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computer stats needed to handle video files

Posted: Tue, 9th Dec 2003, 11:26pm

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4036Douglas

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my parents are (hopefully) going to get me a decent video camera for christmas, but they asked me to do some research and find out if my computer is good enough to handle the files ta a reasonable speed.
i was able to find out this much from quickly searching through my settings:
Matrox Millenium G400 dualhead video card
850 megahertz AMD Athlon Processor
authenticAMD (thats all it said)
512 megs of ram
19.1 gig hard drive with 11.9 gigs free
1st mainboard motherboard?
thats all im able to find currently. i'll probably be editing this post when i find more stats.
is there anything i would need to upgrade or anything like that to be able to handle fairly large video files with reasonable speed?
thanks biggrin

Last edited Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 12:55am; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 9th Dec 2003, 11:31pm

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Marek

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go for the harddrive upgrade. I have an 18 gig and im constantly trying to keep it clean. So yeah, you can get a 120 gig for as little as 70 bucks on sale. Especially the day after Christmas.
Posted: Tue, 9th Dec 2003, 11:32pm

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Hajiku_Flip

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That thing would only handle extremely light video editing. Check this thread for more information on the type of computer specs you'll need. Goodluck!
Posted: Tue, 9th Dec 2003, 11:36pm

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Kid

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You can find out what cpu you have by watching the boot process at startup. This should give us a better idea of if it will cope.

512Mb ram is ok and perfectly fine for working in but if you want things to be that little bit smoother or come from a mac background and/or have bad practices of having tons of programs open at once then you should also think about upgrading to 1GB of ram.

Checking the cpu needs to be a priority though because if you need to upgrade you will most likely need a new motherboard and a new type of memory.

You will most likely want to get a bigger drive pretty soon as video takes a lot of space and you need room to work in. The hard drive is not too dependant on the motherboard so this may be something you want to upgrade first.

A G400 is a perfectly reasonable graphics card for an editing computer. It still looks better than the latest nvidia or ati cards and the dual monitor function is particularly handy for editing. This may be something you want to upgrade at some point for games or for 3d work as it speeds up previews.
Posted: Tue, 9th Dec 2003, 11:40pm

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Marek

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This is kinda irrelevant but i heard somewhere that computers almost double in technology every six months. Now, when i first heard that, i thought "that cant be true" but now im beginning to believe it. Two years ago, my computer was top of the Dell line. 18 gigs, 256 ram. I havnt upgraded since except for the accelerator card. But damn a gig of ram? that is insane. I feel like my computer is really slow now biggrin
Posted: Tue, 9th Dec 2003, 11:43pm

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4036Douglas

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wow, that was fast. i remember my dad saying somehting like... "it's only a 850 megahertz processor."EDIT: my dad went and did some research of his own. we have decided that it might be better to get an analog camera and use one of those. we also found that i should get a better processor, as 850 isnt that fast, and maybe get another hard drive because "it is faster to write from one drive to the other" as in a render from the source on one drive to the edited version on the other drive.

Last edited Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 12:55am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 12:02am

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Gibs

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Marek, what you read about was probably Moore's Law, which states that computers double in speed every 18 to 24 months. That isn't quite as often as six months (computers would get outdated a heck of a lot quicker if it was), but it is still amazing when you think about it.
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 12:05am

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Marek

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yeah, thats it heh, 18 months not 6. still, only a fraction of a blink of the cosmic eye wink
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 2:54am

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4036Douglas

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Kid wrote:

You can find out what cpu you have by watching the boot process at startup. This should give us a better idea of if it will cope.
it goes to fast to read all that... all i see is the little pic at the very beggining and the windows symbol.
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 6:35am

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TGPO

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I use a 4500mhz computer and can edit and capture full DV without dropping any frames. Of course I'm on a Mac, but that PC you listed would be just a little bit slower than what I have.
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 8:22am

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Joshua Davies

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TGPO - Do you mean 450MHz? Apple don't make a 4500MHz machine yet.
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 11:03am

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Simon K Jones

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Why would you want to go for an analogue camera, doug? It wouldn't change anything with regard to the computer specs that you'd need, all it would do is lower the quality of the video.

