Originally Posted by MattLP
All of these posts have been immensely helpful, and I've taken everything that I've read here into account (especially comments by mdocod)
With all this in mind, and after talking with the end-user, I've modified the proposed specifications to the following:
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230 v3 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo) Quad-Core CPU
Going to take this opportunity to clarify something:
Originally Posted by levontraut QUESTION:
will an i7 be best for this application or would a xeon be better?
I am not sure how much of a price difference it would be.
The i7-4771 is nearly identical to the E3-1275V3 They share the exact same micro-architecture, cache sizes and clock speeds. The differences are subtle, with the E3 having support for ECC memory (on a supporting motherboard), and the i7 having more "consumer" oriented features on the iGPU (wireless display support). The i7 and E3 series are each offered in a number of different configurations of speeds/TDP etc, some with and some without the iGPU. One is only
better than the other if we *need* one of the subtle differences offered by one of the other, otherwise, they are interchangeable as they perform exactly the same clock for clock because they are effectively the same. (The only exception being the E3-1220 series, which has hyperthreading disabled, as such it performs more like an i5).
Motherboard: Supermicro X10SLL-F-O LGA1150 MicroATX Motherboard
Paying a lot here for "enterprise" class hardware that is packed full of features that will go mostly unused in a desktop media workstation. ECC memory support, IPMI, etc. Not useful.
I like the GIGABYTE GA-B85M-D3H, GIGABYTE GA-H87M-D3H, or ASUS H87M-PRO for this build. Less expensive, more useful features for a desktop workstation, good integrated sound.
Power Supply: Corsair HX Series HX650 650 Watt Gold Certified Power Supply
The Seasonic 360W G series would be more appropriately sized for the build as listed (less expensive as well). Any more than a quality 450W PSU is going to be unnecessary unless it is being configured as a multi-GPU 4K transcoding behemeth. The machine as listed will rarely ever use more than ~200W.
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaw X Series 16 GB (4x4GB)
Use a 2x8GB kit instead of a 4x4GB kit. There is no performance advantage to the 4x4GB on this platform. Furthermore, using 2x8GB will free up slots for future expansion if the needs of the machine change to something more memory intensive.
See: F3-1600C9D-16GXM 2x8GB kit, currently priced competitively at a popular eggy sort of place.
Graphics Card: PNY nVidia GeForce GTX 650 2GB
A common misconception is that more VRAM is automatically beneficial. This is only the case when performing real-time interactive renders of large 3D projects in big creation/CAD applications. For video work, the amount of data that needs to be in VRAM at any given time is minuscule. The 1GB GTX650Ti is actually the better buy for about the same money.
Audio Card: ASUS Xonar Essence STX 192Khz Audio Interface
There are motherboards with great built-in audio these days. I'd be very skeptical as to the usefulness of this component unless the editing station is being installed in a sound deadened room. There are many other more significant sources of distortion (both linear and non-linear) that would need to be addressed BEFORE concerning oneself with a "premium" analog IO device like this. Do a little reading around forums regarding the subject of integrated audio. The general "honest" consensus is that sound cards are largely useless given how good the on-board audio has become on most motherboards. I wouldn't suggest bothering with "fancy" sound-card unless it is needed for specialized sound IO. Cross that bridge when the need arises.
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H100i Extreme Liquid CPU Cooler
I don't see any benefit to strapping a radiator good for dissipating 300W to an 80W chip. It just brings more opportunity for failures (2 fans and a pump) and reduces air-flow over the VRMs. (it will run at such low speeds most of the time that there will be a significant drop in air-flow over the VRM area of the motherboard compared to a smaller HSF. Bigger isn't always better.
I would suggest the AXP100 from Thermalright. It's a "reasonable" size quiet cooler that doesn't hang a ton of weight way off the motherboard like other heatpipe coolers. It's a down-blowing design and is generally regarded as a high quality build. ~$60.
System Drive: Samsung 840 250GB Internal Solid State Drive
Should be fine for a system/app drive. EVO/Pro? Either would be fine but the added cost of the Pro is probably unnecessary.
RAID0 Storage Drive #1: Western Digital Black 3TB (7200 RPM / 64MB Cache)
RAID0 Storage Drive #2: Western Digital Black 3TB (7200 RPM / 64MB Cache)
Storage solutions for a video toaster have to be scaled properly for the bit-rates in question. A pair of big mechy drives in RAID0 could be way over or way under the sweet spot depending on format of the imported footage and whether or not it will be edited directly. (some people who work in RAW opt to convert all footage to compressed and then "link" the edits to the RAW footage for export afterwards, there's a name for this method that eludes me at the moment but it alleviates the need for large RAID configurations to work with RAW,)
I wouldn't bother making a RAID0 array if the system is only going to have 2 project drives in it. Too much potential downside for not enough upside. Just use one as the "media/footage" drive and the other as the "export/scratch/render-output" drive. The combined IO performance will be about the same. While "max" read/write speeds will be lower the actual real world performance is apt to be better with lower overall latency between read and write requests.
If you actually *need* the IO performance of RAID0 for the footage being used, then you'd probably have to look at some more sophisticated than a single 2-drive array anyway.
Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 350D Black Aluminum MicroATX Mid Tower Case
looks great. Alternatives would be Fractal design cases, which also have that "professional" look going on.
Monitor: Samsung Glossy Black 27" Widescreen LED Monitor
How much to invest here depends on quality of the content that is being edited to begin with, and the intended destination of the result. If we're dealing with RAW footage shot through $10,000 worth of glass, then that's one thing, if we're talking about a 50mbit prosumer handycam, that is quite another. I don't have any experience in modern high end monitors. Hopefully Jeff's insight will prove useful. I agree that multiple ~23" monitors is better for productivity than a single 27".
In my experience, cheap monitors are great at being cheap and functioning as monitors. Beyond that the color accuracy is pathetic. Even performing as much "calibration" as is possible by eye with calibration images, I can't get my 2 "cheapo" monitors to have a similar white point or color range no matter what I do. Not a big deal for my needs but it is annoying. For professional work I couldn't trust either of my displays, the differential between them alone tells me that it's impossible for either of them to be even close to "accurate."
Speakers: M-Audio AV 40 Studio Reference Monitor Speakers
These probably represent a pretty good value. Add a few more zeros onto the price, THEN think about a dedicated sound card
(these are a good match to on-board audio IMO).Edited by mdocod - 3/20/14 at 4:57pm