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Ask the experts the majority of work you undertake, and how you to plan out your projects. These are listed below: - for use with a wide variety of software applications and extensively tested in harsh production environments. Now since the release of Adobe CS5.5, the graphics card has changed roles slightly. Modern graphics cards contain a GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) on board the device itself. This Graphics Processor Unit has a number of GPU cores, dedicated GPU memory and on board GPU cache (very much like a CPU system) so it can operate as it owns co-processor resource inside the computer itself. Using this GPU as a co-processing device is nothing new, as more specialist industry sectors like science, engineering and education have been using the GPU for compute tasks for years but since Adobe released the Mercury Engine powered Premiere Pro back in release 5.5 it change how modern video projects can be completed. Since its release a number of other ‘key’ industry applications have become GPU aware setting a trend with how the industry is moving forward. Unlike a CPU that has 6 or maybe 8 processing cores a modern GPU has over 1,000, so performance gains for highly parallel software tasks (like digital video) can be considerable (some as much as 100x over a CPU). With this in mind, the graphics card is no longer an afterthought component, just chosen to ‘display graphics’. It needs to be a highly prioritised component that is chosen to match the software/projects that you work with. Graphics cards from NVIDIA are the best choice, with high-end NVIDIA GeForce GTX cards a lower cost introduction to the ‘GPU World’; however Professional Workstation Class NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards are the recommended/professional choice as these are industry certified For the most complex of digital workflows the use of multi-GPU workstations is best supported with NVIDIA’s Maximus Technology. This uses a dedicated lower end NVIDIA Quadro graphics card to display graphics, paired with a more powerful ultra-high end NVIDIA Tesla GPU (or a number of Tesla GPUs) for the GPU compute tasks. This allows for seamless interaction with the most complex of 2K + 4K projects without any load being lifted by the CPU or main graphics card (so you can easily work with other applications alongside). Top Ti Ce p rtifi Sti ed ck sol wit utio h NV ns IDA for the Maximus estment best ‘future proofed’ inv What hard drives do I need? Hard drives are obviously important, but are available in a wide variety of different configurations. Internal, External, SATA, SAS, SSD to name a few. It is not just a case of what drive do I need, but how many drives, and in what configuration, and what technology (as it is recommended you have different types of drives for different purposes inside the system). Stick with drives from reputable manufacturers like Seagate or Western Digital (platter) and Intel/Crucial/PNY (for SSD) and you can’t go far wrong. Rather than get bogged down with the technical aspect of hard disk technology, it is best to translate this into what you need to know for digital video professionals. Essentially you need 3-4x main hard disk types for Operating System/Boot Disk – This is where you install all of your operating (OS) files and installed application stack (Adobe, Microsoft, Avid, and Sony etc). This drive needs to be fast, (ideally quiet) and large enough to provide future growth (as who knows how big the next release of your chosen video software suit will be). Solid State Drive (SSD) is best and a minimum of 200GB is advised. Drive sizes of up to 600GB exist, but these larger capacity SSDs typically hold a premium price tag that could be better spent elsewhere in the system. Application Cache/Scratch Disk – This is where your video application cache/project data is temporarily stored and the use of a dedicated separate hard drive for this task allows for performance to be maximized. Solid State is the obvious choice here (as it is so much faster); however if budgets are tight a standard 7,200rpm platter based drive can be sufficient. Dependent on the number of applications you work with (as they can all share this same scratch disk drive) anything from 120GB upwards is best Top Tip Prices the of high-end time. SSDs are falling all They are no longer classed as a luxury item so upgrade your hard drives to SSD today and see the performance benefits for yourself. Project/Data Storage – This is where you will hold all ‘Live’ project data locally to the workstation/computer. These files are much larger in size (with size increasing with project resolution/ complexity) and need to be both fast, but much larger in size to that of the other drives in your system (Terabytes and not just Gigabytes). The use of standard SATA based hard drives is most common here, and large capacity 7,200rpm (platter rotation speed) 2TB+ drives will not break the 44 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE TV-BA073JAN13.indd 44 11/01/2013 14:17