I mentioned earlier that I am considering updating my computer due it’s being very old. I am trying to not get trapped in the consumer spiral so don’t update it very often. Actually it was last updated (or rather built) 2005. As it is 2011 now that’s 6 years of service life in a world where IT stuff gets outdated and old after 6 months.

My old computer was built following 2 major prerequisites: it had to be quiet and stable. So I opted for components that are more stable (mature) than fast. And I went for little higher quality casing, PSU (power supply unit) and fans than the usual average. Everything was hand-picked.

The configuration is as follows:

– AMD Athlon64 3200+ CPU

– 1 gigabyte of RAM

– ATI Radeon X800 GTO2 VGA (equivalent to X800XL)

– 19″ CRT screen that is dizzy and flickers above resolution of 1024×768, so I used it at 1024 resolution at 100 Hz.

This was quite okay until the HD-era (high definition) arrived. I could do virtually anything on the computer. Process images, panoramas, small videos and some RC simulation. With time it became quite slow though. Even when you try to use as old software as possible the required performance is increasing. A simple web browser eats up all the RAM, a virus defense program can bring down the computer on its knees. Not mentioning video playback and processing. The increase of quality (ant bitrate) demands more and more power.

So the upgrade was difficult to avoid. I thought about getting a modern VGA card, that helps with HD playback. That could have worked, but does not solve the issue of lacking computing power when doing video editing. Changing some component starts a domino-effect, I had to change everything at once.

So I went for a new computer instead, one that I could buy through my consulting company where I am employed. This is beneficial from a financial standpoint.

The prerequisites were a bit adjusted. It has to be very quick, very silent and of course very stable. I did not want to build it myself, so I went for a ready package instead. Thought a lot about some DELL, but one special demand made me think further.

I wanted to have a screen that has following characteristics: IPS-panel with at least FullHD resolution and LED backlighting. Could find screens with one of this characteristics but there is very few with both same time at this time when I write this very text. As fas as I know it is only Apple that has such a screen.

I thought that if I buy something it has to last for some years, hopefully at least 3 years, so I chose something with nice design and solid package deal. I went for an Apple iMac. Joined the dark side 🙂

The specs are as follows:

– Core i7 CPU at 3.4 GHz, I think it is called 2600. Has 4 cores and all of them simulate further 2, so in Task Manager you see 8 cores 🙂

– 4 gigabytes of RAM, I will extend this to 12 gigabytes soon (just in case)

– ATI Radeon HD 6970 with 2 gigabytes of VRAM

– 27″ S-IPS LED-backlit screen with 2560×1440 resolution

I am delighted to say that this meets and surpasses my dreams of a workstation. Has the same noise as a good laptop, virtually silent. The screen is a dream, I cannot really fathom that such resolution is possible. The power is insane, will talk about that in a moment.

What do I need power for actually? Well power is something that you can always have in computer world. It is never enough maybe. This time it is quite enough though 🙂

What I was after is to have a fluent workflow in video editing, a nice fluid speed impression while using the user interface. Not being limited by resolution, if I record in 720p for instance the computer should handle it without problem. And rendering speed is also something I wanted to have. To not wait one and a half hours for rendering some 10 minutes of Youtube video. And maybe have the possibility of using the computer while rendering.

Also running a RC simulator on decent detail level is a demand. I made some studies about system requirements for Aerofly 5 simulator. This is one of future projects to test and run. I took into consideration the official specs on Aerofly homepage and the reviews of Nightflyyer. The VGA card that sits in this computer surpasses demands so it should provide me good amount of simulation fun and joy for the eyes of detail level.

Now some testing. I am quite square-headed so we have to get some Excel-chart soon 🙂

I recorded some simple footage with my Hobbyking HD Wing Camera and processed it as a picture-in-picture footage. A small 1/4 size frame was superimposed onto the top-right corner. I measured rendering time under following conditions.

Rendered in 640×480 resolution and WMW 11 format with 3 megabits per second bitrate. On the old computer I used Powerdirector 9 and Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9.0 and noted rendering times. On new computer I used the brand new Sony Vegas Movie Studio 11.0 version. Please find my short video about how responsive user interface I have now and what results I ended up with.

I have the chart as a still picture, you can read the results there. The new computer is approximately 6x faster under rendering. I am happy with this. I made a terrible mistake. Wrote 2200+ instead of 3200+ on the chart. My memory has some leaks as it seems 🙂

I will test further different aspects of the new computer. So far so good.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot