Computing Columnist: Do I really need to buy a new computer?
Even before my old desktop's hard drive started making strange and clearly EOL noises, I had decided I needed to consider a new computer for editing video and audio. And while Mac and Final Cut are by some considered the sine qua non of video editing, I wanted to be sure I examined all my options.
But once I started digging into the new specs, I realized it had been too long, much too long, since I had educated myself about the meaning of it all. What's a Core i5 processor (from Intel) and why would I want one? Is AMD's Opteron 6200 a viable alternative (as once upon a time AMD was to Intel's technology) and if you read something like this: "Up to 160 percent more cores to handle more VMs per platform and minimize datacenter space" what are you finding out?
I know I need power. I know I don't want a lot of fan noise (often an accompaniment of a very fast machine). I know I want a big, big, big hard drive (I'm working with media, after all, and while compression has improved quite a bit, it's still important to have lots of storage space and tons of RAM for running complex software.) And of course, I'm going to need a very fast, powerful video card to handle the display.
Well, I've more or less figured out that the "core" referred to is the same as the old "dual core" that we used to rave about. Essentially a dual core allowed your computer to work on two processes at the same time (real, true multi-tasking, as opposed to very rapid switching from one task to another, giving the impression that your computer was multi-tasking). So with the i5, and hyperthreading, Intel is claiming that each core can work on two tasks simultaneously, or 4-way, "smart" multi-tasking.
AMD tells us "Comparison of 16-core AMD Opteron™ 6200 Series processor with 6-core Intel Xeon 5600 series processor and 10-core Intel Xeon E7 Series processor. SVR-30 yields up to 160% more cores as compared to the above named processors. Its ability to handle more "VMs per platform" refers to its ability to handle more virtual machines.
What does all this give you? HPC - High Performance Computing.
But (the ever-present big but): All of this is far beyond what I'd need for my relatively simple editing jobs. Still, I'm learning a little of the new language and more importantly, learning that while there has always been an elite among computers and users, the divide between the guys who are creating modern animated movies, searching space for black hole and those of us simply editing a little audio has widened to unimaginable proportions. Once upon a time, I could dream about having the fastest computer on the market available to Joe Citizen. Now even that is beyond not only my means, but my needs.
So where do I go from here? Stay tuned. My shopping adventure continues next time!