The purpose of this entry is to share the system we built for use with Adobe CS 6. I hope it is useful for others.
Before I start I would like to thank a few people for sharing their knowledge and time. Without their help I would not be able to get this configuration.
AV8 Media Pte Ltd
Convergent Systems (S) Pte Ltd
The Media Village Pte Ltd
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This configuration works for me. There is no guarantee that it will work for everybody. Please use this only as a reference.
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Here is configuration for the workstation used for Adobe CS6 suite.
CPU - Intel Xeon E5-2620 (2 units)
MOTHERBOARD - SuperMicro X9DAi (1 unit)
CHASSIS - SuperMicro 743TQ-1200B-SQ (1 unit)
RAM - Kingston KVR1333D3N9/4Gb (16 units)
GRAPHICS - Palit GeForce GTX 570 (1 unit)
SSD - Crucial M4 128GB (1 unit)
OS - Windows 7 Professional 64bit (1 unit)
We are a small post-production house, Mind & Media, http://www.mindmedia.com.sg. Wait, I made a mistake, we are a tiny post-production house. Currently we are running three editing suites with Mac Pro and Final Cut Pro version 6. The mac pros are close to 5 years old. The Mac Pro's has only 4 cores.
We were hoping for a new release of Mac Pro during the Apple Developers conference in June 2012. Unfortunately the CEO later mentioned that there will only a new release of Mac Pro sometime in 2013. We were very sad. We needed something very soon. Like now.
Looked at the current offering of the Mac Pros and they seem to be way to expensive for the hardware they were offering. With a heavy heart, we looked at Windows but we had to decide on the editing software first.
Adobe CS 6 came up strong with their subscription model. We liked the subscription model because of we could scale up or down depending on projects. We can also put the cost of the subscription into the project. More importantly, with the video world changing so fast, the subscription model allows us to get the latest software all the time. We are also looking forward to the Adobe Edit Anywhere version in the near future. Then maybe we do not need so many powerful workstations. Just have one really powerful server and the editing workstations can be simple machines. The future looks very interesting.
If we ever change our minds and go back to Mac, we can just install Adobe in Mac.
Now for the hardware. Because we are using Adobe, it was recommended that Intel CPU be use. Unfortunate because we like AMD. Anyway there are many models of CPU to choose from. As we are trying to save money, we had to find a very sweet spot where we can get the best performance for the least amount of money spent for the kind of work we do. In other words, get the best value for money. The final model chosen was the Intel Xeon E5-2620 running at 2.0Ghz with 6 cores. The next model was Intel Xeon E5-2640 running at 2.5Ghz but the price was double of the 2.0Ghz model. Not worth the money for our use. Here is the link to the CPU.
Our servers are running on Supermicro motherboards and they are running very well. So we are biased here. We could have chosen other brands like asus, gigabyte, msi and so on. Because of our good experience with Supermicro server motherboards we went with Supermicro. The motherboard needed to have USB 3.0, firewire and at leaste 3 slots of PCI-E ver 3.0.
Server motherboards did not have the USB 3.0 so we choose a workstation motherboard, Supermicro X9DAi. Here is the link to the motherboard.
Initially we were thinking of using a normal casing. Then we remembered the issue of cooling and noise. Noise is a problem when we are editing so we choose the recommended Super Quite chassis from SuperMicro. A little expensive but it was really really quite. We thought the computer was not even running until we saw the lights flashing. It also came with 8 hot swappable drive bays. The cooling in the case was just great. With enough fans in and out. Even with so many fans it is still quiet. The power supply was a hefty 1200 watt. That is good for graphic card as the graphic card needs a lot of power too. The model of the case is Supermicro 743TQ-1200B-SQ. Here is the link to the chassis.
Many people were advising to get the ECC type of ram. Some even said that not choosing ECC ram will damage the xeon cpus. Having read the specs of the cpu it was clear that the xeon cpu supported non-ecc ram. The limitation was that I will not be able to go more than 128Gb of ram with non-ecc ram. I was only planing to go with only 48Gb of ram anyway. Furthermore the speed will drop a little with ECC ram and I have to pay more for ECC too. Went with non-ecc in the end. I wanted to fill up the slots on the motherbooad because of the may the rams work together. They perform better when the ram are paired together. To fill all the slots, we had to up the ram to 64Gb. Finally we got the Kingston non-ecc ram KVR1333D3N9/4Gb Non ECC x 16 pieces . We still do not fully understand about the ram part. Anyway it seems to be working well so far. About a month now. Here is the link to the memory.
We gained a lot of knowledge from the following website about the Nvidea graphics card used for Adobe software.
Looking at the speed and price we did not go for the newer Nivdia cards as they do not seem to preform well as the older cards. Again the sweet spot was the Nvidia GTX 570. So we bought the Palit GeForce GTX 570 with 1280MB GDDR5. Here is the link to the graphics card.
For the OS drive we used an SSD. This is because it is faster and more realiable. Thinking of getting another another SSD for using as a cache drive. Since we have 64GB of ram, we are going to wait as see if we really need the cache drive. We finally bought the Crucial M4 128GB for os use. Here is the link to the SSD.
Yes it is very unfortunate that we have to use Microsoft Windows. We really had no choice because Apple Mac Pro was just not cutting it. We love Linux but Adobe does not have video editing tools on Linux. So it has to be Windows. Because Adobe Premier runs on 64bit and we need to use more than 4GB of ram, we use Windows 7 64bit. We we initially thinking of using Windows 7 Home 64bit but checking wikipedia, found out that we have to use Windows 7 Professional 64bit because we have 2 CPUs and the ram is more than 8GB. Here is the link to wikipedia chart.
Here is the link to Windows 7.
I hope others find this information useful. Please share your knowledge and thoughts too.