Hi Lifehacker, I'm looking at buying a decent desktop PC ($1500 or so is what I have budgeted). It will store a lot of files (photos, movies, music) and be used to edit my home videos, but I have no need for it to be a gaming powerhouse. I'd also like an SSD for the operating system.
Electronics retailers hardly sell desktops these days, and review sites don't even seem to review them much. Pricing from no-brand stores often seems cheaper than the big brands. What are the options I should be looking at? Thanks, Desktop Devotee
If you're not overly fussed about elaborate styling or fancy ergonomics, you're probably better off building your own PC. In addition to being generally more cost effective, this also gives you more versatility when it comes to choosing specific hardware.
Building your own PC means you'll be able to cherry-pick the right components and processing power to suit your specific needs. In your case, this means plenty of inbuilt storage, a current-gen SSD and a hyperthreading CPU for heavy editing workloads.
These days, building a desktop PC requires very little technical know-how. The only fiddly part is connecting all the internal I/O cables to the motherboard — otherwise it's no more difficult than fitting Lego bricks together.
The important thing is to ensure all the hardware is compatible before you actually shell out for it (i.e. — always check component specifications!) If you're new to PC building, start with the CPU and a compatible motherboard — this will help to narrow the other component possibilities down and make planning your build more manageable. You can pick up some general tips on choosing the right desktop parts here.
When it comes to buying your hardware, StaticIce is a pretty good bet. This is an aggregator website that ranks Australian electronics suppliers in order of price. The site is entirely search-driven, which means you need to know the full names of the products you're interested in first. Naturally, you should already be armed with this list via plenty of online research.
With all that said, there are some advantages to buying a pre-built machine. For example, customer support is usually better — especially if you're buying from a well-known vendor who operates locally. Plus, there's less chance of running into technical difficulties when you boot the system up for the first time (i.e. — all the parts are specifically designed to work together and the machine has been put together by professionals.)
We'll also throw this one over to our readers: if have any buying tips or preferred PC models for HD video editing, let DD know in the comments section below.
See also: 6 Essential Tips For First-Time PC Builders | The Best PCs You Can Build For $700 And $1400 | How To Save Money When Building Your Own PC | How Hyper-Threading Works (And When You Want It In Your PC)
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