My Dream Machine

    By admin

    Dream Machine

    I thought I would create a dream machine post. I am putting this together from the perspective of what I think a video editing workstation needs. My thoughts on requirements for a video editing workstation are the following:

    • Highest thread count possible

    • Best Video card available

    • Most and fastest RAM you can fit into the box

    • High IOPS and throughput on permanent storage

    • Tiered storage


    (If you’re a Mac user, this build pretty much won’t work for you because Apple does not support running MacOS on a Non-Apple build. You can do it, but since the OS is not supported, your video production software will not be supported. Most vendors try to immediately blame the OS for software issues and get you to give hardware specs. Then, when they discover your unsupported configuration, they will say they won't help.)


    Thread Count

    Most professional video editing software is multi-threaded. I don’t use the software so I don’t know how exactly many threads each package can use, but all the other processes running on your computer can also use a thread. When you do a process listing on a Windows or Linux machine, there can be hundreds of processes, and modern operating systems are very good at using those. In addition, you can set an affinity for a process to a thread. Conclusion is, the more threads the better.


    Video Card

    There is an annoying problem with video cards. Block Chain computations (bitcoin mining) work really well on video cards, so high end video cards are in high demand and consequently driving up video card prices. You may want to balance the best performance possible with a reasonable price point. Professional video editing relies on the video card for much of the work. Some of the software packages will offload work to multiple cards. You may want a motherboard that can support multiple double width boards. Also, you will most likely be working with multiple 4K monitors. You will need as many GPU cores and as much memory as possible on your video card.



    The motherboard is fully dependent on the CPU you buy. In addition, you need to think of the kind of hardware you will install. Modern high end video cards require extra space for cooling and to fit into the board. You will want NVMe. You want the fastest SATA connection available. You want multiple SATA connections. You also want a motherboard with as many RAM slots as you can get.



    The RAM needs to work in the motherboard, so you need to know what speed your motherboard can handle. If you can keep as much of your project as possible in RAM, then your project can progress that much more quickly. You need as much of the fastest RAM that will work in the motherboard as you can fit.



    You will want the absolute fastest HDDs you can get. You will want to get 2 drives. The first is a high capacity NVMe card, the second is a high capacity SSD. MVMe provides an insane number of IOPS (Input/output Operations Per Second) and massive amounts of R/W (Read Write) bandwidth. This is required to support multi-threaded environments and the massive amounts of high bandwidth data that video production creates.


    Computer Case

    You have to keep this all in a box, so you may need to look at a case. Your motherboard will be created to a standard format, so the case needs to hold whatever size motherboard was chosen.


    Power Supply

    Your power supply needs to supply power to possibly multiple video cards and to a power hungry CPU. SSD’s can run very hot, which means they consume a huge amount of power as well. You will want to get a modular power supply and make sure it can supply power to all the components you install.


    My Dream Machine

    The funny thing is, my dream machine is almost exactly what you need for a high end video production workstation. Except my video requirements are pretty low. If I had $10K, this is what I would buy and build:


    CPU ⇒ AMD Thread Ripper 3990x with 64 cores and 128 threads ⇒ $5400 

    GPU ⇒ NVidia GeForce RTX 2080i 4608 CUDA cores, 14.2TFLOPS, 11GB RAM ⇒ $1360

    MB ⇒ MSI Pro TRX40 PRO 10G, 8 RAM slots, 4 PCIe slots, 2 M.2 NVMe slots ⇒ $699

    NVMe ⇒ Western Digital WD Black SN750 1TB, 515,000 IOPS 3470MB/s on reads, 560,000 IOPS 3000MB/s on writes ⇒ $190

    SDD ⇒ Crucial MX5002.5” 2TB SATA III SSD ⇒ $325

    RAM ⇒ 8 Kingston HX440C19PB3K2 32GB package ⇒ 4 x $315 = $1360

    Case ⇒ Any ATX mid tower with lots of cooling available ⇒ $250

    Power ⇒ Any 850W modular power supply ⇒ $450

    Optional for video editing is to add a second or even third video card.

    Also optional is a third high capacity (>=10GB spinning disk) HDD.


    Total cost is $9,934 before taxes and shipping, etc. These are Candadian dollars, so where you’re reading this may be different. 10 years ago, an x86 based machine like this would have been at least $100,000, and you may not have even been able to build a single machine to these specs, it may have needed to be built as a cluster which would increase your costs immensely.



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