Workstation vs gaming PC
September 15, 2017 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Help me buy a computer. I'm looking for a box for video work (After Effects and Premiere.) Which secondhand computer would suit me best?

I'm looking to buy a PC for runnning mostly After Effects and Premiere. My budget is tight so I'm looking for a second hand unit. I've narrowed my choice down to two computers. One is basically a gaming PC whilst the other is a branded 'workstation'.

The specs are:

Dell Precision T3600
CPU: E5-1620 - Intel Xeon 3.6GHz
Intel Xeon 3.60GHz Processor
Nvidia Quadro K2000 2GB GDDR5


Motherboard GA-B75M-D3H
CPU: Core i7-3770K
16 GB DDR 3 1600mhz
Powercolor Turboduo oc edition R9 270x 2GB 5600mhz GDDR5 1030/1080mhz GPU 256bit

Neither is the latest tech. But, again, my budget is limited. I want to make sure I've made the right decision. For video work, which would suit me best? (Eg, faster render times, faster encoding, perfect playback etc...)
posted by run"monty to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Based on geekbench scores, I think you're looking at about a ten percent difference in CPU power at best (i7 being faster). Far more important to have a fast storage subsystem and better video.
posted by Wild_Eep at 10:25 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Interesting choices. My first instinct would be to recommend the Xeon - more cache, more max ram installed should you choose to increase it later on... and you should if you're doing this kind of work.

Here's an article showing a test setup with Adobe Premier multi-core performance and some recommendations, and another for After Effects ( but not as directly applicable to your situation ).

the K2000 card is older and less performant ( in most respects ) than the R9 270, but again that depends on the amount and type of work you're asking these cards to do and what plugins you are doing it with.

Since both configurations are fairly well matched, I'd say that if the machines are equally priced: Go with the Xeon if you want to be able to throw in more ram or upgrade to another LGA2011 cpu in the future, or go with the 3770k if you want to take advantage of the superior GPU power for plugins.

My USD $0.02, adjusted for inflation.
posted by HannoverFist at 11:03 AM on September 15, 2017

Best answer: Here are a couple of articles on multiprocessing with Premier and After Effects:

I'm going to guess that the performance of those two CPUs is roughly equal at stock speeds. RAM speeds are roughly equal. You can overclock the i7 but I'm not sure about the Xeon. Also, if you're working with 4K video, you may need more than 16GB of RAM. I don't have the time at the moment to do the research, but definitely take a look at that. You might also look at whether either or both apps benefit from a specific GPU. (Sometimes apps won't use a gaming GPU to do meaningful acceleration. Others won't use a workstation class GPU).

* You can overclock the i7 (if Dell allows it). Not sure about the Xeon.
* Look at your RAM needs.
* Look at which GPUs are supported for acceleration in your apps.
posted by cnc at 11:04 AM on September 15, 2017

Best answer: I would probably go with the i7 build. It's a little bit faster and that processor uses about half the power the Xeon does. Computer electric costs add up!

Whichever you buy GET A SSD! Render/edit/load/etc will all be a lot faster. Samsung SSDs are excellent; you can get a 250GB SSD for $90.
posted by gregr at 12:15 PM on September 15, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice. I went for the Dell in the end because it came with an SSD and Windows 10.
posted by run"monty at 8:52 AM on September 16, 2017

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