Videoguys' DIY9: It's Time for Sandy Bridge-E (DIY 9.5 Update)

May 2013 Update - DIY 9.5 Avid build posted. Optimized for Media Composer 7. Feb 2013 Update - DIY X Ivy Bridge Budget Build - first look Dec 2012 update - DIY 9.5 build and parts list below. We went over our $2K budget, but this baby is so fast it's worth every penny. April 2012 update - now with FOUR recommended builds! Thanks to the release of the Intel i7 3820 Quad Core processor, we now have a DIY9 budget build! You can mix & match components between the three DIY9 P9X79 builds (Hot Rod vs Videoguys' Choice vs Budget). For those on a tight budget our DIY8 Sandy Bridge system based on the P8Z68 and i7 2600K processor is still fine choice, but I recommend finding the extra bucks to build our DIY9 budget machine, which comes in at just over $1500! For our Videoguys' Choice DIY9 system we tried to get as close to $2K as possible for our system, but we went over.
  • We are going with the Asus P9X79 Pro motherboard after getting some valuable feedback from one of our DIY followers. We'll pay $50 more, but the added stability will be worth it. We may still need FireWire for capturing our older legacy DV & HDV footage, so we may end up adding a cheap FireWire card later.   
  • The Crucial M4 512GB is now under $400! So we're going to go with it even though it's almost $200 m,ore then the Crucial M4 256GB. I'm still thinking we may go for the full 32GB of RAM. I think we may be a penny wise and pound foolish going with just 16GB.
  • We're also going with a GTX570 to save costs, although for Avid you really want to go with a Quadro2000 or 4000. in 2011 took some heat in some online tech forums and communities. We were very late to embrace the original Sandy Bridge processors and even when we did recommend one, it was with some caveats. (You can follow our DIY8 Sandy Bridge updates here). We have always been big fans of Sandy Bridge CPUs and the performance value they deliver. For us, the issue has been the motherboards and chipsets. The initial Sandy Bridge X67 motherboard had some very serious PCIe bandwidth issues. These were addressed, but even when the improved X68 based motherboards shipped, we still had concerns. Sure they were okay for running NLE software, but add-in an I/O device like the Matrox MXO2 Mini and some RAID storage and you could very well run into bottlenecks. When I shared these concerns with my contacts at Avid, Adobe, Matrox and other vendors, they confirmed my suspicions and said they too would not be certifying X67 or X68 motherboards. We all agreed - we had to wait for an enthusiast level chipset from Intel, one that was a worthy successor to the X58 we used for years in our DIY8 builds. Videoguys now recommends the Sandy Bridge-E processor with X79 chipset! Once you have pulled together all the parts for your new workstation don't forget to make your source for your video editing software and hardware. Shop online or call us at 800-323-2325 today.  

