Thoughts on a PC Purchase, Part II - Page 2
The requirements are the same as gaming, except as noted in the prior installment, an HDD bay into which disks can be hot-swapped is a must. Video and audio files will rapidly fill even 750 GB and 1 TB disks. Hot-swappable bays allow the editor to retain multimedia archives on multiple disks forming a library. Video projects should be stored on the same disk as source footage, because the project files always link to the footage files. The final production video file with titles, credits, effects, and transitions may reside on a separate disk, as it is a self-contained file.
CAD files can be worked on over a network, so the requirement for a hot swappable bay is usually not operative on a networked CAD machine, but it should be seriously considered on a stand-alone machine.
Buy or Custom-Build?
The decision-making process is very straight-forward. Very few laptops can be custom-built; almost all are purchases that can be customized to some extent. A laptop; therefore, will be a purchase 99% of the time. Decisions are very easy to make when they have been made for you.
Corporate and enterprise users almost always purchase or lease their desktops, because they come with warranties, support and service contracts, and are certified to work with a given operating system and applications according to a Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). The average home user purchases a desktop for the same reasons. A purchase is done to keep things simple.
A custom-build – where you buy the case, the motherboard, RAM, HDD, power supply, and so forth – has no support, warranty or service contract. You, the builder, are responsible to ensure that all components are compatible. Custom-building, however, is very rewarding in that you specify your components and can build a better machine than a mass-produced one. You can spend as little or as much as you want on a custom build. My main computer cost nearly $2500 to build, but my Home Theater PC was under $500, largely because a couple of the components I needed were already on hand.
Generally, a primary machine for Internet, office applications, downloads, etc. is best purchased. A serious machine for gaming, simulation and multimedia editing is best custom-built.
The next installment will discuss operating systems and applications.
Thoughts on a PC Purchase — Part I.