[SOLVED] Help with graphics card selection, for video editing

sgoss66

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Hi all!

Please indulge one more newb, with graphics card questions!

I am not well versed at all with computer builds/components. However, I am starting a small business, and I need to do some HD video editing/publishing, mainly for youtube, to promote my products. I have done virtually zero video editing before, but recently I've tried to publish a few short videos on youtube and found that it take RIDICULOUS amounts of time to edit/create/process the video files, due to the low-end laptop I was using.

SO, I decided that I was going to need to upgrade to a reasonable machine, and so I set out to find the best, cheapest desktop PC that I could, that would do the job.

Along those lines, I just bought a used Dell OptiPlex 7010 MT (Mini-Tower), with these specs:

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570 @ 3.4 GHz
RAM: 16 GB DDR3 1600 MHz
Internal Hard Drives:
1. 250 GB SATA (will run the OS)
2. 120 GB Crucial BX500 SSD (where I will store the video files while being edited/produced/uploaded, to utilize the speed of the SSD)
External storage: 2TB
Graphics: integrated Intel HD Graphics 2500

So, I THINK this system will do a reasonably good/fast job with my video editing/publishing projects given these specs/components (correct?), with the possible exception of the "graphics controller" side of the house.

I am pretty clueless when it comes to GPUs, and really don't even know how important the GPU is for the level of video editing I will be doing (nothing really high-end). I would assume, though, that I should add a GPU that would be at least some upgrade over the integrated/onboard graphics, but here are the limitations:

1. I don't want to change out the stock 275W power supply
2. I don't want to spend much more on this machine. I am willing to go with a very inexpensive/older/used card from ebay or whatever, as long as it will be a reasonable-enough upgrade to my current graphics capabilities to allow me to do what I want to do
3. I would like it to be powered solely by the pci-e slot, i.e. not having to connect it to a power cable.

There is a PCIe slot available for a GPU intall, with these specs (which are Greek to me)

PCIex16 (voltage supported 3.3V/12V)
Height 4.376" / 11.115cm
Length 6.6" / 16.765cm
Maximum wattage 75W


I should note that the Technical Guide for this machine specifically states that the Mini-Tower model of this machine, which I have, "supports full height (FH) cards."

So, I'd really appreciate it if I could get some suggestions/advice on a graphics card that is inexpensive (even if older/used), will meet my requirements, and will do a good job for what I'm trying to do with video editing?

THANKS for entertaining the cluelessness of a newb!

Steve
 
If you want to use GPU hardware accelerated video encoding, there are a number of things required, the most important being:
Your editing software must support that specific card's encoder
The GPU must support the format you are trying to accelerate encoding of.

For example, your Ivy Bridge IGP actually can accelerate encoding quite well using Intel Quick Sync Video, but it only does MPEG-2 or H.264.

AMD's Vega has Video Coding Engine 4.0 which can accelerate H.265 encoding as well but not VP9/VP8 for Youtube

nVidia's Pascal has NVENC which does the same as AMD (also no VP8/9) except for the GT1030 which cannot accelerate encoding at all. It can decode fine for playback, but not encode.

So the moral is if you are required to upload videos in VP9, a GPU is not going to help speed things up at all so you should've got a CPU with more cores instead. If you can use H.265 then either an AMD or nVidia card would help, except the GT1030. Older Maxwell cards like the 750Ti or 950 are only half as fast at encoding for both H.264 and H.265
 
You could install a GTX 1050 or GTX 1050 Ti, either will work.
I have installed the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (GV-N105TD5-4GD)
EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (04G-P4-6251-KR) is another option that could cost less.
A GPU that requires more power than those would not be recommended.
You could buy similar GPUs but take in consideration the length of the card, since it could interfere with the drive cage.
 
Well....the highest NVidia card without a power connector is a GTX 1050 Ti but NVidia calls for 300 watts.

Below that is a GTX 1030 that also calls for 300 watts.

Then I go down one series to the 900 series and the slowest in that series is the GTX 950 which calls for 350 watts.

So nothing in the last two series has requirements less than 300 watts.You might have to go back further to find something that does....and then...it may not beat your integrated graphics.