Videoguys DIY 9.5 Build Dec 2012

Videoguys' DIY 9.5 Dec 2012 Build
Motherboard ASUS P9X79 Pro Model $329.00
Processor Intel Core i7 3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz $599.00
RAM 32GB G.Skill Ripjaws Z 8x4 GB kit $129.00
Boot Drive Crucial M4 256GB SSD $199.00
Video Storage  G-Tech G-SPEED Q for Ext. RAID 5 Available at
  G-Tech G-RAID for External RAID 0  
Case Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower $60.00
Power Supply CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W $140.00
CPU Cooler COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO $35.00
Blu-ray Burner Pioneer BDR-208 Blu-Ray Disc Burner $90.00
OS Windows 7 Professional 64-bit $129.00
GPU EVGA 02G-P4-2678-KR GeForce GTX 670 $399.00
TOTAL PRICE   $2,109.00
  Our Director of Advertsing needed a new computer. He'd been running our DIY8 machine and it was starting to get cranky on him. We decided that since he uses Adobe CS6 to create our advertisements, email blasts and update our website, that a DIY9 based build would be perfect for him. WOW! Were we right! Thanks to the SSD boot drive, hex core i7 and a whopping 32GB of RAM he is flying! It is running Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Sony Vegas and Grass Valley Edius great! It can handle even the most demanding HD workflows and complex multi-camera timelines. We tried to bring in the workstation as close to $2K as we could. We went a little bit over, but we feel for the performance we achieved it is worth every penny. Our build does not include any media storage, you'll need to add this as well. For around $200 you can add a pair of 2TB 7200RPM drives, striped together as a 4TB RAID 0 for an excellent internal storage solution, or go with one of our G-Tech external solutions such as a G-Speed Q for RAID 5 redundancy. We posted the build list for this latest machine here, along with links directly to our main source for DIY parts, to make shopping even easier for our customers. DIY10 / DIYX Update: As for DIY10, we're already planning it. Going to wait for a Z79 enthusiast level chipset motherboard with Thunderbolt. Then we'll buildan Ivy Bridge based machine that we may just run under both Win 7 and OSX. Yes, that's right, a hackintosh!! We'll keep you posted ;-)  
02/13/2013 02:56 PM
Videoguys by Gary Bettan We've been getting a ton of calls and emails form folks asking when we would post a DIY Ivy Bridge Guide. This blog post is not that, but it is what Videoguys would recommend as of today. Before we get into the build, let's talk about why we don't have our DIY 10 Ivy Bridge Guide published yet. I'm waiting for an enthusiast level Ivy bridge Motherboard that includes integrated Thunderbolt. I was hoping to see some from Asus later this spring. I'm a big fan of Thunderbolt, especially for video editors. It's the fastest pipe possible for data, and it gives you two dedicated channels, the sustained data rates are more than double USB3, for each channel. This year I'm expecting to see the premium for Thunderbolt devices drop significantly. Down the road I hope to see new kinds of Thunderbolt devices become available that go beyond storage and I/O, that will actually accelerate your video workflows. The Asus P877-V Deluxe motherboard we've selected for this build is an enthusiast level motherboard, and I feel it provides the level of features, performance and stability that video editors demand. It doesn't have integrated Thunderbolt, but it does support an as of now unreleased Thunderbolt add-on card.  What it does offer is 4 RAM slots, on board SATA 6 RAID support, eSATA, USB3, and the full gamut of ASUS Enthusiast level optimization and performance boosting utilities. Here are a couple of reviews for the Asus P877-V Deluxe: • AnandTech ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe Review - Know Your SKU • HARDOCP ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe LGA 1155 Motherboard Review • PC Mag Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe
Videoguys' DIY X Ivy Bridge Budget Build (Feb 2013)
Motherboard Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe $279.00
Processor Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge $319.00
RAM 16GB G.Skill Ripjaws Z 4x4 GB kit $99.00
Boot Drive HGST 1TB 7200 RPM $103.00
Video Storage  G-Tech G-SPEED Q for Ext. RAID 5 Available at
  G-Tech G-RAID for External RAID 0  
Case Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower $60.00
Power Supply CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W $109.00
CPU Cooler COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO $35.00
Blu-ray Burner Pioneer BDR-208 Blu-Ray Disc Burner $90.00
OS Windows 7 Professional 64-bit $129.00
GPU MSI GeForce GTX 570 $219.00
TOTAL PRICE   $1,442.00
I wanted to keep this a budget build under $1,500, so we're going with an Intel Quad-core  i7-3770K Ivy Bridge CPU with 16GB of DDR 1600 RAM. I also went with a 1TB 7200RPM boot drive rather than an SSD. I'm a big fan of SSD for your bootdrive, and for $100 more getting a Crucial M4 256GB SSD is worth the investment. For the money I think this is an excellent build. It will run Adobe Premiere Pro & After Effects CS6, Avid Media Composer & Symphony, Grass Valley Edius Pro and Sony Vegas Pro. You will be able to edit AVCHD, GoPro and DSLR footage pretty well. If you get into complex timelines with multiple layers, filters, color grading and VFX, you're going to want to bump up to 32GB of RAM, and a GTX 670 GPU. Here's the build, we welcome your feedback below using Disqus.

DIY 9.5 Avid (May 2013 for Media Composer 7)

In addition to its new low price, Avid Media Composer now has a much lower overall total cost of ownership. You do not require an expensive HP/Dell workstation or Mac Pro to edit video with Media Composer. Thousands of video editors all over the world are editing video using our DIY builds as a guideline for putting together a powerful, yet affordable Windows PC. You can edit on a laptop or Mac Book Pro, as well as an iMac. Media Composer does not require any special hardware to run just as long as you stick to the basic requirements outlined on the Media Composer Product Pages. Follow this link for our the Videoguys' PC & Mac System Recommendations for Avid Media Composer 7 blog post.
  DIY9 Recommended Builds (4/1/2012) DIY9 Hot Rod Videoguys DIY9 Choice DIY9 Budget DIY8 Sandy Bridge  
  Mobo Asus P9X79WS 379        
    Asus P9X79 Pro   309 309    
    Asus P8Z68-V Pro       204  
  Processor Intel Core i7 3960X  1049        
    Intel Core i7 3930K    599      
    Intel Core i7 3820     299    
    Intel Core i7 2600K       299  
  GPU Quadro4000 799        
    GTX570   329      
    GTX 560 Ti     249 249  
  RAM G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (8 x 4GB) 1866  249        
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (8x 4GB) 1600   179 129    
    G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR3 16GB (4 x 4GB)  1600       57  
  Boot Drive Crucial M4 512GB SSD 395 395      
    Hitachi 7200 RPM 1TB     129 129  
  Case Antec Twelve Hundred V3 ATX Full Tower 159 159      
    Antec Nine Hundred Two V3 ATX Mid Tower     114 114  
  Power Supply CORSAIR Pro Gold (CMPSU-1200AX) 1200W 279        
    CORSAIR Pro Gold (CMPSU-850AX) 850W   189      
    CORSAIR Entusiast TX750     104 104  
  OS Win 7 Professional 64-bit -OEM 139 139 139 139  
  Blu-Ray Pioneer BDR-207 89 89 89 89  
       $       3,537  $       2,387  $       1,561  $        1,384  

