Many serious computer users ask me: Should I build a computer myself? Well, I say yes, it’s like Lego for adults. If you want a machine for a particular demanding task or set of tasks, say for video or music rendering and editing, security serveillance etc, where you will be needing a computer to work at peak performance, you better put things down on a list; see what brands and models fit best to do your job, scrutinize compatibility issues and buy the pieces one by one. Let me tell you how I built my own for video editing purposes, very demanding stuff indeed. I used a Pinnacle discount coupon to buy the software which I now use quite a lot and I needed a good computer to do all the editing.
Let me start with the heart of the computer: the processor. I went for and Intel i7 ($569), and to be precise it’s the Intel i7 – 3930K. It’s unlocked, has 6 cores and runs in 3.2GHz. A 6-core processor with hyperthreading is going to act like a 12-core! The reason I chose that one is that it has a really good value for money when you compare it to the really top and Intel processors have like 32 cores in them and I checked their performance compared to the i7 but their price is over $2,000.
The next item is the motherboard. I chose the ASUS P9 X79 PRO. It’s true that my processor was very limited on how many different motheboard models was compatible with. It’s got 6Gb/s and 3Gb/s eSATA support, 6 ports of USB 3.0 – this is ten times faster than the 2.0 which takes plug & play into a whole new level; this is very helpful for when I am transferring huge files from external disks or flashes – Bluetooth, crystal clear sound powered by DTS Connect, and a whole batch of new features I had not used before.
Next stop is the memory. I went for the Corsair Vengeance which has 32Gb of RAM, is DD3 type at 1600MHz and consists of 4 separate pieces of 8Gb each. Basically, I was looking at newegg.com for the qualified RAM for that particular motherboard I got, and I was really confused on how those part numbers related to the part numbers on the tables. So, I read hundreds of user comments for every product there, and there was that person saying that ther RAM didn’t work for the motherboard. So, I kind of cheated a little bit and I went through the comments and several people had used this Corsair Vengeance RAM successfully.
I had to read lots of comments regarding the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 FTW ($599) which comes with 4Gb RAM in 256-bit GDDR5 and it’s in FTW. There was a batch of other options as well in Nvidia, the 2000 and 4000 Quadro series which are supposed to be designed for this type of graphics work. But if you got to this benchmark site for premier Pro, and you look at the top 80 cards, of the comparisons, over a thousand users submitted their test to it, this particular card is always on top. The first one of the Quadra series to appear on the list, the 4000, ranks number 80. So, the EVGA I chose from all the cards I tested did excellent.
Water Cooling System
With all the above monsters, I would definitely need something to cool them down since I was planning to overclock my i7 processor. I went with the Corsair H100i. It’s really a good cooler and with it I also got 2 fans. They are super quiet and keep the system really cool although I work for hours pushing the system to its limits.
For my main hard drive, that is the one I install the OS and software in, I picked the Corsair Force GT SATA 3, SSD type with 240Gbs. This is perfect for my Mac Operating Systems and programs like DaVinci Resolve Lite, Premier Pro, Pinnacle Studio and After Effects. Of course, I am using a bunch of other, older hard drives, some having a Terabyte inside, to store my files.
I installed Windows Professional 7 because I would be able to access all the 32Ghz up to 64GHz of the processor.
I got the Kingston media reader, for which I read some really good reviews. It’s a USB3 and I can transfer my documents quite quickly now, especially compared to my old one. So, off loading my media is a lot faster.
For my power I got the Corsair HX750. Now, many of you will say, I should have got a 1000Watts. Well, I’ve done the calculations for this particular bild and it came out at about 450Watts with 1 graphics card. Premier pro doesn’t take advantages of two graphics cards, so if I were to add a second card that would add more draw to the power, I decided to go with this option which even if I add a second one and a tone more drives, I would still be under 750 Watts. I am not sure why every body says I need to get like a thousand watts power supply.
Well, all the above should have a place to reside, right? I picked the Fractal Design Define R4, Arctic White ($110) which was recommended by many guys online. It works really quiet and it’s nice and sleek with excellent noise dampening on both side panels.