Upgrade Parts, Or New Computer?

zach_alanzach_alan Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 439 Just Starting Out

I know there are already many threads about people buying computers for HitFilm, but my questions is this:

Is it better for me to buy select parts to upgrade my desktop PC, or to buy a new computer altogether?

I'm looking for the easiest and cheapest way to upgrade my computer to run HitFilm better. I do a lot of 3D model work and particle simulations, as well as editing.

I'm assuming I'll need to post my computer's specs, so what is the best way to do that?

Thanks!

Comments

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,236 Ambassador

    Upgrades are always a tricjy thread. I think you'll want to start with listing out your specs. Besides CPU, GPU, OS, RAM and storage we'll probably need your power supply and motherboard. Probably total number of PCI slots and how many might be available. 

    I haven't configured a desktop in forever, so I'm limited help here but your current specs will help the experts consider the problem. 

    Short guess, if your mobo is up to spec for current chips it's arguably better to upgrade. On thr other hand you're in Pro, so with a new computer you have TWO computers. While a project renders on one you can edit on another. 

  • zach_alanzach_alan Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 439 Just Starting Out

    Alright, here are the specs I could find:

    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2

    CPU: AMD FX(tm)-4300 Quad-Core Processor           (4 CPUs), ~3.8GHz

    GPU: AMD Radeon R7 200 Series

    OS: Windows 10 Home 64-bit

    Ram: 8192MB RAM

    Storage: TOSHIBA DT01ACA100 ATA Device               (953.4 GB)

     

  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    If nothing else: Windows 10 doesn't run well with only 8GB of RAM. Double it.

  • 8KMAX8KMAX Website User Posts: 184 Just Starting Out

    @ZachAlan_Productions; Hi,

    If I were you, I would upgrade my computer because it is cheaper than buying a new one. You are doing intensive particles simulation, so I think your processor is ok. But I would upgrade the GPU because, in my opinion, it isn´t enough for intensive 3D modeling and rendering. Your windows version is the latest one, so it is perfect. I would also upgrade the disc to an SSD, and duplicate the ram so that windows can run better and ram previews are longer.

    I think this is the best order to upgrade progressively:

    1. Upgrade the  ram (around 80$)

    2.Upgrade the disc (250gb around 100$)

    3. Upgrade the GPU (Depends on the model)

  • zach_alanzach_alan Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 439 Just Starting Out

    @4KMAX thank you for the suggestions.

    If I perform the upgrades you suggested, will they work properly? Does my motherboard have the proper connections for more ram, a different graphics card, and an SSD? Would I need a different power supply or cooler?

    I'm also wondering why to change to an SSD? I know they are faster, but what would I use it for? Can I use it alongside my HDD?

    Also, are there any recommendations from anyone about graphics cards? If I'm upgrading, it needs to fit with my motherboard and be great value for money. 

    As you can probably tell I am new to the world of computer parts and specs so any help is greatly appreciated. :)

  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,175 Moderator
    edited June 2018

    @ZachAlan_Productions Did a look-see on you motherboard specs.  It only has two ram slots for a max of 16 GB.  Most likely you either have 2 4s or 1 8gb installed.  If 2 4s you'll need to get 2 8s.  If you have 1 8 you need to get the specs off it and buy a matching 8.  I'm on the phone at the moment so I'll look at GPU and cpu specs later.

    EDIT:  Okay, is I understand things correctly (Maybe the system gurus will know better) I believe you could run this processor from NewEgg : AMD FX-9590 Vishera 8-Core 4.7 GHz AM3+ 220W  I suspect you'd have to have a bigger Power supply though.  As far as GPU, the only criteria I see is it has to be a PCI-e card?    

    Hope this helps you a little.

     

  • zach_alanzach_alan Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 439 Just Starting Out

    In regards to a GPU upgrade, would the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 3GB card be sufficient? It is in the price range I'm thinking of. Would it work in my current machine with the motherboard I have?

    Thanks!

     

  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,175 Moderator

    @ZachAlan_Productions I was leaving you an edit to my above post as you typed your last so take a look there.  That GPU looks to me like it should work.  I have a 1060 6GB with dual fans which is kind of pricey but you can get for only about $50 more with just a single fan.  It might sound like a 747 taking off though.

  • zach_alanzach_alan Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 439 Just Starting Out

     @tddavis

    I think I have all 2 slots of RAM filled, so I don't have to worry about getting a specific type to match, right? I just need two 8gb.

    Your edited post suggests a new CPU. @4kMAX suggested above that my CPU is okay for what I'm doing. Would the performance increase be worth it to upgrade? I'm not sure if I'm willing to get a new power supply to support it as well.

    This is the GPU I found online for what seems to be a decent price. It has two fans, so shouldn't sound like an airplane taking off as you suggested.

    https://www.gigabyte.com/Graphics-Card/GV-N1060WF2OC-3GD#kf

  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,175 Moderator
    edited June 2018

    @ZachAlan_Productions I mentioned the cpu because I misunderstood what all you were wanting to upgrade not because I thought you should.   I think that card is a pretty good choice.  I like my 1060.  The page didn't mention the type of  slot but as long as it's pci-e it's all good... I think.  Oh, and yes on the ram; get 2 8s alike and your gold there.

