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

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 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One last thing; I don't want to be told next year that I have to replace my motherboard or processor because it's out of date.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...;)

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  1. 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

    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...

    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.

    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.

    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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