Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help)

Do you have questions about Desktop Video, Converters, Routers and Monitoring?
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giak04

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Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help)

PostThu Feb 08, 2018 1:04 pm

Hello, If you do not have time to read the whole post, please skip to the parts in bold at the end. This is going to be a bit long, sorry for that, and for the noobie questions. On the bright side I am really eager to learn. :)

I'd like to get more serious about post-production. I want to learn more and buy some gear with that aim in mind. My budget is around 2000/2500 Euro for computer and monitor/s. I am ok with working only in 1080p, it would be maybe nice to start working in 10bits.

Actually my laptop is decent: MacBook Pro Retina (mid 2012), Quad-Core 2.6 GHz up to 3.6 GHz w/ TurboBoost, 16GB ram. I worked with that until now. The big problem is the graphic card. I read about solutions to use gtx models (1070, 1080...) on MacBook's. They don't seem ideal, and the performance of the graphic card seems to drop significantly (40-60%).

So I think I got 2 options, what do you suggest I go for?

Option 1: Using my old laptop with a new graphic card. This way I would have some money for new lenses and grading monitors. The big question is how performant my laptop would be with a new graphic card. Other question: would I be able to work in 10 bits? How? What do I need for it to work? Decklink device?

Option 2: Everything new. I have a friend who can help me assembling a computer rig from scratch. I know more or less what I need in terms of power, and I guess that I should be able to build something decent to work in 1080p/10 bits for around 1500-2000 Euro (excluding monitor/s), maybe buying some used parts too. If you have good tips about a good computer configuration for that price range, please let me know!

Here come the very noobie questions. Do I need the Decklink Mini Monitor or some other Decklink device? What is a Decklink for? I searched everywhere but I didn't find a clear answer. Why can't a gtx 1080, for example, output a 10 bit signal directly to a monitor? Or it can, and the Decklink is for working on 2-3 monitors? I know I am very confused...

Monitor options (in order of preference):

Eizo CS240: 500 Euro (used +-2800 hours)
Eizo CS2420: 630 Euro (new) or 530 Euro (used)
Benq SW2700PT: 400 Euro (new/outlet)
DELL UltraSharp U2410f (maybe as a second monitor?): 150 Euro (used)

What would you choose and why? I still don't know whether to work with 1 or 2 monitors for a start, and if I need a Decklink for that, or if I need a Decklink also to work with 1 monitor. Please clarify the whole Decklink thing for me, I would really appreciate your help. :)
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostThu Feb 08, 2018 7:01 pm

2.5K Euro just for HD should be possible even with monitor. It should give you very smooth HD experience.

There is other similar thread and I suggested something like this:

i7 8700K overclocked with good cooling
GTX 1080 8GB (or maybe 1070/1060 6GB if this is just for HD)
32GB good RAM
3 or 4x 4TB HDD in RAID 0 (don't forget backup source files)
decent (e.g. Samsung PRO) SSD for system drive

In UK such a system is about 2K£, so some money left for monitor.

Monitor is tricky bit. Dell/BenQ is not the same league as Eizo. I worked on Dell, HP, NEC- from cheap models to high-end and for me Eizo always stands out (NEC is also good).

What is good about Eizo is that those better models have support for video signals and good HDMI support (10bit, black level controls etc). They also support 24fps, 25fps, 50i etc, so if you want to use them as full screen preview they are good. Saying this all better Dell models also have this now. Look for HD resolution (not some 2.5K one) to get nice pixel to pixel HD on 24inch. It's good when monitor has 1:1 pixels preview in case of bigger resolution panels.
I would say it all depends what is your end target. If your project end up mainly on youtube I would not go crazy with monitor. If you do also for broadcast etc then good monitoring I more important. Maybe you can even think about semi decent TV- you need to do good research which ones are close to REc.709 and easy to "calibrate".

Monitoring itself: get yourself cheap BM card for preview which will give you accurate preview and 10bit. Then use 2nd cheap monitor for GUI. Resolve GUI preview is "problematic".
Last edited by Andrew Kolakowski on Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jack Fairley

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostThu Feb 08, 2018 7:22 pm

The function of the Decklink/Ultrastudio devices is to send a video signal from Resolve to a calibrated reference monitor, at exactly the format you set in the options. That monitor is not seen as a second or third monitor by the OS, it only receives video from the BMD card. I consider using an output card and the best monitor you can get your hands on a requirement for color work, and the same has been said before by people with way more work under their belt than myself.

With current technology, it would be possible for BMD to rewrite the monitoring in Resolve to send a clean 10-bit signal from a graphics card, but I would not hold your breath waiting for them to do that so they can stop selling a product line!

The build Andrew posted is awesome for HD, everything except NR should play full speed no problem.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostThu Feb 08, 2018 7:23 pm

Maybe 16GB of RAM is enough?
Make sure motherboard has PCI-E x16 and 2nd simultaneous x8 (or minimum x4) slot.

I'm doing simple things on Quad 2.7 i7 Macbook Pro 2016 with 16GB RAM and Radeon Pro 455 2GB. Recently done some 3K timeline, ProRes source and all was fine. Mentioned system should fly with HD, maybe it's even bit overkill (depending on source type though).

