Latest News from Fall River Productions

Our New Editing Computer Build
By Brian Biggs, the Alpine Geek

We have several good computers which are great video editing machines, but when it comes to more complex editing, such as 3D Rendering and large video file encoding, we have decided we need a computer with more muscle.  How does this help our clients? Well... not much actually, as the main benefactor is us in that we will be saving time in the post production aspect of our business. Basically, it just means that we'll get more to enjoy the Park, rather than waiting around for something to render so we can burn it to a disc, etc.

But we're really excited about the new computer. Ok, it's really me that is excited. My business partner Alex, I would say, is only semi-excited. He likes the idea of the time savings, but the actual build and choosing the components isn't really his thing. He'd rather be chasing the elusive "alpenglow", or doing time-lapse videos. I, on the other hand, love nothing more than to spend countless hours researching parts, choosing all the components, and the actual build. This will be my most ambitious computer build yet.

OK, for the gear-heads out there, here are the parts used in this new computer build:

New computer build for Fall River Productions   First of all, you have to put all these parts somewhere and choosing the right case is the first place I start when building a new computer. For this build, I chose the Corsair Obsidian Series Black 650D Mid Tower Computer Case. It's big for a mid tower, but not as big as the cases I've used in the past. It's a first class case, but without all the crazy lights and frivolous crap that normally comes on higher end cases. A classy case, in other words. The reviews on this case are stellar.
     
New computer build for Fall River Productions   The next step in a build is to decide which CPU (the brains) to build around. Since Intel is clearly the current leader in speed (by a long shot, actually), I chose Intel over any AMD offerings. But not just any Intel CPU... we got the Intel Core i7-3930K Hexa-Core Processor. With hyperthreading, that's 12 cores! All I can say is wow. This will make a huge difference in CPU intensive tasks, such as encoding video and I can't wait to see how much better it is than my current quad core systems.
     
New computer build for Fall River Productions   On to the heart and nervous system... the Motherboard. From experience, I know that I only like boards from a few manufacturers, Gigabyte, MSI and Asus. After countless hours of research (remember, I actually like doing the research), I chose the ASUS Sabertooth X79 LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard. It's made with excellent components and allows for up to 64 GB of RAM in 8 slots. Guess how much RAM I'm putting in it?
     
New computer build for Fall River Productions   64 GB of RAM, baby! My current computers have 16 gig's of RAM and I thought that was prettly slick... 4 years ago. Now that we're doing a lot more 3D work in Adobe After Effects, I crave more RAM. Most experts say that 32 GB is plenty, but I know that more RAM is always better and I'll take advantage of every last gig. For those playing along at home, I chose the Corsair Vengeance 64 GB (8 x 8 GB) DDR3 1866 MHz (PC3 15000) Desktop Memory.
     
New computer build for Fall River Productions   The price of Solid State Hard Drives (SSD) have come down quite a bit since they were introduced relatively recently, so we're going solid state! I'm unreasonably excited about SSD's, but I can't help it. They are so much faster than the conventional magentic drives, which can be a real bottleneck in the overall system. So fast that Windows will boot in under 10 seconds. When I reboot now, I might as well go make a sandwich with all the time I have to wait. For our main system drive, I chose the Samsung 840 Series Solid State Drive (SSD) 500 GB SATAIII. The price for this drive just a year ago would have been insane. Still not what I would consider cheap, though. I guess it's all relative.
     
New computer build for Fall River Productions   For this build, I'll use a second SSD as a "Cache Drive" to work in concert with the big 3 TB conventional drive. This will create sort of a hybrid drive, with the most used files stored on the SSD. I've never used this type of setup, but am excited to give it a try. If I don't like it, I'll use the second SSD as a temporary project drive while editing, then move the files to an external storage drive for the long term storage/archive. For the second SSD, we got our hands on a Samsung 830 Series 128 GB drive.
     
New computer build for Fall River Productions   For the conventional drive, I chose a Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200 RPM SATA 6 Gb/s drive. As mentioned above, I'll "marry" this drive to a SSD drive and see how it works.
     
New computer build for Fall River Productions   A graphics card (video card) is key to a good editing computer, and I recently upgraded the video card to a professional NVIDIA Quadro K5200. This cost a pretty hefty chunck of change, but I realized even the best "gaming" graphic cards don't do well dealing with multi-camera video editing and the higher end Quadro cards have the horse power to handle multiple streams of video very well. Since we often shoot events with as many as 8 cameras at the same time, this is really nice to have when editing.
     
