Author Topic: New Computer for Video Editing  (Read 637 times)

Offline vtsteam

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6446
  • Country: us
  • Republic of Vermont
New Computer for Video Editing
« on: September 30, 2022, 09:19:04 PM »
I've been making a few videos on my ten year old laptop, an Acer 5349-2635. I bought this computer new in 2012 a rock bottom laptop at $279 through Walmart. It was built like a tank and had a big screen, and modest performance under Windows 7.

After purchase I immediately re-partitioned the drive, keeping Win 7 on a reduced size first partition, and Puppy Linux on the rest of the drive. Puppy Linux runs many times faster than Win7, and performance was very fine, despite being a low end laptop. I could dual boot into Win7 on rare occasions when I needed some oddball non-WINE compatible software to run, but by and large it was a dedicated Linux machine.

But after 8 years the old lappy was not quite keeping up with the needs for video editing in larger and larger formats. So I upped the RAM to 8 gigs and replaced the old 1.6 gHz Intel Celeron B815 processor with a used 2.4 gHz Intel I5-2450M processor from Ebay. That gave a definite boost in performance, for very little money.

But again 2 years since, the need for speed in ever increasing video editing requirements has had me thinking about a newer laptop. Unfortunately, a good enough upgrade to make much difference is just way too expensive for our household budget.

For every other daily computing purpose my present laptop provides all the performance I need. But video editing requires simultaneous rendering of several streams of video and audio to the monitor screen on the fly, including transitions, while making cuts and edits. It's severely demanding -- even more demanding than the final video rendering which can be done a leisure overnight, if long and complicated.

Editing on the fly is the big problem. If there is any jittering of the image in monitor playback, you don't know if it's in the actual video (which you'd have to fix), or if it's just processing skips because graphics processor isn't fast enough. So you need raw computational speed to keep up, during the editing process.

I started thinking about the possibility of fixing up an ancient Dell ATX desktop box, with a new motherboard and proc for running a video editor, as a headless server, while retaining the laptop, and using it as a remote desktop client for that server via wireless connection. If so, I could keep my old perfectly adequate laptop for everything, and while doing video editing, just hit on the server box, which would have advanced processing aboard. I happened to also have sitting in a closet, a not-so-old gamer NVIDIA graphics card on hand, NIB. So that clinched the deal.

Whether or not I could get a remote desktop app to connect the two fast enough for editing (and still run in Linux) was unknown, but I decided to try.  :dremel:
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline vtsteam

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6446
  • Country: us
  • Republic of Vermont
Re: New Computer for Video Editing
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2022, 09:52:49 PM »
Since this was to be a budget build I went looking for a good deal on a just-slightly-past-prime (but new) gamer board. I settled on an MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX II motherboard for $104

For a proc, I chose an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread Processor with cooler for $142

I added 16 Gigs of Corsair RAM for $58.

And a  2TB Western Digital Hard Drive for $50.

I had on hand an MSI N460GTX Hawk GeForce GTX 460 PCI-e graphics card.

So the total upgrade of the old Dell to a gamer level machine was about $350. Considerably less than a new laptop, and considerably higher specs than would have been possible for most.
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline vtsteam

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6446
  • Country: us
  • Republic of Vermont
Re: New Computer for Video Editing
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2022, 10:10:25 PM »
Installation wasn't too bad but I did run into a problem mounting the fan -- which after many lookups online was confirmed as a big problem for many people. Well also the annoyance of a Babel of new connector types. I'm definitely behind the times on those! For instance, new to me DVI connectors on the GPU required a new DVI cable -- luckily my older monitor could accept it, as well as the former VGA cable. New smaller HDMI jacks than the cable I have are unused. The motherboard had more types of USB than I knew existed. But all seemed to work with what I plugged in.

CPU issue: The cpu fan has very short spring loaded screws and is supposed to normally screw into an extra bracket on top of the CPU's mount. At least that what it shows on the instruction cartoons. Words are no longer used in manuals. Unfortunately all included cartoons were irrelevant. MSI did an undocumented alternate mount with a backing plate underneath and standoffs which penetrate the board. The fan mount screws are supposed to go into this standoff/backing plate combo.

Unfortunately this backing plate comes loose when the board is mounted and temporary retainers are removed. It drops down a short distance to sit on the computer case. The spring mounted fan screws then can't reach the standoffs, but that's not obvious because all are hidden under the fan cooling fins. Ideally you'd mount the CPU and fan assembly before mounting the motherboard to the case so you could hold the plate tight to the board. --- IF you were aware of the whole problem in advance. But who is? Seems everybody mounts the board before the CPU, and then puzzles why the screws won't engage in the invisible space under. There are whole videos showing mounting OUT of the computer. Saying, it's easy, but not mentioning it is absolutely necessary out of the computer, and hundreds of comments from people saying "but my fan doesn't fit, HELP!"

The problem is complicated by the fact that the fan has thermal compound applied already by the mfr (their brand tied to the warranty) and once you've started to mount it, the cpu is covered with the goo, and suction won't let you remove the fan without fear of damage, etc, etc. If I took the board out, the compound would probably end up everywhere and contaminated. What to do? I finally managed to catch one of the screws by applying enough pressure to the fan bend the motherboard down a little (not recommended!). By screwing that one in a little I could catch another screw and then eventually all four.