 

sgoss66

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Dec 24, 2016
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jojesa --

THANKS for your reply. Very much appreciated. That GPU is one I've looked at, but it's well outside my price range. However, I looked at the specs, and it says the maximum power required is 75W, so I can see why you pointed me toward that one.

Along those lines, is there a decent card (for my purposes), even if from several years back, that would be a cheaper alternative, and at or below the 75W threshold? Do I need a card as "high-end" as the 1050/1050 Ti?

THANKS!

Steve
 
A gt1030 would run fine , a gtx 1050 would also be doable.
If youre not gaming at all then I would,stick with the 1030.

That said for home based video editing the intel graphics will probably do ok anyway, if the software you're using supports intel quicksync thats definite.
 

sgoss66

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jay32267 -- it's a good point you make about how "going back farther" into older cards, might put me in a place where that older GPU might not be an improvement over the onboard graphics. That's part of what I'm trying to figure out.

madmatt -- you made an interesting statement, when you said "the onboard graphics would probably do ok." Like I said above, in response to jay -- that is exactly what I'm trying to figure out. Do I NEED to spend more money on my setup to do what I want to do? And if I do, what's the least amount I can spend, have it fall within my power requirements, and still be an upgrade in performance, over the Intel onboard graphics? (OH -- and no, not doing any gaming, just the video editing stuff).

jojesa -- not sure; I definitely want to keep it under 50 bucks, since I'm not even sure yet if it is NECESSARY to go beyond the onboard graphics. If it's not do-able to improve performance over the onboard graphics for under $50, then I may try limping along for a bit with the onboard graphics, and save up enough to upgrade to one of the options suggested here, later. It seems I can get CLOSE to the $50 with a used 750 or 750 Ti, which I would guess would still be an upgrade, but I still need to go lower, cost-wise...

Steve
 

sgoss66

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jojesa -- I am completely willing to go second-hand, and have been looking on ebay. I hadn't seen a 1050 that low; I just took a look and do see some for just under $60 shipped, but the sellers look a bit shady that are offering them that low -- lots of negative feedback, or else coming from China, where I'd fear they might be "fakes"...

So, let me ask two questions. Say I do find a really nice deal on a 1050.

Number one, is that "overkill" for video editing, or will it improve my ability to do so? I sure don't want to spend even $50, if I don't need to, for what I'm trying to do...

Number two, is that going to work OK with my stock Dell 275W PSU?

Number three, if I understand how this works, I think I can allow this card to be powered by the PCIe slot itself, without attaching an extra power cable, since the slot supports 75W AND the card draws a max of 75W? (Is that the correct way to understand whether or not one must add a 6-pin (or 8-pin) power cable to their card)?

Steve

 
If you want to use GPU hardware accelerated video encoding, there are a number of things required, the most important being:
Your editing software must support that specific card's encoder
The GPU must support the format you are trying to accelerate encoding of.

For example, your Ivy Bridge IGP actually can accelerate encoding quite well using Intel Quick Sync Video, but it only does MPEG-2 or H.264.

AMD's Vega has Video Coding Engine 4.0 which can accelerate H.265 encoding as well but not VP9/VP8 for Youtube

nVidia's Pascal has NVENC which does the same as AMD (also no VP8/9) except for the GT1030 which cannot accelerate encoding at all. It can decode fine for playback, but not encode.

So the moral is if you are required to upload videos in VP9, a GPU is not going to help speed things up at all so you should've got a CPU with more cores instead. If you can use H.265 then either an AMD or nVidia card would help, except the GT1030. Older Maxwell cards like the 750Ti or 950 are only half as fast at encoding for both H.264 and H.265
 

sgoss66

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WOW, BFG-9000, I can tell this is an outstanding answer to my question, but I'm having to learn all kinds of new things just to understand what you are saying.

It would appear that you are saying that the FORMAT of the video matters, for one. (In my case, going to youtube, I guess it would be H.264, as codec H.264 is the recommended upload encoding setting for youtube). So far, so good, based on your info, for my machine.

So, assuming I use H.264, I apparently then need to find a video editing software that supports Intel's Quick Sync. Wow. I had been hoping to use the Lightworks editor...but in trying to find out if it supports Quick Sync, I found this, from user "David Rasberry" over on the Lightworks forum...

