Best DV edit system?

8 replies [Last post]
Joined: Oct 4 2001

Please help!
Below are 3 DV editing systems I'm considering in different price ranges. All use 1.4 athlons with 256Mb DDR Ram and have similar DVD (16x) and CD-RW (16x10x32x) drives. Cam is a Sony PC100.

I am stuck between getting the lesser spec. system and buying a decent capture card (DV500 hits my financial limit) or getting a better system and making do with a firewire card and the CPU power for now.

Does the RAID configuration in system C make that much difference? I'm not too bothered with sound or games either. Just trying to get a decent system for video editing.
Also, most systems are now shipping with Windows XP. I,ve read many postings rating Win2k over 98/ME but what about XP.

I look forward to any comments anyone might have before I just toss a coin!
Many thanks, JohnG

System A (£670+vat) comes with std 17" crt monitor, 40Gb HD, Geoforce 2 MX GPU, on-board sound + 80W spekers.

System B (£999+vat) comes with a better 17" LG Flatron 795FT screen, ASUS A7M266 mobo, 40GB HD, Geoforce 2 Pro GPU, Firewire card, S.B. Live 5.1 sound and DTT2200 speaker set-up.

System C (£1199+vat) offers a choice of screen, 15" TFT Phillips Brilliance 150P2 or 19" LG Flatron 915FT, Gigabyte GA-7DXR mobo, 2 x 30Gb Raid 0 HD's, Geoforce 2 Ultra GPU, Firewire card, S.B. Live 5.1 and DT2200 speakers.

Joined: Aug 15 2000

1. Do you need a DV500?

Do you have any need for an analogue in/output? If not do you think that real time transition are worth the extra cost (I have a 1.4Ghz Athlon and the wait for transitions to be rendered is not significant). Also do you need/want Premiere (which comes with the DV500) - its not the easiest to learn and something like Studio 7 may be a better solution (and cheaper if editing software is not includedin 2 and 3)

2. I have a 19" moniter on one computer and a 17" on my other. I find the 19" much better to edit on (even though its run off a Geforce most of the time) and worth the extra (I got mine when they were £500+!)

3. Geforce cards do not have the best video quality, in fact some are fairly hidoeus. If you don't want to play 3D games try and get a Matrox G4xx/G550 card they have much better video quality and come with dual monitor support (editing with a 19" and a 17" monitor is very nice!) and are cheaper than the GF2 Pro/Ultra. The ATI Radeon is someware in the middle with ok quality and fairly fast 3D speed.

3. RAID - The first two options only have a 40GB HD, given the space needed for programs, swap files etc it is not alot if you want to edit more than short sequences, 60GB is much better (an extra hour and a half of footage). Also being a RAID will speed up all disk access by 50-70% (a single 7200 RPM disk seams slow!) which is of much more use than an extra 200Mhz of CPU or more ram)

4. Win XP is not offictaily released until October 26th so its a bit of an unknown reality vis video editing. However based on reports from Beta and RC (Release Candidate) testers I would not tuch it with a barge pole for at least 6 months until decent drivers have been produced and all the inconpatibilities have been resolved (based on the problems with Win Me it could be a long time), stick with Win98SE or Win 2000 if at all posible.

I hope this of use. However you will have to decide if you want to afford the better machine as option 1 will still be adequate to do basic editing on (with an addition firewire card!)

[This message has been edited by Bomag (edited 08 October 2001).]

Joined: Oct 4 2001
Originally posted by Bomag:
[b]1. Do you need a DV500?
Thank you Bomag for your reply.

1. I'll take your advice re the dv500. I don't have a very strong requirement for analogue in/out and could always do something about it at a later date.
However, when you say that the wait for rendering is not significant with a fast processor, are you talking less than a minute or so, or closer to 5-10 minutes?

2.My only query re monitor is whether the 15" TFT is a waste of time for editing even though it only has an inch less viewable area compared to a 17" CRT? Bear in mind that the "C" system has a proper DVI connection. Also, I am not very "flush" when it comes to space, and so, dual monitors are unfortunately out of the question.

3.I do not have much of a choice when it comes to graphics cards on these systems as they are not really built to requirement.

4.Thanks for insight on RAID performance benefit. From reading various articles and indeed postings here, I think I would also add a seperate HD as a boot disk. I understand it's much better to keep OS and other software on a seperate drive.