Anyway, here's a pic of the new motherboard in place, proc mounted, and the dual fan heat piped MSI GPU on the left taking up two slots.

 

I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline vtsteam

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6446
  • Country: us
  • Republic of Vermont
Re: New Computer for Video Editing
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2022, 10:19:42 PM »
All the cover panels were off of the computer chassis. I wanted to see the fans, troubleshooting LEDs etc. I connected monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and finally the power cord. With a giant cartload of trepidation I switched on the power supply and..... NOTHING!    :bugeye:  Nope. No lights, no sounds, no nothing. I looked over the wiring. I looked at the power cord, was it fully plugged in? I looked at the manual.......all connectors in place?

Then I remembered, uh.......you have to hold in the momentary power switch in the front of the chassis, not just flip the power supply switch. Duh!!  :wack:

And when I did, expecting no change, all of a sudden all kinds of things started happening: green lights red lights, lots of red LEDs, fans turning, but silently. Are they turning fast enough? What do so many red LEDs mean?

Then the monitor came to life, and this is what I saw:

 


Phew!!!   :med:
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline sorveltaja

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 569
Re: New Computer for Video Editing
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2022, 11:56:05 PM »
Congrats for the new setup! Yes it can be sometimes hmm.. rather interesting, when upgrading/building the machine. Or if one has to move and remove all the cables and stuff, and after moving put them back on.

"Why isn't this working, like it used to?". Once after I moved, I was like "now it should work". But no, the monitor showed nothing. I was automatically thinking, that I should look on the net, what could be the problem. But without monitor, how the heck am I going to do that?

So after banging my head on the wall, I tried all kinds of tricks, until I found out, that monitor cable was connected to motherboard's integrated display adapter, that was disabled in the bios, as I had separate pci-e nvidia display card
.

So yeah, cold sweat helps one to keep on trying.

Finally, when the success is achieved, it's almost like from the old horror movie: "it's alive!"

Offline vtsteam

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6446
  • Country: us
  • Republic of Vermont
Re: New Computer for Video Editing
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2022, 12:44:55 PM »
Yes, it was alive! But then the real fun started -- deciding on an OS. I knew for sure it would be Linux, but since the main purpose for this server was video editing, I wanted a fast minimal OS that would support Kdenlive (the editor) and also a remote desktop server application. Plus it had to support the slightly older graphics board.

A version of Puppy Linux would have been ideal for me, but I wanted to try two different remote server apps, Xrdp for the rdp protocol and AnyDesk which is a commercial remote desktop app. In order to run Xrdp, I decided on an Ubuntu compatible OS, and at first tried Ubuntu Jammy Jellyfish server, the most recent. For various reasons this didn't work well with what I wanted to run, being too recent, so I then reformatted with a smaller desktop Ubuntu variant Xubuntu. Trying both 18.x and 20.x versions.

I eventually got Xrdp and AnyDesk running but Xrdp had apparently been compiled without sound support. So I compiled a new version with the help of a script found online. That worked well and in side-by-side comparisons of AnyDesk and Xrdp, I found that Xrdp was better suited and faster than the former, so focused on that.

Up to this point I had tested the server against my laptop as a client running the Remmina client software, and connecting via ethernet cable through my DSL router/modem. Tests using wireless were too slow, but that was expected since the wireless card in my laptop is 10 years old.

So I sent for a new 802.11 ac and Wifi6 miniPCI card for the laptop. Unfortunately the DSL router is also fairly slow, so we're on hold for a new Comcast Xfinity installation (ordered a month ago, but visits by two techs have determined they need to do construction between two power poles before we can be connected. No idea when that will be accomplished, but it's "in the works".

Meanwhile I did look into possibly fitting a fast wireless card to the server box and trying to connect the laptop via Ad Hoc networking, but haven't succeeded yet. I did change OS's once again to a Puppy-like DebianDog version, and recompiled Xrdp for that (with some changes to the compilation script).

I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline awemawson

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8781
  • Country: gb
  • East Sussex, UK
Re: New Computer for Video Editing
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2022, 04:17:32 PM »
Well done Steve, but I must confess it all sounds double Dutch to me - lucky you know what you're doing !
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline vtsteam

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6446
  • Country: us
  • Republic of Vermont
Re: New Computer for Video Editing
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2022, 06:03:01 PM »
Well it is gibberish if outside of the tiny world of Puppy linux, and apologies to all. But the gist is I want to have a server desktop computer that runs a video editor program that I can connect to on my laptop, as if the laptop were just a terminal. That way the server can do the heavy lifting in processing. On the laptop it should just look like it is running the program natively. And I'm trying to do this wirelessly.

I've got the server built, and I've figured out which operating system and programs I need on each computer to do this. The only problem to solve now is getting a speedy connection between the laptop and the server box. Wireless communication has developed a lot since my laptop was built, so I've added a new wireless card to it for faster communication.

I'm still at a stage where this wireless communication needs to go through an older wireless router, and there's a bottleneck there. I'm hoping a new wireless modem/router will be installed by an internet and TV  cable company here called Comcast. We've signed up for their service. They have yet to do this on our property because they need to wire between two poles, besides bringing a wire to the house. We live in a very rural area.

Hope that makes sense of the gibberish so far!
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg