Alienware Advice

GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,359 Enthusiast

Ok....so my Mac is a beautiful machine....BUT....not beautiful enough.

Looking at a purchase of ....

Alienware - Aurora R5 Desktop - Intel Core i7 - 3.4 Ghz -16GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8Gbps - 256GB Solid State - 1TB HD (Windows 10)

I've search the forums for advice but unclear if a Dell will work with Hitfilm?

1) Dell - will it work with Hitfilm 4 Pro?
2) Bad choice for a machine?

btw- Drives are easy upgrades but I'm sure my 2 external Seagate 2Tb drives will work. But not so sure about my G-Drive (3TB) and Windows 10.  

Drives would be an "MP" - "my problem" to check compatibility.

Thanks for any advice.

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Comments

  • kevin_nkevin_n Website User Posts: 1,913 Enthusiast

    Where are you buying from?

    Ask if the site or store you're buying from are able to charge you for putting a custom PC together.

    The specs are good, but the question is how big is the premium because Alienware among other big brands sell overpriced products.

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,359 Enthusiast

    @CNK  Well ..Bestbuy....1450$. So probably over priced right there.

    With 2 monitors brings the $$ to 2k

    While in the "ole days" I would have known where to go to get a custom machine... right now I'd have no idea where to get a custom machine built.

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    There is a problem with Dell Backup and Recovery or AlienRespawn so that would have to be removed.

    https://hitfilm.com/faqs/view/78

    Your G-drive shouldn't be a problem with Win 10 my G-Raid's are working fine.

    The specs are good but what is the price?  

  • kevin_nkevin_n Website User Posts: 1,913 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    What i7 is that? But yeah it's probably overpriced, but maybe not by much. If you really need a new computer now then sure, but AMD are releasing new CPU in Q1 2017, and Intel will release their new line up as well I believe.

    If the rumors are true, then AMD's new offerings are going to break Intel's monopoly and bring prices down across the board.

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,359 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    i7 6700K.

    I really don't need...   a want. Just "sadly" depressed that my iMac has such a shitty (mid-range un-upgradable) video card. Apple just doesn't seem to care about GPU speed.

    I've chased the speed vs dollar thing since 1994? when my first 16meg stick of ram cost me 1000$!!

    I'm not a professional video editor like many of you but rather a hobbyist or a "wanna be" editor. Just a bit tired of running into the GPU thing both in After Effects and Hitfilm. Feels like I'm stuck between low and high. You see mid grade just don't fit my personality ;-)

    edit - Good info on the recover option with the Dell. @Aladdin4d thanks

  • iDatusiDatus Website User Posts: 124 Just Starting Out
    edited December 2016

    I don't think any make of pc running a supported windows wouldn't work with hitfilm.

    I believe pro renders with GPU but not sure if express does so a good GPU will help. There is a video on the Hitfilm youtube channel recently launched that better describes what's tech is required for what type of work.

    I myself have an GTX 1080 TI with i5 6600k 16GB 2400Ghz memory and Samsung 250 pro 256GB NVMe.

    As an example I was rendering slowly and from task manager it looked like it wasn't using much. So I downloaded hwinfo64 and it showed the GPU was 70% +,  CPU about 40-50% and SSD was 1 to 2%. That may help where you want to spend your money.

     Ow and to manufactures software, try to run windows 10 anniversary install from scratch without using manufactures drivers etc. I had lots of problems and switching to only built in windows 10, not a peep. You may find you cant get away with out certain ones but Dell are good at showing what you had with your machine. WiFi is generally the only thing you may have issues with. Down load drivers before hand and or make sure you have a UTP connection to your router at hand if that happens. If you don't have a UTP port on your laptop etc get a USB to UTP. There cheap. 

  • kevin_nkevin_n Website User Posts: 1,913 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    Ahhh, I remember 1994, oh wait I wasn't even born yet....

    I'm curious. Why did you stick with Mac's? Don't get me wrong, I was a Mac user for several years, and my sister is a die hard fan of the MacBook Air (until I showed her a better laptop for 1/3 the price but I digress) laptop. And honestly, Mac OS doesn't crash less often than Windows in my experience, so I don't know where people are getting that from, or if they're just rehashing the same comment from perhaps many years ago?

