason.

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