"Lightworks core code is written to be hardware/firmware/platform agnostic, so they do not use any proprietary firmware programmed subroutines with any GPU's. What works efficiently for simple players would not necessarily work well for an NLE.

One of the minimum recommended requirements for computers running this program is a discrete PCIE GPU with at least 1GB VRAM. Intel processor GPU's are not supported and don't perform well with this program. ATI or NVIDIA both seem to work OK, but they recommend NVIDIA.

Even with Nvidia GPU's they ignore CUDA firmware and write directly to hardware."

SOOOO, if I read that correctly, I will either want to get an nvidia GPU with at least 1 GB VRAM, or, if I want to stick with my integrated graphics processor, choose a different editing software which supports Quick Sync.

WOW. This gets very complicated, very quickly, but this is very helpful.

SO, my options now change...

1.) If I want to go with Lightworks as my editor, it seems I WILL need an Nvidia GPU with 1 GB VRAM, but apparently CUDA is not important, whatever that means...(so I am back to looking for the most inexpensive nvidia GPU I can find, which will work with my power requirements)...OR...

2.) I look for editing software that utilizes Quick Sync.

Correct?

So, is there anything you need to do to make Quick Sync "work" when editing video with an appropriate editor? Or is it automatic?

And, then, another question....would there be a way to install an Nvidia GPU, and then have the machine set up such that it could utilize EITHER the integrated graphics processor, and "Quick Sync," (if Quick-Sync-friendly editing software was being used), OR utilize the Nvidia GPU (if Lightworks was being used)? Can you set up the machine to use BOTH graphics processors, whichever is more appropriate for your application, OR do you have to "disable" one or the other?

Steve
 


Most of those low priced GPU, from China sellers, are fake.


- Is not overkill.
- Yes, the GTX 1050 works just fine on a Dell Optiplex with the 275W PSU.
-If you get a GTX 1050 /1050 Ti without a 6-pin power connector it will draw up to 75W from the PCIe slot on the motherboard. I don't think any type video editing will draw that amount of power. Gaming does.

There are some GTX 1050 / 1050 Ti that do require a 6-pin power...avoid those models.
 

If you like Lightworks, you can use it to save files to something computationally light such as DVD video. Then you could use a separate program such as free Vidcoder to transcode to H.264 using Quick Sync. Yes, the file size for DVD will be huge, but it will be quick, and then using the Intel hardware ASIC encoder will be around 15x faster than saving to H.264 directly in Lightworks using its rudimentary "GPU assist." That is, a video that normally takes half an hour will be done in ~2 minutes so the time savings make the extra step worth it.


You usually just need to tick a box or choose the encoder to use in a drop-down box in the settings.


So long as your BIOS allows you to enable the IGP at the same time as the discrete card, then both encoders will show up and you can pick either (don't even need to attach a monitor to it)

As the "benefits" of a dedicated GPU are so questionable for Lightworks, I suggest you hold off on getting one until you either find Lightworks actually works poorly, or you find a different editing software that you like. In that case buy a GPU supported by that software.
 

sgoss66

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Dec 24, 2016
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Gentlemen,

THANK YOU for your time -- everyone.

jojesa and BFG-900, thank you both in particular, for the very informative, detailed answers. BFG-9000, I again need to do some more reading/studying to fully understand your answer, and the "lingo," but that is good. You are forcing me to learn...

I was going to do what you suggested, BFG-9000, and try the "work around" with Lightworks, and then Vidcoder to transcode over to H.264 -- and just hold off on the GPU for now. And I may still use the work around method, anyway, BUT -- ironically I just got $10 off ebay coupon in my email an hour or so ago, and I see a 1GB MSI GeForce GTX 750, pulled from a working machine, for $44.95, that with coupon, would be $39.95. At that price, with that coupon, and given my situation, would it make sense for me to snag that? It draws a max of only 55W, so it should be fine in my PCIe slot without 6-pin power, and with my 275W PSU? With this option in mind, BFG, would you still say to "hold off," or go for it, at that price?

jojesa, I know you were talking 1050 or 1050 Ti, which according to benchmarks would offer 1.6 times (1050) to 2.1 times (1050 Ti) performance, but do you feel this is a reasonable alternative, given my needs and my budget?