  • zach_alanzach_alan Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 439 Just Starting Out

    @tddavis okay, thanks for the input. I really don't know much on this topic so all your help is great! 

    I just did a test render in Hitfilm. It was a 5 second shot with a 3D model, with a few different materials, ambient occlusion, reflections, etc, and the time tunnel particle preset with motion blur.

    My CPU usage was around 20-40% I believe, and when I opened this browser it jumped up to about 60% for a short while. My GPU usage was around 80-100%, so I think that is where the biggest upgrade needs to be made.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,236 Ambassador

    Your GPU is old and slow. A 1060 will certainly speed things up. 

  • zach_alanzach_alan Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 439 Just Starting Out

    I just went through the PCPartPicker website and selected all the parts that I know my current PC has. I also selected to have 16gigs of RAM and the 1060 graphics card, as well as a 250gb SSD. All seems compatible, even with my current 350 watt power supply. The estimated wattage is 333.

    @Triem23 My current GPU wasn't even an option on the site, so I guess that shows how bad it is. :)

  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,175 Moderator

    @ZachAlan_Productions

    @Triem23 My current GPU wasn't even an option on the site, so I guess that shows how bad it is. :)

     

    Not bad, just old and tired like me. :)  If you have any wiggle room in your funds, I would still think about a bigger Power supply.  That looks mighty close on the stats there and there will always..always be the occasional demand spikes.  Just a thought...

  • zach_alanzach_alan Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 439 Just Starting Out

    @tddavis I agree, it is cutting it close. I'll have to take a closer look at my current power supply though. Apparently there was an updated version of my pre-built PC with a better power supply and slightly better graphics card. I may have more power than I thought.

    Another question. Is the difference in DDR3 and DDR4 RAM worth the price increase? I currently have DDR3 I believe. 

    Also in regards to an SSD, the SSD is where the OS and programs are installed right? The SSD makes them boot up faster than an HDD?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,236 Ambassador

    An SSD is an array of NAND Flash Ram. An inexact metaphor is that an SSD is a box full of SD cards. In general an SSD is going to be faster than an HDD, but much higher $/MB. 

    Putting video data on an SSD should speed up all read-write (including boot up and application opening). Speedup would be most noticeable with 4k.

    Ideally you'd have at least three drives. A dedicated SSD for OS/Programs (this should be at least 512 GB) and SSD for active projects (at least 512 GB) and a big-old 4TB drive to hold libraries of data, stock footage, music, etc. Media would be copied from the HDD to the work drive as it's added to a project.

    DDR3 vs DDR4? Dunno. I'll see what Norman says. That said RAM is moving to DDR5, so DDR4 is probably a worthy upgrade. 

  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,175 Moderator

    @ZachAlan_Productions

    "Delivering native support for DDR3 memory up to 1333MHz, GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 3 series motherboards"

    That's from the Gigabyte website for that motherboard.  I believe that it only supports DDR3 so going to 4 is not an option.  Triem23's got you covered on the SSD question.  Something I should do but haven't yet; put the OS and Hitfilm on one SSD (and maybe other programs depending on size) use a 2nd one to put video files I am working on and then move to a regular external for storage after editing and VFX is over and it's all rendered out. But that's just a plan in the back of my head...

  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    @tddavis lots of small, cheap, used SSDs on ebay as people upgrade to larger ones. I recently bought a few which seem to be from faulty laptop returns - buy from a company rather than an individual. Hours in use varied from 45days to only 1hour. Ran all the tests I could on them and they're fine. Perfect for boot drives, whatever else you do. 

    Biggest problem is 'spring cleaning' an original, larger boot drive to fit on the SSD, which an external USB 3.0 HDD  - or 2nd/3rd internal HDD - is useful for. Either are cheap as chips these days.

  • zach_alanzach_alan Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 439 Just Starting Out

    I decided to do another test shot. I followed the HitFilm tutorial on the Halo Jump airplane scene, except I used the amazing x-wing 3D model from @spydurhank. I loaded up the grey x-wing comp (the 2k version), and followed the HitFilm tutorial. I was amazed at the quality of the model. Even when I zoomed in on the viewer there was so much detail.

    When I went to export the 5 second shot, HitFilms suggested it would take about 1 hour. This seemed high for the contents of the scene, but I went with it. I monitored my GPU and CPU usage for awhile. I was surprised at how much my CPU was being used, going up to about 70%. My GPU was from 70 to 100% usage as before.

    HitFilm froze at 81% completion so I tried suspending the export to resume it again and fix the problem. It just got stuck on the "suspending" screen. I closed HitFilm and re-opened the project.

    That is when I realized that the entire project was in 4K. I had no idea since I just imported the grey x-wing composite shot and started working on it. That explains the high detail in the viewer and the high CPU usage. Whoops!

    I fixed the scene by making it 1080p and re-exported it. It took less than 15 minutes and didn't freeze. My CPU usage was going no higher than 30%, but my GPU was still up to 100%.

