This video will get a little technical, but don’t leave just yet, because I think this is one of my best videos and I think everyone will learn from this video and it might save you hundreds of dollars if you are looking to upgrade your computer in the future.
So to recap very quickly, I built my own system with a i7-3930K CPU, 32G of 1600MHz RAM, GTX 680 4G of RAM GPU, and two SSD’s and two hard drives. See my parts list video and build for all the links to the products.
Since I am going to provide conclusions to my tests and recommendations I think it is very important you understand my expertise level. At bottom here is someone that knows very little about computers like my Mom, and at the top are computer genius at work at Adobe and design the software and work with companies like Nvidia and Intel on what to build. I know enough to say I am somewhere in the middle.
Dave’s Monster Benchmark Tests & Tools Used
All of these benchmark tools are free to use if you want to compare your rig to mine.
- Premiere Pro CS5 Benchmark Score: First test a disappointing ranking of #228, Harm Millaard made a bunch suggestions which I followed them which moved me to position #86, and now I am at #30 out of 1,160 entries. I am the 2nd fastest non-raid array system on the benchmark.
- Windows Experience Index Score: 7.8
- Time to open Premiere Pro CS6: 5.2 seconds
- Cinebench score: 12.5 (GPU test)
- Cinebench OpenGL score: 58.19 fps and Ref. Match of 99.5% (free GPU test)
- LuxMark v2.0 score: 680, OC GPU (free GPU test)
- LuxMark v2.0 score: 611, not OC (free GPU test)
- Overclocked the CPU to 4.3GHz stable
- CrytalDiskMark <0Fill> Corsair 240G SSD 497MB/s Read and 493MB/s Write (free Disk test)
- CrytalDiskMark <0Fill> Kingston 470G SSD 488MB/s Read and 422MB/s Write (Disk test)
- CrytalDiskMark <0Fill> test 3TB HDD 130MB/s Read and 104MB/s Write (Disk test)
- I used Prime95 to Torture test when I the Overclock was unstable (CPU test)
- I used CPUID CPU-Z to find additional info to make sure I have things set right, however this program has the memory on my GPU incorrect at 2G and not 4G like other tools indicate.
- EVGA Precision X, I used this to set the fan profile of the GPU and overclocking
- CorsairLink2 software to set the fan speed profile of the top radiator fans.
- I used Anvil’s Storage SSD Benchmark to double check CrystalDiskMark results.
- Asus AI Suite II for overclocking and monitoring
Is Dave’s Monster a ‘Balanced System’
- In a lot of these test I am looking for where bottlenecks are, why, because your computer is only as fast as you slowest component. If this container has water in it and I release it, all the water comes out quickly. If I have a bottleneck then the water or in our case the data will only flow as quickly as bottleneck will let us.
- Really quick this is a diagram of my computer, I have four drives, the OS drive where my programs like Premiere are, the Media drive where all my footage is and the project files, the Scratch drive will all my previews and media cache are located, and the export drive where I place all my export render files. The SDD’s are connected to the Intel Sata6G ports, the HDD are connected Sata3G ports. My tests on my media and export drive HDD was 180MB/s read and write with compressible data, and 508MB/s read 487MB/s write on my SSD.
Opening Premiere Pro
- On Premiere Pro CS5 it opens in 8 seconds, CS6 open in 6 seconds.
- That is not a very exciting test, the CPU the GPU the RAM are not doing much, they are pretty much all sitting on the sidelines on the bench, if you have a somewhat recent computer and an SSD, you should get getting something similar.
- The reason I show you this test is because, I want to start showing you what the disks are doing. We can also see that the SSD is sending the Premiere executable info over into RAM.
- Basically after you open your OS in my case Windows 7, it is going to use about 2G of RAM, after you open Premiere it will go up about 250MB from there, not much when you are looking at my system with 32G of RAM, but if you only have 4G in your system, you are about to run out fast as soon as you start adding footage to edit. And once your run out you experience of editing will not make you happy.
- So for my first recommendation is, if you only have 4G, get more, get a lot more as you will see later.
- Second recommendation is get an SSD for you OS, I finally switched mine out months ago and wished I have done it a lot sooner.
Opening a Large Premiere Pro File
- Next up we are going to do something a little more challenging, we are going to open up a Premiere file that has about 200 video clips from a DSLR. Yes I do have videos with that many clips.
- In this first test I will pull the media from a HDD, the transfer speed peaked out 98MB/s, the CPU was using between 15% and 25% and it took a total of 40 seconds.
- The next test was using media pulled from an SSD, the transfer speed peaked out 360MB/s, the CPU was using between 40% and 50% and it took a total of 13 seconds.
- So the conclusion here is SSD is obviously faster, but it is giving the CPU more opportunity to work harder and earn is keep.
- My recommendation here is if have projects with hundreds of videos clips are you are constantly opening and closing them, get a large SSD for your media files to work off of, if you do a 10 clip video that you only open once, a HDD is totally fine.
