When I was a senior in high school and getting ready to go to college, was the last time I built my own PC. It lasted me 7 years, which in the tech world, is ancient. Afterwards, when i was in ministry, I made my computer experience more about productivity than power and so switched to an Apple.
Now, some 12 years after my last go at building my last PC, I want to try my hand at it again and I’d love to turn this into a bit of a collaborative project and case study. I’ll probably get into the why of it later, but for now, let’s just focus on what it could be.
Below I will highlight the details of what I want, the budget, and the fun constraints that will make this unique. Yes, you can tell me to just go buy a Mac and that’s fine, but know I’ll ignore you because you’re not playing along. Also note that I actually will be building this computer, so serious thoughts are welcome.
- It must be able to run Windows and the cost of Windows 10 must be factored in to it. (Use student price)
- I have a low quality monitor and mouse, but plan to upgrade later. Ignore these parts.
- It has to be a tower.
- The case is to be simple. No water cooling or lights. I do record so it has to be quiet.
- My budget is initially $1,200 with an upgrade in 2 months of $300.
- I do a lot of video rendering and game capturing, so I want graphics card, CPU, and RAM to be powerful.
I posted this on Google+ first to get some dialogue. Here are some of my favorite responses:
- Ok I took a crack at this and tried to build a beast of an Intel system and just didn’t come in under budget. I did hit your budget with an AMD system. – Chris Sehorn
- In your quest to save money, do not skimp on five things or you’ll regret it: power supply (cheap ones don’t last long); processor (don’t go nuts with a quad core processor or anything, but at least get one that exceeds the requirements of the video card and other parts you want); Motherboard (it’s the true heart of a computer and everything else will only function as well as the motherboard lets it; RAM (all you need is 2 GB I promise, but it needs to be high quality if you want it to last) and video card/sound card (sounds like the sound card matters more to you in this case and cheap versions of these will only disappoint you). – John Enfield
- You could get by nicely on 2GBs for most applications, but for the OS cost savings (32 bit vs x64), I would rather allow myself to scale upwards in the future w/o requiring an OS switch. – Steve Dodson
- I had to put together a video editing system recently (it was for a company with a higher budget), which was the first time I’d chosen components for going on five years. In the process, I stumbled upon this site, which is awesome for planning builds: http://pcpartpicker.com. – Josh Liechty