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First computer build...for an old lady not even close to being a geek

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June 11, 2012 8:02:59 PM

Here's the thing: I"ve fiddled with computer hardware. I have installed hard drives, optical drives, memory chips, video and sound cards...and wireless cards into computers someone else built for me. The problem is, I want to build my own. OK, I"m old. I haven't earned my geek license yet...but dang it, I want my computer to do what I want it to do, not what someone else figures they can snooker me into buying!

I need to do a lot of video conferencing (online teacher here), photo editing and some video editing. Not "Avengers," but an occasional Flash movie would be nice. I don't do advanced gaming; don't have the reflexes. However, I will frequently have Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and Flash open at the same time, along with an internet conference going. I have a LOT of stuff on my hard drive; there is no such thing as too much storage.

I don't understand overclocking...do I need to do that? Really?

One last thing; I don't want to be told next year that I have to replace my motherboard or processor because it's out of date. What do I need to do? My budget is between $1000 to $1500, and I'm fairly brave...;)

Help?
June 12, 2012 4:12:37 PM

I'd be happy to at least give some pointers, although i'm sure not everyone will agree with me. Anyway, here goes...

You seem to do a lot of multitasking and heavily threaded work. The standard answer in this case is to get an Intel CPU, but honestly I don't believe 95% of people would notice a real world difference between an AMD and Intel CPU. However, Intel CPUs provide you with a bit more future proofing and a little less power usage, and are generally more efficient, so therefore I would recommend it in this case. As for a motherboard, I would suggest a socket 1155, Z77 based board because it supports the brand new 22nm "Ivy Bridge" CPUs.

Here are my motherboard and CPU recommendations (all prices are from Newegg.com)...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
=$120

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
=$200

You also said you would like to do some photo and video editing, which requires a bit of GPU horsepower and lots of RAM. There are many many graphics cards to choose from, and with that in mind, here is my GPU and RAM recommendations...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
=$100

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
=$40

I chose the GPU in large part due to it's track record of being a very reliable card, and while it may be a little overkill for your computer, it supports 3 monitors and too much GPU is better than too little :) 

That brings us to the power supply, or PSU. For that, I would suggest this PSU due to its efficiency, name, reliability and quality of parts. It will have plenty of power for your needs.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
=$60

For a hard drive, I'll suggest this one. I have a Samsung HDD myself, and this one seems to be the best bang for the buck right now and should have quite a bit of space while still being relatively fast.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
=$80

As far as optical drives, cases, sound cards, operating systems, SSDs, etc., that's up to you. I hope these suggestions at least give you some ideas, and i'm sure everyone and their brother will have a completely different take, but there you have it. I recommend based on proven track records first, and subjective opinions second. I believe this would be a great computer for you, but I'm not as seasoned as some people here, so continue to do your research and I'm sure you will end up with a great first build. Good luck!
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