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Buying my first desktop computer for myself

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#1 Ikonen


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Posted 16 February 2013 - 01:52 PM

My budget for the new computer is: ~$1500

What are the primary uses for this computer (IE: mail, web browsing, programming, games, etc)? Anything online, photography work in Photoshop and Aperture, some small amounts of web development and programming for the theater where I work, some games.

What software do you intend on using on the computer? Adobe Photoshop CS4, Apple XCode bundle, Firefox . . . erm, I don't know what else.  Probably Microsoft Office.

Do you play games? If so, what type of games? Some, but nothing too crazy.  Probably the most computer-frying game I would play is Minecraft.

Do you tend to have a lot of programs running at the same time, or do you close every program when you are done using it? Yes - for much of the work I do, I need several intensive programs open at once.

Do you store a lot of pictures or music on the computer? Yes!  Both!  I have a quite substantial classical music collection and a similarly substantial photography collection.
I was looking at this guide to the best new desktop computers - is anything there the type of thing I am looking for?  I have used plenty of desktops and laptops, but this is my first experience actually shopping for my own desktop and now I'm a little overwhelmed.
Thanks in advance for any replies, advice, recommendations, and jokes!

Edited by Al1000, 23 March 2018 - 10:31 AM.
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#2 Queen-Evie


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Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:08 PM

Something to consider: Check with computer shops for a custom build. With your budget you should be able to get one for less than $1500.

If you already have speakers, keyboard, monitor, and mouse you'll save money because you don't need those things.

Questions to ask when consulting about your custom build:

Do you have a basic custom build?

Most of them do. Find out what the basic build consists of-OS, hard drive size, how much memory, processor type.

You won't get a sound or graphics card. If you don't want to use on board sound and graphics, you'll pay extra for the cards.
If you want wireless you will need a wireless card or wireless USB adaptor.


What is your warranty? How long is it for, what does it cover?

(mine is 3 years, which covers motherboard, hard drive, fans, and maybe a few other things but I have to take it to the tech every 6 months so they can open the case and clean out the innards)

Will the warranty be voided if you open up the case for anything? They may put a sticker over it and if you open the case, the sticker will break.

Will you get the disk for the motherboard, and an OS disk? You will need these for future use.

Once you find out what the basic build is, you can talk about extras and how much they will cost.

If you have a computer tech shop you've dealt with and like, that's the place to start. If not, ask people you know who they use.

Call a few of them or stop by the shop.  


The advantage of a custom build is that it does not come with all the junk that an out-of-the-box system has on it.

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