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December 2014
Issue: September 1, 2009

REVIEW: PUGET SYSTEMS' GENESIS WORKSTATION

By: David Basulto
PRODUCT: Puget Systems Genesis

WEBSITE: www.pugetsystems.com

PRICE: Starts at $1,790; the system reviewed is priced at under $4,000

- fast
- reliable
- great tech support

"I'm going back to PC, to PC, to PC." My own version of LL Cool J's "Going Back to Cali" was unbelievably playing in my head. You see, ever since I left the PC world after 10 years as a fan and user and jumped into the Mac world, going back was something that had never entered my mind… until recently.
I remember the day I left my beloved PC. I had just completed principal photography on my film Fiesta Grand and my desktop was chugging along at a snail's pace as I edited the high def footage.
I knew I needed a new machine, so under the pressure from a fast approaching delivery date I bought a MacPro. Long story short, I finished the film and have been in the  Apple world for a few years now.
But something kept tugging at me — I had so much software and many opportunities to work on the PC platform. As I kept saying "Sorry we are a Mac-only company," I would kick myself thinking of dollars I missed out on.

ENTER PUGET

As I perused the forums and asked many colleagues about the perfect PC, one phrase was consistent: check out Puget Systems. Puget Systems, based in Seattle, is a boutique facilitator of custom PC systems. They recently entered the post market making solid customized workstations called Genesis. The Genesis is optimized for applications such Adobe Creative Suite 4, Maxon Cinema 4D, and many more. I visited their Website and began to configure my next-gen workstation.
One of the things that struck me immediately was that every component was cutting edge and top of the line. Names like Intel, Nvidia and Kingston popped up. Some people like
to get the cheapest components, while I prefer reliability. Reliability to me is synonymous with the aforementioned companies.
For my new monster I had to go with two of Intel's next-generation Nehalem 2.26 quad processors, 12GB of Kingston RAM and Nvidia's Quadro FX card. I added a Pioneer Blu-ray burner and Western Digital Caviar drives. For my operating system, I chose Windows 7. The entire machine was configured on the Puget Systems Website.
Once I made my choices and paid, I was sent a welcome email with a detailed list of Puget Systems' build procedures. I was able to log in to my account to get updates on every step. This surely built my excitement! My new uber PC was built and shipped in three days!

READY TO EDIT

Once my Puget Genesis arrived, the next step would be to arm it with all the tools I needed to make money with. The Puget Systems gang touted how great the PC would perform with Adobe products, so first up was Adobe's Production Premium CS4. I was excited to have a Blu-ray burner to add to my workflow for Adobe Encore burns.
After the installs I tested the machine with some video captures and editing in Premiere Pro. I had a big job coming up and I had to be sure I could rely on the Genesis. Also, I was more curious to see if Windows 7 would play nice with my Adobe suite. It did. Moving between applications was speedy and my encoding from Premiere Pro was extremely fast.
Cinema 4D was installed for any 3D work. The program worked fine with Windows 7 and I really saw the power of the Quadro FX card while doing renders in Cinema 4D.
Lastly was the installation of my "don't leave home without them" Red Giant plug-ins. Magic Bullet Looks and Particular 2 worked great.

PAY DAY

My biggest client, a well-known Fortune 500 company, for whom I have worked with for years, editing and delivering content called with a massive job. Over 60 DV tapes to capture and pull clips from for Power Point presentations. There would be editing, color correcting and some minor 3D stuff for logos.
As I began to capture via one of my FireWire ports, I realized something. The Genesis Liquid Cooling system was extremely quiet. This was a major improvement over my last PC, and it was even quieter than my MacPro.
As I finished pulling over 300 clips, the next step was to create small WMV files for the client to review. I chose Telestream's Episode encoder to do the work.
My job went well and was delivered on time. Puget Systems' Genesis performed like the winner it is. Steady, fast and reliable.

FINAL THOUGHTS

One big thing I should mention is a little glitch I had when first starting up and playing with the Genesis. As I perused Hulu, YouTube and other video sites, my video played back choppy. I put a DVD in and again it was choppy. After a call to customer service and doing some quick trouble shooting, we realized the culprit was Window 7 and the Ethernet card. Puget sent me a different card overnight and the video played as it should.
The tech support was great. I was the one who wanted an OS still in late beta, after all. Puget would not rest until we resolved the problem, even creating a duplicate machine at their factory to do tests.
Puget Systems customized PCs start at $1,790. The machine I bought came in under $4,000. Worth it? Yes! And even better, I made the money back on my first job.

David Basulto is a Producer/Director/Editor with Clarity Pictures in South Pasadena, CA. He can be reached at: dave@claritypictures.net.