Definitely get BM card for preview and 2 monitors (or TV)- GUI and for video preview.
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giak04

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostSat Feb 10, 2018 12:53 pm

Thank you so much!! Now everything is much more clear :)
I just found a new Eizo CS240 for just 300 Euro, so unless you tell me that there are significant downsides compared to the newer CS2420, I will go with that.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 5:54 pm

It should be good.
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giak04

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostTue Feb 13, 2018 11:17 am

So... Here is what I thought to buy so far:

Mid-Tower: Cooler Master Masterbox 5 (€66)
Mobo: Asus Z170-P (€106)
CPU: i7-8700k (€340)
RAM: 2x16GB Kingston ValueRAM DDR4 2400MHz (€354)
GPU: Gigabyte GTX 1080 (€700)
SSD: 240GB Kingston SSDNow UV400 (€95) - a computer technician told me it should last longer than a Samsung EVO
HDD: WD 8TB SATA 6Gb/s 256MB 7200 rpm (€340)
Cooler: Cooler Master Masterliquid Lite 120 (€46)
PSU: Cooler Master MasterWatt 750W (€81)

Total: €2128

Doubts and questions:
1. I will probably go for a Mini Monitor + Eizo CS240 for grading. Would a 32" 4k monitor be suitable for GUI? I like the size because I don't have a tv at home. I found an amazing occasion for a BENQ PV3200PT (500 Euro almost new). Would a 4k GUI monitor impact Resolve's performance too badly (in comparison to a Full HD one) with my current setup?
2. Will a mid-tower do for now, or shall I invest in a full tower, more powerful PSU, better cooling? I am already over my budget, so I might have to cut on something else.
3. 1x 8TB HDD will do for now in terms of space, but I don't know how it will impact speed (no RAID 0 planned at the moment). It should still be fast (6Gb/s 256MB 7200 rpm, instead of 128MB). Is it fine or shall I go for 2x 4TB 128MB in RAID 0?
4. Will this setup handle simple 4k workflow in Resolve?
5. Would you buy anything different?

Thank you again for your invaluable help. It's very difficult to make these choices by myself since I have very little experience.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostTue Feb 13, 2018 8:14 pm

1. Not sure- should be fine. UHD would give you a lot of space.
2. Should be fine. You don't need better PSU at all. 750W is plenty enough for your setup.
3. 1x HDD will do e.g. steady 150MB/sec so ProRes UHD should work. Anything bigger/lighter compression need more speed. Maybe it's better to get 2x 4TB and make RAID0.
4. Yes, definitely.
5. Not sure about motherboard- it runs 1x 16x and 2nd slot is only x4. Would prefer x16 and x8 (Z170 supports 20 PCI-Express lanes+16 from CPU). Some better motherboards do it if I'm correct. Make sure RAM is from the motherboard manufacturer approved list.
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Scott Smith

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostTue Feb 13, 2018 8:30 pm

I would say that if you are a hobbyist/newbie, you aren't going to be doing studio setups where you need the inputs for your computer and you aren't going to be super critical at color grading with perfectly calibrated monitors. When your level of expertise reaches that point, you can upgrade. So you don't really need deck-link products right now. Just use your computer's graphics card - though you might appreciate buying a good graphics card, for the extra processing power. So I wouldrecommend put your money into a good, fast computer and hard drive space. (And/or your camera and glass.) High end monitoring is something you can do down the road, if you think you need it.
Scott R Smith
BMD Stuff I use: ATEM 2-M/E, 4 x ATEM PS 4K, Broadcast Videohub, 6 Hyperdeck Pros, 4 Hyperdeck Shuttles, Multidock, Smartscope Duo, Smartview, Intensity Extreme, Decklink Studio, and lots of Miniconverters and Open Gear Converters.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostTue Feb 13, 2018 8:42 pm

Yes, I would agree, but Resolve GUI preview is "problematic", specially on Mac where it seems to live its own life :) Not sure about Windows.
If I were to use e.g. Scratch then I would not bother with card at all.
You may get used BM Mini Monitor for 100 Euro, so this is not that huge money and properly timed (in terms of refresh rate) and accurate preview is nice to have.
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Jack Fairley

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostTue Feb 13, 2018 10:22 pm

That motherboard will not work with 8700K anyway, you need a Z370 chipset.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostTue Feb 13, 2018 10:58 pm

Ups, author needs to research better. These are key things :)
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giak04

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostWed Feb 14, 2018 2:24 pm

Thank you for your answers and help!

Actually a computer technician of a shop here in Groningen told me I needed that motherboard for the i7-8700k. It's my bad that I didn't double check which i7 generations it supports. Luckily I didn't buy it yet.

I do indeed need to do more research and to speak with more people. Anyway, your help is very important to me at this point, since I haven't found yet here in Groningen somebody who has experience with putting together a computer for video editing with the characteristics I am going for. Most computer shops here work for either families or gamers. I will be more careful in the future :)

If by any chance any of you wants to suggest me exactly which motherboard I should go for, that would be very appreciated. I still have to understand if it is possible to get a motherboard with thunderbolt and if that's worth it. I also have to get better insights on how well the PCI-E's work simultaneously in the various Z370 models, and what is the best configuration (which PCI-E for which hardware).
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostWed Feb 14, 2018 4:53 pm

You can use for example this website:

https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/computer ... erclocked/

they choose components and have experience in building, so we can "steal" some of their knowledge :)
Last edited by Andrew Kolakowski on Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Dan Sherman

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostWed Feb 14, 2018 5:07 pm

giak04 wrote:If by any chance any of you wants to suggest me exactly which motherboard I should go for, that would be very appreciated.


The best way to determine this, is to go to the actual motherboard manufactures website, and see what they say is supported.

for example ASUS does it like this:
https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/PR ... pDesk_CPU/
https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/PR ... pDesk_QVL/
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giak04

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Re: Hobbyist hardware configuration (noobie looking for help

PostThu Feb 15, 2018 1:29 pm

Super useful websites, thank you!

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