Video Editing programs like Adobe Premier Pro, Sony Vegas Pro and Sony Movie Studio Platinum, now utilize both your CPU and Graphics Card to improve performance.

Both help to process live playback in the preview window and for the rendering of your project videos. However, there is more to the story than just your CPU (Central Processing Unit) and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit / Graphics Card).

Many other components that are part of your computer, can also have a siginificant effect in the peformance you get out of your video editing software and other related special effects programs, that go hand in hand with video production.

Technology is continually changing at such a rapid pace, that some parts of this article may become obsolete in the coming years. However, the core theory that I am about to discuss should remain solid for quite some time.

CPU Selection

Thus having a computer with a fast CPU, is a Number One priority for anybody who uses Vegas.
The best CPU chips to look out for are the brand new 2nd Generation "Sandybridge" Intels: #1 Intel i7 2600k, #2 Intel i5 2500k, #3 Intel i7 2600, #4 Intel i5 2500. The next best level would be the first generation i7's and i5"s.
In the AMD range, the best chips for Video Editing are in the Phenom II x6 core series: (#1) 1100T, (#2) 1090T, (#3) 1050T. Next level down is Phenom II x4 core series: 975, 970 or 965.

RAM Memory

A fast CPU, also means that you need plenty of RAM to support it. 4GB's is the minimum you should have, but 8GB's would make more sense to match a high end CPU chip. Please remember though that 32 bit Operating Systems can only use a maximum of 4GB's of RAM. You need to be running a 64 bit OS, if you plan on having MORE than 4GB's of RAM. If you go into any computer store today or check online, you will notice that 64 bit Windows Operating Systems are becoming the norm now. If you are building or buying a new computer, there really is only one choice for an Operating System at the moment - Windows 7 64bit.

Graphics Cards - GPU

Getting back to GPU's (Graphics Processing Units) and Vegas. Vegas does have one function that will take advantage of a GPU - rendering Sony AVC Video files - thats it! Anything else that you want to render will be processed through your CPU. There is another catch as well. Vegas can only use NVIDIA Graphics Cards, not ATI Radeon.
NVIDIA uses a unique system called CUDA blocks. CUDA blocks can split a task up into many "blocks" and process them simultaneously, thus speeding up rendering times.
From all the forums that I searched, it appears that NVIDIA CPU rendering only speeds things up by about 30%.
So after all that, I really don't know if it is worth while getting an NVIDIA GPU, specifically for Vegas in your new computer system. ATI cards are extremely popular with gamers. Having a good graphics card is still very important for your whole system if you want smooth playback of High Definition Video on your Widescreen Monitor.

HDD Storage

Another VERY important part of a system designed for Video Editing, is storage. You need a FAST Hard Drive and more than one. The optimal configuration is to put your Operating System and Vegas on a dedicated #1 Hard Drive and have all your Media files (video, music, pictures, etc) on a #2 large separate Hard Drive. If you were really "in to it", you could even go for TWO media Hard Drives to split things up even further. Having separate hard drives splits up the work so that reading and writing of files does not bottleneck and thus defeating the purpose of having a fast CPU. SSD (Solid State Drives) are now here and would make an excellent choice / replacement for your Number One drive - no moving parts - lightning fast boot up times. You will have to pay for it though. When choosing Hard Drives, make sure they are fast - running at 7200rpm. Hard Drives are as cheap as chips now, and it doesn't cost much to get this part of the system right.

Links to Excellent Articles and Resources

Here is a link to an EXCELLENT online article that talks in-depth about what to look out for when building or buying a new system for video editing.
http://www.videoguys.com/Guide/E/Videoguys+System+recommendations+for+Video+Editing
Here is a link to a Review of the NEW Intel CPU's, that shows the differences between the different brands and models of chips.
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1501/15/
Here are some links to 4 of the Best YouTube Channels that are experts in Computer Hardware Reviews and Technical Information on building your own computer system.
http://www.youtube.com/user/PCWizKid
http://www.youtube.com/user/NCIXcom
http://www.youtube.com/user/newegg
http://www.youtube.com/user/LinusTechTips

 

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  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    Kim
    • Member
    · 05:40 19/04/2014
    Hi Derek, I have recently stumbled onto your website and have found your tutorials amazing! You've transformed my editing mess into something that resembles order thank you very much! So much so I've recently upgraded directly from smsp8 to smsp13. Where do I find or what is the title of the tutorials that follow on from the one I've just viewed " Best computer video editing"? Keep up the great work your magic manner is enlightening and helping build the skills of a new generation of budding video editors.
    Regards Kim
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 14:05 19/04/2014
      Hi Kim
      Thank you for your terrific message. I love it when people send me feedback like this, because it is confirmation that I am achieving my mission.
      If you go to Free Tutorials - All Tutorials on Movie Studio Zen, you will find a chronologically ordered list of ALL tutorials made.
      You can follow this link here if you like:
      [url]http://www.moviestudiozen.com/free-tutorials/full-list-of-all-tutorials[/url]
      Please also note, that there is also a lot of good info buried in the FAQ section - some are like mini-tutorials.
      I have a lot of new tutorials coming soon, so stay tuned !
      All the best.
      Derek
  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    Vic · 08:26 12/03/2014
    Derek, you say that ATI Radeon cards will not accelerate version 10 of the Vegas editing software. I know this is an old thread but are you planning to update your advice regarding the later software versions? Your articles and videos seem to be the most understandable and clear around the net.

