If you’ve ever undertaken a heavy editing session on an underpowered computer, you’ll be all too aware of how desperately frustrating it can all be, as you sit and wait for it to catch up, watching the clock ticking round as the render takes place. Time is money in the world of professional filmmaking, and if you can save time on a job that’s surely got to be worth a bit of investment.
This is the reason why a dedicated film editing hardware package such as this one from Overclockers can justify the considerable outlay it requires. This is a powerful purpose-built machine designed for speed that could save you hours – even potentially days – as it whips through processes that lesser machines would struggle with.
Overclockers puts together bespoke computer packages that are ostensibly aimed at serious gamers. This isn’t such a strange connection as it might sound, because many gamers’ requirements, such as a state-of-the-art graphics card and a powerful processor, are similarly useful for those with shed loads of high resolution footage to deal with. I looked at a package from the line-up of Overclockers professional PC workstations. The PW-E7F, like all Overclockers’ products, is not off the shelf, rather it’s been pieced together to fit the requirements of the purchaser.
In this case its attributes were geared towards the kind of features that a film editor might be looking for, such as an Intel Core i7 six core processor, a Nvidia Quadro K2000 2GB - 384 Cuda Core Graphics Card and a Samsung 128GB 850 Pro Solid State Drive Hard Drive backed up by a Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200rpm Secondary Hard Drive. All was housed in a high-quality tower case and paired with an Acer 28in Professional Widescreen monitor.
The first thing that was crystal clear about this set-up was its speed: it’s lightning fast in fact. If you’ve ever worked with a tired old PC or Mac that’s choked up by excess data you’ll appreciate what a joy it was to work with this machine.
My aim was to edit a three-minute film that involved a decent amount of footage, a number of linking transitions to smooth out such things as slow motion links and a handful of extra audio tracks. I also re-coloured and added some effects such as masks to some of the scenes. Throughout the PC was smooth to work with and completely lag free, all signs that it was scarcely being challenged by the considerable amount of HD footage.
In use the PC could be fired up from cold with all the files opened up in around 30 seconds, which was impressive, enabling the editing process to be started really quickly. Loading the data was also a very quick process: the combined files for my project totalled around 30GB so it was a sizeable amount of data to process, but the PW-E7F just whipped through everything.
The MPEG-4 output files ended up at around 300MB and none of the renders took more than around two minutes. An empty PC to a first draft three-minute film took eight hours, which is exactly what a busy editor would be looking for.
Overall the PW-E7F is impressive. You would need to decide whether your personal preference was to go down the PC or Mac route, but if it’s the former, this is a powerful machine that might well be just what you need.
Operating system: Windows 7 Professional 64 bit OEM
Processor: Intel i7 Six Core
Graphics card: Samsung 128GB 850
Pro Moviemaker Rating: 9/10
If you’re trying to meet tight deadlines this is the PC for you
Pros: Powerful and capable
Cons: It’s pricey
Written by Matt Snow