    Either way, custom PC is going to be the way to go, there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that's not true, unless there's an insane deal somewhere. The problem with "prebuilt" PC's is that they almost never use standard cases, they just have the need to use proprietary crap. Heat dissipation/management is often a problem with prebuilt PC's as well.

  • NormanPCNNormanPCN Website User Posts: 3,945 Enthusiast

    I'll second the heat dissipation thing. I put a bit of money on that into my setup. Heck I've got 5 gentle typhoon 120mm case fans ($). All turning really slow so you don't hear them but a lot of air is moving through the case. Then add in a large tower CPU cooler and I buy GPUs with uprated coolers.  The power supply fan never needs to kick in.

    I'm not terribly concerned about heat and I'm not into serious overclocking. I just don't want to hear any fans and I like everything to run cool. You can have both.

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,359 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    @CNK - I had 3 Amiga 4000's and a Toaster in the 90's. The "smokingest" machines on the planet (at the time). One day I had to get a PC (windows 3.1?) to do work for my company as the Amiga's didn't specialize in business software. What a setback!

    My Amiga's had multi thread processors as the pc had a single processor.....which was sloooooow compared to what I came from. Long story short - in 2009 I booted my  PC into the closet and went to a Mac. A multi thread processor. (think they stole it from the Amiga folks?) My speed/performance was back.

    But now that Im video editing a lot more I can see that the Mac is just not made for heavy duty VFX. (all lies in the **** video cards they limit in the machines)

    Oh - and for the record my PC's crashed thousands of time. Thousands! My Mac's have NEVER crashed. Ever. Honestly.

    I agree with you that build your own is better than premade BUT now days my time is worth a couple hundred bucks an hour. Cheaper to pay someone else :-)

    With that said I'm taking all that you and @Datus have laid out here. I have a case that is only 4 years old and suppose I could build "my own". I'll have to do some investigating. 

    Thanks

    Edit - Just a note. I investigated these Alienware machines...apparently the one I'm looking at is the low end. Ok then....

  • kevin_nkevin_n Website User Posts: 1,913 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    I can help with parts for a dead silent PC even when it's working, but the thing is, if you're not willing to put one together yourself, then I don't know what to say. There are probably places where you can design your PC, and you pay a small fee and they build it and then ship it to you.

    With all that out of the way, the premium is only $200, much less than I expected from an Alienware product with these specs.

    Maybe with that $200 dollar saved, you could buy a NAS and have 2x 2TB drives in RAID 1, that's my level of crazy just to keep noise out. It wouldn't even be placed in the same room.

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    @Graymotion If I were you I would seriously consider a refurbished HP Z workstation and add a good GPU for HitFilm and some SSD storage. Taking a quick look I found these:

    Machine 1

    • Dual X5650 Six Core 2.67Ghz Processors 12 physical/24 logical cores
    • 48GB of RAM
    • 2 x 500GB 7.2K PC SATA Hard Drives
    • DVDRW Optical Drive
    • Nvidia Quadro 4000 2GB GDDR5 Graphic Card

    $997.00 

    Machine 2

    • Dual X5650 Six Core 2.67Ghz Processors 12 physical/24 logical cores
    • 48GB of RAM
    • 2TB 7.2K PC SATA HDD
    • DVDRW Optical Drive
    • Nvidia Quadro 4000 2GB GDDR5 Graphic Card

    $1,069.00

    Machine 3

    • Dual X5650 Six Core 2.67Ghz Processors 12 physical/24 logical cores
    • 48GB of RAM
    • 160GB 10K VelociRaptor SATA HDD
    • 500GB 7.2K PC SATA HDD's
    • DVDRW Optical
    • Nvidia Quadro 4000 2GB GDDR5 Graphic Card

    $999.00

    Z series workstations are beasts and have rock solid stability. I can pretty much guarantee you won't disappointed going with one of these.

