Using Old Laptop for Editing

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by benbanyas, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. benbanyas

    benbanyas Guest

    Hello All!

    I am hoping to create sports highlight videos from video taken with a Sony,using the AVCHD format. I have PowerDirector 11. My specs are:

    Model: Toshiba Satellite L505D-S5965
    Processor: AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core QL-65 2.10Ghz
    Memory: 4GB
    System: Vista 32-bit
    Storage: Internal HD 255gb, 29.3gb free. Using a dedicated 500gb external HD for all video

    Currently, when I try to edit the video, the rendering is very slow, and there is a significant lag. I am just cutting and splitting clips (not doing any special effects, trasitions, etc.), but it takes a very long time to edit even one clip in 2 minutes of footage.

    I know I have an old computer, and I only have max $300 to spend, but I'd like to know if there is anything I can do to make editing easier. I've doneall of the normal things to increase computer performance/speed (i.e. disabled most startup programs, deleted files using disk cleanup). Is there anypart of the computer I can upgrade (I've read that with the 32-bit OS it can only use 4GB ram max, is that true?)? Is there any other hardware I could get to speed things up? Thanks for any help!
    benbanyas, Oct 17, 2013
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  2. benbanyas

    Paul Guest

    After reading the article on Wikipedia for AVCHD, you
    seem to be using the right kind of software.

    But your hardware probably doesn't have any OpenCL capability,
    to add to the horsepower of your CPU. Video editing gains
    support from both the CPU and the GPU (graphics). The GPU
    sometimes has video decoder blocks in it, and a shader program
    run on the programmable shaders, can also do some tricks.
    That might help get the video to the screen, when you're
    editing it. Even playback is likely to be slow right now.

    So your RS780 chipset graphics are a limiting factor. They
    might be suited to decoding video from a DVD to some extent.

    And a laptop these days, is not very expandable. Even if
    they'd left a hole for an ExpressCard, that would still
    have been better than nothing. Like, my laptop, the fastest
    I/O on the outside of the box, is the Ethernet at 125MB/sec.
    Which is too slow to do anything with. My USB is 30MB/sec, again
    not a good place to hang some kind of accelerator box.

    It is possible to fit a desktop graphics card to a laptop,
    but it costs a fortune. Just the adapter box alone costs
    $300, and for that price, you might as well just buy a desktop
    computer as go to that much trouble. The ExpressCard interface
    runs at either 250MB/sec or 500MB/sec, just enough to do some
    basic stuff on a video card.

    (Thing on the end, plugs into the ExpressCard slot of a laptop.
    Video card goes inside the box. Not shown, is the external power
    supply which provides +3.3V and +12V power. Few modern laptops
    have the ExpressCard slot any more.)

    If you had a desktop machine, sometimes you can add crap to
    those, to make things work a bit better. Like a new video
    card with CUDA or OpenCL acceleration. You read the description
    for your software, to see whether you need CUDA or OpenCL

    Keep your $300 in the bank, until you have a bit more to
    go with it. Or, see if the camera can record in another
    less demanding video format. Or, transcode all your AVCHD
    to some other format, before you start editing. (Let the
    transcoding run overnight, while you sleep.)

    Paul, Oct 18, 2013
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  3. benbanyas

    Brian Guest

    There are the usual things such as defragmenting your hard drive. Shutting
    down any programs running in the background.
    If its possible with the software your using you could view the video in a
    lower resolution while editing the video to help reduce any lag.
    Like Paul suggested try rendering the video overnight.
    You could also create a test video at a lower resolution and video bit rate
    which and use some other format such as wmv, mp4, etc which would speed up
    the rendering then if your happy with the result you can then render at a
    higher resolution and video bit rate overnight using AVCHD.
    Brian, Oct 19, 2013
  4. benbanyas

    j Guest

    Paul is not being flippant. Doing anything with AVHCD works the hell out
    of the machine. Even getting it out of AVHCD is slow, but in your case,

    An i3 is probably the minimum machine you can use. With that said, I am
    quite happy with my Ivy Bridge i5 with onboard video. Ivy bridge CPUs,
    which I think are now a generation back, have features that greatly assist.

    Do as Paul suggests and put a bit more money in and you'll be a lot happier.

    j, Oct 20, 2013
  5. benbanyas

    Brian Guest

    Speaking of old computers I tried to import a video via USB using my old
    laptop and found it dropping frames.
    Its an Acer 4520 with a AMD Turion 1.8 GHz processor. It has always been a
    slow computer. I should resist buying computer on sale. Rending a video is
    at OK speed. It will render a 1 minute mp4 video in 2 minutes.
    Brian, Nov 3, 2013
  6. benbanyas

    guyberentsen Guest

    One thing no one talked about is disk speed - faster disk drive can be very important, if you want to spend that 300 on the current computer faster disk, or even an SSD might give you the most bang for your buck.
    guyberentsen, Nov 26, 2013
  7. benbanyas

    Paul Guest

    If the content is in a compressed format, the read rate off the
    disk can be 10MB/sec or less. Since the content is compressed,
    a gutless processor makes video editing a painful process.

    While it's fun to pretend your CPU is so powerful, that
    the disk drive is holding it back, that hardly ever happens.

    The only time the disk drive holds you back, is on sustained
    copies (transferring a video to another disk drive or another
    computer perhaps). Or when you're doing backups.

    For example, I was running Macrium Reflect, with internal
    compression turned off, and I was able to get 110MB/sec
    transfer rate. If I had an SSD, I could likely double
    that value. People would be impressed by my gnarly computer.

    But for editing video, my dual core machine is gutless,
    and the hard disk light just blinks once in a while,
    which tells me, the disk drive is not holding me back.
    If the disk light was on "solid red" the whole time,
    I'd agree with you. You would need a pretty powerful
    computer, for that to happen (i7 + GPGPU acceleration).
    Since my CPU is so weak, my disk drive gets to "sleep in"
    most of the time.

    Paul, Nov 27, 2013
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