New computer build for Fall River Productions   This will be my first water cooled computer and of course, I'm pretty psyched about it. I was always leary of the maintenence and possibility of leaks, but todays water coolers are pretty cool and are completely sealed and maintence free. The Corsair case I chose happens to fit the massive Corsair Hydro Series H110 280 mm High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler on the top of the case. Since I will have so much RAM installed on the Motherboard, a really big heatsink and fan isn't a great option. A water cooled solution has a small "plate/pump" that attaches to the CPU (did I mention a hexacore CPU?) and has sealed water tubes that go to a radiator and two 140mm fans. This will make for a very clean look, very low temperatures, as well as allowing me to overclock the CPU to make it even faster. When "overclocking" a CPU, it creates even more heat, which requires a more robust cooling sollution.
     
New computer build for Fall River Productions   Although a bit more boring than the other components, the Power Supply is really something to spend some time thinking about when building a computer. I can't tell you how many times I've had to replace cheap power supplies in computers, so I chose a pretty nice one for this build in the Corsair Enthusiast Series TX 850 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Bronze Power Supply. This one is "modular", so I can attach only the cables I'll need for a nice clean interior.
     
New computer build for Fall River Productions   We'll need a Blu-Ray burner for this box, so I chose one of the highest quality burners on the market, the Pioneer Electronics USA 15x SATA Internal BD/DVD/CD Burner with 4 MB Buffer.
     
New computer build for Fall River Productions  

Of course, I'll go Windows 7 64 bit for the operating system. Only Pro or above will suport more than 32 GB of RAM.

UPDATE: I have recently updated this computer to Windows 10. I like most of the new stuff, but miss some of the features of good ol' Win7.

     
New computer build for Fall River Productions   We use many programs in our business, but we primarily use Adobe programs, such as Photoshop for still image editing, Premiere for video editing, After Effects for the cool 3D stuff, Encore for authoring DVD's and Blu-Rays, Media Encoder, etc. We have the Adobe Master Collection CS6, which has it all! We also use Prodad's Mercalli for video stabization, PluralEyes for audio syncing from multiple sources, and about a gajillion other programs and plugins for various tasks. I already have two 28" monitors setup side by side, so we're all set in the monitor department.

All the parts are ordered and will be here soon. Now I just have to make time to actually build it, which since we're quite busy at the moment, it may take a while. I'll keep posting as the build progresses and let those that are interested know how it's going.

Brian

Updates:

September 3, 2013
Well, the computer build didn't go without any hitches, which is always a pain but must be overcome. After putting it all together, the motherboard wouldn't recognize more than 8 GB of RAM. Thus the troubleshooting began! After talking with the motherboard manufacturer, we decided it was probably a bad batch of RAM and they suggested a different brand (GSkill) that was confirmed to work with the motherboard. So off the RAM went back to Amazon and the new sticks were sent. Of course, the new sticks of RAM had the exact same problem as before, so it came down to a bad motherboard.

I exchanged the motherboard with Amazon (by the way, they sent me a new one before I sent the old one back, which I thought was pretty cool) and it was a few days before I had time to swap it out with the old one. This time the computer wouldn't boot at all, but it turned out the CPU just wasn't seated all the way and now all is well and all 64 GB of RAM are being recognized and the computer is super fast and running great!

Just for grins, I did the Windows "System Rating" which has a possible high score of 7.9. Our new beastly computer scored 7.8! I plan on doing some mild overclocking to speed it up a little more, so maybe I can achieve the maximum rating. With the water cooling system, I should be able to increase the CPU speed from 3.2 GHz to somewhere in the 4.something range without any problems.

Now I'm looking forward to all the time savings I'll get with this speedy new computer!

November 5, 2013
After working with this new computer for a while, I am in love! With a slight overclock of the processor and using a more sophisticated testing methods, this beast tests out in the 97.8 percentile of all computers... that's fast! Now Alex is wanting a similar computer, so we're in the process of building another one. I'm super excited to have two of these super-fast computers!

April 7, 2016
This computer has "rocked" so far and I couldn't be happier. I have done some upgrades, such as a professional NVIDIA Quadro K5200 graphics card and I also upgraded the operating system to Windows 10.


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