I have about 7 systems at home, but the machine I use for dvd authoring is a little older (Pentium 4, 3ghz, 1gb RAM) and I suspected I'd be needed an upgrade soon.
Well, after buying a HDHomeRun (HD tuner - neat box), I'm now recording HDTV streams directly and using them for many of my TV series sets. Well, the first time I did a complete show (4 - 40 minute episodes), it took over 19 hours to author/render. That's just nuts! Using regular mpeg2 files, it would only take about 20-30 minutes to author. It was CPU bound, doing the conversion from HD streams (59.94fps) to DVD compliant (29.97fps) and the other issues just were too much for the old box.
So, I bought one of these:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, 3gb RAM, 400gb drive. Yowzer! Doing the same project now takes about 3 hours - still alot of time, but dramatic reduction. My edits now take about 1/4 the time to save. Only downside: Vista. I was holding off getting it or dealing with it - too late! Seems okay though. Just a matter of figuring out where they moved things to (like mapping network drives, display properties, etc.).
The box is a bit cramped, but I'm not planning on putting anything else in the chassis, except maybe another hard disk later. The only complaint I hear about the box is the video (built in), but for the my stuff, it's ok. The one reviewer on Amazon
was able to neatly fit an nVideo card in there without a problem.
But if you're going to use an application like TDA v3, VideoReDo Plus or other apps that can take advantage of multiple core processors, jump on it!