System Recommendations for Video Editing

Okay, let’s back to subject.

Here’s what I can come up with for $400.

$135 ASUS A7N8X SPP mobo

$89 - Athlon XP 2100

$200 - 2x256MB Corsair Micro DDR-333 (you need to have at least 2 seperate memory sticks if you want to enable dual channel memory on an Nforce2 board)

The Athlon and the DDR are both 266. I know FSB is important, and P4’s go up higher, but the price differences really scale up, and I’m impressed with the benchmarks Toms Hardware just put up today with its new Nforce2 roundup.

Here’s a question, though. The Nforce2 can support 333 MHz Athlon’s, which are just out and are pricey ($300+ for the cheapest one). Can I buy 333MHz DDRAM and will it work with a 266MHz Athlon? Then, later on when prices fall, I could upgrade my system with a faster 333MHz CPU and not worry about having to buy new RAM again?

Second, to recoup upgrade costs, I’m thinking of selling my old components on a good forum I know (

What do you think a fair price would be for:

2x PIII 850 Slot 1 CPU
Tyan Tiger 440BX SMP mobo
4x256 MB Crucial PC 100 SDRAM
Promise Ultra 66 PCI controller

Does $400 sound reasonable?

I just render DVD-quality video

Is that lower quality than full-resolution digital video (which is about 4 megs/sec)? The reason I ask is that a file-size limitation would come into play if a film were too long, wouldn’t it? I recall hearing that 2 gigs is the maximum possible file size (not sure if that’s correct), so at full DV quality, if you were to render a single AVI file, the longest it could be would be maybe around 10 minutes.

The 4Gb limit is due to the FAT file system, not the AVI system. FAT can’t handle a file larger than 4Gb.

Switch to NTFS (which means going to Win2K or WinXP) and you can go bigger than 4Gb, easy.

If you’re using NTFS, there’s no file size limit (well,it’s the volume size limit, which is something over 2 terabytes). The 2GB file limit is under FAT; under FAT32 it’s 4GB. (And whoda thunk we’d ever need a file bigger than that a few years ago?)

Some of the consumer video programs have provisions for splitting files that end up over 4GB automatically. I was running XP by the time I got into DV editing, so I’ve never really delved into those workarounds.

Ack. Just saw Toms Hardware Guide’s video of what happened when they removed the heatsink/fan from a P4 and an Athlon processor.

OUCH. My god, the Athlon died in less than a second. Smoke started coming from the chip and it reached over 550 degress Farenheit. Needless to say, the chip and mobo were totally lost.

At least the P4 slowed down and survived, with no loss of data. Say what you will about Intel, but they do know thermal management.

Since I’m building this system and I’ve never toyed around with CPU heat sinks before (I’ve had the handy Slot1 processors, which puts everything in a single package), I’m wary of trying to build an Athlon system now in fear that I’ll mess up the cooling system and it’ll die the first time out. I usually end up screwing something up when I build a system, so I’d like some kind of margin for error.

So now I’m looking at the P4 system

Can someone recommend a good P4 mobo? One that uses DDR ram.



One option is to order a motherboard bundle from – they’ll install the CPU, heat sink, and RAM for you, and test it.

I wasn’t worried about doing the installation, but it was worth it to me to get a tested setup, so I wouldn’t have to do the “hmm, is the motherboard, CPU, or RAM bad?” shuffle if something was DOA>

Otherwise, I’d look at Asus and Abit P4/DDR motherboards. Those two seem to be the best balance between stability, features, and price in my experience.

OUCH. My god, the Athlon died in less than a second. Smoke started coming from the chip and it reached over 550 degress Farenheit. Needless to say, the chip and mobo were totally lost.

The easy way to avoid this is to not remove the heatsink/fan during operation on purpose. That’s where Tom ran into trouble.

Installing an HSF on an Athlon isn’t that hard. Two things to remember, make sure to take the tape that’s covering the thermal pad on the bottom of the heatsink off, and during installation don’t press down directly on the HSF. Use a screwdriver and only press down on the spring fastener thingy, like it’ll say in the directions. There are lots of illustrated guides around the net. Not that hard, just don’t do anything stupid.

Stupid Question Time… but can a CPU running a 266MHz bus (133x2) work on a machine with nothing but 333MHz DDRAM (166x2), or will that screw up the synchronization between processor and memory?

Some motherboards allow asynchronous operation of the RAM and memory. That is, you can run the CPU on a 266MHz bus and the RAM on a 333MHz bus. However, some benchmarks I’ve seen indicate this is actually slightly slower than just running the RAM at the same bus speed as the CPU.

You can run 333MHz memory at 266Mhz with no problems, and then just clock it up later when you upgrade your CPU.

Anything that runs at 333 will also be able to run at 266. RAM and such are backwards compatible that way.

Doh, like a total fool I spend all day trying to find out the answer to my question, and then I finally get around to looking at some back articles on Toms Hardware Guide and it has the answer right there.

Nforce2 can run the CPU, FSB, and RAM in asynchronous memory mode, which means yes!

So I just ordered an Nforce2 board, AthlonXP 2100+, and 512MB of 333MHz DDR! Woohoo!

If anyone is interested in buying my old components once I swap them out, just let me know. If you’re interested in building an SMP system, now’s your chance.