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,708 Ambassador

    Put your money in the GPU and Proc, and a decent amount of memory.  I've got 32 GB and found I probably didn't need that much for HF.  But nice to have for graphics heavy apps open at the same time.

    SSD is great for the OS.  And would be for data, but spinning disk still the most cost effective for video storage.  That will change as capacities increase and prices come down.

    Oh, BTW @GrayMotion, my Amiga 2000 blew away the Compaq 386 I had back in the day and even rivaled the SGI 4D 70 I had at work.  Those were heady days.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,219 Ambassador

    If you're USA then sites like xoticpc.com and avadirect.com cater to custom game boxes. They'll have much wider hardware configuration options than an out of box configuration and a price point usually somewhere above building your own, but lower than a prefab. 

    These companies will also cheerfully optimize the OS for you by stripping out the extraneous stuff as well as overclock, calibrate monitors, etc. Although some of those used HPs look sexy. 

    @CNK one reason people are reluctant to switch platforms--it's not just the computer, you have to switch all your software as well. For Grey, going PC means losing FCPX and Motion. Any external drives he has will be unreadable on a PC unless he buys additional software, MAC peripherals often don't work on PC. In short, it's expensive! 

    PC/MAC stability/crash debate: with Macs now using the same hardware as PCs the only reason Macs have a stability advantage is Apple's small hardware pool means drivers are written for two CPUs and two GPUs and one everything else instead of the thousands of PC configurations possible. There is zero inherent superiority in a Mac's hardware. Maybe in the PowerPC days one could make a hardware argument, but, honestly, Apple just doesn't have to work as hard on optimization. 

  • kevin_nkevin_n Website User Posts: 1,913 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    @Triem23 Good points.

    @Aladdin4d I've seen Norman complain about low CPU usage multiple times, and so wouldn't it be better to focus on fewer but faster cores?

    Those CPU's are 6 years old now, and when Josh made that "Best PC for HitFilm" type video, he specifically only mentioned Intel CPU's, and that's because AMD's offerings weren't good enough at single core operations like the modern Intel CPU's.

    If you even remember that argument/feedback I posted for that specific video, I was on the right track, but Josh sort of steered me away from what's considered normal, because the problem was that HitFilm doesn't take advantage of more than 4 cores efficiently/properly.

    The AMD CPU's Josh didn't mention, would beat that Xeon in single core, so I'm very curious what's your reasoning here.

    Maybe you know something about his multitasking habbits that I don't, but seems kind of strange is all.

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,359 Enthusiast

    You gents have my head spinning! Have no clue which way to go....

    @Aladdin4d -  Those Z workstations do look sexy! Without showing my ignorance to badly here I take it that I could add  SSD's to any of those that you shared with me and still keep the SATA's or would they have to go? And..assuming here...but I could also rip the Quadro out and add the Nivida 1070/1080? Of course I have to add keyboard, monitor, mice and OS

    @Stargazer54 - Yes sir. Agree 100%. After watching the Hitfilm recommended hardware video I'm now clear as a bell as to why the SSD is superior and 1TB would/should be minimum.

    @Triem23 -  You nailed it with my dilemma.  I have a lot of money wrapped up in the Mac. Well over 4K in hardware and software! A great machine by all accounts and would be bummer to lose Motion 5 and FCPX. Awesome softwares! Motion 5 is the best 49 bucks I ever spent :-) Not to mention what Prores 444 and Prores 442 do for the quality of my renders.

    I did go to avadirect and plugged in my "wants". Comes up to around $3400. Ouch.

    Of course I have to get new everything...monitor, keyboard, mice. So with that...what's your opinion on these stats. Its what they call Avant Mid-Size Gaming PC. Overkill or just right?

