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Getting a custom computer built is crazy priced nowadays


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I got an old custom computer I bought years ago. Paid about $1200 for it to be built. It is a basic black box computer with a couple of larger cap HDD drives.

Look what they got now for custom computers!  I don't want all that shit. They want near $4,000 to build a computer now. I have to use a house fan to pump air into my computer when I run video post work on it. It blows out hot air like a blow dryer. I wrote to B&H to suggest they start selling custom computers. Maybe they will do it. 

I wrote to a number of custom computer companies. Only one replied. They are in the business of building computers, but don't want to answer their email. What do they do all day? What a mess.

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DDTJRAC

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The PC component market is in a rough state nowadays. The silicon shortage has driven prices up and availability down. It may not be that those companies are ignoring you--they might literally just not have product to sell.

Anyway, nowadays it's very easy to build your own PC--only takes about 30-45 minutes to get all the hardware installed, and there are tons of great build guides on youtube.

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I've always built my own. I won't deny there's typically some minor snagging, but there's a very large advantage: if it breaks, you know how to fix it faster than any warranty service.

As Andy quite correctly puts it, components are in short supply, though there's perhaps some sign of that easing a little if the reports are to be believed. Some money can be saved.

(By the way, @Andy Jarosz, I spent some time at Orbital in downtown LA today and met some people who recognised your name. Another AJ says hello. Isn't their big stage big?)

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There is a wave front of expensive technology for professional users. One can hide just behind that, where powerful desktop servers go for cheap.  My Z800 is 10 years old now, so has drifted from the inflection point on the curve, but is still a real beast...specs on a previous thread..

https://cinematography.com/index.php?/forums/topic/80876-hp-z800-as-cheap-workstation-for-post/

 

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With the advent of the M1 Ultra chip, soon to be the M2 Ultra, I would never buy a PC. 

PC's don't have media engines, which is critical to video work. Being able to unload all of the media encode/decode onto hardware and then allowing the GPU and Machine Learning engines to deal with the realtime rendering.

You'd be blown away how fast the 64gb M1 Ultra is for things like Resolve. You can work in a full res 8k sequence with 16 video tracks blending together, all with NR and multiple power windows, all real time without any hiccups (though you will need fast storage). No PC I've ever seen can even do 4 tracks of full res 8k. We have a beautiful Risen 3950X system with 64gb of memory and a 3080Ti and its slower at all editing than a similarly price Mac laptop. 

Speaking in a "creative" group, the only reason to own a PC is if you're doing heavy 3D development and play games. Apple will be fixing the 3D issues with the M2 evidently and a new OS, due out in June. So we should see that GPU performance later this year be equivalent to a pretty decent nVidia card soon enough. Plus all of that power is in a box that can fit neatly under your monitor, with only 150 or so watts being used at max performance. A typical PC will not only use 500 - 800 watts at full blast, but also heat the house, causing the A/C to work overtime. 

The day's of building custom PC's for "creative" work is kinda behind us. Sure you save money, but in the end there is no support and you're having to upgrade every 2 years or the value of your system will plummet. At least the Mac will hold its value for years. 

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Every computer system has its pros and cons. All choices have their tradeoffs. The new Macs are excellent as long as your use case fits within the sweet spot of the use it was designed for. Try to do something more specialized that doesn't fit within it, and you'll face issues.

If you are looking for a quiet, cool computer that can be used for working with video codecs supported by Apple & software optimized for it and you are working alone, you'll very likely be happy with the Apple's new ARM armed computers.

 

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On 5/6/2022 at 11:59 AM, Andy Jarosz said:

The PC component market is in a rough state nowadays. The silicon shortage has driven prices up and availability down. It may not be that those companies are ignoring you--they might literally just not have product to sell.

Anyway, nowadays it's very easy to build your own PC--only takes about 30-45 minutes to get all the hardware installed, and there are tons of great build guides on youtube.

 

That is fine, but emails should still be answered one way or another. I may have to go that route you suggest. But I'm not much of a tech person.

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On 5/7/2022 at 6:40 PM, Tyler Purcell said:

With the advent of the M1 Ultra chip, soon to be the M2 Ultra, I would never buy a PC. 

PC's don't have media engines, which is critical to video work. Being able to unload all of the media encode/decode onto hardware and then allowing the GPU and Machine Learning engines to deal with the realtime rendering.

