What goes in a computer?

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by Cri-Slow-Pez, Jun 20, 2002.

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  1. Cri-Slow-Pez Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    Alright. My uncle makes his living building computers and working in a CD store. My dad is starting to use the computer and learn more about it. That means less time on the computer for Chris (that would be me). Constant nagging and 2 week later, I convinced my dad to ask my uncle to make me a computer (the price will be crap. like a mega family discount). Now I was wondering. Let's say I wanted to make a 2 hour long movie with barely an CGI at all. What should go in it? I mean how much memory and what cards I should use or anything. I just need help with the hardware. Any help will be great. :D
  2. Golden-Y Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2000
    star 3
    Important components:

    Firewire card (if using miniDV)
    nVidia Video Card (accept no substitutes, ie. ATI ;) )
    80GB Hard Drive (at least)
    512MB RAM (at least, preferably DDR or above)
    17" Monitor (at least, the more screen space, the better)
    Sound Card (I prefer Creative's line of cards)

    That's pretty much it when it comes to hardware.
    As for software, maybe someone can post. I need breakfast...
  3. JediTAC Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2000
    star 5
    Well, fist of all .. YOU NEED A COMPUTER. ;)

    I can only speak as a PC user, so what I think you need is:
    * As much RAMM as you can get
    (there is never "too much")
    * As fast of a processor as you can get

    (I've heard the Athlon Thunderbird's are pretty fast. I, personally, have a dual PIII)
    * As much Hard Drive space as you can afford (again, there is never "too much")
    * A decent 3D graphics card.
    (I defer to the other whiz-bangs on the Forum on this one)
    * A firewire/capture card
    - to get your video into your computer.
    * Software (3D, Composting/Effects, Editing)

    Those are the "bare bones" I would think.
    I'm sure there is more, but I cannot think straight right now. [face_plain]



    JediTAC
  4. Shoveler Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2001
    star 2
    Also ask your uncle about multiple hard drives arranged on a RAID array, or even SCSI. Very very sweet stuff that is!

    I would definetly go Intel for the processor however. AMD's CPUs generally tend to overheat and damage the processor whereas Intel's have a built in thingymabob that prevents damage when overheating occurs. I have seen three AMD chips burnout and it is not very pretty.

    Shoveler
  5. darth_kohai Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2001
    star 3
    Most people involved with media would recommend a Mac. They are known for being good for this type of thing.

    Having said that, I'm a die-hard PC user, so here are my suggestions:

    1. Motherboard from a reputable company. Your uncle should be able to point you in the right direction. Make sure it has plenty of PCI slots for add-on cards. You won't need on-board audio, as you'll be buying an audio card separately. On-board USB is handy, though. Make sure the Motherboard can handle fast RAM (133MHz or better) and plenty of it (1GB).

    2. The fastest processor you can afford, but you may want to stay away from 'top of the line' because you pay a lot for not much increase in power. Buy the model that was at the top 6 months ago or so. Personally, I have my eye on a Tyan Motherboard and dual AMD Athlon MP 1600's.

    3. Fast RAM. Currently I believe the fastest stuff is 266MHz Double Data Rate (DDR). Video uses a lot of RAM, so get all you can afford.

    4. Hard Drives. Get one about 20GB for system files and programs. Get another about 100GB for video only. You'll need it.

    5. CD/DVD Burner/Reader. I'm not sure who makes the good stuff these days.

    6. Video Card. Same as the CD/DVD. Sorry.

    7. Monitor. I have a Viewsonic 19". I'm told it's second tier. There are better monitors, but I don't remember who makes them.

    8. Sound Card. Creative Labs has good stuff.

    9. Capture Card. Pinnacle Studios makes good equipment for video capture and firewire. This depends on if your camera has firewire or not.

    10. Editing Software. I use Adobe products: Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects. Check out Adobe.com for information. There are other good packages out there, but I'm not familiar with them.

    11. ZIP drive. I have an external ZIP250. BACK UP YOUR WORK. You can also burn CDs/DVDs.


    So there's my experience. Hopefully, other members here can fill in the gaps or correct my mistakes.

    Good Luck




  6. willabbott Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 1
    CPU- AMD (P3/4 is good too but AMD is better on average) the XP proc is the good one, get it in 1gig+, Duron if you cant afford an XP (they are still extremely fast, blowing some PIII's away) if you want u can even do the new MP (multi-proc) and build a dual Athalon (would be cool)

    Ram - AT LEAST 256MB (I know others said 512MB, that would be my minimum I would get, but if it comes to u cant aford it, bare minimum is 256MB)

    HD - I would get 2 if you can, Photoshop wants a 2nd drive for swaps, and it works better that way, 1 for primary (software, swapdrive, etc.) and 1 for just storage, a 20-40gig will work good for primary, get an 80-120gig for storage.

