Building a new Athlon based editing system

8 replies [Last post]
retsevlis regor
Joined: Jan 21 2002

Building a new Athlon based DV editing system
My old DVC Win95 / Miro DC20 / Premiere 4.1 system was excellent in its day but it's getting a bit cranky now. Time for a heart and lung transplant. I would be very grateful for any comments on the proposed system, listed below, that would have two interchangeable boot drives in caddies, one to configure it as a general-purpose word processor, music composer, email machine etc. and one to configure it exclusively as a video editing computer without anything unnecessary running in the background such as virus protection. In particular, I would like to know if my chosen motherboard is OHCI compliant, if it is a good one to use anyway and if the on-board sound capability is good enough. I would also welcome advice on how to format all the hard disks, would like to know if my Sony GV-D900 would be incompatible in any way, and overall, would welcome suggestions for reducing the cost of new bits without losing functionality. I can hear Bob C saying, "Have you checked the manufacturers web sites?" and I will, but always remember, the fishmonger does not cry "stinking fish" and, anyway, I live in a hick town in the scrag end of Surrey where optical fibre has not been heard of, telephone line speeds are a joke and pigeons are often faster.

Proposed new bits: (Total cost about £750. I set out with a budget of £500. Oops!)
Motherboard MSI K7T266 Pro2 RU (according to Tom's Hardware Guide this is a true 266 version of the MSI 6380 Raid that I at first thought was the board for me.)
CPU Athlon XP 1600
Memory 512MB DDR
HDD 2 x 20GB IBM Deskstars in RAID
Graphics card Matrox Millennium G550
OS Win 2000 Pro (If it is still available)
Capture card Pinnacle DV200 with bundled Premiere 6.01 etc

Re-used bits:
Tower case and 200watt power supply
RH-57 IDE caddy, courtesy of CV, with a tray for each drive
2 x 2GB EIDE Seagate Medalist drives, one in each caddy tray
Adaptec AHA2940 PCI SCSI controller
6GB SCSI Seagate Cheetah (Maybe - if No.1 son doesn't nick it!)
SCSI CD Rewritable 2x2x6 drive
Pioneer DR-U06S CD Rom drive
Sony MPF520-1 " Floppy disk drive
17" AOC Spectrum monitor
IBM 8512002 as second monitor
CH Products Trackball Pro
External Hayes modem
External Iomega Zip
Sony GV-900 VCR

Bits to be evicted:
Pentium MMX 233MHz
P51430TX-250 Titanium 1 motherboard with 2 x 32 MB Simms
Creative Soundblaster AWE32 Plug and Play ISA sound card

Please be gentle with me, I am an old BBC Micro Guru (locally) and find these new capabilities agoraphobic.

Roger Silvester -

Roger Silvester

Roger Silvester

Joined: Jan 7 2001

You will need a 300 watt PSU. Visit AMDs site for confirmation

Jim Pettit

Joined: Aug 15 2000

1. The on-board sound is AC97; bog standard and naff.

2. the 1700+ is only £3 extra (

3. If you are forking out £65 for each 20GB deskstar why not pay the exta £40 and go for a pair of 40GB or treble the capacity and go for a pair of 60GB at £99 each. You can never have enough diskspace! (A pair of 80GB GXP120 are only £300, looks like the unused channel on my RAID is about to be filled!)

I have a pair of 60GB deskstars on a RAID, dual booting with Win98SE for general stuff and Win 2K for editing. I capture to a 13GB HD and copy over the files. Why waste the RAID on data when the OS runs much better on it. (give your son the seagate IDEs and weld the SCSI to the case!)

4. If you have any offspring still skiving at School or Uni (or have a teacher in the family) you can get an educational copy of Win2K for £40.

5. If your budget is tight only get 256MB and wait for the price of memory to come down (a 512MB stick has jumped from £65 to £130)

6. Move to Leeds we have broadband cable and narrow canals!

[This message has been edited by Bomag (edited 24 January 2002).]

retsevlis regor
Joined: Jan 21 2002

Tanks bomag this is the sort of advice I need
Pessed throgh Leeds last year on the L & L. Great scenery. Envy you that and your cable.