Thanks!

Steve
 
I buy Kepler and Maxwell cards whenever I see good ones for under $10, and am delighted with the 2GB 750Ti I picked up for $5. It is the perfect card for games at 768p.

For Lightworks though, I'm not sure if you'd notice any improvement at all. See, actual dedicated hardware circuitry in an ASIC is fastest, with the disadvantage that it's the least flexible--there aren't a lot of adjustments so you may not be too pleased with the hardwired quality settings. Next fastest is running software in the shader array (as with CUDA), which is like hundreds of parallel, but very slow CPU cores. Slowest is doing everything in software on the too-few actual CPU cores. The only thing that dedicated 1GB of vRAM would do for you is to leave more system memory bandwidth available for the CPU to use. Whether that impacts performance or not depends on if the bottleneck is the RAM bandwidth or the CPU itself.

DVD video = MPEG-2 (H.262)
Blu-Ray = AVC (H.264)
Blu-Ray 4k = HEVC (H.265)
 

sgoss66

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BFG-9000 --

Another very "challenging" answer, which I really appreciate. I had to look up what an ASIC is -- a dedicated circuit to do a particular task. So if I had a dedicated circuit specific to "encoding/decoding video," that would be the fastest way to do it. Got it. Don't know what that would look like, but I get it, in theory. Then, I had to look up "shader;" so a shader is something that is responsible for processing vertices, or points, during a "rendering" process. So, this process is apparently what occurs when a video editing software is designed to utilize CUDA, and thus run on the GPU itself -- which, as we talked about earlier, apparently Lightworks does NOT do.

SO -- what I think you are saying therefore, if I understand correctly, is that since Lightworks does not utilize CUDA, the ONLY thing the GTX 750 would be doing for me when running Lightworks to encode video, is essentially give me an extra GB of RAM -- and RAM which may or may not even help, at that, depending upon the speed of the other computer components.

(Speaking of "bottlenecks," are you implying that I've got a machine that's still going to struggle, speed-wise, during editing? I was sure I had improved my situation significantly, with that machine...)

Anyway, from that perspective, sounds like if I use Lightworks, and buy the 750, I'm basically paying $35 for an extra GB of RAM. That's some expensive RAM! LOL!

So, that brings me to this question, then. If I am not totally sold on using Lightworks (and I'm not, yet) would there be other editing programs I might choose, that WOULD benefit from the capabilities of the GTX 750, and thus improve my video editing experience?

Similarly, though, if I bought something like Adobe Premier Elements, instead, I guess since it utilizes Intel Quick Sync, then with that software a GPU might be moot, in that case?

OH -- and by the way, WHERE are you finding these NVIDIA GPUs at $5 to $10 apiece?! I'd love to find one at that price!

Steve
 
Yep, Intel Quick Sync Video, Video Coding Engine and NVENC are all dedicated, fixed-function circuitry in GPUs that do nothing but encode video quickly. GPUs also have lots of programmable shaders which are like general-use CPUs that some editing software can use--you can identify these if they mention CUDA or OpenCL. For example since last year, Adobe Media Encoder and Premiere Pro can use both hardware encoders and CUDA, but Adobe Premier Elements does not appear to support either unless it's being used in a 3rd-party plugin. There are plenty of other software packages such as Sony VEGAS or FinalCUT that do (although note those generally do better with an AMD card, while nVidia is preferred for Adobe).

CPU-only encoding may be slowest but is the best option if you are using the highest quality settings. It scales linearly with number of cores and clockspeed, so if your dual-core laptop runs at the same clocks as your new desktop, a video that took 30 minutes to process on the laptop would take 15 minutes on the desktop. Hyperthreading adds about a 20% boost in performance, so if your laptop is 2cores/4threads, then the desktop would take 18 minutes (or a 25 minute video on the laptop would take 15 minutes on the desktop). That's a significant improvement, but nothing like the 2 minutes if done in GPU hardware.

