Tag Archives: PC Build


Part 2 – The Man Without a Plan


First up, thank you all for your help. The response has been far greater than I expected and whether it’s directly here on the blog, across Twitter and Facebook, even the barren social plains of Google+, I’ve read every comment and it’s all fuelling my knowledge on the subject and slowly guiding me towards my first build.

Amongst all the comments there were 2 constants (if you ignore the references to Robert Pattinson!!) that clearly have to be my next steps. If I’m ever going to finish, or even start, this thing I need to decide what the PC is for and how much I want to spend?

As the build’s final resting place will be in one of your bedrooms I don’t really have a planned use for it. What I’m going to aim for is something down the middle, a desktop that a family can use for homework, watching YouTube videos and browsing Facebook, but also a PC that, in the hands of one of you guys, is easily upgradeable to something far more powerful.

As for cost, well that depends on a) What Dunc’s got lying around that I can get my grubby mitts on. b) What bits and bobs I can scrounge from the lovely, lovely manufacturers we deal with and c) What I can talk my boss into letting me take from stock.

One thing this whole experiment has proven to me is the gap between what I need to know to put a build together and understanding the whole inner workings of a PC is pretty big.
Using your help, the colour coding of ports and a few ‘How to…’ guides I’m going to be able to knock together a PC without necessarily having to know what individual parts are doing.

By the end of the week we should have something resembling the start of a build or a small smouldering pile of plastic and metal. Either way, I’ll be few steps closer to building my first PC.

matt the n00b

Part 1: A n00b In Need

matt the n00b
Matt calls on the friendly masses to help his PC build


For 6 long years I’ve sat here helping to shift boxes of things I don’t really understand. Don’t get me wrong, I know DDR5 memory is an improvement on DDR3 and that Intel’s Core i7 processor is a step up from their Core i5, but I don’t really know why. (Apparently, “cos it’s 2 more“ isn’t a sufficient answer!)

So to try and expand my limited knowledge, and to keep me busy for the next few weeks, I’m going to roll up my shirt sleeves, do a bit of research and build a desktop PC from scratch.

I could make this easy for myself – I can throw an antistatic wristband in any direction from my desk and it would hit someone who’s built more PCs than this laptop has had Java updates – but I like a challenge and I thought you guys might want to lend a hand.

Lost in a sea of components

So where do I start? Where do YOU start?

Is budget the prime decider for your build? Do you see what spare components you’ve got laying around and use them as a base? Do you go for the best value setup or aim for the ultimate in performance? Or do you think through what the PC is for and then spec to your needs?

So with a little help from you, and if the self-build Gods are looking favourably on us all, maybe, just maybe, I’ll manage to get a working PC out of the other end with only minimal harm to my physical and mental well-being.

Keep checking back as I’ll be updating this regularly with progress reports and a live count of how often I’ve electrocuted myself, and if you all behave yourselves and don’t troll me into making a timebomb, we may even run a competition for one of you lucky people to be the proud owner of the very first Matt Berry PC.

Soooo, who fancies pointing this n00b in the right direction??

Alex Amelines

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.


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.


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 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.