Recommend an affordable processor for Blue Ray Encoding. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey all. Now that the ATV3 does 1080p playback, I think it's time to rip and encode my BD library using Handbrake. I tried a few with my current intel duo core 2.3 but it took nearly 14 hours per encode and with over 200 titles, this isn't going to cut it. I'd like to build a new system but it won't be used for direct video playback, the ATVs will handle that. Primarily the system will serve up iTunes content to a whole house network which the current system does now and very well over my network. I'd like to go with a large mid or full tower as I'll need ample space for multiple HDDs. I was also considering SSD for the OS but if I risk reliability, I'll gladly pass on the idea. Also a recommendation for RAM would be helpful. Thanx in advance.
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post #2 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 05:36 PM
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Here is a test from tomshardware:

436

A K series Sandy Bridge (or Ivy Bridge if the price is right) is probably the way to go. You need cores, then speed, and after that a good architecture (for example Hyper Threading helps). I'm also starting to use HB to encode Bluray and it is really setting dependent on how long it takes. I'm looking to compress to around 8-9 Gb with as little loss as possible and it is running between 4.5 and 8 hours to encode it. And that is on an Ivy Bridge 3570K. Haven't overclocked it yet, but I don't expect better than a 20% gain when I do. I was hoping to use Quick Sync via DVDFAb because it is stupid fast, but I'm not satisfied with the quality.
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post #3 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 05:39 PM
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How much are you compressing it? Obviously if you rip it to straight MKV without compression it will be a lot faster.
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post #4 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 05:48 PM
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Looking at current pricing, I think the 3570K is probably a good deal at @ $229. You can always use a lower clocked processor (like 2.9-3.1Ghz before Turbo), and as long as it has Turbo get an easy overclock of 400hz over whatever it's Turbo spec is. But those are all around $180 so I'm not sure that is that a great a saving. And I'm not positive but I don't know if Turbo will kick in if all four cores are loaded. The thing about video encoding is there really is no way around getting a capable processor.

I've use Intel 320, Intel 520, and Samsung 830 SSD and been happy with all of them.
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post #5 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 06:14 PM
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I'm guessing OP is encoding for the AppleTV so target is probably MP4 and not MKV.

@mayhem13
I agree with the suggestion for a quad-core Sandy Ivy Bridge (gah, still on a 2011 mindset). If you want to save money, a Core i5 would be fine. HyperThreading on the i7 makes for 20~30% speed up in x264 over a similarly clocked i5. Whether it's worth the extra $100 or not is up to you. Imho, since you're likely spending quite a bit on the entire PC (probably around $1000+ if you're planning on cramming it with HDDs), might as well go for the i7 for the minimal price increase.

While augerpro didn't find QuickSync quality acceptable, I think it might be worth testing yourself. While all QuickSync capable encoders I know of are paid, most offer a free trial and the time savings can be quite significant.
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post #6 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 06:22 PM
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Agree about needing a strong CPU if you are wanting to re-encode or shrink the video file.

If you are just ripping to ISO or straight MKV then the optical drive is likely your slowest link.Since you are re-encoding you need at least a quad core i5. Depends on how valuable your time is if you want to spend extra for the i7.
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post #7 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

I'm guessing OP is encoding for the AppleTV so target is probably MP4 and not MKV.

Apple TV doesn't support mkv? I'm surprised.
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post #8 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanx for the list Brandon.....very usefull info. I think i can go the stretch for the i7 as the consensus is the hyperthreading is going to make the substantial difference in time, especially considering I want the end result to be the best quality possible.

Oh, and I'll be using it with Soundeasy and Unibox still.wink.gif

No feedback on RAM or the OS SSD?
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post #9 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augerpro View Post

Apple TV doesn't support mkv? I'm surprised.

It's Apple. Why is it a surprise? Heck, I don't think any of the iOS devices support AVI out of the box.

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Originally Posted by mayhem13 View Post

No feedback on RAM or the OS SSD?