    Sound - Creative bar none, get an SB live if you can (there Signal to Noise ratio rocks)

    Video - Nvidia Geforce, if you have to skimp on cost, get an ATI, I wouldnt tho.

    Capture - Firewire if DV, or something good analog if not DV (I use the pinnacle Studio 7 AV, works good, if money isnt a biggy and u need analog I'd go for one of the higher pinnacles tho)

    oh make sure you get ATA100 drives and motherboard, might as well use 7200rpm drives. if money isnt much of an issue you might even opt for IDE RAID (2 7200rpm's running raid 0 will rock) also I've seen the 8MB cache drives have come down in price big time, might be worth the extra coin on an 80+gig drive.

    Other than that, um maybee a CDRW drive (can store some small video and other things there, project files, etc.)

    a 17" monitor (bigger if you want, 17 works great for me) I recommend the PERFECT FLAT type they are normal monitors with a flat screen (similar to LCD, not sure I would recomend an LCD for video tho, they can ghost on lower end ones, and still a bit spendy)

    thats probably about it, oh a NIC if you have DSL/Cable, or more than 1 computer and want to have a network (for renders, or storage, printers, etc.)

    Good luck, have fun ;)

    EDIT: Plextor best CD burners bar none, they have been #1 for quite some time, and are bound to stay there, not only are they good, and FAST, they come with SAWEEET software, wish I had one ;)

    As for the AMD overheat, I have NOT seen one do that in a LONG time, not that it didnt happen, just I havent seen it, I worked as a manager and lead tech the areas largest computer shop, and the only ones I saw go bad were the old K6/7's the new AMD's run hotter than Intel, but they are designed to do so, just get a good fan, approved by AMD and you'll be fine.

    Oh and I know several Professional video people selling videos world wide, none of them use mac, all use PC's or better... Trinity Sytem *Drool* :D
  7. Rikalonius Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2001
    star 3
    I own a PC. But I tell you, if you want to make movies.

    Get a MAC
  8. datoolman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2001
    star 3
    I can give you the specs on mine and you can go from there. All the suggestions above are very good ones. I would go AMD for the cpu simply because of the price. They perform as good if not better than the Intel procs.

    -1Ghz AMD CPU
    -1.3GB of RAM
    -2 20GB RAID drives striped ( total 40GB)
    -1 14GB IDE HD
    -1 17GB IDE HD
    -1 DVD-ROM Drive
    -1 CDR-RW Drive 16x10x32
    -1 21' ViewSonic P810 monitor
    -1 3Com 10-100 Nic
    -1 Off brand firewire card
    -1 SCSI controller for DLT backup drive
    -2 Digital 20GB DLT Tape drives
    -1 Creative Live 5.1 Sound Card
    -1 Logitec THX 5 Speaker set ( 400 watts ) These are about the best sounding speaker I have heard for the money. They rattle the windows.
    -Windows XP Pro. If you have 95,98,98SE or 98ME GET RID OF IT NOW ! You have to go with XP or 2000

    D
  9. Cri-Slow-Pez Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    Thanks for all the fast replys! :D
  10. DaftMaul Former TFN Fan Films Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    The only thing I would add is that if you are making a 2 hour fanfilm you'll need a much bigger hard-drive than most people are suggesting. I made an 18 minutes film and my 80GB hard-drive was pathetically inadequate, so your 2 hour blockbuster need a lot more.

    If you're getting it cheap, abuse the privilege and take everything else to the max as well Yeah, that's right, I REALLY need one of those huge plasma screens over there as well, yeah :)
  11. grand_admiral_ewok Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 27, 2001
    star 4
    Daft when you were editing did you edit the raw, high quality captured files?

    Is that generally the best idea (I had 4 hours of film that I captured and had to lower it down to Quicktime to fit it onto a 60gb HD because each hour was about 15 gigs).
  12. Cri-Slow-Pez Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    So how much hard drive would you suggest I get?
  13. datoolman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2001
    star 3
    I would suggest severl drives. It's good to have one as a backup for files. Put your OS on the master and add anpther for your working area(movie/sound) files. The size is up to you, but the prices are so low get the biggest you can afford.

    D
  14. Shoveler Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2001
    star 2
    Get a fairly small drive to use as your boot drive and to load all your programs on, say 20meg.