Conforming Video Clips Speed Test
- After you import you video clips on might have noticed Premiere preforms a conforming task right after that, if you don’t have that many clips you might not have noticed that, but if you have hundreds you have definitely noticed it.
- You can start working right away while all your clips are conforming, but I have have had several crashes over the years when I have done this and now I wait until it’s done before I start editing, so the faster it gets done the better.
- So what we are doing here is moving data from the media drive into the RAM, the CPU then does it’s conforming and sends it out to the scratch drive.
- When my media was on a HDD it took 21 minutes to conform close to 200 clips, but pulling it media from a SSD it only took 2:30 minutes!
- The RAM kicked up from 3G to about 10G during this process, so if you only have 4 or 8G, you need more.
- The CPU was mostly humming along most of the time at less than 10%, and the GPU was sitting idle.
- This conform process only happens once, so do you really need an SSD for this? I would say no since it only happens once. But it is you call.
How Many DSLR Video Streams Can I Play at Once?
- So we have loaded Premiere, loaded the file and everything is conformed, now the tests get more exciting.
- I wanted to find out how many DSLR video streams, or PIP tracks I could play smoothly in the program monitor at full resolution. I watched an Adobe TV demo video where they showed off a $2,000 Xeon 2600 CPU playing back 12 tracks at the same time smoothly, so I thought I would start at 10, and I got choppy playback after a few seconds because the RAM ran out.
- So I muted one of the tracks, and it played smoothly at 9 tracks, this is pretty awesome for a $500 chip. CPU (overclocked at 4170MHz)
- Basically what the CPU is doing here is now working it’s ass off, impressive it can decode the compressed stream and render it to the program monitor.
- You might be thinking, what is the GPU doing right now, what about the MPE and all the CUDA cores? It’s doing nothing because I not done any scaling, frame rate adjustments, blending or added any effects to the tracks which CUDA is most known for. Don’t worry we will get to the graphics card soon.
- Without much of an overclock at 3.8MHz, I can 9 streaming tracks from the SSD where it peaks at 101MB/s, and the CPU is at 65-75% and the RAM is at 25GB used.
- Without much of an overclock at 3.8MHz, I can 5 streaming tracks from the HDD where it peaks at 45MB/s, and the CPU is at 55-70% and the RAM is at 11GB used.
- First conclusion here is having 32GB of RAM is a good thing if you are going to run a ton of tracks at the same time,
- Second conclusion is using an SSD for your media drive means you do more without overclocking this CPU that much.
- Third is anytime I use the SSD for my media drive I notice that it allows the CPU to work harder because the CPU is taking in data faster.
- But was most interesting was when I overclocked to 4296MHz, it didn’t matter if the media was pulled from an SSD or HDD, it let me run 8 streaming tracks at the same time. In that case the CPU is so fast it was making up for the fact the HDD as not as fast as the SSD.
- So the conclusion here is you don’t need a fast RAID array like RAID 0 if you are overclocking your CPU because the CPU was keep up.
- I don’t see why I would need a faster disk setup when using DSLR footage and you don’t stream more than 5 tracks. But someday I might have a RAW camera, and then I will upgrade to a RAID system.
Do I need a Fast SSD Disk for Exports?
- Now let’s export. What happens here is we read from the media drive in this case my 3TB HDD, the RAM fills up to about — and then CPU crunches it and then sends it out to my export drive that is another HDD.
- One of the very interesting things I learned was that the export drive in my system doesn’t need to be on an SSD at all, and HDD works fine. During a render my media drive would transfer data in 7MB/s read chunks to the CPU/RAM, the CPU was the bottleneck because watching the write speeds of the export drive was only 1MB/s chunks.
- I tried to export to my c: SDD drive and I got the same result as going to my E: HDD drive.
- We will talk about the GPU and rendering in a minute.
Does Overclocking the CPU Help on Export?
- Since the CPU is the bottleneck on the export I exported a 30 second video and it took 2:01 not overclocked with my normal rendering settings, and it took 1:49 overclocked at 4.3GHz, so overclocking got me a 10% performance increase.
Is the GTX 680 Overkill?
- I created a timeline with 4 stream tracks, each track had fast color corrector, curves and sharpen filter applied when I played it in the program monitor without and CUDA support the CPU was working pretty hard at 85%, when I turned CUDA support on, the CPU got a rest going at about 30%, while the GPU picked up the slack.
- However the GPU was not working any harder than it was when CUDA was not on, so it was like the GTX 680 was drinking a cool beverage on the beach somewhere.
- From my LuxMark v2.0 test 679, where I know the GPU is working hard at a power highest 72%
- Playback of ‘The Store’ video was 7-14% on the GPU-Z meter. During playback of 8 tracks running smoothly it was 30%.
- Interesting when you add a non CUDA support effect like Shadow/Highlights, instead of the CPU working at 30% like before now it is down to 6%.
