Building the ultimate video editing PC: Part 2

In the second of our posts looking at building the ultimate video editing PC, animation designer Alex Amelines provides additional advice on choosing the best component for building the ultimate video editing PC. This post looks at the best software to use, and discusses how much storage and memory you need to get the best experience.

Storage

As with the other components, speed is important. While size might be the only thing people think about when it comes to storage, the longer it takes to write data to a hard drive, the longer it will take to perform tasks such as graphic rendering. The key is ensuring that whatever video software you are using, it has access to dedicated storage for reading and writing data. Using an SSD for the OS and traditional HDDs for standard read/write operations means that you can take advantage of SSD speeds to boost start-up times, while using HDD for its low cost to storage space ratio. If you decide to do this, you’ve got a couple of options. You could set up two fast internal HDD drives (7200 RPM) using RAID, which would further increase the drives’ speed (although you would only be able to use half of the combined storage – you can read more on this here), or using three drives could use RAID 5, which gives you speed and protection against HDD failure (but only two thirds of the combined storage). Alternatively, you could use an external RAID storage box over FireWire or USB 3.0. A final option, which is especially good if you’re rendering graphics, is to use one drive as your main scratch disk, and another one for rendering to, as it is faster to read from one disc and write to another one. It almost goes without saying, but having a backup plan in place will ensure that you won’t lose your latest masterpiece in a freak accident. Speed is less important here, so a standard external USB drive can fulfil your needs.

Software

The type of software you need will depend entirely on the type of videos you’re making. For 2D animation, a great place to start is Adobe PhotoShop and After Effects. From there you can move to 3D, and while there are many options, the most user friendly is probably Cinema 4D. However, a more pocket-friendly alternative is Blender as it is free to download. There are also programs such as Lightwave, Modo, 3D Max and Maya, although whether you will need these depends on how much 3D you will be doing, and whether it will be VFX or character animation. However, they all have PLE versions available, allowing you to judge what’s more suitable for you. If you’re interested in editing software, Adobe Premiere is a good choice, especially as it comes in the Adobe Creative Suite, which also includes Photoshop and After Effects.

Memory

Memory is relatively cheap, and you’ll notice if you don’t have enough. To ensure smooth performance, you’ll want to go for at least 8GB, although 12GB will mean you won’t have to worry about upgrading for a while. As with the other components, speed is very important. This Corsair memory is designed to keep up with fast processors such as the Intel i7 series, so it shouldn’t cause any system slowdown.

In the first part of this series, Alex looked at motherboards and processors for a video editing PC, and in the third and final post he will look at graphics cards and peripherals. Alex will also recommend the other components you’ll need, such as cases and power supplies, to put you ultimate video editing PC together.

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