Rebuilding the Desktop

edited February 2015 in Everything Else

Looking to rebuild my desktop to handle HF3U. Would like some feedback on the set-up if anyone reads this. Here's the plan:

Windows 8.1 - 64 bit

ASRock B85M Pro4 motherboard (expandable to 32GB RAM)

16GB RAM- PNY XLR8 x 2

Intel Core i7 4790k

NVIDIA GeForce 970

Seagate SSD 4TB storage

I'm keeping the same disc drives (CD & DVD)



  • I don't know if it would be an issue with HitFilm or not but there's been some controversy with the GeForce 970 memory allocation.

  • @SimonKJones Aren't you running an Nvidia 970? Thoughts?

  • That setup seems very similar to the one I built last year - except for the GPU, which I kept from my old pc, so yours is way faster. Judging from the performance of my system, that setup should be really, really fast.

  • Aladdin4d - If the article is correct, the card performs as designed which is screaming fast. AND: IF NVIDIA's explanation is true, that the specs were wrong when they were released, then I guess there's nothing to worry about and hope they learn to double & triple check spec releases in the future.

    Robin - Fast is what I'm after. Had a friend, who is a former member of BestBuy's Geek Squad, help design the system. Glad he did 'cause I wasn't aware of all the different compatibility issues there are and he directed my attention to a couple of websites to figure all that out. This is what we settled on as the plan.

    Thanks for the input, guys!

  • @StromyKnight ; Keep us posted.   I'm looking at a similar upgrade later this spring.  I see you have an SSD drive on your list.  Are you planning on using that for video storage and a boot drive or mainly as boot & OS?


  • I have two systems. One has two 300 GB WD VelociRaptors in a striped raid for holding the OS and the other has two OCZ 256 GB SSD's in a mirrored raid for the OS. Both also have an additional 2 TB internal hard drive that I use as a "scratch" drive for one project at a time. For raw video storage I have four 4TB  G-RAID external units similar to this one:

    Mine are the previous generation with slightly different connection options. 1 FireWire 800, 1 USB 2.0 and 1 6Gb/s eSata. I've never used the USB connection just he FireWire occasionally and usually the eSata. These drives have been all over the country bouncing around a truck or being shipped FedEx and they have been absolutely bullet proof for me.

    In real world everyday use I don't really see that much difference between the VelociRaptors and the SSD's

  • @Aladdin4d ; Thanks for the info. 

    SSD's have come down in price to where its tempting to go all SSD for everything, including video. 

    But from what I understand, SSD is great for random reads but not as good on sequential reads as needed for video editing.   Then there's the old saw about premature failure of ssd due to multiple read/writes over time. 

    Sounds like the video array of choice is still hdd.  (Apologies for hijacking the thread.)



  • Stargazer54 - Funny you bring that up. After posting yesterday I changed my mind on the SSD and will go HDD. Seagate's Barracuda 4TB. Planning on using it primarily for vid storage and not sure how the OS and boot drive will fit in yet. If I need more memory I'll get it eventually. I've got a 2TB external drive that I use to back things up and in a year I've got it just over half full now so 4TB should last a while I hope. If my buddy says I need more for the OS and boot drive I'll add another TB.

    Plus the HDD is a little cheaper than the SSD. With what I'll save in the budget, I'll set aside for 3D models or something.

    Aladdin4d - For the price I see on the external drive it better last through all you put it through. I tend to baby my stuff but my Seagate 2TB external drive has been through quite a bit too and it keeps on pluggin' along. Wish it had firewire capability though.



  • @StormyKnight I think you're safe with SSD for the OS (more so with a mirror), but for video an array of HDD is still preferred, at least today.

    BTW, which brand NVIDIA GeForce 970 are you getting?  Plugging that into NewEgg I get MSI, EVGA, Gigabyte, Asus and Zotac 970 boards all sporting the Nvidia chipset.  Most have 2 fans, some with 3!  Craziness.

  • StormyKnight I got the first one in a bundle from VideoGuys that included a license for Vegas Pro for that price. After using it for a few months I was so impressed with it I waited for a sale and bought the second. A year or so after that I picked up the other two on closeout making way for the new generation.  Much of the time they are out of my control being used by the local labor and I can guarantee you nobody else will ever take care of your gear the way you would!! Once it's out of your sight all bets are off and these drives have withstood everything flawlessly. The only issue I've had is footage not making to the drive because hired labor didn't think to press the record button.........

