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What Windows?

18 July 2017

I want to set up another Windows machine to assist with my video editing but now face quite problem.

The one Windows box I've got is running Windows 7 and I'm 100% happy with it for the one application it runs (video editing/rendering).

However, I want another box to use for the same purpose (the bigger 4K renders I'm working on are *very* slow and two machines means twice the productivity). The problem is that I can't buy Windows 7 any more and, from what I've read, Windows 10 can be a nightmare in respect to privacy and in some other areas.

This morning I read this Slashdot story which made me even more apprehensive about going the Win 10 way.

So what do I do?

Before I get a tide of suggestions that I try "this" or "that" Linux video editor I have to say that I have a very efficient workflow situation and it's taken me a long time to learn all the ins and outs of my current video editing software so I'm not about to inflict a whole new learning curve on myself.

So Windows will have to be the platform for what has become the only non-Linux application I run.

Maybe I can scrounge an OEM or enterprise copy of Win7 so that I can set up a new machine... or perhaps someone has a "new in box" copy of Win7 I can buy and install on a new box.

Outside of those options I guess I'm pretty much stuffed... unless I want to go down the road of grabbing a "cracked" copy from the Net and risk all manner of "worms and wiruses" getting onto the computer so that those nice Indian people from Microsoft Windows Support start ringing me with their offers of help :-)

Then there's the issue of "what box"?

The rendering machine I'm running now is a very nice piece of kit (provided by a generous Aardvark reader) which has performed flawlessly for several years now but it's only an i5 and the move to 4K video is really producing very, very long render times.

Right now I'm pretty sure that some of you are asking "why do you need 4K?"

Well it's down to the way that YouTube does its own video compression.

If I create a 1080p video with lots of detail and motion then no matter what bitrate I upload it, YouTube's re-compression will utterly screw with it and produce massive compression artifacts. That's because YouTube has a maximum bitrate when encoding to 1080p video from a 1080p source -- you can't get around it -- it's a real ceiling for video quality.

However...

If you upload a 4K video (even a 1080p upscaled to 4K) then the YT rerendering code creates a file with a much higher bitrate and it seems that even the 1080p version of that file has a higher bitrate than anything created by a 1080p upload.

For ages I wondered why it was that some people were uploading exactly the same type of content as me but their videos, when viewed at 1080p were crisp and clear -- while mine were pixelated to hell (although the original upload was near-perfect). The owner of one of those channels let me in on the secret: upload everything at 4K!

So damn it!

It seems that ever-higher standards for video mean that those of us in the video-creation business have to upgrade or replace our gear every few years whether we like it or not -- and that's where I'm at now.

Of course I could simply upgrade the motherboard in this machine to a decent i7 but I am also keen to have a little redundancy (my other PC is rebooting itself spontaneously every few hours right now so I'm regularly reminded that it's important to have hardware as well as software backup).

Of course all this would happen during the "empty" season for YouTube revenues -- when advertising rates are low and most of the rest of the world (ie: the Northern Hemisphere) are actually out enjoying themselves rather than sitting at home watching my videos) so I'll be pinching pennies wherever I can.

So there you go... what would *you* do in this situation?

Just go with Win 10 and put up with the apparent annoyances?

Download a cracked copy of Win 7?

Buy an old uber-cheap Win 7 machine and use the license from it on new hardware?

Your thoughts please.

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