1GB of vRAM is quite a bit better than an extra GB of system RAM because it can be accessed independently. If transcoding while using your IGP, the software is reading the file from RAM at the same time it is writing the output file to it, effectively halving the RAM bandwidth. Think of it like how it's better to rip/process a file to a different disk.

So that 1GB 750 would be fine if you intended to use Premier Pro, but a 3GB 960 or 1050 (or 4GB 1050Ti) would obviously be better for that. I notice Lightworks recommends 4GB-8GB nVidia Quadro cards, but for that price you could get a 12GB Titan!

I shop at local recyclers and used computer stores, so that price includes a full refund/exchange warranty. They do sell as-is cards for $1 as well, but I avoid those unless I just want the heatsink, because there's little else useful on a (probably) dead GPU. At least a dead motherboard could provide plenty of useful through-hole polymer caps.
 

sgoss66

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BFG-9000 --

I thank you once again. Wow, what a huge source of info you are, and so gracious to share your knowledge.

So, you are saying, I think, that when you mentioned ASIC before, Quick Sync, Video Coding Engine, and NVENC are all examples of the ASIC you talked about?

If so, then it sounds like I definitely might consider leaning toward Adobe Premier Elements. That is, if indeed it DOES allow the use of Quick Sync, and I THINK it does -- from info at this link:

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/quick-sync-video/quick-sync-video-general.html

Not sure if there is any "plug-in" I need to install, or if it will "work automatically;" I saw some mention somewhere of a plug-in, but not sure.

Anyway, regarding my laptop. It's SLOW! The CPU is the dual-core 1.9 GHz Pentium 2127U. Though I do have 8 GB RAM, it's one SLOW machine. This is compared to my "new to me" desktop, 3.4 GHz quad-core I5-3570, 16 GB RAM, and SSD. So, hopefully, this combination does better than taking me from 30 minutes to 15 -- especially if I can get things running through Quick Sync?

You "educated" me why the 1GB vRAM IS better than just "an extra GB of RAM," and so I decided to see just how cheaply I could get a 750. I managed one for $21, after that $10 coupon, so I am happy with that. I guess my question is, if I am doing my editing using Premiere Elements, with Quick Sync available, is the 750's 1 GB vRAM going to be able to be used IN ADDITION TO the Quick Sync? Doesn't that go back to whether I can have both my IGP and GPU "active" at the same time? That's a whole different issue that I don't know how to resolve (though I think it is something you have to try and do through BIOS -- not that I even know how to, or if it is possible on my machine).

I think it's pretty clear that I need to re-think the Lightworks option; it's pretty "high-end" software with a pretty steep learning curve, from what I understand, and if it's most happy with a $300 nVidia GPU, that's obviously out of my league!

IF Premiere Elements DOES utilize Quick Sync, and if I can take advantage of BOTH Quick Sync, and the 1 GB vRAM on the GPX 750, then this pushes me in that direction, for sure...

Any thoughts? Does that Intel link I provided tell your "educated" brain anything that my "clueless" brain is missing?

Thank you SO MUCH for your patience. I know my style of asking a million questions easily exasperates people, but you have been most patient, and most informative...

Oh, and we talked about Vidcoder before, and so I planned to download that. Is that still necessary, with the Premiere Elements route? Will the Premiere Elements software do the encoding I want to do (H.264 for YouTube), quickly enough given my hardware/software, or will I want to do an intermediate encoding step to an "easier" format, and then use Vidcoder to re-encode to H.264?

THANKS!

Steve
 
Yep, those are hardware encoders, which are so much faster that the GT1030 is not recommended just because it doesn't have NVENC. It does support CUDA however. Basically:

GPU Hardware -- Quick Sync, VCE, and NVENC, fastest
GPU Software -- CUDA, OpenCL
CPU Software -- slowest

The odd thing about Premiere Elements is that Intel wrote a Quick Sync plugin for Premiere Elements 9.0 but removed it from download after only two years. Perhaps this is because the only people who managed to get it working weren't too happy with the results. It would be far better to use a currently supported plugin, or software that natively supports hardware encoders.

Any software can make some use of vRAM; games even use it to store textures if it's not being used for anything else. You will also probably end up trying lots of software before settling on one you like best, so make good use of the trial periods!