    • Carbide Series Air 540 Black Cube
    • Core i7-6700K Quad Core 4.0 - 4.2GHz
    • Mild Overclocking, 10-20% Performance Increase + CPU Liquid Cooling
    • GeForce GTX 1080 FOUNDERS EDITION
    • 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4 2400MHz Memory
    • 1TB 540/520 MB/s 2.5-Inch SSD
    • 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch HDD
    • 24x DVD±RW Dual-Layer Burner
    • 300 Mbps 2.4GHz Wireless Adapter
    • 5.1 channels, 24-bit 192KHz
    • Standard Wiring with Precision Cable Routing and Tie-Down
    • Windows 10 Home 64-bit DVD Edition
    • ASUS MG248Q 24" FHD TN 1ms 144Hz Monitor
    • Logitech G105 Illuminated Wired USB Keyboard
    • Logitech CHAOS SPECTRUM G900 Wired/Wireless USB Mouse
    • Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty & LIFETIME Technical Support)

    And hey...since you've all but called me by name several times...Grey is close. Names Greg. Nice to meet ya gents... and thanks for filling my head with visions :-)

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    @CNK Even with the lower clock rate and older architecture the x5650  still outdoes the majority of AMD's current offerings in single core performance. Not all obviously but the majority.

    As a dual CPU machine totaling 12 full cores plus hyperthreading the multi-threaded performance is such that besting it will cost you one heck of a lot more than a grand. Budget single CPU solutions that would match, not best this machine are the Intel Core i7-6850K for $530.00 at Newegg right now but normally runs closer to $600.00 and the Xeon E5-2690 for around $430.00 which is also an older architecture. Basically you've blown half your budget on a single component. There are  much more powerful CPU's out there that would blow this machine away but the price jumps to $1000.00 and goes on up to over $4000.00 for just a single CPU.

    The idea of a budget dual CPU solution that would best this machine sounds great in theory but the reality is dual CPU boards are pricey and there aren't many "cheap" Xeon's so while you might be able to match or best this machine at this price point the odds would be against you. 

    Finally as I said this was just a quick look but even so I would seriously consider these just because of the price point. 

  • kevin_nkevin_n Website User Posts: 1,913 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    You're looking at a 1.3k premium but if that's worth it to you, by all means!

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,359 Enthusiast

    Glad I got "peeps" like you around @CNK.

    Thank you for pointing out the obvious 

  • kevin_nkevin_n Website User Posts: 1,913 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    It would also sound like a leaf blower, if that makes it easier for you to decide whether or not you should buy it... =)

    So.... What are you going to do in this situation? We can go on and on about different websites, etc (well I can't), and discuss how much each spec would affect HitFilm's performance (eventually happen), but we can't make a decision for you. =)

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,359 Enthusiast

    No. Good points all. I've been known to jump the gun without asking because "I know". This time I decided to involve professionals. You all have such great opinions that's why I put up the post. 

    I know what your saying...sh*t or get off the pot!

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    @GreyMotion Hi Greg!

    Yes you could add SSD's there's plenty of room for expansion and yes you could and should swap the Quadro for a 1080. You could probably get 100 bucks for the Quadro on Ebay. 

    Keep in mind that it was just a quick look on my part and the market for used Z workstations changes quickly. Most of what you'll see are machines coming off lease so somebody dumping a lot of machines at once can really lower the price. I've seen more powerful systems go for the same price as the ones I linked to and I've seen systems very similar to these go for close to $300.00 less. Moral of the story - do your research and go with what feels best for you. For what it's worth there are a few other users on this forum that went this route and have been very pleased.

    No matter what you end up getting you'll want Paragon NTFS for Mac and HFS+ for Windows. HFS+ lets you read and write Mac formatted drives like they were native Windows drives and NTFS for Mac does what it sounds like, lets you read and write NTFS formatted on OS X. You can get them in a bundle for $29.95

    Since the other seasoned veterans are doing it:

    Amiga 500, 2000, 3000, 1200 and 4000 with a 500 and 3000 still operational. ;)

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,708 Ambassador

    @Aladdin4D Thumbs up on the Amiga party!

  • Andy001zAndy001z Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,863 Ambassador

    A500 and A1200 in the loft - one day they will rise again , one day!!