Videoguys' DIY9 Original Shopping List (Fall 2011)


ASUS P9X79 Pro Model



Intel Core i7 3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz



G.Skill Ripjaws Z 4x4 GB kit 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1866 (PC3 14900)


Boot Drive

Crucial 256GB SSD (i'd like a 512GB to fall under $500)


Video Storage

G-Tech G-RAID for External RAID 0 G-Tech G-SPEED Q for Ext. RAID 5 Stardom SOHORAID DIY Ext. RAID 5

Available at


Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case


Power Supply



Blu-ray Burner

Pioneer BDR-206 Blu-Ray Disc Burner

$95.00 at


Windows 7 Professional 64-bit



PNY Quadro 4000 2GB GDDR5 with 256 CUDA Cores

$829.00 at


~$2,699 + Video Storage

Shopping notes for DIY9 on a budget - If you are a fan of the Videoguys' DIY systems you may notice that the $2,699 price in the DIY9 shopping list above is expensive for us. This is what we refer to as a "Hot-Rod" system. We have not decided what we will actually purchase for our DIY9 machine when we start the build next month and, like you, we may make some choices based on budget.  Here are some suggestions for building a "Budget" version of the DIY9 machine for under $2,000. My guess is that by the spring, you'll be able to get it for around $1,500.
  • Motherboard: We went for the P9X79 Pro version of the motherboard, even though it lacks Firewire.  If you go with the basic model, you can save $50.
  • GPU: We went with the Quadro4000. If you go with a GTX570 you can save almost $500. Going with the Quadro2000 saves you almost $350.
  • Boot Drive: You can save over $250 by going with a 1TB 7200RPM drive that gives you 4x the space
  • RAM: Shop around, we have seen Quad Channel (4x4) 16GB  kits for about $50 less from G.Skill, Crucial and other memory vendors.
Intel Delivers with X79 Chipset! When I first read about the new Sandy Bridge-E chips and the X79 motherboards on Tom's hardware, I knew they would be a winner for video editing. The only question for me was when would they be shipping? Then I read a great review of the ASUS P9X79 Pro on Anandtech in November 2011 and I knew it was time for DIY9. Here are just a few of the highlights of the Asus P9X79 family of motherboards:
  • PCIe lanes and PCIe 3 support
  • Quad-channel memory w 8 DIMM slots
  • USB3, eSata 6 Gbps
  • ASUS Graphical GUI for easy Overclocking
Unfortunately, with it being the busy holiday season and end of the year, we will not get started on this machine until at least January 2012. I realize that with the new Avid Media Composer 6, Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium, Sony Vegas Pro 11 and the Grass Valley Edius 6 at a special low crossgrade price, many of you want to get started now. So I'm going to but together our parts list, with the disclaimer that we have not built or tested any DIY9 machines yet. If you're one of the brave and decide to get started before us we welcome your feedback and suggestions! Asus P9X79 Motherboard There are several models of the Asus P9X79 motherboard and we are not sure if we will go with the base unit, the Pro or the WS. The Pro version looks the best, but it does not have Firewire, something many video editors still want or need. The advantage of the WS version is it will also accept the new XEON Sandy Bridge processors coming next year. Right now, I'm leaning towards the P9X79 base model, but I'll be monitoring the tech and support forums for more info before we have to actually make our purchase. Intel Sandy Bridge-E i7 3930K Hex Core CPU The Intel i7 3930K is an expensive CPU for our typical DIY machines at $599, but I feel strongly that you want to go with 6 cores. The 3960X is the extreme version and with it comes an extreme price. If you have the money - over $1,000 - go for it. If you are on a tight budget, but looking to build a Sandy Bridge-E machine, Intel has just released the i7 3820 Quad Core CPU. The 3820 breaks smashes through the $500 barrier, coming in at under $300! That's about half the price of the 3930K and it allows you to put together a budget based Sandy Bridge-E system for a little over $1500!! We're going to keep the 3930K in our Videoguys Choice build, because I really want to stick with a Hex Core. Tech Note: CPU Cooling It has come to our attention that many of you wish to overclock and/or you just want to have some extra cooling for the CPU. This is always a good decision, and worth budgeting an extra $50-$100 for. We have heard really good things about the Noctua NH-D14 Processor cooler. For about $75 it's a very wise investment - especially if you are going to be overclocking - even if it's just a little bit. Graphics Card –GPU For us, the go to GPU for serious editors is the NVIDIA Quadro 4000 by PNY. Yes, I know you can find a GTX570/580 card for about half the price with what looks like the same specs on paper and it will work great and it will light up the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) in Premiere Pro CS5.5. But, I'm sticking with Quadro card! (Note: If you are on a tight budget the