Roger Silvester

Roger Silvester

Joined: Oct 23 2001

I don't think there are any compliance issues between motherboards & OHCI firewire cards.
What prompted your choice of motherboard? A lot of sites like Tom's Hardware base their recommendations on ability to overclock which you really don't want to do with a video editing system. I can recommend a Gigabyte GA7DXR (also has good on-board audio).
A bigger Power Supply is absolutely essential. If you really want to put all those old drives in there, you might consider going even higher than 300W.
Enermax make a range going up to over 500W - not cheap but they have the added advantage of being extremely quiet.
On the subject of all those drives, your system will generate a lot of heat so you may need to add extra ventilation. Excess heat = instability.
Personally, I'd put a single 20Gb Deskstar in as a boot drive, junk all the old hard drives and buy a pair of higher capacity 5400rpm drives for the RAID array (cheaper per Gb & also cooler)

retsevlis regor
Joined: Jan 21 2002

Thanks for that info. I wondered if Gigabyte made a more suitable board. No 1 son (a software PhD) would approve. I may try out my caddy idea with existing drives first but can always change later. I'm still unsure about the Pinacle DV200, but it seems one of the cheapest ways to get Premiere 6.01 as long as it is OK with Win 2000 and a Sony GV-900.

Roger Silvester

Roger Silvester

Joined: Sep 9 2000

I'm very happy with a GA-7DXR system which I have built in the last week. I haven't as yet run anything other than a DVRaptor on it and I am actually using WindowsXP. The combination motherboard/card/OS seems very stable and, for this system, an Athlon 1600 has proved more than adequate.

A big step up from my Celeron 500 on a BX board.


Nick Woods
Joined: Jun 3 2001

I'd echo most of the above comments, especially regarding the PSU which definitely wont be up to the job - you need at least 300W, and if you are planning to run lots of hard drives probably more than that.

You could either buy a new case with an approved PSU or get a replacement PSU for your existing case. If you want something over 300W you may have to take the latter route because most cases come with 300 or less. Enermax, Sparkle and Macron seem to be the most popular brands although I cant point you in the direction of any reviews. I have a 350W Enermax and it is very quiet.

I's also echo Bomags comment about the hard disks - the price of 40Gb deskstars is not much more than the 20gig ones and you cant ever have too much disk space !. I have 2 40Gb dekstars and they work fine, although because I dont have a raid controller they are just set up as master and slave.

Regarding the motherboard, PC Pro have just reviewed a load of boards and the results are on their website at - if nothing else it will give you a second opinion on your choice so its worth a look just for that.



[This message has been edited by Nick Woods (edited 04 February 2002).]

Joined: Dec 1 2001


it seems to me that you're getting some good advice here. Before I built my first editing system over the Xmas holiday I read this group for ages and checked out most of the info with alternative sources. I ended up with a machine built around an Athlon 1600XP on an ABIT KG7-RAID motherboard running Win 2000. I would certainly agree with a previous poster that Win 2000 is a good way to go. My system appears to be very stable. I say "very" because I've had a few crashes but these are all connected with a slight extravagance I included in the machine - Soundblaster Audigy (it's a driver issue but is only a minor problem). One of my points is that sound is often neglected in video and I noticed that you were going with on-board sound. My advice is that you should forget welding the SCSI to your new machine and sell the kid into slavery. Use some or all the money to buy Audigy Platinum and a set of decent speakers. I was stunned, stunned I tell you, at the effects I can produce. It even includes a couple of firewire inputs.

I'm not in a position to comment on the rest of your proposed system but I would echo the advice about the psu. I work closely with guys in IT at a large university and they know that many problems with PCs are caused by insufficient power. I went with a 400W Macron from Kustom PCs - - for 47 quid (inc VAT) and it seems fine (my machine is stable).

regards and good luck,