Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less, pref

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Robert Ash

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Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less, pref

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 7:42 am

Hello,

Unfortunately I need to buy another computer. I spent $3000 on a 17" Acer ConceptD laptop in 2019 (caught a price dip) and it looks like the GPU is no longer working (long story in a different thread here).

It had replaced a 17" $3000 Alienware that literally died without warning after a few years.

I don't want to spend another $3000-4000 on a computer that will fizzle in 3-4 years, I'd rather go cheaper this time and keep it $2000 or less if possible.

Ideally I'd like a Windows computer, I've tried Macs before for work and prefer Windows if possible.

Is there such a machine? Would sincerely appreciate any suggestions. I'm on Studio 18.6.

Thanks,
Robert
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Dermot Shane

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 8:17 am

budget workstation, assumeing
-you have kb / mouse / mon's / io cards / storage etc
- you don't need to decode long gop often
- you work in 2k or HD timelines

i'd get one of these (16c xeon / 96g / 1125w psu / 1yr warranty):
https://deltaserverstore.com/product/hp ... rkstation/

and one of these (4070 / 12g):
https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/nv ... d/17034430

comes to $1,250 CDN, or $920 USD... well under half of 2k USD.....

change the assumptions, and the machine changes
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Jim Simon

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 1:50 pm

I think you'll probably get the best value if you build your own.

Can you?
My Biases:

You NEED training.
You NEED a desktop.
You NEED a calibrated (non-computer) display.
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Uli Plank

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 1:59 pm

Must be a laptop? You can get a reasonable machine if you or a knowledgeable friend can build a desktop.
Maybe AI can help you. Or make you obsolete.

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herein2020

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 2:46 pm

I agree with what others have said, definitely want to go with a desktop and if you build your own you will save some money. Or at least start with a barebones setup (case, PSU, MB), and add your own RAM, CPU, storage, and GPU.

These days you don't save as much as you used to when building your own but desktops IMO are way better editing platforms anyway, they last longer than laptops, and every component is replaceable. I still have a workstation that I built 15yrs ago that worked perfectly until I replaced it for performance reasons.

Places like Newegg have pretty good barebones systems. I personally got tired of building my own because the savings weren't what they used to be and the hours of research required to make sure every component worked with every other component also stopped being worth my time, as well as waiting for each component to arrive. Below are some quick minimum specs I would try to meet if building my own today:

Minimum 4 core Core I7 with Quicksync (used is fine here there are some good used deals on eBay)
Minimum RTX 3070 GPU (used is fine here there are some good used deals on eBay)
Minimum 1000W PSU
64GB of memory
NVME M.2 OS Disk
SSD project disk (NVME M.2 is better)
SSD cache disk (NVME M.2 is better)
Minimum Mid tower (to fit that GPU)

My current desktop is 5yrs old and I am breathing new life into it by updating the GPU and CPU. It cost $3300 5yrs ago. If you don't want to build your own but you really know (or are willing to research) computer components, you can find good used deals on eBay that are just a GPU or CPU upgrade away from being perfect; I have gotten several used enterprise class desktops on eBay (HP or Dell) and never had a failure. It takes work though to research every listing and find the best deal but it will save you more money than building your own or buying new.
OS: Windows 11 23H2
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ReneRotterdam

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 3:01 pm

I concur with Dermot Shane.

If you don't have to edit a ton of H265, (used) HP workstations are an excellent value.
They are rock-solid, easily upgradable, and (generally) you won't have any compatibility with Resolve, because most are recommended by BlackMagic.
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RCModelReviews

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 3:11 pm

Dermot Shane wrote:budget workstation, assumeing
-you have kb / mouse / mon's / io cards / storage etc
- you don't need to decode long gop often
- you work in 2k or HD timelines

i'd get one of these (16c xeon / 96g / 1125w psu / 1yr warranty):
https://deltaserverstore.com/product/hp ... rkstation/

Does the Xeon really perform that well in NLEs?