GTC570/580 is an excellent choice, especially with Adobe CS5.x) Avid only recommends Quadro cards, and their OpenGL gives you a nice boost in After Effects or when working with really big images in Photoshop. If you're primarily an Avid guy, you can save around $500 by going with the NVIDIA Quadro 2000 by PNY, but, for Adobe, the 2000 is not nearly as powerful and it won't give you the same results as the Quadro 4000 with the Adobe MPE. RAM recommend a minimum of 2GB per core. With our hex core that comes to 12GB. Since we have Quad-channel memory, I'll go with 16GB (4x4GB). We really like the G.Skill RipjawsZ and the Corsiar Dominator Quad Channel Kits. You want to make sure that you order your RAM in Quad kits. That will give you four sticks optimized for the X79 chipset. If you have the budget, you can go with 4x8GB sticks for a whopping 32GB of RAM! Tech Note: We have learned that some editors are running into issues using the 1866 Ripjaws Z and GTX570 graphics cards. We have not seen this issue when running the Quadro4000 GPU. If you drop down to 1600 Ripjawz you will save money and avoid any conflict with the GTX570 cards. We have also heard that the latest BIOS update from ASUS fixes this problem, althought hat has not been widely confirmed. Boot Drive - Hard Drive or SSD? I would love to go with an SSD boot drive. I've got customers and friends who have gone this way and they love it. Their system boots in a few seconds and programs open almost instantly. Unfortunately for me, I just can't live with less then a 500GB boot drive, and that is just to darn expensive with SSD. Crucial has a 256 GB SSD drive that you can find for under $400 at Newegg. For me the sweet spot is when the 512GB falls under $500. Hopefully that will happen before we go to build DIY9 in January ;-) Storage - Internal or External If you want to save money, stripe a pair of identical 2TB or 3TB 7200RPM drives in a RAID 0 inside the machine. These will be fast enough to handle just about every flavor of compressed HD including AVCHD, XD CAM, DNxHD, ProRes, and DSLR footage. But be sure to get plenty of cooling and power in the machine. Our top recommendation is to go with external storage, attached via eSATA. Either a G-Tech G-RAID or G-Speed Q. We recommend the G-Speed Q for redundancy. When configured in as RAID5 they give you the same performance as a G-RAID, with fail safe redundancy. if a drive fails, you keep editing. No data is lost and athough you'll loose a little throughput, who cares? Your data is safe. Get a replacement drive and you're back in no time, with minimal downtime. Videoguys now also offers the Stardom external RAID enclosures. I really like the SOHORAIDs. The SR2 lets you stripe a pair of drives, the SR4 works with 4. Given the current hard drive shortages and crazy drive prices, you may find this is the way to go. Just make sure you can actually get the drives at the advertised price. Power Supply I'm going to recommend a minimum of 750 Watts. Go for 1,000 if you plan on running more then 3 hard drives internally in the case. Today's GPUs also draw a lot of juice, and I just like having some headroom here. Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Operating System We get asked all the time why we don't recommend Windows 7 Home. It's simple. None of our vendors do. The only specific reason I have heard is the ability to address more RAM. We've had great success with Windows 7 Professional and I don't see why we would change our recommendation here. if you want Ultimate, go for it. But we know of no benefits for video editing.   DIY9 - the X79 is divine! There you have it, our DIY9 sneak peak. I am extremely confident that if you follow this guide today, you will get excellent results and a state of the art NLE workstation. Once you have pulled together all the parts for your new workstation don't forget to make your source for your video editing software and hardware. Shop online or call us at 800-323-2325 today. This machine will run Avid Media Composer 6, Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium, Sony Vegas Pro 11 or Grass Valley EDIUS 6 great. Add in I/O hardware from Matrox, AJA, Motu, BMD or Bluefish444 without a worry. You can run any kind of storage you want, from a simple RAID-0 to one of our top of the line G-Speed eS Pro solutions with ATTO controller. This machine will rip through HD footage and render blazing fast. I've been waiting a long time to have a Sandy Bridge-E solution that I can give our 100% recommendation. While we won't get around to building our DIY9 machine until January (unfortunatley it looks like March for DIY9 now) , there is no reason for you to wait. Unfortunately we have too - it's just too busy around here this time of year. Videoguys DIY friend and resource Harm Millaard has posted an excellent article on recommended builds over on the Adobe Support Forums. You can also read this great article by Shawn Lam on his experiences building a DIY9 machine for Adobe CS6.

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