Both your laptop and your desktop use Ivy Bridge CPUs so the IPC is the same. As the desktop's Turbo speed is exactly double that of the laptop's only speed, and has twice as many cores, the desktop should be about 4x as fast as the laptop. That the Turbo speed is 200MHz lower when all 4 cores are loaded is neatly balanced out by its 6MB of L3 cache instead of the laptop's 2MB. So you should expect that 30 minute video on the laptop to take ~7.5 minutes on the desktop.

The laptop CPU uses the same HD Graphics 2500 as the desktop, but Quick Sync on it is removed or disabled.
 

sgoss66

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THANKS for the additional information and education! Just super!

Let me jump down to the last portion of your post. You said that my desktop will be just about 4x as fast as the laptop, and it looks like you were focusing specifically on the CPU. With that, 4x faster makes complete sense, the way you laid it out. However, won't the extra 8 gigs of RAM (and vRAM), AND the SSD (vs. the standard hard drive on the laptop), also speed things up for me? Or are those things irrelevant, in terms of encoding? If so, maybe we are back to the Vidcoder option you talked about early on, for encoding?

Back to the top -- strange, about Premiere Elements and the Quick Sync plugin. I don't know how to find out if there is a currently supported plug-in; I will contact Adobe, as a first option.

Meanwhile, thanks for the advice, on the "trial periods." Sounds like good advice. Let me ask it this way -- do you have experience using video editors (I am guessing you do). If so, now that we've dug way into my specific machine's hardware, is there an editing software that you'd suggest, for my purposes (not terribly intensive online videos to promote products for my small business), with a relatively short learning curve, and not excessive in price? One that might best utilize the capabilities of my specific machine/GPU/IGP (one that "natively supports" hardware encoders, as you suggested above)?

Thanks!

Steve

EDITED TO ADD -- from what I can tell so far, Adobe Premiere PRO utilizes Quick Sync for H.264 encoding, but I'm still trying to find out about Premiere ELEMENTS.

Also, I now know that CyberLink Power Director DOES utilize Quick Sync for H.264 encoding, AND if I understand correctly, CUDA/OpenCL for rendering, so that appears to be another software option that could be in play where I could utilize BOTH my Intel Quick Sync in my IGP, and CUDA with my GTX 750, correct? (That is ASSUMING I can figure out how to utilize BOTH the IGP and the GPU both, at the same time, on my machine ???)

https://www.cyberlink.com/support/product-faq-content.do?id=6690
 
Well, encoding is sort of a streaming application so the bottleneck is almost always going to be the CPU. Once RAM is adequate, then adding more won't really improve performance. But yes for editing, more RAM makes things smoother.
And as files are large and reads very sequential, a SSD adds less for this usage than most other applications, provided you are reading and writing to separate spindles/drives. If you only have one drive then the SSD is better, as HDDs aren't good at doing multiple things at once.

Software is kind of a preference thing, same as asking what sort of car or mouse you should buy. Everyone likes different things, and sometimes one will have a killer feature the others lack, good enough that you are willing to put up with other shortcomings. The simplest to use and most basic ones such as Windows Movie Maker do not support any acceleration. I will say there is a lot of good free software, but it tends to be tailored for more advanced users. You can try those out first. Here's a reasonably current list of what's available.

This post has a good explanation of what's required to enable both GPUs. I should point out here that using both is not possible in Windows Vista or 7, as all GPUs must use the same driver. XP, 8 and 10 do allow cards from different manufacturers to be installed simultaneously. Hope this helps!
 

sgoss66

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Yep, helps a ton, BFG-9000!

THANKS!

I will read that post, on enabling both GPUs; I am using Windows 10, so it sounds like it should be do-able, I just need to read that post about HOW to do it.

THANKS for the info on the video editors available...

And, understood, on the SSD not being a HUGE help in this application.

One final question, and then I'll quit bothering you!

Can you help with, or point me to a good post or article, on a reasonable way to utilize my drives? My thought was ONLY video files I'm working with actively would go on the SSD, with OS and editing software residing on the HDD (and then copying the video files, when complete, from the SSD to HDD or external drive for storage)?

