Friday, April 20, 2012

My Next PC Will Be Home Built

My 3 year-old HP m9600t is now starting to be flakey. 3 years is about the usual amount of time it takes for a desktop to die, but the nice thing about owning a PC (versus a Mac), is that you can usually reuse components over time, provided you didn't buy a proprietary machine and build your own. Since the machine is still mostly working, I can leisurely pick over components, etc., and buy stuff as they come on sale. However, I'm happy to use my blog as a platform to shop for components. My suspicion is that I'll be able to keep my existing HDDs, and video card (Radeon 4850), though it would be nice if the machine gave me an upgrade path. Here are my priorities:
  1. Fast enough to handle lightroom and video editing.
  2. Quiet. This means large fans running at low speed.
  3. Power efficient. No more desktop PC behaving like a space heater.
Requirements:
  • Must have hot-swappable hard drive bays. I would like to have 4 hard drive bays, though I could live with just 2 if necessary.
  • Must be easy to work on. No more pinching my fingers to install memory or hard drives.
  • Plenty of USB slots (USB 3?).
  • Room for upgradability
  • Must drive my 27" monitor together with my 24" monitor.
  • Reliable. I'm not willing to put up with flakey BIOS and such.
Nice to haves:
  • Built in memory card readers for SD cards and CF.
  • High quality sound.
  • Blu-ray
Non goals: small. I'm ok with a big monster. Gaming is a lower priority than absolutely raw power needed to make Lightroom, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Adobe Premiere Elements fly. I guess mostly what I'm looking for is motherboard, case, fans, power supply recommendations. It's easy for me to shop for CPUs, memories, and HDDs myself. I look forward to recommendations from my social network. (No recommendations for Apple products need apply)
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