Build the Best Editing PC for Under $3000 - September 2012

Maks will be here soon, so we need to get a machine together for him. He will be editing all day and gaming all night. Here is the rig that Wendell, Maks, and Logan configured for editing and gaming.

You don't have to spend $20,000 for a decent editing machine anymore. You can get a really nice rig for around $3000. Here is what we came up with:

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor
  • CPU Cooler: Corsair H100 92.0 CFM  Liquid CPU Cooler
  • Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X79 ATX  LGA2011 Motherboard
  • Memory: 2x Mushkin Blackline 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory
  • SSD: 5x Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
  • Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card
  • OR Video Card: EVGA GTX 680 2GB
  • Case: Corsair C70 Military Green (Green) ATX Mid Tower Case
  • Power Supply: SeaSonic Platinum 1000W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply  
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer
  • Other: LSI LSI00301 (9207-8i) PCI-Express 3.0 x8 Low Profile SATA / SAS Host Controller Card

Hope this helps. Feel free to comment or question. 

posted 2 years 11 months ago

Similar price as mine except I went less CPU more GPU for some 120hz 1440p IPS goodness


I'm so glad I'm not artistic in the slightest, means all the money goes right into gaming.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

I truly want to see that stupid render bar in AFX/ME fly like a bat out of hell, and then push what I can do further.  Right now I feel like I am working with rocks instead of paintbrushes lol

posted 2 years 11 months ago

120hz ips? Wat? What screen is that? :o

posted 2 years 11 months ago

Catleap Yamakasis :)

posted 2 years 11 months ago

Actually have a preorder for the new overlords, I don't want to play the catleap lottery

posted 2 years 11 months ago

Well now, TIL, thank you Scraps :)

posted 2 years 11 months ago

The ASUS Sabertooth I can find doesn't support DDR3-2133 RAM


Explain please

posted 2 years 11 months ago

BIOS update :)

posted 2 years 11 months ago

If only I didn't have to pay for tuition I could afford this.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

Would be cool to have a + peripherals version to go with this. Choice of monitor(s) and the way they are laid out is important (at least for me) for an editing workstation. Linus seems to love those PLS monitors. A high quality monitor shootout would be cool

posted 2 years 11 months ago

Currently have two Dell 2209w's, that I love the everliving hell out of, they are calibrated and spot on with colors.  And not the shitty s2209w, or 2209wa, the ORIGINAL. I waited in line 3 months for them to be produced.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

hmmm supposedly the asrock x79 extreme 11 has raid 0 support with the bandwidth of pci E 2.0*8x (I'm pulling this off the top of my head been a while since I looked.  I'm courious if that could be a better then the sabertooth motherboard and the sas.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

The LSI raid card is PCIe 3, more lanes, more bandwidth, way more bandwidth.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

good to see Tek syndicate is making enough money to build such awesomeness way to go guys

posted 2 years 11 months ago

Why only a 6-core? You can get an 8-core for $200 less.


posted 2 years 11 months ago

that is a quad core i7, it has eight threads, the 3930K has 6 cores and 12 threads

posted 2 years 11 months ago

can you use the LSI to use different SSD's?  I already have a 128 gig crucial and i got a hold of a 128gig samsung one. 

posted 2 years 11 months ago

You can mix and match drives of similar size in a raid array, just be careful, as one might differ in performance.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

i've known that the m4 and samsung are one of the most reliable ones.. was wondering if i'm going to be running into issues because they use different onboard controllers.  Was just wondering if i use the LSI, it will negate the difference of the onboard controllers. 

posted 2 years 11 months ago

A fairly decent build overall, though I'd change a few things personally.

First, until Asus starts using IR3550 and cuts down on their use of PWM phase doublers, I won't buy an Asus motherboard. The X79 sabertooth for example is actually only 4+1 true phases, and I'm not sure I'd want to trust a 3930K 24/7 overclock to it. Instead, I'd go with either the Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 (6+2 true phase) for $259, or the GA-X79s-UP5 (8 true phase) for $329. Both gigabyte boards use IR3550 powerstages capable of 60A @ 11w. For a good breakdown of why this matters, check out sin's incredibly detailed VRM explanation videos here: http://www.youtube.com/user/sin0822/videos?view=0

Also worth noting is that the UP5 is actually an intel C606 chipset board, and has 8 onboard SAS ports for your SSD raid 0 array, because honestly for raid 0, you don't need a $300 LSI card. These ports are usable even when using an SB-E chip, and not limited only to Xeon-E5. Gigabyte has also released a bios to allow the SAS ports to run in sata2 or sata3 mode, which most C606 boards don't support.