  • Stormy, is the Barracuda one of the "hybrid" drives with the small SSD? I have a 1TB HDD with 4 GB SSD as my boot drive, and it seems the SSD grabbed actual Windows. I get a nice speedy 10 sec boot up from power up to Desktop. 

  • edited February 2015

    Stargazer54 - I've got my eye on the Zotac only because it's the cheapest one on eBay. I don't know that much about each individual company or the different variations they manufacture but I can't believe any of them would screw a customer over. I've heard the names before at least.

    Aladdin4d - "The only issue I've had is footage not making to the drive because hired labor didn't think to press the record button........."

    Well that's a big DOH! on them!!!!! Sounds like a great deal with Vegas! I'd like to think I wouldn't have passed that one up.

    And true about once your stuff is in other hands and all bets being off. Although I have to, I don't like giving over even a flash drive to the guy at the theater where I volunteer. Either getting erased or him not ejecting it from the computer properly always has me worried.

    Triem23 - According to the Seagate website, the Barracuda family is HDD. 10 second boot up?!?!?!?!?! I don't know if I could handle that. lol My Dell Dimension XP machine takes about 5 minutes now (2 when it was new). I'll be talking to my friend, Greg, who's helping build the system about that. He didn't indicate what we would do for booting and the OS so I'll find out if I can catch him at home in the next couple of days.

    Thanks again, guys! You're input is greatly appreciated.

  • Media horror story. I scored a short film. MIDI, synths, outboard gear. I have my music on minidisc. (I am old, but Minidisc rocked) Computer HDD sizzles and dies. Turn over MD to audio editor. Inform him, "I really need this back:the computer took a dump, my files are gone, and you have the ONLY copy..." 

    That Oedipus-syndromed illegitimate child erased it. He also mixed it too damn low in the film. 

  • edited February 2015

    I would really rethink that decision of dumping the SSD, if you're not going for an SSHD (The hybrid triem mentioned). I have an SSD with 512 Gigs as the OS drive, accompanying a normal HDD for all my data. Bootup time is amazingly quick thanks to the SSD (Around 10-15secs) - I get really annoyed everytime I have to start my laptop at work. Guess I'm a bit spoiled now

    Also, I mostly render to the SSD - that way, the HDD controller can focus on reading the needed assets and doesn't have to simultaneously write the output file to another location, which speeds up render times. It would make even more sense the other way around if you have lots of assets (the random access thing), but I have not enough space on the SSD left to place all my media there.

    EDIT: Worrying about the lifetime of an SSD, you might want to read this article:

  • I'm in the same camp as Robin.  An SSD for OS and proggies. Standard HDs for data. Robin is right, once you use  a system that boots from an're spoiled.

    I too was worried about total read/writes to an SSD. So I set my system up a little different.  I dedicated a smaller HD to temp files. I moved all Windows and IE temps to this drive as well as all other proggie temps, caches, and some auto saves. My Documents, pictures, Dls and UL are on another drive. I have a dedicated drive for sample libraries& loops, another for created music and another for video. Then I picked up a cheap dual drive USB hot swappable docking bay and used all my old HDs I had laying around as backups. 


  • edited February 2015

    Triem23 - Unbelievable! You should have removed the lock/unlock plastic switch so he couldn't access it. I too was a big minidisc fan. A guy at a music shop told me they were being used all over Asia and Europe and the U.S. was right behind. So I invested in a 4 track minidisc recorder, portable recorder and Walkman all by the Sony professional division. The 4 track broke down twice in the first year and got it repaired for nothing. The second year, after the warranty, it broke down so I went with a Roland 8 track digital recorder instead. I'll never trust Sony's pro line anymore. They had also included a Canadian warranty in the box (no U.S. warranty?!) so I had to send it to Canada for repair. Oi!  I do wish the minidisc would have caught on though. A little CD in a case to prevent scratches and keep it protected. Awesome idea! Yeah it rocked!