I'm pretty sure that the best performance is actually the regular desktop CPUs which have a higher clock speed and a better IPC than the Xeons.
Resolve 18.1 Studio, Fusion 9 Studio
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herein2020

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 3:26 pm

ReneRotterdam wrote:I concur with Dermot Shane.

If you don't have to edit a ton of H265, (used) HP workstations are an excellent value.
They are rock-solid, easily upgradable, and (generally) you won't have any compatibility with Resolve, because most are recommended by BlackMagic.


Sounds like we are all saying the same thing...go used upgrade the GPU...done. I agree with the concept but in this case not the selection, a used Z4 G4 is a way better choice than an 11yr Z820.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/383994492107?h ... BMpqiEzohj

RCModelReviews wrote:
Dermot Shane wrote:budget workstation, assumeing
-you have kb / mouse / mon's / io cards / storage etc
- you don't need to decode long gop often
- you work in 2k or HD timelines

i'd get one of these (16c xeon / 96g / 1125w psu / 1yr warranty):
https://deltaserverstore.com/product/hp ... rkstation/

Does the Xeon really perform that well in NLEs?

I'm pretty sure that the best performance is actually the regular desktop CPUs which have a higher clock speed and a better IPC than the Xeons.


You are correct Xeon is not a good CPU for Resolve...another reason why I wouldn't recommend the Z820.
OS: Windows 11 23H2
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Dermot Shane

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 4:51 pm

Baselight, Flame, Avid, Nucoda all package on HP z8xx, Resolve suggested HP z8xx for high end systems when they recomended certified systems, so yea xeon work

if one can afford it, a z4 or 6 is a far better choice, at $425 the z4_g4 listed above has pretty impressive bang4buck factor

for a system meant to be used for a few years and moved on, a later z820 (Rev3 on the mb) with v2 CPU's is a reasonable working tool in 2023, if a comparable z4 or 6 can be found a the budget level, go get it first;-)

i have one z820 used for rendering, with 2x2690v2's, 2x 3090 blower, 128g.. that machine just finished exports for a studio level feature, ran for about a week at 100% without issues.... and another z820 with 2x2680 / 3080Ti / 96g used for conforms and versioning, working rok solid in 2023... long since paid for themselves...

that said i use newer z8_g4 systems for my front line, but that's more than a bit beyond a 2k budget limit
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herein2020

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 8:21 pm

Dermot Shane wrote:Baselight, Flame, Avid, Nucoda all package on HP z8xx, Resolve suggested HP z8xx for high end systems when they recomended certified systems, so yea xeon work

if one can afford it, a z4 or 6 is a far better choice, at $425 the z4_g4 listed above has pretty impressive bang4buck factor

for a system meant to be used for a few years and moved on, a later z820 (Rev3 on the mb) with v2 CPU's is a reasonable working tool in 2023, if a comparable z4 or 6 can be found a the budget level, go get it first;-)

i have one z820 used for rendering, with 2x2690v2's, 2x 3090 blower, 128g.. that machine just finished exports for a studio level feature, ran for about a week at 100% without issues.... and another z820 with 2x2680 / 3080Ti / 96g used for conforms and versioning, working rok solid in 2023... long since paid for themselves...

that said i use newer z8_g4 systems for my front line, but that's more than a bit beyond a 2k budget limit


Xeon definitely works, my previous two editing workstations (Dell Rackmount 7810 and HP Z800) were both dual Xeon based, but when I moved my 2080Ti video card from the Dell 7810 to my Z4 G4 Resolve was substantially faster. Of course a lot of other things changed as well (memory bus speeds, SSD went to M.2 NVME, etc.).

All I meant was like you said...the best bang for your buck if you are focused on performance will be a single I7 or I9 CPU in something like the Z4. Xeons are more known for stability vs performance. If I had projects like yours running for weeks on end I would absolutely pick a Xeon over a Core Ix.
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Robert Ash

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 9:12 pm

Jim Simon wrote:I think you'll probably get the best value if you build your own.

Can you?

I think you're right. Yes I can build my own. My issue is what herein2020 pointed out -- it's a serious time sink if you don't do it often, and you often don't save much money (although you get much better end result).

But I have a friend who's a top notch computer tech, he could do it.