RAM, get as much as you can (although 8GB should be quite sufficient). Speed doesn't really matter although with current pricing, might as well go with DDR3 1600. Go with a dual-channel kit (2x4GB costs less than $50). Don't bother with gaming memory. Just get a normal 1.5V or low-voltage 1.35V kit.

OS SSD, get whatever's on sale at the capacity you need. Really, performance difference among decent quality SSDs is quite negligible particularly for HTPC use.
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post #10 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 08:52 PM
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If you're using HandBrake to encode don't bother with multi-pass encoding. Instead go for 1 pass constant quality. It's lots quicker and since you aren't shooting for a specific size better quality. If you want to try QuickSync encoding Mirillis has some pretty good encoders. I use their Action! screen recorder and it captures at about 25GB per hour at 1080p (in their proprietary FIC codec). Action! can take a 45GB 2 hour recording down to a 5 or 6GB MP4 file in about 20 minutes (stock i7 2600) using less than 20% CPU. I believe their Splash! Pro EX uses similar codecs.
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post #11 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 08:59 PM
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In addition to other comments, you will want to use a different source and destination drive if possible. I have used a 2011 Mac mini server for a year as a dedicated Blu-ray encoding system. It does 24fps using high profile. I replaced the stock drives with a 240GB Vertex 3 MAX IOPS and 750GB WD Scorpio Black. I rip Blu-rays to external Seagate GoFlex drives as MKVs for back, then process from there to the internal 750GB. The externals are connected via Thunderbolt.

Also, Handbrake is working on an OpenCL supported version which will get a boost from Intel HD 3000 and better. However, it's designed for OpenCL supported GPUs, which will give a huge performance boost similar to QuickSync.
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post #12 of 37 Old 06-18-2012, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortcut3d View Post

In addition to other comments, you will want to use a different source and destination drive if possible.

I'd say that's definitely possible:
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayhem13 View Post

I'd like to go with a large mid or full tower as I'll need ample space for multiple HDDs.
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post #13 of 37 Old 06-19-2012, 01:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayhem13 View Post

Thanx for the list Brandon.....very usefull info. I think i can go the stretch for the i7 as the consensus is the hyperthreading is going to make the substantial difference in time, especially considering I want the end result to be the best quality possible.
Oh, and I'll be using it with Soundeasy and Unibox still.wink.gif
No feedback on RAM or the OS SSD?

So you are looking at a i7 3770K? I guess the affordability part just went out the window, but hey nice choice. Or do you mean i7 2600K/2700K? For their price you may be better off with a i5 3570K since just the upgrade to Ivy Bridge architecture may be almost as good as hyperthreading, and you get better Quick Sync if you decide to try that. And HD 4000 gpu.

RAM...there are a lot of good brands. I agree DDR3 1600 is probably the one to use. I've been using G Skill Ripjaws for a lot of builds lately as the price is right and compatibility has been good. Just built a new "main" computer and used low latency Mushkin Blackline or Redline, which I've used in the past and been very happy with. Patriot, Corsair, all good brands. Probably look for 2x4Gb DDR3 1600 kits and buy whatever is well reviewed and doesn't have any mentions of conflicts with the mobo you get. For SSD again, I don't think you could go wrong with an Intel 520 or Samsung 830.

Soundeasy user now? I haven't been on the audio forums much, but I do remember you seemed to be getting into some interesting projects. What are your reference speakers now?
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post #14 of 37 Old 06-19-2012, 02:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

If you're using HandBrake to encode don't bother with multi-pass encoding. Instead go for 1 pass constant quality. It's lots quicker and since you aren't shooting for a specific size better quality. If you want to try QuickSync encoding Mirillis has some pretty good encoders. I use their Action! screen recorder and it captures at about 25GB per hour at 1080p (in their proprietary FIC codec). Action! can take a 45GB 2 hour recording down to a 5 or 6GB MP4 file in about 20 minutes (stock i7 2600) using less than 20% CPU. I believe their Splash! Pro EX uses similar codecs.