    This again confirms that my GPU is the most needy for an upgrade. I'm not interested in 4K video at the moment, so my CPU should be fine :)

  • zach_alanzach_alan Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 439 Just Starting Out

    Here's the shot if anyone is interested :)

  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,175 Moderator

    @ZachAlan_Productions Nice reflection on the fuselage.  Spydurhank is the master of models!  I agree Zach, GPU is always the first thing I would upgrade for Hitfilm because it uses it more than CPU from all that I read here from the Pros.  I know in my case, when I built up a rig to run Hitfilm I put in 32 GB RAM and an 8-core 4 GHz CPU but a lowly 2 GB low end GPU and I was struggling.  I upgraded to the 1060 6GB and have been pretty happy overall.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,236 Ambassador

    Zach, you do a lot of heavy VFX work. You're right, the GPU is your #1 upgrade.

    So. Bottom line, if you're going Nvidia you want a 1060 6GB or higher. The 1070 is, generally, the sweet spot in price/performance, and the 1080 is the king daddy, but pretty expensive for the additional power.

    Awesome X-wing shot. @spydurhank has those models dialed in nicely so they're pretty much load and go at this point.

  • spydurhankspydurhank Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,822 Ambassador

    @everybody thanks. @ZachAlan_Productions, really that came out pretty good dude, I like it very much, you've got this stuff down dude, excellent job. :)

    Get a video card with the most vram you can afford and you'll be doing stuff that others can't, you'll breeze through your renders so fast. Get an Nvidia card so you can simply plug it in and go with no issues. AMD cards are a bit trickier and need more steps to get them optimized for 3D work so research if you go AMD. I my Father in Law bought me a 32gig AMD Pro duo Polaris a few weeks back and it is just, wow. :)         

  • MikesckiMikescki Website User Posts: 9

    Hi all,

    I am at the point of deciding on an upgrade for the GTX 1050ti.
    If price is no object (as if £100 is no object!) is there going to be a real operational advantage to be seen by getting the 1080 over the 1070ti?
    I already have 24GB RAM, a nominal 240GB SSD (Also heading for upgrade to a 500), i5-2500K.
    The power supply was good for my old 680 so will handle the more efficient 1080.
    What I want to see is an improvement on the real time editing action in better quality.
    At the moment it is working, but at a very low res – optimised for the best the card can handle obviously.
    The "New machine" option is also a consideration, as that would give me the start of a "render farm" by using this one as well.

    Thanks

  • JBaymoreJBaymore Website User Posts: 333 Enthusiast

    I just upgraded my graphics card from a slightly overclocked GForce GTX275 to a GForce GTX1070 Ti.

    A 'test render' between the two cards (all else on the computer was the same) of a small file with composits showed a literal 150% increase in rendering speed.

    WOW!

    best,

    .......................john 

     

  • zach_alanzach_alan Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 439 Just Starting Out

    Quick update:

    After talking to @NXVisualStudio, he recommended the AMD Radeon RX 580 8gb graphics card instead of the gtx 1060. Cheaper price and better specs plus more V-RAM. 

    I also upgraded to 16 gigs of RAM.

    I just upgraded and couldn't be happier with the results. It was a pain to install as it barely fit in my case and I needed to install a new power supply to support it, but it all turned out okay besides some sloppy cable management. :)

    The x-wing shot I posted earlier took 15 minutes to render with GPU usage between 70 to 100% on the old machine. With the upgrades, it only used up to about 50% usage and rendered in only 1 minute!

    I now get real time playback at full resolution on a 3D model in 16 bit linear color. My old setup could barely handle full res at 8 bit color and would take many seconds to load a frame in 16 bit linear.

    I am extremely pleased with the upgrade and can't wait to work on projects with my speedy rendering times! :)

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,709 Ambassador

    Mo' power . . .  good.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,236 Ambassador

    @ZachAlan_Productions well, @NxVisualStudio and I might have minor disagreement on the 580RX vs 1060 in term of power (specs and benchmarks are both i exact-on paper the 580 IS stronger, but in benchmarks the 1060 tests faster, but, again, those aren't exact), but, if I remember correctly you had NO discrete GPU before, so, either way, as your render tests have shown, you have roughly 3000% more power at your disposal! Certainly a worthwhile upgrade.

    Considering the level of work you're already doing I'm sure we all agree that we should fear the power of a fully armed and operational Zach. Enjoy! This just means you'll be able to pack in more layers and details into your Voyager sequences, making excellent work even more excellent! This will also help with tutorials (you are doing the Thanos portal, right?) since faster response in recording means you'll have less footage to cut, and you won't have to speed up footage as much in post. 

  • NXVisualStudioNXVisualStudio Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 687 Ambassador

    @Triem23 My point here was the difference bench marking for HitFilm alone and not synthetic tests, in HitFilm the performance difference between the 1060 and RX 580 is minor, frame for frame rendering is unnoticeable! not only is it cheaper to get the RX 580 it also comes with 8GB of V RAM to that of the 1060s 6GB.     

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