Your computer sounds generally fine to me, main thing is to get a big hard drive. You can never have enough hard drive space basically, so get as much as you can afford.
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 5:51pm

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Kid

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Getting an analogue camera isn't going to be better at all. You may get a better quality one for the price but then you need a capture card which is a lot more expensive than a simple firewire card. Also capturing analogue is a lot more hassle, requires a faster computer and will most probably end up lower quality than DV.

A second drive is handy, but not quite for the way you said it. What you want to do is keep your 20Gb one as the main drive with your programs and swapfiles and stuff on. Then have the new bigger drive dedicated to all your footage. This means that the big video files will not get fragmented and also reading/writing will not get interrupted by swapfile and other small file writes. Any harddisk has plenty of straight through speed for DV and editing will mostly be limited by your cpu working on transitions and effects.

If you want to upgrade from an 850Mhz Athlon, you will most likely find you need to upgrade your motherboard and memory too. Because components consume more power these days you may also need a new power supply.
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 8:17pm

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jjuerss

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Yeah, 850MHz and 512MB RAM is fine, go for a big, second disk but remember that how you configure your second disk can make huge differences to how well you can capture your footage (speaking of which, go for a digital camcorder!). Make sure your video HD (keep the existing HD for OS and apps) has and IDE interface to itself, don't run a CDRom or similar as a slave from the the same IDE, this can seriously affect the transfer of video to and from your camera, if necessary buy an additional IDE controller card (very cheap).

Hope this helps!

JJ
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 8:47pm

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Kid

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Yes, this is always good advice. But remember harddrives can share without any performance loss. So just keep the hard drives on primary and the cd-rom/dvd drive or whatever on secondary.
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 9:46pm

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4036Douglas

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i chose the analog camera because it's (according to my dad) more quality for your money. I have also found some capture cards that look pretty good ("dvd quality"). One that i'm looking at comes with pinnacle studio 8.
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 9:50pm

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jjuerss

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Maybe I'm wrong, but I am of the impression that 99% of the time a digital camcorder will record better quality video than an analogue one. Like I said, I could be wrong.
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 9:51pm

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4036Douglas

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better quality for your money
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 9:53pm

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jjuerss

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Oh, and with regards to the capture card. I think it highly unlikely that you will get 'DVD Quality' capture if you are using an analogue camcorder, even if you spend like a gadzillion pounds on the biggest and best capture card, if your camcorder is analogue you are not going to get DVD quality. Now, if you get a digital cam and use firewire, you will get BETTER than DVD quality!
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 9:55pm

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jjuerss

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4036Douglas wrote:

better quality for your money
I still doubt it, anyone else wanna offer an opinion?
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 10:04pm

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4036Douglas

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well, if you think alalog isnt the way to go, then could i get a different, cheap, option?
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 10:08pm

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jjuerss

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Don't go changing your mind based on only my input! I'm not 100% sure, thats why I am asking for other opinions!
Posted: Wed, 10th Dec 2003, 10:15pm

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Simon K Jones

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Analogue cameras are old and out-of-date now. They are not widely supported, and will only become less supported over time. Everything is going digital these days.

Capturing DV onto a computer is relatively easy and cheap - the DV tape stores the movie digitally, the computer stores it digitally.

Analogue, on the other hand, is a completely different kettle of fish, and needs to be converted from the analogue signal into a digital signal, which requires a special (read: comparatively expensive) capture card. My old Sony Hi8 camcorder combined with my (expensive) DV500+ capture card can get some remarkably good results for an old analogue camera, but it still isn't a patch on a good DV camera.

There really are no benefits to going with an analogue camera.

Having said that, don't presume that a camera will be good just because it is DV. Buy a few DV and camcorder/video/filmmaking magazines. They often have buyer's guides and lots of reviews, and could probably help a lot.
Posted: Thu, 11th Dec 2003, 3:54am

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WithSwissCheese

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Also check out www.dvinfo.net/conf and www.simplydv.com