Maybe you can help me on this since I'm getting conflicting info...if you use Quick Sync it wouldn't matter what encoder you use since encoder settings are already built into the QS engine, the only handle you have is changing bitrate? I was trying to use DVDFab for mkv compression via QS and when I wasn't too happy with the result, DVDFAb forum team members told me there is a preset file I can edit to get what want, similar to what I had in Handbrake. So while educating myself on x264 encoder which both DVDFab and Handbrake use, I kept seeing mentions that x264 does not support QS yet. It didn't really click until I changed the presets for x264 in DVDFab and the result was no change in video quality. First tip off was the encoding time was exactly the same. Compared a couple screen shots and I see no difference. Which would make sense if when using QS, DVDFab (or any software) doesn't use the x264 encoder anymore, but uses QS own built in codec (and presets/profile). And editing the presets in DVDFab didn't do anything. What you get is what you get with Quick Sync. Is my understanding correct?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayhem13 View Post

Thanx for the list Brandon.....very usefull info. I think i can go the stretch for the i7 as the consensus is the hyperthreading is going to make the substantial difference in time, especially considering I want the end result to be the best quality possible.
Oh, and I'll be using it with Soundeasy and Unibox still.wink.gif
No feedback on RAM or the OS SSD?

If you happen to have a Micro Center within traveling distance, the best buy for this is without question the i5-3570K for $189.99 plus $50 off a motherboard bundle, and the best power buy is probably the i7-3820 Sandy Bridge E cpu for $229.99 (although you need to add a graphics card and get no quicksynch). The i7-3770 is only $259 and would probably be my choice for best price/performance combination. (If you want to overclock, the K model is an extra $30)

And before you consider any hardware encoding approach, be sure to read this article:
The wretched state of GPU transcoding

My choices for SSD are Plextor M3S, Samsung 830 and Intel. Intel keeps running rebate deals on its new 330 series that make them definitely the "best buy". Check Newegg and Amazon. The 180GB is only $135 after rebate at Amazon.

SDRAM - basically any 1600. GSkill Ripjaws and Mushkin Black Line are two suggestions. If you happen to choose the i7-3820, it's an LGA 2011 and uses quad channel ram so you could go with 4x2gb.
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post #16 of 37 Old 06-19-2012, 07:23 AM
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I have no experience with other QS AVC encoders, but the Mirillis one lets you choose BitRate and size and 'quality'. as you can see from the screenshots of Frank, the bitrate and hence quality does indeed vary. The encode on the left was about 10 times the size of the one on the right.
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post #17 of 37 Old 06-19-2012, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augerpro View Post

So you are looking at a i7 3770K? I guess the affordability part just went out the window, but hey nice choice. Or do you mean i7 2600K/2700K? For their price you may be better off with a i5 3570K since just the upgrade to Ivy Bridge architecture may be almost as good as hyperthreading, and you get better Quick Sync if you decide to try that. And HD 4000 gpu.

Not really. "Affordability" is a relative term. More likely than not, the OP's gonna be spending quite a bit on his new build:

Case: Mid or Full Tower $100~200
PSU: good quality 500W 80Plus $50~100
MB: LGA-1155 mATX/ATX $150~200
RAM: 2x4GB DDR3 1600 $50
HDD: 4x2TB $400
ODD 2xBlu-ray $100
TOTAL: $850~$1,050 (not including CPU)

Looking at the overall cost, an extra $100 for the CPU is just a small part of it and will be well worth the extra 10% cost for a 20~30% performance increase during x264 encoding. Now if the OP where to go the LGA-2011 route with 6-core CPU or dual-socket LGA-2011 server board with dual 8-core processors, then that would be throwing affordability out the window. tongue.gif