Is this sensible, or something different?

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Steve
 
That does sound reasonable--with all of the working clips you want to assemble on the SSD, that would mean while editing things the HDD will be free to load any effects or other parts of the editing software (installed on the HDD) unencumbered. As you save the final file to the HDD, the software can import its parts off the SSD. If you need to set a swap drive, put it on the SSD--even though the USB drive is unused, USB takes CPU cycles to run and you will be needing all the CPU power you have.

Unfortunately, that 250GB HDD may be quite slow, and Windows 10 is very sensitive to disk speed (it feels really slow on a slow disk, which may partly explain your laptop). The only 250GB disk from back then that feels as fast as a modern multi-TB drive is the 10,000rpm HHTZ Velociraptor.

I would rather use the SSD as the OS drive, but 120GB is a bit tight for that if you also need working room on it for files. If you can pop the 2TB drive out of its external enclosure though and mount it internally as SATA, then you could work HDD-to-HDD. Three disks also seems to be the minimum recommendation. Note that video editing is one of the very few applications that can actually benefit from RAID0, so that should tell you that sequential transfer rate (STR) counts for a lot there. STR is the one thing a HDD is actually good at, but only if it's only doing one thing at a time!

Your SSD does have a higher STR than the old HDDs, but its real strength is the very quick seek times which would be better served making the OS + programs drive (which is full of small files) feel snappy.

Sound good? You wouldn't even have to buy anything.
 

sgoss66

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BFG-9000 --

Once again THANK YOU, for your assistance.

On my system, I cannot mount the 2TB drive internally; maybe I should not have called it an "external drive," it's really a Western Digital NAS. I was simply thinking I could use it to store "completed" videos, and keep my very small HDD from filling up.

SO -- from that perspective, I have two options...

1. Use the SSD as the drive where the "active" video file resides, and my HDD as the OS/software drive, and the drive I write the video files to as they are being completed -- and then move those files, once completed, to the WD NAS.

2. Use the SSD as the OS/software drive, PURCHASE a second HDD (INTERNAL, NOT external), and then use one of the HDD as the place where the "active" video file resides, and the other HDD as the disk that the video file would be written to as it is being completed, and would be stored there as well.

If I go that route, and it seems to be your preferred solution, instead of option 1, then I am going to be looking to buy an inexpensive HDD. I would look "used," on ebay. Since my original 250 MB HDD is presumably slow, I would want to buy a faster HDD.

ASSUMING I go that route, I have two questions for you (sorry, I said I wouldn't ask anymore!!)

1. What would be a reasonably fast HDD, that I could find used/cheap, but would do a decent job?

2. WHICH job would I give to this faster HDD -- the drive where my "active" video file resides, while I work with/edit it, OR, the drive that I write the finalizing video file TO? I would ASSUME the setup would be OS and video editing software on the SSD, "active" file residing on my older, slower, 250 GB HDD, and the newer, faster one being used to write the files TO, as a sort of "scratch" drive?

IF you tell me this new HDD is the drive where my "active" file should reside, then it doesn't need to be any larger than necessary; IF you tell me though that it's the one where the final file will be WRITTEN to, then I may look for a bit larger drive (if still affordable), so that I could also store the files there permanently.

Any advice on the specifics of a "faster" drive to purchase -- as, again, to me all HDDs look pretty much the same, except for storage size; would I just be looking to get a higher RPM? Unless it's been swapped out, this machine should be coming with a 7200 RPM drive. Since you said you expect the drive to be "slow," what am I looking for in the specs of the drive I would be buying for it to be faster? Higher RPM? Something else?

Thanks!

Steve
 
We had that model in our offices and labs at work.
For media content creation we installed 3 and 4 disk on it, disconnecting the optical drive since it wasn't use much.
We placed 2 or 3 WD black HDD and one SSD.
We place 2 HDD on the HDD cage and the other HDD at the bottom of the optical disk cage (there was a bracket there already).
The SSD we placed at the bottom of the case with double-side tape or on top of the HDD cage.

We used SSD as a boot drive and media creation, then moved the finished project into one of the HDD.
 

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