    Also I heard that Nvidia has crippled the GTX 6xx and 7xx series for video acceleration because they want non-gamers to buy the more expensive Quadro version of their cards. Do you know if this is true? Hope you can clear this up. Nvidia with all their massively cleaver engineers don't seem to want to communicate to their users!

    Vic
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 18:26 12/03/2014
      Hi Vic
      The information in this article is way out of date.
      Information on Graphics Cards suitable for use with Movie Studio or Vegas Pro, has been changing continuously over the last couple of years.
      Nvidia did change the architecture of their GTX600 and GTX700 series cards, which makes them not work as well as they use to, when it comes to Rendering Video.
      So now everything has come full circle, and it looks like the lastest AMD Radeon cards are now very well suited for Video Editing programs. There are very good reports coming in for all the new R9 series cards from AMD, like R9 270X, R9 280X, R9 290X....
      This article here lists performance of different model cards in Vegas Pro 12. The results in Movie Studio would be similar, so you can use this as a rough guide. Look for [B]Compute: Sony Vegas Pro 12[/B] in article.
      [url]http://www.anandtech.com/show/7503/the-amd-radeon-r9-270x-270-review-feat-asus-his/15[/url]
      To get more information about this topic, I suggest you search the Sony Forum. Here you will find many Sony users who share their experiences with cards. The Vegas Pro and Vegas Movie Studio threads are the best.
      [url]http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/forums/default.asp[/url]
      *The final thing to note is that a Graphics Card can only accelerate a small portion of video formats. You CPU is still the most important piece of hardware to invest in for video editing.
      • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
        Vic · 22:07 12/03/2014
        Fantastic reply, Derek. Good to know someone with reliable knowledge is helping us less experienced to understand the video editing world. I have been using Cyberlink's products but have switched to Sony's because they produce such solid usable software (Cyberlink Power Director is too flashy and bloated with features I don't need, which impinges on usability).

        Also thanks for the informative links that I will follow up. The power supply on my rig has been playing up and while replacing it I thought of augmenting it with a better GPU - at present I use the onboard HD 3000 on my i5-2500k CPU. But Googling the web throws up such a mass of mis-information with people stating their opinions as fact! When I came across your articles, your experience in this field was very obvious and a welcome relief.

        I also use the Blender software which (from my web research) prefers Nvidia type GPU's and get significant speed up when using Nvidia GPUs. Since Blender rendering is quite slow with my rig but the Sony software speed is reasonable with CPU only, I'm leaning towards Nvidia. This will hopefully help my Blender rendering speed.

        Thanks again.
        • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
          Derek
          • Moderator
          · 00:54 13/03/2014
          If you do go with an Nvidia GTX600 or GTX700 series card, it will still be doing work in Movie Studio. The GPU does much more than just render video. It works to help Video Fx process, works with third party plugins like NewBlueFx and also helps playback through the Preview Window.
          One user I know who has a GTX760, reports that the card does assist rendering if you select Sony AVC/MVC templates instead of MainConcept AVC/AAC templates.
          All the best.
  • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
    Tony · 07:21 13/04/2012
    I just found your site and am STOKED!!!!

    I have had Vegas Pro 7, 8 and 9. I purchased a Cannon 7D.

    I just purchased a Cannon 7D and want to purchase a 64 bit PC. I am toying with the idea of switching to Adobe Premier CS5 or Vegas 11 what do you think?

    Also you did not mention which NVIDA card, do you have a suggestion?


    Thanks for all the info!!!

    Tony
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 18:38 13/04/2012
      Part Two:

      Nvidia works great in Vegas or Premier Pro.
      To get the best performance, don't go lower the GTX560 models.
      Basically spend as much as you can afford, because a good graphics card really does speed up both brands of software.

      My last comment would be to download the FREE Trial of both programs for 30 days. But ONLY do this when you are ready to invest some serious experimentation time for the full 30 days, because the 30 days will fly by quickly and you have a lot to learn.

      Derek
    • Your comment will be reviewed by a moderator before it is published on the site.
      Derek
      • Moderator
      · 18:37 13/04/2012
      Part One:

      I have never used Adobe Premier Pro, so I can't really comment.
      If I had infinite time I wouldn't mind trying it out.
      Also, because I have invested so much time into Vegas Software and love how Vegas represents information graphically on the desktop, I think it would take me a long time before I got use to Adobe does things.

      You have one plus in your corner because you already own Vegas Pro software - this qualifies you for a substantial discount if you purchased Vegas Pro 11 - please remember this if you stick with Vegas. Go direct to Sony Creative Software website for link.

      As far as Nvidia Cards go, they are always changing so fast it is hard to keep up.
      Here is a link on the Sony Website which explains what is required for Vegas Pro 11:
      http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/vegaspro/gpuacceleration

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