Quote:
Originally Posted by augerpro View Post

Maybe you can help me on this since I'm getting conflicting info...if you use Quick Sync it wouldn't matter what encoder you use since encoder settings are already built into the QS engine, the only handle you have is changing bitrate? I was trying to use DVDFab for mkv compression via QS and when I wasn't too happy with the result, DVDFAb forum team members told me there is a preset file I can edit to get what want, similar to what I had in Handbrake. So while educating myself on x264 encoder which both DVDFab and Handbrake use, I kept seeing mentions that x264 does not support QS yet. It didn't really click until I changed the presets for x264 in DVDFab and the result was no change in video quality. First tip off was the encoding time was exactly the same. Compared a couple screen shots and I see no difference. Which would make sense if when using QS, DVDFab (or any software) doesn't use the x264 encoder anymore, but uses QS own built in codec (and presets/profile). And editing the presets in DVDFab didn't do anything. What you get is what you get with Quick Sync. Is my understanding correct?

x264 is software-only. No, it doesn't use QuickSync (or any GPU hardware acceleration, really). Aside from bitrate and/or generic quality presets, I don't think you can customize QuickSync encoding options either.
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post #18 of 37 Old 06-19-2012, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

I have no experience with other QS AVC encoders, but the Mirillis one lets you choose BitRate and size and 'quality'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

x264 is software-only. No, it doesn't use QuickSync (or any GPU hardware acceleration, really). Aside from bitrate and/or generic quality presets, I don't think you can customize QuickSync encoding options either.

Looking here it appears QS on Ivy Bridge is a hybrid software/hardware codec. It appears supporting software can select different presets (the Quality adjustment in Mirillis above) but still those presets are all hard coded in the QS cpu function? Sound about right? So the trick is to find what those presets actually are. Anyone know what h264 presets profiles Intel used? olyteddy a good test would be to equalize bitrate and and just adjust quality and see the difference. Do you have Avatar? Here and here are some posts I had DVDFab forum comparing QS via DVDFab, and Handbrake. I would be curious how yours compares with quality maxed, and a similar bitrate (can't remember what mine was, but the resulting mkv was 9.5Gb).
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post #19 of 37 Old 06-19-2012, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortcut3d View Post

In addition to other comments, you will want to use a different source and destination drive if possible. I have used a 2011 Mac mini server for a year as a dedicated Blu-ray encoding system. It does 24fps using high profile. I replaced the stock drives with a 240GB Vertex 3 MAX IOPS and 750GB WD Scorpio Black. I rip Blu-rays to external Seagate GoFlex drives as MKVs for back, then process from there to the internal 750GB. The externals are connected via Thunderbolt.
Also, Handbrake is working on an OpenCL supported version which will get a boost from Intel HD 3000 and better. However, it's designed for OpenCL supported GPUs, which will give a huge performance boost similar to QuickSync.

Thanx for the info on source and destination drives. I'm gonna try one tonight on my current system instead of read/write from the same drive. Curious if that will speed things up.
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post #20 of 37 Old 06-19-2012, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanx to all for the very helpful replies. I'll put together a B.O.M. tommorow and post it for review. Built costs won't be too bad as I plan on starting out with my two 2tb drives for storage so that should reduce costs some.

Brandon.....I'm working on an SOES version with the DE250 and Deltalight 12's over active RSS390HF's but current system is waveguide mounted SB29's and CA18RLY's MMTMM.
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post #21 of 37 Old 06-19-2012, 09:41 PM
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Whaaaa... I thought you were a horn hold out? Finally drank the Koolaid eh? What do you think of the SB29 in waveguide? I've never been a huge fan of ring radiators, very smooth, but missing something. The CA18RLY's are probably pretty nice though. I know the 15cm gets excellent reviews, for example on Salk Songtowers.
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post #22 of 37 Old 06-19-2012, 09:51 PM
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Hi guys,

I was wondering if it was better to save my encoded files to a different drive than the one it is being read off of. Currently I rip my disc using MakeMKV onto my SSD. Then I read and write to the same SSD using Handbreak. I read a post above which I understood as suggesting I read from one drive and write to another...???
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post #23 of 37 Old 06-19-2012, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdastas View Post