You'd be blown away how fast the 64gb M1 Ultra is for things like Resolve. You can work in a full res 8k sequence with 16 video tracks blending together, all with NR and multiple power windows, all real time without any hiccups (though you will need fast storage). No PC I've ever seen can even do 4 tracks of full res 8k. We have a beautiful Risen 3950X system with 64gb of memory and a 3080Ti and its slower at all editing than a similarly price Mac laptop. 

Speaking in a "creative" group, the only reason to own a PC is if you're doing heavy 3D development and play games. Apple will be fixing the 3D issues with the M2 evidently and a new OS, due out in June. So we should see that GPU performance later this year be equivalent to a pretty decent nVidia card soon enough. Plus all of that power is in a box that can fit neatly under your monitor, with only 150 or so watts being used at max performance. A typical PC will not only use 500 - 800 watts at full blast, but also heat the house, causing the A/C to work overtime. 

The day's of building custom PC's for "creative" work is kinda behind us. Sure you save money, but in the end there is no support and you're having to upgrade every 2 years or the value of your system will plummet. At least the Mac will hold its value for years. 

 

So, how much does all that cost?

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On 5/7/2022 at 11:40 PM, Tyler Purcell said:

PC's don't have media engines, which is critical to video work. Being able to unload all of the media encode/decode onto hardware and then allowing the GPU and Machine Learning engines to deal with the realtime rendering.

Inasmuch as "media engine" means "hardware handling of video encoding and decoding," they certainly do and have had at least since Nvidia's Kepler microarchitecture in 2012. Specific features may vary somewhat.

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53 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

Inasmuch as "media engine" means "hardware handling of video encoding and decoding," they certainly do and have had at least since Nvidia's Kepler microarchitecture in 2012. Specific features may vary somewhat.

Not really. The vast majority of encode/decode is done without the use of the media engine. With .h264/.h265 you can do some hardware accelerated functions, but it's very restrictive, even on the latest and greatest. Codecs like DNXHR, Pro Res, JPEG2000, CDNG, Arri Raw, X-OCN and R3D do not have special acceleration and some of them do not even touch the GPU at all. 

What apple has done is create individual media engines for particular codecs and workflows, unrestricted by frame size, frame rate and codec type. This has never been done before in such a broad brush stroke manner. X86 machines simply throw watt's at the problem, but Apple has figured out a way of giving exactly what editors need; unloading the GPU and CPU from the tasks of encode/decode and relying on special engines to take care of that work independent of the critical components. 

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4 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

 

So, how much does all that cost?

The current M1 Ultra with 128gb of memory and 2TB storage is around $6,200 after tax and freight. Apple has a credit program for 0% interest for 24 months to pay off and AppleCare is now unlimited for $59.99 year. So it's very affordable, though honestly I would hold off to the M2 Ultra comes out in 2023 because its looking like a much better chipset. I think the M1 was rushed together but now their first "matured" processor series will be out in a year. So I'd just wait.

I was going to buy, but I don't need a new system this year, I'm not taking on any big projects. I also know Apple's "first draft" of most products generally sucks compared to the 2nd and 3rd revisions. So I'm gonna continue to wait and get something that will last me a lot longer. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

https://www.videomaker.com/article/b01/19326-your-step-by-step-guide-to-assembling-a-computer-from-scratch

Here is an interesting article on DIY. Still no luck finding a computer company to build one. I did get one company to finally answer the emails. But they keep sending me quotes for gamers computers with the spaceship lights on it. 

I guess if the components don't cost that much, you could build a computer at home and if it does not work you could trash it all, buy it again and keep trying until it works. For the $3,000 they want to build a basic work computer,  you should be able to build a few test models to learn on at home. But I have no time, I'd rather pay...but only to a point. 

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Early tape cartridge

DDTJRAC

 

Now, beside Perry, who builds their own computers? Where do you buy the parts?

 

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Posted (edited)

OK, thanks Dan. Will check it out. Look at this crazy thing I found in a Google image search.

 

395682.f8b566d1dfb17103c981bf123c174cb3.

 

What, are they pumping liquid in these computers now?  I can't tell.

If so, and it ever springs a leak...it is done for!

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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At least GPU prices are starting to come back down to earth, as the crypto mining boom is cooling off. 

7 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

What, are they pumping liquid in these computers now?  I can't tell.

 

People have been water cooling computers for many many years 

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  • 4 months later...
On 6/1/2022 at 2:24 AM, David Peterson said:

At least GPU prices are starting to come back down to earth, as the crypto mining boom is cooling off. 

People have been water cooling computers for many many years 

Talked with a computer builder. He said they need replacing every 4 or 5 years. But have no experience. He said the pump goes out. 

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