By Jay Fidell
I’ve been doing more video these days. But rendering video files takes a long time, like maybe two hours for every hour of video. So I decided to run my rendering operation like a dentist’s office, with multiple operatories. That means multiple machines.
I have a Dell desktop and although it’s ok on editing (I use Adobe Premiere Pro CS 3.0), whenever I need to render I have to take a nap or go for a walk because it takes so long and you can’t edit the next video while you’re rendering the last. This can’t be efficient.
So I decided to get a second machine, and keep it pure, with only Adobe video software, and use that when the first machine is tied up. Ah, but what computer should I get?
First I went to Dell, but boy their high end video quality machines are really expensive. Then I went to Best Buy, because, like the mountain, it was there. They had a 64-bit HP that looked pretty good for a good price, but I started to wonder about the 64-bit thing.
I googled 64-bit and it wasn’t clear that Adobe can use all of the memory addressable by the 64-bit processor or whether it can use even the 4 megabytes of memory it uses on a 32-bit processor. 64-bit, like Vista, is probably something for later, but not now.
So I decided to call Adobe. Luckily, I got a sales guy who would talk to me about this, and luckier still he was wiling to talk to me about his own personal setup. He said he didn’t buy factory built machines, but was into hand built machines. Although I’d seen components at places like CompUSA, I’d really gotten close to hand built machines.
He was high on hand built. You can build it your way, like a hamburger. With any kind of motherboard and chips and drives and video cards and everything. And because it doesn’t come with all the creepy software the factory built machines come with, which invariably shows your machine down. And for what you get, hand built is cheaper.
What price purity? He told me what he had on his machine, from the name and manufacturer and model number of the motherboard to the chips and drives and video cards, and so forth. Then the problem was for me to somehow recreate what he had.
Sure I could get on the web and order a case and all these components, and then try to put them together and configure them. Daunting, I thought. Why not just get someone here in Honolulu to do that for me? A geek person, I thought. But how many geek people do you actually know, ones you can actually talk to.
And then I remembered Supergeeks. I had heard that they do hand built. So I gave them a call in hopes that this would simple and quick, that I could tell them what I wanted and they could just build it and deliver it to me, and make me happier than I had ever been.
Lucky still again. I called them and got Oliver, their parts man, and he laid out how this would all happen and what it would cost. I ordered it right there and then, and he flew in the parts and set up the machine and delivered it me in one week. Just like Dell.
Had I ordered the parts and put them together myself I suppose I would have learned more about how to build and configure hand built machines like the guy from Adobe, but that would have involved more time and risk for me. It was better to have them do this.
I had to a learn a few things about the machine after they delivered it but in one day’s time it was fully operational, just as I had dreamed it would be, and now I have exactly what I wanted with exactly the specs I wanted, and I’m as happy as clam. You know that feeling of elation when you get a brand new high powered computer that actually works.
Kudos to Oliver and his friends Ryan and Ron at Supergeeks. They did a great job. My fingers are crossed that this will work swell and for a long time, better than factory built, and that I won’t need onsite maintenance, because that unfortunately is not in the deal.
Hand built is like hand coded, all transparent, all modular, all yours. And all things considered, I might even make this the way I get my computers in the future. It’s not so much a geek thing as the fact that these parts and components are generic and modular. In the 21st Century they have become commodity, and for me that is a very good thing.