I'm sorry for the mega-post being my first post here; I haven't been concerned with my PC for a while, so I have just started looking around at PC forums. This one seems great, and I have to start somewhere, right? I appreciate any help that you guys can give me. Thanks!
General Info about me for context:
I’ve been around PCs for years, but I’ve not bought a computer (laptop or desktop) in 10 years. I’ve done some reading, but I don’t have anything past general knowledge - “the current Intel processors are Haswell and the currently popular ports are USB 2, USB 3, Thunderbolt and HDMI”.
Approximate Purchase Date: Next few months
Up to $800, all said and done. If my budget isn’t sufficient for my needs, please tell me: I’d rather save up for 6 months and get what I need than buy something I’m going to regret.
Parts to Upgrade: All
Would you consider computers that are refurbished/redistributed? Yes, if it’s worth it and advisable.
Do you need to buy OS: Yes - I assume I should be getting Windows 8, right?
Do you play games? If so, what type of games?
I do not game. I may hook up a Wii to the monitor now and then. Probably not too often, though.
System Usage from Most to Least Important:
- Downloading / Uploading – I’ll be leaving my computer on almost all of the time to download and upload torrents. Most common file sizes are 350 MB up to 3 GB (vast majority are between 350 MB and 1 GB). Occasionally I’ll grab smaller stuff or much larger stuff (up to 30 GB in size – that’s quite rare though and it’d probably be a series of 1 GB files).
- Browsing - Daily multi-tab web browsing (social media, email, reading news and blogs, participating in forums, etc).
- File transfer / streaming – I’d like to frequently move files (or sync info) between my desktop, laptop and Android phone. The ability to stream media between devices would be great.
- Productivity – Calendar management. Word processing. Excel spreadsheet work. This will be relatively infrequent.
What software do you intend on using on the computer?
- vlc media player – I don’t see any reason to install anything else, unless a different one would allow sharing or streaming between devices more easily
- a music player – need to research these to find one that will provide everything I need without being too over-the-top
- Browsers – chrome and firefox
- File transfer and streaming software – need to research
- Microsoft office – Word, Excel, maybe Outlook, maybe PowerPoint
- Image editor with basic features, but better than MS Paint – need to research
- Anti-virus / Anti-Malware – need to research
- Possibly firewall software – need to research
- Android modding software like rsdlite and a light version of the sdk (rooting and flashing is all I really do – I just follow tutorials)
- Possibly apps that bring news, weather, music, etc to my desktop
- Ripping, encoding and burning software – I hardly use this stuff, so I may not even install this stuff
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? I leave a lot of programs running simultaneously.
I’ll have multiple browser windows open with multiple tabs in each. I’ll have widgets going on the desktop. I’ll have music playing while I browse or work. I’ll have uTorrent running almost constantly (and probably uploading or downloading). I’ll also have a program going that will let me remote in.
How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?
I need lot’s of space to store downloaded movies, shows and music; 1 through 4 terabytes is probably appropriate. I’ve read that a non-SSD harddrive will usually cause a bit of lag and bottleneck the system from being 100% snappy. I’m wondering if it would be easy to run the OS and apps off an SSD and then have a regular, large capacity HD for files. If this would provide smooth, snappy performance, I’d probably be interested in that.
Are you buying a monitor: Yes -
I need it to look great while playing video (see above) – I’ll usually be sitting back anywhere from 5 to 20 feet to watch video. I’d also like to be able to use the computer for regular browsing while sitting up to 5 or maybe even 10 feet away (that’s not as big of a deal, though). Viewing angle can’t be horrible – I’ll need to accommodate viewing angles of up to about 45% (thought that would probably be a rare case).
Your Monitor Resolution:
Whatever is considered a good value for the price. I just need it to meet my need as described. I am thinking I’d probably want something 26” or bigger. I’m not sure how quickly price rises and quality falls and the size goes up, so again, I’m open to recommendations here.
Other important factors:
- Energy efficiency (if possible without sacrificing my other needs) – as noted, I’ll have this computer on all the time (the screen will only be on 1 to 4 hours a day)
- Snappy performance – I haaaaate lag. When I click or enter a command, I want the computer to do what I want quickly, without any stutter.
Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
Blu-ray and DVD player is desired. Burning capability is nice, but not imperative.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Doesn’t matter
Parts Preferences: No preference as long as they meet my expectations
Overclocking: I doubt I’d need to, right?
Location: Western NY, USA
SLI or Crossfire:
I’m honestly not even sure what this is. I guess, just let me know if you think it’d be important for me.
I’ve never built a PC, but I’d be willing to give it a shot if I can have a very high level of confidence what I’m doing will come out exactly as expected. I’d want to know exactly how things go together, I’d want to know that all the parts I buy will work together very well and I’d want to know that I won’t run into any trouble and end up having to buy other parts or use workarounds to get everything to work seamlessly. I figure I’d probably need some pretty comprehensive walk-through tutorials to accomplish this.
I hate bloatware, adware, malware, intrusive software, excessive utilities that aren’t needed at all, etc. If the computer comes loaded with them and they truly aren’t needed, I’d want to get rid of them immediately.
I’d like the setup to last me at least 4 years, if possible.
And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading:
I just moved and my laptop from 2003 isn’t gonna cut it. I’ll probably be buying a new laptop, tablet or convertible laptop/tablet soon after I get the desktop.
Edited by kwest12, 09 September 2013 - 01:01 PM.