    Robinduffman - Thanks guys! I will consider an SSD for booting and the OS. I'm thinking, correct me if I'm wrong, that 120GB should suffice for those tasks and it would be cheaper. Looks like Windows 8.1 needs about 8.2GB memory space so there would be plenty of space left over for something else- maybe some programs. Then use the HDD for video and music production. I'm going to try and incorporate my music studio with this rebuild too.

  • Current thinking is you need 10%-15% more space then that required for everything you want to have installed on the SSD. I went with 512 on an M.2 style drive.  Yeah probably bigger then what I needed at the moment. But looking forward, leaves me plenty of room add proggies-updates-ect.

    BTW....I still have a fully functioning Yamaha MD8-8 track minidisc recorder sitting here. Still slaved to the DAW software via midi and MTC for sample accurate transfers. Don't use very often anymore, but it looks cool!


  • edited February 2015

    duffman - That MD8 is a nice unit. It was a toss up when I went to purchase a digital studio. I got a good deal on the Roland and haven't had a problem with it. The accompanying CD burner died a couple years ago and I haven't used it much since. There's a program (scsi emulator) on eBay that I could get to burn to my computer from the Roland but it's $300+. Add to that my Korg DS8 and X3 are so old the buttons aren't working very well anymore. That's why I'm going to computer based- or at least try. I can still use the synths for midi control if nothing else- the keyboards are fine and just had the contact strip replaced on the X3 a couple years ago.

    Right now, the 120GB SSD will fit my budget. I too try to look ahead and prepare but maybe in a year I can add a larger unit.

  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator
    edited February 2015

    I do indeed have 970s in both my home and work machine. It's an incredible card for the price. Works very nicely with HitFilm and is absolutely stunning in games.

    In terms of GPU brand, they'll all be the same card underneath so you'll get good performance. BUT, where they can differ is in the heat setup. Different manufacturers will use different heat sinks and fan combos. So going for a cheaper card shouldn't affect performance, but you might end up with screamingly loud fans, for example, regardless of what you're actually doing with it.  Whereas if you look at cards but MSI and Asus, they have cards which run 100% silent unless they're actually being taxed.

    As for the SSD debate - I have 2 SSDs: a small one for my OS, a slightly larger one for my games, and then I have a couple of much large (fast) traditional drives for media.

    The combo of that i7 and the 970 will be AMAZING for particle effects in HitFilm.

  • SimonKJones- Thanks for the input! There's so much I'd like to try with this new set-up. Stuff that puts a strain on my poor laptop; HF outgrew it faster than I anticipated. lol

    I guess I'm not as concerned with the fan noise so much as the performance. But I will price everything mentioned in this post one last time when I get my tax return to get the lowest prices possible without sacrificing performance.

    It's the particle stuff that slows my laptop down so the i7 & 970 will be a real treat.

    Just talked to my friend helping me with this build. He agrees with everyone here about using a smaller SSD for the OS. 10-15 seconds boot up time?  I usually have to kill some time while my computer starts so when will I get my coffee? WHEN?!?!?!?!  ;^)

  • My SSD also is at the 512 mark, and I wouldn't want it to be much less, mainly because I have quite some big programs installed on it (the Adobe suit plus some big games alone take up a huge amount of space). But having those programs on the SSD too pays off as well, startup time of most programs is almost instantly.

    I just remembered there is one little quirk with this setup, though: Every once in a while, the system shuts down my HDDs completely, because I don't use them (all media files loaded in ram, program data picked up from the ssd on the fly). Then, when I switch to something that normally takes no time at all but actually needs the data on the hdd (Like, open up a new explorer window...), it takes several seconds waiting for the hdd to start up. But yeah, spoiled first world problems, I guess :D

  • You should be able to change the time, or totally disable HDD shutdown in power settings. 

  • Robin - I was thinking about putting programs on the SSD so I'm glad you brought it up. Sounds very advantageous. There are only a handful of programs I would want to start really fast i.e. HF3P, Finale, Cubase, Vegas, Nero, Blender possibly Adobe CS5 but I hardly use that. Due to $$ constraints I'll probably start with the 128GB SSD and build on that later. Judging from the size of each program listed above and W8.1, I'll still have a little wiggle room with 128GB. This rebuild is taking all of my federal tax return and part of the state return. lol I was hoping to get a couple 3D model kits but that may have to wait. So will the tv I was planning on getting- still have two analog tvs.

