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Looking for Computer Building info (1 Viewer)


Senior HTF Member
Feb 8, 2001
Real Name
Hi, I'm looking to build a computer before I head off to college and am looking around for a forum for computer building (like HTF is for HT building): or maybe I can get help or a shove in the right direction here (I'm also currently scanning AVS HTPC forum).

What I'll be using this PC for primarily:
Watching DVDs
Word Processing and related activities
Surfing the internet
Video Editing
Image Editing
occasional gaming

My budget is $3,000:
includes printer, monitor, excellent headphones (no speakers please), all software and hardware and surge protector.

Hardware I'd like to get:
DVD burner
CD burner (opt. can cannibalize oen i bought for parents comp)
at least 512 DDR RAM preferablly closer to a gig
a good video card for movies
a good audio card for headphones
a processor at least 1 ghz
at least a 60gig HD
ethernet card (opt. can cannibalize one i bought for parents comp)
motherboard and matching tower to handle all of this
solid powersupply and fan

windows XP pro
adobe photoshop 7.0 upgrade
quicktime pro
good burning dvd and cd programs
good dvd player program

of course since I'm looking at video editing you're going to say MAC! but with macs it seems like you get a third of the power with less tweakability for the same price. I look at the list price on G4 towers and it's 3k just for the tower thats only a 2 gig processor with 512 of ram and no software or monitor or printer. that to me is absolutely ridiculous, even if the architecture of the hardware is optimized to run better than a pc.

Chris Holland

Nov 29, 2001
With a budget of 3k, you can have everything that you asked for and more. A great resource for finding reviews on individual computer parts/components is Toms Hardware Guide .
Here is a quick little list on what I can help you with. This is actually what I am using in one of my computers for a vid edit station and it's very stable.
DVD burner - Que DVD burner $370. This little unit is relatively cheap yet I've had no troubles with one yet. I have one of these in my own 'puter, and two of them at work. All of them work flawlessly.
CD burner - You cant beat Plextor. I have the 16/10/40 works great.
RAM - it's still pretty cheap. Get a gig.
Video card - Elsa Gladiac 920 GF3. Also use Matrox G550's at work. Seems to be fine for vid processing, but along with them I use a Matrox RT2500 vid capture card.
Sound card - I personally still like the SB Audigy Platinum with the breakout box. But others can chip in here for something a little cheaper.
CPU - 2.2Ghz P4(b) 533FSB nough said. If you want a stable reliable box, with fewer installation woes. Go with Intel. I have always liked AMD, but Intel is still better as far as stability goes.
Hard Drive - WD Caviar 120. In one word "quiet"
Ethernet card - on mother board
motherboard - ASUS based on i845E
solid powersupply and fan - Check PC Power and Cooling
Hope that helps,

Rob Lutter

Senior HTF Member
Nov 3, 2000
I just built a KICK ASS computer for around $1250 (well... as soon as I get all those mail-in-rebates back :) ).
My components:
AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (@ 1.7ghz)
ECS K7S6A mobo
512MB DDR2700 RAM
VisionTek GeForce3 Ti200
TDK VeloCD 32/10/40 CD-RW (BURNproof)
Lian Li Aluminum Case w/ side window
PCMODS.COM Cold Cathode Light (blue) for the inside of the case)
Vantec Rounded IDE cables
LinkSYS 10/100 NIC
I bought about 75% of my stuff online and the rest at a local computer convention :)
Good Luck!


Senior HTF Member
Mar 11, 2000
Oh man! 3 grand! I wish I had that much to build a computer with. Everyone above me is right. You can get whatever you want for that money and it'll probably cost less than you think. Check out Link Removed and www.tomshardware.com for their weekly cpu and memory prices. Find a motherboard you want, and match a cpu to it and then get memory. I found the motherboard the most time consuming part. There are so many out there its really hard to compare them all. After that its pretty easy.

Ken Chan

Senior HTF Member
Apr 11, 1999
Real Name
with macs it seems like you get a third of the power with less tweakability for the same price. I look at the list price on G4 towers and it's 3k just for the tower thats only a 2 gig processor with 512 of ram and no software or monitor or printer.
Well, gigahertz ain't everything -- just ask AMD :)
That G4 has two 1GHz processors, which depending on what you're doing is both better and worse than a single 2GHz processor. It's surely much more than "a third" of the power. If you believe the Photoshop benchmarks they do at those Apple expos -- a big if, to be sure -- the G4s do better than the P4s. And sure it's less variety in the hardware, and perhaps less opportunity to overclock, but that might make it more likely to actually work....
Apple also has some gorgeous displays, but they're kinda pricey too :)
All DVD burners are also CD burners. Of course, there is some advantage to having a separate CD burner. For DVD, you will have to choose between the "dash" and "plus" camps: DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW (DVD-RAM looks like it's out of the running). The price for that G4 also includes a DVD-R/RW drive, which goes for roughly $400.
Any decent drive you buy (that's not an OEM white box) should come with at least half-decent software for burning data discs and watching DVDs. Now, if you actually want to author DVDs, that's a whole 'nother subject.
Any computer that has enough juice to do video editing can certainly do word processing and surf the web. QuickTime Pro is like thirty bucks on either platform; a fixed 1% of your budget :)
For such an investment, consider getting an actual UPS with line conditioning instead of just a surge protector. You might also want to try to get components that are on the quiet side. All those fans (power supply, CPU, chipset, a few for the case) can get annoying.

Bill Slack

Supporting Actor
Mar 16, 1999
For 3-grand you can get everything you want, plus a backup PC as a spare! ;)
If this is going to be in a dorm room (e.g., bed or living area in the same room) I would look to buy things that are ultra quiet.
For a few extra bucks (well within your budget) you can ultra quiet cooling fans and power supplies.
I believe Link Removed has extra quiet hardware. Maybe better sites out there than them though.
I'd think you could get a dual CD/DVD write/reader somewhere too.


Supporting Actor
Dec 11, 1999
Real Name
Justin J. Rebbert
For a good forum with discussion on computers (building, repairing, tweaking, etc.), as well as general topics (sports, entertainment, cars, trivia, etc.), check out my own site: JJR512.com :)

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