Hi guys,
I was wondering if it was better to save my encoded files to a different drive than the one it is being read off of. Currently I rip my disc using MakeMKV onto my SSD. Then I read and write to the same SSD using Handbreak. I read a post above which I understood as suggesting I read from one drive and write to another...???
You're 'wasting' an SSD there. Even the slowest mechanical drive can keep up with 2 video streams (one in, one out). The bottleneck when ripping is the optical drive. When encoding the processor limits things. Two drives is a good idea but an SSD is certainly not needed. I rip to one of my internal drives and encode straight out to my network storage drive. Saves having to move it later.
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post #24 of 37 Old 06-20-2012, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

You're 'wasting' an SSD there. Even the slowest mechanical drive can keep up with 2 video streams (one in, one out). The bottleneck when ripping is the optical drive. When encoding the processor limits things. Two drives is a good idea but an SSD is certainly not needed. I rip to one of my internal drives and encode straight out to my network storage drive. Saves having to move it later.

I also rip from the optical to an HDD and then encode. I tried the one drive to another encode method suggested and in fact it did cut my encode time by about 10%.....so Thanx for the tip.
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post #25 of 37 Old 06-20-2012, 12:23 PM
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From Petter Larrson (from Intel it appears) when asked at the Intel Media SDK forum: "Media SDK exposes 7 levels to control encoding quality. Application that uses Media SDK to access the QuickSync encoder capabilities decides on what quality level to use and how to map it to a user option.

If you need to know this mapping I suggest you contact the individual application vendors. They may be able to share this information.

If you want to play around with the encoder quality levels exposed by Media SDK directly I suggest to take a look at the encoder sample that is part of the SDK package."

I'm waiting for a response about what the settings are on the highest quality level so I can compare to what I use in Handbrake. I don't know how much Mirillis or Arcsoft Media Converter enable access to these 7 levels. Since there is no quality setting on DVDFab (which is what use) I'm guessing DVDFab just picked one, and it appears to not be the highest quality one. Or QS is still pretty far behind.

EDIT: BTW I believe this answer only applies to Ivy Bridge QS, since it was hybrid hardware/software solution. Sandy Bridge, as far as I can tell, is hardware only and the quality profile is what it is.
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post #26 of 37 Old 06-20-2012, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
...I'm waiting for a response about what the settings are on the highest quality level so I can compare to what I use in Handbrake. I don't know how much Mirillis or Arcsoft Media Converter enable access to these 7 levels. Since there is no quality setting on DVDFab (which is what use) I'm guessing DVDFab just picked one, and it appears to not be the highest quality one. Or QS is still pretty far behind.
Well you may be waiting a while then. I'm a bit more pragmatic and since there is a free trial I'd go ahead and see if I liked the results...What good is theoretical quality if it isn't noticeable?
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post #27 of 37 Old 06-20-2012, 08:07 PM
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Here is the reply:
"The levels are not related to any specific settings, but instead defines a set of predefined quality levels selected from quality range of the encoders.

Users also have additional control of the final quality by selecting suitable profile, GOP pattern, CABAC etc. etc.

Regards,
Petter"

I tried Arcsoft but for some reason it is not working on my machine, the exe starts but no window pops up. Not sure what that is about.
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post #28 of 37 Old 06-24-2012, 04:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so I went with 3550 Ivy Bridge CPU. I needed to shift a few $$ of the budget towards the PSU. Didn't realize that 4HDDs would require so much juice? Also with all that's going on in the case, my son says go modular on the PSU as it will allow for a cleaner install.
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post #29 of 37 Old 06-24-2012, 01:57 PM
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What psu are you considering? Hard disks don't use all that much power. And what case are you using? That dictates whether a modular psu is useful, counterproductive, or simply a waste.
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post #30 of 37 Old 06-24-2012, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

What psu are you considering? Hard disks don't use all that much power. And what case are you using? That dictates whether a modular psu is useful, counterproductive, or simply a waste.

+1.

Even with 4 hard drives you are going to be under 100w during playback.

See my hardware guide for a nice 400w modular PSU for around $60 or so.
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