    Triem23 - I'll keep that in mind too.

  • <Triem23 said, "You should be able to change the time, or totally disable HDD shutdown in power settings. ">

    Control Panel-System & Security-Power Options


  • One more day to the desktop rebuild. All the parts are sitting on my kitchen table waiting for my buddy Greg to help me through a few steps. I hope she's going to be a real powerhouse. The motherboard I was going to get was sold out so I upgraded for another $10 and got an ASRock H97 Pro4. It also supports three monitors- I'm going to go with two when I can afford a second one. I was able to budget in a SanDisk 128GB SSD to put Windows 8 on and a variety of other key programs i.e. HF3P. Windows 8 you ask? It was anywhere from $30-$50 cheaper at $99.99 than the 8.1 disks and the upgrade from 8 to 8.1 is free. So why spend more for a free upgrade on a disc?

    @Simon- I got a Zotac GeForce 970 which came with two fans. I'll let you know if it's noisy or not. Can't wait to try the particle simulator and be able to put more than one light in a scene and not see a slowdown in performance like on my laptop.

    I can't believe how easy it is to build your own computer these days. I'm tempted to try and throw it together myself today but I'd probably screw it up and blow the motherboard or something stupid. lol But looking at the parts and schematics it all looks so simple. Once Greg shows me a few things I should be able to proceed on my own. I'm so stoked! Anyone looking to build their own computer should check out . They even link to places to buy parts although admittedly, I found most of the parts on ebay for less and all great name stuff. 

    Did anyone come up with a baseline vid to test? I remember reading through the thread a while back and I'd be happy to post my results too.



  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator
    edited March 2015

    @StormyKnight Awesome news!  Can't wait to hear how it turns out.

    BTW, thanks for the link.  I'm about 2 months out from building my new monster.   The more info the better.

  • edited March 2015

    Stargazer54 - You're welcome. The benefit of having friends who were part of Best Buy's Geek Squad is they have lots of insider info and was one website I didn't know about. Since we are building the machine with the GeForce 970 (and HF3P) as the central focus, it was easy to compare, cross reference and find what was compatible on that site. I also like that users rate the parts so you can determine what's going to work well or not. I didn't know there were so many variables to watch for either i.e. type of RAM to get and how much can the motherboard support. Mine will support 32GB but I'm starting with 16 and will add more later. And I did utilize a couple of places they had linked to for purchasing the parts ( and but my default is always check ebay and then amazon for better prices. Both Newegg and SuperBiiz have some pretty competitive prices too.

    side note: Wouldn't this be great to back-up all ones video work? Wish I had the cash for this! 

    another side note: It's also always good to befriend construction workers and auto mechanics. They can save you a lot of money and I always throw in a surprise pizza or some treat while they're working. lol

  • @StormyKnight ; Yeah, those NAS devices look pretty  nice.   Can't believe how cheap storage has become.  And with SSD nudging out spinning disk, it might go even lower. 

    But what's up with the Synology DS415play thingy?  Its a transcoder?  Looking at the newegg site reviews, sounds like Linux under the hood doing some sort of ffmpeg maybe. 

    But since it has an onboard cpu and OS it might be handy for iscsi back to your main system. 

  • Stargazer54 - Evidently it is a transcoder. I was thinking it would be great for back-up purposes too. I did read a couple reviews and a couple people weren't happy. May not be the way to go. One guy recommends going with the  DS414 or DS415+ due to slow and bad performance in the DS415.

    The prices on HDDs has really come down! Too bad the SSDs are so expensive.

  • edited March 2015

    Stargazer54 - Ah, even computer techs don't think of everything.

    Minor set-back. The case and power supply configuration won't work with the new motherboard. Drat. Something else to think about if you're building your own. Power supply won't run the GeForce 970. Drat. Going from IDE to SATA - need adaptors. Drat. Need a small amount of grease for the i7. Drat. Luckily, my buddy said if he has the right parts he'll give them to me as a birthday present. It'll be a delay though. Drat! Double drat!! Triple drat!!!

    I think I'll sulk for a while and pet my cat. (that's not a metaphor for anything- I really do have two.........I mean, I really am owned by two cats)

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