Thanks!
Robert
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Robert Ash

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 9:15 pm

Uli Plank wrote:Must be a laptop? You can get a reasonable machine if you or a knowledgeable friend can build a desktop.

I agree. I can do it and I have a computer tech friend who could do a better job building one.

I love the idea of a desktop but unfortunately I don't have a permanent place to work, at least for awhile. My former office became a bedroom recently :)

But I'll do some thinking about whether a desktop is feasible somehow.

Thanks,
Robert
YouTube Channel - The Thinker's Bible
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cmactavish

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostThu Dec 07, 2023 10:29 pm

If you are leaning towards a budget laptop, it feels like a basic suggestion, but I've always been intrigued by the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus.

Don't have this model, so can't properly vouch for it, but on paper seems pretty reasonable?
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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostFri Dec 08, 2023 12:42 am

Desktop is definitely a better option, but I have had a good run with Asus ROG laptops for a mobile solution.
Davinci Resolve 18.5.1, Intel i9, 64gb RAM, Windows 11, Nvidia 3090 24gb, RME Fireface UFX, Speed Editor.
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Uli Plank

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostFri Dec 08, 2023 12:44 am

If you can keep it connected to mains power (and don’t mind some noise), these will be usable. Just don’t start a render if you sleep next to it ;-)
But you’ll get more bang for the buck in a desktop.
Maybe AI can help you. Or make you obsolete.

Studio 18.6.5, MacOS 12.7.3
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Robert Ash

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostFri Dec 08, 2023 1:10 am

Bruceqld wrote:Desktop is definitely a better option, but I have had a good run with Asus ROG laptops for a mobile solution.

Thanks. I was looking at the ASUS ROG series earlier today and they looked pretty ok.
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Robert Ash

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostFri Dec 08, 2023 1:15 am

Uli Plank wrote:If you can keep it connected to mains power (and don’t mind some noise), these will be usable. Just don’t start a render if you sleep next to it ;-)
But you’ll get more bang for the buck in a desktop.

Fair enough. If I can get a small enough desktop form factor then I can sort of use it as a luggable :)
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Uli Plank

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostFri Dec 08, 2023 1:24 am

Well, the main physical advantage of desktops is space, for cooling, large GPU and large PSU.
If you need small, get a Mac. Seriously, until the PC world catches up on low-power silicon.
Maybe AI can help you. Or make you obsolete.

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostFri Dec 08, 2023 1:49 am

Robert Ash wrote:
Uli Plank wrote:If you can keep it connected to mains power (and don’t mind some noise), these will be usable. Just don’t start a render if you sleep next to it ;-)
But you’ll get more bang for the buck in a desktop.

Fair enough. If I can get a small enough desktop form factor then I can sort of use it as a luggable :)


The Z4 is actually pretty small, a little smaller than a standard sized mid ATX tower thanks to HP's proprietary interior parts. But if you truly need to be mobile then a desktop is not your friend, regardless of size or weight, if you start moving them around too much things tend to fail prematurely.

Their strength is definitely interior space vs mobility. Moving them around risks cards coming loose, ports wearing out, etc. plus all the peripherals that build up over time (monitors, keyboards, USB readers, etc) need some place to go too.

If you can find a way to get creative with where to put a desktop its going to be your best bet, but if you can't find a way to keep it stationary then I would go with another laptop solution.
OS: Windows 11 23H2
DR: 18.6.4 BUILD 19 Studio
CPU: Core i9-13900K 24 Cores@3.0GHz, 128GB of RAM
GPU: RTX 4080
Drives: NVME OS Drive, NVME RAID Array, NVME Cache Drive
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Robert Ash

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostFri Dec 08, 2023 2:31 am

herein2020 wrote:
Robert Ash wrote:
Uli Plank wrote:If you can keep it connected to mains power (and don’t mind some noise), these will be usable. Just don’t start a render if you sleep next to it ;-)
But you’ll get more bang for the buck in a desktop.

