Building the ultimate video editing PC: Part One

If you’ve been reading our blog recently, you’d have seen that we’ve just put together a guide to making the ultimate photo editing PC. Not wanting those of you who prefer moving images to feel left out, we’ve got a guide to building a video editing PC. The guide has been put together by talented animation designer Alex Amelines, and you can see more of his work over on his website at www.studiotinto.com. We’ve split the guide into the main components you’ll need, and Alex has chosen the parts for their compatibility with each other. Of course, once you’ve got the parts you’ll need to put them together, but there are plenty of guides out there to show you how to do this. This is the first in a series of posts which will cover all the components you need, from the motherboard and processor to peripherals and memory.

If any of you have tried editing a video on an average, mid-range PC, you’ll know that it can be a frustrating task. The average PC simply doesn’t have the speed in any of its components to be able to deal with the vast amount of data that needs to be processed and stored. Even if one component is too slow, it can hold everything else up, and can cause the computer to become unstable if you try to make it do more than it can handle.

For the kind of non-linear editing that is standard when editing videos, many people recommend off-the-shelf workstations, such as those provided by HP or Dell, or even a Mac Pro. Although these simplify the process of finding a system, they can end up costing a lot of money – at least £2000. Building your own workstation means you can be much more specific in your choice of components, and ensures that you only pay for the things you want. The components I’ve listed are the ones that make the most difference in a video editing system. Everything else is a matter of personal choice, although I’ve made a couple of recommendations to make the process even easier for you.

Motherboard

The key thing when choosing a motherboard is to ensure that it is capable of keeping up with the speeds of all your other components, and that it has enough room for all the components you want to use. For example, the Asus motherboard has room for up to 64GB of memory, as well as support for the latest USB specification, USB 3.0.

CPU

This will be one of the most important components in your machine, and it is worth spending as much as you can afford on it. Many of the programs that you’ll be using (which we’ll discuss below), use multi-threading to speed up processes on machines that have multiple CPUs. Multi-core processors support multi-threading, which will give you a significant speed boost in many video and graphics programs. The Intel S1366 Xeon E5520 Quad Core 2.26GHz 8MB will be exactly what you need. It would also be worth investing in a processor fan to keep things running smoothly, as the longer you use the machine, the hotter the processor will get, and excessive heat can cause stability problems.

We’ll be uploading the next post soon, and it will look at the storage requirements for a video editing PC, as well as the software and memory you’ll need to get the most out of it. If you’ve got any questions in the meantime, why not drop us a line?

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