- Now let’s look at what the GPU is going on a render, it peaked out at 91% so it is working hard at this point, this is one of the place you get you money’s worth out of it. When I render without an CUDA support I rendered a 30 second video in 2:53 seconds, and with CUDA 23 seconds. Wow!
- From what Dave Knarr at Studio1Productions he says having a 91% load is good because that means the CPU is fast enough to keep up with the video card which means I have a balanced system.
DaVinci Resolve GTX 680 GPU Performance
- The main reason I got a new computer was Davinci Resolve, my old GPU just couldn’t handle it.
- When I playback with Davinci the uses 71% of my GPU sometimes, so it is working pretty hard, so is the GTX 680 overkill, no not at all when using this program.
Is 32G of RAM Overkill?
- For Premiere Pro I think 12 to 16G of RAM should work fine for most people.
- However if you use After Effects the RAM Preview function eat RAM for breakfast, check it out, it almost used all my RAM at 29.3G, if I had 64G it would have used that too if I had a long enough comp.
Do I Need a Huge Power Supply?
- You don’t need a huge power supply in my opinion, if you are building a system like mine, you don’t need anything over 750Watts.
- When my system is overclocked it runs at 135watts idle, and when I am running it in to the ground, I am using max 376 Watts.
Do I Need to Overclock My GPU?
- Really no need to OC the GPU at all for the programs I have tested.
- It didn’t do anything for me within Davinci or Premiere.
- Using Liquify on Photoshop, OC and no OC GPU. It didn’t even touch the GPU for some reason even though I set it to advanced in the performance menu of the Photoshop. OpenGL click or not click nothing happens to the GPU.
- Lightroom as well doesn’t seem to do anything to the GPU.
Other Optimization Tweaks I Did (Windows 7 Pro)
- In BIOS enabled AHCI
- Connected to Intel Sata6G port not Marvell, I made that mistake which made my SSD’s run at 300MB/s instead of 500MB/s.
- Disabled indexing on SSD’s
- Disabled indexing on the HDD drives
- Verified trim is working on all SSD’s
- Disabled Hibernation
- When overclocked at 3.8GHz I had the XMP enabled so the RAM was @ 1600GHz.
- When overclocked to 4.3GHz no XMP, RAM @ 1347MHz.
- Clean windows install and formatted drives
- Made sure no problems in the device manager
- BIOS is up to date
- I did have the latest NVidia drive 310.90
- I turned off my anti virus
- Cleaned up my drives and defraged them (only HDD not SSD for defrag)
- Turned off gadgets
- Disabled Aero theme
- Killed services like Bonjour
- Removed desktop shortcut arrows
- Disabled fax services
- Never had MSN on my machine
- Never had mDNSResponder.exe running
- Never had jusched.exe running
- Didn’t change the pagefile (this was recommended but I didn’t do)
- Didn’t clean the registry (this was recommended but I didn’t do, I will do this later after I have backed everything up)
Overclock Render Speed Test of 2 minute video
- 3.8GHz time: 3:09
- 4.2GHz time: 2:56
- 4.3GHz time: 2:58
- 4.5GHz time: 2:46 (12% faster than 3.8GHz)
Temperatures when Idle with Room Temp at 20°C:
- CPU 32°C overclocked to 3.8GHz
- CPU 42°C overclocked to 4.17GHz
- CPU 43°C overclocked to 4.3GHz
- Motherboard 30°C overclocked to 3.8GHz
- GPU 36°C & fan speed at 1050 RPM 30%
Temperatures during Premiere Pro Render with Room Temp at 20°C:
- CPU 60°C overclocked to 3.8GHz
- CPU 60°C overclocked to 4.3GHz
- CPU 66°C overclocked to 4.5GHz (Linus Sebastian doesn’t like to go over 72°C with this chip)
- Motherboard 32°C overclocked to 3.8GHz
- Motherboard 34°C overclocked to 4.5GHz
- GPU 68°C not OC & fan speed at 1,380 RPM 43%
- All test run at 410 RPM for front and rear case fans
I have 4 case fans:
- One in front always running at 410 RPM (Fractal Fan)
- One in the rear always running at 410 RPM (Fractal Fan)
- Two at the top of the case for the liquid cooled radiator running at 700 RPM with a profile to take them to 1,200 when the CPU gets working hard (two Noctua NF-F12-PWM fans)
- The GPU has it’s own fan that defaults to 1,050 RPM at now load.
- Idle @3.8GHz overclock 103 Watts
- Idle @4.3GHz overclock 135 Watts
- Idle @3.8GHz overclock with Premiere Pro Open 133 Watts
- Idle @4.5GHz overclock 145 Watts
- Idle @4.5GHz overclock with Premiere Pro Open 177 Watts
- Render @4.5GHz overclock 376 Watts (less than 1/2 of 760W PSU!)
The podcast I was referring to with Juan Salvo is The Coloristos, listen to podcast #5 on GPU’s, great stuff!
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