Fair enough. If I can get a small enough desktop form factor then I can sort of use it as a luggable :)


The Z4 is actually pretty small, a little smaller than a standard sized mid ATX tower thanks to HP's proprietary interior parts. But if you truly need to be mobile then a desktop is not your friend, regardless of size or weight, if you start moving them around too much things tend to fail prematurely.

Their strength is definitely interior space vs mobility. Moving them around risks cards coming loose, ports wearing out, etc. plus all the peripherals that build up over time (monitors, keyboards, USB readers, etc) need some place to go too.

If you can find a way to get creative with where to put a desktop its going to be your best bet, but if you can't find a way to keep it stationary then I would go with another laptop solution.


Understood and agreed.

After reading all the great input and recommendations I ended up finding what looks like a great deal - $1998 + tax = $2200 all in:

Alienware 18 Gaming Laptop (18" screen)
- AMD Ryzen 9 7845HX CPU
- 32GB RAM
- nVidia 4070 8GB GPU
- 1 TB SSD
- Migration software license (we'll see how well that works, if at all.....)

It's only 1 TB SSD and it's Windows 11 Home (didn't want to pay for Windows Pro again or 2 TB SSD, or it would have gone over my $2000 before-tax budget).

Will arrive next Tuesday, can't wait :)

Cheers, and thanks a million to everyone here for all the great guidance.

Robert
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Uli Plank

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostFri Dec 08, 2023 2:56 am

Should work, but you'll run into limits of 8 GB VRAM in UHD with demanding functions in DR, temporal ones in particular. Nvidia cards are quite picky in this regard.
My suggestion: if you get rendering issues, render into DNxHR or CineForm, not into a GOP codec. Do your final encoding separately, with DR or with HandBrake.
If you plan to upload to YT, you can upload shorter masters in these formats too.
Maybe AI can help you. Or make you obsolete.

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MacBook M1 Pro, 16 GPU cores, 32 GB RAM and iPhone 15 Pro
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Robert Ash

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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostFri Dec 08, 2023 5:23 am

Uli Plank wrote:Should work, but you'll run into limits of 8 GB VRAM in UHD with demanding functions in DR, temporal ones in particular. Nvidia cards are quite picky in this regard.
My suggestion: if you get rendering issues, render into DNxHR or CineForm, not into a GOP codec. Do your final encoding separately, with DR or with HandBrake.
If you plan to upload to YT, you can upload shorter masters in these formats too.

Thanks. Yes, all my video projects will be YouTube videos for the foreseeable future.

I'm not familiar with the workflow you're describing, nor with HandBrake. Is the idea to convert my source videos to a non-GOP format before editing them? The only CineForm I see listed in the Delivery section is GoPro Cineform.

Also, does the format need to be changed along with the codec? Right now the default export format is Quicktime. Or should I use the YouTube export preset?

Hopefully I won't run into rendering issues.

I have an nVidia 3000 (6 GB) right now that used to work with DR 17 Studio and no longer works with DR 18 Studio, hopefully the nVidia 4070 should work better unless DR has gotten so demanding that 8 GB is no longer workable.

Thanks again,
Robert
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Re: Good Budget Computer for Resolve Studio? $2000 or less,

PostFri Dec 08, 2023 10:41 pm

M2 MacBook Air pro 16” 16/512. More Ram would be better, but still
under US$2k in New Zealand, better Apple refurbished deals are almost certain elsewhere. NZ typically pays a much higher Apple tax, and in addition, that price includes 15% sales tax.

Refurbished 16-inch MacBook Pro Apple M2 Pro Chip with 12‑Core CPU and 19‑Core GPU - Silver (nz$3909)

https://store.apple.com/nz/xc/product/FNWC3X/A


Not sure you could get better performance, and acceptable display and a warranty for less.
It is definitely a big step up from a MacBook Air, which is likely the genuine budget option (functional if you get one of the bigger SSD versions which then pushes the price up.
***Definitely avoid the m3 MacBook airs, and base MacBook Pro m3 pro options these are designed purely with battery life in mind and knee cap pro user performance dramatically back to 2018 levels. Think executive on a plane, doing spreadsheets, not for video editing.


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