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,359 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    @Andy001z - Hopefully the battery on the motherboards didn't burst on ya. I lost one 2000 that way. Ate a hole in the MB ;-(

    I feel sick...@Aladdin4d has a whole fleet of operational ones! I should have not thrown out the 1500+ 3.5's I had. Loaded with software. (Use to run a BBS (pirate) in the 90's)

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast

    @GrayMotion An exploding battery almost took out my 3000. It did some damage but I caught it before it did more than damage some traces. While I had it stripped down I made a Zip to SIMM adapter from plans in German off of Aminet so it has a whopping 16 MB of fast ram.

  • Andy001zAndy001z Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,863 Ambassador
    edited December 2016

    Arrhhhh don't tell me these things, I have to dig it out now!!!!!

  • WhiteCranePhotoWhiteCranePhoto Website User Posts: 895 Enthusiast

    I've had some problems with Paragon's HFS+ driver of late, so I ended up switching to MediaFour's MacDrive. It is of course possible that I made the switch right before Paragon updated HFS+ for Windows, though. Paragon was great for the previous two years though. I guess some recent windows update hosed it. Last time it rendered my machine unbootable; I had to revert to before I installed Paragon in order to get my machine working again, which is easy to do, but rather inconvenient.

    You're looking at a machine like what I'd like to build when I have the money for it, which will be a while due to my recent camera upgrade that ate up a rather large chunk of my budget.

    SSDs aren't just worth it, they're pretty much mandatory now. My Surface Pro3 felt faster for most things than my Lenovo laptop, even though my Lenovo had a quad core processor and a dedicated GPU with 4GB on board. Right now I'm working on a Razer Blade Stealth 2016 model, which until I add a Razer Core and a 1080 has no dedicated GPU, but I'm able to edit 5-stream multicams on this little thing. HitFilm runs fine on it, until I start adding effects... which is yet more incentive to save up for that Razer Core + 1080. :)

     

  • IdrankwhatIdrankwhat Website User Posts: 131

    Not sure if anyone mentioned this but look around locally for a computer shop. I have had three computers built by local shops here and got way more than any off the shelf or name brand system like Alienware.

    They will add to the price of the parts to make some money to keep the lights on and the labor isn't that bad though you will usually spend quite a bit less or about the same dollar wise but better components. More bang for the buck.

    Make sure you know what you want and what components or they may just throw something from parts they have on their shelf they couldn't move. Do your research as if you were going to build the computer yourself.  I have them order the parts because if something goes wrong during testing phase they will have YOU send the parts for RMA to where ever you got them.

    Go INTEL not AMD for cpu then whatever you prefer for GPU.  I would go with 16 to 32GB minimum for RAM.

    I did some research on the Alienware systems earlier this year and I found lots and lots of complaints about shoddy craftsmanship and defective systems. I liked the look of one of the desktops but after reading the reviews in the hardware forums I opted to skip Alienware all together.

     

  • GrayMotionGrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,359 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    After this long conversation I spent about 5 hours reading reviews and researching deeper. I did find a lot of complaints about shoddy Alienware builds. And as @Idrankwhat said..."look local". So I did...whalla....a Micro Center is in my city. Build cost $129.00 - can't beat that.

    Thanks to @CNK for turning me on to the parts list and opening my eyes to cost. Kudos bro!

    I went ahead and had a machine built today and got more bang for my buck going local for sure. 2 things right off the top..The Samsung 960EVO 1TB and the monitor(4k 27" AcerAC 1ms 144Hz) were well under the cost I seen online. Combined the local cost was roughly $550 cheaper for those 2 items

    The specs I went with are almost identical to what I listed above from avadirect (Triem23's advice) quote. I dropped down to a GTX 1070 though. Should not be noticeable to me.

    In the end...$2400.00 - Complete build with 3 year full warranty on all parts/build.

    Now all that's left to do is check into is MediaFour's MacDrive  as @WhiteCranePhoto mentioned or Paragon's HFS+ so I can use my existing Mac drives.

    Thanks to all for the input. Was well worth the time to get the forum users input. Kudos to all!!

  • WhiteCranePhotoWhiteCranePhoto Website User Posts: 895 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    That's going to be a nice machine for editing and VFX!

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