    Then see how generous your grandad is cos as Daft said you will need a BUTTLOAD of space to fit 2 hours worth onto. Just see how many 80meg, 40megs he's willing to give you. Besides drives are fairly cheap nowadays so even if he doesn't give you enough u can always buy some more for a fairly low price. :D

    Shoveler
  15. datoolman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2001
    star 3
  16. Shoveler Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2001
    star 2
    NO!!!!!!! I meant meg!! Haha thanks for that Datoolman, I'm so damn tired, been up all night I don't know whether I'm coming or going. :D

    Yes gig is better than meg. :D

    Shoveler
  17. datoolman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2001
    star 3
  18. Lots Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2001
    star 4
    i build computers for my job this summer.. (im putting together dual processor machines, 96 of them to be exact, to work in a beowulf cluster :)) anyway.. this is what i would get :

    Processor: AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (it goes for about 175$ right now..)

    RAM: at MINIMUM 512 DDR (about 100$)
    Recommend 1 GB of ram (two 512 sticks they're cheaper than 1 gb chips..)

    Mother Board: i'd get something with the KT266A chipset (i'd recommend looking at Soltek boards for this...)

    hard drive: a small small hd for ur operating system and programs (20gigs) and then dual 80s or 100s in raid

    sound card: Sound Blaster live (u get a dv in with it AND a good sound card.. not bad..)

    Video card: i'd wait until fall before you get a video card.. the new matrox card will be out by then.. and it supports tripple head .. meaning u get 3 monitors on your computer (VERY handy for movie making :)) AND the 256 meg version will be out (for those cg buffs .. very handy)
    if not get a geforce 4 ti4400 (all geforce 4's can do dual montiors)

    case: just cuz im biased :p get an antec case they're really nice with a 350 watt powersupply..

    Monitor(s): i'd get a 19" monitor (perferably from a well known company.. u dont want a crappy monitor..)

    burners are ok over all just stay away from the "bargan" drives i have an Acer and my bro has a tdk.. both work fine
  19. datoolman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2001
    star 3
    One thing you MUST pay attention to is your power supply. If you have as much stuff packed into your system as I do you need at least 400 watts. You can easily damage hard drives as well as toast your motherboard if you don't have adequate power.

    Cooling is also a BIG factor in performance as well as PC care. MANY fans are needed if you are running a lage CPU and fast ( 7200RPM and up ) hard drives. The 10,000RPM drives can get hot enough that you can't touch them. I keep the side of my case off and have the air on in this room all the time.

    D
  20. No-ShadowKick Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2002
    star 1
    What you shoud have is a BIG nice watercooler :D

    No overheat
    No sound
    Faster enegyflow
  21. datoolman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2001
    star 3
    LOL... or you could just get one of those little dorm fridges and plop it in there. Drill some holes in the side for wires and shoot some silicone to fill the holes. DAMN... actually that aint such a bad idea. You could keep your beer/rootbeer in there too :)

    D
  22. Lots Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2001
    star 4
    well if u want cooling info too.... its really not the SPEED of your cpu fan.. but how much air it can push... i mean a fan that can move 54 cfm at 3000rpm is ALOT better than something that goes 7200 rpm and only pushes 20 cfm ... same goes for heat sink just because u have a HUGE one doesnt mean it will work better.. the material its made of effects the performance of the heatsink as well as well as the shape and construction of the cooling fins..

    anyway the antec case comes equiped with 2 case fans and u can easily get a good heatsink/fan for around 20 to 30 dollars for ur cpu
  23. Ptx Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2000
    star 4
    You have lots of hardware tips here, so here is my help :)

    1) Don't go for 2 hours if this is your 1st go. Do you know just how much work that will require??????

    Start small - 5-10 minutes.

    Thats it. :D

    Someone questioned Dafts use of 80Gig for 15 minutes - this is because all teh extra footgae prduced through previews, effects etc adds up very, very fast.

    Enjoy!

    Pete
  24. JediCias Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2002
    star 1
    80GB Hard Drive (at least)
    512MB RAM (at least, preferably DDR or above)
    hmmm
    i dont think you need that much of either to make a movie with barely any cgi. i am and i have 300 ram and a 60 gb hardrive... =/
  25. datoolman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2001
    star 3
    PTX

    Yep... cuts and effects add a LOT of extra cache files to your project. Just because you start out with a 10GB file doesn't mean that all the space you will need to edit it is 10GB. You could need twice that amount depending on your editing.

    D
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