5.Appreciate your comments re incompatibilities with XP v.1.00

Thanks JohnG

[This message has been edited by MrHavana (edited 09 October 2001).]

Joined: Aug 15 2000

1. On my system a 3 second cross disolve takes less than 10 seconds. A fancy 3D effect will push this to just over 11 seconds (This is on Premiere 6.0). If I need to re-render a section it usually works out at 1 min per 10 min of footage but this depends on the amount of titiles and transitions.

2. Although I have not used a TFT monitor while editing. The experience I have had with them would not make me want to use one.
Others may diagree. I find a 17" or 19" flat screen CRT to be better to work on.

4. I only have my RAID array on my system. I can capture footage onto it without any problems (The sustained write speed is about 10 times the data rate for DV (44mb/s vs 3.6mb/s )). You will get tha maximum benifit by using the RAID for the system and programs so if you want another disk, use it for capture and then copy the footage to the RAID for editing.

Joined: Oct 11 2001

I suspect your system B & C (at least) are Evesham Asis PCs. I've just ordered one like your system C (with a Geforce3 video card and 40MB H/D for use as a video editing system as well as a general purpose PC so hope it will be satisfactory!

The visible screen on a TFT monitor is bigger than it sounds as typically a 17" CRT only has a 16" visible diagonal. The Philips TFT monitor has had rave reviews as well for its colour purity and accuracy (I want my system for digital stills photography as well as video, and Evesham's prices and standard Firewire card seemed too good to resist any longer.



Joined: Oct 4 2001

Originally posted by CJJE:
[B]I suspect your system B & C (at least) are Evesham Asis PCs.

Hi Chris,
You are indeed correct about Evesham, although your spec is slightly different. You seem to have gone for a Geoforce 3 card at the expense of a 2 x 30GB RAID hard disk setup.

Do you need the Geoforce 3 for games?

My understanding is that a geoforce 3 will not give you a great boost for 2D applications over a geoforce 2 ultra, although the latter does not have DirectX 8 hardware.

You might also consider installing a boot drive. Even Evesham use 20GB boot drives in their DV editing machines. If you wish to do this make sure to install it on a seperate IDE controller (as opposed to slave/master on the same controller). This will give you two main advantages.
1. You won't be constantly fragmenting you boot drive with all the data coming in and out (or should that be on and off) the hard disk.
2. You should have slightly improved read/write performance as each hard disk will be communicating independently.
See this link for more details and excuse me if I'm teaching you to suck eggs.

I agree that the Phillips TFT has had great reviews, but I was refering to the fact that so many people in DV editing always emphasise going for the LARGEST screen possible. A 19" screen will give me 17.9" viewing space against 15" on the TFT.

Finally, out of interest, are you paying a similar price (£1199), and what sort of delivery lead-time were you given. Right now I feel that I may aswell wait another fortnight before ordering, then all the PC mags are out again and the price drops another £100 or I get another little extra.

Are you getting XP pre-loaded?


Joined: Jul 7 2001

Sorry for jumping in on this thread, but like MrHavana I am trying to decide on a new NLE and general purpose computer, and I was heading along the Evesham Movie DV500A route. The point raised by BOOMAG -' Do you need a DV500' is pertinent.

Although I now have a DV camera, and have always fancied a Fire Wire Pyro card, I still have lots of analogue cassettes from my previous camera, which I would like to edit. Now that many graphic cards have both (composite) video out and in, would I be able to capture, and then edit this footage with e.g. Media Studio? Would this method of capture still allow batch (scene detection), and would I be aware of any other short comings v the DV500?

Joined: Oct 11 2001

Yes - it is to be a general purpose PC so I would like to run Flight Simulator as well. Evesham were offering a Geforce2 with DVI but now seem to have replaced it with a Geforce 3 card.

Thanks for the info about drives.

Win XP is now coming as pre-load offer, with delivery in early November I guess 0 they are only promising within 28 days.

Price is around £1300 incl vat, but you have to build the spec from their review PC pages not the generally available PC pages to match the machines supplied to PC Pro & PCW!!



Ian Busby
Joined: Dec 18 2000

With regard to MrHavana.If you should need to use analogue footage you can use your Sony Pc100 to convert it to Digital.Just connect your analogue source to the camera and record.