Off the shelf Dell PC?

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: Oct 27 2003

A recent posted reply by Jim Bird to anothers question stated that he uses an "Off the shelf Dell PC". I also have a similar setup. I was wondering what off the shelf Dell setup you were using. I am also using a dell machine and have a few problems.

I am very new to this Video editing game, and am experiencing problems with dropped frames which appear to speed everything up when I print my film to my camcorder.

Is there something obvious that I am doing wrong,? my pc is a Dell optiplex GS 260 SMT.
40 gig hard disk, with 128 ram. The hard disk is supposed to have a DTR of 130mb/sec?
yet my software, Digital Intro (free with my Canon Camcorder) appears to be hinting that my transfer rate is only 0.1mb/sec??

Sorry to pick on you Jim, but I only registered today, and your reply was uncanny in it's timing.


Joined: Jul 6 1999


Generally speaking I'm against using Dell (or indeed ANY standard, "off the shelf" PC) for video editing.

The are designed for a mass market, they are good and cheap, but nobody will have done the thinking and research to make sure they work with a video editing card.

Also, with a propietary mobo etc. it's almost impossible to figure out what's going on, or obtain technical info or comparitive reviews on the web etc.

However, things are much better now than they were 2-3 years ago, and you should be able to get it to work.

The Dell Optiplex range is a business PC, I believe, which means dell may have done things to reduce the cost which impact video editing. Even so...

I'm sure your disk DOES NOT have a DTR of 130MB/sec. It might have 130Mb/sec (B=Byte, b=bit) which is about 16MB/sec, but it seems more likely that 130MB/sec refers to the peak transfer rate of the cable connecting the disk to the motherboard. Whatever... it seems implausible you could have a drive that delivers less than 10MB/sec, because you have to go back several years to find a drive that slow.

I'd say the first thing to do is check the speed of your drive. There used to be a utility called DiskBnch downloadable from this site to do that.

What OS are you running? If it's W98 (or earlier) DMA might not be enabled on you disk, which could bring the machine to a standstill. If W2K or XP you may simply be short of RAM, which could have similar effects.

Please post your full system spec. It's hard to offer anything more than guesses without it.



Joined: Oct 27 2003

Sorry fro the delay in replying I have been out of the country.

Here is a list of my set up.

Dell optiplex GS 260 SMT.
Running windows XP
128 ram
Graphic controller Intel 82845G/GL (not sure how to find out how much ram is on the card?)
Hard disc
· Formatted Capacity: 40GB
· Technologies: Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) Motor
· Interface: 40-pin ATA-5
· Data Transfer Rates: 133MB/s (UATA)
· Average Seek Times: 8.5ms
· Buffer Size: 2MB
· Rotational Speed: 7200rpm

I’m not that familiar with hardware etc, as you will see from above, but I am really hooked on editing vieo and would be very grateful for any advice that anyone could give me with regard my set. Is it enough? If so, what do I need to do to maximize it’s eefficiency.
I would also like to buy the best piece of software that I could fro around £300ish. Any recommendations??


Jim Bird
Joined: Sep 15 2000


Two things here, firstly with any video editing system you need a second Hard Drive to capture the audio and video.

Secondly, you need as much RAM as you can afford, the more the merrier.

DELL makes a very reliable PC that alone makes it worth the admission price.

Most of the people I know who no longer buy Dell complain about there service, i.e. getting the machines out of the door, they would never complain about the reliability.

My system is just perfect.


Jim Bird

Joined: Oct 27 2003

Thanks Jim,

Looks like I'm gona have to more familiar with tye inside of my pc than I currently am. I'd like a hard drive that can accomodate at least 2 hours of video at dv quality, I'll check the hard drive forum, but have you any recommendations?


Joined: May 12 2004

I also am using an off the shelf Dell:
P4 3.4GHz
XP pro
2GB dual chan DDR 400MHz ram
120GB SATA (System Drive)
250GB SATA (Capture drive)
ATI 9800 XT 256MB
SB Audigy 2
Dual Monitor set up 2x 18.1 Flat Panel

Waiting on my Matrox RX100 Pro Suite to get here so I can get back to work.

Until I got the new sys I was using another OTS Dell:
1GB Ram
2x 120GB HDs
Radeon 9500 pro vid
SB Live Sound
and a Pinnacle AV/DV capture card.

Found that Adobe Prem does not like TI firewire expansion cards so I bought the Pinnacle AV/DV capture card. Works OK. Upgrading due to 176 VHS tapes I need to digitalize and edit. Old system too slow.

The new Dell went for $3,120. Got it on one of Dell's rare 20% off days (just one of the monitors, already have the 2nd).

Hoping things will go real smooth with new system. Will post after the RX100 gets here and I get it installed.


Joined: May 14 2004

Hi ,

You might need a 3rd drive. I had a few problems geting the rt.x100 to synch the audio or with crackle in the audio. Not from overload, but from synch or drivers. Also the rt is a big card. I hope you have a bigger dell case. It might not fit in the smaller ones. Does your ati have the vivo?

asus p4533c@2.53 /4x512 1066 @533
40 gb system /240 gb raid /80 gb
dvd burner
Santa Cruz Turtle Beach
Aardvark 20/20 soundcard
matrox rt.x100
Ati Radeon 9800 pro
19" Nec crt / 17" cheapie / tv