I’m gonna be looking to sell.

2x PIII 850E slot 1 processors. Both are cb0 stepping
Tyan Tiger 100 rev f mobo
4x 256MB Crucial PC100 SDRAM chips (1Gb RAM total)
Promise Ultra 66 PCI controller

[email protected]


Lots of posts here in a short time…

There’s a pretty good chacne that the “hyperthreading” stuff in the upcoming Pentium4 processors, to be realeased Real Soon Now, will make a significant impact on video encoding. I’d wait a short while for the embargo to lift on reviews and see what all the benchmarks turn out to be.

Rambus P4 systems are faster than DDR - video editing is one of the places it shows. The difference is in the 10-20% range, but 10-20% on a few hours worth of recompressing video adds up quick. :)

An Athlon XP won’t be a bad choice, but video compression tools optimized for SSE2 seem to be a bit faster, so P4 might be the way to go.

As for compression choice: if you use WM9 with any sort of two-pass variable bitrate encoding, the general quality seems to be a bit better than the best DivX has to offer. Better yet, some upcoming DVD players will probably start supporting WM9 video playback. I’d guess that will happen with a couple models early next year. There’s been one DVD player that offers DivX movie playback, but I’m not sure it’s gone on sale yet and it’s the only one I’ve heard of.

I’ve played around with WM9 quite a bit since they released the encoder (in pre-release form), and I’m pretty impressed. Once you play around with the settings a bit, it delivers excellent quality/size performance.

So if it were just a matter of quality/size and potential playback in other devices, I’d use Windows Media. But here’s the rub: DivX always seems to encode faster. MUCH faster. WAY faster. Did I say it was faster?

Yeah, the fastest P4s are close to double realtime when encoding DVDs to Divx 5.02. It wasn’t that long ago when Tom’s Hardware was writing articles about finally being able to encode in real time at 30 FPS, now reviews’ll show encoding happening at 50-60 FPS. MS has a lot of resources, but Divx has a lot of hackers writing custom routines optimized for every different processor. Divx has it going for it in speed, the ability to play more places (linux, PS2s, PDAs, new DVD players) and the fact that it doesn’t require software that can never be uninstalled (cough WMP9 wheeze). But encoding apps for Divx are a pain to figure out, I imagine the Windows Media encoder has a friendlier front end. The few times I’ve tried to use XMPEG whatever, I’ve had the program refuse to run without giving a reason. Just and uh-oh error message. And all the options are pretty overwhelming. Do I want to use the IEEE routine or the 3DNow routine or the FPU optimized one? There are like a dozen options there. And what bitrate video, which audio codec, etc. I let someone else do that stuff, I just download and watch.

Out of curiousity… I’m getting a retail Athlon XP, which means it comes with a heatsink and fan.

However, I don’t believe it comes with thermal paste.

Do you guys use thermal paste? Do you recommend it? If so, which one?

Do you apply the paste and let it dry before putting the sink on? Or do you just put a glob on and just smash it with the heatsink?

It’ll probably have a little patch of thermal compound already applied to the bottom of the heatsink. Some’ll tell you scraping that off and using high quality grease, like arctic silver, will be better, but the stuff that’s there should be good enough for you. For future reference, when you do use thermal paste you put a little on the bottom of the sink where it’ll tough the CPU core and use a razor to scrape a thin layer on the bottom (basically filling any imperfections, but not much else). You’ll also put a tiny amount on the core itself. The pressure created when you install the HSFwill squeeze any excess out. The idea isn’t really to create a layer of goo between the CPU and the HSF, but to make sure there aren’t little pockets of trapped air impeding thermal transfer.

If the h/s comes with its own glob of goo (and most do), it will be covered with a piece of tape. Make sure to take the tape off. ;) Otherwise it will melt, make your cpu run hot, and generally make a mess.

Cough not that I have first hand experience, mind you. :roll:

Googlegear had the 3.06GHz P4 (which has hyperthreading) listed as in-stock this weekend; it’s gone now. Dunno if Intel yelled at them, or if they just sold out of their initial allotment. (I’ve seen CPUs for sale a week before announcement many times, usually at a premium.)

But the discounted price for the 3.06? $699! YIKES. Looks like AMD’s falling behind the performance curve has caused Intel to go ahead and start trying to get a bigger premium for new CPU intros again.

Wow, a 3ghz cpu from intel? I am considering getting a new CPU to replace my 1.2 Anthlon. But the top of the heap for my board is only 2.1Ghz and it weighs in at a pricy $300. That’s a lot to pay for something that’s looks to be “outdated” in short order.

Does anyone know if AMD is giong to release higher clocked 266 Mhz CPU in the near future? Maybe I would be better served socking away my upgrade cash for a fast pentium 4.

Big surprise there. Not.

The new Athlon XP’s are all 333Mhz FSB CPU’s, and they’re all based on the Thoroughbred design.

All the 266MHz FSB Athlon XPs were based on the Palamino design, which has since been retired.

The Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73 GHz) is the last 266MHz FSB CPU AMD will make.

It’s what I ordered yesterday, but the rest of my system will be 333MHz (Nforce2), and when the 333MHz FSB Athlon’s drop in price, I’ll just upgrade to that. I imagine they’ll get about 3000+, easy, before they switch over to Claw Hammer.