I wanted to know what parts for an 'All-in-One,' computer build, drop in price the slowest. I want to get the most value out of my $1,200 and I heard new chipsets are coming out in Q1 of 2011, also hearing that a lot of parts are going to go for much cheaper values. I wanted to get in on this if that is going to happen. I want to buy parts for Christmas that are the most 'future-proof' or can retain value for a while. So, other parts like CPUs, GPUs, Mobos, and HDDs, drop very fast. Seeing I could save a few hundred dollars. So if anyone has any ideas, that would be very helpful! Thanks!
The only computer parts that I am aware of that drop is price little, slowly to not at all are:
* computer cases
* power supplies
* optical drives (non Blu-Ray)
* aftermarket cpu cooling fans and heatsinks
These items have the lowest technical innovation and are not tied to consumer buying.
If I had $1200 to spend on a "All-in-One" (which I assume you mean is 'All Around') I would ask myself three questions?
1) Am I going to do a lot of gaming?
2) Am I going to do a lot of HTPC stuff like capturing shows while I multitask?
3) Am I going to do a lot of graphics and image work?
Its going to be a trade off.
For example, if I was going to game I could build an okay budget gamer for around $700. I want a faster processor as some games are still single threaded (I would overclock), want a minimum of 3 cores, a minimum of 4GB of RAM, 1GB video card for around $130 and a 250GB SATA hard drive. If I don't want to wait for levels to load AND I don't play many games that hog hard drive space I'd go for a SSD card for under $200 (60GB to 80GB) and skip the 250GB drive. I wouldn't need a Blu-Ray drive.
If on the other hand gaming was lower on my list and I wanted to game while doing HTPC stuff like capturing shows I'd want a quad core processor, Blu-Ray player, 3 hard drives (1 small one for OS and two in RAID0 (minimum 640GB each) for the place to record movies to. I want there to be little disk IO when I am not recording but am using the OS which is why I want the OS disk seperate), a $80 video card (for some gaming and to offload some work to the GPU), dual-tuner card and minimum 6GB RAM. This would be closer to $800 (ballpark).
Finally, to do graphics (assuming I am using Adobe products) I want a fast Intel CPU (I read that AMD is slower than Intel due to Adobe code optimizations) that is quad-core with lots of L2 and L3 cache, 8GB DDR3 RAM minimum, onboard video is fine, a separate hard drive for my OS and then minimum 3 drives in RAID1 (I think that is the one that is mirroring and restorable) to store the stuff I am working on.
"I want to buy parts for Christmas that are the most 'future-proof' or can retain value for a while."
Could it possibly be that what you mean is:
"I want to buy parts for Christmas that are the most 'future-proof' or can retain RELATIVE PERFORMANCE for a while."
I am happy with my gaming PC which is an overclocked LGA775 based, DDR2 system with a case I bought in 2005 and a 100GB SATA hard drive I bought around 2007. I do backups and run SMART and the drive is still strong and I don't need tons of space as I only play about 2-3 games. My power supply is from 2008 and has tons of connections and can work with newer CPUs but isn't i7 certified.
I guess, if the goals here are for you to buy stuff that doesn't drop in price quickly and you won't overclock and you won't mind giving up possible performance for 'value' and you want some sort of future proofing then I'd suggest an AMD AM3 Quad-Core ~3GHz socket system with DDR3 RAM, a $80 crossfire video card (most AMD based systems I see that have onboard video are crossfire capable), SATA2 7200 RPM drives, SATA non-Blu Ray DVD-RW, a 650W minimum brand name Core i5/i7 certified power supply with a 5 year warranty (Thermaltake) and an ATX (not mini or micro-ATX) case that you really like.