And ok, dedicated raid controllers can have advantages, though usually their strongest advantage is for raid 5/6 arrays (dedicated processor for generating parity data, error recovery, etc., etc.) dedicated cache, and battery/super-cap backup to ensure cache data is always written to disk. The LSI however lacks onboard cache and battery/failsafe protection, so at $300 it's incredibly overpriced. Instead, I'd take the Highpoint 2720SGL for $169, since their firmware and driver updates earlier this year radically increased it's performance with SSDs. And while the highpoint is only pcie 2.0 x8, it's been shown to hit absurd 3GB/s speeds with SSD's in raid 0. See: http://thessdreview.com/our-reviews/highpoint-2720sgl-rocketraid-controller-review-amazing-3gbs-recorded-with-8-crucial-c400-ssds/

And lastly, the SSD choice. I generally like the kingston HyperX 3K too, and the Adata, and Mushkin Chronos Deluxe, etc., etc., etc. For normal desktop use, all of these drives are fine. For editing use though, it's important to note that they all use the Sandforce controller, which gains a large percentage of it's speed from data compression, and slows down considerably when working with already compressed data, or when the drives have less than 50% of the total drive storage space free. So, for an editing rig, I'd take the money saved by using the highpoint card, and go with either the samsung 830, crucial m4, or plextor m3/m5 series.

Anyway, glad to see more of these build videos, and I agree that I'd like to see the next round include peripherals. I'm trying to scrape together the money to build my first desktop in years, and adding $500 to this build for a monitor, $150 for a UPS, $100 for webcam, $150 for speakers, well, it all adds up to a $4000 machine then.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

*Head Exploded* 

posted 2 years 11 months ago

I see what you are getting at, one we were trying to stick to a smaller size editing rig, didn't want a giant ass full tower, or an expensive SSI CEB case for that matter, so stuck to the x79.  I WILL NOT be over clocking this, I know that's the kind of thing around here about that, but seriously, I have been doing this semi-professionally for a good while now, and the last thing I want to do is sacrificing stability for a bit more performance, not worth it.  


That board does look awesome though, but again, EATX = big ass case, or expensive SSI CEB/XLATX/HPATX case, not worth it.

The point about the raid array, you say 50% of the drive space free, now I take it you are taking into consideration of what you have in mind, that is a raid 5/6 array.  That isn't the point of that array, it's just pure speed raid 0, a non-raid per se.  The 2TB is there for backup purposes, as in, get done with a project, backup with a sync application.  The 9207 is far superior to the Highpoint card you mentioned, solely on the basis of it using PCIe 3.0, which smashes all other cards out there atm, besides the higher end RAID options from LSI/Intel/oem.  Flashing the firmware won't be a problem either.  

We are looking at btw, at Overlord monitors, which are identical panels to the Catleaps, and others, without the panel lottery.  And I understand the addition of peripherals add to the cost, but just the build cost, is about 3 grand, still cheaper than say, going to Boxx.


Glad to hear you like it :)

posted 2 years 11 months ago

Hey again,

I was kind of rambling, in my post, but both gigabyte boards are ATX spec, with the up5/C606 variant being E-ATX (roughly 3/4 an inch wider than standard ATX; 10.39" wide for the UP5 vs 9.6" wide for the UP4) Neither board is XL-ATX or HPTX, and E-ATX boards should fit in the C70 fine thanks to the motherboard standoffs raising the board to the same height as the cable routing channel. Of course regardless motherboards seem to be a really personal thing, and I used to love Asus, but recently they've been cutting corners and still charging premium prices for sub-standard products, whereas Gigabyte is seriously improving their quality (really leading the industry in some ways) and still pricing their products aggressively.

For my build, I'm personally leaning towards the UP4, but I also don't have the budget (or really the need) for running 5 SSD's in raid 0, I'm incredibly jealous of that!

And I'm sorry for the rambling about the raid controller and SSD's too, I guess I just really wasn't clear at all, lol. I meant to say that most of the time raid 0 from motherboard chipsets is more than adequate, even for multi-SSD setups, assuming the board has enough sata/sas ports, which the UP5 board does. And I don't see the benefit to a dedicated raid card for anything other than raid 5/6/etc. arrays, again, assuming the motherboard has enough sata/sas ports.

However, I did some extra research on that LSI card, and it does seem pretty awesome, I'd love (and hope!) to see teksyndicate do a review of the performance you get from it, and maybe you guys can convince highpoint to send you a 2720SGL to test head-to-head. I'm really curious if the bandwith requirements of 5 SATA 3 SSD's would actually saturate the pcie 2.0 x8 highpoint card? Maybe with a full 8 connected it would benefit from pcie 3.0, but I don't know, I still feel like you'll saturate the SATA bandwith between card and each SSD on pcie x8 2.0, but I can't personally test it.

