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Recommendations for Editing Stations under $3K?
  • It looks like we don't have a topic for NLE editing stations.

    I'm looking to invest in a new computer editing station with dual monitors. I'm looking at Premiere CS5.5 as my main NLE. I don't want to spend more than $3,000 (and preferably not too much more than $2,500). EDIT: I'm specifically looking at getting a PC but discussion about mac or hackintosh are okay too!

    I'm guessing some people are in or will be in my situation in the future, so let's start a thread to think of options and recommendations. Ideas? (let's also not turn this into a flame war of mac vs pc vs linux, or fcp vs adobe vs avid!)
  • 143 Replies sorted by
  • I'd say get a MacBook Pro or Mac mini with the i7, a monitor or 2, and FCPX. that should be close to $3000, give or take.
  • @Brian202020 I forgot to make it clear: I'm looking to get a PC, not a mac.
  • If you go with Premiere Pro, either desktop or laptop, make sure you get nvidia graphics for real time effects and transitions. Does not have to be expensive model. Here is a complete guide.
  • @qwerty123 $2,595.00--- I found a good turn key premiere 5.5 set up here-- its a damn good workstation...

    A hammer is a hammer.... Its the talent of the carpenter that makes the difference in the quality so whatever you choose just take the time to learn the basics of it well.

    *Not sure but I THINK maybe it does come with the software installed-

    Pair of these monitors for under 300 ---> and Bam you're golden!
  • Build the fastest computer with the most ram that you can afford. Use solid state drive for your main drive. A decent video card. For storage, I'd consider the new thunderbolt interface:
  • First, Mac is not required if you want Premiere.
    I got local supplier and looked for configuration similar to mine
    i2600K on good P67 based mb/16GB ram/128Gb SSD/4x(2Tb drives in RAID)+2x2Tb for backup in external USB 3.0 enclusure/DVD/ AMD 6950 1Gb
    Is $1700

    Add good IPS based screens, preferably 26" and 32" and here you go.
  • >I found a good turn key premiere 5.5 set up here-- its a damn good workstation...

    Looks no good :-)

    >Pair of these monitors for under 300 --->

    Never ever try to use cheap TN based stuff.
    Good monitors are a must.
  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev Thanks. I'll have to do some search for someplace local in USA.... What do you think of these monitors: ?
  • @qwerty123

    I suggest to looks not for large suppliers, but for guys who allow to assembly this from parts.

    As for monitors, look for any good brand monitor with S-IPS panel.
    For me 23" is too small. I like 26"-27" or 32".

    Btw, remember to get some monitor calibration device and hood (look at Cinematics site at
  • Since 1989 we are working for national TV-Staions in Germany and EBU.
    Staring with Beta SP, DVCam, DVCPro50 linear cut.
    We have had Fast-Blue, Pinnacle and Matrox.
    In 2002 we changed from Premiere to Avid.
    In 2004 we changed from Avid MC-Adrenaline to Edius HD-Broadcast.
    Now we have Storm3G-Elite with Edius 6.03.

    There is no system (maybe FCP) on the market, handling files like Edius.
    Just throw everything in the timeline an start cutting renderfree.
    HD, SD, MTS, AVI, MOV, ......... mix everything without having any problems and time time to wait.

    Edius starts as software only from ~200$ (Edius Neo) and is scalable with dedicated hardware (Edius 6.03)to many K$.

    We love the system and since 6.0x we do even our cine projects on it.

    many THX for Ptool
  • @wolf100

    It is mostly hardware topic :-)
    May be it will be better to make topic about Edius?
  • I'm running Premiere on a PC - Hackintosh. I have Hackintoshed the PC, because I like the Mac Platform much more, but here's the spec I used. Of course, with this spec., you can double boot and have Windows 7 & Lion on 2x discs.

    MOBO: Gigabyte GA Z68X UD4 B3 (F7 BIOS)
    CPU: Intel Sandy Bridge i7 2600K 3.4Ghz - Octo-core!
    GPU: Gigabyte 5770 Silent Cell Edition
    RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile
    CASE: CoolerMaster Cosmos 1000
    POWER SUPPLY: Corsair HX-850
    SSD: OCZ Vertex 60Gb
    HDD: Samsung Spindrive F3 1TB x2
    DVD-R: Sony Optiarc 7260S
    Bluetooth: Apple unit from Macbook Pro
    Airport: Apple BCM94322MC mini-PCI-E
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14
    Monitor: Dell U2311H 23" 1080p eIPS

    The whole thing, including monitor, cost me £1200, but it is an absolute MONSTER! It edits everything without fuss, renders incredibly quick. 16GB ram is just silly. SSD drives are the future.
  • Oh, and you don't need a NVIDIA graphics card for Premiere - CUDA is actually a bit of a gimmick if you've got a fast system anyway. Not needed, even at 1080p. For REDcam at full res, perhaps it may come into it's own.
  • Not sure why you say that. When you put a clip on the timeline there is a yellow highlight and the clip plays real time. When you apply an effect the line turns red and playback speed without rendering is CPU dependent. If you are configured with the right card so Premiere recognizes Mercury Hardware engine and you use one of the effects that access it, yellow line and real time come back, even with multiple tracks, although disk IO has to keep up.
  • @Vitality

    "Never ever try to use cheap TN based stuff."

    What do you mean TN?

    OK so I get why maybe you don't like the turnkey system ------Too pricey-------
    I would rather build my own--But an i7chipset (tad behind x58) but still good,12 gigs of DDR3,2 terabytes internal storage (Raid), bluray burner, GTX 570 videocard, is not a Bad PC editing system by any stretch.
    * I admit I could build a better system myself for half the price though....but not everyone is comfortable with building there own rig.
  • @No_SuRReNDeR

    I think it is easy to find a firm who'll be able to assembly custom system for you for the price of items.

    >What do you mean TN?

    Twisted nematic (TN)‎
    Cheapest LCD panels.
    You need monitor using S-IPS panel.
  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev
    what are some good/decent IPS monitors that won't break the bank?
  • You can go to amazon, ebay or other large store and search for IPS.
  • I haven't tried it myself, but if I would by a reasonable IPS monitor today, it would've been the Asus ProArt PA246Q. Price and review looks ok (ofcourse this is no PRO monitor, but definatly better that TN based)
  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev Thanks... I learned something new about monitors today. I'll keep that in mind next time I build a work I use a Mac Pro Station with a pair of apple A1082's so I never really had to "think" about monitors that deeply.

    I feel kinda dumb for not knowing that :(
  • NLE is no brainer for projects that requires no other than NLE editor. Other than that, NLE is overrated. Most 3rd party plug-ins don't support GPU acceleration. PP CS5 supports NLE, but AE CS5 doesn't. Not sure about AE CS5.5 though. Also 5DtoRGB "might" do better transcoding to intra codec.

    Give a year or two... maybe CS6 and popular plug-ins updates... then NLE will be really useful. Investing in Windows machine seems better idea than OSX.
  • @stonebat I'm not understanding you. NLE = non-linear editing. What else would you use to edit a film on a computer?
  • Major advantage of NLE is performance gain from GPU acceleration.

    I've used PP CS5, AE CS5, Neat Video, Magic bullet looks, Colorista free, Color Fitness, proDAD Mercalli.
  • I recommend you... try out evaluation versions first before committing $3k.