I am looking to buy (or build) a new PC for basic home use, some streaming video, and HD movie editing with Sony Vegas 11.
I found and am tempted by a Lenovo which I will spec out below. It has been suggested to me in the forums at Tom's Hardware to consider building instead of buying. I have built in the past, but not in years. I think I can do it, but the machine would need to be worth the time and effort over the Lenovo.
I am mainly upgrading to be able to edit HD home video. I don't really game much, so that is not a major factor. I also don't plan on overclocking, so extra cooling may not be necessary. I do not need a monitor or keyboard/mouse.
1tb Hard drive minimum, 7200
Front USB ports
At least 4 USB 3.0 ports (front or back)
Some USB 2.0 ports (4 on back as well?)
Windows 7 64bit
Specs for Lenovo I like:
Lenovo Thinkcentre M92p - 2992A5U - $663 + free shipping
small tower case
CPU - Intel i7-3770 CPU, 3.4GHz
RAM - 4GB DDR3-1600/PC-12800 (Max of 32GB)
HDD - 1TB SATA/600 hard drive, 7200rpm
Optical - DVD writer
GPU- AMD Radeon HD 7450, 1GB dedicated, PCI express x16
External drive bays - (2) 5.25"
Internal bays - (3) 3.5"
Total PCI slots (2)
PCI express x1 slots (1)
PCI epress x16 (1)
USB 2.0 (4)
USB 3.0 (4)
PSU - 280 watts
Black mini tower case - 16.3" x 6.9" x 17.4"
Genuine Windows 7 Pro (Lenovo recovery disk included)
I don't know much about current hardware except from poking around this forum. I know the graphics card on this Lenovo is not well regarded, but is that crucial for encoding video files or is that more on the CPU?
Is it possible to build a better machine in that budget, including an OS? What would your specs be? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thats a tough price to beat with a 3770. This is about as close as you can get with that processor, 1TB HDD and a dedicated GPU (GTX650 or HD 7750 are both far superior to that 7450). This does have double the ram and quality components though.
It seems like a waste to have an i7 with only 4 GB of Ram, You could save $100 off this build by going to an i5.
That's a pretty nice price for such a PC. Graphics card is definitely worth to have for Sony Vegas though, as it supports GPU rendering, which can increase rendering speed significantly. For that sole reason, something like this would blow that computer away:
Nearest Microcenter 3 hours away, but I like the idea of the i7. With similar pricing, I have to decide if building a machine with better components in worth the time vs. a complete unit that I don't have to build and risk messing up.
For unlocked CPU, you can manually specify its frequency. For example, locked i7-3770 is at 3.5 GHz, while you could set unlocked one to 4.5 GHz, for example. That gives significant speed boost. However, it consumes more power and emits more heat that way, so you've got to make sure to get a good case (Corsair 200R aebome recommended is excellent) and CPU cooler (something like Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO). That's why they don't bundle prebuilt PCs with those.
P. S. If you build your own, you'll have much longer warranty.
If you did go to Micro Center to get the unlocked 3770K and added a $30 Hyper 212 EVO, you'd be looking at $766 for Sunius' build with the much nicer Corsair case. I know its $100 more than the Lenovo but its all quality components and will outperform the Lenovo considerably (especially with the ability to Overclock it).
Don't worry about doing the actual build, its quite simple and straightforward. There are also very good tutorials on YouTube and Newegg to guide you through the process. You can take your time and have everything up and running with Windows installed in about 2 hours.
Thanks for the help! I ordered the parts for the Sunius build above, except I did go ahead with the i7-3770. Combined a trip to Microcenter with visiting family and made it work. Now to steady my nerves enough to complete the build. I am sure this and other forums will be invaluable resources for me.