Lastly, the SSD point I was making was that sandforce drives consistently slow down in two separate scenarios: when working with already compressed data, and/or when the free space of the drive is under 50%. So, I don't know if you personally will be using this rig to edit "the tek" but it's what I'll use for my example since I know Logan mentioned using a Canon 5D. So, unless he meant the 5D MKIII, then the video should all be pre-compressed h.264, so the sandforce drives will always slow down. Now if you're woring with uncompressed HD footage, maybe the sandforce drives won't take the performance hit, assuming they can compress the data fast enough, but again, I don't have a camera that shoots uncompressed 720p/1080p/4K to test with.

And the space, well, normally, 10-bit 4-2-2 uncompressed 1080p (29.97fps) is 160MB/s to 180MB/s, so that's approxiately 10-12minutes of footage maximum on a single 120GB SSD. Assuming you work with even a half hour of footage at a time, you will take the performance hit from filling every drive over half full.

Anyway, sorry for rambling again, I just love having intelligent discussions (without trolls, etc.) regarding computer components to try and find the absolute best value and performance per dollar.

And above all, your rig will still be amazing, and my gosh that case, I never would have thought to even look at it, but in arctic white it's really quite pretty!

C70 Arctic white

posted 2 years 11 months ago

All the SSD raid reviews running on a 9207/9270/9271 based card were using Sandforce based drives, mainly high end Intel drives, and they have been getting CRAZY speeds, they reached, as stated previously 3.8GB/s for read, and about equal for write.  Now if it was PCIe 2.0, the problem is the bandwidth, it caps at 1.6GB/s, PCIe 3.0 goes all the way up to 8GB/s, that's why :)  And yes, the C70 looks great in black as well, but wanted something different.

I'll take a look into those Gigabyte boards, I have been eyeballing them, but I doubt it'd fit properly into the case, that is the UP5.

Now on another subject, I would never run raid 0 off the mainboard, not enough bandwidth again, and it's software based, screw that noise.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

I brought it up in the Youtube video, but why the large PSU? You wouldn't need anything over a 600W or just do a 650W for a little overhead. Unless you were to put another GPU in there for the current build as is, it's WAY overkill to have 1000W in there if price is an object.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

Understandable,but getting a platinum rated PSU, no real difference in price between the lower wattage and the higher wattage.  And a second GPU is a future idea, as well a couple more 2TB drives to do a raid 10 array, just an idea.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

I don't know about that, Antec has a 650W Platinum for $100 cheaper than the Seasonic. Antec makes a solid PSU.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

At 100% load with one GPU, I'd be pushing over 640w, just so you know.  Rather give myself legroom, have a PSU that can grow with me, instead of replacing it before it's MTF when I need more power.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

That's incorrect, under load it doesn't go above 400W. That's what it's pulling from the wall, look at a couple of Anandtech's charts here http://www.anandtech.com/show/5261/amd-radeon-hd-7970-review/27

It's actually probably closer to the OCCT chart since Metro is also taxing the CPU a bit more so that adds to the wattage. So your total system wattage would probably be closer to let's say 450 though it would probably be less if you're on IB.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

It's not even under gaming, when you render, you put the CPU at 100% load, and generally put an asston of stress on the PSU, I can tell you that from first hand experience.  And I stated, I wanted to leave leg room so I don't have to spend the extra funds on another PSU if I decided to add more HDDs for backup and another GPU.

posted 2 years 11 months ago

What can I take off of this build to get a beast like this for say 2 grand? I'm thinking that other grand i can use for a nice monitor. I guess I would only raid 0 2 or 3 drives instead of 5. I may can do 2500 if i can find a nice monitor for 500 price range. Thanks for the video have you benchmarked this build?

posted 2 years 11 months ago

We have not built this beast yet, but when we do, we shall benchmark :)  To reduce cost, you can take out the raid card and just get a larger SSD in place.

posted 2 years 10 months ago

So I don't know if you know this, but the LSI controller card is completely useless for this rig. It does not come standard with Raid firmware, althought it can be flashed to do so. The catch? It's a big one...the Sabertooth x79 is not capable of flashing the controller. So how the hell can this be made to work without having a system that can flash it? 

I wish I knew this before I shelled out $300 for it, now I need to figure out an alternative and hopefully I can return this. Now I really want to figure out a good alternative.


Read the newegg reviews:


posted 2 years 7 months ago

Stupid Fast!!! lmao!!

posted 2 years 6 months ago

Hello may i ask you if 690gtx is better than 680GTX for premiere pro and After effects or adaboe products are not able too benefit from dual single slot gpus?